Connect with us
Advertisement

Abe Conquers Egypt

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

    

Hebrew general Abraham becomes the first Hykso Pharaoh in the land of the Enkites

Before Abraham, the crack Hebrew general, set out on an epoch-making campaign to conquer northern Egypt, Enlil, the Bible’s “Yahweh-Elohim”, meaning “Lord of the Anunnaki”, reiterated to him what was expected of him. First, he was to create a buffer zone between northern Egypt and Canaan.  This would serve one major purpose – to deny the Enkites, who were being rallied by Marduk and Nabu, immediate  access to the all-important spaceport at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula. The spaceport was the Enkites’ prize target, without which their rightful rule of the planet in the near-at-hand astrological Age of the Ram, would be nominal rather than substantive.

Since Canaan was under the godly jurisdiction of Nannar-Sin, Enlil’s second-born son, Abraham would be acting in the immediate interests of Sin, who in Canaan was simply known as El, meaning “Lord”. Hence the Enlilite buffer territory that Abraham would carve off from the Egyptian landmass would be known as I-sira-El, which translates to “Sin’s Shield”.  Isn’t that so sweetly interesting folks?

It must be. When people read about Israel in the Bible, they automatically assume this is referring to  the Palestine of first century times. One cannot fault them though as that is exactly the picture the  Genesis authors wanted to portray as a kind of blindfold.  The fact of the matter is that from the time of Abraham up to part of the time of David, the term Israel referred to northern Egypt.   On the other hand, when the Bible uses the term “Egypt”, it is actually referring to southern Egypt, which being dominated by indigenous Egyptians was consequently referred to as “Upper Egypt”, meaning “Principal Egypt”.

The second brief Enlil reiterated to Abraham was that once he had taken northern Egypt, he was to introduce monotheism – the worship of only one clan of gods, the clan being that of Enlilites.  Every Egyptian living in northern Egypt was to be converted to Enlilite allegiance both politically and religiously as the two were inter-twinned. Observes the notable Egyptologist Ralph Ellis: “This is the essential core conundrum of the three Judaic religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam). 

These religions wanted to project a new, fresh image of a religion that was descended directly from ‘god’. However, the history of their peoples indicated strongly that they were descended from the pharaohs of Egypt, a nation that they had begun to despise because of the later treatment of the Israelites at the time of the exodus.

What were they to do? If they admitted that their patriarch was a pharaoh, they admitted that they were part of the very regime that had rejected them and sent them into exile, and which they now hated with an unbelievable passion. That was utterly unacceptable.” Once Abraham had fulfilled his assigned mission, he was to be installed as the Shepherd-King of the Hebrews with authority over all lands east of the Nile River all the way to the Euphrates River in Sumer.  That was the reward promised him by Jehovah-Enlil.  

GENERAL ABE’S TROJAN HORSE DEVICE

The conquest of northern Egypt by a “pale-skinned Asiatic race” known as Hyksos is well documented in ancient archives. But the role of Abraham in this regard is scarcely mentioned, if at all.  This is because in Egypt, Abraham was known by a different name. This was Pharaoh Mehibre (“Mo-Hibiru”) Kheti. In Sumerian, this translated to “The Exalted Hebrew”.  Remember, the name Abraham (Ibru-Um in Sumerian) as we demonstrated in earlier pieces was also rendered as Mo-Hibiru, meaning “The Main One of the Hebrew”,  or in paraphrase, “The First Person of the City of Eber”, where he was born and bred. You will also remember that Abraham was “The Chosen One” in that he was Enlil’s choice for Shepherd-King of the astrological Age of Aries.  

When historians relate the Hykso take-over of northern Egypt, they characterise it as an “influx”, a “sudden invasion”. That is far from the truth. Abraham, who was the Hykso leader, was of course armed to the teeth by his god Enlil. He was said to have “sophisticated weapons” that could “could smite an army of ten thousand men in hours.”But what made him seize northern Egypt with such ease was the overwhelming presence of the Hyksos, the progenitors of the children of Israel, in this part of Egypt. 

The proliferation of the Hykso population in Egypt was a key component of Enlil’s long-term strategy to subdue Egypt, with the Hyksos having been planted in Egypt as early as 70 years before General Abraham’s forces laid siege. “Hyksos” was a term by which the Hebrews were known in Egypt. It meant “Elite Sheep” (Hyk-Ku) literally but “Shepherd Princes”figuratively”. In antiquity, sheep were known as “Ewes”, which is “Jews” in modern parlance.  The sheep symbolism derived from the emblem of the forthcoming astrological Age of Aries, which was the Ram, a male sheep. The Hebrews were therefore designated by Enlil as the Elite Sheep of the Age of Sheep.

However, the Bantus, who dominated greater Egypt at the time, did not call them Hyksos: they called them the Akhu, or MaKgoa in Setswana. This was in mocking of their predominantly white, Caucasian  skins, which made them turn red in the blazing Sahara sun. When they first arrived in Egypt whilst Abraham was Pope of India (under the pretext that they had been expelled from a part of that country known as Maturea), the Hyksos  were allocated their own settlement in a corner of  the ancient city of Heliopolis in the Nile Delta east of the Nile River.  They renamed the settlement Maturea in honour of their place of origin in India. Maturea is today known as El Matareya and is part of Greater Cairo.   

It was the massed presence of Hyksos in northern Egypt that Abraham utilised to full effect to overrun the region. The Hyksos were the  Trojan Horse Abraham deployed to finally strike. They were the proverbial camel which after having been given shelter in a corner of the tent at long last ejected its Bedouin master to appropriate the entire tent to itself.

GENERAL ABE IS PHARAOH OF NORTHERN EGYPT

When Abraham’s forces thrust into northern Egypt, the city they first targeted was Memphis at the mouth of the Nile Delta, about 20 km south of today’s Cairo on the West bank of the Nile. Memphis was the strongest city in the region. It also had great religious symbolism being the bastion of Ptah worship, Ptah being the Egyptian name for Enki, the first god and ruler of Egypt for 9000 years before he handed over to firstborn son Marduk.

Having captured Memphis and effectively the whole of northern Egypt, Abraham declared Avaris, modern Tel El Daba, as the Hykso capital. He was then crowned as   Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti of northern Egypt. This was toward the end of 2047 BC. Once again, Egypt was split into two nations, comprising of the Hykso-ruled north and the Hamitic-ruled south, with its capital at Thebes. The fact that Abraham was able to take northern Egypt in a matter of months and not over years as was typical in most wars of conquest testifies to just what a genius of a military strategist he was.

If there was one thing going for Abraham as the new ruler of northern Egypt, it was that unlike him, his wife Sarah was not a total stranger. If you recall, Sarah was the daughter of Terah’s second wife Tohwait, who before marrying Terah had been the wife of Intef the Elder, the departed nomarch or governor of the province of Thebes.  In a way therefore, Abraham had a bit of legitimacy in Egypt.     Be that as it may, to mainstream Egyptians, the Hyksos were usurpers. In time therefore, the name Hyksos was corrupted to Heqa Khasut, a derogatory term meaning “Occupying  Rulers”.

What circumstantial evidence do we have that Abraham was indeed an Egyptian Pharaoh at some stage of his pilgrimage in life? There are several pointers to that effect but three particularly stand out.  The first has to do with his concubine Hagar. The second is hinted in the name-title of his half-sister wife Sarah. The third is suggested by the name change on the part of Abraham.

PART-EVIDENCE THAT GENERAL ABE WAS AN EGYPTIAN PHARAOH

The Bible is categorical that Hagah was an Egyptian slave, a clear-cut confirmation that Abraham had a stint in Egypt: he didn’t need an Egyptian woman in Sumer, his traditional base. However, we should not take this statement at face-value as it is obviously loaded with prejudice. The Genesis writers, who were Jews, wanted to denigrate Hagar and therefore diminish her standing in the eyes of posterity given that it was through her that the Arab race, their mortal enemies,  arose. It was a case of exalting Isaac, Sarah’s pre-eminent son,  and scorning  Ishmael, Hagar’s son and the direct progenitor of the Arab race.

For the fact of the matter is that Hagar was not a slave: she was part of the Egyptian aristocracy. A Pharaoh, as Abraham was, would never marry a slave. There were so many beautiful women of high social standing who the monarch Abraham would have chosen from. Thus the idea that Hagar was a slave is pure hogwash. Abraham hitched her with a view to curry political favour with the indigenous Egyptian nobility, whose blessings he desperately needed as an occupying ruler.  In antiquity, it was typical of kings to marry purely for political and strategic reasons, with King Solomon being an outstanding case in point: he married from practically every nation on the globe.

In GENESIS 17:5, we’re told that  Abram at long last  had his name changed to Abraham, which the Bible defines as “Father of a Multitude”. This was to formally ordain him as the Father of the Nation of Israel. That, however, is the spin. It was not the real or fundamental reason the name was changed. The name change was tactical: it was meant to obscure Abraham’s connection to the throne of northern Egypt.

The  subterfuge paid off rather handsomely as  even today, very few historians are able to relate the name Pharaoh Mehibre  to Abraham.  Again because the Genesis writers wanted to sever completely Abraham’s royal connections with Egypt, they presented him as a simple Jewish shepherd when he was in fact a royal personage of high pedigree and an iconic military general who conquered the great land of Egypt.  

The Egyptologist Ralph Ellis underscores the same point thus: “Pharaoh Mam-Aybre (another rendering of Mehibre) was a Hyksos Shepherd-King of Lower (that is, northern) Egypt, but the Israelites later despised the Egyptians and so Mam-Aybre’s pedigree was a bit of an embarrassment. But what should be done about this situation? The simple answer was to change the name Mam-Aybre to Abra-Ham and make him a pastoral ‘shepherd’ instead of a Shepherd-King.”

PHARAOH MEHIBRE SETS SIGHTS ON ENTIRE EGYPT

As Pharaoh of northern Egypt, Abraham was quick to act on his brief as assigned by Enlil. From the very outset, he moved to promulgate a practically one-god religion in which Nannar-Sin, who was known as Aten in Egypt,  would be the central god and all the Enkite gods – Enzi himself, Marduk, and his son Nabu – would be totally sidelined. To what extent he was successful in this enterprise at this stage is not definite in the ancient records,    but  it seems he did make some headway in the fullness of time as at the time of Moses, Sin was already a well-known god in Egypt.

Now, Abraham was not content with the occupation  only of northern Egypt. He wanted rulership over all of Egypt. After all, he was the Enlil-anointed Shepherd-King of the nearing Age of Aries and a Shepherd-King of necessity had to have regnal authority of all the “Four Corners of Earth” – Sumer, Egypt, the Indus Region, and  Canaan. Abraham was determined not to afford the Enkites the merest sliver of territory: he wanted a complete shut-out, whereby the Enkites would be nothing other than vassals of Enlilites in their own native land.   

In the event, Abraham contrived to capture southern Egypt, which at the time was ruled by Pharaoh Mentuhotep I. This time around though, Abraham didn’t want to use force from the word go: like the cerebral general he was, he opted to employ the artifice  of infiltration before he finally struck. The ruse he used was that of an itinerant priest from Avaris. Bear in mind that in those times when there was no mass media and therefore no published pictures of eminent personages, Abraham still was an obscure personality visually  in Egypt despite being a pharaoh.

People knew him as Pharaoh Mehibre Kheti alright,  but they didn’t know how he looked like. In antiquity, Kings were not public-domain figures, like heads of state are in our day:  they were mysterious. Only members of the royal court knew how they looked like. They strictly kept to the palace and were never seen in a public square. Even fellow kings only came to know each other after an official visitation. Otherwise, they remained total strangers to one another.

SMOKESCREEN VIST TO SOUTHERN EGYPT IS CONTRIVED

Accordingly, Abraham had his officials send word to Pharaoh Mentuhotep I  that he was sending a special emissary to southern Egypt who was at once a senior aide and a high-ranking priest. The emissary’s major brief was to meet with fellow priests in southern Egypt so they could compare notes and possibly see common cause on matters of religion.

It is probable that Pharaoh Mentuhotep I  was not prepared to meet Abraham himself since he was an occupying king but was ready to meet his senior aide with a view to  convey his concerns in relation to the legitimacy of Pharaoh Mehibre. It also happened that at the time,  a famine was raging in the whole of Egypt, which was another of the reasons Abraham advanced to Mentuhotep I  for his official’s trip to southern Egypt. Abraham’s emissary was therefore at once  a priest and a  royal merchant  who was expected to stock up with wagons of grain from the strategic reserves of Thebe.    

Both these scenarios are hinted at in the Bible and in the pages of Josephus. GENESIS 12:10 says, “Now there was a famine in the land; so Abram went down to Egypt to sojourn there, for the famine was heavy in the land.” Note the phrase went down to Egypt. This has been taken for granted by many a scholar as simply a turn of phrase. It’s not: what it is saying is that Abraham travelled southwards (down) from northern to southern Egypt. This was at the time he was Pharaoh of northern Egypt. As we earlier pointed out, in the Old Testament, the term Egypt stands not for the whole of Egypt but for southern Egypt only. Northern Egypt is called Israel: it is only after the exodus that Israel comes to denote Palestine.

Flavius Josephus too has this to say on the mission: “Now, after this, when a famine had invaded the land of Canaan, and Abram had discovered that the Egyptians were in a flourishing condition, he was disposed to go down to them, both to partake of the plenty they enjoyed, and to become an auditor of their priests, and to know what they said concerning the gods; designing either to follow them, if they had better notions than he, or to convert them into a better way, if his own notions proved the truest.”

Sadly, Josephus, a true-blue Jew, also plays up to the spin that turns northern Egypt into Canaan, though he furnishes the hint that he’s actually talking in terms of northern and southern Egypt with the words, “he (Abraham) was disposed to go down to them (southern Egyptians)”.            
        
NEXT WEEK: PHARAOH MEHIBRE Vs PHARAOH MENTUHOTEP I

Continue Reading

Columns

A “Virgin” Conceives

2nd March 2021
IT’S THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, STUPID

Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph

To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua  (Jesus in Greek) III.

Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC.  He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.

Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.

Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.

Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary.  Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.

Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans.  Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.

JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”

Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.

The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a  “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.

The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches.  Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.

The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.

Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.

The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee.  In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.

According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.

At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.

According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).

The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.

Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.

Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.

A BINDING ENGAGEMENT

According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.

Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.

Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan.  This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June.  From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.

Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.

For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”.  In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.

Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?

THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS

Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.

That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.

The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.

The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were   turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.

Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah.  There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.

The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.

The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.

They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.”   The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.

This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

Continue Reading

Columns

A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.

Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the  Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:

In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.

When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.

When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.

The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.

Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.

I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.

The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.

The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.

Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.

There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.

In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.

In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!

Continue Reading

Columns

Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod

If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with  them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees.  Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.

Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.

In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy.   The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.

The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes  “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.

Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees.     The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.

How did the Essene movement come about, General?  The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran,  about 40 km from Jerusalem.

Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.

The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue  … Since [they are] despisers of wealth –  their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.

For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”

In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of  Palestine in 63 BC,  he sought the opinion  of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In  142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic  King.

In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.

JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD

About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.

He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem.   The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.

It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the  Diaspora Essenes.

He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.

Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.

When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong  exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.

His father, Antipater,  had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in  the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a  mere figurehead king.  When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee.   Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.

As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.

There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.

The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.

Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.

When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.

FALLOUT WITH ESSENES

Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.

In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known.  Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.

In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of  the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.

The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.

THE SAGA OF JOSEPH

The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.

The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.

To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had  gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of  David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.

In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule.   Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.

Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.

In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles  and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

Continue Reading
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!