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Navigating the Wilderness of Egypt

Benson C Saili
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Ishkur-Adad guides nation of Israeli through the Sinai wilds using a Flying Saucer

If you were to go solely by the Pentateuch story, you would come up with the impression that when Ramesses released the Hykso-Hebrews, it was without strings attached. It was like he was saying, “I have had enough of the pestilences visited upon my people by your God. Off you go!” That, sadly, is too simplistic a view. The fact of the matter was that there were several preconditions by which Moses had to abide to secure his peoples’ freedom.  First, Moses and his people would head southwards and not northward.

As we underscored in previous write-ups, Ramesses feared that if Moses opted for a northern direction, he would end up in Harran, where the Hykso-Hebrews of that  place would be reinforced by the freed Hykso-Hebrews of Egypt, thereby posing a potentially huge threat to  the Egyptians. Of particular significance in the terms of the departure was that Moses had to unequivocally recognise the sovereignty of Egypt over the Sinai Peninsula.

As such, he and his people were not to inhabit any inch of the Sinai for an unduly length of time en route to Canaan. They were to expressly head for Midian proper, that is, Arabia. And in order to see to it that that did indeed happen, Ramesses was to set up an observation post, a  watchtower, atop a rock at a place known as Migdol with immediate effect. Located at the intersection of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Suez and, the Gulf of Aqaba – three bodies of water that part-surrounded the Sinai Peninsula – Migdol had an elevation of about half a kilometre and commanded a view of about 30 miles each way.   

What that meant was that Moses would not return to Serabit El-Khadim in the Sinai Peninsula, where he had hitherto been based as Egypt now had fully enforced its rights to the area, which dated back to circa 2000 BC. He would be shepherding his people straight to Arabia, where his jurisdiction as King on behalf of Jethro was now officially recognised. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT READERS TAKE SPECIAL NOTE OF THIS DEVELOPMENT, FOR HISTORIANS HAVE WRONGLY PLACED THE NATION OF ISRAEL’S WILDERNESS WINDERINGS IN THE SINAI PENINSULA WHEN IT WAS ACTUALLY IN ARABIA, which today encompasses Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.

Many a people are not aware that the Mount Sinai of the Sinai Peninsula was identified, or rather mis-dentified, as the scene of the wilderness of the Exodus not by way of research but on the whim, purely,  of Queen Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great. Helena did this in AD 315, on the basis of a dream rather than objective inquiry. The Mount Sinai of the Exodus was actually Mount Jabal-Al Lawz,  which was located in Aabia, a view we find persuasive in light of our own research.

Even as relatively recently as the first century AD, the apostle Paul was very much aware of this fact: in GALATIANS 4:5, he points out that Mount Sinai was in Arabia. In the first century, when Paul was doing his writings, the Sinai Peninsula still was separate from Arabia: it belonged to Egypt until 106 AD when the Roman Emperor Trajan annexed it and appended it to Arabia, which he had seized in 105 AD.      

As I keep harping upon time and again, when a lie has been repeated for donkeys’ years, it assumes the status of fact simply because human beings are not that keen to interrogate bandied-about, foregone-conclusion “facts” that are in the mainstream. Thus every pastor will preach to you that the Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai in the Sinai Peninsula when in truth they were given at the Mountain of the Elohim in Arabia. But we’re getting ahead of our story.

OF ISRAELITES AND FLAT BREAD

Since the bulk of the Hykso-Hebrews who departed Egypt for Arabia were the descendants of Jacob, they called themselves Israelites. The name Israelites had two connotations. First, it evoked the patriarchal name of Jacob, who was given the name Israel by Nannar-Sin, Enlil-Jehovah’s second-born son. Second, it was a reminder that the Jews once had an own state in northern Egypt, called I-SIRA-EL, meaning ‘El’s Shield”.

El was how Nannar-Sin was referred to in Canaan, where he was the leading god. Northern Egypt, when it was ruled by the Hykso-Hebrews, served as a buffer that prevented southern Egyptians from directly accessing the strategic Sinai Peninsula, which housed the Anunnaki spaceport till the year 2024 BC when it was nuclear-bombed by Ninurta, Enlil-Jehovah’s firstborn son. Thus northern Egypt was Nannar-Sin’s shield against southern Egypt’s encroachment of the Sinai Peninsula. Of course at the time of the Exodus, circa 1333 BC, there was no I-Sira-El (Hykso-ruled northern Egypt) and the Sinai Peninsula was under Egyptian jurisdiction.

The departure of the Israelites from Egypt was unheralded: they were simply ordered by their god Ishkur-Adad to pack up and go one evening, in the month of Abib,  which in today’s calendar corresponds to the latter part of March and the early part of April. Note that the caravan did not comprise of Israelites only: some Egyptians, who in all probability had religiously converted to the Jewish faith or had lent the Israelites  the gold and silver they carried, came along too.

EXODUS 12:38 says, “A mixed multitude also went up with them”. Since they left in very hasty circumstances, the Israelites did not have time to bake bread using yeast, called leavened bread. Instead, they hurriedly prepared unleavened bread (flat bread both in terms of taste and shape because it has no yeast)) to consume whilst on their great trek. However, the main reason they settled for unleavened bread is not given in the Bible. THIS IS THAT UNLEAVENED HAS NUMEROUS HEALTH BENEFITS.

It is low in fat and calories and is a good source for energy-supplying carbohydrates. It is a good source of fibre, which is vital for maintaining heart health. It is rich in Vitamin B, which enables the body to obtain energy from the food we eat. Finally,  it is rich in manganese and selenium, two minerals that function as antioxidants in our bodies. Antioxidants are substances that protect cells from damage by chemicals known as free radicals. Thus unleavened bread was just the right sustenance for a people who were to spend weeks on the march.
    In due course, Adad would institute the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the Israelites, which they would celebrate once a year concurrent with Passover to commemorate the frantic manner in which they left Egypt. The Feast of Unleavened Bread, during which they ate bread without yeast, lasted for seven days.

ISRAELITES CROSS SEA OF REEDS AS OPPOSED TO RED SEA

The route the Israelites took on their way to Arabia (Midian) can be somewhat confusing if one were to strictly follow the Exodus account. For instance, in EXODUS 15:22, one would get the impression that the Israelites’ first stop was the Wilderness of Shur. However, we now know that the Wilderness of Shur was in Arabia. It was actually the penultimate stop as it marked the very cusp of their ultimate destination, Mount Jabal Al-Lawz, which is also referred to as Sinai or Horeb in the Bible. When the Israelites set off from Egypt, Moses told them they were headed for the Wilderness of Shur, the reason the region is listed first.

The entire journey from Goshen in Egypt to Mount Sinai in Arabia took 45 days.  Of these, 28 were travel days whereas 17 were camping days.  On average, the Israelites traversed 27 km a day. Goshen, which also went by the names Pi-Ramses and Avaris, is today’s Tel El Daba, in Egypt’s eastern delta. It is located approximately 100 km northeast of Cairo and in antiquity was an important commercial and military centre.

The first topical juncture in the Israelites’ peregrinations was the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. The Sea of Reeds is not the same as the Red Sea: the Sea of Reeds (Yam Suf in Hebrew) was then a shallow depression whose sea level variation averaged a mere 1.2 metres.  It is today occupied by the Suez Canal in the region of the tidal salt marshes and reed beds near the Bitter Lakes to the south of Ismalia. Historians have mistaken the Sea of Reeds for the Red Sea simply because the English version of the King James Bible wrongly translated the Hebrew Yam Suf to Red Sea instead of Sea of Reeds (EXODUS 15:22).

But does that mean that it was at the pitifully shallow Sea of Reeds that Moses parted the huge walls of water? And did the miraculous parting indeed take place? YES IT DID, BUT IT WAS NOT AT THE SEA OF REEDS: IT WAS AT THE STRAITS OF TIRAN ACROSS THE GULF OF AQABA. The Gulf of Aqaba separates the Sinai Peninsula from Arabia. But many a people are not aware that the Gulf of Suez, which  separates mainland Egypt from the Sinai Peninsula,  and the Gulf of Aqaba together constitute the Red Sea (EXODUS 10:19; EXODUS 23:31; NUMBERS 21:4; DEUTERONOMY 2:1; JUDGES 11:16; AND 1 KINGS 9:26 ). In fact, to the Israelites of Moses’ day, the Red Sea proper was the Gulf of Aqaba. More on the parting of the Gulf of Aqaba arm of the Red Sea later.  

ADAD SHOWBOATS HIS PATERNALISM

Ishkur-Adad was out to impress the Israelites – to rest-assure them that not only was he their protector through thick and thin but he was also their guiding light through and through. For as long as they obeyed and heeded his every admonition, he would stoutly stand by them and cater to their every need.      The Israelites wanted him to make his presence manifest even if they could not see his physical being, which he withheld from them as per the Enlilite pantheon’s accord.

Obliging them, Adad asserted his presence in two ways 24/7. During the day, either he himself or his Anunnaki pilots ( called “Messengers of the Elohim” in EXODUS 13:19) shuttled back and forth  overhead in an expansive Flying Saucer (referred to as the “Glory of God” in most biblical passages) which was encased in an ever-lingering smoke which gave the impression of a cloud. During the night time, he continued to hover by them aloft but this time around, the flying saucer illumined the immediate surroundings on the ground. The Bible refers to this rather brilliant illumination as fire.

In short, the nation of Israel were led by a cloud and by a pillar of fire as they trekked out of Egypt (EXODUS 13:21).  BOTH THESE ELEMENTS SYMBOLISE DEATH. A cloud  in this context is a metaphor for a shroud and fire denotes judgement or an agent/medium of destruction (LUKE 9:54; 2 KINGS 1:10. In REVELATION 13:13, a being who calls fire to come down from Heaven is described as “the Beast”, an agent of the Devil). Indeed,  during the nation of Israel’s wilderness wanderings, the hot-tempered Adad killed great numbers of Israelites at the slightest indiscretion as we shall later demonstrate.

Today, the charismatic church movements, also known as Pentecostals, refer to themselves as Fire Churches. When TB Joshua is busy exorcising demons, he chants, “Fire! Fire!”. But fire is not synonymous with good: it is synonymous with danger or destruction. The Lake of Fire in the Book of Revelation is symbolic of the ultimate fate of the forces of darkness – their total annihilation or eternal damnation. So why should the charismatic churches obsess themselves with the mantra of “fire”?

Well, if you know the underlying orientation of the gods of the Old Testament, you will easily understand why they projected  themselves as a byword for fire. The Gnostics, the first century buffs of metaphysical knowledge, described the Reptilians (devils) as archons. They said the archons were made of “luminous fire”.  Fire, therefore, is fundamentally a euphemism for the forces of darkness. And the Enlilites, the Anunnaki faction that was headed by Jehovah-Enlil, were allied with  Reptilians, which explains their utter cruelty and their nefarious agenda for mankind.  

Sadly, the church has long been infiltrated by the regressive Enlilites and their Reptilian allies, two particularly  diabolical forces who jointly schemed the creation  of  religion. So when your pastor, bishop, or “prophet” chants “Fire! Fire!”, believe you me he’s simply saluting his Luciferian   gods who enable those “miracles”. This Earth, My Brother …

ISRAELITES REACH SHORES OF RED SEA

The Israelites’ first stop on the great trek toward Arabia was a place known as Succouth, about 120 km south of today’s Port of Suez. This was exactly 3 days after their departure from Goshen. The Succouth stop was not meant for an overnight rest. Within the Succouth region and near Serabit El Khadim were two Egyptian controlled copper and turquoise mines where Israelite slaves toiled without pay.  Thus Moses ordered a stop there to collect the Israelite miners, a gesture which was in keeping with the terms of the exodus he had negotiated with Pharaoh Ramesses.    

From Succouth, Moses led the nation of Israel to Migdol, the Egyptians’ three-way look-out point, which was about 500 km from Egypt. At Migdol, the Egyptians, who were keeping tabs on the huge Israelite procession, kept meticulously trained homing pigeons – organic couriers of messages between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptians had used courier pigeons since 2400 BC. The moment the Egyptian sentries observed the approach of Israelite hordes, they immediately dispatched one or two homing pigeons to Pharaoh’s palace to alert him accordingly. Homing pigeons flew at a speed of 100 km per hour and so in only 5 hours’ time, Ramesses would have received the message.  

From Migdol, the Israelites proceeded to Etham, where they reached “a dead end”. Etham was surrounded by mountains 300 metres high. This made the Israelites a sitting target in case the Egyptians pursued after them. With such a rude awakening, Adad had a rethink and had his people retrace their way back to the plain at the foot of Migdol, where they were to camp. It seems these back-and-forth manouevres were also a strategy on the part of Adad to confuse the Egyptians.  

Next, the Israelites moved to Pi-Hahiroth, around the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Pi-Hahiroth was located on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, that is, between Migdol and the eastern arm of the Red Sea.  Thus far, the Israelites had travelled for 17 days and camped for 8 days since departing Egypt. To date, the Israelites had been moving through the “Wilderness of Egypt”. The Wilderness of Egypt was the V-shaped area of land between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. Today, it is known as the Sinai Peninsula.

EGYPTIAN FORCES HEM IN ON ISRAELITE CONTINGENT

The Israelites camped for 8 days at Pi-Hahiroth. This is curious: if the Israelites were pressed for time to get to Arabia, why did Adad let them procrastinate for so long? The Bible itself provides the answer in EXODUS 4:14, which reads thus: “Thus I will make the heart of Pharaoh steadfast, so he will pursue after them. Then I shall indeed be glorified in Pharaoh and in all his army; and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh. Hence they did so.”

Once again, we see Adad’s mind manipulation artifice at work here.  Adad’s intention was to perform a great “miracle” that would astonish both the Egyptians and the Israelites – the parting of the Red Sea, that is, the Gulf of Aqaba. He wanted the Egyptians to be firsthand witnesses to this extraordinary feat so it could be the talk of the day. So what does he do?  He uses his long-honed mind-control tricks to work on the psyche of Ramesses so that he (Ramesses) makes a rash decision to give fervid chase after the Israelites.

So the moment Ramesses received the message delivered by the homing pigeons – that the Israelites were now camped at the foot of Migdol (before they set off for Pi-Hahiroth) – he sent a 600-man strong chariotry after them. His excuse was that the Israelites had tactfully (that is, by way of deceptive  borrowing) purloined a priceless amount of gold and silver from his people and he wanted this returned before they crossed the Gulf of Aqaba.

Since the Egyptian army were horse-mounted, they arrived at Pi-Hahiroth much faster than the Israelites did. But they  did not attack the Israelites there and then as they were intimidated by Adad’s formidable-looking flying saucer which kept vigil over the Israelites day in and day out. Seeing that the Egyptian forces were now on the scene, Adad decided to get his people to cross the sea using the Straits of Tiran, which linked Arabia to the Sinai Peninsula. To effectually do that humanly speaking, they would have required thousands of ferries, which would have taken months  to construct. The quickest passage was by way of none other than a miracle. How was this miracle to be effected?
    
NEXT WEEK:   ISRAELITES  IN ARABIA

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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