… but did he really die or was simply spirited away to “Paradise” by Ishkur-Adad?
Even as the Nation of Israeli braced to militarily take possession of the Promised Land, its top three senior citizens, namely Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, were not destined to share in this god-conferred bequest. All three died (or in the highly probable case of Moses simply disappeared from the scene) before the lottery was won.
The first to pass on was Miriam, whilst the Israelites were camped at Kadesh Barnea. In the Bible, Miriam’s death is spoken of as if in passing. “Miriam died and was buried,” that’s all the Pentateuch says about her death in NUMBERS 20:1. This disparaging treatment is in keeping with the Jewish male chauvinism of the day, whereby women were not to be accorded the merest preeminence. It also speaks volumes on the antipathy that existed between Moses and Miriam, who once were husband and wife, beside being half-siblings, and who divorced right in the wilderness when Moses felt Miriam’s popularity was gnawing away at his own – all facts of which the Pentateuch deliberately obscures as that was not meant for the ears of its intended readership.
On the other hand, the more objective BOOK OF JASHER, which was spitefully left out of the Old Testament canon, accords Miriam’s death the prominence it merits. It says (the statement in parenthesis is ours), “The children of Israel mourned for Miriam for 40 days (10 days longer than they did Moses and Aaron) and neither did any man go forth of his dwelling. And the lamentation was great, for after Miriam arose, there was no other ever like her … The flame thereof went out into all the lands; yeah, throughout all Canaan and the nations feared greatly.” Miriam’s death sent reverberations throughout the biblical lands, ample enough evidence that she was a colossus as opposed to the also-ran she’s portrayed as in the shamelessly partial Torah.
Miriam and Moses shared the same father, Pharaoh Amenhotep III, but had different mothers. Whereas Moses’ mother was Tiye, the great patriarch Joseph’s daughter and who was Amenhotep III’s second but most influential wife, Miriam’s mother was Gilukhipa, Amenhotep III’s third wife. In Egypt, Miriam was known as Meryamon, meaning “Beloved of Amon” (Marduk, Egypt’s national god, who was also known as Amon-Ra). It is Meryamon that is corrupted to Miriam in the Bible.
In Egypt, Miriam was particularly prominent because she produced a heir for Moses, who was to become Pharaoh Tutankhamen. It was also through Kiya-Tasherit, Miriam’s daughter with Moses, that the royal line of Judah emerged, again a fact the Pentateuch writers cleverly swept under the rug just so that Miriam was not put on a pedestal.
The Bible provides two versions of the scenes of Aaron’s death at age 123. The BOOK OF NUMBERS says he died at Mount Hor, whereas DEUTERONOMY says he died at Mount Moseroth, a place miles removed from Mount Hor. It is clear the Pentateuch writers were not sure of their facts here.
THE BOOK OF NUMBERS says Aaron was mourned for at least 30 days. He was succeeded as national priest by his son Eleazer. Aaron had four sons, namely Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar in that order, but Nadab and Abihu were killed by Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the exodus, in Aaron’s tactical sacrifice of his foremost children. That’s how Eleazer came to succeed Aaron. Both Aaron and Moses were former Egyptian pharaohs, with Moses having ruled as Pharaoh Akhenaten and Aaron as Pharaoh Smenkhkare.
MOSES’ UNCERTAIN FATE
According to the Bible, Moses died on Mount Nebo in Moabite country, aged 120 years. Even at this advanced age, he was of robust health and his sight was as potent as ever according to DEUTERONOMY. If Moses so bristled with health still, why did he die? ONE CANNOT RULE OUT FOUL PLAY BY ADAD HIMSELF, WHO WAS DETERMINED THAT MOSES NEVER SET FOOT IN CANAAN. Indeed, his burial place was never to be known though the Bible says he was buried (alive?) at Beth-Peor in Moab.
The legendary historian Flavius Josephus says, “a cloud stood over him all of a sudden, and he disappeared in a certain valley”. The cloud, as we now know, was the alter ego of Adad, a fellow Alien he co-worked with during the Israelites wilderness wonderings, which may suggest that Adad had a change of heart: instead of eliminating Moses, he simply retired him and took him to a privilleged place where he continued to live happily ever after, most likely in South America, where the Enlilites now were headquartered and operated a new spaceport following the nuking of the one in the Sinai Peninsula in 2024 BC. This may explain why Moses and Elijah featured in the transfiguration of Jesus (MATT 17:1-9; MARK 9:2-10; LUKE 9:28-36) in that neither of the two prophets tasted death.
THE BOOK OF JUDE, which buys into the narrative that Moses did die, says the “Devil” and the archangel Michael contended for his body. We know now that the “Devil” was the Enlilites’ nickname for Marduk in the astrological Age of Aries and the archangel Michael was Ninurta, the firstborn son of Jehovah-Enlil. So what Jude is suggesting is that the Enkites wanted Moses to be buried in Egypt, where he was brought up and was even Pharaoh at some stage, whereas the Enlilites wanted him to be buried just within shouting distance of the Promised Land, their future geopolitical capital.
As was the case with Aaron, Israelites mourned Moses for 30 days. It is likely though that at some stage, Moses’ remains, if he indeed did die, were exhumed and taken back to Egypt for a dignified reburial as ex-pharaoh Akhenaten. The identity of Akhenaten’s remains, however, remain inconclusive to date although all sorts of theories have been bandied about.
Josephus lauds Moses thus: “He was one that exceeded all men that ever were in understanding, and made the best use of what that understanding suggested to him. He had a very graceful way of speaking and addressing himself to the multitude; and as to his other qualifications, he had such a full command of his passions, as if he hardly had any such in his soul, and only knew them by their names, as rather perceiving them in other men than in himself. He was also such a general of an army as is seldom seen, as well as such a prophet as was never known, and this to such a degree, that whatsoever he pronounced, you would think you heard the voice of God himself.”
JOSHUA TAKES CHARGE
Although Moses had children, Gershom and Eliezer (not to be mistaken with Aaron’s heir whose name is spelt slightly differently) being the most prominent at this stage, he was not succeeded by any one of them as leader of the Nation of Israel. If Aaron was succeeded by his son, why wasn’t Moses? After all, wasn’t Moses for all practical purposes the King of the Nation of Israel although he was not referred to as such?
According to the Enlilite timetable, time was not yet ripe to install a dynastic King of Israel. The Israelites presently had no country of their own and to be King one had to have a substantive domain, a territory. What was crucial at this juncture, when the Israelites were still prosecuting wars of conquest, was a military leader, a general. It was only after victory was won and the Israelites were firm in the saddle in Canaan that a king would be installed.
To his credit, Moses had over the past 40 years or so been grooming his successor as Israel’s Commander-in-Chief. This was Joshua, an illustrious and veteran dog of war now 80 years old. Although his born name was actually Hoshea, Moses dubbed him Joshua (or Jesus in Greek), meaning “Yahweh’s Liberator”, and the moniker stuck. He was from the tribe of Ephraim and was one of the 12 scouts Moses had sent to spy out the land of Canaan during the Kadesh Barnea encampment. Of the 12, only he and Caleb gave a positive report, as a result of which Adad told them they would be the only ones to enter the Promised Land. The other ten spies perished in a plague engineered by Adad for their alarmist report.
Immediately after the period of Moses’ mourning was over, Joshua announced it was time for the Israelites to commence their march on Canaan, the land west of the Jordan Valley. There simply was no time to waste. Joshua pronounced that the march on Canaan was to be spearheaded by three tribes, namely that of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, all three of which constituted 40,000 in all.
If you recall, Moses had acceded to these tribes’ request that they settle in the conquered lands of Bashan and Heshbon (now collectively known as Gilead) as they offered good pastures for livestock on condition that they promise to help the other Israelites when the time came to enter the Promised Land. Accordingly, Joshua issued this clarion call to them: “Your wives, your children and your livestock may stay in the land that Moses gave you east of the Jordan, but all your fighting men, ready for battle, must cross over ahead of your fellow Israelites. You are to help them” NUMBERS 1:14.
JOSHUA’S SPIES SAFEGURADED BY RAHAB THE HARLOT
But like every seasoned general, Joshua first decided to spy out the first Canaanite city that was within his crosshairs. The Israelites were presently camped at a place in Moabite land known as Shittim, which meant “Acacia Trees”. Shittim overlooked the city of Jericho, which was only 8 km across the Jordan River. Jericho was therefore the most logical city to attack first.
Unlike Moses, who sent 12 spies at the time of the Kadesh Barnea camping, Joshua settled for only two, that experience having taught him that too many people spoiled the broth in terms of the news they reported. “Scout out the land on the other side of the Jordan River, especially around Jericho,” he said to the two unnamed spies.
Although the spies successfully stole into Jericho, they were sniffed out the very first day. Relates Josephus: “Before they were at all discovered, they took a full view of the city of Jericho without disturbance, and saw which parts of the walls were strong, and which parts were otherwise, and indeed insecure, and which of the gates were so weak as might afford an entrance to their army. Now those that met them took no notice of them when they saw them, and supposed they were only strangers, who used to be very curious in observing everything in the city, and did not take them for enemies; but at dusk they retired to a certain inn that was near to the wall, whither they went to eat their supper.
After having supper they considered how to get away. Meanwhile, information was given to the king as he was at supper, that there were some persons come from the Hebrews' camp to view the city as spies, and that they were in the inn kept by Rahab, and were very solicitous that they might not be discovered. So he sent immediately some to them, and commanded to catch them, and bring them to him, that he might examine them by torture, and learn what their business was there.”
The city of Jericho was fortified with a casemate wall several inches thick and several feet high. In a corner of the wall was a dwelling owned by a woman known as Rahab. In Joshua’s day, it was common to build houses on city walls. Houses were built on wooden logs laid across the tops of the two walls. Rahab’s house was one such, with a window that looked out over the outside wall.
Rahab’s home doubled as an inn and a brothel, with she herself lodging in the upper storey. Although she’s famed as a prostitute, she also ran a side linen business as suggested by the flax stalks found on her roof. She was a woman who was ready to make money any way she knew how.Its recreational offerings aside, Rahab’s place was ideal for espionage purposes. First, it was on the very edge of the city, which made it easier for the spies to escape in case they aroused suspicion. Second, all manner of visitors could come and go there without raising eyebrows. Third, it was a good place to pick up the latest gossip in a city or country. Fourth, an inn was also a place where government informants could be strategically placed to pick up any information touching on state security.
RAHAB EARNS HERSELF INDEMNITY FROM DESTRUCTION
The moment the spies introduced themselves to Rahab, she enthusedly warmed up to them. News of the might of the Israelites and their wonder-working god now pervaded the whole country, Rahab said, and everybody lived in fear as “we know the Lord has given you this land”.
Aware that Jericho’s army did not have a prayer against the invincible Israelites, Rahab wanted to be on the side of potential winners and so took the risk of offering them citadel for as long they promised her that when they took the city-state, they would spare her and her entire family. Rahab had heard how the Israelites made a clean-sweep slaughter of every inhabitant of the land they conquered, including women and children. The spies undertook to honour her plea and advised that she hand a scarlet thread out of the window as a signal to the Israelite army when it approached.
When the King’s intelligence spooks stormed into Rahab’s home, she had already taken the precaution of hiding the two spies beneath the bundles of flax. She told the spooks that the Israelites had already left and pointed them in a dud direction she said they had taken. “Yes, the men came to me, but I did not know where they had come from,” Rahab said to the King’s men. “ At dusk, when it was time to close the city gate, they left. I don’t know which way they went. Go after them quickly. You may catch up with them.”
Once the King’s men had departed and the city gate had closed for the night, Rahab quickly let the spies down by the scarlet rope through a window. “Go to the hills so the pursuers will not find you,” she said to them. “ Hide yourselves there three days until they return, and then go on your way.” The spies did likewise as related in JOSHUA 2:22. “When they left, they went into the hills and stayed there three days, until the pursuers had searched all along the road and returned without finding them.”
The spies had been on Jericho land for no more than a full day but the intelligence they gathered was sufficient enough for the purpose. “The Lord has given us the whole land,” they gushingly reported to General Joshua, “for all the people are terrified of us.” It was probably an exaggeration but it did contain a kernel of truth.
ADAD DESIGNATES JERICHO AS A SACRIFICE TO HIS HONOUR
Ancient Jericho is a mile down the road from modern Jericho. Its ruins today, a round tower with a spiral staircase inside, are at Tel Es Sultan and reveal that Jericho is the oldest city in the world. Archeology reckons that Jericho’s walls were 30 feet high, with a 6-foot thick outer wall and a 12-15 foot gap between that and a 12-foot thick inner wall. The walls became a barrier as the city grew, so houses were perched on top of the walls in close proximity to one another.
Jericho was the strongest and most heavily fortified city in Canaan. It was also the richest, being endowed with gold, silver, and iron. As such, Adad regarded Jericho as his personal prize. Since it was to the first Canaanite city Israelites would conquer, Adad claimed it as his firstfruit of the military and territorial harvest. Just like all firstborn Israelite children were to be sacrificed to him, all of Jericho was to be both literally and symbolically sacrificed to him. The bloodshed that would result from the massacre of the Jericho populace would be an “aromatic odour” to him”, and the wealth that would be plundered would all vest in him.
Every time the Israelites were to present a sacrifice to Adad, they first had to purify themselves. By the same token in the present scenario, Adad ordered Joshua to have the Israelites purify themselves before they handled the sacrifice that was Jericho’s people and its riches and treasures.
This time around, the Israelites were not going to storm Jericho the way they did the cities they had previously conquered. Adad had come up with his own battering-ram device. He wanted to make a resounding statement to the Canaanites that he was not a nominal god but a true, miracle-working god, that he was way mightier than the Canaanite gods. Two such “miracles” were in fact in the offing. The first was the crossing of the river Jordan. The second was the demolition of the walls of Jericho.
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.
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!
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.