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Moses is no More

Benson C Sail
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

… 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.     

NEXT WEEK:   JOSHUA REGISTERS HIS FIRST VICTORY

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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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