… but was it a miracle wrought by Adad in aid of Joshua’s war effort or it was a perfectly natural phenomenon?
Having vanquished the great city of Jericho, General Joshua now set his sights on the next equally momentous target, if not more so – the city of Ai, today identified with Et-Tell. Located in central Palestine, just east of Bethel (modern Beitin), Ai was almost as rich resourcewise as Jericho but was significantly smaller. The main reason Joshua targeted it next in these early stages of his campaign was by virtue of the fact that it occupied a strategic position being situated in the loftier parts of the hill country.
The capture of Ai, which lay about 16 km north of Jerusalem, the grandest prize of them all, would give Joshua a command post from which he could easily take control of major portions of Canaan. In fact, both AI and Bethel had potentially great religious significance. Abraham had erected an altar somewhere between these two cities during his first journey through Canaan (GENESIS 12:8; 13:3).
Before squaring up to face Ai, Joshua dispatched an advance party of secret agents to spy out the city as per his standard modus operandi. The spies gave a rather cynical report. They said the city-state had such a tiny army there was no need to unleash the entire Israelite army on it: two to three thousand men would suffice. A trusting Joshua took the report as gospel truth at face value. He didn’t even bother to ask for sophisticated weaponry, like the “trumpets” (sonic weapons) his army had used against Jericho, so confident was he of making mince of Ai.
Big mistake. The Israelite troops were routed by the Aians, losing 36 men in all. They were forced to beat a hasty retreat back to their general, with tails humbly wedged between their frantic legs. Just when Joshua and his army thought they were the invincible Israelites, they found themselves fleeing from the tiny army of Ai. Just when they should have mounted the podium to be crowned the undisputed conquerors of the great fortresses of Canaan, they found themselves fleeing for safety from the underdogs of Ai. Before the national anthem could be played to mark their victory, they found themselves running, not the lap of honour, but for dear life. Just what went amiss?
ACHAN IS SACRIFICIAL LAMB FOR STIGMATIC DEFEAT
Joshua’s first reaction to the whole ignominy was to point a bristling finger at his god Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the exodus. He remonstrated thus as per JOSHUA 7:7: “Ah, Lord GOD! Why have you brought this people across the Jordan at all, to hand us over to the Amorites so as to destroy us? Would that we had been content to settle beyond the Jordan.”
As far as Joshua was concerned, his men had been repulsed because Adad had somewhat neglected them. It was inconceivable, Joshua said, that a people who belonged to such a mighty god would lose a battle in so opprobrious a fashion. The reputation of Adad was certainly at stake. Joshua might as well have been passing the buck to his own god as a lame excuse for his first poor showing as a general. On his part, Adad was chagrined and he too decided to sort of exculpate himself.
He told Joshua the reason the Israelite army had been defeated had to do with the fact that one of them had kept part of the plunder, when Adad had made it clear that all the “precious articles” were to be reserved for he himself. Until the culprit was exposed, Israel would yet lose the next battle too. “Israel has sinned,” Adad thundered. “They have transgressed my covenant that I imposed on them. They have taken some of the devoted things; they have stolen, they have acted deceitfully, and they have put them among their own belongings.
Therefore, the Israelites are unable to stand before their enemies; they turn their backs to their enemies, because they have become a thing devoted for destruction themselves.” (JOSHUA 7:11-12). Of course Adad’s reasoning was puerile, but he had to find a way of saving face and was aware that the prospects of his “vindication”were very high. In every war, soldiers retained a bit of the plunder: that was how they earned their keep as they were never paid for their services.
Even when they were expressly told not to keep the booty but surrender it wholly to the general for nobler purposes, there was certain to be a few stubborn elements who simply would not heed the call. One such person was Achan. Following Joshua’s patient but exhaustive quest for the culprit who had caused his otherwise gallant warriors such a telling defeat, Achan was unearthed. Achan had kept for himself a beautiful robe imported from Sumer; 200 silver coins; and a bar of gold. He could have easily disposed of that whilst the search was on-going, as surely others in his position must have done, but he probably foolishly thought his stash might not be found.
Adad ordered that Achan be stoned to death along with members of his immediate family and all the livestock they possessed and that their remains be burned to a cinder. Achan had committed the sin singly, but his family had to perish along with him when they were totally innocent. The gods of Christianity are for lack of a better word utter savages.
JOSHUA EMPLOYS WITCHCRAFT TO DEFEAT AI!
In the follow-up battle with Ai, Joshua this time around deployed up to 30,000 soldiers. Moreover, he opted for the ambush approach as his mode of offence. And in order to incentivise the soldiers, they were given the green light to keep the spoils of war. It seems Achan and his family had died a vain death after all, for the crime they were accused of ceased to be a crime literally overnight.
However, it seems Joshua’s meticulous preparations this time around were not sufficient for the purpose anyway. The Aian army might have been a small force, but they were a magnificent fighting machine and BOTH JOSHUA AND HIS GOD ADAD WERE AWARE THAT THE ISRAELITES SIMPLY COULD NOT DEFEAT THE AIANS USING CONVENTIONAL WARFARE ALONE. Joshua and his god therefore decided to resort to magic, as was the case when the Israelites fought the Amalekites under Moses at Rephidim.
If you recall, Moses had to have his hands kept aloft for the Israelites to win that war: as long as he held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but when he lowered them, the Amalekites were winning. Two compatriots, Aaron and Hur, actually had to assist him to keep the momentum of his posture going. It was pure witchcraft at play here and Adad now was about to replay it albeit in a slightly altered form.
ADAD INSTRUCTED JOSHUA TO HOLD OUT HIS JAVELIN TOWARDS AI THROUGHOUT THE DURATION OF THE WAR (JOSHUA 8:18). Joshua did not draw back the hand that held his javelin until all the Aians, along with their allies, the Bethelians, had been annihilated (JOSHUA 8:26). Joshua’s sorcerous gesture worked. Over 12,000 Aians, including women and children, were killed: the Luciferian god that was Adad really revelled in bloodshed. The king himself was given a “special” treat: he was captured alive, brought to Joshua, and sadistically impaled on a tree.
Following the destruction of Ai, Joshua led the people of Israel to two mountains in the centre of the land. In what amounted to a satanic ritual of some sort, they divided into two groups, one standing on Mount Gerizim shouting blessings of Moses’ covenant with Adad, and the other on Mount Ebal shouting the curses. Joshua also built an altar to Adad on Mount Ebal.
THE GIBEONITE DECEPTION
The news of the defeat of Jericho and Ai spread rapidly and engendered fear in many Canaanite kings. They naturally began to work on survival strategies. Some of them chose to work together to stop the Israelite army. The kings of the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perites, Hivites, and Jebusites set aside their differences and agreed to form a united alliance against Israel.
However, a nation of the Hittites known as Gibeonites, knowing that they had no hope of defeating Israel opted for a different approach. They decided to use deception. Gibeon was an important city because it guarded the Beth Horon Pass, which was on a major trade route to the coastal lowlands to the west. It was also like one of the royal cities in that it provided a safe haven for royal leaders. Gibeon was even stronger than Ai and had good fighters. So when its ambassadors approached Joshua to seek an alliance, Joshua was surprised but he trusted them anyway.
The Gibeonites said they sought to ally with the Israelites having heard of their record of conquests under their mighty god Ishkur-Adad. The Gibeonites’ aim was to somehow undermine the Israelites, that is, strategically emasculate them so that the Canaanite coalition would have a field day when they attacked the nation. The unsuspecting Joshua was taken in and proceeded to make a peace treaty with them agreeing not to harm them in any way and even swearing to that so that the promise was irrevocable.
However, about three days later, Joshua discovered that the Gibeonites were not sincere and he confronted their leaders about this. Joshua however, could not exact retribution on them in that he had promised not to inflict any kind of harm on them under oath. Instead, he imposed on them slave labour. The Gibeonites were to serve as Israel’s servants. They were to be woodcutters and water-carriers for the entire community and their four city-states now became the Israelites’ vassal states.
UNUSUALLY LENGTHY DAY AIDS JOSHUA’S WAR EFFORT
The turncoat peace pact the Gibeonites had made with the Israelites revolted the other Canaanite kings, particularly King Adoni-Zedek (“Lord of Righteousness”) of the Jebusites of the city-state of Jerusalem. The king rapidly got in touch with four other Amorite kings and soon they had combined forces and were poised to launch an attack on Gibeon.
The Gibeonites there and then sent an SOS message to General Joshua, who was presently based at Gilgal. “Do not abandon your servants; come up to us quickly, and save us, and help us; for all the kings of the Amorites who live in the hill country are gathered against us.” (JOSHUA 10:6). Joshua wasted no time in answering to the appeal.
IT SO HAPPENED THAT THIS PARTICULAR DAY WAS A UNIQUE DAY NOT ONLY TO THE ISRAELITES BUT TO THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD AS A WHOLE. Various cultures have documented this day. This is how the day panned out according to JOSHUA 10:12-14: “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the LORD fought for Israel.”
On this particular day, the sun appears to have stood still for nearly 24 hours, thus lengthening hours of daylight and curtailing hours of darkness. And not only that: the day was punctuated by hailstones, with the result that more of Israel’s enemies were killed by the hailstones than by the sword according to the Bible. Both the stationary sun and the hailstones are attributed to the intervention of “Yahweh” in the Bible.
Ancient Peruvians of South America’s Inca Kingdom also document that one day in the third year of the reign of King Pachachuti II, the fifteenth monarch of the iconic empire, “there was no dawn for 20 hours”. Whereas in Palestine the sun delayed to set by about a whole day, in South America the sun delayed to dawn for 20 hours, which is to be expected since these are opposite sides of the global.
Exactly how did this phenomenon come about? It cannot be explained by a possible solar eclipse because solar eclipses do not last that long: the longest on record went on for about 7 minutes. THE MOST LIKELY EXPLANATION AS PER MANY AN ASTRONOMER IS THAT A COMET CAME TOO CLOSE TO EARTH, DISINTEGRATING IN THE PROCESS AND DISRUPTING EARTH’S ROTATION ON ITS AXIS. The aftermath was for Earth’s rotation to slow down. The disintegration of the comet may explain the “hailstones” in the Joshua account: it was the comet’s debris.
SCIENCE CONFIRMS OCCURRENCE OF JOSHUA’S DAY!
Interestingly, the stationary sun of Joshua’s day has been scientifically attested. Harold Hill was the president of the Curtis Engine Company of the US, a consultant to the American Space Programme. He wrote the following article (only quoted in part) in the Evening World newspaper in Spencer Indiana, which later appeared in another newspaper called The English Churchman on January 15, 1971:
“I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Indiana. They were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space where they should be in 100 years and 1000 years from now. We have to know this in order that we do not send up a satellite and it collides with something later on, on one of its orbits…
“They ran the computer measurements backwards and forwards over the centuries and it came to a halt. ‘Well, we have found there’s a day missing in space in a lapsed time,’ the scientists noted. They were puzzled and there seemed no answer. Then one man on the team remembered he had been taught at Sunday School of the sun standing still. They didn’t believe him but as no alternative was forthcoming, they asked him to get a Bible and find it, which he did in the book of JOSHUA 10:12-14 …
“Well, they checked the computers going back into time. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes – not a whole day. They read the Bible again and it said ‘about a day’. These little words in the Bible are important. But they were still in trouble because if you can’t account for 40 minutes, you will be in trouble 100 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits.
“It was the same man who remembered that somewhere in the Bible it said the sun went backwards. The spacemen told him he was out of his mind but they got out the Bible and found how Hezekiah on his deathbed was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him he was not going to die and Hezekiah asked what the promise should be. And Isaiah said, “This sign thou shalt have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that he has spoken: shall the shadow go forward 10 degrees or back ten degrees?’
“And Hezekiah answered, ‘It’s a light thing for the shadow to go down 10 degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees’. And Isaiah cried unto the Lord and he brought the shadow 10 degrees backward by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz (2 KINGS 20). “Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes. So 23 hours and 20 minutes in Joshua plus 40 minutes in 2 Kings make the missing 24 hours which they had to log in the log book as being the missing day in the universe.” The Anunnaki, the Old Testament gods, were not all-knowing divine beings but they understood nature so well they were able either to toy with it so they project themselves as gods or to utilise it to hoodwink mankind that they indeed were deities.
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.
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”
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.”
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.
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.
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.