Connect with us
Advertisement

Mission Accomplished!

Benson C Sail
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

Joshua secures Canaan for Israel though significant parts of it remain unconquered still

General Joshua continued to wage war on Canaanite domains and it was not until seven years since the capture of the very first, Jericho, that he declared victory. Altogether, he had defeated 31 kings. The conquest of Canaan, however, was not decisive: in some territories, the inhabitants were not driven away but were simply subjugated. The standing order by Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the exodus,  was that in every war, the Israelites should totally annihilate the enemy, sparing no woman or child. 

But it seemed the Israelites simply became fed up of their god’s penchant for blood and therefore chose to exercise unilateral restraint at the risk of incensing him. For as long as the enemy meekly surrendered, the Israelites simply turned them into minions rather than callously put them to the sword.

In some territories, the inhabitants simply did not give up the fight: they continued to wage guerilla warfare against their Jewish occupiers. This was particularly the case with the Jebusites of Jerusalem, who were only totally vanquished by King David more than 300 years later. Some of the Canaanite nations  actually succeeded in warding off  the mighty Israelite army. A case in point were the dreaded Philistines of the great Goliath fame, whose domains lined the Mediterranean shores.  About 8 Canaanite territories tenaciously fought for and maintained their full sovereignty.

Invariably, the kings of the defeated nation suffered the worst fate as they were subjected to a very slow and excruciatingly painful death. For example, this is what happened to the 5 Amorite Kings, one of whom was the ruler of Hebron, as per JOSHUA 10:16-26: “Now these five kings had fled and hidden themselves in the cave at Makkedah.  It was told Joshua, saying, ‘The five kings have been found hidden in the cave at Makkedah’. 

Joshua said, ‘Roll large stones against the mouth of the cave, and assign men by it to guard them … Then Joshua said, ‘Open the mouth of the cave and bring these five kings out to me from the cave’.  They did so, and brought these five kings out to him from the cave …   When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings’. So they came near and put their feet on their necks … So afterward Joshua struck them and put them to death, and he impaled them on five trees.”

HOUSE OF JOSEPH GET LION’S SHARE OF TERRITORY

Exactly where in history are we at this juncture? Our own research places the commencement of the exodus at circa 1335 BC.  The Bible says the Nation of Israel was in the wilderness for 40 years but that is simply a symbolic number: the wilderness years lasted no more than 13 years, a scenario we have persuasively demonstrated in earlier articles. The conquest of Canaan was declared complete 7 years later.  This was in the year 1315 BC.

Now, as indicated above, the Israelites did not have full bragging rights over Canaan. Some of the land remained either unconquered or unpossessed and in some territories the Israelites opted to simply co-exist with the people they were unable to dislodge from their midst. Be that as it may, Joshua declared mission accomplished and raised the Israelite flag over the Promised Land.  Then he set about apportioning the newly-garnered lands to the nation’s 12 tribes.

Three tribes had already been allocated their own domains way back in 1308 BC. This was the land east of the Jordan valley, which did not constitute part of the Promised Land as the Promised Land was west of the Jordan River. The tribes were Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh. Thus only the remaining nine-and-half tribes were entitled to a share of the Promised Land.

The tribe of Judah, being the largest and the seniormost chronologically (after Reuben, Simeon, and Levi forfeited their seniority having fallen out of favour with their father Jacob), was the first to receive its allocation. Judah’s share consisted of all the southern land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Dead Sea. This included Jerusalem despite the fact that the Jebusites had dug in their heels there and therefore the Israelites could not lay full claim to it.

Next was the House of Joseph, which had been divided into two, namely that of Ephraim and Manasseh. Legally, the House of Joseph was the seniormost in that Jacob had chosen Joseph as his anointed heir being the son of his favourite wife Rachel. It is not surprising, therefore, that the House of Joseph was allocated prior to every other tribe save for Judah.  Of the House of Joseph, the tribe of Ephraim, who was younger than Manasseh, was allocated first.

Ephraim was prioritised over Manasseh apparently because he was once Pharaoh Aye of Egypt and thus had a loftier pedigree than that of his older brother. Ephraim received the central portion of the land and the other half tribe of Manasseh was given land to the north of Ephraim’s.  All in all, the House of Joseph had the largest allocation overall (that is, taking into account the lands on both sides of the Jordan River), which accorded with their status as the anointed and therefore exalted tribe.   

That is not to say the House of Joseph were content with what they got. They actually approached Joshua to register their dismay over their allocation given their population. When combined, the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh were actually the largest tribe (85,200 at the last count), outnumbering even the tribe of Judah (76,500). As such, they insisted to Joshua, they deserved much more than they were given and accordingly tried to prevail over him to allot them further territory. But Joshua was having none of that: he told them point blank that if they wanted an expanded domain, they should earn it by launching their own conquests of the lands that were yet unconquered. The House of Joseph was not prepared to go to those lengths as its nearest enemies reportedly had superior chariots.  

Of the remaining 7 tribes, the tribe of Simeon was carved out an own territory from the vast portion allocated to Judah and so was the only territory wholly enclosed in another. The tribe of Benjamin was given a tiny sliver of territory between Ephraim and Judah. Asher and Naphtali received the northernmost part of Canaan, with Zebulun and Issachar to their immediate south. Dan’s was next to Ephraim’s on the Mediterranean seaboard. All in all, Judah and Manasseh had the largest portions whereas Dan, Benjamin, Zubulun, and Issachar had the smallest.

Then came the turn of the Levites, Israel’s virtual  13th tribe. Ishkur-Adad had long decreed that the Levites could not own land as they were a priestly tribe dedicated wholly to his service (they were even exempted from taking part in wars). That did not mean they would be homeless. They were to be allotted towns dedicated to them throughout the land both east and west of the Jordan River. Levi had three sons, namely Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. When Joshua distributed the towns to the Levites, he allotted them on the basis of these three family units. Kohath received 23 towns, 13 of which went to the descendants of Aaron and 10 to the rest of the family. Gershon received 13 towns and Merari 12.  

JOSHUA, CALEB GET PERSONAL SHOTS IN THE ARM

General Joshua and Caleb, Israel’s seniormost citizens, received personal allocations of land in recognition of their illustrious role in the triumphs and exploits of Israel.  Joshua and Caleb,  if you recall,  were the only two of 12  spies who gave a positive report on the land they had been sent to check out (NUMBERS 13:30; and 14:7-9) Joshua was given Timnath Serah  in the hill country of Ephraim, which he had specifically requested for.

Caleb was now 85 years old but he still had a lot of fight left in him. He  asked Joshua not to parcel him a handout but  to let him have a go at some of the unconquered lands. Joshua accordingly gave him the nod to take possession of Kiriat-Arbour, later to be known as Hebron, and Debir. Hebron was a tough call. It was occupied by the mighty Nephilim, a race of giants that had resulted from intermarriages between the Igigi (space-based Anunnaki) and Earthling women.  But like the formidable soldier he was, Caleb managed to expel the Nephilim from Hebron.

In the case of Debir, Caleb put out a lottery. He offered his beautiful virgin daughter Acsah to anybody who would take the city on his behalf. Othniel, the son of his brother, took up the challenge, triumphed,   and won himself the prize that was the voluptuous Acsah. Finally, Joshua established what were known as cities of refuge. These were places where somebody who had accidentally committed murder and was being sought by a hired avenger would flee to for safety. The refugee would remain in that city till the sitting high priest died, whereupon he was legally released from guilt.  Joshua designated six of the cities allocated to the Levites as cities of refuge.   

JOSHUA DEPARTS

After Israel was settled in the land under the leadership of Joshua, they enjoyed a period of about 25 years during which they lived the high life.  It was land on which they had not laboured, in  cities which they had not built: in here, they ate of vineyards and olive groves which they did not plant. It was truly a land flowing with milk and honey. As Joshua brought his leadership to a close due to old age, he assembled all the tribes of Israel, as represented by their leaders,  at Shechem for a final reminder of their covenant relationship with Ishkur-Adad, much as Moses had done too in his waning days.

It is significant that Joshua chose to hold the solemn assembly at Shechem and not at Shiloh, where Adad’s sanctuary now stood. Shechem was a natural choice in that it was here Abraham received the first promise from the Anunnaki god Nannar-Sin, Adad’s older brother, after his migration into Canaan and built an altar. Jacob had also settled at Shechem on his return from his uncle in Haran.

Joshua  was 110 years when he finally passed on. This was circa 1290 BC by our reckoning. Shortly thereafter, Eleazer, who had succeeded Aaron as High Priest, passed on too. It was the end of an era and the beginning of a radically new one. The latter is known as the Era of the Judges.

TUMULTUOUS ERA OF JUDGES ENSUES

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion. Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government  or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

Besides lacking central temporal authority (i.e. central government), there was little religious authority in many ways as well. Although they had the Tabernacle (which centuries later would be replaced by the Temple in Jerusalem), there was competition from private altars. These were not altars for idol worship, but a place in the backyard to offer private sacrifices. The alternative of private sacrifices undermined the idea of the Tabernacle as the central location for religious life. On top of everything, the era of the Judges was a period of almost continual warfare – a state of affairs that would continue until the time of Samuel, the last of the Judges.

Just who were the judges?  At that time in Israel, a judge was almost never a person who passed judgment on certain cases, or who settled disputes, though there was such a role. Deborah did have a kind of judicial function, but this seems more related to her role as a prophetess than as one of Israel’s judges. None of the other judges in the Book of Judges actually judged in the most common sense of the word.

Judges were not an early prototype of Israel’s kings, either. Judges were primarily “deliverers” from the oppression of Israel’s enemies. They sometimes acted independently, as did Samson, who was a kind of “Lone Ranger judge”. Some of the judges led the military forces of one or more tribes against their foes. These judges did not lead the military forces of the entire nation, but only certain segments of it. As a rule, they did not have any administrative function, as a king would. The Anunnaki gods raised these judges up spontaneously, because of Israel’s oppression by their enemies. There was no succession and no dynasty. Usually, the Israelites were free from oppression as long as the judge lived.

     The era of judges lasted for at least 300 years. This was 15 judges in all.
     The first judge was Othniel, Joshua’s nephew, and the last was Samuel.
     Othniel led for 40 years. The longest reign was Ehud’s, Othniel’s successor who was in office for 80 years. With a tenure of less than 1 year, Shamgar’s was the shortest.
     Of the 15 judges, only one was a woman, Deborah. The fourth judge, she led for 40 years, one of only very few women in the Bible to receive a prominence that is otherwise strictly the preserve of males.   
     Perhaps the most famous judge is Samson, who led for 22 years. Of course his saga as related in the Bible is replete with legendary tales: no man of any size simply would possess the power to bring down a hall or take on a whole army singlehandedly and repulse them:

such feats are only possible in Silvester Stallone’s Rambo franchise movies. It also does not make sense that once he was shorn of his hair, he lost his power.  
  
NEXT WEEK:   ERA OF KINGS BEGIN

Continue Reading

Columns

DIS Parley Committee selection disingenuous 

25th November 2020

Intelligence and Security Service Act, which is a law that establishes the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Service (DIS), provides for establishment of a Parliamentary Committee. Recently, the President announced nine names of Members of Parliament he had appointed to the Committee.

This announcement was preceded by a meeting the President held with the Speaker and the Leader of Opposition. Following the announcement of Committee MPs by the President, the opposition, through its leader, made it clear that it will not participate in the Committee unless certain conditions that would ensure effective oversight are met. The opposition acted on the non-participation threat through resignation of its three MPs from the Committee.

The Act at Section 38 provides for the establishment of the Committee to examine the expenditure, administration and policy of the Directorate. The law provides that the Parliamentary Committee shall have the same powers and privileges set out under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act.

On composition, the Committee shall consist of nine members who shall not be members of Cabinet and its quorum shall be five members.  The MPs in the Committee elect a chairperson from among their number at their first meeting.

The Members of the Committee are appointed by the President after consultation with the Speaker of the National Assembly and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. It is the provision of the law that the Committee, relative to its size, reflect the numerical strengths of the political parties represented in the National Assembly.

The Act provides that that a member of the Committee holds office for the duration of the Parliament in which he or she is appointed.  The Committee is mandated to make an annual report on the discharge of their functions to the President and may at any time report to him or her on any matter relating to the discharge of those functions.

The Minister responsible for intelligence and security is obliged to lay before the National Assembly a copy of each annual report made by the Committee together with a statement as to whether any matter has been excluded from that copy in pursuance of the provision of the Act.

If it appears to the Minister, after consultation with the Parliamentary Committee, that the publication of any matter in a report would be prejudicial to the continued discharge of the functions of the Directorate, the Minister may exclude that matter from the copy of the report as laid before the National Assembly.

So, what are the specific demands of the Opposition and why are they not participating in the Committee? What should happen as a way forward? The Opposition demanded that there be a forensic audit of the Directorate. The DIS has never been audited since it was set up in 2008, more than a decade ago.

The institution has been a law unto itself for a longtime, feared by all oversight bodies. The Auditor General, who had no security of tenure, could not audit the DIS. The Directorate’s personnel, especially at a high level, have been implicated in corruption.  Some of its operatives are in courts of law defending corruption charges preferred against them. Some of the corruption cases which appeared in the media have not made it to the courts.

The DIS has been accused of non-accountability and unethical practices as well as of being a burden on the fiscus.  So, the Opposition demanded, from the President, a forensic audit for the purpose of cleaning up the DIS.  They demand a start from a clean slate.

The second demand by the Opposition is that the law be reviewed to ensure greater accountability of the DIS to Parliament. What are some of the issues that the opposition think should be reviewed? The contention is that the executive cannot appoint a Committee of Parliament to scrutinize an executive institution.

Already, it is argued, Parliament is less independent and it is dominated by the executive. It is contended that the Committee should be established by the Standing Orders and be appointed by a Select Committee of Parliament. There is also an argument that the Committee should report to Parliament and not to the President and that the Minister should not have any role in the Committee.

Democratic and Parliamentary oversight of the intelligence is relatively a new phenomenon across the World. Even developed democracies are still grappling with some of these issues. However, there are acceptable standards or what might be called international best practices which have evolved over the past two or so decades.

In the UK for instance, MPs of the Intelligence and Security Committee are appointed by the Houses of Parliament, having been nominated by the Prime Minister in consultation with the Leader of the Opposition. This is a good balancing exercise of involvement of both the executive and the legislature. Consultation is taken for granted in Botswana context in the sense that it has been reduced to just informing the Leader of Opposition without much regard to his or her ideas; they are never taken seriously.

Furthermore, the current Committee in the UK has four Members of the ruling party and five MPs from the opposition. It is a fairly balanced Committee in terms of Parliamentary representation. However, as said above, the President of Botswana appointed six ruling party MPs and three from the opposition.

The imbalance is preposterous and more pronounced with clear intentions of getting the executive way through the ruling party representatives in the Committee. The intention to avoid scrutiny is clear from the numbers of the ruling party MPs in the Committee.

There is also an international standard of removing sensitive parts which may harm national security from the report before it is tabled in the legislature. The previous and current reluctance of the executive arms to open up on Defence and Security matters emanate from this very reason of preserving and protecting national security.

But national security should be balanced with public interest and other democratic principles. The decision to expunge certain information which may be prejudicial to national security should not be an arbitrary and exclusive decision of the executive but a collective decision of a well fairly balanced Committee in consultation with the Speaker and the minister responsible.

There is no doubt that the DIS has been a rogue institution. The reluctance by the President to commit to democratic-parliamentary oversight reforms presupposes a lack of commitment to democratization. The President has no interest in seeing a reformed DIS with effective oversight of the agency.

He is insincere. This is because the President loathes the idea losing an iota of power and sharing it with any other democratic institution. He sees the agency as his power lever to sustain his stay in the high office. He thought he could sanitize himself with an ineffective DIS Committee that would dance to his tune.

The non-participation of the opposition MPs renders the Committee dysfunctional; it cannot function as this would be unlawful. Participation of the opposition is a legal requirement. Even if it can meet, it would lack legitimacy; it cannot be taken seriously. The President should therefore act on the oversight demands and reform the DIS if he is to be taken seriously.

Continue Reading

Columns

The Maccabean Uprising

25th November 2020
Jewish freedom fighters

 Jews drive away occupying power under the command of guerrilla leader Judas Maccabees but only just

Although it was the Desolation Sacrilege act, General Atiku, that officially sparked the Maccabean revolt, it in truth simply stoked the fires of an already simmering revolution. How so General?

This content is locked

Login To Unlock The Content!

 

Continue Reading

Columns

Atomic (CON)Fusion

25th November 2020

For years I have trained people about paradigm shifts – those light-bulb-switch-on moments – where there is a seismic change from the usual way of thinking about something to a newer, better way. 

I like to refer to them as ‘aha’ moments because of the sudden understanding of something which was previously incomprehensible. However,  the topic of today’s article is the complete antithesis of ‘aha’.  Though I’d love to tell you I’d had a ‘eureka ‘, ‘problem solved’ moment, I am faced with the complete opposite – an ‘oh-no’ moment or Lost Leader Syndrome.

No matter how well prepared or capable a leader is. they often find themselves facing perplexing events, confounding information, or puzzling situations. Confused by developments of which they can’t make sense and by challenges that they don’t know how to solve they become confused, sometimes lost and completely clueless about what to do.

I am told by Jentz and Murphy (JM) in ‘What leaders do when they don’t know what to do’ that this is normal, and that rapid change is making confusion a defining feature of management in the 21st century.  Now doesn’t that sound like the story of 2020 summed up in a single sentence?

The basic premise of their writing is that “confusion is not a weakness to be ashamed of but a regular and inevitable condition of leadership. By learning to embrace their confusion, managers are able to set in motion a constructive process for addressing baffling issues.

In fact, confusion turns out to be a fruitful environment in which the best managers thrive by using the instability around them to open up better lines of communication, test their old assumptions and values against changing realities, and develop more creative approaches to problem solving.”

The problem with this ideology however is that it doesn’t help my overwhelming feelings of fear and panic which is exacerbated by a tape playing on a loop in my head saying  ‘you’re supposed to know what to do, do something’. My angst is compounded by annoying motivational phrases also unhelpfully playing in my head like.

  • Nothing happens until something moves
  • The secret of getting ahead is getting started

and

  • Act or be acted upon

All these platitudes are urging me to pull something out of the bag, but I know that this is a trap. This need to forge ahead is nothing but a coping mechanism and disguise. Instead of owning the fact that I haven’t got a foggy about what to do, part of me worries that I’ll lose authority if I acknowledge that I can’t provide direction – I’m supposed to know the answers, I’m the MD!  This feeling of not being in control is common for managers in ‘oh no’ situations and as a result they often start reflexively and unilaterally attempting to impose quick fixes to restore equilibrium because, lets be honest, sometimes we find it hard to resist hiding our confusion.

To admit that I am lost in an “Oh, No!” moment opens the door not only to the fear of losing authority but also to a plethora of other troubling emotions and thoughts:  *Shame and loss of face: “You’ll look like a fool!” * Panic and loss of control: “You’ve let this get out of hand!” * Incompetence and incapacitation: “You don’t know what you’re doing!”

As if by saying “I’m at a loss here” is tantamount to declaring “I am not fit to lead.” Of course the real problem for me and any other leader is if they don’t admit when they are disoriented, it sends a signal to others in the organisation stating it’s not cool to be lost and that, by its very nature encourages them to hide.  What’s the saying about ‘a real man never asks for direction. ..so they end up driving around in circles’.

As managers we need to embrace the confusion, show vulnerability (remember that’s not a bad word) and accept that leadership is not about pretending to have all the answers but about having the courage to search with others to discover a solution.

JM point out that “being confused, however, does not mean being incapacitated.  Indeed, one of the most liberating truths of leadership is that confusion is not quicksand from which to escape but rather the potter’s clay of leadership – the very stuff with which managers can work.”

2020 has certainly been a year to remember and all indications are that the confusion which has characterised this year will still follow us into the New Year, thereby making confusion a defining characteristic of the new normal and how managers need to manage. Our competence as leaders will then surely be measured not only by ‘what I know’ but increasingly by ‘how I behave when I accept, I don’t know, lose my sense of direction and become confused.

.I guess the message for all organizational cultures going forward is that sticking with the belief that we need all-knowing, omni-competent executives will cost them dearly and send a message to managers that it is better to hide their confusion than to address it openly and constructively.

Take comfort in these wise words ‘Confusion is a word we have invented for an order not yet understood’!

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