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Like Father, Like Son

Benson C Sail
THIS EARTH, MY BROTHER

How King David and his controversial heir Solomon made Israel great amid glaring personal  flaws

As far as the Anunnaki timetable was concerned, the 10th century BC was a crossroads, both literally and figuratively. It was in that century that Nibiru, their planet, and its King Anu, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, became all the rage.  The sign of the cross, the symbol of a near-at-hand Nibiru, was practically everywhere, more so in Babylon and Assyria, regions which constituted the old Sumer and the erstwhile Anunnaki hub.

When David set up base in Palestine after being ejected from the Egyptian throne as Pharaoh Psusennes II by General Shosheng, he had a specific brief from the Anunnaki god Ishkur-Adad geared to the reappearance of Nibiru, which circa 1000 BC was now roughly 400 years away. First, he was to capture all the Palestinian domains General Joshua could not conquer way back in 1315 BC. In particular, he was to take Jerusalem once and for all.

The native Jebusites had tenaciously held on to the city and although it was counted as part of Benjamite territory, the Benjamites did not have total  jurisdiction  over it.   Why was Jerusalem central in the geopolitical blueprint of the Anunnaki?  IT WAS SO BECAUSE ISHKUR-ADAD, THE FACE OF THE ENLILITE GODHEAD AT THE TIME OF THE EXODUS, HAD TOLD MOSES THAT IT WAS IN JERUSALEM THAT HE WISHED TO SET UP HIS EARTHLY ABODE IN ANTICIPATION OF THE ARRIVAL OF KING ANU. This was a symbolic home, not a literal home: his presence would be in the form of the Ark of Covenant, which would reside in a compartment of the Temple forever.

Second, David was to lay the groundwork for the establishment of Jerusalem as Mission Control Centre – the equivalent of Nasa’s Kennedy Space Centre of Merrit Island in Florida.  This was crucial given that when King Anu touched down on Earth, his ultimate destination would be Jerusalem. This would practically make Jerusalem the capital of the world, hence its characterisation as the “Navel of the Earth”, meaning the place through which “God” – the Enlilite godhead – would sustain the planet in one way or the other. 

Third, David was to ensure that Baalbek, the Landing Place in today’s Lebanon, was under Israelite control, so that both space-related sites within the Canaanite precincts were completely off limits to the rival Enkites. Baalbek was the airport that catered to Earth-based aviation and shuttlecraft operations. With David toppled from his Egyptian pedestal, the Enlilites had lost one other space-related site, the Giza Pyramid, but Baalbek, Jerusalem, and Nazca in South America would suffice anyway.

Fourth and of fundamental importance, David was to build Israel’s first formal Temple to replace the portable and stop-gap Tabernacle.  In the past, a temple was primarily the home of a god. All residences of gods were known as temples. The Jerusalem Temple would not physically house a god but would be a place where the Jews gathered to worship their god and observe and perform a whole host of religious rites in the name of the god. IT WAS IN THE TEMPLE BASEMENT THAT MISSION CONTROL CENTRE WOULD OPERATE, with a tiny helipad set aside for the god Ishkur-Adad. In there, Adad would land, park, and lift-off his sky-ship, called a shem in Sumerian. 

DAVID CONTENDS WITH SOUL

Yet in making a reality of the above imperatives, David had his work cut out. The major stumbling block was the dude known as Saul.  Saul had been mandated to rule Palestine whilst the hereditary King David concentrated on the affairs of Egypt as Pharaoh Psusennes II. Since Jerusalem was still a bone of contention, Saul had set up his capital of what was called the United Kingdom (of Israel in the north and Judah in the south) in Gibeah in his tribal territory, Benjamin. He was the first King of the Jews after 300 years of being led by the so-called judges.

But when David returned to Palestine to take the reins there now that he had lost Egypt, Saul refused to budge, telling David to go get stuffed. Power is sweet and absolute power corrupts absolutely. THE SAGA OF DAVID VERSUS SAUL AS RELATED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT IS FANTASY FOR THE MOST PART: it is an amalgamation of various strands of traditions woven together and in so clumsy and crude a fashion. It’s almost wholly pure legend.

David arrived in Palestine as an ex-Pharaoh and as the linear King of Israel. He didn’t grow up in Palestine as a poor shepherd boy and as the youngest son in a family of eight.  He was Jesse’s firstborn, himself an ex-Pharaoh of Egypt going by the throne name Siamun. There was no David vs Goliath clash: it’s all a figment of some scribal spin-doctor’s imagination.

Being the clever operator he was, David refrained from a confrontational approach when Saul declined to defer to him.  As the linear King, he had the support of the Jewish priesthood as well as the Jewish prophets. So he opted to use tact and diplomacy as a ruse,  with a view to eventually  repossessing the throne instead of mobilising outright for a civil war. Soon he and Soul had met and it was decided that in order to foster peace between the two,  David should take the hand of one of  Saul’s daughters  in marriage. It was likely vice versa but having falsely portrayed David as a relative youngster,  the biblical scribes desisted from highlighting this state of affairs.

Being from the tribe of Judah, David based himself in Hebron, the then capital of the province of Judah. For a time, the blindfold worked as the linear King and the pretender got along well. Then when  time was ripe, David pounced. He opportunistically allied with the Philistines, Israel’s arch-enemy, and took on Saul. In the process, Saul was killed in a battle, or rather he fell on his own sword so determined was he to avoid the ignominy of being put to death by his foes. His three older sons were also killed.

That, however, did not put paid to David’s troubles as Soul’s fourth-born son Ishbaal declared himself King with the support of a sizeable constituency in the north. As such, for the next two years or so, the United Kingdom was split between Israel and Judah, a scenario which was anathema to David. In the event, war broke out between the two kingdoms but it was not at the hands of David’s forces that Ishbaal met his fate as he was slain by two of his lieutenants. David was at long last the undisputed King of the re-united Kingdom.   The year was circa   988 BC.

DAVID TURNS ISRAEL INTO A MIGHTY MILITARY AND ECONOMIC POWER

As  Israel’s uncontested King, David went to work straightaway. He descended on Jerusalem and decisively trounced the native Jebusites, a feat General Joshua could not accomplish 300 years before. Although he is generally regarded as a warrior King,   David was seldom  a provocative belligerent: he typically reacted to offensive action by his enemies. In the process, he defeated the  mighty Philistines, the Moabites, the Edomites, the Ammonites, and the Arameans.

With this haul of victories, Israel now controlled the two space-related sites, Jerusalem and Baalbek, exactly as per David’s brief by Ishkur-Adad. Ultimately, the Davidic empire extended over both sides of the Jordan River, as far as the Mediterranean Sea. King David not only made Israel a great power militarily but also turned it  into an economic power through gaining control over international trade routes. He himself became filthy rich from the spoils and  tributes brought to Israel.

Next, David embarked on the preliminaries to the Temple project. Jerusalem had two major  landmarks. They were Mount Moriah and Mount Zion, separated by a small valley.  On the latter,  David established his seat of power. Then he set about the construction of  a “filling” to bridge the two mounts. The Temple was to arise on a pre-existing platform on Mount Moriah that had been built by the Anunnaki.  

Sadly,  all David was allowed to erect on Mount Moriah was an altar. The honour to construct the Temple was reserved for his heir because David, according to the prophet Nathan, had shed too much blood in his military exploits. Albeit, David pleaded with Adad to at least give him a visual idea of what the great Temple would look like. Adad obliged him and presented him with a Tavnit – a scale model of the Temple (Archaeological finds throughout the near East have indeed unearthed scale models of chariots, wagons, ships, workshops, and even multi-level shrines.) 

KING SOLOMON BUILDS FIRST JEWISH  TEMPLE

The Jewish  Temple is variously known as  the First Temple or Solomon’s Temple. The latter designation derives from the fact that it was built by King Solomon, David’s son and heir as per Adad’s pronouncement. Construction began in the second  month of the fourth year of Solomon’s reign.  This was exactly 480 years after the Nation of Israel’s exodus from Egypt commenced. 

The Temple was as expensive as it was a magnificent and imposing edifice. It used vast quantities of gold, silver, and bronze, with its entire interior inlaid with gold only. All utensils were made of copper or bronze. One estimate puts the value of the gold and silver used at over $200 billion in today’s money, which puts Saudi Arabia’s 120-storey,$15 billion Abraj Al Bait Hotel,  the world’s most expensive building, well in the shade.

Some 153,000 forced labourers and 3,300 officials were enlisted in the construction effort. Much of the gold that went into the project was imported from Ophir, today’s Zimbabwe.  The Temple was built over seven and a half years. At its conclusion, Solomon was so deep in debt he was forced to pay off  King Hiram of Tyre, who supplied vast quantities of  the cedar wood needed of the structure, by handing over 20 towns in Galilee.

As expected, the Temple was commissioned with a great deal of fanfare.  Ishkur-Adad did not put in a personal showing,  but it sufficed that he was represented by the so-called “Cloud”, his alter ego who was actually a sentient ET with smoke-like quantum building blocks. This Cloud had always  accompanied the Israelites since the onset of the exodus, hovering over the Tabernacle as a stand-in for Adad. In a vote of thanks and veneration, King  Solomon referred to Adad as “the Lord who has chosen to dwell in the Cloud”. As many as 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep were sacrificed, which was then followed by a great public feast.

RICHEST, WISEST, AND ABLEST  MAN OF HIS DAY

King Solomon reigned for about 39 years, in what has been described as the Golden Age of  Israel, himself becoming the wealthiest man of his day across the globe and still remains one of the richest  figures of history. He was also staggering wise and was in fact regarded as the wisest being who ever lived, courtesy of Ormus, the monoatomic white powder of gold which he manufactured right within the  Temple precincts.   

It is said Solomon made silver and gold “as common in Jerusalem as stones”.  During his rule, he is said to have received 25 tons of gold per annum. One estimate puts his net worth at $2 trillion dollars in today’s money,  making Jeff Bizos’ approximately $120 billion a drop  in the ocean. Thanks to  Ormus, Solomon had such staggering metaphysical insights and capacities that he was able to command Reptilians  (demons in the Bible) of the Lower Fourth Dimension  to manifest in this physical realm and do his every bidding. As such, in ancient occultic literature, he is  hailed as the greatest witch who ever lived.  

Unlike his war-prone father, Solomon was a consistently peaceful king. He forged abiding international relationships, forming alliances with surrounding powerful nations such as Egypt, Moab, Tyre, Arabia, etc. Many of these partnerships were cemented through royal marriages and the giving of concubines to Solomon, eventually gaining him 700 wives and 300 concubines (again thanks to the wonder of Ormus, he was easily able to satisfactorily “’serve” each one of this vast harem). One instance of his great wisdom is related in  1 KINGS 3:16-28 as follows:

“One day two women came to King Solomon, and one of them said: ‘Your Majesty, this woman and  I live in the same house. Not long ago my baby was born at home,  and three days later her baby was born. Nobody else was there with us.  One night while we were all asleep, she rolled over on her baby, and he died.  Then while I was still asleep, she got up and took my son out of my bed. She put him in her bed, then she put her dead baby next to me.  In the morning when I got up to feed my son, I saw that he was dead. But when I looked at him in the light, I knew he wasn’t my son.

“’No!’ the other woman shouted. ‘He was your son. My baby is alive! The dead baby is yours.’ the first woman yelled. ‘Mine is alive!’
“They argued back and forth in front of Solomon,  until finally he said, ‘Both of you say this live baby is yours.  Someone bring me a sword.’
A sword was brought, and Solomon ordered, ‘Cut the baby in half! That way each of you can have part of him.’
“’Please don’t kill my son,’ the baby’s mother screamed. ‘Your Majesty, I love him very much, but give him to her. Just don’t kill him.’
“The other woman shouted, ‘Go ahead and cut him in half. Then neither of us will have the baby.’
"Solomon said, ‘Don’t kill the baby.’ Then he pointed to the first woman, ‘She is his real mother. Give the baby to her.’
“Everyone in Israel was amazed when they heard how Solomon had made his decision. They realised that God had given him wisdom to judge fairly.”

PLOTTING AND COUNTER-PLOTTING LEAD TO KINGDOM SPLIT

King Solomon was about 80 years old when he died. His death simultaneously marked the demise of a unitary Israel, making him the third and last king to preside over the United Kingdom. Solomon’s reign did not enjoy total tranquility. The relative instability actually began in the waning days of his father David. It stemmed from David’s habit of hitching too many wives and siring too many children, a lesson that rather strangely was lost on the otherwise wise Solomon. 

David had at least ten sons from different wives. The eldest was Amnon, who he sired by his third wife. As the King’s firstborn son, Amnon naturally considered himself heir. In order to make a reality of this prospect, he began to hit on his half-sister Tamar. Tamar was David’s daughter with his own daughter-cum-wife Bathsheba. David had designated Bathsheba as his queen, making her leapfrog other senior wives – a precondition she had given him for keeping under wraps his tactical elimination of her erstwhile husband Uriah. 

What that meant was that whomever of Tamar’s half-brothers took her to the altar stood the best chance of inheriting after David. It was with this in mind that Amnon began to make overtures at a blushing Tamar (the Bible says Amnon raped her but that is a smear: the two were love birds with a promising relationship).

Tamar’s full brother Absalom,   who was David’s third son (his second son Daniel seemed to have died young), also had designs on the throne and he feared that if Amnon and Tamar tied the knot, that would bring his monarchical ambitions to a dead-end. Consequently, he had Amnon murdered to forestall just such an eventuality.

For some time, Absalom was on the run from the wrath of his kindly father, but he was forgiven after three years. He repaid his father by declaring himself King four years later, by which time David had lost much of his effectiveness as monarch, and bedding his father’s concubines at will. Absalom based himself in Hebron, where he raised an army to resist his father. David, however, had very determined generals and Absalom was killed at the Battle of Ephraim’s Wood.

Following the death of his two older brothers, Adonijah, David’s third son,  entered the lists. He declared himself King and had the support and blessings of army general Joab and the influential  priest Abiathar. But an even more influential trio of Zadok the priest; the KIng’s chief bodyguard  Benanaiah; and Nathan the court prophet threw in their lot with Solomon and had David officially announce him as his heir.

That’s how Solomon, who was David’s 10th son, supplanted everybody else to become  Israel’s next King and ruled illustriously for the next 40 years. Sadly, the Kingdom  came apart at the seams in the aftermath of his death. Exactly how that ensued we demonstrate in the forthcoming piece. 

NEXT WEEK: JEWISH PROPHETS SOUND OFF ON NEARING NIBIRU

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A “Virgin” Conceives

2nd March 2021
IT’S THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS, STUPID

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.

NEXT WEEK: THE PANTERA INVOLVEMENT

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A crash course in publicity

2nd March 2021

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!

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Pact with the Devil

2nd March 2021
THE LORD’S GREAT GRANDMOTHER

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.

NEXT WEEK: HOW HEROD MINIMISED THE HOUSE OF DAVID

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