Abrahamic Dynasty reign In Northern Egypt for 500 Years
While General Abraham was busy fending off the Sumerian invaders, General Atiku, his wife, Queen Seheratawy Intef (Sarah), the Pharaoh of Egypt, was coming under siege.
It seems Abraham had miscalculated, General: the Hykso rule over all Egypt was not secure yet. For in 2040 BC, about a year after Abraham left Egypt, Mentuhotep II, the heir to the deposed Mentuhotep I of southern Egypt, overthrew Sarah in an essentially bloodless coup de tat. It was more of a palace coup than a blood-and-gall ousting.
What most certainly happened, General, was that Mentuhotep II endeared himself to Sarah, her maternal aunt, and before Sarah knew what was cooking, she had been taken down from the pedestal of power. It was back to square one, whereby indigenous Egyptians were again masters of their own political destiny.
But Sarah, General, had balls, pardon the misplaced metaphor. Instead of fleeing Egypt altogether, she held out in northern Egypt amongst the Hyksos to rally her people for a renewed putsch. Meanwhile, General Abraham was on his way over to try and salvage the situation, with a formidable army in tow.
True to his reputation as the greatest military general of his day, he managed to repel Mentuhotep II’s forces from northern Egypt. Yet as mighty as he was, this time Abraham wasn’t able to unseat Mentuhotep II from the Thebes throne. As such, he had no option but to content himself with the repossession only of northern Egypt, which he ruled jointly with his wife at least for the next 24 years.
The Hyksos, later to be known as Israelites, General, were to rule northern Egypt for the next 500 years or so directly, and the whole of Egypt indirectly at some stage thereafter all the way to part of the time of King David as we shall elucidate in the next instalment.
ISAAC AND JACOB WERE EGYPTIAN PHARAOHS
Although the Bible, General, does not expressly state that the biblical patriarchs from Abraham to David were actually pharaohs of northern Egypt, it does furnish some hints when one reads between the lines. The Bible, General, is not a straightforward informational corpus: it is partly and substantially written in code.
It’s a pity that the pulpit men of Christendom are completely clueless as to this fact, as a result of which their interpretation of “scripture” is woefully erroneous. What they say almost completely has no correlation with the underlying and intended message of biblical passages. What a tragicomedy!
Exactly how long Abraham ruled northern Egypt is not certain, General. But we know that according to Egyptian annals, he was succeeded by Shesi (also known as Salitis), who was in turn succeeded by Pharaoh Yakuber. Shesi was the way the name Isaac (Yishaq in Hebrew) was pronounced in ancient Egypt, though as Pharaoh he was referred to as Pharaoh Mehibre II. The name Isaac had connotations of laughter as per GENESIS 18:15, 21:5-6.
It literally means “will laugh”. It arose, so we’re told, because the notion of Isaac’s mother Sarah conceiving him at age 90 was indeed a laughing matter. That interpretation, sadly, is a concoction General. Isaac was cause for laughter simply because he was not the biological son of Abraham but that of Pharaoh Mentuhotep I. Properly translated, with the aid of its rendering in some Sumerian-like African languages such as Setswana for instance, Isaac (Itshege) means “laugh at yourself”.
For what? For his illegitimacy. Even the Talmud, the Jewish commentaries and interpretive writings that are looked upon as only second in authority to the Old Testament, state categorically that when born, Isaac did not look like Abraham at all. But since he was the legal heir to Abraham being the eldest son of Abraham’s half-sister-wife, Isaac had the automatic right of accession to Abraham’s throne. That was how he became Pharaoh Shesi.
Abraham was very much aware of Isaac’s illegitimacy but he could not disown him for fear of losing the much-needed popularity with indigenous Egyptians who knew the truth about Isaac and cherished him for being at least part-native Egyptian, what we would today call a coloured, as Mentuhotep I was fully black and Sarah was white.
So the only sensible course of action was to legitimise at least Isaac’s offspring. Like all patriarchs of the day, Isaac had several wives. The first was an Egyptian, by whom he had Esau. This, General, is not mentioned in the Bible as that would be revealing too much.
As for Isaac’s second son Jacob, General, Abraham ensured that not only did he have maternal Sumerian blood but Haran’s blood as Haran was the proper heir to Terah. So Abraham contrived for Isaac to travel to Harran, where Terah’s clan was concentrated, and meet Rebecca. Rebecca was the daughter of Betheul.
Betheul in turn was the son of Nahor, Abraham’s younger brother, and Milcah, Haran’s eldest daughter. Thus the ensuing child of Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob, was about 75 percent Sumerian and only 25 percent Egyptian. Moreover, with Haran’s blood coursing in Jacob’s veins, that was a potent enough counter punch to Lot’s bone of contention as the rightful successor to Haran and consequently Terah. That’s how clever General Abraham was, General.
It was Jacob who succeeded Isaac under the name Pharaoh Yakubher, General. Yakubher was the Egyptian equivalent of the Hebrew Yaakov. This is Jacob in English. At least four Egyptian scarab seal records attest to the reign of Pharaoh Yakubher in Egypt. In Avaris, the northern Egypt-based Hykso capital, a signet ring was found that read, “Yakov/Yakub”.
Jacob was later named Israel by Enlil-Jehovah. Once again, the Bible is silent as to the reason why: it simply said he was given the name after “wrestling with God” (GENESIS 32:22-32). What could have happened was that Israel – I-Sira-El, meaning “God’s Shield – was his given name when he was born.
The name was meant to rhyme with I-Sira-El, the ancient Hebrew name of northern Egypt, which was intended to serve as a buffer between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula, where the all-important spaceport was located. But as Pharaoh, Israel adopted the name Yakuber, which name totally eclipsed Israel.
It is indeed telling, General, that although according to the Bible the name Israel was given to Jacob when he was an adult, it did not stick at all: he is still referred to as Jacob throughout the remainder of his life. Clearly, General, the name Jacob took pride of place because it was a throne name and not an original name.
JACOB JETS OFF TO PLANET NIBIRU
Jacob, General, reigned as Pharaoh Yakuber twice. His first tenure was interrupted by none other than he himself. Jacob had noticed that the lifespans of elite Earthlings – those who were of dynastic stock and therefore had a greater proportion of Anunnaki blood in them – were reducing largely due to intermarriages with ordinary Earthlings. He had also noted that the Anunnaki themselves were basically evergreen: although they did age, they did so rather glacially slowly and basically imperceptibly.
Troubled by such worries, Jacob, General, began to pester his god Enlil for a trip to Nibiru, the Heaven of the Bible. In doing this, he was unremitting: he supplicated, interceded, fasted. Jacob was aware that all Earthlings who had travelled to Nibiru before him, notably Adapa and Enoch, came back rejuvenated: it was like during the time they were away, for between 1800 to 3600 years, time had stood still for them.
Jacob wanted to undergo the same rejuvenation process. Jacob’s obsession with travelling to Nibiru was such that he kept dreaming about a spaceship with angels (the Anunnaki) reaching out to him to get him on-board as hinted at in GENESIS 28:10-22.
Initially, General, Enlil was reluctant. He didn’t even want to grant Jacob an audience. But through the intermediation of the likes of Nannar-Sin and Utu-Shamash, Jacob finally got to meet Enlil to personally present his case. The two met at a place known as Penuel, meaning “Facing God”.
It was not a chance meeting as Genesis would have us believe General: it was pre-arranged. No one met a god informally or in impromptu circumstances. Jacob referred to his petition to Enlil as a blessing in that a stint on Nibiru would bless him with a longer life. The incident is narrated in GENESIS 32:22-32, with some rather dramatic embellishments.
Enlil was impressed by Jacob’s tenacity and at long last caved in. Jacob, General, had figuratively speaking “wrestled with God” in order to get what he wanted. Thus it was that on an appointed day, Jacob at long last boarded a spaceship at the spaceport at Tilmun in the Sinai Peninsula and was off to Nibiru.
From that time onwards, General, a spaceship became known as Jacob’s Ladder and the planet Nibiru acquired an alternative name – the Star of Jacob. But did Jacob blast off to Nibiru alone or was accompanied by other fellow Earthlings, General?
JACOB WENT TO NIBIRU WITH FAMILY!
Who held fort for Jacob whilst he was visiting the planet of the gods, General?
According to Egyptian records, General, Pharaoh Yakuber was succeeded by Pharaoh Apepi I. Since a King was always succeeded by his firstborn son with the seniormost wife, and new kings typically used a throne name different from their given name, Pharaoh Apepi I was arguably Reuben, Jacob’s eldest son with his seniormost wife Leah (theoretically speaking, that is, as Rachel, Leah’s younger sister and Jacob’s second wife, would in fact have been Jacob’s first wife had Laban, the two ladies’ father, not tricked him into hitching Leah first).
Exactly when did Jacob become Pharaoh of northern Egypt, General? When did he leave for Nibiru and for how long was he there? That, sadly, cannot be established for certain. Even the regnal periods that are indicated by the otherwise authoritative online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, are all speculative: there’s no single, incontrovertible source on the subject.
With regard to Jacob, Wikipedia itself candidly admits that “it is difficult to date his reign precisely and even the dynasty to which he belonged is uncertain”. The ancient historian Manetho, General, informs us that the Hyksos ruled Egypt for a period of 511 years. If Abraham first captured northern Egypt in 2047, then the Hykso rule ended sometime in 1530 BC.
Abraham was 175 years old when he died. Since he was born in 2123 BC, that makes the year 1948 BC the year of his death. Isaac was born during Abraham’s first 7 years in Egypt. We can tentatively place his birth in 2045 BC. He is said to have lived for 180 years, meaning he died in 1865 BC.
But we don’t know exactly when Abraham handed over to Isaac nor when Isaac handed over to Jacob, General. It was not always that kings died in office: sometimes they simply abdicated and passed the baton to their heirs for one reason or the other.
On his part, Jacob was born in 1963 BC. If, for argument’s sake, he ascended to the throne at his father’s death, he must have been just under 100 years. It explains, General, why he would have wanted to travel to Nibiru – to arrest the pace of his age so that he could enjoy a much lengthier life in power.
At the time the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt, Jacob was alive. This was circa 1530 BC, meaning Jacob was over 400 years old. Equally intriguing is the fact that even his older kids – Simeon, Levi, Judah – were all alive and must have been 300 years-plus. These ages simply were not tenable at the time: lifespans had been progressively reducing since the time of Adapa, so that King David lived for only 70 years.
So what can we deduce from these unseemly ages of the Jacobite clan during a phase of time when lifespans were dwindling, General? Simple: Jacob travelled to Nibiru with members of his family! The only one of his kids who remained was Reuben as his role as Pharaoh was crucial. Indeed, when, General, you read the Bible, you will find that Reuben is not dwelt upon in any appreciable detail: his profile seemed to have been eclipsed by those of his younger brothers, notably Simeon, Levi, Judah, and Joseph. This is because by the time his younger brothers returned from Nibiru and as young men still, Reuben was long dead and even had several generations of grandchildren. That’s why the names of the pharaohs who succeeded him (about 24 in total) sound very unfamiliar.
JACOB’S SONS LIQUIDATE SOUTHERN PHARAOH
Jacob and his kids were not away from Earth for very long, General: in Earthly terms, they were not gone for more than 300 years probably. From the same Egyptian annals, General, we can deduce quite conclusively that Jacob re-assumed his throne upon his return.
For toward the end of Hykso rule in Egypt, we see the names Pharaoh Anathar; Pharaoh Yakobaam (Yakuber in other spellings); and Pharaoh Apepi II. Pharaoh Anathar was obviously a descendent of Reuben. Pharaoh Yakobaam was the returned Jacob. Pharaoh Apepi II was of course another descendent of Reuben, whom Jacob handed over to after voluntarily stepping down, most likely due to creeping age.
Jacob’s bequest of the throne to Apepi II was a sticking point, General. Simeon and Levi, who followed immediately after Reuben, were ambitious types. They too wanted to rule. But with the throne of northern Egypt already occupied, their hands were tied. However, there was a tantalising allure down south – the Thebes throne.
Thebes was the capital city of southern Egypt, which at the time was ruled by a black Pharaoh known as Seqenenre Tao II. The two brothers reckoned that if they were to ever have a chance of ruling Egypt, they should hatch a scheme to depose and kill Tao. That way, one of them, Simeon since he was older, would take over as Pharaoh of southern Egypt whilst Apepi would continue to rule northern Egypt.
In the final analysis, it wouldn’t make much of a difference as Egypt would still be ruled by the Hyksos and the clan of Jacob though from two fronts. Simeon and Levi did manage to bring their scheme to fruition, General. They did get at Tao and assassinate him. Exactly how they did that is a matter of speculation as nobody knows for sure how they pulled it off.
There are all sorts of theories, General, but what we do know for certain is that Tao had a very short reign and his body, which is preserved in the Cairo Museum, had two or three deep and vicious head wounds. He obviously must have been killed at close quarters, either by Simeon and Levi directly (disguised as dignitaries from northern Egypt in the manner their great grandfather Abraham did) or their agent.
HYKSO-ISRAELITES EJECTED FROM EGYPT
Sadly, General, the assassination of Pharaoh Seqenenre Tao II backfired horrendously: the two Jacobite brothers were unable to incite a popular uprising to catapult them to power and so they fled back to northern Egypt after they had done the deed.
In fact, the successor to Tao, his son Kamose, was so furious he vowed he would never rest until the Hyksos were driven out of Egypt. Kamose accordingly waged relentless war against Apepi II. He did die in the process and his mother took over to hold fort for his minor younger brother Ahmose.
When Ahmose acceded to the throne upon attaining the age of majority, he too pounced on the Hyksos with a vengeance in continuation from where his late brother had left off. It was Ahmose who succeeded in expelling the Hyksos from Egypt and united the country circa 1525 BC.
Manetho writes of the above development thus, General: “These people, whom we have before named kings, and called Shepherds (Hyksos) also, and their descendants kept possession of Egypt 511 years.
After these, the kings of Thebes (Kamose and Ahmose) and the other parts of Egypt made an insurrection against the Shepherds, and that there a terrible and long war was made between them … The Shepherds were subdued, and were indeed driven out of other parts of Egypt, but were shut up in a place that contained ten thousand acres. This place was named Avaris (their capital) …
“… The Shepherds built a wall round all this place, which was a large and a strong wall, and this in order to keep all their possessions and their prey within a place of strength, but Thummosis (Ahmose) made an attempt to take them by force and by siege, with 480,000 men to lie rotund about them. But that, upon his despair of taking the place by that siege, they came to a composition (compact) with them, that they should leave Egypt, and go, without any harm to be done to them, whithersoever they would.
“After this composition was made, the Shepherds went away with their whole families and effects, not fewer in number than 240,000, and took their journey from Egypt, through the wilderness, for Syria. But that as they were in fear of the Assyrians, who had then the dominion over Asia, they built (actually developed as it was already in existence) a city in that country which is now called Judea, and that large enough to contain this great number of men, and called it Jerusalem.”
The Hykso expulsion from Egypt in 1525 BC, General, marked the first exodus of the Israelites from that country. Note that not all the Israelites left Egypt: about 240,000 remained in Avaris alone. They were known as Israelites not because they were named after Jacob but because their domain, northern Egypt, was known as I-Sira-El.
Princess Mary falls pregnant only one month after her betrothal to Prince Joseph
To put the lineage of Mary the mother of Jesus in context, General Atiku, it is in order that we begin with her grandfather Yehoshua (Jesus in Greek) III.
Mary was offspring of two royal lines, the Davidic line and the Hasmonean line. Yehoshua III was the Herod–appointed High Priest of Israel between 36 and 23 BC. He had no sons, only three daughters namely Joanna, Elizabeth, and Anna, all of whom he organised dynastic suitors.
Elizabeth would be married off into the House of Aaron, the legitimate priestly line, and Joanna and Anna would be married off into the House of David, the legitimate kingly line. That’s how Elizabeth became the wife of Zechariah of the tribe of Levi and in due course the mother of John the Baptist.
Mainstream Israel up to the level of the Sanhedrin had recognised Anna as the eligible mother of the future King of Israel and not the sitting impostor Herod (it is not clear what happened to first-born Joanna but she probably passed away before she got married). Anna was accordingly married off to Alexander III, a Davidic and Hasmonean prince who was best known as Heli as indeed the genealogy of Luke clearly attests.
Heli and Anna too had no sons. They only had daughters, the firstborn of whom was Dorcas, whose was born in 26 BC and whose titular name was Mary. Mary was orphaned early in her childhood when her father Heli was killed in 17 BC at the orders of the increasingly paranoid Herod and when her mother Anna died a year or so later.
Since she was a dynastic heiress, it was likely that Herod would come after her. The Essenes thus secreted her somewhere in remote Galilee. It was actually in Galilee that most members of the Davidic royal line were concentrated not only to keep as far away from Herod as possible but to also enjoy the protective custody of the Zealots, who were the secret military wing of the Essenes and a thorn in the side of both Herod and the Romans. Joseph was also officially based in Galilee although both he and Mary were in truth based at Qumran in the Judean wilds.
JOSEPH CALLED TO “DUTY”
Dynastic marriages are often more politically strategic than spontaneous, General. For example, the union of Prince Charles and Princess Diana was motivated by the need to fuse the Windsor genes with those of the Stuarts as the Windsors, being predominantly Reptilians, were finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their human form.
The Stuarts, the clan of Diana, had by far more human genes than Reptilian and they too were an aristocratic family. That’s why once Charles had produced a “heir and a spare”, he completely sidelined Diana, who he had never loved, and devoted himself to his real love – Camilla Parker-Bowles.
The marriage of Joseph to Mary, General, was equally strategic. Although both were from the tribe of Judah and of the royal Davidic line, they were from different branches. Joseph was a descendant of Solomon, whereas Mary was a descendant of Nathan, Solomon’s elder brother. The line of Solomon, as we once underlined, had been tainted by the Jeconiah curse.
The line of Nathan was clean. Since the son of Joseph and Mary would be the future King of Israel, it was important that he not be compromised by the baggage, rightly or wrongly, of the Jeconiah curse. Hence the desirability of the union of Prince Joseph and Princess Mary.
Now, both Joseph and Mary’s clans were Essenes. As such, their marriage process, formalities, and protocols had to strictly adhere to Essene dynastic rules. The Essenes were in ranks. Amongst the higher echelons were the two great dynasties, the Davids and the Zadoks, who had been the high priests and kings of Israel respectively before the destruction of the Temple by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BC.
The Davids and Zadoks lived a strictly holy life, typically in a monastery at Qumran, the reclusive headquarters of the Essenes. They were sequestered there so that they did not fall prey to the machinations of the bloodthirsty King Herod though officially their address was Galilee. In fact, the major reason the Essene movement had come into existence was to preserve and safeguard the Davidic and Zadokite lines, the religio-politico haunt of Herod and the Hasmoneans initially.
According to the Essene code, General, the Zadoks and the Davids were not to engage in sex for recreational purposes because it was regarded as defiling: it diluted holiness. The only times they were supposed to do so was when need arose to produce heirs. In 8 BC, it was now opportune for Joseph, the David, to produce a heir and so he was excused from a life of chastity.
At this point in time in fact, the Essenes were focused on two dynastic figures. These were Joseph and Zechariah. The two were expected to produce the Messiah of David and the Messiah of Aaron, that is, the future King of Israel and the future High Priest of Israel.
According to Essene rules, the David had to marry at age 36, so that by the time he was 40, he had already sired a heir. The new heir had to be born when the David was 37. If the child was a daughter, she could not inherit, and so the David had to set about the procreation of a second-born, who hopefully would be a boy (copulation to that end was allowed only when the daughter was 3 years old).
The Davidic heir had to be born not in any other month but in September, the holiest in the Jewish calendar. In order to conform to these parameters, a betrothal ceremony was held at the beginning of June. During the betrothal period – the three months from beginning of June to end of August – sexual relations were not permitted.
Then at the beginning of September, a First Marriage was held. This was the beginning of the marriage proper as now the couple were allowed to become intimate. However, the intimacy began only in December, with a view to delivering a heir in September the following year. At the end of March, the Second Marriage was held for it was hoped that by that time the spouse was three months pregnant if there hadn’t been a miscarriage. With the Second Marriage, the wedlock was permanent: divorce was never allowed whatsoever.
Meanwhile, General, if the spouse hadn’t conceived in December, sexual relations were suspended till December the following year. The husband would then leave her spouse and return either to the monastery at Qumran or embark on a tour of duty elsewhere in furtherance of the Essene cause.
A BINDING ENGAGEMENT
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, General, the Essenes were not only a spiritual, revolutionary, and philosophical movement. They were also ardent believers in astrology. They meticulously studied the stars and the movements of planets to read what they portended about the future.
Thus the reason a Davidic heir had to be born in September was not only because this was the holiest month of the year: it was also in recognition of the fact that September was ruled by the constellation Virgo. In other words, September was astrologically the month of the virgin. That was what Mary was.
Mary was both a virgin physically and a virgin titularly. A bride of the future king was required to be a virgin. As an Essene, Mary belonged to the Order (not the tribe) of Dan. This was the Order of Nuns, or virgins, both legal and physical virgins. Thus in the Order of Dan, a woman was not a virgin only before she slept with a man: she was a virgin until she was six months pregnant. In the case of a dynastic spouse like Mary, this was up to end of June. From then henceforth, she was promoted within the Order to the first stage of a Mother.
Joseph’s betrothal to Mary took place at Qumran in June 8 BC. Now, in our day, betrothal simply means engagement to be married. In ancient Israel up to New Testament times, betrothal was part and parcel of the marriage contract. It was definite and binding upon both groom and bride, who were considered as man and wife in all legal and religious aspects, except that sexual relations were not permitted.
For example, in 2 SAMUEL 3:14, King David refers to his betrothed woman as “my wife”. Also in DEUTERONOMY 22:24, a betrothed woman is referred to as “his neighbour’s wife”. In the betrothal formalities, dowry and bride price were included. If a bride and groom for one reason or the other wanted to opt out of the betrothal after the betrothal ceremony, they had to seek a formal divorce.
Since the betrothal took place in June, General, Joseph and Mary were not supposed to make love till December, that is, six months after the betrothal ceremony and three months after the First Marriage ceremony in September. Just one month after the betrothal ceremony (that is, at the beginning of July 8 BC), however, Mary became pregnant. Was it Joseph, General? Was it rape by a Roman soldier called Panthera as some contemporary records suggest? Or was it simply the supernatural act of the “Holy Spirit” as Christendom holds?
THE DEAD SEA SCROLLS
Those who hold that the circumstances of Mary’s pregnancy were supernatural, General, can be excused. This is because the language employed therein smacks of ethereality – Holy Spirit, Angel Gabriel, Son of the Most High, etc. To those who have read and rigorously studied the Dead Sea Scrolls, however, such terminology is well within the temporal context.
That is to say, it does not carry spiritual connotations as such. True, the idea of an angel speaking to Joseph and Mary in their sleep may seem supernatural but the dreams are theological interpolations, inserted into the gospels in onward editing to fit a contrived agenda – what Karl Marx called the opium of the masses.
The Dead Sea Scrolls are so named because they were discovered in caves around the Qumran plateau of the West Bank (about 40 km east of Jerusalem), at the northwest corner of the Dead Sea, in March 1947. The discoverer was a Bedouin shepherd kid who was looking for a lost goat. The scrolls were found hidden in jars.
The 1947 find was the initial discovery: more discoveries were made after further excavations on the same site spanning 11 years in a series of 11 caves. Altogether, 972 texts were turned up. They are written in four languages, namely Hebrew (the majority), Aramaic, Greek, and Nabatean, mostly on parchment. Other texts were inscribed on papyrus and bronze.
Most of the Dead Sea Scrolls are fragments. Fragments of all the Old Testament books have been found save for the book of Esther. The only complete book is Isaiah. There are also apocryphal books (those arbitrarily excluded from the Old Testament canon by the Constantine-convened Nicene Council of AD 325) such as the Book of Enoch and the Book of Jubilees, and sect-specific writings that embody rules and beliefs of the people who compiled them.
The latter include commentaries on the Old Testament, paraphrases that expand on the Law of Moses, rule books of the community, war conduct, thanksgiving psalms, hymnic compositions, benedictions, liturgical texts, and sapiential (wisdom) writing. These texts have been given appropriate titles such as the War Scroll; Manual of Discipline; the Community Rule; the Temple Scroll; the Copper Scroll; etc.
The Dead Sea Scrolls were written/preserved by the Essenes between 168 BC and 68 AD. We know this because Pliny, the first century Roman historian, wrote that, “On the west coast of Lake Asphaltitis (the Dead Sea) are settled the Essenes, at some distance from the noisome odours that are experienced on the shore itself.
They are a lonely people, the most extraordinary in the world, who live without women, without love, without money, with the palm trees for their only companions.” The Essenes stashed away the scrolls sometime in 70 AD, when Roman General Flavius Titus overran Jerusalem and laid waste to the Temple following a catastrophic Jewish uprising – led by the Zealots, the military wing of the Essenes – that began in 66 BC.
This they did in heed of JEREMIAH 32:14, which says, “Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Take these evidences … and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many days.” The Dead Sea Scrolls have given us invaluable insight into the beliefs, customs, rituals, politics, philosophies, and traditions of first century Palestine.
The rivalry between luxury German automotive marques Mercedes-Benz and BMW is legendary. Both brands offer high-end, high-priced desirable models, always at the forefront of cutting-edge driving technology and excellence. And in the annals of the advertising world, a campaign between the two rivals is equally legendary and it happened on our own doorstep.
Many of you will be familiar with the coastal road out of Cape Town called Chapman’s Peak. It is a beautiful, sightseeing attraction, the road winding through spectacular coastal-mountain scenery, with cliffs sinking into the Atlantic ocean on one side, and steep mountains towering over the road on the other. However, the road is also notoriously dangerous, with its 114 sharp, meandering bends . It’s reputation is well-deserved . Several years ago, when a major coastal cleanup campaign was launched, a helicopter pulled a total of 22 wrecked cars out of the water adjacent to Chapman’s Peak and it was one such accident which prefaced the notorious marketing battle. The story is thus:
In 1988 an Irish businessman lost control of his Mercedes Benz when driving along this road, plunging 100 metres down the cliff. Miraculously, he not only survived the accident, but crawled out of the wreckage with hardly a scratch on his body.
When Mercedes heard the details, the marketing department decided to base a new advertisement on the story to promote the safety features and stability of the brand. In the video ad they intentionally drove an identical model off the road in the exact same location, having it plunge off the edge of the cliff, the driver stepping out similarly unscathed, proving the phenomenal survivability and strength of Mercedes Benz.
When the marketing suits at BMW saw this ad, they took a bold and ingenious decision to mimic it but with a twist. Only a week later, whilst the first ad was still fresh in the public’s minds, they shot their ad showing a BMW driving along the exact same stretch of road in the rain. However, when it reached the point at which the Mercedes plunged off the cliff, the BMW negotiated it safely, and continued driving along the road.
The catchphrase of the ad was “BMW beats the bends” . Or was it? It was cunningly recorded so that it could equally have been ‘beats the Benz’, implying that their cars had superior cornering and stability to their rival, Even more sneakily, they launched their campaign on a Saturday, mindful of the rules on competitive advertising in South Africa, safe in the knowledge that no objectionable actions could be taken till the new working week.
Mercedes-Benz wasted no time on Monday in issuing an injunction, the ad was swiftly pulled but the damage was done and the dog had had its day. The ad campaign ranks high in the history of advertising and can still be found online to this day. Meanwhile the rivalry between the two automotive greats goes on.
I reference this piece of marketing history in the light of this week’s horror crash by golfing great, Tiger Woods. Driving from a luxury holiday resort in California to a nearby country club Tiger Woods lost control of his vehicle on a downhill stretch of the road, smashed through a road sign, crossed over the central reservation and rolled his car several hundred feet. He had to be cut out and pulled to safety through the windscreen and the vehicle was so badly damaged, the attending police officers said he was ‘lucky to survive’.
The vehicle Woods was driving was a rented Genesis GV80 SUV. If you are unfamiliar with the brand that is not surprising since it is a relatively new spin-off from the South Korean Hyundai marque. The Genesis utility vehicle, not available locally yet, retails for around $50,000 or half a million pula, placing it in the higher end of town and country SUVs in the USA.
The model has certainly been widely publicised in the media coverage of the high-profile sportsman’s accident and I suspect that if asked to comment, Hyundai/Genesis would disagree with the police assessment, putting Woods’ survival down to build quality and in-built safety features such as crumple zones, anti-roll bars and airbags, which were deployed in the crash and would most certainly have played their part cushioning the effects of the rolling and ultimate impact. There is , of course, no suggestion that the manufacturers will capitalise on Woods’ survival but certainly it will have done the brand no harm that he did indeed emerge with recoverable injuries.
Comparing the two accidents, the driver of the Mercedes driving along Chapman’s Peak was, of course, an ordinary member of the public whilst Tiger Woods is a household name. That said, in humanitarian terms each tale of survival carries equal weight but the fact remains that the former was just another local story of yet one more victim of a notoriously tricky stretch of road whilst the latter went round the world in an instant because of the fame and name of the driver.
There is also no evidence that that stretch of Californian urban highway carried any inherent risk. His appears to have been just a loss of control and a freak accident. However, in the event that Hyundai/Genesis should consider making capital from that accident, a note of caution needs to be sounded.
In the advertising world, the use of celebrities to promote a product is a fall-back stance to sell anything from washing-up liquid to whisky but statistics have shown that it can be a double-edged sword in that yes, the ads are memorable and the public love them when the celeb is popular and personable. But…..what is often remembered is the name of the famous promoter, not the name of the product. In other words, they sell themselves far better than they sell the item.
In golfing terminology Hyundai/Genesis are not ‘out of the Woods’ yet and maybe they should go with a completely different Driver!
How Jesus’s grandfather sold his birthright to megalomaniac Herod
If you were to ask a Christian to name the main Jewish sects, General Atiku, he would no doubt begin with the Pharisees (because Jesus had innumerable slanging matches with them according to the gospels), followed by the Sadducees. Yet there was a third, equally momentous sect – the Essenes.
Although there’s not a single, one mention of the Essenes in the Bible, General, the New Testament is filled with Essene-type language as anybody who has read the Dead Sea Scrolls would readily recognise.
In point of fact, it was the Essenes who produced Jesus as well as the infamous Jewish band of freedom fighters known as the Zealots. Furthermore, almost all the New Testament writers were either Essenes or champions of the Essene cause as is apparent in their language and the drift of their overall philosophy. The Essenes have a palpable presence in the Bible, albeit a cloaked one.
The Essenes, General, were the most popular, the most esteemed, and the most influential of the Jewish sects. The Jewish historian Philo (20 BC-50 AD) devotes 90 percent of his description of the Jewish sects to the Essenes. He wrote that the Essenes “dwell in many cities of Judea and in many villages and in great societies of many numbers”.
Hyppolytus of Rome (170-236 AD) devoted nine-and-half chapters to the Essenes and only one to the Sadducees. The Essenes are the authors of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in 1947 in Israel at a place called Qumran and which have given us even greater insight into the happenings in the first century than the Bible itself.
How did the Essene movement come about, General? The Essenes, meaning “puritans of the faith”, were the Jewish sect that was the most loyal to the Davidic dynasty. They set themselves apart from the mainstream Jewish community circa 175 BC and established their headquarters at Qumran, about 40 km from Jerusalem.
Since the Jewish nation revered the Davidic royal line, the only legitimate and rightful rulers of Judah in their view, they rallied to the Essenes en masse. And because the Essenes were disparaging of the Hasmonean rule (140 BC to 63 BC), the mainstream Jews also took a dismissive view of Hasmonean rule too.
The Essenes were so highly regarded because of their virtue and spirituality. The legendary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus (37-100 AD) writes thus of them: “They are more mutually affectionate than the others (Pharisees and Sadducees). Whereas these men shun the pleasures as vice, they consider self-control and not succumbing to the passions virtue … Since [they are] despisers of wealth – their communal stock is astonishing – one cannot find a person among them who has more in terms of possessions.
For by a law, those coming into the school (that is, the Essene fold) must yield up their funds to the order, with the result that in all [their ranks] neither the humiliation of poverty nor the superiority of wealth is detectable, but the assets of each one have been mixed in together, as if they were brothers, to create one fund for all.”
In time, the Essenes, General, became quite influential even with occupying powers. For instance, when the Greek General Pompey installed Hyrcanus II as ruler of Palestine in 63 BC, he sought the opinion of the Essenes. The Essenes recommended that Hyrcanus go by the titles High Priest and Prince, not King, to which Pompey paid heed. In 142 BC, when Simon was installed by the Seleucids as ruler of Palestine, the Essenes had insisted on the same titular style. To the Essenes, everybody who occupied Israel’s seat of authority was simply holding fort for the real deal – the Davidic King.
In 37 BC, when Herod became King of Palestine, the potential Davidic King was Jacob-Eliakim – the father of the Joseph of the gospels – who was an Essene himself. It was in order to win the blessings of the historically popular Jewish royal family that Herod sought to curry favour with the Essenes.
JACOB’S PACT WITH HEROD
About the time Herod came to power, General, there were three citizens of considerable stature in Palestine – Hillel, Menahem, and Jacob-Eliakim, the grandfather of Jesus. Hillel is by all accounts ancient Israel’s greatest teacher and scholar.
He was the foremost spiritual sage in the development of the Talmud and the Mishnah, the most authoritative religious references of the Jews which are second only to the Old Testament in esteem. The renowned “Golden Rule”, which is invariably attributed to Jesus, was actually coined by Hillel. It is not certain whether Hillel was an Essene but his teachings did have a profound influence both on Essene philosophy and that of Jesus, who was an Essene too.
It was Menahem, however, who was an incontrovertible Essene. The Essenes were of two main branches, General. First, there were the puritans, the Palestinian Essenes. Then there were the liberals, the Diaspora Essenes, who sneered at the Palestinian Essenes’ dogmatism and rather strict views on morality. Menahem was the leader of the Diaspora Essenes.
He was also privilleged to be advisor to King Herod. Herod did hold Menahem in very high regard. Josephus relates that when Herod was a school-going lad, Menahem had patted him on his back and said to him, “one day you will be King young man.” Since the prophecy came to pass, Herod had a certain, atypical respect both for Menahem and the order of Essenes.
Jacob-Eliakim’s significance was by virtue of his pedigree. He was of the royal line of David and was therefore the uncrowned King of the Jews. Now, as we have already indicated, Herod had his own grand designs about rulership of the world notwithstanding the fact that he was in reality a vassal of Rome.
When he made overtures to the trio, they didn’t mince words: they told him that in the new Israel, the Israel that would rule Earth once the Romans had been toppled from the pedestal of world power, it was a Davidic King who would reign. Herod took very strong exception to such a prospect. Herod was neither a full-blooded Jew nor of Davidic stock but he was royalty in his own right.
His father, Antipater, had been the governor of Idumea and in due course Judea in the Hasmonean government and was in fact the real ruler of the entire Palestine, with John Hyrcanus being a mere figurehead king. When he (Herod) was only 25 years old, his father had appointed him governor of Galilee. Herod thus had strutted the corridors of power from the day he was born and he wasn’t going to give that up easily either for his own sake or that of his descendants.
As such, General, Herod maintained to the trio that in the new, overarching Kingdom of Israel, he was going to be the emperor and would be based in Jerusalem. Just like the Greek empire of Alexander had been a triarchy (a kingdom divided into three governments), the global Kingdom of Israel (“Thy Kingdom Come” in the Lord’s Prayer) was going to be likewise.
There was going to be a ruler in the east, a ruler in the west, and a ruler in the centre, that is Jerusalem, under the oversight of Herod himself. Hillel would rule in Jerusalem; Menahem in the east; and Jacob-Eliakim in the west. If these three happened to have disappeared from the Earthly scene by the time the Kingdom of Israel came into being, their descendants would observe the same setup.
The pecking order would thus be like this: Herod as the emperor; Hillel as the senior king; Menahem as the second-ranked king; and Jacob-Eliakim as the junior king. Put differently, Herod had by the stroke of a pen reduced the Davidic dynasty from foremost to least important as it posed the most serious threat to his office. Meanwhile, the three kings-in-waiting would go by the names of the Old Testament patriarchs.
Hillel would henceforth be called the Abraham, or the Father (or Papa, which later morphed into Pope), since Abraham was the Father of the Jewish nation; Menahem would be called the Isaac (Abraham’s son); and Eliakim the Jacob (Isaac’s son). Half a loaf was better than nothing at all and so Jacob-Eliakim meekly accepted this arrangement.
When Jesus later said, “Many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the new Kingdom of Heaven (MATTHEW 8:11),” he did not mean an afterlife kingdom: he referred to the Earthly setup proposed by King Herod.
FALLOUT WITH ESSENES
Those days, General, the Davidic heir used the title “Jacob” rather than “David” as the latter title was very risky, particularly under the Hasmonean government. Given that Joseph was the most beloved son of the Old Testament Jacob, the next in line, that is, the firstborn son of the Jacob, used the title “Joseph”.
In September 44 BC, a son was born to Jacob-Eliakim. As the crown prince to the Jacob, he was given the titular name Joseph, the name by which he became best-known. Like his father Jacob-Eliakim, Joseph was a missionary. But he also had a trade. He was a carpenter, a boat builder primarily, and a master of his craft. The word translated “carpenter” in the Bible is the ancient Greek word “ho hekton” which means a master artisan or craftsman.
In 31 BC, Qumran, the Essenes’ Judean wilderness bastion, was struck by an earthquake. The hermitic Essenes had no choice but to trek back to Jerusalem, from where they operated indefinitely at a place they called the Essene Gate. Then in 23 BC, Herod struck again. He had Jacob-Eliakim killed on trumped-up charges of sedition, his motive simply being a continuation of a systematic purge of the Davidic “pretenders” to his throne.
The Essenes were wroth. They now set about promulgating to the Diaspora Essenes that Herod would have no part to play in the coming Kingdom. Instead, the overall King would be Joseph, the son of Jacob-Eliakim. This, General, was the beginning of a permanent rift between Herod and the Essene sect.
THE SAGA OF JOSEPH
The prospective global world, General, was subdivided into ten provinces to facilitate governance and tax collection. Palestine would have two provinces, Judea and Samaria, the latter of which would include Galilee. Asia Minor (largely present-day Turkey), where the bulk of Diaspora Jews were concentrated, would have five provinces.
The last three provinces would be Babylon, Rome, and Alexandria in Egypt. The future capital of the West was not Rome: it was Ephesus in Asia Minor. Having been allocated the West, it was in Ephesus and Alexandria that Jacob-Eliakim spent most of his time evangelizing to fellow Jews about the future Kingdom of Israel. This was the beginning of the New Covenant, whereby Jews who converted to the ideal of a new Kingdom of Israel were baptised by immersion in water.
To mainstream Palestinian Jews, General, Jacob-Eliakim was a sellout. Herod had demoted his pedigree but to somewhat placate him, he gave him the honorary title of Patriarch or Prince of Jerusalem. By subordinating the Davidic throne-in-waiting to Herod, Jacob-Eliakim had gone against what the nation of Israel’s God, Enlil, the Bible’s main Jehovah, decreed – that every King of Judah had to be a descendant of David. So when the unpredictable Herod had him killed in 23 BC for “sedition”, as part of a pogrom against the line of David, there was very little sympathy for him.
In 44 BC, Joseph had been born to Jacob-Eliakim. Joseph was a title: it was not his real name. At the death of his father, Joseph became the Jacob. However, he preferred the title “David”, the more apt one historically. Joseph would become the father of Jesus. When Joseph attained 30 years of age in 14 BC, his uncles and the Essene sages sent him to Rome and Alexandria to do his part in missionary work, which was simply about promulgating to the Diaspora Jews the future Kingdom of Israel in which a Son of David, that is a descendant of King David, would rule. Egypt was also a special place because Joseph’s maternal relations were Egyptians.
Jacob-Eliakim, General, had two wives. The one was called Euchariah, a Jewish princess, of whom very little is known, and the other, the dynastic wife, was an Egyptian princess, a daughter of Queen Cleopatra VII of Egypt and Julius Caesar. Jacob-Eliakim and this princess had three sons: they were Joseph, the father of Jesus, and the twins Cleopas (after whom James, Jesus’ immediate younger brother, whose given name was Cleopas, was named) and Ptolas. Joseph was thus the Davidian Prince of Israel as well as contender to Crown Prince of Egypt. Despite pretences to the contrary on the part of the Jews, Egypt and Israel have always had ties of monarchical kinship.
In 8 BC, General, Joseph was required by Essene custom to return home and fulfill his obligations for a dynastic marriage. A wife-to-be had already been chosen for him by his uncles and other patriarchal Essenes. This was Dorcas, better known today by her title name Mary.