… and obliterates the entire Egyptian army using HAARP technology and Directed Energy Weaponry
The Israelites’ first stop on the great trek toward Arabia, General Atiku, was a place known as Succouth, about 120 km south of today’s Port of Suez. This was exactly 3 days after their departure from Goshen.
The Succouth stop, General, was not meant for an overnight rest. Within the Succouth region and near Serabit El Khadim were two Egyptian controlled copper and turquoise mines where Israelite slaves toiled without pay. Thus Moses ordered a stop there to collect the Israelite miners, a gesture which was in keeping with the terms of the exodus he had negotiated with Pharaoh Ramesses.
From Succouth, General, Moses led the Nation of Israel to Migdol, the Egyptians’ three-way look-out point, which was about 500 km from Egypt. At Migdol, the Egyptians, who were keeping tabs on the huge Israelite procession, kept meticulously trained homing pigeons – organic couriers of messages between Egypt and the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptians had used courier pigeons since 2400 BC. The moment the Egyptian sentries observed the approach of Israelite hordes, they immediately dispatched one or two homing pigeons to the Pharaoh’s palace to alert him accordingly. Homing pigeons flew at a speed of 100 km per hour and so in only 5 hours’ time, Ramesses would have received the message.
From Migdol, General, the Israelites proceeded to Etham, where they reached “a dead end”. Etham was surrounded by mountains 300 metres high. This made the Israelites a sitting target in case the Egyptians pursued after them. With such a rude awakening, Ishkur-Adad, the executive Anunnaki Enlilite god, had a rethink and had his people retrace their way back to the plain at the foot of Migdol, where they were to camp. It seems, General, that these back-and-forth manouevres were also a strategy on the part of Adad to confuse the Egyptians.
Next, the Israelites moved to Pi-Hahiroth, around the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. Pi-Hahiroth was located on the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba, that is, between Migdol and the eastern arm of the Red Sea.
To date, General, the Israelites had been moving through the “Wilderness of Egypt”. The Wilderness of Egypt was the V-shaped area of land between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. Today, it is known as the Sinai Peninsula.
EGYPTIAN FORCES HEM IN ON ISRAELITE CONTINGENT
The Israelites camped for 8 days at Pi-Hahiroth. This is curious, General: if the Israelites were pressed for time to get to Arabia, why did Adad let them procrastinate for so long?
The Bible itself provides the answer in EXODUS 4:14, General, which reads thus: “Thus I will make the heart of Pharaoh steadfast, so he will pursue after them. Then I shall indeed be glorified in Pharaoh and in all his army; and the Egyptians will know that I am Yahweh. Hence they did so.”
Once again, General, we see Adad’s mind manipulation artifice at work here. Adad’s intention was to perform a great “miracle” that would astonish both the Egyptians and the Israelites – the parting of the Red Sea, that is, the Gulf of Aqaba. He wanted the Egyptians to be firsthand witnesses to this extraordinary feat so it could be the talk of the day. So what does he do, General? He uses his long-honed mind-control tricks to work on the psyche of Ramesses so that he (Ramesses) makes a rash decision to give fervid chase after the Israelites.
So the moment Ramesses received the message delivered by the homing pigeons – that the Israelites were now camped at the foot of Migdol (before they set off for Pi-Hahiroth) – he sent a 600-man strong chariotry after them. His excuse was that the Israelites had tactfully (that is, by way of deceptive borrowing) purloined a priceless amount of gold and silver from his people and he wanted this returned before they crossed the Gulf of Aqaba.
Since the Egyptian army were horse-mounted, they arrived at Pi-Hahiroth much faster than the Israelites did. But they did not attack the Israelites there and then, General, as they were intimidated by Adad’s formidable-looking flying saucer which kept vigil over the Israelites day in and day out.
Seeing that the Egyptian forces were now on the scene, Adad decided to get his people to cross the sea using the Straits of Tiran, which linked Arabia to the Sinai Peninsula. To effectually do that humanly speaking, they would have required thousands of ferries, which would have taken months to construct. The quickest passage was by way of none other than a miracle. How was this miracle to be effected, General?
MOSES OPTS FOR STRAITS OF TIRAN
According to the Bible, the Israelites were presently camped at Pi-Hahiroth (meaning “Mouth of Water” as it was located on the rims of a bay that was shaped, roughly, like a cross-section of an open mouth). Pi-Hahiroth was located around the southern edge of the Sinai Peninsula and overlooked the island of Baal-Zaphon (EXODUS 14:1-4), a rather visible marker across the Gulf of Aqaba, the eastern arm of the three-prong Red Sea.
Baal Zaphon (also called Mt. Tiran) is a half-kilometre-high mountain on Tiran Island in present-day Saudi Arabia. Baal Zaphon means “Lord of the North”. The Lord of the North as we well know, General, was Utu-Shamash, Enlil-Jehovah’s most prominent grandson. He was so-called because it was he who oversaw Baalbek (also known as the Crest of Zaphon), the Anunnaki aeronautical landing place which is located in present-day Lebanon, which indeed is north of Israel.
What that implies, General, is that although Baal-Zaphon was south of the Arabian mainland, it was controlled by Utu-Shamash, the Lord of the northern-located Crest of Zaphon. Thus the three major Enlilite gods of the day – Nannar-Sin, Ishkur-Adad, and Utu-Shamash – were all based in Arabia at the time of the Exodus, with Nannar-Sin as the seniormost of them all. It explains, General, why Nannar-Sin in due course became the Allah of Islam, a religion that was spawned in Arabia.
The Israelites did not linger long at Pi-Hahiroth. Remember, General, they were using a route previously unexplored. They decided to vacate Pi-Hahiroth because they were kind of boxed in by the high mountains surrounding them, which would make them a sitting target to the Egyptian army in case it pounced (EXODUS 14:3). Accordingly, they headed due northeast for a place known as the Straits of Tiran. Why, General, did Moses opt for the Straits of Tiran?
The Straits of Tiran is a natural land bridge that links the Sinai Peninsula to the Arabian mainland. About 18 km long and 0.8 km wide, it is the shallowest stretch of the Gulf of Aqaba. It actually comprises of two lanes. The one, called the Enterprise Passage, is 205 metres deep, and the other, called the Grafton Passage, is only 70 metres deep.
Thus the Straits of Tiran was Moses’ best bet if he and his people were to cross the Gulf of Aqaba. But exactly how, General, since 70 metres was by no means a walkable depth and the Israelites were no fishes but humans who breathed open-air oxygen through their nostrils?
ADAD PARTS THE GULF OF AQABA
The Bible says Moses had the Israelites cross the Red Sea when he miraculously parted one wall of water from another to allow for a dry-land walkway across. That, sadly, is an exaggeration, General. The person who parted the Red Sea was not Moses but the Anunnaki god Ishkur-Adad, the Jehovah of the Exodus.
He did this to impress both the Egyptians and the Israelites, having subliminally influenced Pharaoh Ramesses (by way of long-distance hypnotic, mind-control triggers) to come after them (EXODUS 14:8). But even Adad did not perform a miracle, General: he used HAARP technology and a Directed Energy Weapon (DEW).
When we acknowledge the parting of the Red Sea, we’re simply giving the Bible the benefit of the doubt. The incident is not recorded anywhere in the Egyptian annals, General. Yet our overriding impulse is that the Pentateuch writers would not simply have imagined it.
The other possibility we should allow for, General, is that the Straits of Tiran at the time was likely not as deep as it is today: its waters were probably only inches deep, so that it was easy for the Israelites to wade across it all the way to the Arabian shores.
The Bible also says when the Egyptian army surged forth to chase after the Israelite caravan, the waters resurged, hemmed them in, and had them perish. If Adad indeed did employ HAARP technology and DEW, such a scenario would have been possible: these precision technologies can trigger tsunamis instantaneously. But a counter to such a scenario, General, is that once again, the mass perishing of the Egyptian army in a watery disaster as they pursued after the Israelites is not documented in ancient Egyptian archives.
In any case, General, the Egyptians would not have been so foolhardy as to charge at the Israelites when Adad’s Flying Saucer, which menacingly hovered around, would have easily unleashed dazzlingly swift and deadly tomahawk-like missiles at them.
So if indeed the Egyptian army did perish en masse, it was the result of Adad’s “magical” missiles rather than Frankenstein waters swallowing them in one fell swoop. Ramesses and his courtiers would have deemed it too humiliatingly stigmatic to admit to such a wondrous and wholesale annihilation of his forces and so they would have opted not to log it into the Egyptian archives for fear of losing face both before the body politic and posterity.
SEVENTH DAY REST BORE NO RELIGIOUS CONNOTATIONS WHATSOEVER
Still whilst the Israelites were camped in the Wilderness of Sin, General, Adad decided to set aside the last day of their week’s sojourn there whereby they were to desist from all kind of work and simply relax and possibly introspect on their movements to date as well as ponder the journey ahead.
This incident has been grossly distorted by some sections of Christendom to mean Adad sanctified the 7th day, Saturday, as a holy day. Sadly, that is way out of context, General, as the official ordainment of the Sabbath took place much later.
If you objectively read the context of the story in the 16th chapter of Exodus, General, you won’t see any religious underpinnings whatsoever. At this stage, all Adad wanted was for the Israelites to simply rest on the 7th day of their arrival in the Wilderness of Sin.
He thought they desperately needed a leisurely day given that over the week they had been busy catching, salting, and drying quails (the quails were so plenteous they “covered the camp”(EXODUS 16:13). In any case, the quails had stopped arriving on the evening of the 6th day, so that when some of the wayward Israelites continued to look out for them on the 7th day regardless of Adad’s edict that they desist from all work of any kind, they saw none (EXODUS 16:27).
The fact that Adad intended the Israelites to do utterly nothing on the 7th day is suggested in EXODUS 16:23, where Moses exhorts them to cook and bake enough on the 6th day so that they won’t need to do that on the 7th day.
Thus the observance of the 7th day in the Wilderness of Sin, General, had nothing to do with spirituality: it was simply about total abstinence from work, an off-duty sort of scenario. Indeed, there is nowhere in EXODUS 16, General, where Moses enjoins the Israelites to set about worshipping Adad.
At this stage, the Israelites simply were not ready to devotionally dedicate themselves to Adad as they still were wracked with doubts. A recurring word in EXODUS 16 is “grumbling”. The Israelites were full of gripes and remonstrations against Adad, an obdurately stubborn tendency that greatly troubled Moses.
That said, the number 7 was a significant one to the Enlilites, General, in that it was the number of their leader overall, Jehovah-Enlil, as well as the number of the planet Earth when counted from the direction of the planet Pluto. In the creation story in the opening passages of Genesis, the Elohim (the ruling pantheon of the Anunnaki) are said to have rested from the creation process on the 7th day.
Of course General we now know, courtesy of the Sumerian records, which predated Genesis by about 3000 years and on whose contents the Genesis writers substantially drew upon, that it was Enki, the great Anunnaki scientist who genetically engineered Adam into existence, who rested on the 7th day of his arrival on Earth 432,000 years ago. Enki’s rest was not from creating the world: it was from the toils of setting up his residential estate at Eridu (from which the word Earth derives) in modern-day Iraq.
WHY ADAD ACTED AT THE TIME HE DID
When Ishkur-Adad retrieved the Nation of Israel from Egypt circa 1335 BC, General, he aimed at attaining three objectives primarily.
The first was to fulfill the promise the Enlilites, the Anunnaki clan of Jehovah-Enlil, had made to Abraham in 2041 BC. If you recall, General, that year Amar-Sin, the King of Ur (in today’s Iraq) formed a coalition of four Kings of the East (Mesopotamia, today’s Iraq) under the auspices of the wayward and debauched Anunnaki goddess Inanna-Ishtar and deployed them into war against the Five Kings of the West (Canaan).
Inanna’s principal goal was to capture the Anunnaki spaceport in the Sinai Peninsula and thereafter declare herself the Queen of Earth at the expense of Marduk (an Enkite and her mortal enemy), whose ascendancy to the lordship of Earth (due in 2220 BC, the mathematical onset of the astrological Age of Aries but still a bone of contention visually as the Taurus constellation still was prominent in the night sky) was long overdue but towards which he was striving day in and day out anyway.
Having picked up intelligence from as early as 2048 BC as to what Inanna was up to, Nannar-Sin, Inanna’s father, commissioned Abraham, a crack military general, to set course for Canaan with an elite corps of cavalrymen and cordon off the spaceport. General Abe performed suitably in this regard when he duly intercepted and repelled the Eastern armies miles well before they could reach the spaceport.
An exhilarated Sin undertook to Abraham that as a reward for the feat he had performed, his descendants were to take possession of Canaan (which was presently inhabited mainly by the descendants of Noah’s son Ham) in the fullness of time (GENESIS 15:18-21). Canaan was henceforth referred to as the Promised Land by the Jews.
Sin reiterated the promise to Abraham’s son Isaac (GENESIS 26:3) and his grandson Jacob (GENESIS 28:13). It was now 700 years since Canaan was pledged to Abraham and Adad, Sin’s younger brother, decided it was time the Enlilites made good on their promise.
The second reason Adad decided to remove the Jews from Egypt to Canaan, General, was to right the wrongs of the past at the expense of the descendants of Shem. You will recall, General, that after the Deluge, Noah produced three children in the same year from three different mothers.
These were Shem, Japheth and Ham. When the known world was partitioned between the Enkites and Enlilites, it was on the basis of the offspring of these three. Japheth’s people were allotted Europe; Shem’s people the Middle East; and Ham’s people Africa and the Arabian land mass. Shem and Japheth were under the tutelage of Enlilites, whereas Ham was under the tutelage of Enkites.
The land that later came to be known as Canaan was accordingly and legally inhabited by Semites, Shem’s people, with Ham’s people (Hamites) concentrated in north Africa. For some reason, the most influential Hamites were the descendants of Canaan, Ham’s fourth-born son.
When Set waged war against Horus over the control of Egypt, he rallied to himself Canaan’s people. And when he invaded the land that came to be known as Canaan circa 8970 BC, his army largely comprised of Canaan’s people. Canaan’s people drove away Shem’s people from the appropriated land and settled in it. That’s how it came to be known as Canaan.
Set’s seizure of the land of Canaan, General, was illegal as it was a flagrant breach of the terms of the partition of the known world. Thus it was that in 1335 BC, Adad decided it was time Canaan was repossessed and populated by a people to whom it rightly belonged – the Semites.
Although the term Semites included both Arabs (descendants of Esau and Ishmael) and Jews (descendants of Jacob), in this context it applied only to the descendants of Jacob (who was also known as Israel) because it was to Isaac and Jacob Canaan was pledged and not to Ishmael or Esau.
Finally, General, Adad was in a hurry to remove the Jews from Egypt to Canaan because King Anu of Nibiru, “Our Father Who Art In Heaven”, was expected to touch down on Earth in about 700 years’ time. Anu was to land on Earth via the new spaceport in the Americas and was to be feted in what was already designated as the future capital of the world – Jerusalem.
By that time, Canaan as Anu’s host country had to be in the hands of the Jews, the Enlilites’ chosen people. The Enlilites had to be in charge of the affairs not only of Canaan but of the whole world. Anu would be received not by Marduk, the legal Chief Executive of Earth, but by a member of the Enlilite top brass.
Ideally, this was Nannar-Sin, who was the legal (not the lineal) heir of Jehovah-Enlil. But as we have long demonstrated, General, as Anu’s arrival neared, the Enlilites began to contend for the right to host Anu. The main contenders were Sin, Adad, and Utu-Shamash.
Alexander and Aristobulus thrown behind bars on charges of treason against their own father
Of Herod the Great’s sons, General Atiku, the principal one was Antipater II. Born in 46 BC, he was named after his grandfather Antipater I and was Herod’s only child with his first wife Doris. As firstborn son, he should have been first in line to the Herodian throne but he was sidelined after Herod divorced Doris around 43 BC to hitch Mariamne I, the Hasmonean princess who was more politically expedient.
Doris was banished from the palace along with the then three-year-old Antipater. With Mariamne now elevated to wife No. 1 and having been espoused at the time of Herod’s coronation, it followed at least theoretically that it was her male offspring who would be the presumptive heir. That was how Alexander came into the frame.
Alexander, Herod’s first child with Mariamne, was born in 35 BC. Upon turning 22, he was sent to Rome to pursue studies in sciences at the Imperial Court, where he was under the tutelage of Caesar Augustus. He was later joined by his younger brother Aristobulus IV, who was born in in 31 BC. Because of their pedigree, the lads made a splash from the get-go. “As soon as the young men were come from Italy,” Flavius Josephus writes, “the multitude were very desirous to see them, and they became conspicuous among them all, as adorned with great blessings of fortune, and having the countenances of persons of royal dignity.”
Alexander and Aristobulus graduated in 17 BC and 12 BC respectively and upon their return to Judea, marriages were speedily arranged for them by their father, with Alexander tying the knot with Glaphyra, a daughter of King Archelaus of Cappadocia (in modern-day Turkey), and Aristobulus leading his cousin Berenice, a daughter of Herod’s youngest and most beloved sister Salome, to the altar.
The charismatic and good-looking Alexander cast a spell over the Jewish masses. Notes one chronicler: “Alexander’s handsome presence and frank bearing made him a favourite with the people, and they longed for the day when the House of the Maccabees should mount the throne instead of the half-Jew Herod.”
PHERORAS ESCAPES BROTHER’S WRATH
The heir and the spare, however, were unable to come to terms with the murder of their mother by their father way back in 29 BC, when they were only 6 and 3 years old respectively. They immensely abhorred their father for this unconscionable act and were themselves unsure of their continued wellbeing, for if their father could not hesitate to kill his own wife, what would stop him from eliminating his own children since to him nobody was sacred?
Then there was the Salome factor, General, Salome being Herod’s youngest and most cherished sister. Salome had hated Mariamne with a vengeance and this same visceral loathing she extended to Mariamne’s kids. Salome’s hatred for the two young princes stemmed from an obsessive feeling of insecurity on behalf of her brother. She just could not contemplate the possibility of Alexander ousting his father and the throne reverting to the Hasmoneans, who were more popular to the Jews compared to Herod.
Salome’s concern was not far off the mark, for that was exactly what the two princes set out to do – to scheme the death of their father both to avenge their mother’s death and to secure their own lives. In plotting their father’s demise, the two kids were not without sympathisers and willing collaborators, who included Pheroras, Herod’s youngest brother.
Exactly what beef Pheroras had with Herod is not clear. Herod had gone to every length to win his loyalty but to no avail. First, Herod had him marry his sister-in-law, Mariamne’s younger sister. Upon her death, he offered him his own eldest daughter Salampiso but Pheroras rejected her in favour of one slave girl who had melted his heart. At some stage, Herod tried to get Pheroras to hitch Salampsio’s younger sister Cypros and Pheroras acceded, only to renege on the act sooner rather than later.
That Pheroras was involved in the weaving of machinations against him Herod learnt from Alexander himself in one of the four letters Alexander wrote his father imploring him to desist from his habit of subjecting many a people to torture in a bid to extract confessions of treason from them. Upon learning of this, Herod braced to punish his brother but later relented thanks to Archelaus’ fruitful mediation efforts though only after Pheroras had owned up to his guilt.
It seemed Herod’s forgiveness of his brother was genuine as in 20 BC he persuaded Caesar Augustus to make Pheroras tetrarchy of Perea (part of today’s Jordan) with a tidy yearly allowance. It was there Pheroras was banished after his conspiracies against Herod were unearthed.
ROMAN EMPEROR ACQUITS HEROD’S SONS
Not very long after the execution of Mariamne I, General, Herod’s second and most adored wife, in 29 BC, Salome and Pheroras prevailed over Herod to reinstate his first wife Doris and her son Antipater, who was now 11 years old, to his good graces.
Their motive was two-fold. First, they thought Herod desperately needed her to lift his gravely sagged spirits following the demise of Mariamne and whose loss he just was unable to come to terms with. Second and even more crucial, they hoped that Antipater would serve as a bulwark against the thronal ambitions of Alexander and Aristobulus, who they hated being of part- Hasmonean blood, unlike Antipater whose mother was a full-blooded Arab and therefore much closer to them kinshipwise. Herod, however, did not pay heed to this entreaty until 15 years later, when he had his divorce with Doris rescinded and mother and son restored to the palace in 14 BC.
Like Alexander and Aristobulus before him, Antipater was straight off sent to Rome too to receive an education befitting a prince and patrician. Now, Antipater, General, was a clever political operator. Although he was effectively his father’s principal spy against his half-brothers, he at the same time egged on the latter to scheme against their father without Herod suspecting it in the least.
He told Herod that Alexander and Aristobulus were sworn never to rest until they had avenged their mother’s death by liquidating Herod. Salome too had with Antipater’s contrivance set a booby trap for Alexander by enticing him into bedding her, though this auntie-nephew sexual dalliance was perfectly normal in the culture of the times: it scarcely mattered that Salome was 30 years Alexander’s senior and was at the time 50 years old, though still glitteringly gorgeous anyway given the invariably plush circumstances of the nobility.
She would pretend to abhor her own brother over pillow talk, hear Alexander’s take on the matter and the length to which he was prepared to go just to get rid of his father, and feed all this dope to a raptly attentive Herod.
Thus it was, General, that sometime in 13 BC, Herod had Alexander and Aristobulus indicted before the court of Caesar Augustus for plotting to overthrow him (Herod). Though Herod sought the death penalty for his kids, Augustus found no hard enough facts that the kids were guilty of the charge preferred against them. He thus ruled that Herod and his sons should kiss and make up.
Herod was also mandated to name a heir and if it pleased him to parcel off pieces of territory to his seniormost sons. In order to placate Herod for the setback in respect of his sons’ acquittal, Augustus had him richly rewarded. Says Flavius Josephus: “Caesar made him a present of half the revenue of the copper mines in Cyprus, and committed the care of the other half to him, and honoured him with other gifts and incomes; and as to his (Herod) own kingdom, he left it in his own power to appoint which of his sons he pleased for his successor, or to distribute it in parts to each one of them, that the dignity might thereby come to them all. And when Herod was disposed to make such a settlement immediately, Caesar said he would not give him leave to deprive himself, while he was alive, of the power over his kingdom, or over his sons.”
Soon after this episode, Herod, General, announced before a congregation in Judea that further to Caesar’s ruling, he had designated Antipater as his heir. However, he was not in position yet to apportion parts of his kingdom to his sons as Augustus had suggested: that had to wait until he was on his death bed, which was a long way off anyway as he still was in physically good shape.
Herod was 60 years old at the time and eager to look evergreen, he even took to dying his year to disguise a shock of grey. He however reneged on this undertaking and allotted a territory to Antipater which generated a sizeable annual GDP.
HEROD IMPRISONS HIS TWO SONS
Now that Alexander and Aristobulus had been bypassed as heirs, General, they became even more emboldened in their desire to erase their father from the face of the earth so deeply resentful were they. This time around, they had a wide array of sympathisers, who included Herod’s most trusted confidantes and some kings of neighbouring nations. The manner of death they conceived of Herod ranged from poisoned food to a lancing with a spear in an ambush deep in the woods.
Although Herod had spies and tipsters all around, General, he just could not gather tangible enough incriminating evidence against his sons that would stand up before a notoriously perspicacious Augustus, before whom he was obliged to appear and argue whatever case he had against his children that prima facie entailed capital punishment.
As such, he resorted to his well-honed device – excruciating torture to elicit confessions or pointers to the merest intrigue against him. In the process, one of three eunuchs who served him as butler, cupbearer, and palatial chief of staff respectively avowed to him that Alexander had given them sizeable bribes to see to it that the poison weapon got into their father’s system.
He even produced evidence of the very poison that was to be employed in the murder. And sometime in 10 BC, A famed skilled marksman also confessed that he had been detailed by Aristobulus to “lie in wait for their (Alexander and Aristobulus) father, as they were hunting, and kill him”. The same marksman even presented a cache of letters Alexander had written to Aristobulus carping about Herod’s partiality toward Antipater.
When Herod confronted his two sons over these developments, General, Alexander on his part owned up to it all and even besought his father to refrain from torturing people unduly and focus on him only. Now that Herod had heard it from the horse’s mouth, he ordered that Alexander and Aristobulus be detained whilst he took steps to again indict them before Augustus.
Meanwhile, a number of people, about 300 in all, were rounded up in connection with the same conspiracy and everybody who was deemed close to or simply matey with Alexander both historically and contemporaneously were banished in one way or the other. Writes Josephus: “He (Herod) expelled Andromachus and Gamellus, men who had of old been his friends, and been very useful to him in the affairs of his kingdom, and been of advantage to his family, by their embassages and counsels; and had been tutors to his sons, and had in a manner the first degree of freedom with him.
He expelled Andromachus, because his son Demetrius was a companion to Alexander; and Gamellus, because he knew that he wished him well, which arose from his having been with him in his youth, when he was at school, and absent at Rome. These he expelled out of his palace, and was willing enough to have done worse by them; but that he might not seem to take such liberty against men of so great reputation, he contented himself with depriving them of their dignity, and of their power to hinder his wicked proceedings.”
Once again, General, King Archelaus of Cappadocia, Alexander’s father-in-law, prostrated himself before Herod and begged him to pardon his sons. Once again, Herod paid heed, only for his rancour to resurface in 8 BC, when this time around he put the two sons behind bars and refused to grant Archelaus an audience to plead for clemency. Did the two boys have a prayer, General?
Before I get started on this week’s rant I want to put it out there that I am a tolerant guy, believe that black lives matter, common decency and I am sensitive that there is some privilege associated with being a white male although more so in Europe than ,Africa these days (smiley face in case I offend anyone).
But, I find myself staring at my children’s bookshelf wondering if I can still read books like Peter Pan, Dumbo and The Jungle Book since Disney slapped racism warnings on these and other classic stories due to ‘negative racial depictions and mistreatment of people or cultures.’ Disney is remaking them so that they can be more correct.
For example Aladdin’s story is effectively changed so that Jasmine is no longer a helpless damsel who is a trophy to be won. In today’s politically correct Disney movie she’s a strong independent “girl boss” who sings about how she won’t be silenced although this doesn’t stop the main villain capturing her shortly afterwards. I guess at least she did not go down without a fight! There are other examples…in Dumbo the “racist” singing crows are gone, in Beauty and the Beast remake, Belle tries to teach little girls how to read.
This is all good and I have no problem that Ariel in the little mermaid is now black but cancelling old movies as if they didn’t happen and dismissing Aladdin as racist, well let’s get down to the nitty gritty. And if I offended you by the use of the term nitty gritty then you are not alone (although I suspect you’re in the vast minority).
News flash – don’t be throwing that around anymore in case the politically correct censors catch you and you land up in trouble. That’s what happened to political editor Laura Kuenssberg who used the term during a BBC talk show. The remark sparked a complaint from a listener about the use of the phrase which some anti-racism campaigners claim originates from Transatlantic slave ships, used by slave traders to refer either to the women or to the remains at the bottom of the transport ships that were covered in lice and grit.
Not according to the respected Chambers dictionary, which states that its origin is ‘ETYMOLOGY: 1960s: originally US; perhaps rhyming compound of grit’. That others dispute this is neither here not there for this story but the fact that the BBC complaints even investigated the issue is in my opinion, asinine. But whether its BBC or Disney, being politically correct(or PC) is very much in vogue.
The problem with living in this age of political correctness is you have to double think before any word comes out of your mouth for fear of offending someone. It a phenomenon to get people to “mind what they say” and is directed mainly at language that refers to women, black people, gay and disabled people – groups traditionally disempowered by the dominant white male and physically able majority, as the oppression these groups endured, it is said, was perpetuated in the very language used to describe them.
Fair enough! Obviously being PC is a noble cause against which no sane, rational 21st century man, white or other would disagree. So, we can no longer say “jump the dyke”, “manhole cover” and “accident blackspot”. You can no longer use the terms “rule of thumb” because of its racist and sexist origins (a law that said you couldn’t beat your wife with an instrument bigger than your thumb) and so it continues, all the way down to the nitty gritty.
What amazes me is the outrage that it seems to cause with people and how companies, governments, and people like overreacting for fear of being on the wrong side of public fashion opinion. But before you argue that being PC it is just being polite, it’s more like a weapon used to destroy normal people who display normal behaviour and say normal things – even when the haters want to package it as a hate crime. Just think about James Damore, the Google engineer who was fired a few years back for simply publicly musing about the differences between the sexes.
Just last week in the most famous office in the planet Joe Biden removed a Churchill bust. Maybe not so much of a surprise as in the UK the statue of Winston Churchill in Parliament square in London is repeatedly covered in graffiti and attacked by people claiming that he was a racist and that his statue, should be no more ignoring the period he found himself in and the norms of those days – the fact that he was arguably the worlds most ardent anti-fascist leader and the role he played in defeating the Nazi’s, is forgotten. Had they won the war there certainly wouldn’t have been any tolerance at all. Just saying.
In 2015 The University of Michigan spent $16,000 advising students not to say “I want to die” because it’s offensive to the suicidal, nor “That test raped me” because some people actually have been raped, although probably not by calculus exams. At Minnesota’s Macalester College, posters and social media warned in 2014 against using the words “crazy,” “psycho,” “schizo” and “derp.” Excuse the pun but that’s nuts!
This year, ending the prayer opening the new session of Congress in the US, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) intoned, “ Amen and a-woman.” Eyeroll. Last week the Democratic-controlled lower chamber voted along party lines to approve new official language guidelines. Words such as “himself” and “herself” are to be replaced by “themself.” Out with “father,” “mother,” “son,” “daughter,” “brother,” “sister,” “uncle,” “aunt” and other familial terms, and in with “parent,” “child,” “sibling” and so forth. Madness.
The ridiculousness of it all was emphasised when the speaker of the house Nancy Pelosi made a speech a few days later where she referred to herself as ‘mother, daughter, woman’. She clearly didn’t get the memo! But when erasing “mothers,” and “women,” because the concepts are insufficiently inclusive to gender ideologues, the irony is not lost about the rights which women struggled to attain a vote, much less enter politics.
Salman Rushdie, author of the of the controversial The Satanic Verses, states that ‘No-one has the right not to be offended’ but the core of the ‘woke’ argument appears to be the exact opposite. Yet there is always another side to any argument and in the interests of free speech it has been the accepted norm to ‘agree to disagree’. This new culture of silencing that freedom is insidious and menacing – look to any dictatorship past and present and that is the dictator’s first move – silence the press, silence any voice of dissent, and punish the transgressor.
I suspect that poor old Walt Disney is spinning in his grave, unable to plead the case for his supposed sins but if new-age Disney wants to take this whitewashing (probably shouldn’t say that) to its logical conclusion, rather than worrying about Belle having a do-gooder occupation, let’s start with the title, Beauty and the Beast.
So Belle should no longer be the quintessential fair maiden and thus she can no longer be described as beautiful. As for the poor old Beast, i.e. ugly monster, that word is about as non PC as it comes, so better to steer clear of any and all ancient fables and fairy stories.
I would tell those Disney suits to put that in their pipe and smoke it but I suspect that’s off limits too as it is a clear reference to the Red Indians’ (oops again, Native Americans’) smoking of the peace pipe. In the words of Hamlet’s Ophelia ‘That way madness lies’, though I suppose even that should probably be ‘mental illness’!
A wife, uncle, and two in-laws fall at the hands of Judah’s despot
The pre-eminent Jewish chronicler, Flavius Josephus, said of Herod the Great that he was “blessed with every gift of looks, body, and mind” but he was a “slave to his passions”. This was in the context of a gloating bloodlust.
His sword knew no sacred cows: neither his own kids, wives, in-laws, next of kin, nor bosom friends were immune from it. He is on record as pestering Caesar Augustus with a barrage of letters seeking permission to execute his own flesh and blood, prompting the Roman emperor to at one time quip that, “It is better to be Herod’s pig than his son”, which was apt: as a “Jew”, Herod did not eat pork and therefore in the event that he kept any pigs, they would never have to be killed.
You are by now well-apprised of the death of Hyrcanus II by the same Herod, General Atiku, in 30 BC. Hyrcanus, a Hasmonean ruler of Judah twice over, was actually the grandfather of Mariamne I, Herod’s most beloved wife and his second of up to 10 wives. It was Mariamne’s own mother Salome, who dreading Herod’s pathological savagery, pitched Mariamne to Herod in the hope that that would insure her family from Herod’s murderous caprices.
Now, Mariamne, General, was as much a stunning beauty as her younger brother Aristobulus III was breathtakingly good-looking. Having tied the knot with Herod in 37 BC, Mariamne had prevailed over her husband to install Aristobulus as High Priest. The post had fallen vacant on the death of Antigonus in 37 BC and Herod had appointed one Ananel, who had no ties whatsoever to the Hasmoneans, the first such in more than a century, in his place. Unable to resist the spirited entreaties of his beloved wife, who had also lobbied Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and her beau Mark Anthony, Herod gave in and replaced Ananel with Aristobulus, who was only 16 years old, in 36 BC.
Because of his enormous charisma and overall affability, Aristobulus was a hit with the masses despite his tender age and Herod was envious of the young man’s rock star-like popularity. To make doubly sure the young man did not harbour a seditious ace up his sleeve, the morbidly paranoid Herod had his spooks watch on both Aristobulus and his mother round the clock. Sensing imminent danger, Aristobulus contacted Cleopatra, asking for a pre-emptive safe passage to Egypt and there enjoy absolute freedom. When Herod got wind of this, he decided to get rid of Aristobulus as he did not wish him to be a perennial thorn in his flesh from the utter safety of self-imposed exile.
The opportunity came at a banquet in Jericho which was organised by Aristobulus’ mother. There, Herod had one of his henchmen cause Aristobulus to drown during a dusk time horseplay in a swimming pool. Of course Herod would forever maintain the drowning was accidental when everybody knew it was in truth a tactical elimination. Poor Aristobulus was only 17 years old having been born in 56 BC. He was the last Hasmonean High Priest and was replaced by the previously deposed Ananel, who was to remain in that position till 29 BC.
HEROD ACQUITTED OVER THE ARISTOBULUS DEATH
It need not be over-emphasised, General, that Mariamne and her mother Alexandra did not take Herod’s line over the all too untimely demise of Aristobulus lying down. If he had reckoned that with the death of Aristobulus he had gotten rid of potentially the most potent threat to his omnipotence, he was totally mistaken. Herod had actually simply fanned the flames of intrigue against him, for mother and daughter confronted him and accused him of murdering their boy in cold blood.
Nor did the two Iron Ladies end matters there: Alexandra wrote a lachrymal letter to Cleopatra to get her to bring her influence to bear on Mark Anthony so that Herod paid dearly and likewise for his nefarious act. Anthony, who at the time was the Roman colossus in charge of the whole of the Middle East, was persuaded and during a visit to Laodicea (in modern-day Turkey, though some accounts say it was Rhodes in Cyprus), he commanded Herod to report to him forthwith and exculpate himself over the affair.
Although Herod put a brave face on the matter, General, he was rather unsure of his eventual fate after the trial. He also suspected rightly or wrongly that Anthony had a thing for the voluptuously beautiful Mariamne and the last thing Herod wanted was for any other man to bed his beloved Mariamne even in death. So before he set off for Laodicea, Herod instructed his uncle Joseph, who was married to his sister Salome, to make sure that in the event that Anthony sentenced him to death, he should immediately put her to the sword. He also detailed a certain Sohemus, a most trusted aide, to stand sentry over the entire womenfolk at the palace.
Herod, however, had the nine lives of a cat, General. Using his immense rhetorical skills and the time-honoured palm greasing, he won himself an acquittal. Meanwhile, the Judean rumourville was abuzz with chatter that Herod had been summarily executed by Anthony, as a result of which people became spendthrifts of their tongues.
Both Joseph and Sohemus disclosed to Mariamne the instructions Herod had left them with in relation to her fate once he was no more. Mariamne was both livid and distraught that her husband regarded her as so easily expendable when outwardly he cherished her beyond words. To her mind, his arrangements with Joseph had nothing to do with love but sprang from sheer monstrosity. She probably thanked God that he was dead, but the fact of the matter was that he was not and when he at long last turned up, she did not want to have anything to do with him, including the conjugation which he so eagerly pined for after such an extended absence.
HEROD KILLS HIS WIFE AND HIS UNCLE
Now, if Herod had a kind of Svengali, General, it was his youngest sister Salome. Salome (65 BC-10 AD) was the most powerful woman at Herod’s court. A sly, scheming, and manipulating vixen, she arguably more than any other living being had the most sway in a negative sense on her brother, who took practically whatever she said as gospel truth.
Let us nevertheless, General, take stock of the fact that the bulk of what we learn about Salome comes from Flavius Josephus, who himself relied on the writings of Herod’s court historian Nicolaus of Damascus. For one reason or the other, Nicolaus did not see eye to eye with Salome and it is therefore possible that much of what Nicolaus relates of her is embellished to smear her before the court of history. Upon his return, Herod was told of the rumours of his death and so was surprised to find Mariamne alive when Joseph and Sohemus should in the circumstances have had her killed if indeed they were loyal to him. In fact, Joseph had even put Mariamne and Alexandra into the safe custody of Roman legions stationed in Judea just in case Jewish malcontents who abhorred Herod turned their wrath on them.
But there was more. Salome reported to Herod that Mariamne, who she hated like the plague, had had sexual relations with both Joseph and Sohemus, this being Mariamne’s reward to them for dishing out to her the dirt on Herod, and that she had on several occasions before attempted to poison him. Now, no one would hump Herod’s most beloved wife and get away scotfree. It is therefore small wonder that Herod straightaway ordered the execution of Joseph and Sohemus. Joseph was 61 years old at the time of his death in 34 BC, having been born in 95 BC. In the case of Mariamne herself though, he had her subjected to a formal court trial not on charges of adultery but of attempted regicide.
Herod had hoped that the court would acquit her, whereupon he would make bygones be bygones so great was his love for the woman, but sadly for him, General, she was found guilty and sentenced to death. Even then, Herod tactfully dilly-dallied on signing the writ of execution and simply had his wife detained at a fortress for some time until Salome prevailed over him to execute her at long last. Writes Josephus: “Thus, with the death of the noble and lovely Mariamne ended the glorious history of the Hasmonean High Priest Mattathias and his descendants.”
For a long time to come though, General, Herod was haunted by the death of his wife to the point of even sometimes coming across as if he had lost his mind. “When Herod realised what this meant (the death sentence passed on Mariamne), he tried in vain to have the verdict changed, but Salome did not rest until the death penalty was carried out,” Josephus informs us. “Herod was heartbroken; nothing could comfort him for the loss of his lovely wife.
For seven years he refused to have her body buried, and held it, embalmed, in his palace. Afterwards, he became so melancholy and despondent, nothing interested him or could arouse any enthusiasm in him for living … He was so far conquered by his passion, that he would order his servants to call for Mariamne, as if she were still alive, and could still hear them … He tried hard to forget his trouble by going hunting and banqueting, but nothing helped. Herod built new cities and erected temples and palaces. He also named a tower in honour of Mariamne.”
HEROD SLAYS SISTER’S EX-HUBBY
Mariamne’s death was not the only one which Herod perpetrated through the instrumentality of Salome. There were actually several and included those of her own husband Costobarus. Salome was married four times, to her uncle Joseph (45 BC); Costobarus (34 BC); Sylleus (circa 27 BC); and Alexas (20 BC).
Like the Herod clan, Costobarus was of Idumean stock. It was Costobarus Herod had made governor of Idumea and Gaza and upon Joseph’s death had him tie the knot with Salome, with the couple eventually siring two children, Berenice and Antipater III. Costobarus, though, soon began to harbour monarchical ambitions of his own and wrote to Cleopatra beseeching her to persuade Mark Anthony to make Idumea independent of Herod and install him (Costobarus) as Rome’s client King of the territory.
Of course upon learning of this, Herod was not amused. It was Salome who pleaded with him not to put her husband to the sword. Next time, however, a dumped Costobarus was not so lucky. Seven years after their marriage, Salome and Costobarus parted ways and a possibly hurt Salome decided to exact vengeance. She informed her brother that he had been harbouring two fugitives from Herodian justice for a full 12 years at his own farm.
The two were simply known as the Sons of Baba. Baba ben Babuta, their father and clan patriarch, was related to the Hasmonean ruler Antigonus, who Herod had replaced and killed in 37 BC with the help of Roman legions. Baba and his sons had resisted Herod at the time, with his sons henceforth persisted in insurrectionist activity against Herod. Baba himself had been captured and blinded by Herod but spared anyway as he no longer posed any threat. Writes Josephus: “Now the Sons of Babas were of great dignity, and had power among the multitude, and were faithful to Antigonus, and were always raising calumnies against Herod, and encouraged the people to preserve the government to that royal family (the Hasmoneans) which held it by inheritance.”
Costobarus had provided the Sons of Baba an indefinite lair “supposing that their preservation might be of great advantage to him in the changes of government afterward”. Following the Salome tip, Herod had Costobarus and the Sons of Baba summarily executed “so that none was left alive of the family of Hyrcanus (the Hasmonean), and the kingdom was wholly in Herod’s power, there being no one of high rank to stand in the way of his unlawful acts” per Josephus.