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Moses and Aaron

Returning to the matter of Biblical chronology and its imposition upon our world even down to the present day, we need to consider several things. The redactor and editor of the Bible selected the order of the stories in the new history to fulfill the function of tribal unification for purposes of political and religious control. This has resulted in many problems for those who have sought to find real history in the Biblical history.

We have seen that the Priestly source that amalgamated the stories of the loose tribal groups of Iron Age Canaan was constrained by the need to include several variations of the same story. His audience would have rejected any history that did not include oral traditions they actually knew. Also, the evidence suggests he assembled these stories in a certain order that was designed to create the illusion of a long history of chosenness. This is exactly the thing that Isaac Newton accused other ancient authors of doing, yet he did not consider it possible in regards to the Bible.

Nevertheless Newton outlined for us the process by which it was done. The editors of the Bible created their history by inserting segments of the Book of Generations, so that retellings of stories that occurred during the same time period suddenly looked like they d happened over many hundreds or even thousands of years. In other words, the stories horizontal arrangement in time became a vertical arrangement. What happened to many peoples suddenly happened to the chosen people. What is more, the stories that were passed from group to group about a single individual and series of activities, were often “personalized” to that specific group according to the idea of mythicization we have already discussed.

The way we need to think about these matters is to consider first the facts as we can discover them, and then see if any of the stories of the Bible fit to those facts in any way, disregarding entirely the manufactured genealogies and historical timeline of the Bible as it is presented in the Bible.

The Bible is supposed to be the history of a long series of eponymous founders. The different versions of the stories, assembled from the different tribes, were arranged in a vertical timeline across centuries, with the insertion of genealogies, most of which were uncertain and repetitious if not actually invented for the purpose. Even so, I have suggested, there is one story of a series of interactions situated in one frame of time reference that can be extracted from these stories that IS recorded in both Egyptian history and the Bible so accurately that the two sides of the story fit together like a hand in a glove. What is more, as I have suggested, understanding this event, this connection of a real historical event that is reported both in the Bible, and in Egyptian records, is the key to unlocking the entire puzzle of the Ark of the Covenant.

Returning to the reforms of Hezekiah after the fall of the northern kingdom, what is a descendant of Aaron to do in the southern kingdom, upon the arrival of all the northern refugees, carrying their stories and histories and genealogies? What are you going to do when your own role, as a priest of the Aaronic line is denigrated by these stories, and your role as the arbiter of the laws of Yahweh, and your income as the only group that can perform the sacrifice is being threatened?

Well, you write another Torah! What else? The P text was written as an alternative to J and E. In P, Aaron is introduced as the authority. In JE, miracles are performed in Egypt using Moses staff. But the author of P made it Aaron s staff. In JE, Aaron is introduced as Moses’ Levite brother, which could mean only that they are members of the same tribe, and not necessarily actually brothers as has been thought. But now, the author of P states categorically that Moses and Aaron were literal brothers, sons of the same mother and father. What s more, P states that Aaron was the firstborn!

In P, there are no sacrifices until the sacrifice made on the day that Aaron is consecrated as High priest. The author of P clearly didn t want anybody to have any ideas whatsoever that anyone other than an Aaronid priest could offer a sacrifice! The author of P deliberately omitted the sacrifices offered by Cain, Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When he couldn t omit the sacrifice from the story, he omitted the entire story.

For example: in the J version of the flood story, Noah took seven pairs of all the animals that were fit for sacrifice. P says he took only two of every kind. In J, at the end of the story, Noah offers a sacrifice. He needed the extra animals so he wouldn t wipe out a species! But in the P story, there is no sacrifice.

To the author of P, the issue of bloodline priests as the only intermediaries between man and god looms very large. There were no angels, no talking animals, no prophetic dreams, and most definitely anyone who oversteps such boundaries is to be put to death. In P, Yahweh is a universal, abstract god who created the heavens and the earth and brought punishment on mankind due to a cosmic crisis at the time of the flood. In J and E, god created the earth and the heavens – in that order – and god is personal and talks to man on intimate terms. The story of the flood was a cyclical great rain, not a cosmic disaster of guilt and revenge.

So it is that, throughout P we read about a cosmic god of order and control with whom man can communicate only via the offices of an ordained, bloodline priest, using the ordered rituals provided to the priest by Yahweh. Over and over again P reiterates that the Aaronid priest at the altar is the only access to god. These priests have become the psychopomp, the feminized participants in a bizarre hieros gamos with a male deity in which their role is symbolized by ritual castration – circumcision.

In Plutarch s Convivial Questions, one of the guests claims to be able to prove that the god of the Jews is really Dionysus Sabazius, the Barley-god of Thrace and Phrygia; and Tacitus similarly records in his History (v. 5) that some maintain that the rites of the Jews were founded in honour of Dionysus. The historian Valerius Maximus says that in the year 139 BC, the praetor of Foreigners, C. Cornelius Hispallus, expelled from Rome certain Jews who were trying to corrupt Roman morals by a pretended cult of Sabazian Jove. The inference is that the praetor did not expel them for a legitimate worship of this god, but because they were foisting a bizarre new rite on the Thracian religion – circumcision! It is curious that later followers of this perversion soon began to resort to full castration in adoration of their god, even after their god had transmogrified from Jehovah to Jesus! St. Augustine was one such, and it is conjectured that St. Paul was also a self-mutilated eunuch, though I disagree. In later times, this practice was modified to the idea of celibacy and monasticism which further obscured and distorted the Fire of Prometheus.

In the P text, there is not a single reference to god as merciful. The words mercy, grace, faithfulness and repent never occur. The writer intends for the reader to understand that forgiveness cannot be had just because one is sorry or has learned a lesson. Forgiveness can only, only, be had by sacrifice through an approved priest who then, because he is unable to fulfill the true function of the ecstatic ascent, makes a blood sacrifice to his god as a substitution.

The person who wrote the P document was not just changing a few stories: he was developing a complete concept of god – and his motivation was theological, political, and economic control. He also intended to establish one group as the legitimate authority on earth: the Aaronid Levites. The writer of P could not establish his authority just by defending Aaron or placing him in a better light. He also felt it necessary to deal with Moses and his descendants in a very careful way. This suggests that he realized that he was in a very precarious position.

With the arrival of the refugees from the northern kingdom, the Shiloh priests who were the descendants of Moses, the author of P couldn t just trash Moses outright. Moses was the national hero of the northern kingdom, the kingdom of the Omride dynasty, even if they had been displaced by Jezebel and her gods. Moses was, in fact, the founder of the northern kingdom.

So the creator of the P document couldn t just make up lies about any of it. But he could present the stories with a particular spin. He could make up certain details that could be claimed as “inside” or prior knowledge or revelation from god, if need be, to bolster his claims and position.

Being concerned with the idea that the people would accept the new Torah, the author of the P document had to consider what the people already knew and accepted. He had to artfully produce an account of the past that the audience would accept. So, for the most part, he accepted the place of Moses in the tradition, but he minimized his character and even completely twisted a couple of the stories to place Moses in a very bad light.[1]

The author of P also tells his own version of the revelation at Mount Sinai. P adds a detail at the end of the story that is, up to that point, very similar to the original. This detail is that there was something very unusual about Moses face when he came down from the mountain. When people looked at him, they were afraid to come near him, and he was forced to wear a veil. According to P, whenever we think of Moses for the last 40 years of his life, we are supposed to think of him wearing a veil.

What is it about Moses face? The meaning of the Hebrew term is uncertain, and for a long time, people thought that it meant that Moses had acquired horns. This resulted in many depictions of Moses with horns in Medieval art. Another interpretation was that something was wrong with Moses skin – that light beamed out from his skin. So many translations and interpretations go along with this idea and teach that there was glory shining from Moses face that hurt the eyes of the beholders. I was taught this version myself.

In more recent times, biblical scholar, William Popp, has assembled an array of evidence that suggests that the writer of P was telling his audience that Moses was disfigured in the sense that he is so horrible to look upon that the people cannot bear to see him. The text does tell us that the glory of Yahweh is like a consuming fire and this suggests that the flesh of Moses face has been eaten away making him a specter out of your worst nightmare. If this was an understood colloquialism of the time, then it is a masterly touch of manipulation by the author of P. He hasn t denigrated Moses, but he has created an image of horror that no one will want to contemplate!

However, I believe that there is a different reason for this allusion. Going back to our Sun-god allusion, we find that one of the early efforts to demonize the goddess was the symbolism of the Old Babylonian god Huwawa (Humbaba). Huwawa appears in the Gilgamesh stories as Enlil s guardian of the Cedar Forest, and we have some idea that cedar wood was very important to the god of Moses as presented in the P text. We also know the earlier importance of the fir tree to the birth goddess, so we find this Huwawa assimilating the goddess’ prerogatives as well. We also note that most interesting name: Huwawa. Sounds close to Yahweh to me!

The use of cedar in the sacrifices, and the demand to build the temple of cedar wood are indeed, most curious connections to this god Huwawa. In 2 Samuel, chapter 7:7, Yahweh is reported as saying to David via his prophet, Nathan,

In all places where I have moved with all the Israelites, did I speak a word to any from the tribes of Israel whom I commanded to be shepherd of My people Israel, asking, Why do you not build Me a house of cedar?

And then, in verse 13 Yahweh tells David that his son shall be the one to build this house. He shall build a house for My name and I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. In 1 Kings, 5:6, Solomon is recorded as requesting cedars from Lebanon to build the Temple of Solomon. Curiously, in the Bible story, Solomon raised a levy of forced labor for the cutting of the trees and building of the temple, quite similar to the stories of bondage in Egypt. The foundations of the temple were great costly stones which, of course, have never been found in Jerusalem.

Was the relationship of the terrible face of Moses, in comparison to the terrible visage of Huwawa, the guardian of the cedar forest, understood by the people? Huwawa was described as a giant protected by seven layers of terrifying radiance. He was killed by Gilgamesh and Enkidu in a story that is quite similar to the slaying of Goliath by David and Medusa by Perseus. In those stories, the Osirian hero prevails over the Setian serpent.

Melam and ni are two Sumerian words which are often linked. Strictly speaking ni seems to denote the effect on human beings of the divine power melam. The Babylonians used various words to capture the idea of ni, including puluhtu, fear. The exact connotation of melam is difficult to grasp. It is a brilliant, visible glamour which is exuded by gods, heroes, sometimes by kings, and also by temples of great holiness. While it is in some ways a phenomenon of light, melam is at the same time terrifying, awe-inspiring. Ni can be experienced as a physical creeping of the flesh. Gods are sometimes said to wear their melam like a garment or a crown, and like a garment or a crown, melam can be taken off. While it is always a mark of the supernatural, melam carries no connotation of moral value since demons and terrifying giants can wear it too.[2]

So, it seems that this is very likely the point that the writer of P was trying to make about Moses. Moses was being compared to Huwawa/Humbaba, the horrible guardian of the cedar forest, a variation on the sun-god whose face is so brilliant that it must be veiled; following which Huwawa/Yahweh demanded that his sacrifices contain cedar, and his house be built of cedar!

The author of P was not only eliminating things that he specifically rejected for theological or political reasons, he was also eliminating the long tales of the J and E texts. Retelling the wonderful stories of the people was not his intent; his intent was the business of establishing Yahweh and his agents: the Aaronid priesthood. He shows no interest whatsoever in the literary interests of the people, alluding to them only in short lines or paragraphs where they are mostly dismissed as pagan nonsense. In all of P there are only three stories of any length that are similar to JE: the creation, the flood and the covenant with Noah (excluding the sacrifice after the flood), the covenant with Abraham, (excluding his almost sacrifice of Isaac). He also added a story that is not present in the older documents: the story of the death of Aaron s sons Nadab and Abihu which is presented to instruct the people that the sacrifice must only be performed as commanded by god, even if it is performed by bloodline Levites! He was leaving no angle uncovered! The repeated emphasis on this point tells us that he was trying to change something that had existed for a long time: that anybody could enter the Tent of Meeting. But now, with a fake ark of the covenant in there, only the priests could enter. In this way, only they were able to see that the replacement ark was not the original. Clever, yes? The P writer seems overwhelmingly concerned with Sinai and the giving of the law, since half of Exodus, half of Numbers, nearly all of Leviticus, is concerned with the Levite law.

There is another story that P presents that has no parallel in the older accounts, so is thought to be entirely made up: the story of the cave of Machpelah. This story gives a lengthy description of the negotiations between Abraham and a Hittite over a piece of land with a cave on it which Abraham buys as a burial place for his family. Why does the P source, which leaves out so many fun facts and stories, divert to mention this mundane piece of business? Friedman believes that it is to establish a legal claim to Hebron, an Aaronid priestly city. But if that were the case, it could have been done any number of other ways. My thought is that maybe the story is not made up. Perhaps, since it was an Aaronid city, there was a certain tradition about it that was only now being added to the history. And maybe this tradition of Abraham being a Great Prince of the Hittites wasn t just blowing smoke because it does, indeed, indirectly point us in the direction of Huwawa! But what I think is more important is the fact that it points us away from something else that the author of the P text does not want us to consider.

At any event, we now have a pretty good idea of what was going on at the time of the Hezekiah reforms in the southern kingdom of Judah, after the fall of the northern kingdom. We don t know if Hezekiah went along with this plan because he was promised that he would benefit from the gifts to the priesthood, or if he was just simply convinced that it would assist his consolidation of power and expansionist aims. Whatever forces were behind the activity, we see that Hezekiah was casting himself in the role of a new Omri-David with his plans to rebel against the Assyrian empire. He organized the Phoenician and Philistine cities against Assyria, and he managed to get Egypt as an ally.

Assyria s Sennacherib launched a massive military response and captured the Judaean s fortress of Lachish in an assault that prefigured the Roman capture of Masada eight hundred years later. The excavations at Lachish tell part of the story. The rest of the story is at the palace of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire. There, depicted on the walls, is one of the few known representations of what Jews looked like in Biblical times. These panels are now in the British museum, with casts of them in the Israel Museum.

The story is that the Assyrians failed to bring Judah to her knees. When Sennacherib appeared on the horizon, the call went out for the kings of Egypt and the archers, chariotry and cavalry of the king of Kush, an army beyond counting, to come to fight the mighty Assyrian army. Egypt, under Shabaka, had a large standing army poised in the Delta, apparently waiting for the signal to march. In the end, we have contemporary evidence of this campaign in the Assyrian records, as well as Egyptian reliefs. These latter are rather general, employing the standard head smiting scene with some text.

There is no doubt that this battle was a serious reverse for Sennacherib, and he ultimately permanently withdrew from the Levant. However, the Bible tells us: And it was, that night, that an angel of Yahweh went out and struck one hundred eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp, and they rose in the morning and here they were all dead corpses. And Sennacherib traveled and went and returned, and he lived in Nineveh. Curious how the Egyptian army was transmogrified into an angel of Yahweh.

Nevertheless, this was the turning point in Judah s history. Though Sennacherib had laid waste to the outlying districts, Jerusalem had not fallen. And Jerusalem began to grow into the Holy City. The population increased because, obviously, it was more convenient to be close to the source of meat preparation. And the Levites grew in power.

The Sin of Manasseh: Exile in Babylon

After Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh came to the throne. During his reign, the Assyrians returned, and he must not have been very friendly to them because he was sent into exile in Babylon where the Assyrian king s brother was ruler. It is not known whether it was because the people demanded it, or because the Assyrian s put pressure on him, but Manasseh s exile ended after he and his son reinstituted pagan worship, including putting pagan statues in the Temple. They also rebuilt the sacrificial locations outside of Jerusalem. Manasseh was succeeded by his son, Amon, who was assassinated after only two years after which Amon s eight year old son, Josiah, became king. (At least according to one version!)

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem one and thirty years. And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the ways of David his father, and declined neither to the right hand, nor to the left. For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images. [ ]

Now in the eighteenth year of his reign, when he had purged the land, and the house, he sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, and Maaseiah the governor of the city, and Joah the son of Joahaz the recorder, to repair the house of the LORD his God. [ ] And when they brought out the money that was brought into the house of the LORD, Hilkiah the priest found a book of the law of the Lord given by Moses. And Hilkiah answered and said to Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of the LORD. And Hilkiah delivered the book to Shaphan.

And Shaphan carried the book to the king, and brought the king word back again, saying, All that was committed to thy servants, they do it. And they have gathered together the money that was found in the house of the LORD, and have delivered it into the hand of the overseers, and to the hand of the workmen. Then Shaphan the scribe told the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath given me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king. And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the law, that he rent his clothes. [ ]

And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college:) and they spake to her to that effect. And she answered them, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Tell ye the man that sent you to me, Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah.[ ]

And Josiah took away all the abominations out of all the countries that pertained to the children of Israel, and made all that were present in Israel to serve, even to serve the LORD their God. And all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of their fathers.[3]

Someone had created a document called The Law Code, that was different from the ritualistic laws of the P source, and this was then, suddenly discovered and officially endorsed as the Torah. This code was thus going to be woven into a new version of the official history.

As we see in the above account, in the eighteenth year of Josiah s reign, 622 BC, Josiah received word from his scribe, Shaphan, that the priest Hilkiah had found a scroll of the torah in the Temple of Yahweh. When Shaphan read the text of this book that Hilkiah had found to the king, Josiah tore his clothes, (a sign of anguish), and consulted a prophetess concerning its meaning. After this consultation, he held a giant national ceremony of renewal of the covenant between God and the people. The book that the priest Hilkiah said he found in the Temple in 622 BC was Deuteronomy.

So it was that Josiah, instituted another cleansing of Judah and centralization of religion after the manner of Hezekiah, overturning his father s and grandfather s more lenient practices. What was more, in addition to smashing the idols, cleansing the Temple, and destroying the high places, Josiah also extended his sphere of influence into the old kingdom of Israel in the highlands. Once again, everyone was required to bring all their sacrifices to Jerusalem, and the outlying priests were given menial jobs in the Temple.

The fact that the Assyrian empire was weakening and that there were tensions between it and Babylon at that time is probably what allowed Josiah to get away with what he was doing. As it happened, Egypt had now switched sides and was becoming friendly with Assyria; they both had designs on Babylon. Josiah, like Hezekiah, was definitely anti-Assyrian and throwing off the Assyrian yoke had been the goal of Judah for some time. Previously, when Egypt had been after Assyria, Judah had sided with Egypt. But now, Egypt was on the side of Assyria, and Babylon was against Assyria, so Josiah turned against the Egyptians who had helped Hezekiah, and went out to fight them on the side of Babylon. He met the Egyptian army at Megiddo and not terribly unexpectedly, he was killed.

Josiah s early death meant an end to political independence and religious reform. The high places were rebuilt yet again (!), and three of his sons and one grandson ruled for the next twenty-two years. Or so it is thought. The reader may think that the history in the Bible was a little confused over the Omri-Ahab time. You are about to witness about the most awful mess of historical writing skullduggery ever committed.

According to the accepted timeline, the first of Josiah s sons to ascend the throne was Jehoahaz, who ruled for three months until the Egyptian king dethroned him and hauled him off to Egypt, placing his brother on the throne. The brother, Jehoiakim ruled as an Egyptian vassal and managed to keep his seat for eleven years. Meanwhile, the Babylonians finally subdued the Assyrians, and cast their eyes on Egypt. Judah was more or less in the way and Johoiakim died in battle against the Babylonians.

Jehoiakim s son, Jehoiachin (yeah, I know, all these “Jehoia s” are getting tedious, but bear with me here), ruled for three months, but was captured by the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar exiled him to Babylon along with thousands of other Judaeans. Everybody who was educated, professional, or who could cause trouble in Judea behind his back, or might be useful in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar hauled back to Babylon with him. Nebuchadnezzar put another of Josiah s sons on the throne: Zedekiah.

Zedekiah managed to do all right for eleven years before he got stupid and rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar. That was the living end, and it was not a joke. Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian army came back and destroyed Jerusalem and exiled the rest of the population. Nebuchadnezzar brutally murdered the children of Zedekiah right before his eyes and then blinded him. It was the last thing he ever saw. Or so the story goes.

Thus ended the rule of the Davidic line.[4]

Nebuchadnezzar was tired of playing games so he appointed a Jewish governor, Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, the scribe who had reported the finding of the Deuteronomy scroll.

Now, as we noted, Josiah had been pro-Babylonian, and the Shaphan family was also pro-Babylonian. In fact, the prophet Jeremiah was pro-Babylonian. Nevertheless, having a pro-Babylonian governor from a family of scribes placed over them purportedly so infuriated the house of David that, two months later, a relative of that family assassinated Gedaliah.

That was a very bad idea. The people of Judah already knew that Nebuzzy had a notoriously bad temper and it was said that virtually the entire population fled to Egypt, although that was not exactly the case. Probably just the family and connections of the assassin left.

Now, before we attend the razing of Jerusalem, let s examine this new torah that was presented in the reign of Josiah a bit more carefully.

The book of Deuteronomy, which is the item in question, is presented as Moses farewell speech before his death. It is set in the plains of Moab.[5] There is a special relationship between the person who wrote this text and the next six books of the Bible[6]. It can be shown that this set of books is a thoughtfully arranged work that tells a continuous story the history of the people in their land. It was not by a single author because it was evident that there were accounts written by a different hand (the court history of David and the stories of Samuel). But it was clear that the finished product was the work of a single editor.

What emerges from the textual analysis is that this writer had selected from a group of stories available to him and had arranged the texts, either shortening or lengthening them as needed, adding occasional comments of his own. All of this can be detected by linguistic analysis. It is as clear as identifying fingerprints, and in this case, we can ironically refer to it as the fingerprints of God. In effect, this writer created the history of Israel extending from Moses to the destruction of the kingdom of Judah by the Babylonians. And he most definitely had an agenda.

For this man, Deuteronomy was the book the torah. He constructed everything that followed to support this idea. Deuteronomy was to be the foundation of the history. The book of Joshua picks up where Deuteronomy leaves off, thanks to this writer. Joshua develops the themes of Deuteronomy and refers to Deuteronomy. Many of the key passages of Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings use the same linguistic expressions that are present in Deuteronomy. It became clear to the scholars that the author of Deuteronomy was the producer of the next six books of the Bible: the Deuteronomistic history.

But there is a particular little difficulty: this writer occasionally speaks of things existing to this day, when the things in question actually only existed while the kingdom was standing. This begs the question: why would someone writing a history in, say 560 BC refer to something as existing to this day, when that something had ended back in 587?

In Kings 8:8 there is a reference to the poles that were used for hoisting and carrying the ark. It states that the poles were placed inside the Temple of Solomon on the day it was dedicated and that they have been there unto this day. Why would someone write these words after the Temple had burned down? This suggests to us that this is the writer who created the history of the Temple of Solomon as being in Jerusalem and applying this history to a temple that was most likely built during the reign of Hezekiah or even a temple that had been built for another god, but was taken over by Hezekiah in his “repair and cleansing” of the temple. But, more than that, why would he talk about a Temple that had items in it that had existed to this day when that temple and those items had all been destroyed?

The obvious solution is that there were two editions of the Deuteronomistic history. The original was by someone living during the reign of King Josiah. It was a positive, optimistic account of the people s history. It emphasized the importance of the Davidic covenant and made certain that the people realized that the Temple was the Temple of Solomon. This writer believed that the kingdom would thrive under Josiah and survive. But after Josiah s death, his sons disastrous reigns, and the fall of the kingdom, this original version of the national history was not only out of date, the tragic events had made its view completely foolish. So, someone wrote a new edition of the history after the destruction in 587.

This second edition was about 95 percent the same as the first edition. The main difference was the addition of the last chapters of the story the last two chapters of the book of 2 Kings which give the account of the reigns of Judah s last four kings. The updated history ends with the fall of Judah.

In the first version of the history, the editor referred to things as existing to this day because in Josiah s time they really still existed. The editor of the second edition did not bother to edit them out because that was not his concern. He was not rewriting the whole history or looking for contradictions to eliminate. He was simply adding the end of the story, with a little preface at the beginning.

There is another interesting thing that suggests that the author of Deuteronomy lived during the reign of Josiah. It has been pointed out that the length of the text dealing with Josiah is all out of proportion to his importance and achievements. There are other kings who lived longer and supposedly did more things. Josiah s reform was very short-lived. Not only that, the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, 2 Kings, and 2 Chronicles all suggest that Josiah s innovations were discarded after his death. So why was there so much emphasis on this one, minor and relatively unsuccessful king?

We have examples of similar writings in other times and places: Josiah was obviously the king when the history was written, and it was written to flatter him and to culminate in him by someone who was currying favor or seeking control.

There is another funny thing about this. The book of 1 Kings, chapter 13, tells a story about King Jeroboam. He set up the golden calves at Dan and Beth-El to celebrate a festival. When he came to the altar to burn incense, something very strange happened:

And here was a man of God coming from Judah by the word of Yahweh to Beth-El as Jeroboam was standing on the altar to burn incense. And he called out upon the altar by the word of Yahweh, and he said, Altar, altar. Thus says Yahweh: Here a son will be born to the house of David, Josiah by name, and he will sacrifice on you the priests of the high places who burn incense on you. He will burn human bones on you.

Now, the point is that this story about Jeroboam is supposed to be set three hundred years before the birth of Josiah! The fact is, there is no other case of such explicit prediction of a person by name so far in advance in any of the biblical narratives! What is more, later in the text, the Deuteronomistic writer of Kings and Chronicles made a special point of this story. He created the fulfillment of the prophecy by writing an account of how Josiah went to Beth-El to destroy the high place that has been there since Jeroboam s days. Just to make sure that the reader is sufficiently impressed, he describes how, while at Beth-El, Josiah sees some graves nearby and digs up the bones in them to burn on the altar to defile it according to the word of Yahweh. If, by this time, we are not sufficiently staggered at the predictive powers of the prophets of Yahweh, the writer drives home the point by describing how Josiah next notices the grave of the prophet who, purportedly three hundred years before, had predicted each of these specific actions! Upon finding out whose grave it is, Josiah tells everyone not to disturb the bones of such a great guy.

Actually, it is not just that there was a prediction of the birth of Josiah at the beginning of the history, and the fulfillment of the prediction later on that raises questions. The fact is, the writer of this history rates every single other king in between both of Israel and Judah below Josiah in significance and holiness and all other praiseworthy virtues! Josiah is just the cat s miaou! Most of the kings are rated as bad, and those that are rated as good are still not as good as Josiah. Even the great and heroic King David is criticized for adultery with Bathsheba. In other words, the writer of the Deuteronomistic history rates Josiah, and Josiah alone, as the unqualified model of kingly virtue. But history shows that Josiah did absolutely nothing except to make very bad political decisions and managed to get himself killed thereby. Whoever wrote this history wrote it at the beginning of what was hoped to be a new and wonderful dynasty, coordinated with a centralized religion, beginning with Josiah. And the author obviously saw his own place in this dynasty as significant.

Thus we come to the idea that the person responsible for seven books of the Bible was someone from Josiah s reign. This individual designed his history of the Jews to culminate in Josiah, who was, effectively, compared to Moses. In all the Bible, the words None arose like him are applied only to Moses and Josiah. The final words of Deuteronomy are And there did not arise a prophet again in Israel like Moses. The final comment on Josiah was …and none arose like him after him.

Here is another curious fact: the book of the torah is mentioned only in Deuteronomy, in Joshua, and then never again in the Hebrew bible except in one story: Josiah. Moses supposedly writes it, gives it to the priests, who place it beside the ark, and it ceases to be an issue until we find the story of its discovery by the priest Hilkiah.

The writer of the Deuteronomistic history describes Josiah as the culmination of Moses. Everything he did was modeled on Moses. The covenant with Moses is to be fulfilled in Josiah. And then: full stop, as Friedman notes. The story resumes after the death of Josiah from a radically different point of view.[7]

We also note that this writer s agenda is centralization of religion. All the kings who are rated as bad are those who restored the high places where the sacrifice could be made locally. The one consistent criterion applied to every king is based on this centralization of religion. But after Josiah, this criterion vanishes from sight. This suggests to us that religion was not centralized in the time of Josiah, but when the Bible itself was finally assembled during or at the end of the exile in Babylon, that was no longer an issue, it was a fait accompli; accomplished by the Persians, I should add..

King David also figures powerfully in the writings of the Deuteronomist. Half of the book of 1 Samuel, all of 2 Samuel, and the first chapters of 1 Kings deal with his life. The writer states explicitly that because of David s merit even a bad king of Judah cannot lose the throne as long as he is descended from David. He compares Josiah to David. The name David occurs about five hundred times in the Deuteronomistic history. Then, suddenly, it stops. The text stops referring to the Davidic covenant, no one is compared to David anymore, and it does not explain how this covenant failed to save the throne. What is more, we have already seen that the House of David was the Omride dynasty, and it was utterly destroyed by the Assyrians when they massacred the sons of Ahab. So, what is the deal here?

Someone created the book of Deuteronomy and the following six books of the Bible as one continuous work. The original edition told the story from Moses to Josiah. One of the primary features of this work was what is known as the law code. This law code takes up half of Deuteronomy chapters 12 through 26. And the first law is the centralization of worship. The second law is that the king must be chosen by Yahweh which, of course, means that a king reigns only by virtue of being approved by the priests. The further law codes include prohibitions against pagan religions, false prophets, rules covering charity, justice, family and community law, holidays and dietary laws, laws about war and slaves and agriculture and magic. Most especially, it refers repeatedly to the sustaining of the well-being of the Levites; all Levites, not just the Aaronid family.

So, clearly, the author of this series of books was not merely a scribe or someone from the royal court seeking to garner favor from Josiah. It strictly proscribes the power of the king, and gives the power firmly and fully into the hands of the Levites including the power of summoning the tribes to battle.

The fact that the writer of Deuteronomy favors Levites in general, with no specific mention of Aaron, indicates that this writer was of the lineage of the Shiloh priesthood of the Northern Kingdom who has been indoctrinated into the Yawist religion. Deuteronomy also never makes mention of the ark, the cherubs, or any other religious implements that were housed in the Jerusalem Temple. It also never refers to the office of High Priest an office of the Aaronid priesthood.

The law code does not reflect the views of the priests of Beth-El during the two hundred years between Jeroboam and the fall of Israel in 722. Those priests were not Levites. Deuteronomy only favors Levites. They are the only legitimate priests.

The conclusion is that the author of the Deuteronomistic history is a person who wanted to centralize religion, but not tied to the ark or to the Jerusalem priesthood itself. Yes, they cared about the Levites in general, but the focus was on a group of central Levites descended from Moses. This writer accepted a king as a necessity, but sought to insure that the king was controlled by this central group of Mushite Levites. And, most of all, this individual wanted to establish and maintain control over military actions. He wanted the power to wage war.

Well, as we noted, it started with Moses writing the torah and then ended with the triumphant recovery of the scroll, discovered by the priest Hilkiah, who then read it to Josiah, and Josiah (probably believing every word of it because it prophesied his own birth) implemented the whole deal.

Why do the experts think it was a priest of Shiloh? Because it minimizes the Aaronid priesthood mentioning Aaron only twice: once to say that he died, and once to say the God was mad enough to destroy him over the golden calf episode.

Further, this history actually presents Solomon in the worst light possible, giving him bad habits and a bad end. Then, of course, Josiah comes along and destroys all the sinful works of Solomon in terms of the setting up of the high places. It even specifies that these things that Josiah was destroying were built by Solomon. The Shiloh priests had an axe to grind because, three centuries earlier, or so their tradition said, Solomon or a reasonable facsimile – had tossed them all out on their ears and had instituted the Aaronid priesthood. Or so it was claimed. And we know already who it was that tossed the Shiloh priests of Yahweh out – it was Ahab and Jezebel.

Now, remember that Hilkiah the priest was the one who discovered the scroll, and Shaphan the scribe carried it to King Josiah and read it to him. As it happens, when Jeremiah later, after the fall of Jerusalem and the exile to Babylon, sent a letter to the exiles in Babylon, it was delivered for him by Gemariah, son of Hilkiah, and by Elasah, son of Shaphan.[8]

My my! Doesn t the plot thicken?! But hang on, it gets better.

Jeremiah was closely connected to Josiah s counselors who were involved with the book of the torah. Gemariah and Ahikam, sons of Shaphan stood by Jeremiah at several critical moments; once even saving Jeremiah from being stoned. It was Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, who was appointed governor of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar. It could be said that Jeremiah was associated with the pro-Babylonian party and was probably the one who gave Josiah the bad advice to side with Babylon against Egypt and Assyria. So much for the divine inspiration and superior advice of a priest of Yahweh. Seems to be so that every time his advice is taken, it leads to death and destruction for Israel. Maybe they ought to notice this.

More than this, Jeremiah is the one prophet in the Bible to refer to Shiloh. He calls Shiloh The place where I [God] caused my name to dwell. This was, essentially, the central place of worship.

As we mentioned above, Solomon-Ahab had not been very nice to the Shiloh priests. Their leader, Abiathar, had been one of Omri-David s two chief priests. They were expelled from Jerusalem by Solomon, banished to their family estate in the town of Anathoth. This was a town of the Aaronid priests, and presumably Abiathar could be kept under house arrest there.

So, how do we connect things here? The first verses of the book of Jeremiah says: The words of Jeremiah, son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth.

And now we know how this torah was discovered so conveniently at just the right moment. It was created just for that purpose. And we know who created it.

Jeremiah is a priest who never sacrifices which is consistent with the position of the priests at Shiloh. He is also the only prophet to allude to a story of Moses bronze snake.[9] That story comes from the E source, the Shiloh source. King Hezekiah had smashed that snake. His destruction of an ancient relic that was associated with Moses himself is astonishing in and of itself. But, the fact is, it was powerfully associated with the Shiloh priesthood. They were the ones who told the story of this serpent. They were the ones who held Moses in higher esteem than anyone, and they were, most probably, Moses descendants whoever Moses might have been. The term in Hebrew for the bronze snake was Nehushtan. Josiah married his son to a woman named Nehushta.[10]

Now we must ask another question: if such a document was written by the priests of the Northern kingdom, how did it find its way into the Temple in Judah since we know that the Aaronid priests had a pretty firm grip on things there? How did it become the law of the land?

Here we come to a very strange thing that I have alluded to above in terms of the confused genealogies. In I Chronicles 3:15 we read:

And the sons of Josiah were, the firstborn Johanan, the second Jehoiakim, the third Zedekiah, the fourth Shallum. In verse 16 we read: And the sons of Jehoiakim: Jeconiah his son, Zedekiah his son.

This means that there are two Zedekiahs. In any event, remember the fourth son of Josiah, Shallum.

In 2 Kings 23, the death of Josiah is recounted. Verses 30 and 31 tell us

And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from Megiddo, and brought him to Jerusalem, and buried him in his own sepulchre. And the people of the land took Jehoahaz the son of Josiah, and anointed him, and made him king in his father s stead. Jehoahaz was twenty and three years old when he began to reign; and he reigned three months in Jerusalem. And his mother s name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

The only problem at this point is that in the first passage from I Chronicles above, the four sons of Josiah are listed and none of them are named Jehoahaz. But, we do notice that the mother of the new king is named as a daughter of someone named Jeremiah who hails from the town of Libnah. This would mean that the new king is this Jeremiah s grandson, and that the dead king, Josiah was his son-in-law. In other words, Hamutal is the wife of Josiah.

Next we find in the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1:3

It [the word of the Lord] came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.

Very clearly here, Zedekiah, is the son of Josiah and Hamutal, and is the guy who is taken captive to Babylon.

Chapter 52 verse 1, tells us the following:

Zedekiah was one and twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother s name was Hamutal the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.

Remember what the chronology is supposed to be: The first son of Josiah, Jehoahaz. He is 23 years old when he came to the throne and he ruled for three months until the Egyptian king dethroned him and hauled him off to Egypt, placing his brother on the throne. The brother, Jehoiakim ruled as an Egyptian vassal for eleven years. He died in Battle against the Babylonians.

Jehoiakim s son, Jehoiachin, ruled for three months, but was captured by the Babylonians and exiled with everybody who was anybody. The Bible says in 2 Chronicles:

Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem: and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

I can hardly imagine what an eight year old can do that is evil in only three months. This is, however, directly contradicted by 2 Kings where it says:

So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.[ ] Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done.[ ] And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.[11]

At this point, the mysterious Zedekiah comes to the throne. He is a twenty-one year old son of Josiah and he reigned for eleven years before he was hauled off by the Babylonians.

Well, aside from the most interesting fact that we have a sort of doublet here in terms of the lengths of the reigns, there is the totally bizarre fact that in both sets, the three month reign ends in being taken hostage: Jehoahaz to Egypt, and Jehoiachin to Babylon. Not only that, but Jehoiakim s eleven year reign ends in him being killed in battle against the Babylonians, and Zedekiah s children are slain, his eyes are put out and he is taken in chains to Babylon.

All of that is confusing enough. But, we notice that after Jehoahaz is taken to Egypt, Pharaoh Necho supposedly put his brother on the throne. Once again, we have a double header. But this one has a twist: The second book of Kings, chapter 24, vs. 17 says:

And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah, Jehoiachin s uncle, king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

But the second book of Chronicles tells us, in chapter 35, vs. 10:

In the spring, King Nebuchadnezzar sent and brought him to Babylon, with the precious vessels of the house of the Lord, and made Zedekiah the brother [of Jehoiachin] king over Judah and Jerusalem.

This means that we have now used up three of Josiah s four sons. And if the Bible can be specific enough to name an uncle in one place, and a brother in another, I don t think that the argument that a brother can mean just a kinsman holds up. What is more, only one of the names of these brothers is the same as given in the genealogy: Johanan, Jehoiakim, Zedekiah, Shallum as opposed to: Jehoahaz, Jehoikim, Mattaniah. We also know that Jehoiachin is the only one of this little group of kings at this period of time whose existence has been confirmed by external evidence. Within the corpus of administrative documents found in the excavations of Babylon are some dating to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar. One broken document mentions providing rations to Jehoiachin, specifically named as the king of Judah, and to his sons. This same Babylonian document also mentions provisions for the Philistine king of Ashkelon, as well as for other kings. A second document, also broken, mentions the kings of Gaza and Ashdod performing duties for Nebuchadnezzar

So, who the heck is Shallum?

Well, first of all we remember that earlier in this chapter, we recounted the story of the finding of the book of Deuteronomy in the temple. It was found by the priest Hilkiah, apparently the father of Jeremiah, and it was turned over the royal scribe, Shaphan. The king then ordered Shaphan to do something: he sent Hilkiah to a prophetess!

And Hilkiah, and they that the king had appointed, went to Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvath, the son of Hasrah, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college).

So we find a possible strange connection here, even if the genealogy of the individual is given as being different from the Shallum with whom we are concerned.

In Jeremiah chapter 32, King Zedekiah, the last of Josiah s sons to reign, a purported brother of a son of Josiah named Shallum, has locked Jeremiah up in prison because Jeremiah keeps telling him that the Babylonians are going to get him. Jeremiah is ranting about this dreadful situation and tells us about a business transaction that he, Jeremiah, was instructed to undertake.

And Jeremiah said, The word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum thine uncle shall come unto thee saying, Buy thee my field that is in Anathoth: for the right of redemption is thine to buy it. So Hanameel mine uncle s son came to me in the court of the guard in accordance with the word of the Lord, and he said to me, I pray you buy my field that is in Anathoth, which is in the land of Benjamin; for the right of inheritance is yours and the redemption is yours; buy it for yourself. Then I knew that this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the field that was in Anathoth of Hanameel my uncle s son

This suggests that the Shallum in question is dead, the son has inherited, and that Jeremiah is the next of kin, giving him the first right of refusal to buy this field that the son of Shallum wants to sell. Of course, if Zedekiah were really a son of Josiah and a brother of the Shallum in question, he would have the right of redemption. So obviously we have either two Shallums, or just one Shallum.

Again, who is Shallum, listed as a son of Josiah? Is it the same Shallum who is listed as the uncle of Jeremiah? And who is the Jeremiah who is the father of the wife of Josiah, and therefore the grandfather of Zedekiah? Well, we can t be sure, but my personal opinion is that the genealogy has been doubled more than once and that a few people have been inserted here who may never actually have existed at that particular point in time and that there was only one Shallum whose name was added as a son of Josiah in order to establish a claim or a connection.

So, even if there is no way possible to determine the relationships or even the precise times, or how these names all came to be maneuvered into a timeline that obviously either did not exist, or was so confused as to make any attempts to sort it out futile, we still have a very powerful impression that Jeremiah, author of at least seven books of the Bible, had a definite agend in his prestidigitation of the putative “history of Israel,” was of the Davidic line himself, whatever that was supposed to mean, and that he was also connected somehow to the Aaronid line of priests. His exact personal relationship we cannot determine with any certainty, but he may actually have been a cousin of king Zedekiah, or father-in-law to Josiah. In either case, this is what gave him his in with the royal family. And he was trying to establish a line of inheritance, a political maneuver.

Getting back to the content of Deuteronomy, the final result of the analysis of the documents tells us that D and E complement each other. Both traditions refer to the mountain of Moses as Horeb. J and P call it Sinai. These traditions regard Moses as a superluminary individual. He is at the turning point of history, and is, in fact, the crucial element of history. His life and times are carefully and thoroughly developed with nothing comparable in the J and P sources. The Deuteronomistic books also give great emphasis to prophets. The word prophet occurs only once in P and never in the J source. The Deuteronomistic historian also gives great favor and support to the Levites. In J, however, the Levites are dispersed for having massacred the people of Shechem. In P, the Levites are separate from, and lower than, the Aaronid priests. And finally, D and E both regard Aaron as bad, referring to the golden calf event and the leprosy of Miriam. Neither of these is mentioned in either J or P.

If we take a close look at this history, we find a curious thing: all of the passages that mention the Davidic covenant divide into two categories: conditional and unconditional. In the first case, a representative of the line of David on the throne of Israel is conditional on the obedience of the people. In the event of the destruction of Israel, the Davidic covenant refers simply to holding the throne. Why is this? It is obviously because the writer had to finally re-edit his work. He had told the story of how the house of David began ruling the whole united kingdom of Israel, but that they had lost all of it except their own tribe of Judah which would be theirs forever. And then, he had to deal with the fact of the death of the sons of Zedekiah and the exile in Babylon.

Some have called this a pious fraud. Some would suggest that he made up the Davidic covenant. But it does seem, indeed, that the writer was only writing about what the people of this tribe believed. The Davidic covenant tradition appears in some of the psalms that were composed before the Deuteronomist ever wrote his history. So, he wasn t making the story up out of thin air; if he had tried to do that, who would have believed him? Nobody. He had to deal with accepted stories of the people around him. And this was one of them. He merely transferred the history he knew from the northern kingdom and placed it in the setting of the southern kingdom and appropriated it to those to whom it did not belong. In this way, he could write the prophecy in the early part of the book that would make Josiah out to be the messiah, and then all he had to do was work on Josiah to make it all come true.

The Deuteronomistic historian based his interpretation of the traditions and his additions to the work on four things: faithfulness to Yahweh; the Davidic covenant; the centralization of religion at the Temple in Jerusalem; and the torah as Deuteronomy, that is. His interpretations of what happened were that: the kingdom split because Solomon had forsaken Yahweh and torah. David s descendants retained Jerusalem because they had an unconditional covenant. The northern kingdom fell because the people and their kings did not follow the torah. And now, at the time of the writing, all was going to be smooth sailing because the torah had been rediscovered and Josiah, the descendant of David, was going to make everything right again!

And then Josiah took an Egyptian arrow, and the game was lost.

So, twenty-two years after the writing of this history, it all looked pretty sad and silly. The great eternal kingdom had ended ignominiously. The family that would never be cut off from the throne had not only been cut off, but had almost virtually ceased to exist. The great place that Yahweh had caused his name to dwell was in ashes and all the things that were said to exist to this day no longer existed.

So someone had to go back through the whole work and insert some changes that would explain this mess. He couldn t just add a few lines describing the later events; he had to save Yahweh s buns from the fire and make it comprehensible why the great dream of the followers of Yahweh had failed which ended up making Yahweh look like a half-wit himself. And the evidence shows that this is what was done. The evidence shows grammatical breaks such as shifts from singular to plural, special terms, themes, syntax and literary structure all designed to explain everything that had happened in terms of the breaking of the covenant so that Yahweh, above all, would stand forth as the only god. Never mind that all the advance planning that was supposed to have been attributed to Yahweh had fallen flat. Yahweh s face had to be saved. It was a dirty job, but somebody had to do it.

One of the most amazing things was the way Jeremiah dealt with the death of the chosen one , Josiah, at the hands of the Egyptians. What he inserted into the text was a prophecy of Yahweh from the mouth of the Egyptian king that was ignored by Josiah, resulting in his death.

But [Necho] sent ambassadors to [Josiah], saying, What have I to do with you, you king of Judah? I come not against you this day, but against the house with which I am at war; and God has commanded me to make haste. Refrain from opposing God, Who is with me, lest He destroy you. Yet Josiah would not turn away from him, but disguised himself in order to fight with him. He did not heed the words of Necho from the mouth of God, but came to fight with him in the valley of Megiddo.[12]

Aside from the fact that the story of a king’s disguise leading to his death in battle actually belongs to Ahab, as told in the 18th chapter of II Chronicles, it seems that this individual did not rewrite the whole thing; he only added occasional paragraphs here and there to the “After the death of Josiah edition.” He added passages that predicted exile, and it is noticeable when such prophecies break the context and shift the grammar.

Finally, to finish the whole thing off, the writer added in the reason for the exile: the people had followed after other gods. On this point, he only had to emphasize what was already written in Deuteronomy, that the worship of Yahweh alone was the first commandment. So, the exiled writer of this new edition added ten more references to the command against apostasy and tied every one of them to a reference to exile if this was not obeyed.

He then added this point to the last prophecy of God s that Moses hears. God tells Moses that after he is dead:

This people rise and whore after alien gods of the land into which they are coming, and they will leave me and break my covenant which I have made with them. And my anger will burn against them in that day, and I shall leave them, and I shall hide my face from them, and they will be devoured, and many evils and troubles will find them [13]

The Deuteronomist then had to find a plausible guilt hook for the whole thing, and the textual analysis reveals this, as well. It was obvious he couldn t blame Josiah after all the praises heaped on him, despite the fact that Josiah wasn t a very convincing hero in terms of the actual events of his life. Thus, his silly wasted life was played so as not to contradict his position as a hero. A reason for the death and destruction and exile had to be found that kept Josiah in the exalted position he had been assigned, and the only way to do it was to make his exalted position a grand and noble – but futile – attempt to right the most terrible of all wrongs, but as wonderful as Josiah was he was unable to balance the evil of…

Manasseh.

Yes, indeed Josiah s grandfather. According to the first version of the Deuteronomistic history, Manasseh had undone all the religious reforms of his father, Hezekiah. He had set up a statue of the goddess Asherah and built altars to pagan gods in the temple precincts. This had set the stage for the story of Josiah and his great reforms that were even more holy and complete than those of Hezekiah.

But, the revision of the D history elaborates on Manasseh s crimes and adds in the consequences of those crimes. Again, this is clearly evident in the textual analysis. Here is what was added:

Manasseh instigated them to do wrong, more than the nations that Yahweh had destroyed before the children of Israel. And Yahweh said by the hand of his servants the prophets,

Because Manasseh King of Judah has done these abominations he has caused Judah to sin by his idols. Therefore I am bringing such evil on Jerusalem and Judah that the ears of whoever hears about it will tingle I shall wipe Jerusalem the way one wipes a plate and turns it over on its face. And I shall reject the remnant of my possession and put them in their enemies hand, and they will be a spoil and booty for all their enemies, because they have done wrong in my eyes and have been angering me from the day their fathers went out of Egypt to this day.[14]

Heavy-duty guilt trip! Manasseh is so bad, and the people are so bad by following along with him, that it is now prophesied that the kingdom will fall. And then, the writer jumps to the end of the scroll and, where it says no king ever arose like Josiah, he added But Yahweh did not turn back from his great fury which burned against Judah over all the things in which Manasseh had angered him. [15]

There is a question with all this, however, because when we read the texts in question, we find that the shoe does not fit. For example, in 2 Chronicles, starting with chapter 32, vs.33, we read the following story:

And Hezekiah slept with his fathers, and they buried him in the chiefest of the sepulchres of the sons of David: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem did him honour at his death. And Manasseh his son reigned in his stead. Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem, but did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.

And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.

And when he was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto him: and he was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord he was God.

Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the LORD, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city.

And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel.

Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only.

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and his prayer unto his God, and the words of the seers that spake to him in the name of the Lord God of Israel, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Israel.

His prayer also, and how God was entreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.

So Manasseh slept with his fathers, and they buried him in his own house: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.

Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem.

But he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, as did Manasseh his father: for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made, and served them; and humbled not himself before the LORD, as Manasseh his father had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more.

And his servants conspired against him, and slew him in his own house. But the people of the land slew all them that had conspired against king Amon; and the people of the land made Josiah his son king in his stead.

First of all, something very fishy is going on here. Now we have another guy who was hauled off to Babylon by the Assyrians. Only this one was miraculously returned without a single raised eyebrow. He did a few rotten things, was punished, prayed some sort of wonderful prayer that is nowhere to be found in the Bible, even though it is said that Manasseh s prayer is recorded in the book of Kings and a book called the “sayings of the seers.” What is the “sayings of the seers?”. They aren t there. What is there is the following:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother s name was Hephzibah. And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.

And he built altars in the house of the LORD, of which the LORD said, In Jerusalem will I put my name. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.

And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the Lord said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I make the feet of Israel move any more out of the land which I gave their fathers; only if they will observe to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the law that my servant Moses commanded them.

But they hearkened not: and Manasseh seduced them to do more evil than did the nations whom the LORD destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake by his servants the prophets, saying, Because Manasseh king of Judah hath done these abominations, and hath done wickedly above all that the Amorites did, which were before him, and hath made Judah also to sin with his idols: Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Behold, I am bringing such evil upon Jerusalem and Judah, that whosoever heareth of it, both his ears shall tingle. And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and turning it upside down. And I will forsake the remnant of mine inheritance, and deliver them into the hand of their enemies; and they shall become a prey and a spoil to all their enemies; because they have done that which was evil in my sight, and have provoked me to anger, since the day their fathers came forth out of Egypt, even unto this day.

Moreover Manasseh shed innocent blood very much, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another; beside his sin wherewith he made Judah to sin, in doing that which was evil in the sight of the Lord.

Now the rest of the acts of Manasseh, and all that he did, and his sin that he sinned, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza: and Amon his son reigned in his stead.[16]

Will the real Manasseh please stand up? It sounds like two completely different people! Not only that, but the mention of the captivity of Manasseh in Babylon is missing, as well as his repentance and his repairs of the Temple that are recited in Chronicles. Just what is going on here?

Speaking of repairs to the temple, it was actually during repairs to the Temple that the purported scroll of the Torah of the Levites was discovered during the reign of Hezekiah, Manasseh s father. Again, one has the sensation of loss of balance here; a page has been torn out. Is it possible that Hezekiah and Manasseh were one and the same person? In fact, we find a strange resonance between the humbling event of Manasseh and something that humbled Hezekiah, but which is not elaborated:

In those days Hezekiah was sick to the death, and prayed unto the Lord: and he spake unto him, and he gave him a sign. But Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up: therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem. Notwithstanding Hezekiah humbled himself for the pride of his heart, both he and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah.[17]

Somehow it sounds like Hezekiah wasn t the great guy he was portrayed to be and Manasseh was not as wicked as he was depicted. What s more, it is increasingly evident that some sort of cover-up is going on here. What and why? We may never know, but such questions need to be asked, and such texts need to be considered when one is deciding whether or not to believe that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God. My thought is that the story of Hezekiah and Manasseh is just another doublet of the story of Omri and Ahab. One begins to wonder if the exile of the Jews really began with the fall of the Northern Kingdom and if everything that was added after that, the whole history of the Southern Kingdom and its kings and so on, wasn’t just simply made up by priests in exile to justify their “return” the the “rebuilding” of a temple that was never “built” in the first place?

This leads to another problem that the writer of this history had to deal with was the promise of Yahweh that King Solomon s Temple would last forever. He had already written, obviously under some kind of guidance, [18] that God said:

I have sanctified this house that you have built to set my name there forever, and my eyes and my heart will be there all the days. [19]

Well, that s pretty definite! But now, the writer was facing the fact that everything was gone, ashes, destroyed. What to do? He obviously wasn t ready to give up the idea that this had been promised to Israel. So, he enfolded the promise in the conditional nature of the Mosaic covenant. He added four sentences wherein God tells the people that if they do not keep the commandments he has given them, he will exile them and reject the Temple.

He then did something else: a long list of curses were added to the text of Deuteronomy proper. This list of curses that would fall on the people if they did not keep the covenant is still about the most awful passage in the text. It included diseases, madness, blindness, military defeats, destruction of crops and livestock; starvation and cannibalism and then, the clincher: the last curse of Deuteronomy is And Yahweh will send you back to Egypt.

The last sentence of 2 Kings is: And the entire people, from the smallest to the biggest, and the officers of the soldiers, arose and came to Egypt, because they were afraid of the Babylonians.

And so, until the return of the exiles, the biblical texts warred with each other as the weapons of the battle of the priests for the control of the peoples minds. It was the final editor in Babylon who put it all together, blending and combining the four documents, cutting and pasting, adding and subtracting, glossing and enhancing in so marvelous a way that most people read the text and get the feeling that it is one continuous story. Only occasionally did he slip and make it obvious to even the untrained eye that something was wrong. But for the trained eye, for the seeker of the deeper truths of the Bible, the winding and turning of the text, first this way and then that, becomes evident. It finally reveals itself as a maze with something at the center that some think is God. And, perhaps it is. The only question is: What God?

Another question at this point in the discussion is this: if there was no Ark of the Covenant, no Temple of Solomon as the Bible tells us, then what about the now famous story of the Templars and their doings in the Temple? What about the claims of many occult and secret societies – most of whom stake claims on Egyptian Secrets transmitted through Moses to Judaism? Is it possible that these stories were made up after the fact as the legendary alchemist Fulcanelli has suggested? If that is the case, who were the Templars really and what were they doing and where?

That brings us back to our problem of Abram and Sarai in Egypt. This entire story will require a further volume to explicate adequately, but allow me to just propose here that Sarai and Nefertiti were one and the same person; that Abraham and Moses were one and the same person; and that they may have been in possession of some sort of “object of cultic value,” if not an ancient techno-marvel, and that they took it away from Egypt when they fled during the eruption of Thera which, after they had departed, caused the mad Pharaoh, Akhenaten, to come after them in a fury. If the real story was: “give me back my wife” rather than: Let my people go, and the drama played out in the midst of a geological and atmospheric catastrophe leading to the collapse of the Bronze Age at the median time of 1600 BC, then we have a useful lynchpin upon which to evaluate the rest of the chronology. And if, in fact, there were concurrent Hyksos and Theban dynasties, and Abram was possibly connected to the Hyksos, then we also have a framework in which to understand the mythicization as well as the problems of the story of Akhenaten.

Reassembling the original story from its scattered pieces, given as stories of different characters: Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Jacob, Esau, Moses and Aaron, and even the exploits of the great King David, we have some hope of coming close to what really may have happened and who was who. As mentioned, I plan to devote another volume to comparison and analysis of these individuals, but for the moment, I believe that the creative thinker can go to the original texts, extract the elements of these stories, arrange them in columns, and see for themselves that there are so many correspondences that it is extremely likely that it was all about a single individual, or small group, who lived at a single period of history, and that period was the time of the eruption of Thera. One thing that strikes me as particularly important is this: if Abram and Moses were one and the same person, if Sarai and Nefertiti were one and the same person: “A beautiful woman has come,” we must think about the fact that the one thing that these men all had in common – including Akhenaten – was Monotheism, and this may have had more to do with the woman in question – who was shared among them – than anyone might think.

And that takes us back to that odd event recorded in Genesis 33:11, where something was transferred from Jacob to Esau.

Perhaps it was the Ark of the Covenant? The “Blessing?”

And if that is the case, and it was taken EAST, which is a most intriguing idea when considering the grail stories and certain remarks of Fulcanelli: that we are to have faith in the story of Plato, and in that story, we are told that the Greeks were instructed by the Arabs which certainly makes us wonder who were these original Arabs who seem to be the Tribe of Dan. And we note, of course, the name similarity to Danae, the mother of Perseus. And of course, Perseus had the gorgon s head which was so similar in function to the Ark of the Covenant, and the stories belong to the ancient Scythians.
Continue to Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols

[1] See the differences in the water from the rock” stories in Exodus 17:2-7 and Numbers 20:2-13.
[2] Black, Jeremy, and Green, Anthony, Gods, Demons and Symbols of Ancient Mesopotamia (Austin: University of Texas Press 1992).
[3] The Bible, 2 Chronicles 34.
[4] Even if we have very strong suspicions that the Davidic Line” was so manipulated and/or falsified that to try to sort it out would be like cleaning the Augean stables.
[5] Remember that Moab was Hell city” to the Aaronid priesthood.
[6] The Bible, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel; 1 Kings.
[7] Cf. Friedman, p 136 ff.
[8] The Bible, Jeremiah, 29: 1-3.
[9] The Bible, Jeremiah, 8: 17-22.
[10] The Bible, 2 Kings, 24:8.
[11] The Bible, 2 Kings, 24:6.
[12] The Bible, 2 Chronicles, 35:21-22.
[13] The Bible, Deut 31: 16-18.
[14] The Bible, 2 Kings 21:8-15.
[15] Well, it almost seems like Manasseh is really Zedekiah. But no point in going off on another series of speculations on that point
[16] The Bible, 2 Kings: 21.
[17] The Bible, 2 Chronicles 32.
[18] We will deal in a future volume with the possible source of this guidance.
[19] The Bible, 1 Kings, 9:7.

The reader may wish to order the book The Secret History of The World in order to have the full context of the discussion “Who Wrote the Bible.”

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