by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Ancient Science Future Science: Finis Gloria
Mundi - The Living Fourth Way
Returning to the matter of
Biblical chronology and its imposition
upon our world even down to the present day, we need to consider
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.
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
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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
panels are now in the British museum, with casts of them in the
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
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
The Sin of Manasseh
- Exile in Babylon
After Hezekiah died, his son, Manasseh came to the throne.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
all his days they departed not from following the LORD, the God of
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
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.
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.
again, everyone was required to bring all their sacrifices to
Jerusalem, and the outlying priests were given menial jobs in the
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,
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
Or so the story goes.
Thus ended the rule of the "Davidic" line.
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
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
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
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. There is a special relationship between the person who
wrote this text and the next six books of the Bible.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
from a radically different point of view.
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
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
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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
"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.
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.
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
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
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
"And his servants carried him in a chariot dead from
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
then ordered Shaphan to do something: he sent Hilkiah to a
"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
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
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
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 agenda 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.
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.
Getting back to the content of Deuteronomy, the final result of the
analysis of the documents tells us that D and E complement each
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
His interpretations of what happened were that: the kingdom
split because Solomon had forsaken Yahweh and torah.
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
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
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
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
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.
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."
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
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
The Deuteronomist then had to find a plausible guilt hook for the
whole thing, and the textual analysis reveals this, as well.
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.
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...
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
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
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.
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
There is a question with all this, however, because when we read the
texts in question, we find that the shoe does not fit.
in 2 Chronicles, starting with chapter 32, vs.33, we read the
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
In fact, we find a strange resonance between the
event" of Manasseh and something that humbled Hezekiah, but which is
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.
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
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
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?
Another problem that the writer of this history had to deal with was
the promise of Yahweh that King Solomon's Temple would last
He had already written, obviously under
some kind of "guidance,"
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
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
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
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
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, 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.
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
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.
thing that strikes me as particularly important is this: if Abram
and Moses were one and the same person, if Sarai and
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
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
 See the differences in the "water from the rock" stories in
Exodus 17:2-7 and Numbers 20:2-13.
 Black, Jeremy, and Green, Anthony, Gods, Demons and Symbols of
Ancient Mesopotamia (Austin: University of Texas Press 1992).
 The Bible, 2 Chronicles 34.
 Even if we have very strong suspicions that the
was so manipulated and/or falsified that to try to sort it out would
be like cleaning the Augean stables.
 Remember that Moab was "Hell city" to the Aaronid priesthood.
 The Bible, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1 & 2 Samuel; 1 Kings.
 Cf. Friedman, p 136 ff.
 The Bible, Jeremiah, 29: 1-3.
 The Bible, Jeremiah, 8: 17-22.
 The Bible, 2 Kings, 24:8.
 The Bible, 2 Kings, 24:6.
 The Bible, 2 Chronicles, 35:21-22.
 The Bible, Deut 31: 16-18.
 The Bible, 2 Kings 21:8-15.
 Well, it almost seems like Manasseh is really Zedekiah. But no
point in going off on another series of speculations on that point
 The Bible, 2 Kings: 21.
 The Bible, 2 Chronicles 32.
 We will deal in a future volume with the possible
 The Bible, 1 Kings, 9:7.