Jacob / Israel 1836 BC – 1689 BC, contemporaneous with Shem, Eber, Abraham
Key Precept: The nation of Israel was chosen to expand existing leadership in the spiritual Kingdom of Heaven and Earth for all humanity.
As this study reaches the point at which the nation of Israel comes into existence, don’t abandon the foundational theme, plots and definitions already established. If we maintain consistency in applying the theme of the Bible to our interpretation, as with any other work of literature, we will avoid the all-too-common practice of lifting passages out of context to make the text say the exact opposite of what the entire message actually is.
Why would anyone do that? To benefit one person or group at the expense of others. This is a common strategy among:
- family, friends and co-workers using gossip to damage others’ reputations in order to gather supporters during conflicts of interest,
- politicians to smear their opponents during an election campaign,
- military tacticians using propaganda to minimize opposition,
- historians and educators re-writing history to strengthen grassroots support of a changing paradigm,
- and of course, religious leaders setting themselves up as the source of truth in order to gather a following.
Patching together desired pieces of the biblical message while repudiating the undesired parts or even denying the validity of the whole book is how there are so many religions and even more denominations. If we will treat the Bible as one coherent piece of literature, we will be able to recognize the falsehoods on which the many Bible-based religions have staked their claim. But the fact that there are so many spinoffs from the Bible indicates there is some fundamental truth in this book for so many religions to use it to validate themselves.
That truth is the sinful/self-centered heart of every person which explains the inevitable conflicts between individuals and nations and the need to transform into gentle, generous people through some means to prevent chaos and destruction. Whether directed by a Creator Father God, psychotherapists, other-worldly beings, or self, the goal of every transformative process is overcoming self-imposed limitations and destruction caused by one’s own sin, trauma caused by others, evolution in consciousness, or whatever the same underlying characteristic in every human being is called.
And one of the oldest is Judaism. I know. I sound racist and I’ve very sorry about that. Please don’t take me out of context. After all, the second one I’ll address is Christianity’s replacement theology, the third is my own upbringing fundamentalist dispensationalism, and the list goes on and on.
So let’s approach this next section of the Bible with an open mind, not prejudiced one way or another from previous assertions you heard but didn’t take the time to prove from the supposed source text. In the end, you choose what you want to believe, but at least give yourself options.
Let’s start with a recap of the last post to ensure continuity.
This chart is for referencing back to as you read the narrative.
AM BC Births Deaths
1556 2448 Shem lived 602 yrs – can be extrapolated to cousin Ham
1656 2348 The Flood
1658 2346 Arphaxad lived 438 yrs – can extrapolate to cousin Canaan
1693 2311 Salah lived 433 yrs – can extrapolate to cousins Sidon & brothers
1723 2281 Eber lived 464 yrs – last of the long-lived ancestors
1786 2218 Nimrod same generation as Salah, lived 500 yrs
1819 2185 Serug lived 230 yrs
1849 2155 Nahor lived 228 yrs
1878 2126 Terah lived 205 yrs
2008 1996 Abram lived 175 yrs
2100 —————————————————————————— Canaan
2108 1896 Isaac lived 180 yrs
2158 1846 Shem
2168 1836 Jacob/Israel & Esau lived 147 yrs
2183 1821 Abraham
2187 1817 Eber
~2200 ~1800 Sons of Jacob live from 110-137 yrs
~2286 ~1718 Nimrod (by Esau)
2288 1716 Isaac
2315 1689 Jacob
2433 1571 Moses lived 120 yrs
Shem’s great-grandson Eber is the father of the Hebrews, the nation Abraham joined when he left the Chaldean nation he was born into through his father Terah. Eber was born shortly after the flood, before the final countdown deterioration in lifespans, outliving his great-great-grandson Abraham. He still alive to provide personal leadership for his nation to Abraham’s son Isaac and grandson Jacob/Israel as well as living memory reminiscence leadership through them for generations after. We need to keep the Hebrew national background in view as the story line narrows its focus from the whole world at the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 to Abraham’s offspring from Genesis 12 onward, without altering its theme and main plot.
“Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country [Chaldea], and from thy kindred [extended clan providing protection and sustenance], and from thy father’s house [this would be the oldest living clan leader, in context Arphaxad/Sargon, NOT the aged parent Terah who Abram had an obligation to honor by caring for], unto a land that I will shew thee: So Abram departed, as the LORD had spoken unto him…and into the land of Canaan they came. (Gen 12:1-5)
We can extrapolate Canaan’s place on the calendar by matching him up with his cousin Arphaxad, and discover that at this stage of history Canaan is still alive and the land “of Canaan” is literally where he has staked a claim. This is the western leg of the fertile crescent, highly prized territory. No wonder he snatched it up, quite likely as an early empire-expanding strategy under his nephew Nimrod during the tower of Babel era when the whole world was under his control. It is known, as we shall discover shortly, that Nimrod did indeed take, or re-take, control of this territory later on.
Look at the map. Like the land of Chaldea / Arphaxad the land of Canaan is also filled with warring city-states. Abram just moved from one hot spot to another. What was the point in that? The answer is found in the instructions given to move there (Genesis 12:1-5).
Abram was sent into battle.
- And I will make of thee a great nation. This is the post-Babel epoch when nations were coalescing around national fathers. There is no nation in history that came into being and survived long enough to make it into the history books that didn’t fight to define and maintain its own identity and geographical boundaries. Archeological sources confirm the biblical record that Canaan and his direct descendants were by no means the only tribes claiming and fighting for pieces of this valuable property on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean. And Abram and his small household were by no means unique rivals. For that reason alone we have no business criticizing him for doing so. Be fair.
- and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: by making Abraham’s nation, like America, a haven for the peoples seeking freedom from oppression and want.
- And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee. The blessing part of this statement is usually highlighted, but this does not grant Abram some random, capricious, undeserved favor. The cursing is usually what is felt. This declaration is not a gift, but is a tremendous burden and responsibility, indicating that Abram will be the representative of Almighty God himself. People are reacting to God when they react to Abram.
- “And the LORD said unto Samuel [the priest-king], Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (I Samuel 8:7)
And anyone acting for God can expect to be cursed, like Goliath towards David, or Jezebel towards Elijah, or the young people – old enough to know exactly what their insults meant and it wasn’t his looks – towards Elisha, or certain Jews who conspired to kill the apostle Paul for his teaching that faith in the Promised Savior, not good works of Judaism, was the way to salvation for all nations.
The Melchizedekian priesthood does not have to be stated to be understood that is was is delegated here. At this time Abram was probably given a special garment, like the Israelite High Priest when he served as in the Levitical priesthood. It is possible that Joseph’s famous coat of many colors was just such a garment, and this means Jacob/Israel publicly proclaimed his oldest son by his favorite wife as his heir to the Melchizedekian priest-kingship. Giving a royal garment was certainly standard practice in publicly designating the heir to the throne. King Saul’s son Jonathan did so when he deferred to David. Solomon inadverdently transferred the kingdom from his son to Jeroboam, a subordinate he had only intended to promote, when he gave him a royal garment. In any case clothing is just one way we identify ourselves. Abram’s God was most manifested when he ostentatiously acted out the will of the Most High God in contrast to the greedy, self-centered exploitive power-hungry leaders identifying themselves with their gods.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in the Promised Savior, Who…made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and… humbled himself, and became obedient… Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him…For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life;” (Philippians 2:5-16)
- and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed. This is typically taught as meaning that the Promised Savior would be a descendant of Abraham, which is true, but there is an immediate aspect to this pronouncement that shouldn’t be overlooked. In context, “all the families of the earth” are just coming into existence and scattering across the earth. This is good in that people are escaping oppression. Consider how many Jews were willing to give up everything just to get out of Nazi Germany. But there was a downside as well, primarily in loss of access to knowledge of the one true God. Abram is not a passive recipient of an arbitrary honor, he is being assigned the most important job on earth. Like the President of the United States, he has been chosen to preserve, protect, and defend liberty and justice for all in the one nation capable of doing so because it is the only one whose constitution is the written word of God.
More than 70 years ago, Arendt wrote about the refugee crisis during World War II in a brief essay entitled, “We Refugees.” …In 1993…the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben reflected on Arendt’s essay within the context of his time. If the refugee was regarded “as the paradigm of a new historical consciousness,” the camp became the symbol of modernity itself. …Arendt’s argument that statelessness is a consequence of the modern nation-state forms the backbone of much of Agamben’s powerful critique of sovereignty. The political and legal structure of the nation-state based on the rights of man and citizen excludes those who are not citizens. The exclusion of the stateless, as we witness today, results in the administration of the excluded by national agencies, smugglers, strangers, charities, international organizations and, most tellingly, the police. Agamben is, of course, right. “We Refugees” needs to be read in the context of Arendt’s…The Origins of Totalitarianism.
“And the king of Sodom went out to meet him [Abram], after his slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, at the valley of Shaveh, which is the king’s dale [flat space able to accomodate large groups of men, such as armies]. And Melchizedek king of Salem…was the priest-king of the most high God. (Gen 14:17-18)
In a previous post we studied how the noun identifying a person, place, or thing is the grammatical conversion of the verb describing the actions associated with that entity. An analysis of the name ‘Jerusalem’ (where the English J is a Y in Hebrew), enlightens our understanding of the function of this city.
The forms ירה (yrh) and ירא (yr’) …reflect an exchange of energy from a higher, dispensing level to a lower, receiving level. It appears that the form ירה (yrh) mostly describes the sending of the energy; either the exchange viewed from the perspective of the dispensing side, or else the shock-free absorption of the energy on the receiving side. The form ירא (yr’) appears to deal mostly with the receiving of the energy; the exchange viewed from the perspective of the receiving side, and that usually with the anticipation of intense alteration.
The general meaning of the graceful verb שלם (shalem) is that of wholeness, completeness or “unbrokenness” (and see for the opposite the verb רעע, ra’a)…
In the Hebrew language it’s quite simple to indicate not only a condition (like shalem), but also the means to get there (to “shalemize”). The usage of this shalemize form in Scriptures is quite revealing. Wholeness is achieved or restored most often by some kind of restitutory payment or covenant…shalem is used when vows are to be paid to the Most High, or when days of mourning are to be completed (Isaiah 60:20), and ties in directly to the Messiah and his salvific work (Joel 2:25).
The derivatives of this verb are:
- The famous masculine noun שלום (shalom), meaning peace (Isaiah 32:17). Peace in the Bible doesn’t just indicate a warless state, but rather a state of completeness and harmony or rather un-dividedness. It also covers completeness (Jeremiah 13:19), prosperity (Genesis 43:27), health and safety (Psalm 38:4).
- The masculine noun שלם (shelem) peace offering or a sacrifice for alliance or friendship (Amos 5:22, Exodus 24:5).
- The denominative verb שלם (shalam), meaning to be in a covenant of peace (Job 22:21, Isaiah 42:19).
Peace and how to make it..
Peace — defined as the absence of conflict or discord — may be achieved in…such a level of understanding of irreconcilable elements that these can be…joined, in…a unified theory or system of definition. This process requires no censoring and demonstrates all elements to be most intimately related to the identity of the whole. The key-word of this process is relationship. That’s what this root means.
In Hebrew, peace-making means whole-making, and not warm-fuzzy-deny-your-concerns-and-stop-being-difficult-making. Hebrew peace-making requires the effortful acquisition of intimate knowledge of one’s opponent, and since in Hebrew love-making is pretty much the same as knowing someone (the verb ידע, yada’, means both to know and to have sex…the command to “love your enemy” (Matthew 5:44) has not a lick to do with placidly suffering abuse and trying to conjure up lofty feelings for the brute who’s mistreating you, and everything with studying your enemy until you know enough about him to either appreciate his motives (and behave in such a compatible way that he stops assaulting you) or else blow him out of the water by being superior.
When Jesus says, “blessed are the peace-makers” (Matthew 5:9), he does not refer to those people who insist we should all assume a state of blissful indifference, but rather those people who grab the bull by the horns and stare deep into his eyes and pick his brain with an axe. Making peace starts with making a relationship with your enemy, and it results in getting to know your enemy (which in turn makes the chance excellent that at some point your enemy will stop being your enemy).
The first mention of Urusalim can be traced to Egyptian Execration Texts [cursing their enemies]. The Early Execration Texts…date to the late 20th and 19th centuries B.C… with the Later Execration Texts dating to the late 19th century B.C. In the earlier texts only a few cities are mentioned in this region of Canaan. Jerusalem, Ashkelon and Rehobin are the chief ones in Palestine. In the later texts, the two principal cities of the region are Shechem and Jerusalem…Indeed this is proof that the cities in the patriarchal narrative were in fact occupied and in existence during the Middle Bronze Age (ca 2000-1550 BC)
Ironically, the Egyptian curses benefit their enemies. These texts support the biblical account that the city was called Jerusalem, the religious center of the Hebrews, in the time frame in which Abram entered the land of Canaan.
Some generations later, Abraham’s great-grandson renames this territory “the land of the Hebrews.”
“And Joseph said unto him…I was stolen away out of the land of the Hebrews.” (Gen 40:12,15)
The land of Canaan, cursed grandson of Noah, or the land of the Hebrews, notorious for their worship of one creator God? There has been conflict over who will control this piece of land from the very beginning. Take a guess how the perpetual conflict ends.
“And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him. And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren. And he said, Blessed be the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.” (Gen 9:24-26)
Please don’t jump to the false conclusion that this biblical passage must be justifying the current Israeli nation’s treatment of the Palestinians therefore the Bible is nothing but propaganda for a racist imperial people and therefore can and should be rejected. Remember the foundation rule for this posting – don’t take statements out of context.
The Hebrews and the Canaanites of the 2nd millenium B.C. are not the Israelis and the Palestinians of the 2nd millenium A.D. Can we keep an open mind as we gather data about peoples and circumstances we don’t yet know enough about to pass judgment? Let’s start by gathering some background information on the Canaanites, using archeological sources.
The people groups who packed up and left Mesopotamia weren’t going on a fun camping vacation. They were enslaved workers fleeing Nimrod’s tyranny for freedom at any cost, trading one hard urban life for another hard life on the frontier, risking death in the wilderness, a struggle for existence as they, like Robinson Crusoe on a deserted island or our own American pioneers heading west, had to build all the food-production infrastructure of flocks, fields, vineyards, orchards, irrigation ditches, wells from the ground up.
And all the while protecting their livelihood and lives from predators in a situation akin to Crusoe’s Caribbean cannibals or the Johnson County War of American history.
“And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them: And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee…there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.” (Job 1:14-17)
Much of what scholars know about the Canaanites comes from records left by the people they came into contact with. Some of the most detailed surviving records come from the site of Amarna, in Egypt, and from the Hebrew Bible…”Canaan was not made up of a single ‘ethnic’ group but consisted of a population whose diversity may be hinted at by the great variety of burial customs and cultic structures” wrote Ann Killebrew, an archaeology professor at Penn State University.
The list in Genesis 10:6-19 gives us the name of the genetic Canaanites and Genesis 14 give us names of some of the other nations in the land that Noah’s grandson claimed. I have taken the liberty of rearranging the phrasing to better demonstrate the historical settling of this land.
“And the sons of Ham…Canaan. And the border of the Canaanites was from Sidon, as thou comest to Gerar, unto Gaza; as thou goest, unto Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Admah, and Zeboim, even unto Lasha. and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.”
This biblical account of stretching from coastal western Syria to the boarder of Egypt is well documented by archeologists.
And Canaan begat
Sidon his first born – the historically famous city named after him is still thriving in Lebanon. Archeologists date the founding of this city site to 4,000 BC, i.e. the dawn of human history, with evidence of historical continuity from about the time of the flood. This suggests that Sidon was guided by his grandfather Ham to settle at a pre-flood site to exploit a known source of wealth. This would be the mollusks in that part of the Mediterranean from which were manufactured the purple dye which was so rare and expensive that the color purple became synonymous with royalty. Sidon first manufactured the dye at this time and through this source of wealth was the most powerful city-state of ancient Phoenicia.
Glass production also made Sidon both rich and famous and the city was known for being very cosmopolitan and progressive. Sidon is considered the seat of the Phoenician civilization in that most of the trading ships which spread Phoenician cedarwood, goods, culture, and colonies were launched from this city’s port. The colony of Carthage on the northern coast of Africa very nearly won control of the Mediterranean in the Punic [Phoenician] Wars with Rome. Its port is reminiscent of the description of Atlantis, and gives us a sense of what Sidon’s heyday was probably like.
Heth, like his brother Sidon, also re-occupied a notable pre-flood site to his great benefit. Hattusa was a vast fortress-city with soaring citadels and elaborate temples, originally founded by the Hatti in 2500 BCE. Their culture may have provided the basis for that of Heth’s people, the Hittites.
Gobeklitepe is the most ancient temple site so far discovered. It is also in this region and restoration of this massive complex may have been on Heth’s to-do list in order to, like the Vatican, assume international religious control.
The powerful Hittite Empire expanded south and challenged Egypt. Excavations at Hattusa have unearthed international treaties with neighboring city-states, among which are some indicating that the Hittites were likely involved in Homer’s Trojan War. Uriah the Hittite was a trusted general and named among the mighty men in King David’s army, demonstrating the international scope of God’s ideal kingdom.
The Jebusite nation is unknown outside the Bible, probably because they occupied such a small city-state on an unassuming hilltop. Nonetheless, we should expect that they followed the same guiding principle as their brothers in high-tailing it to a prized pre-flood location. Their claim was, in fact, nothing less than Creator God’s dwelling place on earth, known by the name he gave it. “Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.” (I Kings 11:36)
At some point the Jebusites did seize the site, and renamed the city in honor of their hero/ancestor. The same happened around 135 AD when the Roman Emperor Hadrian rebuilt and renamed Jerusalem to utterly destroy the Jewish capitol. Aelia Capitolina is derived from the emperor’s family name (Aelius, from the gens Aelia), and the cult of the Capitoline Triad (Jupiter, Juno and Minerva). This ancient city has been fought over more than any other place. It has been conquered, destroyed and rebuilt many times.
King David recaptured Jebus and changed its name back to Jeru-salem, Place of Reconciliation, when King David overthrew the Jebusites.
“…came all the elders of Israel to the king to Hebron; and David made a covenant with them in Hebron before the Lord; and they anointed David king over Israel, according to the word of the Lord by Samuel. And David and all Israel went to Jerusalem, which is Jebus; where the Jebusites were, the inhabitants of the land. And the inhabitants of Jebus said to David, Thou shalt not come hither. Nevertheless David took the castle of Zion, which is the city of David. And David said, Whosoever smiteth the Jebusites first shall be chief and captain. So Joab the son of Zeruiah went first up, and was chief.” (I Chronicles 11:3-6)
Now, before you jump on the bandwagon for or ag’in’ this military event, can we finish this section and learn what we can about the Jebusites and the rest of the Canaanite cities that God ordered the new nation of Israel to completely destroy? After all, we live in a country that did exactly the same to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the men who fought that war are called the Greatest Generation. Let’s consider all sides of the conflict before jumping to a conclusion, OK? For starters, this list is obviously a broad overview covering many years. If Islam can fiercely defend its right to this plot of land on religious grounds, why can’t Israel? And can we not recognize an underlying spiritual component to this unending territorial challenge? Moving on…
“The Amorites were first mentioned in Mesopotamian records around 2400 B.C., just before Sargon the Great/Arphaxad turned Akkad from a city-state into an empire.” This corresponds to the earliest post-flood peoples, all the unnamed descendants of Noah’s three sons. They are identified as Semitic from linguistics, but this could simply reflect that the single language spoken by everyone at that time was Semitic. After the breakout of language families, they were known as the Martu in Sumerian, as Amar in Egyptian, and as the Amurru in Akkadian, all of which mean ‘westerners’ consistent with other indications that the Amorite nation consolidated in the area around Mount Hermon. This would be a major clue, as the book of Enoch relates that Mount Hermon / Armon is the fallen angels’ earthly headquarters. Supporting this consideration is the fact that the Amorites are best known for establishing the kingdom of Babylonia under the Amorite king Hammurabi, who we know from the previous post is Nimrod, the first named megalomaniacal post-flood giant. The Israelites were by no means the only nation to battle Amorites and they did the neighboring tribes a huge favor when they overthrew them.
“…Og the king of Bashan [Golan Heights] came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. And the LORD said unto me, Fear him not: for I will deliver him, and all his people, and his land, into thy hand; and thou shalt do unto him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon...And we took at that time out of the hand of the two kings of the Amorites the land that was on this side Jordan, from the river of Arnon unto mount Hermon…For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of giants; behold his bedstead was a bedstead of iron; is it not in Rabbath of the children of Ammon? nine cubits was the length thereof, and four cubits the breadth of it, after the cubit of a man.” (Deuteronomy 3:1-11)
The Amorite leaders proudly carried on the tradition of arcane pre-flood knowledge brought to mankind by the fallen angels. “Several Amorite royal houses, including those of the old Babylonian kingdom, the old Assyrian kingdom, and the kings of Ugarit, traced their ancestry from Dedan, whose descendants were called the Didanu, Tidanum, and variations thereof… that’s the name from which the Greeks derived the word titanes—the Titans. Did Amorite royalty really believe they descended from the Titans, the old gods who planned their rebellion against God at Mount Hermon in the dim, distant past? Yes, it looks that way.”
The Girgasite, “The name of this people has been discovered in the Ugaritic inscriptions as grgs and bn-grgs, that is, Girgash and the sons or children of Girgash. They are also known to us in the Hittite documents as the karkm; and in Egyptian records as the Kirkash. They settled to the east of the river Jordan between Galilee and the Dead Sea…a tribe known as the Karkisa were mentioned in the Hittite Annals, as existing in Asia Minor. Another rendering of that tribe is Qarqisha. Perhaps they migrated to the steppes near the Caspian Sea which was known as the “Sea of the Girgashites” anciently and thence on to south-east Europe giving rise to the Albanian Ghegs.
The Hivite, “Known to the ancient Greeks as the Ηευαιος, Heuaios, this people moved to the foothills of Lebanon during the Israelite conquest of Canaan.” This is evident in King David’s census tour of Lebanon.
“And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel…and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon/Sidon, And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days.” (II Samuel 24:4-8)
Solomon, who inherited control of these lands, was later to lay a tribute of labor on these subject peoples to build
“…all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion. And all the people that were left of the Amorites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, which were not of the children of Israel, Their children that were left after them in the land, whom the children of Israel also were not able utterly to destroy, upon those did Solomon levy a tribute of bondservice unto this day.”
But before you get all holier-than-thou against ancient Israel realize that all the other nations did the same, and, on the other hand, there were also treaties of friendship with Tyre and Egypt, all three governments valuing relations with each other enough to pay for it.
“(Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee…And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold. And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer. For Pharaoh king of Egypt had gone up, and taken Gezer, and burnt it with fire, and slain the Canaanites that dwelt in the city, and given it for a present unto his daughter, Solomon’s wife.” (II Samuel 24:11-16).
The Arkites settled Arka / Arqa / Irqata a short distance due north of Damascus. The earliest level of the archeological site dates to the Neolithic, AKA pre-flood, period, another suggestion that Ham’s descendants were rebuilding known pre-flood prosperous cities. It was powerful enough to be involved in international affairs, mentioned during the 14th Century B.C. in the Egyptian Annals, and specially in the Tell al-Amarna Letters, found in Egypt. Hushai the Arkite was King David’s ‘friend’, i.e. ally during Absolom’s rebellion, (2 Samuel 15:32). This relationship gives another indication of the multinational character of God’s kingdom in the golden age of King David and early days of King Solomon. Huhsai is characterized as a counsellor, he may well have specialized in commerce.
The Sinite, Most authorities consider that they are from the northern part of Lebanon where there are various localities with similar names, such as Sinna, Sinum or Sini, and Syn.
The Arvadite, AKA Arwad, a fishing and commercial city in the north of what is now Lebanon (see map above).
The Zemarites inhabited the town of Sumra, at the western base of the Lebanon range. In the Amarna tablets (B.C. 1400) Zemar, or Zumur, was one of the most important of the Phoenician cities, but it afterwards almost disappears from history.
“…and afterward were the families of the Canaanites spread abroad.” For starters, the Hamathites migrated to northern Greece and Macedonia, becoming known as the Emathians. The territory they settled became known as Emathia.
The Hivites were driven out of the Middle East by the Philistines according to Peter Tompkins. Many readers would be familiar with Peter Tompkins’ stimulating work Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids. In it, Tompkins uses Ordoez, Naez, and native Mexican sources. Part of the Hivite tribe fled Tyre from whence they set sail for America. (Hmmm, interesting, and not incredible.)
From Genesis 14
the Rephaims in Ashteroth Karnaim, and
the Zuzims in Ham [place name for Canaan’s father who is still alive at this time], and
the Emins in Shaveh Kiriathaim, And
the Horites in their mount Seir, unto Elparan, which is by the wilderness...
the Amalekites, and also
the Amorites, that dwelt in Hazezontamar.
The early stage of recovery from the flood apocalypse is evident from the sizes of the “kingdoms”. Like Greece in it’s early days following the flood, or England during the Dark Ages following the apocalyptic disintegration of the Roman Empire, these are city-states, ruled by petty lords offering a castle-fort where his subjects can flee for safety during raids by the neighbors.
“And there went out 1) the king of Sodom, and 2) the king of Gomorrah, and 3) the king of Admah, and 4) the king of Zeboiim, and 5) the king of Bela (the same is Zoar;) and they joined battle with 1) Chedorlaomer the king of Elam, and with 2) Tidal king of nations, and 3) Amraphel [Nimrod] king of Shinar [site of the failed tower of Babel], and 4) Arioch king of Ellasar; four kings with five…And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way…And there came one that had escaped, and told
The Bible, a major source of information about the Canaanites according to non-biblical scholars, lists some of the various ethnic groups comprising the broader categorization of “Canaanite.” Let’s pick it up in Genesis 14 with a typical war in that part of the world.
“And it came to pass in the days of
- Amraphel king of Shinar, [this is Nimrod cut down to size after his failed bid for total power at Babel]
- Arioch king of Ellasar,
- Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and
- Tidal king of nations;
That these made war with
- Bera king of Sodom, and with
- Birsha king of Gomorrah,
- Shinab king of Admah, and
- Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and
- king of Bela, which is Zoar.
All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea. Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year came Chedorlaomer, and the kings that were with him, and smote
And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan. And he divided himself against them, he and his servants, by night, and smote them, and pusrued them unto Hobah, which is on the left hand of Damascus. And he brought back all the goods, and also brought again his brother Lot, and his goods, and the women also, and the people...after his return from the slaughter of Chedorlaomer, and of the kings that were with him, And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand.” (Genesis 14)
“After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.
2 And Abram said, Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus?
3 And Abram said, Behold, to me thou hast given no seed: and, lo, one born in my house is mine heir.
4 And, behold, the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, This shall not be thine heir; but he that shall come forth out of thine own bowels shall be thine heir.
5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
7 And he said unto him, I am the Lord that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it.
In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:
- The Kenites: The Kenites and the Israelites were always on friendly terms with each other. When Moses fled Egypt he found safe haven with Jethro, a Kenite (Judges 1:16) who lived in the land of Midian, one of Abraham’s sons by Keturah (Gen 25:1-6) Jethro is also known by the title, or honorary name, Reuel, which, most significantly, means “friend of God.” When we recall that Abraham was also honored by this title we should recognize Jethro’s great significance in guiding Moses from being a runaway impulsive to becoming one of the greatest leaders in history.
“Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he…Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” (Isa 41:2-10)
It seems that the Kenites in Midian knew enough about the one true God to maintain a priest. The name Reuel means “friend of God.” After the exodus, Reuel’s knowledge of God dramatically increased, and he joined Moses and Aaron in bringing a burnt sacrifice and other offerings before the Lord to worship Him (Exodus 18:9–12).
- the Kenizzites, and
- the Kadmonites, And
- the Hittites: The descendants of Heth, son of Canaan son of Ham. For many years critics of the Bible treated the lack of archeological evidence of the Hittites as proof that the Bible was just another ancient book of myths. Archeological discoveries beginning in 1876 have since proved the existence of this group as a powerful people based in Turkey.
- the Perizzites: The name means “villagers” and denotes rural dwellers in contrast to cityfolk. Think Texas ranchers. Abram and Lot herded cattle on Perizzite land. (Genesis 13:7)
- the Rephaims, And
- the Amorites, and
- the Canaanites (core group, descendants of Canaan), and
- the Girgashites, and
- the Jebusites. (Gen 15:18-21)
How does this pertain to our Bible study? A logical consideration that can be drawn from this unbiased archeological description of the Canaanites is that they are a representative sample of all humanity that was in process of scattering throughout the world from Babel. A review of the Canaanite religious practices supports this view.
According to the pantheon…the creator was known as Elion, who was the father of the [lesser] divinities…in the Greek sources he was married to Beruth (Beirut = the city). This marriage of the divinity with the city would seem to have Biblical parallels too with the stories of the link between Melqart and Tyre; Chemosh and Moab; Tanit and Baal Hammon in Carthage, Yah and Jerusalem [which was held early in the game by Shem, taken and renamed Jebus by Canaanites, and later retaken from the Canaanites by King David].
Canaanite religion was influenced by its peripheral position, intermediary between Egypt and Mesopotamia, whose religions had a growing impact upon Canaanite religion. For example, during the Hyksos period, Baal became associated with the Egyptian god Set, and was considered identical…Baal was shown wearing the crown of Lower Egypt and shown in the Egyptian-like stance, one foot set before the other. Similarly Athirat (known by her later Hebrew name Asherah), Athtart (known by her later Greek name Astarte), and Anat henceforth were portrayed wearing Hathor-like Egyptian wigs.
From the other direction, Jean Bottéro has suggested that Yah of Ebla…was equated with the Mesopotamian god Ea during the Akkadian Empire…Canaanite divinities seem to have been almost identical in form and function to the neighboring Arameans to the east, and Baal Hadad and El can be distinguished amongst earlier Amorites…
Carried west by Phoenician sailors, Canaanite religious influences can be seen in Greek mythology, particularly in the tripartite division between the Olympians Zeus, Poseidon and Hades, mirroring the division between Baal, Yam and Mot, and in the story of the Labours of Hercules, mirroring the stories of the Tyrian Melqart.
Warning: Subject matter may disturb
Historical revisionist theories regularly receive more traction among Bible critics than the facts would warrant. For example, consider the subject of polytheism verses monotheism. Most religious history books teach that cultures that were polytheistic (believers in many gods) naturally progressed towards becoming monotheistic (believers in one God). This is seen, even by agnostics as being a necessary step toward becoming a more mature society. Increasingly however, Bible critics challenge that idea. They see the move from polytheism to monotheism as a negative development. According to their version of history, gentle nature worshipping polytheistic societies such as Canaan were supplanted by aggressive monotheistic cultures like the Hebrews which were less tolerant, sexually repressed and war-like.
The answer to this charge is obvious to Bible students. For the Bible paints a picture of Canaanite society dominated by a religious system that was both licentious and cruel. Canaanite gods demanded human sacrifice and more specifically, the sacrifice of children. In the Bible book of Jeremiah, God states, “They built the high places of Baal in order to burn their sons in the fire as whole burnt offerings to Baal, something that I had not commanded or spoken of and that had never even come into my heart.” (Jeremiah 19:5) The Bible is clear that child sacrifice was a regular feature of the religion of the Canaanites and the surrounding nations. “…they do for their gods every detestable thing that Jehovah hates, even burning their sons and their daughters in the fire to their gods.” (Deuteronomy 12:31) Did the Canaanites really ritually burn their children? The revisionists say no. Any mention of Canaanite child sacrifice in the Bible is just propaganda to justify the subjection of Canaan. Recent scientific studies may have resolved the question.
According to the Bible, centers of worship for Canaanite gods such as Molech and the Baals were set up in Judah and Israel by apostate kings. Child sacrifice was even practiced in the Valley of Hinnom just outside of Jerusalem. Yet religious reformers such as King Josiah pulled down these places and rendered them unfit for use, “He also made unfit for worship Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom, so that no one could make his son or his daughter pass through the fire to Molech.” (2 Kings 23:10) So it is no surprise that these sites which Josiah sought to erase have not been positively identified. Other Canaanite places of worship in Israel that have been identified have not yet yielded evidence of child sacrifice.*(see footnote) Yet absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. There is good reason to believe the Bible did not exaggerate Canaanite barbarism.
Although Canaanite civilization was largely driven out of the land of Israel, it emigrated elsewhere, founding colonies along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, where it thrived for centuries. Most notable among these was the colony of Carthage in modern-day Tunisia. That city-state became so powerful it at one time rivaled the Roman republic. Carthaginians spoke the Canaanite language and importantly, practiced Canaanite religion. They also seemed to have brought with them their cruel predilection for child sacrifice.
Ancient Authorities Reported Child Sacrifice In Carthage
Writing in the 4th century B.C.E, the Greek historian Cleitarchus said of the Carthaginian practice, “There stands in their midst a bronze statue of Kronos, its hands extended over a bronze brazier, the flames of which engulf the child. When the flames fall upon the body, the limbs contract and the open mouth seems almost to be laughing until the contracted body slips quietly into the brazier. Thus it is that the ‘grin’ is known as ‘sardonic laughter,’ since they die laughing.” (trans. Paul G. Mosca) “Kronos” was a regional name for Baal Hammon, the chief of Carthage’s gods.
Another Greek historian named Diodorus Siculus writing less than a hundred years after the fall Carthage affirms his countryman’s account. “There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.”
Around the same time the famous Greek historian Plutarch charged, “with full knowledge and understanding they themselves offered up their own children, and those who had no children would buy little ones from poor people and cut their throats as if they were so many lambs or young birds; meanwhile the mother stood by without a tear or moan; but should she utter a single moan or let fall a single tear, she had to forfeit the money, and her child was sacrificed nevertheless; and the whole area before the statue was filled with a loud noise of flutes and drums took the cries of wailing should not reach the ears of the people.”
Archeological Evidence Of Infant Sacrifice
In 1921, French archeologists excavated some of the ancient Carthage. One site appeared to be an ancient graveyard. The site had hundreds of grave markers. Underneath each one was a clay urn containing the cremated remains of human infants and animals (sometimes as many as seven urns were found one on top of another under a single marker). The soil was rich with olive wood charcoal indicating fires had been kept burning here for long periods of time.
The archeologists dubbed this place a “Tophet” which is the Hebrew word for the place of child sacrifice near Jerusalem at Jeremiah 7:31. In time, many more Tophet cemeteries were discovered. The largest contained the remains of approximately 20,000 infants in urns as well as some animals.
The fact that animals were buried here along with human infants seemed to suggest that this was not a normal cemetery for children. One urn containing the remains of an animal had an inscription indicating that animal was a “substitute”. This supports the archeologists conclusion that the “Tophet” contained the remains of sacrificial victims who had been burned to death as the Bible as well as the Greek and Roman historians had all claimed. Yet some skeptics remained. Perhaps the children had been burned after they had died of natural causes?
The inscriptions on the urns are helpful in this regard. Some of them record that vows to Tanit and Baal Hammon had been met (Tanit was the consort of Baal Hammon. She is known as Ashtoreth in the Bible – 1 Kings 11:23). Many other inscriptions record dedications from the children’s parents to Baal Hammon or Tanit, ending with the explanation that the god concerned had “heard my voice and blessed me”.
Dr Josephine Quinn of the University of Oxford conducted extensive research on the burial urns. Regarding the dedication inscriptions, she concluded, “People have tried to argue that these archaeological sites are cemeteries for children who were stillborn or died young, but quite apart from the fact that a weak, sick or dead child would be a pretty poor offering to a god, and that animal remains are found in the same sites treated in exactly the same way, it’s hard to imagine how the death of a child could count as the answer to a prayer.”
The final line of evidence came from analysis of bones and teeth found in the urns. In the last few years, experts from a number of Academic institutions examined the contents of over 340 burial urns. Determining the exact age of the infants from the burnt bones is difficult because the heat of the fire degrades, shrinks and warps them. However in most cases, the teeth of the infants survived in better condition. As teeth grow in length, the enamel and dentine grow in thickness at a universal rate. Thus it is possible to determine the age of a baby from the thickness of the enamel and dentine.
What the researchers found is that 67% of the infants were between 1 and 2 months old and that the percentage of infant remains from babies who lived longer is very low. This does not come close to the expected pattern of mortality rates in ancient times. Rather it is strongly suggestive that a particular age group was deliberately selected and that these did not die of natural causes.
Put together the Biblical evidence, the evidence of multiple highly regarded ancient historians, the archeological evidence and the conclusion becomes overwhelming and inescapable. The Canaanites really did practice child sacrifice. Human sacrifice was widespread amongst many cultures in ancient times but infant sacrifice was relatively unknown outside of Canaanite civilization. The deliberate murder of infant children was a pronounced feature of Canaanite religion. The Bible does not exaggerate the crimes of the Canaanites.
What kind of heartless people kill their own infants? Oh. Our own “enlightened” society. And for the exact same reason. The profit motive.
In contrast, the Hebrew culture valued human life over property.
The Hebrew people are the source of a unique but vital contribution to our Western heritage…it is the treasure of sacred literature which constitutes the Hebrew legacy. The tradition of a monotheistic religion upon which Christianity would build and out of which the modern world would emerge, has arguably served as the wellspring of Western civilization.
Monotheism (the belief that God is one) set the Hebrews apart from the other ancient Near Eastern civilizations. Their monotheism contributed to their understanding of nature as a creation of the transcendent, sovereign, and just God, who made ethical demands of human beings based on His own moral rectitude…The Hebrew belief that each individual was equal before the law became a fundamental notion in Western culture, establishing for the first time the greater worth of the human person over physical property.
The Canaanites could not survive the inevitable consequences of their besetting sin. Like any other prosperity-focused people looking to make a fast buck or feel good at anyone’s expense but their own efforts, they lost the capacity to defend themselves from outside forces. The fall of the Roman Empire is just one example of this natural law.
Is it possible for us to wrap our heads around the concept that “doing right’, AKA “being right-eous”, inevitably results
“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (I Cor 1:26-29)
“For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers.” (Deu 7:6-8)
“Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:
3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” (Gen 12:1-3)
“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. And the LORD said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous; I will go down now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is come unto me; and if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?…And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous:…And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there…And he said unto him, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there…And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there…And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake. And the LORD went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.” (Gen 18:17-33)
“For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them…That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:” (Joh 17:21)
“Thus saith the LORD God; I will even gather you from the people, and assemble you out of the countries where ye have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel. And they shall come thither, and they shall take away all the detestable things thereof and all the abominations thereof from thence. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: That they may walk in my statutes, and keep mine ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.“ (Eze 11:17-20)
”Therefore say unto the house of Israel, thus saith the Lord God; I do not this for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name’s sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the Lord, saith the Lord God, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. I will also save you from all your uncleannesses:“ (Eze 36:22-29)
The biblical context on which I stake my attitude towards Jews is:
“Because they have not hearkened to my words, saith the LORD, which I sent unto them by my servants the prophets, rising up early and sending them; but ye would not hear, saith the LORD…Because they have…spoken lying words in my name, which I have not commanded them...Behold, the whirlwind of the LORD goeth forth with fury, a continuing whirlwind: it shall fall with pain upon the head of the wicked. The fierce anger of the Lord shall not return, until he hath done it, and until he have performed the intents of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it…At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people…The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry…For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the LORD our God. For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel. Behold, I will bring them from the north country, and gather them from the coasts of the earth, and with them the blind and the lame, the woman with child and her that travaileth with child together: a great company shall return thither…for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn. Hear the word of the LORD, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock. For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he…And I will satiate the soul of the priests with fatness, and my people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the LORD…And there is hope in thine end, saith the LORD, that thy children shall come again to their own border...I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the LORD my God.” (Jer 29:19-23; 30:23-24; 31:1-18)
The Constitution of the Nation of Israel is not a means of salvation for a select group of people. It is a rigorous code of righteous conduct for those who are already in a faith-based relationship with the LORD God, outlining the requirements for inclusion in a brotherhood of leaders guiding the other nations to the means of salvation once and for all delivered to all the world.
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ. I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” (Letter by Messianic Jewish believer Jude, verses 3-5)
“And the LORD appeared to Solomon by night, and said unto him, I have heard thy prayer, and have chosen this place to myself for an house of sacrifice. If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. And as for thee,
- if thou wilt walk before me, as David thy father walked,
- and do according to all that I have commanded thee,
- and shalt observe my statutes and my judgments;
Then will I stablish the throne of thy kingdom, according as I have covenanted with David thy father, saying, There shall not fail thee a man to be ruler in Israel.
But if ye turn away, and forsake my statutes and my commandments, which I have set before you, and shall go and serve other gods, and worship them;
- Then will I pluck them up by the roots out of my land which I have given them;
- and this house, which I have sanctified for my name, will I cast out of my sight,
- and will make it to be a proverb and a byword among all nations.
- And this house, which is high, shall be an astonishment to every one that passeth by it; so that he shall say, Why hath the LORD done thus unto this land, and unto this house?
And it shall be answered, Because they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, and laid hold on other gods, and worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath he brought all this evil upon them. (II Chronicles 7:12-22)
“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.” (Matt 21:42-46)
Leadership in the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth
They are essential for a proper understanding of the place and purpose of the nation of his grandson Jacob/Israel in the biblical scheme of things.
The highest authority in any form of government ancient and modern is the person or group that passes judgment, not just on guilt or innocence, but on what course of action, out of available options, is to be taken by the people of that territory. Why do you think the place where a king exercises his power is called his court? Why do you think a judge’s decision is called ruling? Even in the American system designed to distribute power as evenly as possible over three branches of government, it is the “Supreme Court’s power of judicial review, by which it determines the constitutionality of executive and legislative acts,” that maintains the greatest power with the judge.
The exercise of power in the kingdom of heaven and earth is no different. God is the Supreme Judge of the whole earth, but he doesn’t act alone. The entire court system is in place, his divine council.
God standeth in the congregation/assembly of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods. How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah. Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked…I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes. Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.” (Psalm 82)
The post on The King Is Dead reveals how the first (hu)man Adam took it upon himself to defend his wife when she was caught red-handed breaking the law. By sharing her guilt he reduced her death sentence – isolation from all living beings – to a life sentence with companionship and a family. By this demonstration of his love even to death he proved his likeness to his merciful father God and was honored with the assignment/anointing as Melchizedek: prophet-priest-king of the kingdom of heaven and earth. (Read post on Melchizedek if this isn’t making sense.)
We think of a prophet as someone who foretells the future. This true but misleading if considered the sole function of a prophet. Foretelling the future is just a sub-role of being an intermediary, an advocate, between man and God the ultimate Supreme Court Judge.
“Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.…I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion…My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly…If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up. Behold, I am according to thy wish in God’s stead: I also am formed out of the clay…Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying, I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me. Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy...Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man. Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters. For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man. He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword. He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his [God’s way of] up-rightness: Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child’s: he shall return to the days of his youth: He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render [give] unto man his [God’s] righteousness. He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not; He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man, To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living. Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak. If thou hast anything to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee. If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.” (Job 32:2-19, 33:2-33)
Elihu functioned as a legal counsellor, AKA attorney or advocate, for Job, like Yeshua Messiah himself.
“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation [appeasement] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” (I John 2:1-2)
If all you know of court appearances is the entertainment like Judge Judy on television, you won’t understand the significance of an advocate’s role.
In the following passage notice how Abraham acts as an advocate before a judge. Abraham truly put his own life on the line when he opposed God’s predetermined plan. To put this in perspective, compare to God’s thunderous response when Job questioned him. He is the prototype for his spin-off Zeus.
“For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment…[In answer] far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world?…Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth…God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend…Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?..Then Job answered the LORD, and said, Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth. Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further. Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me. Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous? Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him? Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty. Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him. (Job 34:5-13, 37:2-5, 38:1-2, 40:3-11)
“And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him [including his grandson Jacob], and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him…And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord. And Abraham drew near, and said…
- Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? That be far from thee to do after this manner, to slay the righteous with the wicked: and that the righteous should be as the wicked, that be far from thee: Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?
26 And the Lord said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.
27 And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes:
28 Peradventure there shall lack five of the fifty righteous: wilt thou destroy all the city for lack of five? And he said, If I find there forty and five, I will not destroy it.
29 And he spake unto him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And he said, I will not do it for forty’s sake.
30 And he said unto him, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak: Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And he said, I will not do it, if I find thirty there.
31 And he said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord: Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for twenty’s sake.
32 And he said, Oh let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten’s sake.
33 And the Lord went his way, as soon as he had left communing with Abraham: and Abraham returned unto his place.
” (Gen 18:17-23)
Why was this passage, in great detail which I’ve left out
“For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh [follows a religious code of conduct] is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also?...And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised. For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law [of Moses], but through the righteousness of faith…(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform. And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. (Romans 4:1-25)
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.
2 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.
3 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.
4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord said, In Jerusalem will I put my name.
5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.
6 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.
7 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:” (II Kings 21:1-7)