A Conspiracy of Silence
Author’s Preface: This is an advisory to any readers that in any instance that I state certain items for consideration without citing any source, it is because I had been informed by sources which I consider of impeccable character these concerns. Such examples are the time discrepancies which Hebrew scribes had attempted to resolve and the matter of the Assyrian captivity from which the rest of the Hebrews didn’t return.
Please note that this is about a compendium of books which were initially written by Hebrews for Hebrews, but which came to be accepted by many who do not adhere to Judaeism. As Marcus Aurellius advised, I do not really care whether anyone else believes it or not – I wrote it as much for me as much as anyone, but if anyone else benefits from this, so much the better.
This is a re-write of my former installments on the subject of “why doesn’t the Bible seem to connect to
‘world history’”. Readers of my former works had probably noticed that they were a bit meandering, somewhat
repetitive on certain items, and almost cogent: hence, this re-write of my observations after years of absorbing
relevant information and subsequent processing. Also, some errors slipped by me during subsequent edits of my own on these composed documents. Computers, eh?
The first concern is all of the “editing” which the Bible has undergone over the centuries, even millenia.
At first I had thought that it was the Roman Catholic church which was the primary culprit in that concern, but it turns out that the first instigators of that were, in fact, the Hebrews (later the Jews). This is not to imply that all of the reasons were less than noble by any means, but naturally some of that DID creep in along the way. You wil; find as many reasons for revision as there are people, I suspect.
I submit for consideration an excerpt from a Wikipedia entry pertaining to the Tower of Babel (see Gen.
1. One source mentions the author’s opinion that Nabopolassar, king of Babylonia (c. 610 BCE), is the source of the account of the Tower of Babel, and that Alexander the Great ordered it demolished circa 331 BCE.
2. The phrase "Tower of Babel" does not appear in the Bible; it is always "the city and the tower". The 1st-century Jewish interpretation found in Flavius Josephus explains the construction of the tower as a hubristic act of defiance against God ordered by the arrogant tyrant Nimrod. There have, however, been some contemporary challenges to this classical interpretation, with emphasis placed on the explicit motive of cultural and linguistic homogeneity mentioned in the narrative (v. 1, 4, 6). This reading of the text sees God's actions not as a punishment for pride, but as an etiology of cultural differences, presenting Babel as the cradle of civilization. The account in Genesis makes no mention of any destruction of the tower. The people whose languages are confounded were simply scattered from there over the face of the Earth and stopped building their city.
3. However, in other sources, such as the Book of Jubilees (chapter 10 v.18–27), Cornelius Alexander (frag. 10), Abydenus (frags. 5 and 6), Josephus (Antiquities 1.4.3), and the Sibylline Oracles (iii. 117–129), God overturns the tower with a great wind. In the Midrash, it said that the top of the tower was burnt, the bottom was swallowed, and the middle was left standing to erode over time.
4. Genesis 11:8–9 implies that God scattered the descendants of Noah listed in Chapter 10 of Genesis (the Table of Nations) over the face of the earth from Shinar only after the abandonment of the city. Some see an internal contradiction between the earlier mention in Genesis 10:5 that "From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with his own language" and the subsequent Babel story, which begins "Now the entire earth was of one language and uniform words" (Genesis 11:1). However, this view presupposes a rigid chronological sequence of 10:5 and 11:1, whereas the traditional Judeo-Christian interpretation holds that 10:5 refers to the same later scattering as mentioned more fully in 11:9. An alternative resolution to the apparent contradictory material of Genesis 10:5 and 11:8–9 comes with the documentary hypothesis, which suggests different sources for those verses. Biblical scholars holding to the hypothetical four-source origins of Genesis (J, E, P, D) regard 10:5 as coming from the Priestly (P) text source and 11:8–9 (and actually the entirety of the Babel narrative) as from the Jahwist source (J).
5. Tradition attributes the whole of the Pentateuch to Moses; however, in the late 19th century, the documentary hypothesis was proposed by Julius Wellhausen. This hypothesis proposes four sources: J, E, P and D. Of these hypothetical sources, proponents suggest that this narrative comes from the J or "Yahwist source". The etiological nature of the narrative (see Genre above) is considered typical of J. In addition, the intentional word play regarding the city of Babel, and the noise of the people's "babbling" is found in the Hebrew words as easily as in English, and is considered typical of the "Yahwist source."
I included that excerpt to illustrate how much resultant disparity of opinion results from scholarly hair-
splitting and to point out that, on initial compilation of the “Bible” (from the Greek word “byblos”, meaning book), a great many decisions on the wording of it were decided in “committee”. While the Torah (first five books) was attributed to Moses (Moshe, in Hebrew), it was apparently revised to reflect a “preferred” perspective on Yahweh (“God”, to most Christians of today). Perhaps it was also to assist in changing the outlook of most Hebrews from worshiping other gods to that of “one God”, but the other side of the coin is that it gave rise to the unfortunate tendency of “revisionism” among the priesthood. Perhaps said priesthood did so
from the moral perspective of curbing some of the more rebellious tendencies inherent in a people who (in God’s
own words) are “a stubborn and stiff-necked people”, but I wonder how rebellious they would really have been
had the priests, scribes, and such had just left it as Moshe wrote it and let the people decide for themselves whether to think of God as singular or as a plurality. I guess they thought it better to make a further distinction between the way of Torah and the pantheons of other societies.
Also, having browsed through works from other civilizations which pre-dated Israel, such as The Epic of Gilgamesh, Zechariah Sitchin’s translation of The Lost Book of Enki (which raises some interesting points which I will save for addressing later), and a work from Senor Carlos Barrios entitled The Mayan Book of Destiny (though the Maya were more contemporary with Israel, just on different continents), those works provide some oblique confirmation of various details outlined within the early history of the Bible. I suspect that “Gilgamesh” is simply the Sumerian name for the man who, in the Bible, was assigned the name “Nimrod”. If you read it, you’ll understand why I believe that is not too large a reach, and depicts the time before the construction of the Tower of Babel. I also mentioned Mr. Barrios’ work since Pacal Botan (or Votan?), in his “inaugural” vision marking him a shaman, saw a tower at which the language of people was confused, per the accounting. Mr. Barrios declined comment upon the similarity to the Biblical account, probably because he knew many would recognize it. I also got my first look at his writing at the same time as the question occurred to me of whether the Tower of Babel incident led to all this nationalist and/or sectarian turmoil.
To continue, there are other reasons for a lack of connectivity between the Bible and “secular” historic
accountings. I had to examine accounts of the Knights-Templar, Pasachoff’s and Littman’s book A Hebrew History in 100 Nutshells, an excerpt from the Key of Solomon (translated), other systems of belief – the analects of the Buddha, Confucius, Sun Tzu, and books on witchcraft to derive a working cosmology for de-programming purposes, and (somehow) come to terms with it all. I also had a book wander into my path entitled The Hiram Key, written by Christopher Knight and Robert Lomas, which fills in their own quest to answer the question “Who was Hiram Abif, anyway?”. Obviously, they are/were Freemasons (“Masonry” has been around as long as ancient Egypt has, as I have come to suspect), who had been inducted with the re-enactment of at least one stage of the trials of “Hiram Abif”. Go read the book, and you’ll see for yourself why I have concluded that their findings fill in the blanks at the end of the book of Genesis. All too often, it is the omitted information which results in changing the overall picture at least somewhat.
Rather than tediously repeat what is written in the Book of Genesis, I will simply generalize by pointing
out that problems developed as a gradual progressive escalation from generation to generation, starting from Abram’s and Sarai’s half-truths by half-siblings when they tell the Egyptian ruler of the time that “she is my sister” while omitting the fact that they had also married, and Sarah’s later sending her handmaiden Hagar to Abram to conceive, giving rise to later troubles between Arab and Israelis. Then came Isaac’s and Rebecca’s each favoring one twin over the other, giving rise to family squabbling, which was further complicated by Laban’s, Jacob’s uncle, trickery concerning Leah and Rachel as well as Jacob’s wages over the next two decades.
To continue with the highlights, the problems further escalate with Jacob’s, Leah’s, and Rachel’s children, Simeon and Levi being more usually the “family hotheads”, while Judah’s enmity of Joseph seems to have been more personal (probably jealousy). Genesis mentions that a son of a[n Arabic] ruler had taken their sister Dinah (sometime after Joseph was sold to the Ishmaelites passing by), resulting in her brothers deceiving the son of that ruler (which I conclude was Apophis, courtesy of Mr. Knight and Mr. Lomas) so they would have an easier time extracting revenge. I strongly suspect that when Jacob subsequently warned his sons “You are going to make me odious to my neighbors”, his warning had come too late.
To fill in the gaps, for whatever reason, Apophis and company go on a conquering venture in Egypt, but only succeed in taking lower Egypt, a time in history referred to as “the Hyksos” (shepherd princes). The legitimate ruler of Egypt, Seqenenre Tao II, still controlled upper Egypt, with the capital at that time being Thebes. So it was that when Joseph became the vizier to “Pharaoh”, it was Apophis who ruled. People familiar
with Egyptian lore will recognize the name as one given to “The Eater of Souls”. Upon Jacob’s being informed
by his other sons that Joseph yet lived and ruled as second to Pharaoh, they are re-united all with each other, at which time Apophis finds that Joseph’s brothers are the ones who killed his son years earlier. Since he was having problems acquiring information from Seqenenre Tao II relating to the ritual of kingship, I have come to believe that he decided to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. Apparently, he bull-dozed Simeon and Levi into accosting Seqenenre Tao II in Thebes to get the desired information, figuring that if they were caught and/or
prevented, he could deny any involvement in the plot, and if they succeeded, he would have the tool needed to legitimize his rule of lower Egypt. It is probable that he sent along a trusted confidante skilled in shock troop warfare as a watchdog, and also probable that said confidante was given instruction to arrange for Simeon and Levi to be killed once the mission was completed, but this is conjecture. I believe the probability to be high that
this was the case, as conquerors all too often think thus.
Apparently, through the confidante’s underestimation of their capabilities and/or Simeon’s and Levi’s discovery of that twist, they manage to thwart that intent, but Seqenenre Tao II was killed without revealing the
information, as the ritual re-enactment of “the trials of Hiram Abif” within Masonic orders depict. But these events give rise to a tendency of what I term “Biblical understatement”. First is Jacob’s “deathbed lament” concerning Simeon and Levi having killed a man, but that man was the last “true” king of Egypt. The next is that the Pharaoh arising “who knew not Joseph” – that IS true, but the causes were certainly glossed over in Hebrew accounts, but certainly not in Egyptian ones.
You see, Egypt’s priority at the time was that it was half-conquered during the time of the Israelite patriarchs. This time I address the psychology of the Egyptians of that time. The sons of Seqenenre, Ahmose and
Kamose, were concerned with liberating lower Egypt. Ahmose was killed during the war, and Kamose had to finish what his brother started. Upon liberating lower Egypt, in the subsequent years, they observed the Hebrews, who had settled in Goshen and were shepherds, AS WERE THE HYKSOS. So came the “guilt by
association”, as it is so easy for human beings to do. I recall that the King James version mentioned that the Egyptians tended to view the Hebrews with some disfavor for being shepherds, but the New International Version does not mention that – but I suppose that’s understandable, since 1603-1611 to the 1970’s is a bit of a spread of centuries, isn’t it? But, the stigma against shepherds becomes more understandable after consideration
of the problems Egypt had with the Hyksos.
I suspect that the reason this does not occur to most Bible scholars, Jewish historians, historic scholars, and such is that many of them may not be aware that early Hebrew scribes, on subsequent review of the Torah, began to notice apparent discrepancies in the chronologies listed, and had “adjusted” the time-frames mentioned,
apparently to resolve some glaring inconsistencies. Even if for the best of intentions, it might have been better had they left it as is, as the apparent discrepancies may have become clear with the passing of time. But, since it sometimes becomes embarrassing to have unresolved inconsistencies left in print, they tampered with the time-frames involved. This became evident to me later when I read the Apocrypha, as one of the “Esdras” books (Greek version of the Book of Ezra) had a footnote saying “some manuscripts read ‘7500 years after the creation of the world’”. (I THINK it was Esdras, that is – I haven’t dug out my copy of the Apocrypha yet to check.) It was one of the beginning instances of my encounters with the concept of “training spanning millenia not being questioned” taking on an archetypal momentum – very hard to surmount at first.
Later, since for many years the priesthood ruled a theocracy, in effect, to question what was written became synonymous with heretical treason, at least during times when the ruling judge, and later the king, was more devout. Other times, when the Hebrews had no judge to represent Yahweh, or when kings who were not
in reverential awe of Yahweh ruled, the people often strayed. I have found first-hand that these concepts, both extremes, are quite difficult to surmount in practice. And, I suspect, God may have wished to wait until both extremes lost momentum, at least for me. I will continue with my next installment addressing pertinent events leading up to the time of Jesus Christ, or Yeshua haMashiach, to use his Hebrew nomenclature. Like any other scholar, I can bat around the large derivative terms, too – ar ar. Ciao for now...
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