The Abomination of Desolation

Chapter 7: The Patriarchs

 

 

And see, the word of יהוה came to him, saying, “This one is not your heir, but he who comes from your own body is your heir.” And He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward the heavens, and count the stars if you are able to count them.” And He said to him, “So are your seed.” Genesis 15:4-5

 

To understand the prophetic tradition, we must first of all realize that it is partly derived from the proper understanding and application of the Law of Moses, as we have just explained it, and partly from the tradition of the Nazarites which predated the Law of Moses. The common view is that the prophets were completely removed from the Levite priests, if not in function, then in ideology. However, the prophetic tradition practically begins with Samuel, a Levite who served the high priest Eli as a Nazarite, and these traditions were only ever at odds so much as the priests had diverted from the Law and had therefore ceased to perform their functions in a way pleasing to God. (Prophets did this, too, but those who did would be called ‘false prophets’ by the common standard, and ‘prophets of Baal’ in the Bible. The term ‘prophet’ does not carry this negative connotation, whereas the term ‘priest’ can.) Several of the prophets depicted in the Old Testament were actually priests themselves, and virtually all of them seemed to uphold the sacrificial system instituted by Moses, but vehemently opposed all other forms of violence. As we will see, their opposition to animal slaughter apart from the limiting conditions applied by the Law of Moses is what defines their role in ancient Israel more than anything else.

It is important that we recognize the association between the Nazarites and the Levite priests, for several reasons, but none so much as to demonstrate the agreement between the Law and the Prophets on ideological matters, as well as the supremacy of the prophetic tradition. One of the keys to interpreting the association correctly and clearing up the confusion is the correct identification of the origins of each of the prophets. Fortunately, the Bible is explicit enough in some areas, and gives enough clues in general, so that we do not need to rely on speculation to establish who the prophets were or what they actually believed and practiced. The most obvious clue is the community called Nazareth, the name of which, contrary to the speculations of befuddled Christian scholars, is blatantly related to that of the root of ‘Nazarite,’ nazar (נזר, H5144), which means ‘set-apart’ (holy) or ‘consecrated.’ The implication, of course, is that any prophet that comes from Nazareth was understood to be a Nazarite, and the association would not have needed to have been pointed out to someone who was familiar with the Law, such as the Pharisees of the New Testament era.

The Nazareth community moved a few times and set up a few colonies in its long history, or else there were a few sites from very ancient times and the seat of their influence was moved. Originally, and for the longest time, the Nazarite stronghold was at Mt. Carmel, so this is what we might call the original Nazareth, even though the Bible does not explicitly name it as such. Technically, there were several locations named Carmel. Contrary to popular belief, the one where Elijah was camped (and the one we are interested in) was actually at Mt. Gerizim, and therefore the city of Salem (a suburb of Shechem, modern Nablus in the West Bank, Palestine). Salem was the location where both Abraham and Jacob settled, independently of each other, as it is where God directed Abraham to when he called him to the Promised Land.

For some inexplicable reason, Christians think that Salem is Jerusalem, which would mean that the Order of Melchizedek in the Bible was based at Jerusalem, rather than at Salem, as the Bible says. However, they only assume this because David (who was a self-described subject of the high priest of the order) settled in the Hittite city of Jebus (later known as Jerusalem) after he conquered it, presumably owing to the fact that the previous king Saul had ruled from there, and the half-Hittite Solomon was also born in and ruled out of Jerusalem. This assumption ignores that David’s association with Solomon’s mother (which was evidently his main reason for staying in Jebus) was his “great sin,” and that he almost forfeited the throne as a result, or that Solomon’s right to rule was forfeited during his reign and his dynasty ended in Israel as soon as he died. Every king over Israel after Solomon ruled out of Samaria—most at Shechem—as the kings of Salem before them had done. Meanwhile, the name of Salem was not transferred to Jerusalem the way Nazareth was relocated, as Jerusalem was never called Salem at any point in its history. In other words, Salem had existed since at least a millennium before Solomon’s time as the capital of the whole region, and did not cease to be either the place by that name (i.e. the seat of the Order of Melchizedek) or the capital of Israel once the Hittite city of Jebus became known as Jerusalem and was converted into the capital of a rump state of Israel. (Judah, where Solomon’s dynasty continued to reign, became a foreign nation, completely cut off from Israel, after the last of the civil wars which changed its status from a tribe to a nation with its own king.)

Psalm 110 clearly conveys that David’s authority derived from the Order of Melchizedek, and that he considered himself subject to it—a fact which Yahshuah pointed out to the Pharisees in order to establish his own authority over them (Matthew 22:41-46). The namesake of the order was the first and only recorded king of Salem, the name by which the entire region of Palestine was known amongst the Semites prior to Abraham’s sojourn there. The other names, such as Canaan and Philistia (or Phoenicia), designated the ethnic distribution throughout the land of those whose right to rule it was considered illegitimate, and whose presence was barely tolerated by the Aramaic and Hebrew-speaking Semites. Abraham’s calling was no doubt related to Melchizedek’s presence there, and this is evident in the fact that Abraham fought and defeated the Babylonians on behalf of Melchizedek’s subjects, which included Abraham’s nephew Lot.

Shalem means ‘Peace.’ It is not as though a peaceful civilization would have gone through the trouble of driving out another neighboring civilization. This is presumably why the Israelites were ultimately charged with the task, as the Israelites were an extremely violent civilization, though even they failed to complete it, in spite of having had the means. What this means is that Abraham was originally called out of Aramea to serve the king of Salem (Palestine), who was himself Aramean (a descendant of Aram) by heritage. Palestine essentially belonged to Arameans, but had also been settled by Canaanites (i.e. descendants of Canaan, and therefore of Cain), so armed conflict was inevitable, if not already ongoing by Abraham’s time.

Christians believe Abraham came from the Sumerian city of Ur, but in fact ur simply means ‘city,’ so when the Bible says (in English) that he came from “Ur of the Chaldees,” it should be read as saying that he came from ‘the settlement of the Kesedim.’ Christians suppose that this ur must mean the Sumerian city of Ur, even though the Sumerian name for this Ur is actually Urim, simply because the Chaldeans conquered Babylon thousands of years later, so they suppose “Chaldees” denotes Babylon rather than Aramea, and that Abraham, who was Aramean, must have come from Babylon rather than Aramea. Of course, no explanation is offered as to how he or his family wound up in Babylon to begin with, or how there is no archaeological record of Arameans populating Sumerian or Babylonian cities.

In fact, Abraham’s journey to Palestine was not nearly as far as a hike from the Persian Gulf region, and before he left for Egypt, it amounted to nothing more than leaving Syria and going straight to the West Bank—a few hundred miles, at most (about 1000 less than commonly supposed). The so-called Chaldean Dynasty began in 626 BC and lasted less than a century, so it is hardly even worth mentioning in the context of the Bible, but Leonard Woolley, the archaeologist who led the major excavations of Ur in the early part of the 20th century, was extremely ignorant and biased in his interpretations of data, as were most notable archaeologists of the time. This common view of the Ur of Nahor being anywhere in Iraq has only even been espoused since about 1927, while Jewish scholars all the way back to Josephus have always correctly placed it in Aramea. Christians would do well to recognize that the man who located it in Sumer is the same as the one who popularized the belief that the Flood was local to the area around Ur rather than the global deluge which the Bible presents it as before they attribute any more credibility to him or his ideas without any substantiation whatsoever.

Genesis is very explicit regarding the fact that Abraham married his half-sister in Aram, and then deliberately sought out a wife for his son Isaac from among his own people there, and also that Isaac and his wife Rebekah both insisted that their son Jacob also travel to Paddam Aram, ‘the field (country) of Aram’ in Hebrew, for the same reason. Jacob wound up spending a full 14 years in Haran (somewhere in the vicinity of modern Harran in Syria, about 120 miles northeast of Aleppo) before coming back to Canaan with his wives. Esau, on the other hand, greatly displeased Isaac by marrying Canaanites (28:8), so we can only assume that this factored heavily into Isaac’s decision to award Jacob with his birthright, even though the circumstances of the blessing indicate that Isaac was a meat-eater on at least one occasion. So the least we can do is realize that keeping the genetic purity of the Hebrew bloodlines intact was of paramount significance to the Patriarchs. With that in mind, let us take a closer look at this family.

According to Genesis 22:22, Abraham’s brother Nahor had a son named Kesed, which demonstrates that the word kesedim in 11:28 denotes the family of one of Abraham’s nephews, and that this is what the writer of Genesis meant by ur kesedim, because there were no Chaldeans existent at that time. (In fact, there is also no known evidence of the existence of the Arameans themselves which antedates the biblical account, though their existence is accounted for within a few centuries of Abraham’s time.) Read properly, the text of 11:28 is specific rather than redundant, as commonly interpreted. It indicates that Abraham’s father Terah moved away from his own settlement, where Abraham was presumably also living (unless he just picked up his father on his way to Canaan). Compare the following text from the NIV with our translation of the Hebrew texts demonstrating that the name of Haran indicates that Terah only journeyed as far as his son’s camp, rather than to any non-existent city which coincidentally bore the same name.

This is the account of Terah’s family line. Terah became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran became the father of Lot. While his father Terah was still alive, Haran died in Ur of the Chaldeans, in the land of his birth. Abram and Nahor both married. The name of Abram’s wife was Sarai, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah; she was the daughter of Haran, the father of both Milkah and Iskah. Now Sarai was childless because she was not able to conceive. Terah took his son Abram, his grandson Lot son of Haran, and his daughter-in-law Sarai, the wife of his son Abram, and together they set out from Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. But when they came to Harran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Harran. Genesis 11:27-32 (NIV)

These are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor and Haran the father of Lot, and died in Haran, before Terah his father, in the land of his birth, in the settlement of the kesedim[family of Kesed]. Abram and Nahor took wives: the name of Abram’s wife was Saray, and the name of Nahor’s wife was Milkah, the daughter of Haran, the father of Milkah and Iskah. Sarai was barren, with no offspring. Terah took his son Abram, Lot (the son of his own son Haran), and Saray his daughter-in-law (the wife of his son Abram), and they went together from the settlement of the kesedim to enter the land of Kenan, and they came as far as [Terah’s son, the brother of Abram and Nahor] Haran and settled there. The days of Terah were two hundred and five years, and Terah died at Haran.

Nahor was named after Terah’s father, a seventh-generation descendant of Eber, the progenitor of the Hebrews, and ninth from Shem, the progenitor of the Semites. What these men would have been doing in Babylon in the first place begs a lot of questions, especially if we consider that Abraham was born in the land of this Ur, and that both his father and his brothers were allegedly born elsewhere, and that the rest of his family lived there for many generations both before and after his time. Haran’s son Lot left with Abraham, which effectively means that Haran’s birthright came with Lot to Canaan, just as Terah’s did with Abraham. Only Nahor’s birthright remained in Aram. This issue of birthright is extremely significant, as it amounts to the dominion given to Adam and passed through Noah and his son Shem. It is clearly the main reason that Abraham was called to Salem, if not also that Terah and his other descendants were.

So this is why Abraham sent to Nahor’s son Bethuel for a wife and was married to Bethuel’s daughter, while she, in turn, sent Jacob to Bethuel’s son (her brother) Laban. Their intention was clearly to pass Nahor’s birthright to the descendants of Abraham, thus ensuring that the birthright of all of Terah’s descendants was moved to the Promised Land. All of Nahor’s sons, including Bethuel, were offspring of Haran and members of his household, because Nahor married Haran’s daughter Milkah, but the birthright was inherited through the male line. This is why the text reads ur kesedim rather than ur haranim. The settlement was properly known as Haran, because it was Haran who settled there, but it was only ever the settlement of the offspring of Terah, not a proper city.

It really should be obvious that ur kesedim would not be joined with “in the land of his birth” if it meant exactly that, redundantly, as we all locate a city within a nation, or within a province or state of a larger nation. An example of such hyperbole would be “New York, New York,” as opposed to “New York, also known as the Big Apple.” No one talks like that, because it is commonly understood what New York is with even more certainty than other monikers we might attach to it, so it is folly to assume that the writer of Genesis did this when he was so careful to locate paddan aram that it appears 11 times in the book. Furthermore, the concept of established cities was all but foreign to the Hebrews back when the world was sparsely populated (hence the fact that there are no other records of Aram prior to c. 1900 BC, much less to any city called Haran at that time), so they referred to places based on who lived there, or even who had lived there many generations earlier, as evidenced by the name of Aram itself, or even “the land of Canaan,” where they were going. In short, there was no “Ur of the Chaldees” as it is known; there were only the tents of Terah in Aram, the tents of his son Nahor about a day’s journey away, and the tents of Nahor’s son Kesed nearby. Nor would any scholar in his right mind ever claim that Aram (meaning ‘highland’) was in the flood plain of Babylon, or that even the Chaldeans were not Aramaeans or at least Amorites (these are usually associated), or that the Hebrew language was unrelated to Aramaic but related to the language of the Babylonians.

This ought to inform us as to why the Chaldean ruler of Babylon was regarded by Jeremiah as the servant of Yahweh when he conquered the wayward Israelites and brought them into captivity. Mesopotamia was mostly inhabited by Hamites before the various Semitic nations invaded, and there is no trace of the existence of Chaldeans in Babylon (much less originating there) prior to the early Classical era. Aramea, on the other hand, was exclusively inhabited by Hebrews, who practically only lived in Aram. It is obvious that people did not stray very far from their parents, so we should not find it a surprise, as the Christians do, that Terah only ventured a day’s journey from his own home before he stopped at Haran. (They actually use this fact to argue that he would not have stopped so early during the pilgrimage, but it ignores that he had a reason for stopping there if he had family there, and supposes no other reason in place of this one.) More important than how far he had come in relation to how far he had to go is the issue of whether or not he would be leaving the confines of what he was familiar with altogether, and tradition (e.g., the Apocalypse of Abraham, Midrash Bereishit 38 and Surah 21 of the Qur’an) holds that Terah was an idol-worshiper who did not want to give up his practices, and that Abraham himself destroyed the idols. We might interpret this to mean that Terah did not want to give up his meat, despite his son’s insisting, as that is essentially what it amounts to. Some of the old stories go so far as to say that Abraham did not want to leave his father, and that God sent the angel of death to burn Terah’s tents (with him in them) in order to compel him to leave for the Promised Land. Given the Bible’s depiction of the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Sodom, neither of these scenarios seems implausible.

Now, while this argument is not entirely based on Scripture, it is presented here in order that the reader might understand what the plain speech of the text is, rather than reading into it things which have been inferred and repeated by a plethora of scholars who cannot make sense of it and actually have nothing to add but their confusion. Those who have actually read and made an effort to understand it will be familiar with the text of Deuteronomy 26 (on the Feast of First Fruits), wherein the Israelites were commanded to remind themselves, year after year, that Abraham was an Aramean. The irony, therefore, of the Jews, Christians and Muslims (but especially Jews and Christians) laying claim to a Babylonian heritage via Abraham is more than a little indicative of their spiritual apostasy, as well as of their blatant ignorance of the clear speech of the Bible.

“And the priest shall take the basket from your hand and place it before the altar of יהוה your Elohim. And you shall answer and say before יהוה your Elohim, ‘My father was a perishing Aramean, and he went down to Mitsrayim and sojourned there with few men. And there he became a nation, great, mighty, and numerous.’” Deuteronomy 26:4-5

Now let us consider how this all relates to God’s selection of the offspring of Terah, a patrilineal descendant of Noah, to receive the Promised Land as their perpetual inheritance. By the time the nation of Salem was overrun by Canaanites and Hittites (Hittites being descendants of Canaan), the city (or city-state) of Salem would have been seen as an outpost of the Semitic civilization to the North, or on the southern frontier of the civilization of Aram. The Hittite city of Jebus was likewise established as an outpost much later by the Israelites after the Conquest, because it had already been a major cultural center prior to its capture, and because the Israelites who captured it failed to put it under the ban (i.e. to massacre all of its inhabitants), but had instead established the stronghold of the Tribe of Benjamin as a suburb of Jebus, all of which necessarily means that it prospered more than all the other cities of Canaan. However, while Jerusalem became a thriving metropolis under the Israelites in the dynastic period, the capital of the Kingdom of Israel still remained at Salem, as it had for hundreds of years. More importantly, the Nazarite prophets dwelled there and retained their rights as its rulers throughout the Judges period and well after—rights which included anointing kings over Israel, or rending the kingdom from them, as in the cases of Saul and Rehoboam.

Jebus was renamed to reflect its affinity to Salem, as the southern capital or administrative center of the South (Benjamin, Judah, Simeon and Dan). Yerushalayim, the name which David gave it, literally means ‘possession of Salem,’ so there is no doubt that David submitted to the authority of the Nazarites in the North, even on behalf of the entire settlement, for all posterity, even though the kings who came after him certainly did not. (Ironically, they still failed to rename the city as an act of defiance.) This is confirmed by his interactions with the prophets Samuel and Nathan, and by the fact that Nathan declared Solomon’s descendants as cut off from the throne due to his apostasy. Meanwhile, the kings of Israel after Solomon continued to reside at Shechem, though not with any more esteem from the Nazarites than he had enjoyed.

This line of inquiry is mostly significant for Christians because it was essential to establishing the supremacy of Yahshuah over the Mosaic tradition in both Israel (Samaria and Galilee in the New Testament) and Judah (Judea in the NT), because Yahshuah’s genealogy is recorded in Matthew from the kings of Israel, and in Luke from the legitimate kings of Judah, who were prophets, though they did not reign. Otherwise, without the knowledge that Jerusalem was never the capital of Israel in any sense, one might suppose that the legitimacy descended from Solomon’s dynasty in Judah rather than the kings of Israel, as recorded in Matthew. Even with this knowledge, it could still be supposed that Yahshuah’s genealogy was nothing to brag about, as the kings of Israel were more or less wicked to a man. However, they were still the only legitimate kings of the unified kingdom, as Judah was only a legitimate kingdom in its own right, by the Nazarites’ standard, after the fall of Israel. Even then, its duration depended on its upholding of the Law, which it failed to do. As we will see, this issue comes down to their carnivorous appetite, just as we have already inferred about Terah, though the case of Terah leaves room for doubt, being explicit only in the non-canonical texts (unless the Qur’an is considered canonical).

In some sense, ownership of Canaan belonged to Abraham, because it was promised to his descendants by God, but in the real world sense of it, that right was conferred by Melchizedek after Abraham came to him in Salem. Yahshuah’s right to rule comes not from his descent from David, but because God himself appointed him as the everlasting high priest of the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:6-10, 6:20, 8:1). Abraham himself did homage to Melchizedek as King of Salem, though not to any of the other kings of the region (Genesis 14:18-20), which clearly indicates his preferred status, if not his supremacy. This also implies that the policy of tithing to the Levitical priesthood was based on Abraham’s tithe to Melchizedek. Not only this, but Melchizedek’s offering of “bread and wine” was obviously recorded due to its ceremonial nature, so we might reasonably suppose that this event is also the origin of the Eucharist rite, as the Last Supper amounts to exactly the same thing (the high priest of the order of Melchizedek offering bread and wine to symbolically represent his abdication of his possession, though not his authority, in favor of the heirs of a new covenant between God and his people, the descendants of Abraham).

With all this in mind, it is not enough to simply switch out Jerusalem (‘possession of Salem’) with Salem itself, as this is not even logical. The right to rule extended not just from Salem, but from Melchizedek himself, as he was not just its king, but also, according to Genesis 14:18, the priest of El Elyon (‘the highest god’). The ethnocentric Jews of Yahshuah’s time found themselves unable to argue with him on any matter at all after he brought up the Psalm 110 passage (Matthew 22:46), and Pontius Pilate even recognized his kingship over the Judeans (i.e. the Jews), even though he was from Galilee, a fact which inflamed them. All of the canonical gospels record this;531 Mark uses the phrase “Sovereign of the Yahudim” 5 times in Chapter 15 alone (vv. 9,12,18,26,32), and leaves no room for doubt that Pilate actually regarded him as such.

And the entire assembly of them, having risen up, led Him to Pilate, and began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this one perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Messiah, a Sovereign.” And Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the Sovereign of the Yehuḏim?” And answering him He said, “You say it.” And Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no guilt in this Man.” Luke 23:1-4

But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you wish me to release for you the Sovereign of the Yehuḏim?” Mark 15:9

And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE SOVEREIGN OF THE YEHUḎIM. Mark 15:26

Judea was technically a client kingdom (i.e. vassal state) of the Roman Empire, and its monarch’s will had to be ratified by Rome, so the decision of the Roman procurator or prefect (representing the emperor) to call him their king effectively meant that he was their king, legally as well as ceremonially, especially considering that the people of Jerusalem had already hailed him as such from the moment he had arrived, and did so, albeit mockingly, right up until his death. This title of King is far more significant than that of Messiah ever would have been, for there were many who were called by the latter, but there could only be one King.

“The Messiah? The Sovereign of Yisra’ĕl? Come down now from the stake, so that we see and believe.” And those who were impaled with Him were reproaching Him. Mark 15:32

In order to understand this right of kingship, we need to go back to Genesis and identify this Melchizedek. In doing so, we run into some interesting associations. First of all, Melchizedek means ‘king of righteousness,’ or perhaps ‘the king is righteous,’ ‘my king is righteous,’ or ‘the righteous king.’ Either way, it is a generic title applied only to one man as the sovereign. The point is that he was the leader of the sect (or nation) regarded by the Bible’s authors as righteous. It appears by that name just once in the Bible (presumably because it is a title), after Abraham rescues his nephew Lot who was taken captive because he was associating with people he should not have been. Note well how the so-called “Pentapolis” of “cities” is actually just a loose, post hoc description of wicked men, summarily referred to as rephaim, and it should already be apparent that Abraham’s business in Salem amounted to defending it against the encroaching demon-possessed corpse-munchers.

And it came to be in the days of Amraphel sovereign of Shinʽar [Babylon], Aryoḵ sovereign of Ellasar [Tyre, falsely believed to be in the vicinity of Babylon], Keḏorlaʽomer sovereign of Ěylam [Elam], and Tiḏʽal sovereign of Goyim [‘tribes’ or ‘nations’], that they fought against Bera sovereign of Seḏom [Sodom, ‘the scorched’], Birsha sovereign of Amorah [Gomorrah, ‘the ruined (heap)’], Shinaḇ sovereign of Aḏmah [‘the (leveled) earth’], Shem’ĕḇer sovereign of Tseḇoyim [‘the wild ones,’ i.e. beast-men, or possibly ‘the places (which became) wilderness,’ in that they were inhabited by deer or other wild game after these events], and the sovereign of Bela [‘the devourers’ or ‘the devoured’], that is Tsoʽar [‘the poorly esteemed’]. All these joined together in the Valley of Siddim [‘the flats’ or ‘the fields’], that is the Salt Sea. Twelve years they served Keḏorlaʽomer, and in the thirteenth year they rebelled. And in the fourteenth year Keḏorlaʽomer and the sovereigns that were with him came and smote the Repha’im in Ashteroth Qarnayim [‘the horns of Ashtoreth,’ i.e. the altars upon which the cult of Molekh performed its sacrifices], and the Zuzim in Ḥam [‘the throngs’ or possibly ‘the prominent’ of Canaan], and the Ěmites [‘the dreadful’] in Shawĕh Qiryathayim [‘the (twin) cities of the plain,’ i.e. Sodom and Gomorrah], and the Ḥorites [‘the cavemen’] in their mountain of Sĕʽir, as far as Ěl Paran, which is by the wilderness. And they turned back and came to Ěn Mishpat, that is Qaḏĕsh, and smote all the country of the Amalĕqites, and also the Amorites who dwelt in Ḥatsetson Tamar. And the sovereign of Seḏom, and the sovereign of Amorah, and the sovereign of Aḏmah, and the sovereign of Tseḇoyim, and the sovereign of Bela, that is Tsoʽar, went out and joined together in battle in the Valley of Siddim [actually Sodom], against Keḏorlaʽomer sovereign of Ěylam, and Tiḏʽal sovereign of Goyim, and Amraphel sovereign of Shinʽar, and Aryoḵ sovereign of Ellasar—four sovereigns against five. And the Valley of Siddim had many tar pits. And the sovereigns of Seḏom and Amorah fled and fell there, and the remainder fled to the mountains. And they took all the goods of Seḏom and Amorah, and all their food, and went away. And they took Lot, Aḇram’s brother’s son who dwelt in Seḏom, and his goods, and left. Genesis 14:1-12

This narrative shows that the first engagements were fought by the “nations” (rather, the loose confederation of barbarians) east of Salem on the other side of the Jordan River. The Babylonians either pressed as far as Engedi (an important city on the western side of the Dead Sea), or else forced the Amorites living there into submission by defeating them in the field. Either way, the next in line was the area around Sodom, so the allied “cities” (the text calls them “cave-dwellers”) in the southern Dead Sea region marched out to fight when those to the North had been vanquished. Considering that at least one of the names of the invading kings (Amraphel) is Aramaic, that another (Arioch) is Hebrew, that the Elamites are designated as Semites in 10:22, and that the other king is simply referred to as a king of Goyim (‘the nations,’ i.e. non-Hebrews, generically), it is safe to say that there was an alliance between the Semites of the Fertile Crescent against the Canaanites on the fringes of their civilization, extending well beyond the clash of the Hittites or Amorites and Arameans in Palestine. So our assertion that Abraham was called out of Aram to help the Kingdom of Salem rid itself of the wicked Canaanites clearly has support in Scripture, and the only reason this is not already commonly known is that translators always mistakenly think that proper names belong where common descriptions exist, especially when those descriptions are as inflammatory as these.

The other side of this alliance lists the “cities” of the Plain of Zoar (or Valley of Sodom, i.e. ‘the despised plain’ or ‘the burnt valley’) as a separate alliance from the one that rebelled in the North. This joint rebellion of separatist factions suggests an ideological association between them. To show a link between the practices of the Rephaim in the North and the Sodomites in the South is therefore to demonstrate exactly what the prophetic tradition is against. And contrary to popular belief, the wickedness of the Sodomites was not a matter of any kind of sexual perversion, but of violence and total lack of charity or empathy for suffering beings, the kind of which is much more readily evident in the animal farming industry of today than it ever was before Zoar’s wholesale destruction. The implications for the present time are as obvious as they are enormous, and they even have several deliberate correlations in the New Testament. For instance, the Talmud holds that the sin which provoked God’s wrath was basically a repeat of the murder of Abel, so this was already well established by oral tradition in Yahshuah’s time.

A certain maiden gave some bread to a poor man, hiding it in a pitcher. On the matter becoming known, they daubed her with honey and placed her on the parapet of the wall, and the bees came and consumed her. Thus it is written, And the Lord said, The cry of Sodom and Gomorrah, because it is great (rabbah): whereupon Rab Judah commented in Rab’s name: on account of the maiden (ribah). Sanhedrin 109a

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you bear witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who did murder the prophets—and you fill up the measure of your fathers! Serpents, brood of adders! How would you escape the judgment of Gehenna? Because of this, see, I send you prophets, and wise men, and scholars of Scripture. Some of them you shall kill and impale, and some of them you shall flog in your congregations and persecute from city to city, so that on you should come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Heḇel to the blood of Zeḵaryah, son of Bereḵyah, whom you murdered between the Dwelling Place and the altar.” Matthew 23:29-35

This gives us an insight as to why Lot would have insisted that the messengers sent from Salem to investigate this murder come under his protection. Obviously he would not have even been living in Sodom, knowing it was so evil, right down to the last man, unless the event in question had only just happened, or else he himself would not have been considered righteous in the eyes of the messengers. Considering that every other man in the whole city was condemned, what could this possibly mean but that Lot was the only one who had enough compassion to do the right thing in spite of his fear of the consequences—i.e. that he was the only one who was not of the same spirit as that which today pervades the animal farming industry and everyone who consumes its products? The only alternative is to suppose that the messengers made a mistake (that there were some righteous people who were shut up in their homes) or that literally every man and every woman in the whole city was part of the mob that stormed his house.

Lacking a clear depiction of the events in the Bible, we are reliant on Jewish tradition to discern what the implications of Lot’s compassion are, and whether or not to extend it to a vegetarian ethic. The Talmud and Midrashim abound with explanations, and all are in agreement that when the people of the city came to Lot and demanded he hand them over to them, their intent was to inform not just these men in particular, but indeed all strangers (all who were not Sodomites: the word ‘stranger’ in English comes from the French word for ‘foreigner’) as to how unwelcome they were. The notable 13th century scholar Nachmanides says, in his Commentary on Genesis, concerning the phrase “we shall know them” (i.e. the rapacious sex act for which Sodom has been condemned by posterity):

Their intention was to stop people from coming among them, as our rabbis have said, for they thought that because of the excellence of their land … many will come there and they despised charity … they continued provoking and rebelling against Him with their ease and the oppression of the poor … In the opinion of our Rabbis, all evil practices were rampant among them. Yet their fate was sealed because of this sin—i.e. they did not strengthen the hand of the poor and needy—since this sin represented their usual behaviour more than any other. Besides, since all peoples act righteously towards their friends and their poor, there was none among all the nations who matched Sodom in cruelty. Nachmanides532

Rabbi Ze’era said: The men of Sodom were the wealthy men of prosperity, on account of the good and fruitful land whereon they dwelt … Rabbi Nathaniel said: The men of Sodom had no consideration for the honour of their Owner by not distributing food to the wayfarer and stranger, but they even fenced in all the trees on top above their fruit so that so that they should not be seized; not even by the bird of heaven … Rabbi Joshua … said: They appointed over themselves judges who were lying judges, and they oppressed every wayfarer and stranger who entered Sodom by their perverse judgment, and they sent them forth naked …

Rabbi Jehudah said: They made a proclamation in Sodom saying: Everyone who strengthens the hand of the poor or the needy with a loaf of bread shall be burnt by fire. Peletith, daughter of Lot, was wedded to one of the magnates of Sodom. She saw a certain very poor man in the street of the city, and her soul was grieved on his account … Every day when she went out to draw water she put in her bucket all sorts of provisions from her home, and she fed that poor man. The men of Sodom said: How does this poor man live? When they ascertained the facts, they brought her forth to be burnt by fire. She said: Sovereign of all the worlds! maintain my right and my cause (at the hands of) the men of Sodom. And her cry ascended before the Throne of Glory. In that hour the Holy One, blessed be He, said: I will now descend and I will see whether the men of Sodom have done according to the cry of this young woman, I will turn her foundation upwards, and the surface thereof shall be turned downwards. Pirke de-Rabbi Eliezer533

Said R Levi, Even if I wanted to keep silent, the requirement of justice for a certain girl will not allow me to keep silent. There was the case of two girls, who went down to draw water from the well. One said to her friend, Why are you pale? The other said, All the food is gone from our house and we are ready to die. What did the other do? She filled the jug with flour and exchanged it for her own. Each took the one of the other. When the Sodomites found out about it, they took the girl (who had shared the food) and burned her. Said the Holy One, blessed be He, Even if I wanted to keep silent, the requirement of justice for a certain girl will not allow me to keep silent. What is written is not, ‘In accord with their cry,’ but, ‘according to her cry,’ referring in particular to the girl. Genesis Rabbah, Parashah 49:6534

So the sin of Sodom was not sodomy, but of murdering a girl for giving a beggar bread, and according to Jewish tradition, this girl was Lot’s own daughter (Abraham’s great-niece). Furthermore, if there is any truth to the account of their sticking her to the parapet with honey to be eaten by bees, that means they wasted an awful lot of honey, which we know was made from fruit. So this is a matter of not approving of a woman’s charity, when that charity consists in giving bread to the needy, and of devising a scheme to murder her in an ironic and extremely torturous way, as if to say “This is what happens to those who eat bread and honey in our city.”

Considering that the messengers promised to spare the city when Abraham inquired after Lot, should they have found a few righteous people in it, it seems very plausible that the victim was indeed one of his own relatives. What does not seem plausible is that every last man in the city was a homosexual or bisexual, especially considering that Lot had already betrothed his daughters to some of them. The act which secured Sodom’s destruction was just the final straw, and the total greediness and lack of compassion demonstrated by these accounts are evidence that the real sin of Sodom was its appetite for flesh. Certainly this is how Ezekiel saw it, and he was not afraid to call Jerusalem and Samaria by the name of Sodom for that very reason. Ezekiel’s rants are nothing short of epic; in Chapter 16 alone he uses the word “whorings” 9 times before making 6 explicit references to Jerusalem as “Sodom,” as well as 10 more references to “abominations” throughout. (See Ezekiel 16 in Appendix E.)

Now, we already know what an abomination is. Yet the context of Genesis 14 and the association which Ezekiel makes between Sodom and Jerusalem, and with Israel as a whole, ties it right back to the Watchers and their deliberate plan to corrupt the earth by introducing men to violence. The rephaim of Genesis 14, as we know, were descendants of the nephilim. Asthteroth is clearly linked to the term which we will see much of in this chapter—it was a place in Bashan, the area south of Mt. Hermon, where the Watchers were said to have landed (1 Enoch 6:6). Ham was a generic name given to the land between Bashan and Moab, presumably named for Noah’s apostate son (or, more likely, vice-versa). The Kiriathaim (or twin cities) in the context are assumed to have been the ones in Moab, but probably refer to the ones in Naphtali, not far from Mt. Hermon or Kadesh. (We have identified them as Sodom and Gomorrah; this is an alternative explanation based on the notion that the descriptions in Genesis 14 should actually be taken as proper names.) Seir is Edom, En Misphat is Kadesh (thought to be in Judah, but probably in Naphtali), and Hazezon Tamar is Engedi (2 Chronicles 20:2).

Despite this comprehensive description of an all-out vendetta against the Amorites of Canaan, it was only the beginning of the feud between the sons of Shem and the sons of Ham. In reality, Abraham lacked the power to effect much of a change, even as Melchizedek did, as he was just one man. The world power of Babylon went to war with the Amorites, and even that was not enough to put an end to their savagery. Perhaps that is why God took care of the problem in a more direct manner entailing presumably supernatural events. After all, it was God himself who told Abraham that his descendants would reclaim the Promised Land specifically on account of the Amorites’ sins.

“Then, in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the crookedness of the Amorites is not yet complete.” Genesis 15:16

The first wars which the Israelites fought after the Exodus were against the Amalekites and Amorites. There is no doubt that Moses and Joshua were following the same pattern of conquest that Kedolaomer and his allies followed when they came from the other direction. Even if Kedolaomer did not, this means that God had had it in mind all along to destroy these peoples completely, since at the least the time of Abraham (c. 2100 BC). That they persisted after the Israelites’ conquest of Palestine is the source of literally all of the antagonism of the Prophets directed at Israel from then on. And their sin, as we will see, was both their lack of compassion and their appetite for flesh.

So we can imagine how the Zionists and Jews have had all kinds of incentive to write Salem out of history, especially in light of how Ezekiel’s rant against their beloved Jerusalem leaves no room for doubt that it was thoroughly violent and wicked, and how Revelation 11:8 blatantly reaffirms the association between the sins of Jerusalem and those of Sodom and Egypt. This endeavor to supplant Israel’s legacy with a Jewish one has been done primarily through deliberate changes to references to Mt. Gerizim and the relocation of Mt. Moriah, because references to mountains are less explicit and easier to obfuscate than are references to cities which have had a long and continuous presence. Powerful cities are often figuratively called by the names of the mountains they have been built upon in the Bible, and this is especially true of Zion in Jerusalem and Moriah in Salem, so to associate Zion with Moriah is to associate Jerusalem with the capital of Israel, rather than just of Judah. This is why the word ‘mountain’ is normally synonymous with ‘government’ in prophetic literature, and also why the texts of Matthew and Luke are not in agreement about what Yahshuah said when he use the term this way, because the people who changed the wording were politically motivated, and feared that a literal interpretation would lead to civil rebellion. (Matthew is the reliable one, as we have explained in Satan’s Synoptics.)

And יהושע said to them, “Because of your unbelief, for truly, I say to you, if you have belief as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it shall move. And no matter shall be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

And the Master said, “If you have belief as a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Luke 17:6

What Yahshuah was really telling his disciples here was that the Jews had moved the seat of government, and that they could just as easily move it back. It is the Jews who have invented fantastical stories of mountains being lifted up into the air, due to their extremely fallacious reading of Exodus 19:17, as if to detract from the obvious implication and prevent rebellion even further. And considering that Muslims have repeated the error, they are no better off.

The Holy One, blessed is He, raised a mountain over Israel as though it were a dome. And He said to them: if you hold to the Torah all is well, but if not you will be buried here! Avodah Zarah 2b

And [mention] when We raised the mountain above them as if it was a dark cloud and they were certain that it would fall upon them, [and Allah said], “Take what We have given you with determination and remember what is in it that you might fear Allah.” Qur’an 7:171

The mistake concerning the location of Mt. Moriah is no less absurd and even more significant than this. Jews (and also Muslims, following Jewish tradition) have located Abraham’s offering of Isaac at the Temple Mount, for no other reason than that they have laid claim to his inheritance, which Yahshuah emphatically disputed.535 Abraham’s test took place at Moriah (Genesis 22:2), after which he settled at Beersheba. Jews have relocated this to the city in Judah which they have called Beersheba, but the name actually means ‘well of the oath.’ In fact, Abraham is never described as having lived in a city after God called him out of Ur, but lived as a wanderer.

In other words, the Bible never says that he lived in a city, as Ur was not a city, either. However, it is very likely that he did live in a city while in Egypt. Either way, it was not his custom, and his experiences with Lot would have been sufficient to make him leery about doing so, so it is illogical to suppose that the “well” where the covenant was made was in the middle of a city without any indication to that effect. Genesis 18:1 says that God appeared to Abraham when he was near the entrance of his tent, in a location which is clearly out of the way of any human settlement. On the other hand, if this assertion was wrong, and he was indeed living in previously settled locations, then it would beg the question of how the places he named were named by him rather than the people who had already been living there.

The fact is, Abraham and his nephew Lot were not the only ones who lived this way. Most people back then did. Furthermore, his entire household was supposed to be “set apart,” and it was to Israelites’ great shame that they settled in the cities of the Canaanites and adopted their practices, disregarding the many commands and warnings which God issued them. This is discussed in the next chapter, but it has its basis in the relationship between God and Abraham. Still 2 generations later, which was actually a few centuries, Esau was described as a “man of the field” (25:27), and Jacob built “shelters” for his livestock after returning from Aramea (33:17), before crossing the Jordan and pitching his tents outside Shechem (33:18).

In any case, it may not be immediately apparent that the places where Abraham and Jacob wandered did not become the cities that have been known by the names ascribed to them due to the descriptions given to them in the Bible, with a few exceptions (particularly Bethel). Yet the fact that they both dwelled right outside the city of Shechem means there was already a city there, rather than that they were the ones who established it. These descriptions are obviously therefore points of reference for people already familiar with the layout of the land, and in particular with the vicinity of Shechem, which was only called Shechem because of the association between Jacob’s sons and the men that they murdered, the most notable of whom was named Shechem. Otherwise the only known settlement there was Salem.

The most interesting connection prior to that massacre is a pact which was made between the people of Shechem and Abraham, as it shows how powerful he had already become, how violent the sons of Jacob were, and how peaceful the people of Shechem were in comparison. It is not immediately apparent that the name of Abimelek denotes the son of Melchizedek, because it was a common title among the Canaanites, but as Abimelek means ‘my father (is) King,’ and as Abraham had no other king, it could not apply to anyone else.536 What this means is that Abraham lived in peace with his masters, but the sons of Jacob betrayed and violated this peace, which is why they were driven away from Salem.

And it came to be at that time that Aḇimeleḵ and Piḵol, the commander of his army, spoke to Aḇraham, saying, “Elohim is with you in all that you do. And now, swear to me by Elohim, not to be untrue to me, to my offspring, or to my descendants. Do to me according to the kindness that I have done to you and to the land in which you have dwelt.” And Aḇraham said, “I swear.” And Aḇraham reproved Aḇimeleḵ because of a well of water which Aḇimeleḵ’s servants had seized. And Aḇimeleḵ said, “I do not know who has done this deed. Neither did you inform me, nor did I hear until today.” So Aḇraham took sheep and cattle and gave them to Aḇimeleḵ, and the two of them made a covenant. And Aḇraham set seven ewe lambs of the flock by themselves. And Aḇimeleḵ asked Aḇraham, “What are these seven ewe lambs which you have set by themselves?” And he said, “Take these seven ewe lambs from my hand, to be my witness that I have dug this well.” So he called that place Be’ĕrsheḇa, because the two of them swore an oath there. Thus they made a covenant at Be’ĕrsheḇa. And Aḇimeleḵ rose with Piḵol, the commander of his army, and they returned to the land of the Philistines. And he planted a tamarisk tree in Be’ĕrsheḇa, and there called on the Name of יהוה, the Everlasting Ěl. And Aḇraham sojourned in the land of the Philistines many days. Genesis 21:22-34

And Ḥamor and Sheḵem his son came to the gate of their city, and spoke with the men of their city, saying, “These men are at peace with us, so let them dwell in the land and move about in it. And see, the land is large enough for them. Let us take their daughters for us for wives, and let us give them our daughters. Only on this condition would the men agree to dwell with us, to be one people: if every male among us is circumcised as they are circumcised. Their herds and their possessions, and all their beasts, should they not be ours? Only let us agree with them, and let them dwell with us.” And all who went out of the gate of his city listened to Ḥamor and Sheḵem his son; every male was circumcised, all who went out of the gate of his city. And it came to be on the third day, when they were in pain, that two of the sons of Yaʽaqoḇ, Shimʽon and Lĕwi, Dinah’s brothers, each took his sword and came boldly upon the city and killed all the males. And they killed Ḥamor and Sheḵem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah from Sheḵem’s house, and went out. The sons of Yaʽaqoḇ came upon the slain, and plundered the city, because they had defiled their sister. They took their flocks and their herds, and their donkeys, and that which was in the city and that which was in the field, and all their wealth. And all their little ones and their wives they took captive, and they plundered all that was in the houses. And Yaʽaqoḇ said to Shimʽon and Lĕwi, “You have troubled me by making me a stench among the inhabitants of the land, among the Kenaʽanites and the Perizzites. And I am few in number, they shall gather themselves against me and shall smite me, and I shall be destroyed, my household and I.” Genesis 34:20-30

And Elohim said to Yaʽaqoḇ, “Arise, go up to Bĕyth Ěl and dwell there. And make an altar there to Ěl who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Ěsaw your brother.” And Yaʽaqoḇ said to his household and to all who were with him, “Put away the foreign mighty ones that are among you, and cleanse yourselves, and change your garments. And let us arise and go up to Bĕyth Ěl, and let me make there an altar to Ěl, who answered me in the day of my distress, and has been with me in the way which I have gone.” So they gave Yaʽaqoḇ all the foreign mighty ones which were in their hands, and all their earrings which were in their ears. And Yaʽaqoḇ hid them under the terebinth tree which was near Sheḵem. And they departed, and the fear of Elohim was upon the cities that were all around them, and they did not pursue the sons of Yaʽaqoḇ. And Yaʽaqoḇ came to Luz, that is Bĕyth Ěl, which is in the land of Kenaʽan, he and all the people who were with him. And he built there an altar and called the place El Bĕyth Ěl, because there Elohim appeared to him when he fled from the face of his brother. Genesis 35:1-7

So we find that Beersheba is not Beersheba as it is known now, but rather an otherwise obscure and random location, so-named because of a pact between men. It is not even a proper name, even now, because a city did not develop there, though Abraham did live there for a long time. Yet an important city was named for Jacob’s interaction with God, because he ultimately settled there. So it would be inconsistent to suppose that there would not have been a Beersheba which described a pact between God and Abraham as well, especially considering that the conflict between Samaria and Judea was clearly still centered around the well at Shechem by Yahshuah’s time. This fact alone provides a certain indication of where the Beersheba of Abraham really is.

So when the Master knew that the Pharisees had heard that יהושע made and immersed more taught ones than Yoḥanan—although יהושע Himself did not immerse, but His taught ones—He left Yehuḏah and went away again to Galil [Galilee]. And He had to pass through Shomeron [Samaria]. So He came to a city of Shomeron, called Sheḵem, near the piece of land Yaʽaqoḇ gave to his son Yosĕph. And Yaʽaqoḇ’s fountain was there. So יהושע, being wearied from the journey, was sitting thus at the fountain. It was about the sixth hour. A woman of Shomeron came to draw water. יהושע said to her, “Give Me to drink.” For His taught ones had gone off into the city to buy food. The woman of Shomeron therefore said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Yehuḏite, ask a drink from me, a woman of Shomeron?” For Yehuḏim do not associate with Shomeronites. יהושע answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of Elohim, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me to drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” The woman said to Him, “Master, You have no vessel, and the well is deep. From where, then, do You have living water? Are You greater than our father Yaʽaqoḇ, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?” John 4:1-12

The woman said to Him, “Master, I see that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped on this mountain, but you people say that in Yerushalayim is the place where one needs to worship.” יהושע said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you shall neither on this mountain, nor in Yerushalayim, worship the Father. The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming, the One who is called Anointed. When that One comes, He shall announce to us all.” יהושע said to her, “I who am speaking to you am He.” John 4:19-21,25-26

This demonstrates a few things. Firstly, although he was initially mistaken for a Judean based either on his outer appearance or his reputation, the people of Shechem identified Yahshuah as the Messiah (i.e. the heir of Melchizedek) based on his teachings and on his dialect (Hebrew, as opposed to Aramaic, spoken by the Jews). Secondly, the initial assumption shows that his appearance was dissimilar to the norm, which means he was identified as a Nazarite based on it (“I perceive that you are a prophet”), and that his reputation as the prophet did not precede him. This is no surprise, as they did not have television and other media we do now, and he was traveling. Thirdly, it shows that the Samaritans were waiting for their king to return from his exile in Galilee and teach them “all.” Compare this reception, and the reception he received in Jerusalem as King of the Judeans after word spread of him, to the initial one he received in Judea by those who had no legacy to draw from other than the Jewish one, and to one he received in his own country by those who presumed to know him, but not as their king.

And many of the Shomeronites of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who witnessed, “He told me all that I have done.” Therefore when the Shomeronites came to Him, they were asking Him to stay with them, and He stayed there two days. And many more believed because of His word. And they said to the woman, “We no longer believe because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard, and we know that this is truly the Messiah, the Saviour of the world.” John 4:39-42

Philip found Nethanĕ’l and said to him, “We have found Him whom Mosheh wrote of in the Torah, and the prophets: יהושע of Natsareth—the son of Yosĕph.” And Nethanĕ’l said to him, “Is it possible for any good matter to come out of Natsareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” John 1:45-46

Others said, “This is the Messiah,” but others said, “Does the Messiah then come out of Galil? Did not the Scripture say that the Messiah comes from the seed of Dawiḏ and from the village of Bĕyth Leḥem, where Dawiḏ was?” John 7:41-42

And some of them wished to take [arrest] Him, but no one laid hands on Him. “Has anyone of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him?” John 4:44,48

Yahshuah was the legitimate ruler of the Galileans, the Samaritans and the Judeans, because he had inherited the Kingdom of Israel from his ancestors, while the reigning kings were foreigners elected by the Roman Senate, and therefore illegitimate and only barely tolerated by the mob. His positive reception by the Samaritans at Jacob’s Well (the ‘well of the oath’) confirms the legitimacy of his right of inheritance. Although there was possibly more than one Beersheba (otherwise there was more than one etymology for one), the “oath” of this one could not have been any other than God’s promise to Abraham comprising his end of the Covenant of Circumcision, that Abraham’s descendants would inherit “the whole land of Canaan, where you now reside as a foreigner” (Genesis 17:8), or else the confirmation of the oath after Abraham’s test: “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies, and through your offspring all nations on earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed me” (Genesis 22:17-18). In either case the location was undoubtedly Salem, as we know that Abraham’s test took place at Moriah, and the oath was the same, in both instances, as the one made to Jacob when he set out from Shechem.

The Book of Jubilees helps clarify these issues. Jubilees shares much in common with Enoch and appears to have been written from the perspective either of the Elohim themselves, or (like Enoch) of the prophets of the so-called intertestamental period, though Christians would obviously infer that the “we” of the text refers to God in some sort of quasi-rational multiple-person form, rather than to the messengers depicted in the Bible as representing Melchizedek.537 This alone is very helpful toward establishing that the prophetic tradition extends from the order, and that this tradition, whether or not Jubilees is pseudopigraphic, as alleged, was the basis for the Genesis narratives, which Moses plagiarized. Jubilees was certainly in existence prior to the Hasmonean period, and has been found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, so there is no doubt that it was considered canon by the early Christians and contributed greatly to the New Testament period concept of the Abomination of Desolation. On the surface, it seems to have been written by the order of Melchizedek, so Yahshuah’s statement that “I was before Abraham was” in direct allusion to the ancient priesthood actually has a clear basis in Scripture, unlike the Christians’ illogical belief that he was referring to himself as Yahweh.

And on the new moon of the fourth month we appeared unto Abraham, at the oak of Mamre, and we talked with him, and we announced to him that a son would be given to him by Sarah his wife. And Sarah laughed, for she heard that we had spoken these words with Abraham, and we admonished her, and she became afraid, and denied that she had laughed on account of the words. And we told her the name of her son, as his name is ordained and written in the heavenly tables (i.e.) Isaac. And (that) when we returned to her at a set time, she would have conceived a son. And in this month the Lord executed his judgments on Sodom, and Gomorrah, and Zeboim, and all the region of the Jordan, and He burned them with fire and brimstone, and destroyed them until this day, even as [lo] I have declared unto thee all their works, that they are wicked and sinners exceedingly, and that they defile themselves and commit fornication in their flesh, and work uncleanness on the earth. And, in like manner, God will execute judgment on the places where they have done according to the uncleanness of the Sodomites, like unto the judgment of Sodom. But Lot we saved; for God remembered Abraham, and sent him out from the midst of the overthrow. And he and his daughters committed sin upon the earth, such as had not been on the earth since the days of Adam till his time; for the man lay with his daughters. And, behold, it was commanded and engraven concerning all his seed, on the heavenly tables, to remove them and root them out, and to execute judgment upon them like the judgment of Sodom, and to leave no seed of the man on earth on the day of condemnation. And in this month Abraham moved from Hebron, and departed and dwelt between Kadesh and Shur in the mountains of Gerar. And in the middle of the fifth month he moved from thence, and dwelt at the Well of the Oath. And in the middle of the sixth month the Lord visited Sarah and did unto her as He had spoken, and she conceived. And she bare a son in the third month, and in the middle of the month, at the time of which the Lord had spoken to Abraham, on the festival of the first-fruits of the harvest, Isaac was born. And Abraham circumcised his son on the eighth day: he was the first that was circumcised according to the covenant which is ordained for ever. And in the sixth year of the fourth week we came to Abraham, to the Well of the Oath, and we appeared unto him [as we had told Sarah that we should return to her, and she would have conceived a son. And we returned in the seventh month, and found Sarah with child before us] and we blessed him, and we announced to him all the things which had been decreed concerning him, that he should not die till he should beget six sons more, and should see (them) before he died; but (that) in Isaac should his name and seed be called: And (that) all the seed of his sons should be Gentiles, and be reckoned with the Gentiles; but from the sons of Isaac one should become a holy seed, and should not be reckoned among the Gentiles. For he should become the portion of the Most High, and all his seed had fallen into the possession of God, that it should be unto the Lord a people for (His) possession above all nations and that it should become a kingdom and priests and a holy nation. And we went our way, and we announced to Sarah all that we had told him, and they both rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And he built there an altar to the Lord who had delivered him, and who was making him rejoice in the land of his sojourning, and he celebrated a festival of joy in this month seven days, near the altar which he had built at the Well of the Oath. And he built booths for himself and for his servants on this festival, and he was the first to celebrate the feast of tabernacles on the earth. And during these seven days he brought each day to the altar a burnt-offering to the Lord, two oxen, two rams, seven sheep, one he-goat, for a sin-offering, that he might atone thereby for himself and for his seed. And, as a thank-offering, seven rams, seven kids, seven sheep, and seven he-goats, and their fruit-offerings and their drink-offerings; and he burnt all the fat thereof on the altar, a chosen offering unto the Lord for a sweet smelling savour. And morning and evening he burnt fragrant substances, frankincense and galbanum, and stacte, and nard, and myrrh, and spice, and costum; all these seven he offered, crushed, mixed together in equal parts (and) pure. And he celebrated this feast during seven days, rejoicing with all his heart and with all his soul, he and all those who were in his house; and there was no stranger with him, nor any that was uncircumcised. And he blessed his Creator who had created him in his generation, for He had created him according to His good pleasure; for He knew and perceived that from him would arise the plant of righteousness for the eternal generations, and from him a holy seed, so that it should become like Him who had made all things. And he blessed and rejoiced, and he called the name of this festival the festival of the Lord, a joy acceptable to the Most High God. And we blessed him for ever, and all his seed after him throughout all the generations of the earth, because he celebrated this festival in its season, according to the testimony of the heavenly tables. For this reason it is ordained on the heavenly tables concerning Israel, that they shall celebrate the feast of tabernacles seven days with joy, in the seventh month, acceptable before the Lord—a statute for ever throughout their generations every year. And to this there is no limit of days; for it is ordained for ever regarding Israel that they should celebrate it and dwell in booths, and set wreaths upon their heads, 3 and take leafy boughs, and willows from the brook. And Abraham took branches of palm trees, and the fruit of goodly trees, and every day going round the altar with the branches seven times [a day] in the morning, he praised and gave thanks to his God for all things in joy. Jubilees 16

Along with the main account in Genesis 18, this remarkable text shows us several things, which evidences its own authenticity. (Only someone who knew what they were talking about could have gotten the details right with such precision.) There are many items of interest for us to choose from, but the most pertinent to our study are as follows:

1. Abraham was dwelling at Mamre, a Canaanite cultic shrine near Hebron, about 20 miles south of Jerusalem.

2. The visit prompted him to pitch his tents in “the mountains,” implying a general location outside of any established human settlements. It was not until then that he was near the mountain of Yahweh, which was clearly a fixed point. By implication, Abraham understood that he needed to be closer to the messengers from Salem by the time Isaac was born. (Isaac was his firstborn, and the land was promised to his descendants.)

3. Isaac was a “portion of the Most High,” which strongly suggests he was dedicated as a Nazarite from the womb. This explains why he, unlike his father and his sons, never left the area (not even to fetch a wife from his homeland), why Abraham was commanded to sacrifice him, and why his offspring were considered a “holy seed.” Of course, this was only true so far as they remained holy, which meant that Esau’s children were exempt from the promised inheritance, as were the products of other unholy unions, such as Solomon. This association between a “holy nation” and a “holy priesthood” is confirmed in Exodus 19:6 and 1 Peter 2:9.

4. The Well of the Oath (i.e. Beersheba) was built at the location of the covenant of circumcision, and the name applies to that oath (i.e. there was no city there).

5. Some sort of record of the traditions and ceremonial laws of Salem called the “heavenly tables” was already extant at the time of Abraham, and at least a portion of a written form of it found its way into Jubilees. (The “heavenly tables” or “heavenly tablets” are also heavily referenced in Enoch, particularly Chapter 81, which implies that Enoch drew on Jubilees as well as Genesis. However, it is also possible that they all referenced a common source, which was kept by the Order of Melchizedek and known to Abraham.) As the traditions and those who observed them were evidently of terrestrial origin (as evidenced by the fact that the messengers ate the food offered to them), this corroborates the idea that the “kingdom of heaven” in Scripture is actually the reign of Salem, or of Moriah—i.e., the Millennial Kingdom of Revelation. (Moriyah literally means ‘chosen of Yah,’ and is therefore the Old Testament Hebrew term for the Elect.) In other words, the gospel preached by Yahshuah and his disciples—that of the kingdom of heaven—was rooted in fealty to the order of Melchizedek, and to the God of the religion which it espoused. This is no wonder, for El Elyon (of whom Melchizedek was the high priest) was the god of the heavens in the Canaanite pantheon, which regarded Heaven and Earth as eternal enemies, and Yahshuah explicitly remarked, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).

6. The Feast of Tabernacles was instituted by Abraham in accordance with the heavenly tables, which means that there is another precedent for suggesting that the finer points of the Law of Moses were at least partially patterned after more ancient customs instituted during the time of Melchizedek, which once again suggests the superiority of the law of the Nazarites as the remnant of Salem over that of the lawgiver of Israel.

7. The Sodomites’ sins were defiling themselves, fornicating in their flesh, and working uncleanness on the earth—all of which point to carnism.

8. Lot was ultimately regarded as sinful himself, and only exempted on account of his uncle while he was with him. This is certainly in keeping with the Bible’s position on the man at every depicted stage of his character development, which gets progressively worse the further he gets from his uncle.

 

We already know about Sodom and how that was played out by the Old Testament prophets. We cannot be certain which city was the most notorious after its destruction (apart from Jerusalem, obviously), but Mamre is as likely a candidate as any other. It was notorious for its pagan practices in its own day, particularly the idolatry and adultery associated with its fair (i.e. its liberal leisure activities, which certainly had carnism as one of its central foci). Only 3 such fairs in ancient Palestine are found prohibited in the Talmud, and Mamre’s was considered the most detestable; Jerome observed that that many Jews still detested it as late as around 400 AD, though the majority had frequented pagan markets for hundreds of years by that time (presumably because their appetite for meat exceeding their obedience to the Torah), and even the Jewish sages of Constantine’s era frequented the one at Botnah (Mamre).538 It was so notorious, in fact, that more than 2 millennia after Abraham, Constantine’s mother-in-law was the subject of a scandal just for visiting it.539 Nevertheless, Constantine built up the pagan shrine, as did the emperor Hadrian and Herod the Great before him—not exactly a ringing endorsement of the site, in our estimation.

So this ought to inform us as to why, when it says that Abraham offered his visitors food at Mamre (Genesis 18:3-8), the Christian theologians, following the precedent of Maimonides, tell us that they only gave the “appearance” of eating; otherwise we might suppose that they were engaging in an extremely notorious pagan practice. At the same time, it appears they did actually partake in a meal which included meat and dairy (and bread), so this tells us that the visitors were men rather than “angels,” as “angels” are never depicted as eating the food of men in other such instances (those of Gideon in Judges 6 and Manoah in Judges 13), and do not just turn it down if they are offered meat, but actually call down fire from heaven to consume the offering.

Then again, this is not a reasonable criticism either of Abraham or of his visitors, as it does not appear that any of them were actually participating in the pagan revelries of his neighbors, and the evidence is to the contrary. The reason the location of this incident is significant is that Abraham was effectively called away from what was one of the most profane places in the history of Canaan and immediately settled in the holiest one. He was only even living in Mamre, apparently, because he let Lot choose which land to settle, and Lot headed toward Sodom because it was more bountiful. So the fact that Lot was cut off from his inheritance for his sin (incest with his daughters brought about by drunkenness) while Abraham was not is evidence enough that Abraham was comparatively righteous.

Of course, the objection will be raised that Abraham clearly ate meat, and there is plenty of evidence that he set up altars wherever he went in Canaan. This does not trouble us, for the fact that he was not perfect is hinted at several times, and we certainly know that he was not above performing acts of violence, however justified. Concerning the promise cited at the beginning of the chapter, 15:6 declares that Abraham believed God, and that God credited his belief as righteousness. This does not mean that Abraham himself was righteous, but that God esteemed him for his believing the promise. After all, the animals which he ate were, at least on the one occasion, sin offerings to atone for him and his offspring.

One therefore could not reasonably say that we are allowed to eat meat, by implication, because Abraham, Isaac and Jacob did, as did everyone under the Law of Moses. Instead, the implication is that Abraham’s sin offering should have covered his descendants, and that they would not have needed the Law of Moses at all if they were true to Abraham, as Yahshuah says in Matthew 3:9. The implication is that the promise is only for those descendants of Abraham who are righteous in point of fact, whereas Abraham himself was not, and did not receive the possession himself, but only the promise that his descendants would. This is certainly the implication of Yahshuah’s statement (Matthew 5:20) that unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

With this in mind, there is no need for us to even cover any of the patriarchs except Abraham, because it is conceded that Abraham’s offspring ate meat, and it is established that they were wrong for doing so both before and after Joshua led them into the Promised Land, but that Abraham himself was considered righteous because he acted according to what he thought was right, without the Law. (The assumption is that if he had had the Law at his disposal, he would have obeyed it, because he obeyed God, even when it meant making a great personal sacrifice.) That which we might look at as his sin, if we are overly critical, was naught but an act of celebration, which he ceremoniously performed with fruit 7 times a day. The fact that he had to build an altar implies that he was not already preying on his flocks, which also necessarily means that he did not eat meat regularly, and actually implies that it was an extremely rare event, as Isaac’s request before he gave his blessing to Jacob clearly was.

In any case, the significance of the Law is to instruct in matters of righteousness, but it falls short of the rule established by Yahshuah, because Yahshuah is the rule, and the ruler to whom Abraham would have done homage, had they lived at the same time. The importance of the location of his settlement is due to the fact that the people who made the promise to Abraham were the progenitors of the prophetic tradition, even if we go so far as to suppose that they were angels in the traditional sense, which would really only strengthen our case. Mamre was clearly somewhere between benign and evil, and south enough to be foreign to Salem, because it was far away enough to be near and on its way to Sodom, as well as on the way back to Salem from Egypt. In contrast, the other places where Abraham resided were near enough to Salem that Abraham had contact with the people there on more than the 2 occasions where they ventured out to Mamre.

If the other names provided in the above contexts are taken as proper names, then the land between Shur and Kadesh would encompass all the land from the mountains of Lebanon to the desert bordering Egypt, and the mountains of Gerar could apply to any mountains in Israel. This would mesh with the idea that the whole land had been promised to Abraham’s descendants, but clearly this is not the intent, as Abraham is already depicted in the same context as having been there for quite some time, and the Philistine town of Gerar did not even exist for another millennium or so. Gerar means ‘(the) lodging-place,’ and shur means ‘(the) wall,’ so this passage indicates that he was somewhere between the wall (of Shechem, or possibly of Hebron) and Kadesh.

According to Genesis 16:14, the land where Abraham was residing (i.e. the place of the oath) when he was circumcised was “between Kadesh and Bered,” so there is a slight discrepancy between Genesis and Jubilees which helps to clarify the significance of each of the places in question. The meaning of bered is uncertain, but is thought to be related to the word for ‘hail’ and ‘hailstones,’ transliterated as barad. Such an irrelevant etymology would seem to indicate that it is indeed a proper place name, which would invalidate our suppositions about the meanings of the other terms in this context. However, a more likely association (because it is Aramaic) is with the word bar (ברא, H1251), meaning ‘open field,’ or bârâ' (H1254), meaning ‘chosen’ or ‘created.’

According to this etymology, Bered (or Barad) would be a proper place name either for a particular field, or else for a particular chosen location (the location of ‘the Chosen’). In other words, Abraham would have been dwelling in the mountains between the wall of Shechem and the ravine between Shechem and Salem (between Mt. Ebal and Mt. Moriah—moriyah signifying ‘chosen’), or perhaps a certain field which was where the inhabitants of Shechem grew their food, or else the only valley significant enough to be known simply as “the field,” which is to say the Valley of Jezreel, also known as the Plain of Esdraelon (in Greek), where Nazareth is.

Jezreel means ‘sown by God,’ implying an association with the ancient order based at Salem and Nazareth. Joel 3 (a favorite prophecy of the Zionists) seems to refer to it symbolically as the Valley of Jehoshaphat, because Jehoshaphat (a king of Judah) defeated an alliance of Israel’s enemies there. This contributes to the Zionists’ ideas about Jerusalem being God’s city, but in fact the New Testament actually calls the site of the future battle to which Joel alluded as Armageddon, which means ‘mountain of Megiddo.’ The plain of Megiddo (that is, the Valley of Jezreel) was even more famous as a battle site in the North than the Valley of Jehoshaphat was in the South.

The name of Megiddo is probably related to meged (מגד, H4022), meaning ‘chosen’ or ‘precious.’ The connotation is exactly the same as the ones chosen for presentation from among Abel’s flock, or the Elect who are supposedly going to gather in Jerusalem at the end of days (according to the Zionists). Armageddon, the name of the final pitched battle, is a Greek derivation meaning ‘(the) mountain of Megiddo,’ which cannot but refer to Mt. Moriah—not, as the Zionists claim, to Jerusalem, as the Valley of Jezreel does not extend anywhere near Jerusalem. So either the Revelator is in agreement with Joel on this point, and the name of Megiddo is symbolic, or else the holy site from which God has said he will judge the nations is in the North of Israel, somewhere between Salem on one side of the Valley of Jezreel and Nazareth on the other.

Kadesh means ‘holy’ or ‘sacred,’ so it is most likely another name either for Salem as “the holy city,” or, more likely, for the spot where Abraham met God on Mt. Moriah, “the mountain of Yahweh” (22:14). Otherwise the only known city named Kadesh existent at that time would place it far to the North, well out of range of a local description, so that it would not have been a point of reference. If it is indeed speaking of the Kadesh in Naphtali, in the far North of Israel, then this is because the tribal allotments had not been arranged until after Moses’ death. In this case, Bered is taken to mean Ephraim, because Bered was a son or grandson of Ephraim (1 Chronicles 7:20), and Ephraim’s territory included Shechem (7:28). Taken this way, the description of Abraham’s location is between Shechem and Kadesh, and the only city old enough to fit this description just happens to be Nazareth. In other words, Abraham was undoubtedly either at Salem or at Nazareth.

We have given all these possibilities so as not to rule any of them out, but it seems clear enough that the description of the place “between Kadesh and Bered” signifies a location between the place where Abraham met Yahweh (elsewhere, wherever someone meets God, he is told to take off his sandals, “for the place you are standing is holy ground”) and the chosen place. This would necessarily mean that Abraham was living in the mountains around Shechem, whether or not there was an actual town called Salem which was actually situated on Moriah itself. This is all the more important considering that the Zionist scheme to replace Salem with Jerusalem dates at least as far back as the time of Solomon, and is deliberately rejected as late as the Council of Jerusalem a full millennium later, where the term “booth of David” is still used to describe the Tabernacle, in open defiance of Solomon’s Temple. Unfortunately, diffusing these antithetical concepts is far from simple: the association between Moriah and Zion as 2 names for the same mountain even has support in the Jewish scriptures which have made their way into the Bible (e.g., 2 Chronicles 3:1).

Of course, the mountain of Salem never ceased to be the actual Moriah, so the alternative name of Gerizim has been deliberately changed to Carmel in most editions of the Bible, in order to establish the legitimacy of the rule of Solomon and his progeny over the prophets of Israel who traced biological and ideological descent from Melchizedek. This makes some sense, as Carmel is the proper name of the holy mountain of Salem, while the name of Gerizim actually applies both to it and to mountain opposite of Salem (Mt. Ebal at Shechem). The name of Gerizim actually means ‘the cut off’ or ‘the divided’ (plural) and therefore implies either the mountain of Megiddo (which we assume is Moriah anyway), as the etymology of meged implies exactly that, or else to Ebal rather than Moriah, which is ironically the one which has since been designated as Gerizim, because the name of Moriah has been dropped. However, considering that gerizim is plural, it could just as easily apply to Carmel, as Carmel is actually a fairly vague name which applies to a whole range of mountains. However, Christians do not know any of this, and blindly assume that all references to Carmel in the Bible are to the mountain on which the modern city of Haifi is situated. Even so, the Nazareth in Galilee, where Yahshuah was raised (as opposed to the Nazareth in Judea, i.e. Damascus, or the Nazareth in Samaria, i.e. Salem) could not have been far from Mt. Carmel as the world knows it (i.e. from Haifa), and although it has no historic association with the ancient Nazareth, the modern city which bears the name is very close to the ancient Nazareth, and only about a 45-minute drive from Haifa.

That being said, it has been observed that despite its great antiquity and its heritage of kings, Nazareth has never been located on any ancient map—not even by the Greeks or Romans. This is simply because the name has been deliberately changed. Those who lived there were monastics, and seldom left it to interact with the outside world, which knew of it by a different name: Bethlehem, which means ‘place of bread.’ This name is incredibly important and insightful to understanding the prophetic tradition, because it shows not only that the prophets were vegetarians, but also that they were known as such by the rest of the world, implying that no one else that far to the West was—at least not until Pythagoras became a Nazarite and spread the vegetarian ideal to Greece.

So there were 2 cities in the Old Testament known as Bethlehem: the famous one in Judah (NT Judea), and the one in Israel (NT Galilee), known in the Bible as Bethlehem of Zebulun. Given that there were 2 major settlements with that name, the significance of each of which is enormous throughout the Bible, it could hardly be more obvious that the name is a descriptive term which came about as a matter of identifying the people who lived there by their strictly vegetarian diets. The less famous is none other than the Nazareth where Yahshuah grew up, just a few miles west of modern-day Nazareth, on the way toward Haifa (Mt. Carmel).

Some archaeologists actually believe that the Galilean Bethlehem is where Yahshuah was born, due to its proximity to Nazareth, but in fact this cannot be the case, not just because the Bible says that he was born in the Judean Bethlehem, but because the Galilean Bethlehem was Nazareth, and his parents had to leave it to register for a census in their native city. At the very least, this shows a clear connection between Nazareth and the “City of David,” a moniker which was usurped by the Jews and applied to their Temple Mount. This fact has been attributed to David himself (e.g., 2 Samuel 5:9), but it is clear that in the minds of the people who wrote the New Testament, the title properly belonged to Bethlehem in Judea (Luke 2:4,11).

As previously mentioned, Matthew and Luke are also at odds in their separate genealogies for Yahshuah, and Matthew’s genealogy associates him with the House and line of David (a fact which is corroborated in Luke 2:4), through the ancient kings of Israel. From what we have just seen, this is not exactly something to be proud of, but then again, the kingdom itself had long since been conquered and assimilated, but the order of Melchizedek had not been. So Yahshuah had a legitimate claim to the high priesthood through his Zadokite lineage, unlike the Maccabees who were both foreigners and Jews, and also to the throne of Judah through his patrilineal descent from David, which the reigning king (Herod) at the time of his birth lacked, as he was an Idumean (Edomite) who only married into the Hasmonean Dynasty, which itself was illegitimate, and was elected by the Romans, who had no authority to appoint a king in Judea in the first place, as Judea was a sovereign nation and not even part of the Roman Empire.

So of course Herod was threatened by the Old Testament prophecies that declared that a king would come out of Bethlehem in Judea. His own illegitimacy was widely recognized, even by Rome, and the people actively sought a “messiah” to free them of foreign rule, which included his. The fact that Yahshuah was visited and honored right after his birth and then hailed in Jerusalem as King of the Judeans upon his first documented arrival into the city as an adult shows that his claims were widely publicized during his lifetime. Furthermore, the reputation of the Nazarites was still unblemished by this time, which points to the fact that they knew the Messiah was to come from Bethlehem (though some were confused by the association with Nazareth, as we have already pointed out). There are 3 places in Matthew alone that proclaim that all held John to be a prophet, and John 4:1 also says that Yahshuah made even more disciples than his cousin John did.

Salem’s significance in Yahshuah’s kingship ultimately extends from his namesake, Joshua son of Nun. Joshua established the council at Salem when the Israelites first came into the Promised Land, in order to determine the fate of the nation. The fact that Yahshuah was the only claimant in the North and that he was hailed as King in the South means he was regarded as the legitimate heir of the unified kingdom of David during his own lifetime. This is why Herod sought his death, even though his right to rule actually extended from Melchizedek rather than David, for it had been prophesied several times over that a king of the line of David would come to power. (Being King of Salem held precedence over being King of Judea, as Judah was just a rebel faction of Israel, and Israel’s own right had always and only ever extended from Salem.)

This prophesied Messiah was called the “prince of peace” (i.e. Prince of Salem) in Isaiah 9:6, which demonstrates the deliberate effort by the Prophets over many hundreds of years to establish one of their own as the rightful king of a reunified Israel. The very next verse says he would establish his rule on David’s throne and over his kingdom (i.e., the Kingdom of Salem), meaning he was to rule both Jerusalem and Salem, or Judah and Israel. Most people simply think that the contrast between Judah and Israel, evident in the next verse (9:8) is just a matter of poetic license, and that it has no real significance, yet the whole context makes other distinctions to indicate that Manasseh is Galilee and Ephraim is Samaria, etc. Christians have even managed to convince themselves that Yahshuah was a nobody—a humble craftsman—despite such efforts and such prophecies, and despite that separate pedigrees from David are presented for him, one for each of his parents.

So when the prophets of both eras preached the kingdom of heaven, what they were really preaching, quite literally, was the reign of peace on earth. Yahshuah himself proclaimed that his kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36), not because he had no right to rule on earth, but because the reign would not be established without peace. The implication is that his kingdom is the status quo throughout the universe, wherever peace reigns, and that the servants who will fight for it are elohim who will destroy the works of men in the last days. Against such there can be no victory for men, and the Prophets knew this well and had prophesied the Second Coming of the Messiah centuries before the first. Not only that, but while the kingdoms of men molder and pass away, he has told us that he intends to take what is his.

They showed Yahshuah a gold coin and said to him, “Caesar’s men demand taxes from us.” He said to them, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar, give God what belongs to God, and give me what is mine.” Thomas 100

We are assuming that most people reading this have probably never heard the last part of this phrase, because Caesar decided that the focus should be on Caesar as the beneficiary (which Christians still maintain, while downplaying the significance of the whole point). The reason is obvious: Caesar and the Church each get their portion, if the Church stands in the way of God, as the sheep allow it to. It is a symbiotic relationship. But Palestine did not belong to the Romans, and was never meant to. It was given to the offspring of Abraham, to be ruled by the House of David, forever. When Yahshuah was born, there was no other claimant to David’s inheritance.

Obviously the mystique of Yahshuah’s origins begins to disappear when we recognize that he was the one in whom the authority of the Kingdom of Israel was invested. To say that he was a carpenter is to say that he was not born to be a king, which he most certainly was, just as Abel was, and just as Noah was. It is not as though God just put these prophets into a frenzied trance and had them spout rubbish out of their mouths. They knew what they were talking about, and they knew what they were aiming to achieve. Ultimately, they did achieve it, too, though not every step of the process has yet been implemented.

However, the Christians would have us believe that Israel was apostate and that the real authority of the nation was invested not with the Prophets, but with Solomon in Judea. In truth, the kingdom of his son Rehoboam was little more than a stronghold of rebellion, which he and his successors were barely able to hold together. The prophecies declared that the Redeemer would come to Jerusalem, the way that David had triumphantly taken the city and established himself there, not that he was from Jerusalem, the way that Solomon had been born in David’s palace there.

And the entire assembly of them, having risen up, led Him to Pilate, and began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this one perverting the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Messiah, a Sovereign.” And Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the Sovereign of the Yehuḏim?” And answering him He said, “You say it.” And Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no guilt in this Man.” But they were insisting, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching through all Yehuḏah, beginning from Galil unto this place.” And when Pilate heard of Galil, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. And when he learned that He was under the authority of Herodes, he sent Him to Herodes, who was also in Yerushalayim in those days. Luke 23:1-7

“And the Redeemer shall come to Tsiyon, and to those turning from transgression in Yaʽaqoḇ,” declares יהוה. Isaiah 59:20

This prophetic vein of redemption is not a matter of a spooky, mystical insight into the future, but of the inevitable outcome of the apostasy of Solomon and Israel as a whole in light of the fact that God had promised to establish the throne of David forever, rather than allowing Israel to be destroyed, for God cannot fail to deliver on a promise. Only the prophets of Salem (in the Old Testament) and Nazareth (in the New Testament) had the authority to anoint a king over Israel, much less to tout an anointed king as the Redeemer. Yahshuah was the obvious choice, as he was a direct descendant of Rehoboam as well as of the kings of Israel. When he came to Judea, he openly declared that he was the one of whom the ancient prophecies had spoken, and even his enemies, those sent by the Jews to arrest him, recognized his authority.

Yehuḏah [Judas], then, having received the company of soldiers, and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, came there with lanterns, and torches, and weapons. יהושע, then, knowing all that would come upon Him, went forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered Him, “יהושע of Natsareth.” יהושע said to them, “I am.” And Yehuḏah, who delivered Him up, was also standing with them. When, therefore, He said to them, “I am,” they drew back and fell to the ground. John 18:3-6

The significance of this is that everyone in Israel knew that Yahshuah was their legitimate king. The whole nation already accepted John as a prophet, and this was enough to keep Herod from killing him for fear of the mob—and of God (Matthew 14:5). The “magi from the east” (i.e. the Damascus of Judah, the Nazarite settlement in Judea, as Bethlehem of Zebulon was the Nazarite settlement of Galilee—Damascus was directly east of Jerusalem), where John preached, made a prophecy about the redeemer of Israel, and then hundreds of years later their descendants sent emissaries to Jerusalem to announce its fulfillment, but instead of hailing Yahshuah as the new ruler, the reigning king sought his death, so he was in hiding until he came of age and laid claim to the inheritance of Abraham.

And after this יהושע was walking in Galil, for He did not wish to walk in Yehuḏah, because the Yehuḏim were seeking to kill Him. And the festival of the Yehuḏim was near, the Festival of Booths. So His brothers said to Him, “Get away from here and go into Yehuḏah, so that Your taught ones also see the works that You are doing. For no one acts in secret while he himself seeks to be known openly. If You do these works, show Yourself to the world.” For even His brothers did not believe in Him. יהושע therefore said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. It is impossible for the world to hate you, but it hates Me because I bear witness of it, that its works are wicked. You go up to this festival. I am not yet going up to this festival, for My time has not yet been filled.” And having said this to them, He stayed in Galil. But when His brothers had gone up to the festival, then He also went up, not openly, but as it were in secret. The Yehuḏim, therefore, were seeking Him at the festival, and said, “Where is He?” And there was much grumbling about Him among the crowd. Some were saying, “He is good,” but others were saying, “No, but He is leading the crowd astray.” However, no one spoke openly of Him for fear of the Yehuḏim. And about the middle of the festival יהושע went up into the Set-apart Place, and He was teaching. And the Yehuḏim were marvelling, saying, “How does this Man know letters, not having learned?” יהושע answered them and said, “My teaching is not Mine, but His who sent Me. If anyone desires to do His desire, he shall know concerning the teaching, whether it is from Elohim, or whether I speak from Myself. He who speaks from himself is seeking his own esteem, but He who seeks the esteem of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him.” John 7:1-18

Based on this alone, it is clear that Yahshuah never sought his own glory, yet those who listened only heard the political rhetoric of a would-be king. He was, first and foremost, a prophet, in whom God would not have trusted to carry out such an important agenda if he had not been competent. That is, he was only deserving of his inheritance because he was righteous, and like David, because his every thought was on obeying God’s commandments through the Law and Prophets. The Christians say it is a sin to be judgmental, and “Judge not lest ye be judged,” but that warning was only for the unrighteous. We, the righteous, have been told repeatedly to do obey the law of the Nazarites over and above the Law of Moses, which Yahshuah summed up with his command of “judge with righteous judgment.”

“Did not Mosheh give you the Torah? Yet not one of you does the Torah! Why do you seek to kill Me?” The crowd answered and said, “You have a demon, who seeks to kill You?” יהושע answered and said to them, “I did one work, and you all marvel. Because of this Mosheh has given you the circumcision—though it is not from Mosheh, but from the fathers—and you circumcise a man on the Sabbath. If a man receives circumcision on the Sabbath, so that the Torah of Mosheh should not be broken, are you wroth with Me because I made a man entirely well on the Sabbath? Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.” John 7:19-24

We will get to the precedent for this in a moment. For now, see how the rulers of the Judeans demonstrated their ignorance to the mob.

“And see! He speaks boldly, and they say none at all to Him. Could it be that the rulers truly know that this is truly the Messiah?” John 7:26

The officers therefore came to the chief priests and Pharisees. And they said to them, “Why did you not bring Him?” The officers answered, “Never has any man spoken like this Man!” The Pharisees, therefore, answered them, “Have you also been led astray? Has anyone of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed in Him? But this crowd that does not know the Torah is accursed.” Naḵdimon—he who came to יהושע by night, being one of them—said to them, “Does our Torah judge the man unless it hears first from him and knows what he is doing?” They answered and said to him, “Are you also from Galil? Search and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galil.” John 7:45-52

This is a truly remarkable answer, as the Pharisees and the chief priests were those who were supposed to know the scriptures better than anyone, to the point that they condemned Yahshuah for having demonstrated knowledge of them without having received their education. In fact, every prophet evidently came from Nazareth, whether it was the Nazareth in Galilee or the one in Judea. The exceptions are Anathoth, which was given to the Levites (Joshua 21:18), a Ramah in the North and a Ramah in the South (just as there were 2 cities named Bethlehem), the Bethlehems, which we have already identified with the Nazareth of Galilee and the Damascus of Judea, and Tekoa in Judea, in the district of Bethlehem.

In case it is not immediately apparent, what this means is that every prophet was necessarily a vegetarian. The fact that a single exception cannot be made even though they all seemed to have supported the sacrificial system of the Law of Moses speaks volumes about the Bible’s position on violence. However, Christians will go to great lengths to defend their erroneous suppositions and absurd superstitions, so we will also give evidence to debunk them and to establish our own suppositions here.

First of all, the Old Testament prophets and judges are most clearly associated with the Levitical priesthood in the fact that many were Levites themselves. Beyond this, several ministered to the priests in charge of the Tabernacle while it was at Shiloh (i.e. before it fell into the hands of the evil Israelites, and then the Philistines, and then the worst of them all: Solomon). Ahijah and Eli in particular were both from Shiloh. To some extent, the Judges simply executed the will of the Prophets and Levites while the Ark was at Shiloh, though they themselves were typically either Nazarites or Levites.

Obadiah is thought to have been from Shechem (i.e. Salem), and Obed was a Samaritan, which implies the same. Micah prophesied against Jerusalem and predicted that the Messiah would come from Bethlehem, which suggests that he himself was from Bethlehem or at least had intimate knowledge of the Bethlehem community and its agenda. The prophet Uriah was from Kirjath-jearim, right on the border between Judah and Benjamin (culturally part of Ephraim, and geographically part of Israel), which is where the Ark of the Covenant was moved to after being in Beth-shemesh; this, too, necessarily implies a strong association with the Nazarites. And, of course, the most famous of the prophets, Elijah and Elisha, were based at “Carmel,” which is to say Mt. Moriah.

There is much more we could say, but unfortunately precious little is known about the Old Testament prophets or where they came from, so we would have to rely on speculation to make any strong inferences. The more famous prophets are a little easier to track down, however. Ezekiel and Jeremiah were both from families of priests in a town called Anathoth, which is near the Ramah near Jerusalem. Jeremiah 1:5 says he was set-apart as a prophet from the womb, which clearly indicates that he was a Nazarite from the womb. (This stands in stark contrast with Isaiah 48:8; “I knew that you are indeed treacherous, and are called ‘a transgressor from the womb.’”)

There is evidence in the Bible that the priests of Anathoth were corrupt, but the fact that Jeremiah was from there suggests that there were other Nazarites at Anathoth, even if Ezekiel was not also one. Due to its proximity to Jerusalem, it is very likely that the priests of Jerusalem were based in Anathoth, and this would explain why the priests of Anathoth sought Jeremiah’s life (Jeremiah 11:21), especially owing to the fact that he prophesied against Jerusalem, and it was they who convinced the rulers to punish him (26:11). Ezekiel, on the other hand, even told Yahweh himself that he would not obey him when Yahweh required him to eat defiled bread, so the implication is that he would not have eaten any kind of meat at all, and almost certainly also that he was a consecrated Nazarite. Whether he meant to say that he had never eaten anything that was ceremonially unclean according to the Law of Moses, or anything which was unclean, period, the implication is that he was raised in a religious community, isolated from the rest of the population. The further evidence of the ritual burning of his hair adds to the certainty that he must have been a Nazarite.

“And eat it as a barley cake. And bake it, before their eyes, on human dung.” And יהוה said, “Even so the children of Yisra’ĕl shall eat their defiled bread among the gentiles, to whom I drive them.” Then I said, “Ah, Master יהוה! See, I have never defiled myself from my youth till now. I have never eaten what died of itself or was torn by beasts, nor has unclean meat ever come into my mouth.” And He said to me, “See, I am giving you the dung of cattle instead of human dung, and you shall prepare your bread over it.” And He said to me, “Son of man, see, I am going to cut off the supply of bread in Yerushalayim, and they shall eat bread by weight and with fear, and drink water by measure and with dread, so that they lack bread and water, and shall be appalled with one another, and be consumed in their crookedness. And you, son of man, take a sharp sword, take it as a barber’s razor, and you shall pass it over your head and your beard. And you shall take scales to weigh and divide the hair. Burn with fire one-third in the midst of the city when the days of the siege are completed. And you shall take one-third and strike around it with the sword, and scatter one-third in the wind. And I shall draw out a sword after them. And you shall take a few hairs from there and bind them in the edge of your garment. And take again some of them, and throw them into the midst of the fire, and burn them in the fire. From it a fire shall spread unto all the house of Yisra’ĕl.” Ezekiel 4:12-5:4

Joshua 18:25 places the more famous Ramah (that of the South) in Benjamin, north of Jerusalem, while 19:36 places another in Naphtali. We suspect the Ramah in Benjamin was a community of Nazarites called Ramathaim-Zophim in the Bible, as zophim means something like ‘the high place of the watchers’ (i.e., where people performed sacrifices to the Watchers, unless zophim does not refer to the same Watchers of Enoch and Genesis 6), which would locate it in the far North. We suspect these Nazarites set themselves apart from Kadesh (the one mentioned earlier in Genesis), the way the Nazarites of Damascus set themselves apart from Engedi.540 Another Ramah, namely Ramoth-Gilead, was a Levite city of refuge in Gad (far East). Baalath-Beer in Simeon, known as the Ramoth of the South, has not been identified, as it is probably the original name of Beersheba, before the Jews replaced the Baal-name with the throwback to Abraham.

The episode of Herod butchering the children of the Bethlehem of Judea is relevant because Matthew 2:18 associates the city of Ramah with the event, by way of the prophecy of Jeremiah 31:15. The entire chapter of Jeremiah 31 is about a cultural invasion of Judea from the North in order to save a remnant of Israel, and it names Ephraim (not Judah) as God’s firstborn. So if there was an association between Jeremiah and the other Old Testament prophets with Yahshuah and the events depicted in the Gospels, we would expect to see some sort of relevance to the location of Ramah. In fact, it seems that the significance of Ramah is even more pertinent to the NT than the OT.

Samuel’s father Elkanah was a Levite, but a descendant of Korah, not Aaron, and therefore not a priest, but an assistant to the priests.541 Elkanah lived in Ramah in the tribe of Ephraim, apparently on the outskirts of Salem (thought by Christians to mean Jerusalem). It is not clear exactly where this Ramah was, but it was certainly very close to Shechem, according to 1 Samuel 19:22, which basically means it must have been another name for Salem or Beersheba.542 It also appears that Joshua was buried somewhere nearby, which locates it in Ephraim (Judges 2:9), and that the judge Deborah was from somewhere in the vicinity (4:5). So there is certainly a precedent for establishing a connection between Samuel, the Judges and Joshua.

Joshua set up the Tabernacle at Shiloh, where it remained for the majority of the Judges period. Samuel’s mother Hannah went on a pilgrimage to Shiloh to pray for a son, and then Samuel was born at Ramah, and spent much of his life there. If Hannah was in fact from somewhere in the vicinity of Jerusalem, as supposed, then there would have had to have been more than one town named Ramah outside Jerusalem, because there was one by Salem (if it was indeed not just another name for Salem itself) and one by Jerusalem. Not only that, but a journey which would not take a woman well past her prime more than 2 hours can hardly be considered a pilgrimage! So this definitively establishes that Samuel was from somewhere in the vicinity of Shechem, which makes perfect sense in light of the supposition that the Nazarites were based at this location even before Samuel was consecrated and became a leader among them.

Jerusalem was in Benjamin, which was south of Ephraim. Jeremiah 31 speaks of Ephraim only until v. 23, where the people of Judah are prophesied to submit to the authority of Jeremiah’s “holy mountain,” i.e. Moriah, as opposed to Zion in Jerusalem. He locates Ramah in Ephraim, and scholars unanimously, albeit mistakenly associate Benjamin with Judah. If Ramah was north of Jerusalem, then Herod’s slaughter could not have happened in Bethlehem, which is south of Jerusalem. So either Samuel was definitely from a Ramah near Shechem, or else there was one near Shechem and at least 2 near Jerusalem, which is absurd.

We might infer from all this is that there were several settlements called Bethlehem (in Zebulun, Samaria and Judea, respectively), that they were all known alternatively as Ramah, and that all were affiliated with each other based on very ancient ties. After all, the name simply means ‘high place,’ which describes virtually every permanent settlement in ancient Palestine, but none so much as the locations of altars, sanctuaries and temples attended by the various religious orders. What we can say for certain is that the associations between Shiloh, Shechem (or Salem) and Bethlehem (or Ramah) are not mere coincidence. None of the various prophets were Judeans—not even those born in Judea, or from the tribe of Judah—but all prophesied against the kingdom and the apostasy of Solomon, as well as against Jeroboam, and their successors. All hailed from monastic communities which preserved the ancient knowledge and traditions handed down to them, whether from Melchizedek and Abraham (Salem), Moses and Joshua (Shiloh) or Eli and Samuel (Ramah). It was not until the Crusades that anyone claimed to know where these places were, and the Crusaders were so full of nonsense that they claimed to have actually discovered not just Ramah, but the bones of Samuel himself (not to mention several incarnations of the “True Cross”), and it is upon this ridiculous assertion that the contemporary geographical associations are based.

Actually, the fact that Ramah was a city of Benjamin is not a problem for establishing that it was in Ephraim. Contrary to popular belief, Benjamin was culturally part of Ephraim (and therefore Israel), not Judah, all the way up to the capitulation and exile of the Northern Tribes. (Even then, only Jerusalem held out against the invaders, so that is why Benjamin was subsequently annexed to Judah, because other than Judah, Jerusalem was all that was left.) The main problem with locating Ramah is that the territory of Ephraim extended all the way to Mt. Moriah (i.e. Salem), so the term ‘mountain of Ephraim’ does not help very much, but we might suppose that it at least sometimes applies to Ramah itself. In this sense, it would have been called Ramathaim-Zophim by the apostate Israelites who worshiped the Watchers, and simply “the mountain of Ephraim” by those loyal to Joshua and to Yahweh.

It is clear that Joshua was buried at Mt. Moriah, and we are not convinced that Mt. Moriah and the mountain of Ephraim are the same, even though it appears that Mt. Moriah originally belonged to Ephraim, and was taken over by Manasseh due to Shechem’s influence. In fact, even Bethlehem in Judah had stronger cultural ties to Ephraim than it did to Benjamin, because there were Levites in Bethlehem, and they scorned Jerusalem both before and after it was conquered by the Israelites. Notice that the cultural affinities cross tribal boundaries, and even the Jordan. The connections between the Nazarites and those Levites which had not forsaken Yahweh for the pagan abominations are obvious.

And there was a young man from Bĕyth Leḥem in Yehuḏah, of the clan of Yehuḏah. And he was a Lĕwite, and he was sojourning there. And the man went out of the city of Bĕyth Leḥem in Yehuḏah to sojourn wherever he could find a place. And he came to the mountains of Ephrayim, to the house of Miḵah, as he journeyed. And Miḵah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Lĕwite from Bĕyth Leḥem in Yehuḏah, and I am on my way to find a place to sojourn.” And Miḵah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be a father and a priest to me, and I give you ten pieces of silver per year, and a suit of garments, and your food.” And the Lĕwite went in. So the Lĕwite agreed to dwell with the man. And the young man became like one of his sons to him. Judges 17:7-11

And it came to be in those days, when there was no sovereign in Yisra’ĕl, that there was a certain Lĕwite sojourning on the further side of the mountains of Ephrayim. And he took for himself a concubine from Bĕyth Leḥem in Yehuḏah. Judges 19:1

And it came to be, in the days when the rulers ruled, that there was a scarcity of food in the land. And a man from Bĕyth Leḥem, Yehuḏah, went to sojourn in the fields of Mo’aḇ, he and his wife and his two sons. And the name of the man was Elimeleḵ, and the name of his wife was Naʽomi, and the names of his two sons were Maḥlon and Kilyon—Ephrathites of Bĕyth Leḥem, Yehuḏah. And they went to the fields of Mo’aḇ and came to be there. Ruth 1:1-2

Tekoa was founded by colonists from Bethlehem. So it is significant that the prophet Amos was from Tekoa, as was the unnamed prophetess of 2 Samuel 14. So, too, were the judges Ibzan and Elon, and many scholars also think they were related.543 At least one of David’s Thirty was from Tekoa, and at least one other was from Anathoth, which implies that the majority (if not all) of his trusted captains were loyal to the prophetic tradition even before he came to power, as though they were appointed on the advice of Samuel and/or Zadok (the high priest), or after David inquired about them. To further substantiate this idea, the one from Anathoth was named Abiezer; the judge Gideon was an Abiezrite from Manasseh, as was his son Abimelek, implying a connection between David’s captain and Gideon’s family. Gideon himself threshed wheat before being called to be a warrior (Judges 6:11-12) and threw down the altars of the Midianites.

The people of Bethlehem are clearly portrayed throughout the book of Ruth as having been considered righteous specifically because they were farmers, and Boaz is singled out because he was charitable. This is no small matter, for it means the line of David was established by the act of giving a hungry woman some barley, and by the redemption of a field for agriculture. David, too, was chosen by Yahweh to lead Israel because he was the only one of Ruth’s lineage found tending his father’s flocks when Samuel went to his father’s house to search for a king. This really ought to clarify what it means when Yahshuah, a descendant of David and native of Bethlehem, called himself the “good shepherd.” It also explains why Amos was chosen to represent God as a prophet, when there were perhaps more academically qualified candidates among the upright people of Bethlehem.

And Amos answered and said to Amatsyah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I a son of a prophet, for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. But יהוה took me from behind the flock, and יהוה said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Yisra’ĕl.’” Amos 7:14-15

So now that we have established that God chooses men both to represent him and to rule over other men based solely on how righteous they are, and that righteousness is more a matter of abstaining from eating meat than anything else (but also on tending to animals and plants), let us not fall into the trap of thinking that everyone ever associated with the order of Melchizedek in any way was necessarily a strict vegetarian. On the contrary, the large majority of these men who have been so revered by Jews, Christians and Muslims for so many centuries have not even been regarded as fit for life. The strict vegetarian ideal or “good shepherd” is just the precedent which the prophets have set for us, epitomized in the teachings of the apostles which we will examine later on. The point here is just to show that the prophetic tradition did have an origin in the pre-Abrahamic era, extending all the way back to Noah, and that the prophets all had a common ideology which is the sole basis for the moral/ethic values found in each of the various traditions which have factored into the Bible, from Abel and Noah to Moses and Yahshuah.

 

 

 

 


 

 

531 The most explicit reference is John 19:19-22, from which the others can be inferred. The Synoptics are not as clear in ascribing this to Pilate: Matthew 27:37, Mark 15:26, Luke 23:38. However, Pilate does implicitly accept the description of him as “Sovereign of the Yahudim” in all 3, and it is unthinkable that this inscription would have been posted without his authorization: Matthew 27:11, Mark 15:9, Luke 23:3.

532-534 Arthur Waskow, “What was the sin of Sodom?” Interfaith Working Group Online, http://www.iwgonline.org/docs/sodom.html.

535 Muslims have simply changed it to say that Ishmael was the one offered as a sacrifice, but this does not make sense, as Abraham had already sent Ishmael away. There would have been no reason to send Isaac away instead of Ishmael, because Isaac was the heir promised to him. Had he been told to sacrifice Ishmael instead of Isaac, it would not have been as great a test, because he still would have had one remaining, and that one was the promised heir. Nevertheless, it makes sense that it would not have been ideal some 2.5 millennia later, when Islam was created, for the new converts to see themselves as second-class citizens. So the usurpation of the identity of Isaac’s offspring was important for the spread of the intensely xenophobic Islamic cult, which could otherwise be found to have no basis in Scripture, or in cultural traditions.

536 Technically, melek means ‘leader,’ but more often than not it connotes ‘king,’ in the same sense that the Roman rex does. There is another Abimelek in the Bible who was a son of the judge Gideon, but Gideon was never actually a king because he refused to rule as such.

537 According to the Ethiopic version of Jubilees, the “sons of God” who mated with the “daughters of men” were offspring of Seth rather than gods themselves. We hold this interpretation as plausible, and it would clarify why they are called bene ha’elohim in Genesis 6 rather than elohim proper, but it would also imply that the “daughters of men” were not Adamites, as discussed in Chapter 5, so it is not consistent with what we have established from the biblical text.

538 Ze’ev Safrai, The Economy of Roman Palestine, Routledge, London, 2004, p. 142; http://books.google.com/books/about/The_Economy_of_Roman_Palestine.html?id=eW4GDx-7oXYC.

“The fair at Botnah (Beth Ilanim) [i.e. Mamre] near Hebron offers a marked and clear-cut example of this development [of Jews increasingly visiting pagan markets]. Various Amoraim cite this fair as the most pagan one in Palestine. Thus, for example, R. Johanan said: ‘The sages forbade only a fair like that at Botnah. And thus it was taught—There are three fairs: the fair at Gaza, the fair at Acco and the fair at Botnah. And the most famous one (also in terms of its pagan nature) was the one at Botnah.’ Thus it would appear that R. Johanan forbade only those fairs which were especially pagan such as the one at Botnah.”

539 “Mamre,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamre#Under_Christianity.

540 This Damascus in Judea is not to be confused with the city of Damascus in Syria, which is even closer to Mt. Hermon than Kadesh is. The name of Ramathaim-Zophim would not have been troublesome for the Nazarites, as every Nazarite community was completely segregated from the population at large, and the name therefore only applied to the city and the high place itself, which was seen by them as abomination, so the name actually would have been very appropriate.

541 It is not clear whether only the offspring of Aaron were actually priests, or whether only the offspring of Aaron were high priests. Apparently, there was a distinction of classes, but perhaps not of vocations, as occupations were not as clearly defined in the ancient world as they are now. What is clear is that the rest of the tribe aided the descendants of Aaron in their priestly functions, which theoretically means they could have all been priests, but it does not appear that Elkanah was.

542 For a description of how the Ramah of Samuel cannot be at any location other than Shechem, see http://www.jewish-history.com/palestine/ramah.html. However, the reader is advised that the author of this article is blatantly mistaken about the location of Shechem itself, which he puts in the extreme North of the country, near the present-day kibbutz of Shamir, because he makes the connection to Naphtali but supposes that Ramah was a different Shechem than the one we have discussed.

543 Although that is not an implausible inference, we see no reason to suppose this just because they were from the same city, when virtually everyone from that city would have been seen as a prophet, and that all Nazarites openly regarded each other as kin, both of which facts scholars universally fail to recognize.