]]>position:absolute;

Revelations

"The Jewish people as a whole will be its own Messiah. It will attain world domination by the dissolution of other races...and by the establishment of a world republic in which everywhere the Jews will exercise the privilege of citizenship. In this New World Order the Children of Israel...will furnish all the leaders without encountering opposition..." (Karl Marx in a letter to Baruch Levy, quoted in Review de Paris, June 1, 1928, p. 574)

Thursday, 26 February 2004

The Ten Commandments

(2 versions: Deuteronomy 5 and Exodus 20)

My comments are shown {thus}.

(1) DEUTERONOMY chapter 5 (2) EXODUS chapter 20 (3) The Decalogue, a 2nd or 1st Millenium BCE Creation? (4) The Divine Throne-Chariot, by Geza Vermes

Thought you knew the Ten Commandments? This is how they appear in the Jewish Bible; New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).

(1) DEUTERONOMY chapter 5

6 I am the LORD your God. who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery: 7you shall have no other gods before me.

8 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth {this implies a flat earth}. 9 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and fourth generation of those who reject me, 10 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

11 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

12 Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God: you shall not do any work - you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you. 15 Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm: therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.

16 Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the LORD your God is givmg you.

17 You shall not murder.

18 Neither shall you commit adultery.

19 Neither shall you steal.

20 Neither shall you bear false witness against your neighbor.

21 Neither shall you covet your neighbor's wife. Neither shall you desire your neighbor's house, or field, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighhor.

(2) EXODUS chapter 20

2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3you shall have no other gods before me.

4 You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth {this implies a flat earth}. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, punishing children for the iniquity of parents, to the third and the fourth generation of those who reject me, 6 but showing steadfast love to the thousandth generation of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 You shall not make wrongful use of the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not acquit anyone who misuses his name.

8 Remember the sabbath day, and keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 10 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God; you shall not do any work - you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and consecrated it.

12 Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.

13 You shall not murder.

14 You shall not commit adultery.

15 You shall not steal.

16 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

17 You shall not covet your neighbor's house: you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or male or female slave, or ox, or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor. {end}

Ian Guthridge on The Biblical Holocaust: the genocide at the heart of the Jewish religion - guthridge.html

From the Jewish Bible: 1 SAMUEL Chapter 15.

This chapter says that God, through his prophet Samuel, condemned King Saul for not killing all of the non-Jews he fought, when ordered to do so. Saul, regretting his disobedience, slew the captive king he had spared. - samuel-saul.html.

(3) The Decalogue, a 2nd or 1st Millenium BCE Creation?

From Walter Mattfeld at http://www.bibleorigins.net/Decalogue7thcentBCE.html. The Decalogue is the text containing the Ten Commandments.

{start}

10 February 2002

Conservative scholarship understands that the Exodus occured ca. 1446 BCE and therefore argues that the Decalogue is a creation of the 2nd millenium BCE.

Secular scholars have investigated the language found in the Decalogue and have sought to establish a "sitz im leben" within the Ancient Near Eastern world. Their conclusions are that while some of the concepts can be identified in 2nd millenium BCE contexts, there are other aspects preserved in the book of Deuteronomy that are attested ONLY in a late 1st millenium BCE environment. The preponderant evidence suggests that Moses' Decalogue, preserved in the Book of Deuteronomy, is a creation of the 7th century BCE, it mirroring most closely Neo-Assyrian Vassal treaties of that era, as noted by Moran.

Deuteronomy 10:1-2 (RSV) "At that time the Lord said to me 'Hew two tables of stone like the first, and come up to me on the mountain, and make an ark of wood. And I will write on the tables the words that were on the first tables ..."

Moran -

"Love in Deuteronomy is a love that can be commanded. It is also a love intimately related to fear and reverence. Above all, it is a love which must be expressed in loyalty, in service, and in unqualified obedience to the demands of the law. For to love God is, in answer to a unique claim (De 6:4), to be loyal to him (De 11:1,22; 30:20), to walk in his ways (De 10:12; 11:22; 19:9; 30:16), to keep his commandments (De 10:12; 11:1,22; 19:9), to do them (De 11:22; 19:9), to heed them or his voice (De 11:13; 30:16), to serve him (De 10:12; 11:1,13). It is, in brief, a love defined by and pledged in the covenant- a covenantal love.

The problem, therefore, is: 1) is there evidence elsewhere in our sources for the existence of a comparable love; 2) if there is, is there also evidence which suggests that Deuteronomy knew of such a love and therefore may have been influenced by this knowledge ?

Beginning outside the Old Testament, we may point to texts from the 18th to the 7th centuries BC, in which we find the term love used to describe the loyalty and friendship joining independent kings, sovereign and vassal, king and subject. In a letter to Yasma Addu, the king of Mari, one writer declares himself the king's servant and "friend" (ra`imka, literally, "the one who loves you"). Here, however, we must be cautious. This is an isolated example in this period, while the contents of the letter and the otherwise unknown identity of the writer do not allow us to determine the implications of this friendship. But the sequence of servant and friend, especially in light of later texts, is noteworthy.

When we come to the Amarna period we no longer need hesitate, for then, as Korosec has briefly remarked, "love" unquestionably belongs to the terminology of international relations. In the correspondence between Tusratta of Mitanni and the Egyptian court it is the principal topic, and denotes the friendship between the rulers, who are independent and equals ("brothers"). Like tabutu, with which it is virtually synonymous, this friendship is the object of agreement and established by treaty.

However, a similar love also binds sovereign and vassal. The Pharaoh is expected to love his vassal. The nature of the latter's obligations is seen in the following text: "My lord, just as I love the king my lord, so (do) the king of Nuhasse, the king of Ni`i .... - all these kings are servants of my lord. The vassal must love the Pharaoh; this is only another way of stating his basic relationship to the latter, that of a servant. Rib-Adda implies the same thing when in noting the defection of still another governor (vassal), he asks: "Who will love, should I die ?" To love Pharaoh is to serve him and to remain faithful to the status of vassal ... Continuing down to the first millenium, we find this terminology still in use. A vassal mst still love his sovereign. The vassals convoked by Esarhaddon to insure loyalty to his successor Assurbanipal are told: "You will love as yourselves Assurbanipal." In another text we find a similar declaration under oath: " ... the king of Assyria, our lord, we will love." (Pp.104-105, William L. Moran, "The Ancient Near Eastern Background of the Love of God in Deuteronomy." Frederick E. Greenspahn, Editor. Essential Papers on Israel and the Ancient Near East. New York. New York University Press. 1991 ISBN 0-8147-3037-X. Originally published in The Catholic Biblical Quarterly. 1963. Vol 25, pp.77-87)

"It should be remarked first of all that, if Deuteronomy is the biblical document par excellence of love, it is also the biblical document par excellence of the covenant. No book of the Old Testament is so penetrated in every stage of its formation by the literary form which we now know goes back as far as the vassal treaties of the second millenium ... The dominance of legal language in Deuteronomy is evident and needs no proof. Moreover, many of the expressions have close parallels in the treaties of the 1st and 2nd millenium ... As we have seen, in the 1st millenium love still remains a duty of the vassal towards his sovereign. Influence from this direction on Deuteronomy is quite possible, for there is other evidence for very close contact with Assyrian treaty practices and expressions.

We may point first to the very long list of curses in Deuteronomy. Such length is unknown in treaties of the 2d millenium, but it does appear in the Esarhaddon text [681-669 BCE] cited above.

More important is the presence of a curse which is substantially repeated in Deut 28:23. The Assyrian curse reads: "May they make your ground (hard) like iron so that none of you may flourish. Just as rain does not fall from a brazen heaven, so may rain and dew not come upon your fields ..." In Deut 28:23: "The sky over your heads will become like bronze and the earth under your feet like iron." So similar are these curses that Borger writes: ... "The Deuteronomist must have derived this somehow, taking it over as an impressive image from an Assyrian source. Did it perhaps occur in a treaty between the Assyrians and the Judaeans ?"

One more example, in fact one of the most striking parallels the writer knows between cuneiform and biblical literatures in any period. In a passage of his annals which describes an Arab revolt, Assurbanipal states that the curses written in the treaties were brought down upon the rebels by the gods of Assyria. The text goes on: "The people of Arubu asked one another again and again, "Why has such an evil thing as this overtaken Arubu " (and) they say, "Because we have not kept the mighty oaths of the god Assur, we have sinned against the favor shown us by Assurbanipal, the beloved king of Enlil." In Deut 29:23ff. We read: "They and all the nations will say, ":Why has the Lord dealt thus with this land ? Why this fierce outburst of wrath ? And they will say, "Because they forsook the covenant which the Lord, the God of their fathers, had made with them...they went and served other gods ..." Identical contexts (the curses of the treaty/covenant), identical in literary form ... In view of such parallels between Assyrian treaties and Deuteronomy, we may be virtually certain that Deuteronomic circles were familiar with the Assyrian practice of demanding an oath of allegiance from their vassals expressed in terms of love. In line with Borger's proposal above, we may even assume that they knew of such oaths by Israelite kings." (P.108, Moran)

"To sum up: our ancient Near Eastern sources suggest a quite new approach to the problem of the origins of the Deuteronomic doctrine on the love of God ... If .... the old sovereign-vassal terminology of love is as relevant as we think it is, then what a history lies behind the Christian test of true agape- "If you love me, keep my commandments" !" (P.111. Moran)

Conclusions:

>From Moran's article I draw the conclusion that the Deuteronomic Pentateuch and its Decalogue most closely mirrors Neo-Assyrian Vassal treaties of the 7th century BCE. So, it is not a creation of the 15th century BCE. This fits nicely with my research into the origins of the Pentateuch and its date from an archaeological site perspective, arriving at a 7th century BCE date for the latest sites (Aroer of the Negeb and the wall-less Jericho) appearing in the Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings).

{end}

More from Walter Mattfeld at http://www.bibleorigins.net.

(4) The Divine Throne-Chariot, by Geza Vermes

in Willis Barnstone, ed., The Other Bible: Jewish Pseudepigrapha Christian Apocaphra Gnostic Scriptures, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984.

{p. 705} The Divine Throne-Chariot {by Geza Vermes}

(Dead Sea Scrolls) *

The Divine Throne-Chariot draws its inspiration from Ezekiel (1:10) and is related to the Book of Revelation (4). It depicts the appearance and movement of the Merkabah, the divine Chariot supported and drawn by the cherubim, which is at the same time a throne and a vehicle. The "small voice" of blessing is drawn from 1 Kings 19:12: it was in a "still small voice" that God manifested himself to Elijah. In our Qumran text this voice is uttered by the cherubim and it is interesting to note that although the Bible does not define the source of the voice, the ancient Aramaic translation of 1 Kings (Targum of Jonathan) ascribes it to angelic beings called "they who bless silently."

The Throne-Chariot was a central subject of meditation in ancient as well as in medieval Jewish esotericism and mysticism, but the guardians of Rabbinic orthodoxy tended to discourage such speculation. The liturgical use of Ezekiel's chapter on the Chariot is expressly forbidden in the Mishnah; it even lays down that no wise man is to share his understanding of the Merkabah with a person less enlightened than himself. As a result, there is very little ancient literary material extant on the subject, and the Qumran text is therefore of great importance to the study of the origins of Jewish mysticism.

* Introduchon by Geza Vermes.

{p. 706} THE DIVINE THRONE-CHARIOT *

... the ministers of the Glorious Face in the abode of the gods of knowledge fall down before him, and the cherubim utter blessings. And as they rise up, there is a divine small voice and loud praise; there is a divine small voice as they fold their wings.

The cherubim bless the image of the Throne-Chariot above the firmament, and they praise the majesty of the fiery firmament beneath the seat of his glory. And between the turning wheels, angels of holiness come and go, as it were a fiery vision of most holy spirits; and about them flow seeming rivulets of fire, like gleaming bronze, a radiance of many gorgeous colors, of marvelous pigments magnificently mingled.

The spirits of the Living God move perpetually with the glory of the wonderful Chariot. The small voice of blessing accompanies the tumult as they depart, and on the path of their return they worship the Holy One. Ascending, they rise marvelously; settling, they stay still. The sound of joyful praise is silenced and there is a small voice of blessing in all the camp of God. And a voice of praise resounds from the midst of all their divisions in worship. And each one in his place, all their numbered ones sing hymns of praise.

* From Geza Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls, 2d ed. (1962, reprint, New York: Penguin Books, 1962), pp. 212-213.

{end}

The chariot was developed by Indo-Europeans in Central Asia; it was the tank of its time: needham-anthony.html.

It entered the Middle East around 2000 BC; initially, Egyptian armies were defeated by the chariot-using Hyksos, but Pharaoh was later depicted as riding a chariot himself. Yahweh was also depicted in the same way: the Merkabah is his chariot, but also a throne.

Merkabah politics in Israel today: http://www.merkabah.com/

The word Merkavah is equivalent: http://www.merkavah.com/

Israel has a tank called the Merkava (developed with U.S. aid): lavi.html.

http://users.cyberone.com.au/myers/ten-commandments.html.

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