Who are the Judeans/ Hebrews/ Jews from ancient times to today?
Defining a large group of identifiable people over the centuries is somewhat unusual in history, as land changes hands during wars, people intermarry, and new identities arise from new circumstances. Sweeping historical invasions by the Vikings and Mongols changed the gene pool of entire populations down to the present (hello, Blue Eyes!). Cultural identities also evolve. One which remains distinct today is that of the Jewish People. But who are we? (disclosure, Jewish Qabalist, here).
My current theory is an extended family from Canaan escaped famine in Egypt, but got caught up in their agricultural cycle of building projects during the non-farming months. Being pastoral herders rather than farmers, this devastated their ability to keep flocks and they migrated out of Egypt back into Canaan once the famine there subsided. This family had grown and prospered, while those who remained through the famine were weak, and the family of Jacob, aka Israel, conquered and absorbed most of the other Canaanite families through marriage and warfare. They eventually even captured Yerusalem, the major Canaanite city-State and moved their capitol to that defend-able fortress city. Their oral history grew and became more of a literary myth, emphasizing their special relationship with the powerful Tribal god (small "g") Yahweh. However Yahweh was one god among the many, the leader of the Elohim. he had contests with other local gods like Baal, and female gods like Asherah (The Asera, Astarte, Ishtar and Inanna) still had a place in folk worship for childbirth and rituals for "kitchen magic". Her symbol was a carved wooden pole, none of which survive, and are mentioned every time a Prophet needs a symbol to rail against the People's "infidelity" to the One True God. The past is mythologized to help cope with the disasters inherent in being a small kingdom between Egypt, Babylon, Syria, Greece, Rome and Turkey. Conquerors from these lands and the hardships they bring cause the people to look back to a mythological past to examples of miraculous escapes and survival. During the Babylonian exile, a major religious revision interprets the Exodus as a promise of escape from Babylon similar to that of Moses from Egypt. The Exodus becomes the defining identity of the Jewish people, especially since Genesis is borrowed from the dominant Babylonian creation saga, to which is attached the tribal genealogies. The rediscovery of an earlier edition of the Torah, hidden in the foundations of the ruins of King Solomon's Temple, are combined with the newer formations and interpretations created during the exile to form the revised Judaism in Judah. Monotheism becomes the primary distinguishing feature between the In group (Jews) and the Other.
So the Jewish people are the expanded family, or Tribe, of the 3rd Old Testament Patriarch Jacob, who changes his name to Israel, (AKA "Struggles with EL / God"). Abraham is the Patriarch of BOTH the Jewish and Arabic people (through Ishmael). Isaac, his other son, is the Patriarch of BOTH the Jews and the Canaanites (through Essu & his 3 wives descended from Cain). Jacob, after he is Initiated and reNAMEd Israel* , founds his own branch of the family to become the Patriarch of the Jewish people, named after him, as the Israelites. His fourth son, Judah, is allotted a large central portion of the Nation and it becomes known as Judea, it's people as Judeans, and eventually Jews, during the Babylonian Captivity.
Belonging to the Semitic language group, Hebrew is the traditional language of the Religion, with local languages often integrated as seen in Yiddish and Aramaic, the language of the Arabs traders and useful everywhere. It has undergone evolution, first in using the four consonants Y, H, V and A in a double fashion, as vowels. (Note that many of the Names of God are made up of just these letters). Vowels were not added under the ancient letters until the Masoretes updated the written language in 500 - 800 CE (in Jerusalem, Babylon and Tiberias, near Galilee). Hebrew is closely related to the languages spoken in the area, like Canaanite, Aramaic and Arabic.
The culture of the Tribe is adaptive to it's location and resources. The Levant, or Middle East is the path between the Empires of the Egyptians, Babylon, Assyria, Hittites, Persia, Turkey, Greece, Rome and Europe. It is small, and has limited water for agriculture, small trees, no level land and just small copper deposits. To survive, it became small, resilient and mobile itself, and the Holy Book is filled with more Tricksters than Supermen. Not surprisingly, the Egyptians, Turkish/ Assyrian and various Babylonian empires left their mark on the Peoples they conquered.**
Genesis owes much to the Babylonian epic the "Enuma Elish" AKA Enuma Elis which includes the Flood, a Noah releasing birds. Exodus, which may predate Genesis, has a hybrid Hero in Moses, a man of the Tribe raised in the dominant culture with an Egyptian name (Moses means Incarnate, as in Tut Moses is Thoth Incarnate, as in Thutmose III). He walks between the worlds of Jews and Gentiles, a wanderer or Traveling Man. It's resemblance to the Hebrew word To Draw Forth From the Waters is fortuitous, considering he is named by Egyptian royalty.)
Early in it's history, the Tribe escapes enslavement in Egypt and the oldest historical fragment of the Bible is Moses' sister Miriam's victory song after the Pharaoh's army is drowned (Exodus 15:1-18, The Song of the Sea or שירת הים, Shirat HaYam ). This survival in the face of impossible odds becomes a prevailing theme which allows the Culture to survive repeated attempts at annihilation.
While the People leaving Egypt for the desert could not have been as numerous as the Bible claims, Hebrew mercenaries and slaves were common in Egypt as Moabites and Canaanites and all the other weaker Nations of the area. There are military camps without any pork remains near the Nile cataracts which separate Egypt from the Nubians of the Sudan, the People of the Bow. While much of the monumental building projects in the heart of Egypt were staffed by farmers and peasants when the crops needed less maintenance, called the "levy". King Solomon established the same system in his Kingdom to get the workers for his building projects. As in all times, the children of the wealthy could send a slave or servant to fulfill their requirement for service, but slaves were grouped together and given the worst jobs, as farmers had higher status. So likely some Hebrews helped to build the pyramids, but only in a minor way. The main Egyptian slave labor projects were Pi-Ramesses (aka House of Ramesses II), @ 60 miles north-east of Cairo and Pithom (aka the House of Atum, one aspect of the Sun God), (aka Heliopolis), discovered by Edouard Naville in the Nile Delta. These were military supply cities being prepared to feed the Egyptian army in it's planned march to capture Babylon, rather than monuments to the Dead. Archeological Egyptian hieroglyphs make no mention of this Foundation Myth of the Hebrews, but do record later battles after the Golden Kingdom falls. Similarly, the cuneiform of Babylon, Moabite records (the Mesha Stele) and other archeological finds are much later than Moses.
Without access to the Sea (that is where the Philistines*** live, and Tyre to the North in Lebanon and the coast of Syria) and only the small Jordan River (a stream compared to the Nile or the Mississippi) for irrigation, this land of rocks and hills becomes grazing land as the Tribe enters a Pastoral phase, and celebrate agricultural holidays (as do all Pagan people) based on the Sun, Moon, Stars and Seasons. As detailed in the Book of Saul, constant warfare eventually leads the Judeans to confront the small Canaanite city/ state in the Center of it's hills, a place named Yerusliam, so far as we can transliterate the Canaanite word. Many think Jerusalem was an original Hebrew word involving Shalom, or Salaam, ie Peace. But the name Yerusliam/Jerusalem seems clearly to predate the Hebrew name for that city in Canaanite.
The establishment of this new, walled fortress with it's own water supply and high hills centrally located in Judean territory leads David, Saul's successor, to make it the capitol of the increasingly well organized tribe's Nation, establishing the brief Golden Kingdom. Increased urbanization affects the Pastoral religion of the Herdsmen as Judaism evolves, and new, historically significant events are offered as new explanations for the existing holidays.For all the reasons outlined in the Bible, it falls upon his clever son to build The Temple of King Solomon, a map of the Universe (Earth and Heaven) as understood at that time.
If the Bible spends a lot of time describing the actual dimensions and furnishings of King Solomon's Temple in both the pre-exile Northern Kingdom copy which became Kings (written during Jeremiah, before 586 B.C.E.), and the post Babylon Exile Southern copy which became Chronicles (written during Ezra, 516 B.C.E.), (remember, in BCE, larger numbers are EARLIER than smaller numbers, as time goes towards ZERO and restarts counting up in the Christian Calendar) it is both to awe the reader with the splendor of the structure, preserve mystical and practical building principles, many of them elaborated in Freemasonry. (see The Sources of all Bibles). It is bragging about the amount of inner space and height (3 levels) coaxed from stone and timber from Lebanon. As THERE IS NO GOOD BUILDING WOOD in Judea, most other structures are small, made of stone and clay/ mud, and the Temple, on a hill, can be seen for miles. Indeed, this raises some Crucifixion confusion about Josephus' and the New Testament tales of mass executions by "hanging alive".
The reign of King Solomon is golden, but short, and is followed by a civil war. Every Master Mason should search the story of this event carefully (preferably in Hebrew), to discover one of the most profound Hidden Mysteries of Freemasonry's Substitute Word.
After Civil War weakens the Tribe, the North Kingdom of Israel falls to the Neo - Assyrians. Those not taken captive (The Ten Lost Tribes) fall back to the Southern Kingdom of Judea. They conceal their copy of the Holy Book in the stones of the Temple's foundations, and when the Temple is destroyed by the neo - Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar II, it is preserved in the ruins. Cyrus the Great, the Persian from Iran, invades Babylon, and sends all the captive leaders home to rebuild their own cities and Temples, pay taxes and stop making trouble for the Empire. This is the 1st historical usage of the term Yehudis, or Judeans, which will become the word Jews.
The Empire to the Northern area fell under domination by the Assyrians from Turkey, who had developed better smelting and weapon-building technology than Sumer and are related to the original Akkadians. While not having great rivers, they had metal in their hills. The Hittite , Kassites and Elamites (Kurds) in the East all took brief turns controlling the land, until the Chaldeans established the Neo-Babylonian Empire (608 to 539 BCE). After Civil War weakens the Judeans, the North Kingdom of Israel falls to the Neo - Assyrians. Those not taken captive The Ten Lost Tribes fall back to the Southern Kingdom of Judea. The Exiles are distributed throughout Halah (Cilicia in Turkey), in Habor by the river of Gozan ( Khazars on the Volga River?), and in the cities of the Medes (Central and Southern Iran). They conceal their copy of the Holy Book (Book of Deuteronomy) in the stones of the Temple's foundations, and when the Temple is destroyed by the neo - Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar II, it is preserved in the ruins. Cyrus the Great, the Persian from Iran, invades Babylon, and sends all the captive leaders home to rebuild their own cities and Temples, pay taxes and stop making trouble for the Empire. This is the 1st historical usage of the term Yehudis, or Judeans, which will become the word Jews. King Solomon's Temple is sacked by Nebuchadnezzar II's army and ordered rebuilt when the Jews are returned to their Land by Cyrus.
While the destruction of Israel and earlier Neo - Assyrian captivity leads to the Northern Tribes being broken up and settled throughout the Empire, the destruction of Judah by the Neo-Babylonian Empire of Nebuchadnezzar II aka נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר and נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר (Nəḇuḵaḏreṣṣar) has the waves of captives from 597 BC , 587 BC and kept together and resettled together in other parts of the Empire, thus maintaining their identity. While the Egyptian Exile and Exodus are the foundation myths of the Jewish People, it was because of this Neo-Babylonian Exile that if became that foundation myth, as it's relevance to a Captive People should be obvious.
Defeating the Neo Assyrian Empire (@911 - 608 BCE), Nebuchadnezzar II's Neo-Babylonian Chaldean Empire united the Medes (modern Kurds), Persians (Iranians) Scythians and Cimmerians (see Robert E. Howard's Conan tales). The peace and prosperity allows him to build the Hanging Gardens, the Ishtar Gate, and he attempts to integrate the Intelligentsia of all the Societies he captured into small communities in the Capitol City. The Jewish Babylonian community became well established, and eventually a well respected religious court with it's own version of interpretation of the Torah, the Babylonian Talmud* (see Michael Rodkinson's translations in particular).
The Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia (Iran), (@539 BCE). Sometimes referred to as the Achaemenid empire, it had a great effect for a Kingdom which did not survive very long. Cyrus releases the captives in Babylon and instructed them to return home, rebuild their Temples, and govern themselves, so long as they pay taxes. He also issues a set of Laws, called the Cyrus Cylinder, which included the rights of captive foreigners as well as Persians.
Of course, the Holy Book the leaders (Cohns and Levites) brought into exile had undergone many changes both from natural evolution and information error, but more due to the changing social circumstances of the Captivity. Having been marched to Babylon in chains and without possessions, the Leaders held their extended family together by telling the stories of their family mythological history, and writing it down as the Bible. Stories that stressed God rescuing their forefathers from similar exiles, like Egypt, became key in retaining hope and social cohesion. That copy of the Holy Book had certain aspects emphasized or altered to assist the people in their new, foreign - dominated, stressful situation. It seems likely that Ruth, Esther and Daniel are written after this experience, to provide different models of how to handle such exile situations.
Ruth is important to King Solomon, because his father King David traces his ancestry to her and Boaz, and she is NOT a native born Judean. Throughout the Book, she is referred to as a Moabite, who leaves her tribe after intermarriage, and when her husband dies, stays with his mother Naomi and return to her Tribe, the Judeans. After the return from Babylon, the returning elites, the "people of the land" who had remained, and the returnees from Egypt all disagreed over who was IN and who was OUT of the Tribe, and who would control the Land. Ezra 9:1-2 and Nehemiah 10:28-30 echo the earlier prohibition on marrying inside the immediate family but outside the extended clan implied in Leviticus 19:19 and made explicit in Deuteronomy 7:3-4. Relying on Deuteronomy 25:5-6's directions of levirate marriage allows the two women to return to Judah in search of a new family. Boaz is a wealthy Judean elder, but his children with Ruth would not be Jewish by strict Hebrew Law, unless the Moabite is somehow considered a Hebrew woman. For King David to take over after King Saul, his son Jonathan, his other sons, all die, David must be a Hebrew, of Hebrew Mother and his Hebrew clan from his Father (Levi). So Ruth the Moabite must become Ruth the Hebrew when Boaz redeems her Mother-in-law's estate, including the Widow Ruth, and joins it to his own. And in return, King Solomon names one of the Twin Pillars at the entrance of his Temple Boaz, or Strength.
A quick word on an incident in Ruth which figures into Freemasonry as a blind. Much is made of Boaz relinquishing a shoe in announcing to the Village Elders that he will not reject Ruth. As we know even today, from watching President George W. Bush dodging shoes thrown at him in the Middle East, hitting something with your (dirty) shoe is considered a grave insult. Boaz giving up one shoe for the moment was a clear expression that he would not reject the deal for Ruth and the estate, he was demonstrating that he would not veto the idea. It was a pledge NOT to do something, not a promise to perform a task, per se.
In rebuilding the Temple, the Tribe rediscovers the old Northern copy of the Bible hidden in it's foundations. This leads to another in a series of Religious Reforms under King Josiah, destroying the shrines in the High Places and centralizing worship in Jerusalem again. But the end of the Southern Kingdom is near, as the Land can no longer support the amount of tribute demanded. Another brief rebellion leads to the Babylonian Captivity of Judah, setting off a competition between the religious authorities of both Jerusalem and Babylon to write separate Talmuds as commentary on the one Bible, which is combined. So, that is why in Chapter One of Genesis, Lord God (ELohiem YHVH) makes Man after the plants, but then in Verse 8, God (YHVH) creates Man out of the dust, before plants. One verse likely came from the earlier version of the Holy Book, and both were preserved. Also see descriptions of King Solomon's Temple, the Noah ark inventory, and many other examples (see The Sources of all Bibles). The politics of the competing Divided Kingdoms plays out in the parallel stories told in Joshua and Judges, then in Chronicles, Samuel and Kings. In Joshua the entire Tribe takes Canaan in a series of stunning military victories leading to the complete slaughter of the inhabitants. Jericho is a walled city which falls at the sound of the War Trumpet. But then comes Judges, and all those cities and their peoples still exist to be allies or enemies. Archaeology shows a more gradual settlement of non-walled cities, which is consistent with the Egyptian monument named the Merneptah stele, which details the walled cities he conquered but lists Israel as a tribe rather than a city/state. While less conflicting, the two descriptions of King Solomon's Temple and the important events of the Golden Kingdom and it's dissolution are detailed differently in Chronicles and Kings, as the descendants of Ra ha boam in the South and Jer ha boam in the North compete for religious, economic and social dominance. This rivalry ends with the more prosperous Northern Kingdom falling to the invaders from the North, what we now call Turkey.
This Northern /Southern split emphasizes that even within the Patriarchal Tribe of Jacob/ Israel, the Mother holds an important role in inheritance and kinship. The Southern Kingdom of Judah, with it's Davidic Line evolves from Judah and Jesse and therefore Leah's children, while the Northern Kingdom is populated with the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim, descendents of Joseph, as well and therefore Rachel. While Solomon and his chosen successor Ra-Ha-Boam aka Rehoboam rule the South in turn, the North is ruled by Jer-Ha-Boam aka Jeroboam, a descendant of Joseph, is an Ephraimite and descendent of Joseph and Rachel.
After the Neo - Assyrians conquer The Northern Kingdom of Israel, Judea plays off or pays off the competing Egyptian Empire for protection. But when that Pharaoh drives his army across the land, the Judean King brings his small army to oppose him. Before this unmatched disaster can even begin, King Josiah is hit by a fatal arrow in the plains of Meggito, or Armageddon. Pharaoh's not amused, and the next king lasts 3 months. Pretty much downhill until the Neo - Assyrians, now possessing the old Babylonan empire under Nebuchadnezzar retake the area and over 12 years and 4 waves bring it's leaders into exile. So the teachers and Royalty either fled to Egypt, were taken to Babylon, or as the farmers remained in the hills. The Persian Cyrus the Great (II], as mentioned, will return this Captive group 50 years later, and the rebuilding of the Temple will convince some of the Egyptian Jews to return, setting off a 3 way "discussion" as to which group is in charge. Alexander the Great rises to power in Macedon, Greece and the old Hittite and Assyrian empires, and settles the argument in his own favor on his way to conquer Egypt.
The Greek cultural temptation almost proved too much for the Tribe, many of whom were attracted to it's egalitarian idealism, the Ancients' philosophy, and interest in an Afterlife. After rejecting a focus on the Afterlife for a focus on Life in the present after the Egyptian enslavement, the Greek Mysteries awakened the curiosity of young Judeans, much to the concern of their more conservative Elders. But the Greeks were soon replaced by the Romans, whose use of Ptolemaic rulers (Egyptian/Greeks) and Syrians alienated the Tribe. Their Political over-reaching alienated and angered rather than seduced the Judeans, though made inroads with the Gnostics.
While the Romans no doubt found the pacifistic Essene Rabbi Jesus and Christians an annoyance, the Judean Zealots who were stabbing Romans in the streets and the occasional mob of stone throwing youths forced them to increase military expenditures over the amount of taxes they were receiving. The Temple Priests/Kohans/Sadducce opposed this doomed effort, while the Levite /Rural Rabbis/ Pharisees supported it. The Essenes awaited the end of the World, many of them in the desert. This and chaos at the Empire's center of power (Caligula**** and Nero, fun times) brought about Messianic aspirations, revolt, rebellion, and Rabbi Akiva's martyrdom as he sang the Shamah while the Romans flayed his flesh off with an iron comb after the Bar Kokba revolt. Most of the men were crucified against the walls of their houses (remember, no wood for crosses) and women and children sold off to the Egyptians for the Salt Mines. Others were enslaved across the Roman Empire, or escaped into the desert, either to await the End (ala the Essenes / Gnostics) or travel to foreign lands.
But the lessons of Egypt, now fully incorporated into the Holy Book and Culture, the understanding that those who are not large and powerful had better be small and tricky, allowed our Culture to survive. Okay, it helps that that culture has a winning combination of respect for learning, community and family may ALSO have something to do with the survival of the Jewish people against the odds of history.
Pride and Humiliation hand in hand walked with them through the world where'er they went; trampled and beaten were they as sand and yet unshaken as the continent.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow THE JEWISH CEMETERY IN NEWPORT (RI), 1852 (thanks to Worshipful Brother Stephen T, living proof that a Blind Man will lead you to the Light
- Israel, some have suggested it stands for Isis, Ra and El, which is an interesting theory, but has to cope with the language issues...Isis, Ra and Osiris do not occur in the Hebrew Bible, so we have no definitive way to spell them as our Ancient ancestors might have coming out of Exodus. And Israel is of course an English transliteration of Yisroyal in Hebrew. Also, Ra is usually tied to Hathor, while Isis is tied to her Brother /Husband Osiris. A related mystery being investigated why the Babylonian Gods show up in the Bible, but NOT the Egyptian Gods. Now, the Canaanite God' showing up makes perfect sense, you contrast what you have with the neighboring Gods. But that Marduk, the Chaldean deity elevated to the top of the Persian pantheon by Hammurabi also makes a showing. Now, these writings probably come after the return from the Exile in Babylon ordered by Cyrus the Great, so treating the Chaldean Gods with respect made more sense marching back home than going in chains, and that may be why Astarte / Inanna / Ashtoret /Ishtar / Ashtart and The Whore of Babylon (she is a fertility Goddess, not a prude or monogamous like Isis) make it into both the Old and New Testaments.
- Local dominant cultures affect the less powerful cultures around them. Micky Mouse, coca cola and McDonalds can be found anywhere America has influence. Similarly, the dominate cultures of Babylon and the Egyptians left strong threads in the Old Testament and what Judaism has become today. But the experience of going into exile in slavery produces bitter resentment against foreign Gods, while coming home from Exile tended to soften the anger towards foreigners and their cultures. One theory which has been raised is that the Jews live through the monotheism of Pharaoh Akhenaten when he imposes Aten (The Sun Disk, not RA, the essence of the Sun, or Amoun, the traditional Pharaoh Godfather) on the Egyptians. When his son Pharaoh Ramesses the Great takes over and begins to destroy his father's work, restoring the polytheistic Old Gods. This theory follows the earlier work of Dr. Sigmund Freud, suggests some of the Hebrew slaves followed a younger Egyptian Prince (Moses) who would never be Pharaoh into the desert to create a new Kingdom, carrying the symbols of the Egyptian God Aten in an ark, the Ark of the Covenant. This theory is sometimes referred to as "RA in a Box", but more properly "Aten in a box".
Sometimes cited as examples of Egyptian influences are the Maxims of Good Discourse by Vizier Ptahhotep (@ 2200 BCE) from the Wisdom of Ptahhotep's list of declaration of which of the 42 sins the recently dead traveler did not commit having similarities to the Ten Commandments (but then so does Hammurabi's Code) and the Onomasticon of Pharaoh Amenope (1001 BC - 992 BC BCE) aka The Instruction of Amenemope aka The British Museum Papyrus 10474 covers much the same view of the human condition, aging and death as the biblical Book of Proverbs, Psalms, and even Deuteronomy. It seems to be based on the Instructions of Kagemni, @2500 BCE, and all emphasis a devotion to and acceptance of the fates handed out by God or the Gods, counsels moderation and is perfected by Marcus Aurelius years later. This is interesting, but has one glaring problem. Even under Pharaoh Akhenaten and Great Queen Nefertiti the point of worship was all about the afterlife. What you did on Earth was less important than what you would accomplish after your resurrection, just like for Christians. Judaism at this time is all about the here and now, how to obey the moral law in this life. The afterlife, until the introduction of Greek philosophy, was a gray place of ghosts with no personality. The Dead were placed in a cave with the bones of their ancestors, then those bones swept to the floor to make room for the newly dead. Contrast this to a pyramid and the focus on this difference becomes clear.
- The Philistines aka פְלִשְׁתִּים aka p'lishtim, were an Aegeo-Anatolian (Troy -Greek - Turkey) seafaring people from the Aegean, proto-Greeks fleeing the Dorians, who were repulsed out of Egypt after attacking by sea and ended up settling the coast of the Levant, squeezing out a Nation between Egypt to the South, Tyre and the Phoenicians to the North, and the weaker hill peoples to the West, whose land was poor and didn't interest them much (well, tell that to Goliath!). They were Sea People, (named by Gaston Maspero) not Shepherds, and warriors not farmers, who wore brass helmets and leather armor, see the description in 1 Samuel 17:1-11. They are recorded as raiding but not settling in the Agean and Cyprus, part of the general disruptions of so many ancient civilizations @ 1200 BCE, the transition from Bronze to Iron. Their defeat in Egypt and resettlement is recorded in several stone markers and palace reliefs. Definitely neither Semetic nor Egyptian, and distinct in time tactics to the Hittites and various Babylonian invaders;
- Roman Emperor Caligula, who makes Nero look sane by comparison, decided to place statues of himself in all Jewish Temples for the Jews to worship along with their own God. When the Jews of Alexandria protested, there was a Christian and Pagan riot and pogrom to kill the Jews, perhaps fearing the Emperor's wraith. Rabbi Philo of Alexandria AKA Philo Judaeus, went to Rome and talked his way into seeing Emperor Caligula, then convinced him to abandon this plan, through sheer personality alone, as there were no persuasive arguments, especially not to the Mad Emperor.
- Camels vs. donkeys - "Camels are mentioned as pack animals in the biblical stories of Abraham, Joseph and Jacob, Old Testament stories that historians peg to between 2000 and 1500 BC. But Erez Ben-Yosef and Lidar Sapir-Hen of Tel Aviv University's Department of Archaeology and Near Eastern Cultures say camels weren’t domesticated in Israel until centuries later, more like 900 BC." " Camels can travel over much longer distances than donkeys and mules, opening up trade routes like the Incense Road (aka The Silk Road) that stretched from Africa through Israel to India." * http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/02/06/camel-bones-suggest-error-in-bible/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fscitech+%28Internal+-+SciTech+-+Mixed%29 ; http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/11/science/camels-had-no-business-in-genesis.html?ref=science?src=dayp ; While great for long desert marches, neither the one humped Arabian camel nor the two humped Central Asian camel are great on the rocky, hilly country of Judea. " the earliest known domesticated camels in Israel to the last third of the 10th century" BCE @ 930 BCE, after King Solomon. " ...by the seventh century B.C. camels had become widely employed in trade and travel in Israel and through the Middle East, from Africa as far as India." ...so sometime after the Babylonian empire of Sargon the Great (@ 722 BCE) is established but before the conquests of the Neo - Assyrian Kings Shalmaneser III, Tiglath-Pileser III aka King Pul and Nebuchadnezzar II. Elephants from India won't make their appearance till Alexander the Great, @ 330, the Greek general Pyrrhus of Epirus @ 300 BCE and Hannibal @ 200 BCE
Although these conclusions are mine, I stand on my interpretation of the Scholars who have gone before me and left WORK for us to evaluate, each to ourselves...
Resources; The Torah, HafTorah, Prophets, source documents of the Bible, including Babylonian sources, The following Tape lecture series are very helpful; all from http://www.thegreatcourses.com/ : Religion in the Ancient Mediterranean World by Glenn S. Holland Ph.D; Between Cross and Crescent: Jewish Civilization from Mohammed to Spinoza by David B. Ruderman Ph.D ; Between the Rivers: The History of Ancient Mesopotamia by Alexis Q. Castor Ph.D; Mystical Tradition: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam by Luke Timothy Johnson Ph.D;; Fall of the Pagans and the Origins of Medieval Christianity by Kenneth W. Harl ; Beginnings of Judaism by Isaiah M. Gafni Ph.D.; Popes and the Papacy: A History by Thomas F. X. Noble Ph.D; Great Figures of the New Testament; Professor Amy-Jill Levine and her equally worth while Old Testament lectures; add in the Anthropology , Archaeology and Geology from Professor Jodi Magness' excellent Holy Land Revealed series; the Dead Sea Scrolls by Gary A. Rendsburg; Terror of History: Mystics, Heretics, and Witches in the Western Tradition by Professor Teofilo F. Ruiz ; everything Professor Bart D. Ehrman publishes by book or lecture is useful; Origins of Great Ancient Civilizations lectures by Kenneth W. Harl; FROM THE History of Ancient Israel, From the Patriarchs Through the Romans lectures by Prof. Eric H. Cline is from the Modern Scholar series ; The World of Biblical Israel lecture series by Professor Cynthia R. Chapman ; The Early History of God - Yahweh and the other deities in Ancient Israel, 2nd ed, by Mark S. Smith, 1990, 2002; The Hebrew Goddess, by Raphael Patai, 1968 & Matronit: The Goddess of the Kabbala; everything by Gershom Scholem;
AND MORE RESOURCES: Does Caligula deserve his bad reputation? at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23455774 ; Archeologist Eilat Mazar, of Jerusalem's Hebrew University, 2013; http://www.sofiatopia.org/maat/ptahhotep.htm; http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/sea.htm; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instruction_of_Amenemope; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instructions_of_Kagemni; http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_image.aspx?image=ps078500.jpg&retpage=15530; http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/27/the-king-david-you-never-knew.html ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merneptah_Stele ; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tel_Megiddo , as detailed by Thutmose III in his fight with the King of Kadesh; http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/megiddobattle.htm ; https://sites.google.com/site/megiddoexpedition/the-site/history-of-megiddo to explain the Battle and it's archeological remains; not to be confused with the later battle there between King Josiah of Judah and the Pharaoh Neco of the Egyptians, to help the Assyrians against the Neo-Babylonians of Nebuchadnezzar II, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Megiddo_%28609_BC%29; http://www.livescience.com/28199-stone-age-phallus-found-in-israel.html ; poor comparison of versions of the 10 Commandments here - http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/2007/03/Chart-Comparing-The-Ten-Commandments.aspx , missing both versions of the Jewish, from Exodus and Deuteronomy, the Asereth ha-D'bharîm aka Decalogue aka δεκάλογος aka dekalogos aka Second Covenant is slightly different in the two , see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten_Commandments ; http://news.yahoo.com/british-museum-prototype-noah-39-ark-round-175721612.html;_ylt=A0SO80prGOVSuxkAoqpXNyoA; “The Story of the Jews” by Simon Schama, PBS series, 2014; ylu=X3oDMTB0NzhqaHJmBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1NNRTMyMV8x ; http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9744.pdf ;