Baruch may lift veil off Heraclitus, Plato

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Part One:

Too narrow a view of ‘Greek’ sages

 

Baruch may be a key to our better understanding Sirach, Heraclitus, Zoroaster and Plato.

 

Clement of Alexandria believed that Sirach had influenced the Greek philosopher Heraclitus (Strom. 2.5); Saint Ambrose (Ep. 34) suggested that Plato was educated in Hebraïc letters in Egypt by Jeremiah.

 

 

What is generally thought to be wrong with the view of St. Clement pertaining to Heraclitus, and that of St. Ambrose pertaining to Plato?

Well, for those who know both their ancient biblico-history and history of ancient philosophy, it would have been utterly impossible for the pre-Socratic Heraclitus, conventionally dated to c. 535 – c. 475 BC, to have been influenced by Sirach, conventionally dated approximately three centuries later, to c. 200 BC; and for the prophet Jeremiah in Egypt, c. 560 BC, conventional dating, there to have educated in Hebrew letters, Plato, conventionally (and variously) dated to c. 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC.

In conventional terms, the lives of the two biblical prophet-sages did not overlap at any point with those of the two supposed (Ionian) ‘Greek’ luminaries.

 

But is the conventional historical view the correct one?

 

Was it really quite impossible for Heraclitus to have been influenced by Sirach, or for Plato to have been instructed by Jeremiah?

Or were Sts. Clement and Ambrose correct (or at least closer to the mark) in what they said?

 

I am of the opinion that so-called Ionian and Greek philosophy, and its philosophers, have been wildly over-stated down through the ages, and that philosophy and the pursuit of wisdom arose instead from the Hebrews – and was undoubtedly absorbed by the Phoenicians, the Egyptians and the Mesopotamians even before it ever really took hold in mainland Greece.

 

In other words, Greek was, at best, a third-hand recipient of inspired philosophical wisdom.

 

I further believe that the so-called Ionian and mainland Greek philosophers, such as Heraclitus, but most notably the famous trio of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, were non-real, composite characters, based largely upon Hebrew (Israelite-Jewish) prophets and sages.

Socrates, most definitely, has certain hallmarks of a Hebrew prophet. See e.g. my series:

 

‘Socrates’ as a Prophet

 

https://www.academia.edu/25249243/Socrates_as_a_Prophet

 

‘Socrates’ as a Prophet. Part Two: Presumed Era

 

https://www.academia.edu/25249791/_Socrates_as_a_Prophet._Part_Two_Presumed_Era

 

The era in which ‘Socrates’ is thought to have emerged pertains to c. 600-300 BC, known as “The Axial Age”. It is thought to have been a time of some very original characters and religio-philosophical founding fathers:

Socrates, Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster.

 

‘Socrates’ as a Prophet. Part Three: A Composite Figure

 

https://www.academia.edu/25252804/_Socrates_as_a_Prophet._Part_Three_A_Composite_Fi

 

Socrates and Jeremiah were alike in many ways. Both, called to special work by oracular or divine power, reacted with great humility and self-distrust. And, whenever Socrates or Jeremiah encountered any who would smugly claim to have been well instructed, and who would boast of their own sufficiency, they never failed to chastise the vanity of such persons.

Again, the Book of Jeremiah can at times employ a method of teaching known as ‘Socratic’:

 

‘Socrates’ was (as it seems to me) based in part – and perhaps in fairly solid part – upon the prophet Jeremiah, but he also bear likenesses, particularly in his martyrdom, to the Maccabean elder, Eleazer.

There is also much about Jesus Christ in ‘Socrates’ as many have observed.

According to a legend, Socrates even appeared in a premonitory dream to the wife of Pilate asking her to intercede on behalf of Jesus.

 

The great mix that is ‘Socrates’, the biblical elements and the Greek elements, explain how, in a work such as Plato’s Symposium, base paganism is found hand-in-hand with the highest mysticism. Socrates, in the Symposium, is typically Greek, a perverse and practised pederast: https://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Evils%20in%20America/Sodomy/greek_homos.htm

 

Two of Plato’ s works, The Phaedrus and The Symposium, paint a brilliant picture of what the attitude toward pederasty was at the time. In the opening pages of The Phaedrus, Phaedrus and Socrates are discussing a speech that Lysias – a popular orator of the day – has written; a speech that was “…designed to win the favor of a handsome boy….” Socrates seems to understand why one would write a speech on this subject, and even states that man “cannot have a less desirable protector or companion than the man who is in love with him.”  The Symposium goes into even greater detail about pederasty.

The setting is a symposium – a type of dinner party that only included males as guests, and had entertainment, wine, and discussion of politics and philosophy – in which several men are gathered and all give speeches about why a love of boys is a good thing. Phaedrus – the first to give his speech – states, For I can’t say that there is a greater blessing right from boyhood than a good lover or a greater blessing for a lover than a darling [young boy]. What people who intend to lead their lives in a noble and beautiful manner need is not provided by family, public honors, wealth, or anything else, so well as by love. Pausanias – the second speaker – adds even more to this argument when he states Aphrodite only inspires love among men for young boys, and not women. Those inspired by Aphrodite are naturally drawn to the male because he is a stronger and more intelligent creature.

Socrates also comments on the importance of pederasty in his own life.  He says, “My love for this fellow [Agathon- another member of the party who is a beautiful young boy] is not an insignificant affair.” Yet another member of the party, Alcibiades, also loves Agathon and tries to discredit Socrates when he says, “…Socrates is lovingly fixated on beautiful young men, is always around them – in a daze….”

 

Yet the Symposium will, on the other hand, exalt love as almost along biblical lines:

https://www3.dbu.edu/naugle/pdf/platonic_love.pdf

 

The Platonic doctrine of eros, the locus classicus of which is the Symposium, and the biblical conception of agape love have joined together like tributaries to form a mighty and deep river from which the Western world has drawn its primary conceptions of love. As Irving Singer contends in his magisterial study on the nature love, the philosophy of love in the Western world … stems from two principal sources: on the one hand Plato, his followers, and his critics; on the other hand Christianity arising out of Judaism and merging with Greek philosophy begun by Plato. ….

 

It was actually the Greek philosophy, I suggest, that had absorbed the higher biblical ideals, thereby rescuing the former from its most base tendencies.  

 

I am currently well advanced in the reading of a remarkable book written by Arthur Herman, an author of breathtaking knowledge. It is his book, The Cave and the Light: Plato Versus Aristotle, and the Struggle for the Soul of Western Civilization, which ought to be a compulsory philosophical textbook. It covers Plato’s view on love in the Symposium, too, and just about everything else. Bill Frezza’s excellent review of the book reads in part:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/billfrezza/2014/01/14/book-review-the-struggle-for-the-soul-of-western-civilization/#6c4d10874ee8

 

…. For the first of these 900 years, the Schools of Athens laid the foundation of Western thinking, with Plato’s Academy becoming the model for every monastery, university, and totalitarian regime. Meanwhile, Aristotle’s legacy bequeathed to us capitalism, the scientific method, and the American Revolution.

 

As history has ebbed and flowed, we’ve seen the influence of each school wax and wane. Plato’s theory of decline and yearning for a vanished utopia informed the inward turning of European societies following the collapse of the Roman Empire ”—while Aristotle’s faith in human potential and vision for continual progress fueled the Renaissance and Enlightenment—“the Light”. Along the way, Herman lays out the contributions of subsequent philosophers, who echoed one or the other of these themes, both through their teachings and through the deeds of the societies that embraced them. ….

 

It is truly remarkable how author Arthur Herman manages to keep alive these two strands, the Platonic and the Aristotelian, jostling in tension with each other all the way throughout human history. My big problem, though, whilst reading the book, has been my strong conviction that Plato and Aristotle, as well as Socrates, were not real historical figures.

If so, then there must be some more significant source of wisdom and knowledge than Platonism and Aristotelianism running throughout the course of human thinking.

 

And, is it time to take a second look at what the Church Fathers have said about Plato, and about Heraclitus, and about the true inspiration for much that we now call Greek philosophy? Tertullian had exclaimed: “What has Jerusalem to do with Athens?”

In other words, “We are looking for the New Jerusalem, not the New Athens” (Brian Zahnd).

 

 

The most “obscure” Heraclitus

 

 

“We have no idea of who and what [Heraclitus] was.

We do not understand what he was saying”.

 

Nicolas Eias Leon Ruiz

 

 

Unlike the classical Plato, about whom we know so much, and whose writings we have in abundance, Heraclitus emerges as a most obscure character. According to Marc Cohen (2002), for instance, in his article “Heraclitus”:

 

  1. Fl. 500 B.C. in Ephesus, north of Miletus in Asia Minor. He was known in antiquity as “the obscure.” And even today, it is very difficult to be certain what Heraclitus was talking about. As Barnes says (Presocratics, p. 57):

 

“Heraclitus attracts exegetes as an empty jampot wasps; and each new wasp discerns traces of his own favourite flavour.”

 

The reason for this is Heraclitus’s dark and aphoristic style. He loved to appear to contradict himself. Some of his doctrines sound incoherent and self-contradictory even if he did not perhaps intend them that way. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Why do the early so-called Ionian and Greek philosophers come across as being so enigmatic and obscure, even quite odd in some cases, various of these (e.g., Thales, Pythagoras, Socrates) having left no personal written record?

 

The only time that Jesus is recorded as having written something, he wrote “on the ground”, and it had to do with a matter of morality and the Law (John 8:3-11).

But when Socrates, for his part, wrote in the ground to prove a point (in the Meno), he actually drew geometrical figures.

That a part of the character whom we call ‘Socrates’ was drawn from Jesus Christ (also the prophet Jeremiah and from the martyred Eleazer of the Maccabees), I suggested in Part One: https://www.academia.edu/37879947/Church_Fathers_suggest_a_different_chronology_for_Heraclitus_for_Plato._Part_One_Too_narrow_a_view_of_Greek_sages?email_work_card=view-paper

This all accounts for the greatness and firm witness to truth of the composite ‘Socrates’.

 

On the other hand, “The Strangeness of Socrates” (see ArticleinPhilosophical Investigations 9(2):89 – 110 · March 2008) arises because ‘Socrates’, as a Greek, is actually – just like the various ‘Ionian’ philosophers – something of a square peg in a round hole. Historians of ancient philosophy having been trying to fit square pegs into round holes, or vice versa. Those who have been called ‘philosophers’, from Thales to Socrates, were not real Ionian, or mainland Greek personages, but were, instead, fictitious characters based largely (though perhaps not entirely) upon real Hebrew (Israelite-Jewish) priests, sages and prophets.

‘Socrates’, originally prophetic Hebrew, ends up becoming a geometry-teaching Greek.

 

And the same sort of “strangeness” is found in the case of the “obscure” Heraclitus who absolutely baffles scholars.

Why? Because Heraclitus is just another square peg in a round hole.

Those like Nicolas Eias Leon Ruiz, who emphasise the religious and the mystical elements in the thinking of Heraclitus, come far closer to the truth than do those who would strait-jacket Heraclitus purely to natural philosophy.

 

Previously I have written with reference to Ruiz:

 

Whilst textbooks on the history of philosophy universally commence with the supposed Ionian Greeks … [I] would urge for a complete re-orientation of influence by arguing that certain (if not all) of the key figures labelled ‘Greek’ (or Ionian) philosophers, ostensibly influenced by the Hebrews (as say the Fathers), were in actual fact Hebrew (Jewish) biblical characters who later became distorted and re-cast in Greco-Roman folklore. The Greco-Romans confused the ethnicity, geography and chronology of these original sages, who were essentially prophets and mystics, and down-graded them by turning them purely into natural philosophers.

It seems imperative that the common mystical element has to be re-considered, contrary to Mark Glouberman’s mistaken (I believe) view of “Western rationality’s trademark mastery over the natural world”, over the “earlier [religious] mode of thought” of the Hebrews. (“Jacob’s Ladder. Personality and Autonomy in the Hebrew Scriptures”, Mentalities/ Mentalités,13, 1-2, 1998, p. 9).

 

 

For studies more astute than Glouberman’s, whose opinion, sadly, the majority might share, would indicate that some of these ancient philosophers – now so cramped to merely natural philosophy and the elements (earth, fire, water, etc.) – were actually men of great wisdom and enlightenment, religious and mystical.

….

Nicolas Elias Leon Ruiz (Heraclitus and the Work of Awakening) has perceived this mystical quality in the case of the enigmatic but highly significant Heraclitus, supposedly a Greek of Ionian Ephesus. In his Abstract, Ruiz well explains why commentators have invariably found Heraclitus to be an ‘obscure’ thinker (https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache):

 

….

Heraclitus is universally regarded as one of the fathers of western philosophy.

However, the characterization of the nature of his contribution varies widely. To some he is an early example of rational, empirical, scientific inquiry into the physical world. To others he was primarily a brilliantly innovative metaphysician.

Still others prefer to see him as the distant ancestor of the great German dialecticians of the 19thcentury. In the 20th century, certain existential phenomenologists all but claimed him as one of their own.

Behind all of this stands a fundamental set of assumptions that is never questioned. Whatever else may be the case, we know that Heraclitus was, essentially, a rational human being like ourselves. He was a philosopher, concerned with explanation and exposition. He was a thinker, and his fragments encapsulate his thought.

It is because of this that Heraclitus has been completely misunderstood. We have no idea of who and what he was. We do not understand what he was saying. Perhaps the greatest irony is that Heraclitus himself, at the very outset of what he wrote, explicitly predicted that this would happen.

Everyone who writes about Heraclitus will make at least passing reference to his legendary obscurity. Some will talk about the oracular character of his writing. A few go so far as to say that his thought bears the traces of revelation, his expression, of prophecy. This is as far as it goes. The problem is that this rather metaphorical way of talking about Heraclitus misses the point entirely. His writing was not just “obscure,” it was esoteric.

Heraclitus did not merely employ an oracular mode of expression: he was an oracle. What he said was a revelation and he was its prophet. Heraclitus was far from the early rationalist or primitive scientist he has been made out to be. He was what we today would call a mystic.….

 

[End of quote]

 

As far as goes the statement of St. Clement of Alexandria, that Sirach had influenced Heraclitus (Strom. 2.5) – which, with St. Ambrose’s statement (Ep. 34) that Plato was educated in Hebraïc letters in Egypt by Jeremiah had kicked off this present series, whose purpose is essentially chronological – there are significant difficulties due to, on the one hand, the well-known obscurities surrounding Heraclitus, and, on the other, uncertainty as to the exact era of Sirach.

 

The Book of Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), generally the wisdom of Sirach himself, was, according to some views, written down by Sirach’s grandson, Jesus:

https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/resources/bible/introduction-to-the-old-testament/sirach

“Sirach was written by a Jewish scribe who lived in Jerusalem in the early third century BC. His name was Jesus, son of Eleazar, son of Sirach. He is often called simply “Ben Sira”.”

In this sense, the grandson (some argue that he may even have been “the son, or perhaps the grand- son, or even great grandson of Sirach”: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1508405) “Jesus, son of Eleazer” here may have been somewhat like Moses with Genesis in editing (translating) an earlier body of writing.

 

But the matter is complicated (at least as far as I am reading it) by the fact that some versions of Sirach have the grandfather as Jesus (Sirach 1: Foreword): “That is why my grandfather Jesus devoted himself to reading the Law, the Prophets, and the other books of our ancestors”.

Then there is the ever-occurring problem of chronology.

The Book of Sirach was, as we found, written in c. 200 BC (conventionally speaking).

So, even if the life of the grandfather is to be counted backwards from this date, it could not have extended back far enough for him to have preceded (or, at least been contemporaneous with) Heraclitus as presently calculated.

We learned in Part One that the conventional dates for Heraclitus are given as c. 535 – c. 475 BC.

 

Baruch key to Heraclitus,

to Plato in Egypt?

 

 

“If we adopt the widely accepted exilic dating of Isaiah 40, the sanctuary traditions which I have been reconstructing have implications which reach beyond Old Testament study.

The early apologists, both Jewish and Christian, maintained that Plato learned from Moses, that he was Moses speaking Attic Greek”.

 

Margaret Barker

 

 

My interest here is – rather than Margaret Barker’s “widely accepted exilic dating of Isaiah 40” – that common view amongst the early Jewish and Christian apologists that Plato had borrowed from, or even was, Moses.

 

This belief fits perfectly with the theme of this current series that the so-called ‘Ionian’ and mainland Greek thinkers, including Heraclitus, Socrates, Plato, were literary figures based largely upon real Hebrew priests-sages-mystic-prophets-martyrs.

 

It may also explain what St. Ambrose (today is his feast-day, 7th December,) was claiming when he wrote (in Ep. 34) that Plato was educated in Hebraïc letters in Egypt by Jeremiah. That claim, a chronological impossibility according to all conventional reckonings, may now be due for some serious re-consideration.

And the most likely candidate for a ‘Plato’ instructed in Hebrew by the prophet Jeremiah in Egypt, would have to be young Baruch, who was indeed a disciple and scribe of Jeremiah’s (Jeremiah 36:4-10):

 

Then Jeremiah called Baruch the son of Neriah: and Baruch wrote from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the Lord, which he had spoken unto him, upon a roll of a book.

And Jeremiah commanded Baruch, saying, I am shut up; I cannot go into the house of the Lord:

Therefore go thou, and read in the roll, which thou hast written from my mouth, the words of the Lord in the ears of the people in the Lord’s house upon the fasting day: and also thou shalt read them in the ears of all Judah that come out of their cities.

It may be they will present their supplication before the Lord, and will return every one from his evil way: for great is the anger and the fury that the Lord hath pronounced against this people.

And Baruch the son of Neriah did according to all that Jeremiah the prophet commanded him, reading in the book the words of the Lord in the Lord’s house.

And it came to pass in the fifth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, in the ninth month, that they proclaimed a fast before the Lord to all the people in Jerusalem, and to all the people that came from the cities of Judah unto Jerusalem.

Then read Baruch in the book the words of Jeremiah in the house of the Lord, in the chamber of Gemariah the son of Shaphan the scribe, in the higher court, at the entry of the new gate of the Lord’s house, in the ears of all the people.

 

– {just as Plato is thought to have been a disciple of the Jeremiah-like Socrates} – and who was indeed in Egypt with Jeremiah.

Here is the crucial passage about Egypt and Tahpanhes from Jeremiah 43:4-7:

 

So Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the army officers and the rest of the people disobeyed the Lord’s command to stay in the land of Judah. Johanan, Kareah’s son, and all the army officers took the remaining Judeans who had returned to the land of Judah after being scattered among the nations— men, women, children, the king’s daughters, everyone Nebuzaradan the captain of the special guard had left with Gedaliah, Ahikam’s son and Shaphan’s grandson, including Jeremiah the prophet and Baruch, Neriah’s son. They went to the land of Egypt, as far as Tahpanhes, for they wouldn’t obey the Lord.

 

Of some possible relevance to this, Greg Moses (1996)

http://pages.prodigy.net/gmoses/moweb/bythedog.htm

will argue for an Egyptian influence upon the thinking of Plato:

 

“By the Dog of Egypt”: Plato’s Engagement with Egyptian Form,

and the Scholarship of Cheikh Anta Diop

 

….

I am here to seek, in the presence of specialists, an avenue toward fruitful reflection which may entertain within one universe the things we might learn if we spoke of Plato and Egypt together.

It should also be obvious from the title of this presentation that I shall be speaking under the influence of the late Senegalese philosopher Cheikh Anta Diop. In other words, I will advance three of Diop’s propositions: 1) that Plato is an optimist after the fashion of the Heliopolitan theology, 2) that the heritage of Egyptian civilization deserves greater attention as a Western heritage, and 3) that there are elements in the heritage of Egyptian education which tend to suppress the advancement of science. In sum, I will argue that Plato’s increasing fascination with Egyptian form invites us to follow Diop’s suggestion that by acknowledging and investigating our Egyptian heritage, we shall be in a much better position to assess who we are today and where we should be heading. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

For an insight into the profound influence of Hebrew wisdom upon Greek philosophy, especially the testimony of St. Clement of Alexandria {who also had Sirach influencing Heraclitus} one might read, for example Leslaw Lesyk’s:

 

Plato as Greeks’ Moses in Clement’s of Alexandria conceptualization

 

https://www.academia.edu/8351691/Plato_as_Greeks_Moses_in_Clement_s_of_Alexandria_conceptualization

 

Lesyk writes in one place of St. Clement’s telling testimony that Jewish wisdom “was chronologically older than Greek philosophy”:

 

“… Clement [of Alexandria] argues that Jewish philosophy (Judaism) was chronologically older than Greek philosophy. Clement observes [Strom V 140, 2]:

 

(…) is shall be assumed that it was the Hellenes [Greeks] that the Lord referred to as thieves [a ref. to John 10:8) …. If we wanted to take a closer look at their texts, we would instantly collect even an excessive amount of material to prove that the whole Hellene’s wisdom was borrowed from the barbarian philosophy (Jewish philosophy – auth) ….

 

Plato, in the theologian’s opinion, was so brilliant because the whole Greek philosophy made use of Jewish philosophical reflection, and besides, he drew knowledge from Moses himself.

[End of quotes]

 

There are also traditions, particularly eastern ones, according to which Baruch was Zoroaster, another of those “Axial Age” founding fathers, along with Socrates, Confucius and Buddha. Refer back to my article:

 

‘Socrates’ as a Prophet. Part Two: Presumed Era

 

https://www.academia.edu/25249791/_Socrates_as_a_Prophet._Part_Two_Presumed_Era

 

The era in which ‘Socrates’ is thought to have emerged pertains to c. 600-300 BC, known as “The Axial Age”. It is thought to have been a time of some very original characters and religio-philosophical founding fathers:

Socrates, Confucius, Buddha and Zoroaster.

 

I have already dealt with Socrates, and Buddha (another of those biblical appropriations).

See my series beginning with:

 

Buddha just a re-working of Moses

 

https://www.academia.edu/35752174/Buddha_just_a_re-working_of_Moses._Part_One_The_singular_greatness_of_Moses

 

It would make sense that, as devout and learned Jews (Daniel and his companions, Baruch) moved (or were moved through exile) or travelled eastwards (Assyria, Babylonia, Persia), then Hebrew wisdom would have permeated eastern thought. Hence there arises the possibility that Baruch became re-defined in Persian minds as Zoroaster. According to Encyclopaedia Iranica, for instance, article “Baruch”: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/baruch-baruk-baruk-in-ar

 

Baruch is of interest to Iranian studies chiefly because he was identified with Zoroaster by the Syriac authors Išoʿdād of Marv (3rd/9th cent.) and Solomon of Baṣra (7th/13th cent.), an identification perpetuated by some of the Arab historians (see the material collected by Richard Gottheil, “References to Zoroaster in Syriac and Arabic literature,” in Classical Studies in Honour of Henry Drisler,New York, 1894, pp. 24-32, as well as Joseph Bidez and Franz Cumont, Les Mages hellénisés. Zoroastre, Ostanès et Hystaspe d’après la tradition grecque,Paris, 1938, repr. Paris, 1973, I, pp. 49ff., and the texts referred to and published in the second volume).

 

The identification of Zoroaster with the disciple of Jeremiah is puzzling, and the explanations put forward for it have not been quite convincing. It has been pointed out, for example, that an action attributed to Jeremiah was to hide the fire of the Jerusalem Temple, so that it should not be soiled by the Babylonians, and in this he could have something in common with the prophet of ancient Iran and his concern with fire. The analogy seems both remote and unsatisfactory, because this would make Zoroaster the equivalent of Jeremiah, not of Baruch. The latter, however, had become in Jewish apocryphal literature a figure of such great mystical wisdom, being credited as the author of a number of visionary revelations involving mystical flights to heaven, that the equation with Zoroaster, the great seer of Iran, might not have seemed too far­-fetched.

 

The important thing about this identification is that in certain Christian circles in Iran, perhaps also among Jews, and possibly also among Muslims, efforts were made to create a common denominator between the two sets of traditions, the Judeo-Christian on the one hand, and the Iranian on the other. Similar attempts at harmonizing and equating figures from the two tra­ditions are found, for example, with regard to Yima (Jamšēd), whose legend partly coincides with that of the prophet Isaiah; Gayōmard, who is expressly identified with a variety of biblical figures; and other persons of Iranian mythology and history.

[End of quote]

 

In this context, the following article with its inclusion of Heraclitus in a Persian context, and even linking him with Zoroaster (Zarathustra):Heraclitus strikes a prophetic note that has reminded more than one reader of Zoroaster (West, p. 186)”, now becomes highly interesting: http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/greece-iii

 

Persian Influence on Greek Thought

 

….

GREECE

iii. PERSIAN INFLUENCE ON GREEK THOUGHT

IRAN AND GREEK PHILOSOPHY

The idea of oriental, and especially Iranian, origins of Greek philosophy was endowed by antiquity with a legendary aura, either by declaring that Pythagoras had been Zoroaster’s pupil in Babylon (a city where neither of them had probably ever been), or by writing, as did Clement of Alexandria (Clement of Alexandria, 5.9.4), that Heraclitus had drawn on “the barbarian philosophy,” an expression by which, in view of the proximity of Ephesus to the Persian empire, he must have meant primarily the Iranian doctrines.

….

The question of an Iranian origin of Heraclitus’s doctrines was raised by Friedrich Daniel Schleiermacher, whose work as well as that of his successors Friedrich Creuzer, August Gladisch, etc., have been reviewed by Martin Lutchfield West (pp. 166 ff.). There are several fragments which expound Heraclitus’s reflections on fire. “This cosmic order, which is the same for all, was not made by any of the gods or of mankind, but was ever and is and shall be ever-living fire, kindled in measure and quenched in measure” (Fr. 29); “the transformations of fire: first sea, and of sea, half is earth, half fiery water spout” (Fr. 32); “all things are counterparts of fire, and fire of all things, as goods of gold and gold of goods” (Fr. 28). According to Heraclitus, “fire lives the death of the earth, and air lives the death of fire, water lives the death of air, and earth that of water” (Fr. 76). Another fragment names lightning: “The thunder-bolt steers all things” (Fr. 64). And another one says that fire is to judge all things at the end of the world (Fr. 72).

In the Gāθās the role of fire is fundamental. Twice Zarathushtra calls upon “the fire of Ahura Mazdā,” either to make offerings to it (Y. 43.9) or to acknowledge its protection (Y. 46.7). In all the other passages, fire is an instrument of ordeal. Ordeal is found only once in the Gāθās (Y. 32.7) as an actual practice, but several times there is reference to a future ordeal which is to be made by means of fire to separate the good from the wicked. Here fire is the instrument of truth or justice (aṧa, q.v.), from which it derives its power (hence the epithet aṧa-aojah). This connection of fire with aṧa is constant, e.g, “I wish to think, insofar as I am able, of making unto thy fire (O Ahura Mazdā!) the offering of veneration for Aṧa” (Y. 43). And when each of the elements are placed under the protection of the Aməṧa Spəntas, who surround Ahura Mazdā (qq.v.), Aṧa is the patron of fire.

There was also a doctrine of cosmic fire. Fire penetrated all the six stages of creation. Although this is not attested before Zādspram’s Wīzīdagīhā (1.25), its antiquity is proven by the appearance, both in Iran and in India, of two equivalent classifications, one in three fires, one in five.

Parallel to the relationship of fire with Aṧa is Heraclitus’s doctrine that fire is ruled by Dikē “Justice” (not by the Logos as is the case in the Stoic interpretation of Heraclitus). As West writes (p. 137), “the sun’s measures are maintained, through the Erinyes, by Dikē, and since the sun’s measures cannot be isolated from the measures of the world at large, it must be possible to say that Dikē governs the whole process.”

Heraclitus’s god watches men the whole time, not only by day. Ahura Mazdā sees all that men do (Y. 31.13) and is not to be deceived (Y. 45.4). He is never asleep and never dulled by narcotics (Vd 19.20). “Heraclitus’ conception of the soul’s history is, from a Greek point of view, novel. It has a deep ‘account’ that increases it-self . . . According to the Pahlavi books [e.g., Mēnōg ī xrad 2.118 ff.], at death, the soul’s good and bad deeds are counted up, and determine its fate” (West, p. 184).

The fravašis (q.v.) are parallel to Heraclitus’s hero-spirits and to the immortals “that live the death of mortals.” “Heraclitus’ novel emphasis on the function of Eris or Polemos in determining the apportionment of the natural world, his conviction that opposition is the essence of the universe has long seemed to comparativists a counterpart of the Zoroastrian doctrine of agelong war between Ahura Mazdā and Aŋra Mainiiu. Heraclitus strikes a prophetic note that has reminded more than one reader of Zoroaster” (West, p. 186).

Pausanias attributed to the Chaldaeans and the Magi an influence on Plato’s teachings. And Aristotle at one time considered Plato the founder of a religion of the Good and therefore a continuator of the work of the ancient prophet (Jaeger, pp. 13 ff.). In the myth of Er, the souls must choose between two paths: on the left is the way to descend from heaven to hell, on the right is the ascent of the souls who rise from the Tartarus up to the stars (Replica 614 CD). The very idea of this ascension was quite new in Greece and must have come from the Zoro-astrian belief in the primeval choice and in the Činuuatō Pərətu (see ČINWAD PUHL) separating the good from the wicked. Plato may have heard of it through Eudo-xus of Cnidus, who was well aware of the doctrines of the Magi. In the myth of the Politic, Plato envisaged the idea of an alternate predominance of a good god and an evil god, an idea he may have learned from the Magi. But he decidedly refused it. In the Timaeus time is given as the mobile image of immobile eternity, maybe a Platonic transposition of the Iranian distinction between “time long autonomous” and “time infinite” (Av. zurvan darəγō.xᵛaδāta– and zurvan akarana-; see Air Wb., cols. 46 696). The Timaeus owed much to Democritus, whose relationship with the teachings of the Magi is well attested. In the Phaedrus, Plato, with reference to Hippocrates, views man as an image of the world, a microcosm, an idea propounded in the Dāmdāt nask, a lost part of the Avesta summarized in the Bundahišn and whose antiquity is proved by the Indo-Iranian myth of a primeval man sacrificed and dismembered to form the different parts of the world (Duchesne Guillemin, 1958, pp. 72 ff.). ….

[End of quote]

 

 

Baruch in Egypt with Jeremiah could be a key to identifying St. Ambrose’s ‘Plato’ in Egypt with Jeremiah.

The writings of Plato, though – considered to be heavily based upon the Bible – may have been influenced as well by Egyptian and Persian thinking.

Probably also a heavy dose of Gnosticism and pagan mystery religions.

 

Baruch in Babylon and Persia, where he may have become the model for Zoroaster as according to some traditions, may link up with Heraclitus with whom we saw above Zoroaster has been likened.

As for St. Clement’s view that Sirach had influenced Heraclitus, that view would be strengthened if Sirach were also to be identified with Baruch – a subject beyond the reach of this article. There is certainly a degree of “affinity” between Baruch and Sirach, as attested, for example, by Sean A. Adams (2016), Studies on Baruch: Composition, Literary Relations, and Reception: https://books.google.com.au/books?isbn=3110364271

“Baruch and Sirach have a distinctive affinity because of the way they view the complementarity of the Law and the Prophets through the prism of wisdom”.

 

 

Babylon and Avignon

Image result for babylon and avignon

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity”.

Matthew Bunson

 

 

 

For centuries, now, comparisons have been drawn between the biblical Babylonian Captivity of 70 years duration and the Avignon Captivity of the Church in France of approximately the same length of time.

 

At: https://www.gotquestions.org/Avignon-Papacy.html for instance, the question is asked

 

What was the Avignon Papacy / Babylonian Captivity of the Church?

 

with the following answer being given:


Answer:
The Avignon Papacy was the time period in which the Roman Catholic pope resided in Avignon, France, instead of in Rome, from approximately 1309 to 1377. The Avignon Papacy is sometimes referred to as the Babylonian Captivity of the Church because it lasted nearly 70 years, which was the length of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:10).

There was significant conflict between King Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII. When the pope who succeeded Boniface VIII, Benedict XI, died after an exceedingly short reign, there was an extremely contentious papal conclave that eventually decided on Clement V, from France, as the next pope. Clement decided to remain in France and established a new papal residence in Avignon, France, in 1309. The next six popes who succeeded him, all French, kept the papal enclave in Avignon.

In 1376, Pope Gregory XI decided to move the papacy back to Rome due to the steadily increasing amount of power the French monarchy had developed over the papacy in its time in Avignon. However, when Gregory XI died, his successor, Urban VI, was rejected by much of Christendom. This resulted in a new line of popes in Avignon in opposition to the popes in Rome. In what became known as the Western Schism, some clergy supported the Avignon popes, and others supported the Roman popes.
The Western Schism gave rise to the conciliar movement (conciliarism), in which ecumenical church councils claimed authority over the papacy. At the Council of Pisa in 1410, a new pope, Alexander V, was elected and ruled for ten months before being replaced by John XXIII. So, for a time, there were three claimants to the papacy: one in Rome, one in Avignon, and one in Pisa. At the Council of Constance in 1417, John XXIII was deposed, Gregory XII of Rome was forced to resign, the Avignon popes were declared to be “antipopes,” and Pope Martin V was elected as the new pope in Rome. These decisions were accepted by the vast majority of Christendom, and so the Western Schism was ended, although there were various men claiming to be the pope in France until 1437. ….

 

And again at: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8903 we read:

 

The great Italian humanist and poet Petrarch wrote of the popes during the so-called Avignon Papacy:

 

Now I am living in France, in the Babylon of the West . . . Here reign the successors of the poor fishermen of Galilee; they have strangely forgotten their origin. I am astounded, as I recall their predecessors, to see these men loaded with gold and clad in purple, boasting of the spoils of princes and nations; to see luxurious palaces and heights crowned with fortifications, instead of a boat turned downward for shelter.

 

These pontiffs — all of them French — resided at Avignon, France, instead of Rome, from 1309 to 1377. The letters of Petrarch were a reflection of his own dislike for Avignon and his desire to see the popes return to the Eternal City. But Petrarch’s harsh caricature of the popes also has served as ammunition for writers, critics, and heretics ever since. Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

I now find it rather intriguing that I had proposed in my article:

Not the Templars, but the enemies of the Jews, arrested on the 13th day of the month

https://www.academia.edu/4193201/Not_the_Templars_but_the_enemies_of_the_Jews_arrested_on_the_13th_day_of_the_month

that the famous incident when King Philip IV is said to have arrested the Templar knights, on the 13th day of a month (October), may actually have had its origins in the story of Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus – with whom I had then likened King Philip IV of France – and the evil Haman. More recently, I have historically identified Haman as the Jewish king, Amon (= Jehoiachin/ Coniah). See my article:

 

‘Taking aim on’ king Amon – such a wicked king of Judah

https://www.academia.edu/37575781/Taking_aim_on_king_Amon_-_such_a_wicked_king_of_Judah

The drama narrated in the Book of Esther – and perhaps picked up in a garbled fashion in the later accounts of King Philip IV and the Knights Templar – would be cosmically ‘re-enacted’ in the great drama at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, again on the 13th day (13th May to 13th October), culminating in the promised great miracle. See my book:

 

The Five First Saturdays of Our Lady of Fatima

https://www.academia.edu/3731625/The_Five_First_Saturdays_of_Our_Lady_of_Fatima

The stupendous Miracle of the Sun, 1917, on October 13th (same day Templars were supposedly arrested, 13 October 1307) presages the ultimate Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of whom Queen Esther was a type.

Prophet Jonah’s long life of service

Related image

  

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Part One:

During the reign of Ahab

 

 

“[Jonah] is said to have attained a very advanced age (more than 120 years

according to Seder ‘Olam; 130 according to Sefer Yuḥasin) …”.

 Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

At Zarephath in Phoenicia

 

Zarephath is located about 8.5 miles (13.5 km) south of Sidon and 14 miles (23 km) north of Tyre: https://www.bibleplaces.com/zarephath/

 

 

It was at this location that we first – at least according to Jewish tradition – encounter Jonah, as the son of the widow of Zarephath:

https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Raising_of_the_son_of_the_widow_of_Zarephath

 

Elijah, the widow and the widow’s son[edit]

 

1 Kings 17:17-18 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to be to bring my sin and remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

 

Victor H. Matthews suggests that the woman “uses sarcasm which is designed to shame the prophet for being the cause of her son’s death.” Elijah does not try and rationalise with the grieving woman and takes the son up to his bedroom where he prays to God asking for his help.

1 Kings 17:21-22 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, “O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again”. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

He then takes the child downstairs again and presents him, living, to his mother. This causes her to declare “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God” (v24), Elijah therefore “regains his honor and his status.”[1]

 

Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, also known as Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol, relates that the son raised by Elijah was none other than the prophet Jonah, most notably associated with the incident involving a giant fish.[2] Commentators have noted verbal parallels with the raising of the son of the widow of Nain in the Gospel of Luke.[3] The miracle is represented in the Dura synagogue murals.[4]

[End of quote]

 

What I am going to suggest here, though, is that the miracle involving the widow’s son – who, I believe, was not Jonah – might have been the springboard for Jonah’s first call to Nineveh.

For I further suggest that Elijah was Jonah. See my article:

 

Comparisons between Elijah and Jonah

 

https://www.academia.edu/37623336/Comparisons_between_Elijah_and_Jonah

 

The prophet would later be a sign for the scribes and pharisees (Matthew 12:39-40): ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign. Yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah, because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’.

But Jesus had also, prior to his Passion, raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

So here at Zarephath is the ancient prophet raising a child from the dead, and then entering – albeit unwillingly – into his own ‘death and resurrection’, in the belly of the whale.

Commentators find Jonah to be so very like Elijah, and the Jonah narrative to be so like those associated with Elijah.

Yet, by the same token, Jonah comes across as an “anti-Elijah”:

 

Jonah appears again as an “anti-Elijah” when we consider that in 1 Kings 19 Elijah runs – not because he begrudges Yahweh’s gracious characteristics, as does Jonah (cf. 4:2) – but because he is on Jezebel’s hit list. At this point Yahweh’s question to the defeated Elijah is, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9). This is very close to the captain’s anxious cry in Jonah 1:6, “What are you doing in a deep sleep?” Jonah’s “deep sleep” goes far beyond the exhausted sleep of Elijah when he is on the run from Jezebel (cf. 1 Kings 19:5 and the words “and he laid down and slept”). All of the special care with which Yahweh takes care of Elijah – a plant to shade him (1 Kings 19:4]), angels to accompany him (1 Kings 19:5) and ravens to feed him (1 Kings 19:6) –find connections in Jonah, in even more miraculous forms.

 

That is because the normally obedient and God-fearing prophet (Elijah) suddenly ‘chokes’ and radically departs from his usual modus operandi when called (as Jonah) to preach at Nineveh.

 

Zarephath might also have been the perfect launching pad for Jonah because it is close to the great port city of Tyre, from where ships left bound for Tarshish (Ezekiel 27:25), were it not for the fact that Jonah had hired his Tarshish ship at the port of Joppa (Jonah 1:3).

 

With King Ahab on Mount Carmel 

 

The prophet Elijah ‘rises like fire’, seemingly out of nowhere (Sirach 48:1-5):

 

Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire,
and his word burned like a torch.
He brought a famine upon them,
and by his zeal he made them few in number.
By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens,
and also three times brought down fire.
How glorious you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You raised a corpse from death
and from Hades, by the word of the Most High.

 

He is usually designated as “Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead” (I Kings 17:1), an unknown location. But this was not, I believe, the prophet’s place of origin. Elijah was nomadic.

 

Commentators try to make sense of this verse (17:1).

For example: https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/tishbite

 

The KJV trs. 1 Kings 17:1 as “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead…” which is also often rendered “…of the sojourners of Gilead….” The Heb. toshabē seems to refer to a category or class of people who are alien residents, but have been accepted as permanent settlers. N. Glueck feels that a scribal error was responsible for the confusion surrounding the birthplace of Elijah, and that he was indeed a native of Gilead. He suggests further that instead of Elijah’s being designated as “Elijah the Tishbite, of the tosh-bē-Gilead,” that he should be called “Elijah the Jabeshite, from Jabesh-Gilead” (Judg 21:8-14). Additional speculation has suggested that the passage might be rendered “Elijah the Kenite, of the Kenites of Gilead,” a somewhat tenuous viewpoint based upon the fact that these alien settlers in Gilead, represented by the Rechabites, assisted Elisha at a later time in his fight against Baal-worship (cf. 2 Kings 10:15), and that Elijah may have in his day been a representative of the same people, because of his efforts against the Baalism introduced by Ahab. ….

 

Nor was the prophet from Gath-hepher in Galilee as is thought of Jonah based on 2 Kings 14:25, “Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

The chief priests and the pharisees at the time of Jesus well knew that “a prophet does not come out of Galilee”, and they even challenged Nicodemus to check it out (John 7:52).

Critics such as this one are thus wrong to challenge this clear statement:

https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/11821/Jonah-as-Native-Galilee.htm

 

John 7:41-52

 

Had these doubters really searched, they would have found that several prophets came from Galilee:

 

 

Nahum and Hosea may have hailed from Galilee as well. These people’s argument—that no prophet arose from Galilee—was completely without merit! Most important, their argument totally neglected Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ’s own Galilean ministry. He was to shine as a light in the darkness, in the inheritances of Naphtali and Zebulun, in “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 9:1-2). ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Jonah was, as I am going to be suggesting further on, from Moresheth-Gath in Judah.

 

At Mount Carmel, the fiery prophet brought rain to end the drought, but he also wrought destruction on Queen Jezebel’s 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:16-46).

 

19:1-2: “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them’.”

 

This necessitated yet another change of place for the prophet, as he now had to flee from Jezebel (v. 3): “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life”.

 

At Beersheba and Mount Horeb 

 

(Vv. 3-4): “When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness”.

 

Elijah next has a very Jonah moment at Beersheba, depressed, shaded under a bush, asleep.

(Vv. 4-5): “He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord’, he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors’. Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep”.

 

At Mount Horeb (Sinai), which I accept as being Har Karkom near the Paran desert, Elijah – thinking himself to be “the only one [loyal Yahwist] left” (v. 14) – is given this important charge (vv. 15-18):

 

The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him’.

 

To Nineveh 

 

The prophet receives a second call to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-2): “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you’.”

There is no indication how much time had elapsed between the two calls.

As to the Nineveh incident itself, I have (like Jonah) ‘jumped ship’ several times, to quote Elijah, “hobbling between two opinions” (I Kings 18:21).

I am now inclined to return to a view that the famous Nineveh incident may have to do with king Ben-Hadad I, a master-king with a multitude of kings in train, whose extensive sway may well have included the city of Nineveh – without his necessarily being, at least yet, a king of the whole of Assyria. In my thesis I had identified Ben-Hadad I with the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II. Ben-Hadad’s ‘repentance’ upon defeat by king Ahab (I King 20:32): “Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, ‘Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live’,” which was accepted by King Ahab (vv. 33-34), absolutely infuriated the prophets, one of whom declaring to Ahab (v. 42):

“This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people’.”

This I tentatively put forward again as the background to the Jonah incident, a situation which had infuriated Jonah himself, caused by the stupidity and disobedience of king Ahab (v. 43): “Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria”.

 

The Nimrud depiction of a fish man at the time of Ashurnasirpal II I would think must surely be based on Jonah.

 

 

At Naboth’s vineyard 

 

It leads the “sullen and angry” king of Israel now into a further wicked action, incited by Jezebel, who had noticed his dark mood, and had asked him (I Kings 21:5), ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’

The king was, on this occasion, sulking because Naboth – not despising Mosaïc Law and giving up the property of his inheritance – had refused to sell the vineyard that the king so covetted. After Naboth is murdered and king Ahab goes down to take the vineyard, he is confronted by his nemesis, the prophet Elijah (= Micaiah), who pronounces the king’s and the queen’s death sentence (vv. 17-24):

 

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’

Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’

‘I have found you’, he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin’.

‘And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel’.

‘Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country’.’

 

In Israel with Ahab again

 

There is no good reason, I think, why Elijah would not be the same as the prophet Micaiah, of the same era and of the same ilk. I have suggested this connection in my article:

 

Elijah as Micaiah – why not?

 

https://www.academia.edu/37623407/Elijah_as_Micaiah_why_not

 

Micaiah was apparently a prophet well-known to king Ahab, who hated him.

That sounds very much like Elijah.

I cannot add anything useful at this stage regarding Micaiah’s patronymic, as “son of Imla[h]”

(I Kings 22:8).

 

I must even take further this connection of Elijah with Micaiah, to embrace the prophet Micah. Only chronological considerations have prevented scholars from identifying Micaiah with the extraordinarily similar prophet Micah. See my article:

 

Micaiah and Micah

 

https://www.academia.edu/37630315/Micaiah_and_Micah

 

It is a step that I have made bold to take based on my recent suspicion that the Divided Kingdom needs a fair degree of chronological shortening.

 

Moreover, the prophet Jonah is considered to have lived to a great old age.

“He is said to have attained a very advanced age (more than 120 years according to Seder ‘Olam; 130 according to Sefer Yuḥasin) …”: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8750-jonah

 

 

Part Two (i):

His partnership with Jehu

 

 

“… Jehu helped [Jonadab] up into the chariot. Jehu said,

‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord’.

Then he had him ride along in his chariot”.

 

2 Kings 10:15-16

 

 

 

To Heaven in a fiery chariot

 

This may well be where the name “Jonah” comes in for the prophet Elijah.

 

Elijah’s fiery ride upwards (2 Kings 2:1-17) is by no means the end of the prophet, as is thought. According to my theory, at least, he would live into the age of (his yet other alter ego) Micah, as late as the time of king Hezekiah of Judah (cf. Jeremiah 26:18).

He would need all of his 120-130 years of age (as traditionally accorded to Jonah) to have been able to have accomplished this.

 

After the prophet (as Micaiah) had foretold the imminent death in battle of king Ahab of Israel and (as Elijah) of queen Jezebel, he next emerges, I think – and this is completely new – as Jonadab (Jehonadab) son of Rechab near Beth-Eked of the shepherds (2 Kings 10:12, 15-17):

 

Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds ….

After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, ‘Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?’

‘I am’, Jehonadab answered. ‘If so’, said Jehu, ‘give me your hand’. So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.  Jehu said, ‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord’. Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah.

 

The meaning of Rekab (Rechab)

 

A lot of effort has been expended by scholars in trying to work out this one.

Who was Jonadab’s ancestor, Rekab?

This is, I now believe, an epithet given to Elijah by his servant Elisha, when Elijah went up in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:12): “Elisha saw this and cried out, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’”

Elijah had become “The Chariots of Israel”, or Rekeb Yisrael:

 

 יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ רֶ֤כֶב

 

To use a Hebraïsm, Elijah is now, therefore: a Son of Rekab.

In this case, Rekab is not his father.

According to Elijah as Micaiah, his father (or ancestor) was Imla[h].

According to Elijah as Jonah, his father (or ancestor) was Amittai.

 

The prophet was undoubtedly a Nazirite, foregoing all strong drink.

 

His loyal descendants, known at the time of Jeremiah as “Rechabites”, greatly revered their holy ancestor, or “father” (Jeremiah 35:6-11):

 

‘We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to dwell in.

We have no vineyard or field or seed, but we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of the Syrians.’ So we are living in Jerusalem’.

 

The meaning of Jonadab (Jonah)

 

“Jonadab, is a contracted form of יהונדב, Jehonadab …”.

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jonadab.html#.W8-9K2gzaUk

The Jeho- element pertains, of course, to “the Lord”. Whereas: The graceful verb נדב (nadab) connotes “an uncompelled and free movement of the will unto divine service or sacrifice …”.

 

The name “Jonah” (יוֹנָה), on the other hand, is taken to mean “dove”, as explained at:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jonah.html#.W8–P2gzaUk

“There’s something deeply peculiar about the name Jonah. Pretty much all sources derive it of the root יון, and render the name Dove. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, however, makes a striking observation (or perhaps even an error). Jones suggests that the Hebrew word for dove comes from the verb ינה(yana), meaning to oppress, vex, do wrong …”.

 

In our new context, though, with Jonah identified as Jehonadab (Jonadab), then this latter name

יונדב

 

 

would be the actual foundation for the name, Jonah.

 

Part Two (ii): In the realm of Jehu’s descendant, Jeroboam II

 

 

“[Jeroboam II] was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath

to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel,

spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

 

2 Kings 14:25

 

 

Jeroboam II, of the Jehu-ide dynasty, would follow the idolatrous pattern of Jeroboam I.

(2 Kings 14:23-24): “Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years.He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit”.

 

To northern Bethel

 

It was during this long reign that we hear again about Jonah, prophesying of Jeroboam II’s success in ‘restoring the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea’.

The prophet Amos was also active during the reign of Jeroboam II.

And, since I have previously identified the:

 

Prophet Micah as Amos

 

https://www.academia.edu/27351718/Prophet_Micah_as_Amos

 

and have, in this present series, identified Micah (Micaiah) further as Jonah (Jonadab = Elijah), then, based on this reconstruction at least, Amos must be the prophet Jonah.

From the brief autobiography of Amos with which he provides us in Amos 7, we learn that the prophet was originally ‘a herdsman, a follower of his flock, and a gatherer of sycamores’ – a very ‘Rechabite’ type of existence so it would seem. Thus we read (7:10-15):

 

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.

For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdsman, and a gatherer of sycomore [sycamore] fruit:

And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

 

Here we learn some valuable added points about the prophet, who was currently irritating the pseudo-priest of Bethel, Amaziah, in the same blunt fashion as he (as Elijah) had once done in the presence of king Ahab of Israel.

We also learn that he was originally not a prophet, nor was he “a prophet’s son”.

That is surprising to learn in the context of his alter ego, Elijah, a seeming prophet of prophets.

 

And we are told that he was (just like Elijah) nomadic, due to his having “followed the flock”. That is why we find him “among the herdsmen of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1) when he (as Amos) was called back into the Lord’s service. Tekoa was not a suitable place for sycamore trees, nor was it the prophet’s place of origin.

In the time of Jehu, we had found him (as Jonadab) appropriately in the region of “Beth Eked of the Shepherds”.

Similarly Gilead, mentioned in I Kings 17:1 in connection with Elijah, was a land most suitable for livestock. (Cf. Numbers 32:1)

 

Some of Amos’s likenesses to Jonah

 

First of all, Amos was like Elijah as has often been observed. For instance:

http://researchchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/11/elijah-and-amos-came-from-different.html#!/2010/11/elijah-and-amos-came-from-different.html

 

… when major portions of Amos’ work is overlaid atop Elijah’s narrative … it becomes apparently clear just how integrated these two texts are. One could even suggest Amos was, not only quite familiar with, but perhaps utilize the national memory of Elijah’s ministry while composing his material. As we follow Elijah’s trek throughout Israel, Judah, and beyond, we will integrate Amos’ writings which occurs [sic] a hundred years later.

 

Furthermore:

 

Just as Elijah was told (I Kings 17:9): ‘Arise, get thee to …’ (קוּם לֵךְ); and as

Jonah was told (Jonah 1:2): “Arise, go to …’ (קוּם לֵךְ אֶל); so, now, is

Amos told (Amos 7:15): “Go prophesy to …’ (לֵךְ הִנָּבֵא אֶל)

 

We had found that the Bible appears to lack patronyms for Elijah, also for Micah, and that Jonadab’s presumed father, Rekab, may well have been, instead, an epithet for Jonadab himself.

On the positive side (patronymic-wise), I wrote:

 

According to Elijah as Micaiah, his father (or ancestor) was Imla[h].

According to Elijah as Jonah, his father (or ancestor) was Amittai.

 

Whether Imlah is the same person as Amittai, I cannot say at this stage.

But, as for the name Amittai for Jonah’s father, or ancestor, my suggestion would be that – with Jonah now identified as Amos – Amittai refers to king Amaziah of Judah, to whom Amos is said to have been related: https://meditationsofacopt.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/is-amos-the-prophet-

“Amos, Isaiah’s father was the brother of King Amaziah of Juda (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a) …”. That may mean ‘brother-in-law’ through marriage.

And this could be the reason why our composite prophet bore as well this other name, Amos (Amaziah), in connection with king Amaziah.

 

Amos will make two statements at least that could connect him with Jonah.

At an earlier period Amos (as Jonah) had told of Jeroboam’s success in ‘restoring the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea’.

But now, with Jeroboam II facing dire punishment for his apostasy, Jonah-as-Amos will tell of that same geography now to come under severe harassment from (presumably) the Assyrians. Amos 6:14: “For the LORD God Almighty declares, ‘I will stir up a nation against you, Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah’.”

 

Again, this prophet had once, as Elijah, run down the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, but had also, as Jonah, tried to escape from the Lord, ending up in the belly of a sea monster. And so Amos will declare from past experience (9:3): “Though they hide on the summit of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there; And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them’.

 

Part Three:

As Micah during the reign of Hezekiah

 

 

“Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked.

I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl”.

 

Micah 1:8

 

 

King Ahaziah of Israel was immediately able to recognise that the description of a man uttering prophetic words about him pertained to Elijah (2 Kings 1:7-8): “The king asked them, ‘What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?’ They replied, ‘He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist’. The king said, ‘That was Elijah the Tishbite’.”

 

In this series I have extended the prophet Jonah to embrace Jonadab the Rechabite; Elijah; Amos; and Micaiah = Micah.

Only two of these names, we have determined, have a patronymic added: Jonah has Amittai, and Micaiah has Imla[h]. {Rekab, for Jonadab, we considered to have been an epithet}.

Neither Elijah, Amos, nor Micah has a father’s name added – and this applies to Micah also in the Book of Judith (6:15): “… Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon …”.

 

As Amos was the father of Isaiah, so again was Amos-as-Micah the father of Isaiah, who was the “Uzziah” of the Book of Judith.

This was a father and son prophetic combination, uttering parallel pronouncements.

“The greatest similarity is that Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:4-6 are almost identically word for word”: https://biblehub.com/isaiah/20-3.htm

And Micah’s going barefoot and naked, is perfectly paralleled, too, by his son Isaiah’s going “stripped and barefoot” (Isaiah 20:3).

 

In similar fashion was the prophet Elijah conspicuous for his distinctive prophetic garb, or lack thereof, his “garment of hair”, or perhaps he was “hairy” as some have interpreted it.

 

Prophetically active from Ahab to Hezekiah, our composite (but real) Jonah had a very long floruit. But it is biologically possible considering a probably necessary chronological shortening of this era, plus traditions telling that the prophet Jonah had lived to 120, or 130.

 

 

Micaiah and Micah

Image result for micaiah prophet

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“Micah uses the imagery of a threshing floor (same word in Hebrew) and

iron horns that come from the events surrounding Micaiah’s prophecy”.

 Christadelphian Books 

 

   

 

Many have observed the amazing series of compelling likenesses between the words and visions of the prophet Micaiah and those of the prophet Micah. {“The name Mica(h) is the accepted abbreviated form of the name Michaiah (like … Rick is to Richard)”: Abarim Publications: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Micah.html#.W8vYKWdRc_w}

However, the next step, to identify Micah as Micaiah, would clearly seem to be a step too far, given Micah’s contemporaneity with king Ahab of Israel (c. 871 – 852 BC, conventional dating) (1 Kings 22:8-28), and Micah’s contemporaneity with king Hezekiah of Judah (c. 715 – 686 BC, conventional dating) (cf. Jeremiah 26:18).

 

That is a time separation of at least a century and a half!

 

 

Micah, though, does seem to be making definite reference to king Ahab and the Naboth incident.

(See chart below). Not to mention this clearly direct reference to Ahab and Omri (Micah 6:16): “The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; and in their devices you walk.”

So I suspect that the Divided Monarchy needs further shortening, with the age of Ahab brought significantly closer to that of Micah.

 

The following chart is one example of just how well Micah lines up alongside Micaiah: http://www.christadelphianbooks.org/mannell/jehoshaphat/JEH5%20(Micah%20and%20Micaia

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
“Hear, O peoples, all of you; listen, O earth”

(1:2)

“Listen, all you people.”

(2Chron 18:27)

Micah’s opening quotes Micaiah’s final words

(the only occasion of this phrase in scripture).

“…the Lord from His holy temple.“

(1:2)

“I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and

all the host of heaven standing on His right

and on His left.”

(2Chron 18:18)

“All this is for the rebellion of Jacob and for the

sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion

of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high

place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? For I will

make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open

country, planting places for a vineyard. I will pour

her stones down into the valley, and will lay bare

her foundations. All of her idols will be smashed,

all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all

of her images I will make desolate, for she

collected them from a harlot’s earnings, and to

the earnings of a harlot they will return. Because

of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot

and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals

and a mourning like the ostriches. For her wound

is incurable, for it has come to Judah; it has

reached the gate of my people, even to

Jerusalem.”

(1:5-9)

 

Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the

king of Judah were sitting each on his

throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were

sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance

of the gate of Samaria; and all the

prophets were prophesying before them.

(2Chron 18:9)

Micah’s concern is that the evil from Samaria

is infecting Judah, it has even reached the

gate of Jerusalem. That infection can be

traced back to the gate of Samaria.

Micah Micaiah Comment
“Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work

out evil on their beds! When morning comes,

they do it, for it is in the power of their hands.

They covet fields and then seize them and

houses, and take them away. They rob a man

and his house, a man and his inheritance.”

(2:1-2)

So Ahab came into his house sullen and

vexed because of the word which Naboth

the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he

said, “I will not give you the inheritance of

my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed

and turned away his face and ate no food.

(1Kings 21:4 and context)

Micah’s description of evil doers is very

reminiscent of the incident of Ahab and

Naboth.

“If a man walking after wind and falsehood had

told lies and said ‘I will speak out to you

concerning wine and liquor,’ He would be

spokesman (KJV: prophet) to this people.”

(2:11)

“Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a

deceiving spirit in the mouth of these

your prophets; for the LORD has

proclaimed disaster against you.”

(2Chron 18:22)

Lying prophets
“I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will

surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put

them together like sheep in the fold; like a

flock in the midst of its pasture they will be noisy

with men.

(2:11)

So he said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on

the mountains, like sheep which have no

shepherd…”

(2Chron 18:16)

Scattered sheep.
“Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets

Who lead my people astray; when they have

something to bite with their teeth, they cry,

Peace,” but against him who puts nothing in

their mouths, they declare holy war.“

(3:5)

Then the king of Israel assembled the

prophets, four hundred men …And they

said,” Go up, for God will give it into the

hand of the king.”

(2Chron 18:5)

400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at

Jezebel’s table.

(1Kings 18:19)

Ahab’s false prophets were clearly only saying

what their employer wanted.

 

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
Therefore it will be night for you– without vision,

and darkness for you– without divination. The

sun will go down on the prophets, and the day

will become dark over them. The seers will be

ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed.

Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because

there is no answer from God.

(3:6)

And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on

that day, when you enter an inner room to

hide yourself.”

(2Chron 18:24)

Zedekiah was a blind seer (“seer” and “see”

are almost identical in Hebrew) who would

finally see on the day he cowardly hides

himself in shame. (Inner room can mean the

toilet as in Judges 3:24)

On the other hand I am filled with power– With

the Spirit of the LORD— And with justice and

courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious

act, even to Israel his sin.

(3:8)

How did the Spirit of the LORD pass

from me to speak to you?”

(2Chron 18:24)

Zedekiah claims that Micaiah did not have the

spirit of Yahweh as he makes known Ahab’s

sin.

“But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD,

and they do not understand His purpose; for He

has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing

floor. Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for your

horn I will make iron and your hoofs I will make

bronze, that you may pulverize many peoples,

that you may devote to the LORD their unjust

gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

(4:12-13)

Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the

king of Judah were sitting each on his

throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were

sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance

of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets

were prophesying before them. And

Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made

horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus

says the LORD, ‘With these you shall gore

the Arameans, until they are consumed.'”

(2Chron 18:9-10)

Micah uses the imagery of a threshing floor

(same word in Hebrew) and iron horns that

come from the events surrounding Micaiah’s

prophecy.

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of

troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod

they will smite the judge of Israel on the

cheek.”

(5:1)

Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came

near and struck Micaiah on the cheek…

(2Chron 18:23

Struck on the cheek

 

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the

strength of the LORD…

(5:4)

Shepherd Thy people with Thy scepter, the

flock of Thy possession which dwells by itself in

the woodland, in the midst of a fruitful field. Let

them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days

of old.

(7:14)

Israel Scattered on the mountains, like

sheep which have no shepherd; and the

(2Chron 18:16)

Micah looks forward to the day when Israel

and Judah will have a proper shepherd.

He also looks forward to that flock feeding in

Gilead, the very place Ahab and Jehoshaphat

were seeking to reclaim.

“My people, remember now what Balak king of

Moab counselled…Does the LORD take delight

in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of

oil? Shall I present my first-born for my

rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the

sin of my soul?

(6:5, 7)

When the king of Moab saw that the battle

was too fierce for him, he took with him 700

men who drew swords, to break through to

the king of Edom; but they could not. Then

he took his oldest son who was to reign

in his place, and offered him as a burnt

offering on the wall. And there came great

wrath against Israel, and they departed from

him and returned to their own land.

(2Kings 3:26-27)

A couple of years later Jehoshaphat and

Ahab’s son were again joined in a campaign,

against Moab when the king of Moab offered

his first born son.

“The statutes of Omri and all the works of the

house of Ahab are observed; and in their

devices you walk.”

(6:16)

Micah’s criticism of Judah is that it is following the example Ahab and his father.

Part Two:

Not an overshadowed prophet

 

“It seems poor Micah is destined to forever play backup to headliner Isaiah”

Michael Williams 

This view expressed here by Michael Williams about Micah is by no means the one that I found to have been the case when Micah is accorded some stunning prophetic alter egos. See e.g. my:

 

Prophet Jonah’s long life of service

https://www.academia.edu/37650393/Prophet_Jonahs_long_life_of_service

And, in the first part of this particular series:

https://www.academia.edu/37630315/Micaiah_and_Micah

I had embraced a tradition according to which Micah was the same as the prophet Micaiah at the time of king Ahab of Israel.

The names are the same, and it is interesting that the prophet Jeremiah gives Micah the longer form name of Micaiah: “His name is a shortened form of Micaiah (Jdgs. 17:1,4; I Kgs. 22:13), which meant “who is like YHWH” (BDB 567). Jeremiah 26:18 has the full name in the Hebrew text (i.e., Micaiah) [מיכיה הַמּוֹרַשְׁתִּי]”: https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-micah

Whilst this tradition is extremely difficult to sustain within the context of the extended conventional chronology of the Divided Kingdom, it becomes feasible when it is recognised that (as according to the Prophet Jonah article above):

 

  • our composite prophet lived to 120-130 years of age; and that
  • the early-mid Divided Kingdom period needs to be considerably shortened.

 

I have already applied such a radical shortening to the later kingdom of Judah period in my article:

 

‘Taking aim on’ king Amon – such a wicked king of Judah

https://www.academia.edu/37575781/Taking_aim_on_king_Amon_-_such_a_wicked_king_of_Judah

Far from Micah’s having played second fiddle to the great Isaiah, he was – according to my reconstructions – the very father of Isaiah. For one, he was the “Micah” of the Book of Judith (6:15): “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon …”, with the “Uzziah” here being Isaiah.

This was when the reluctant prophet (cf. Jonah), a shepherd and tender of sycamore trees, had been assigned to Bethel (“Bethulia” of Judith) in the reign of Jeroboam II (cf. Amos).

Micah (“Amos redivivus”) was thus Amos (or Amoz) the father of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).

Micah and Isaiah were a father-and-son prophetic combination, operating both in northern Israel and in the southern kingdom.

 

Wrongly Michael Williams writes (Hidden Prophets of the Bible: Finding the Gospel in Hosea through Malachi):

 

We have already seen that Micah’s ministry was far overshadowed by that of Isaiah, his contemporary. Although the precise dates for the ministry of many of the Minor Prophets are difficult to nail down with any precision …

 

My comment: Absolutely impossible “to nail down with any precision” the way that the conventional biblico-history has been constructed.

 

… tradition maintains that Micah’s ministry also overlapped that of at least two other prophets: Hosea and Amos.

 

My comment: I have already noted, though, that Micah was Amos.

Hosea, I believe, to be, again, Isaiah, operating (like his father) in northern Bethel.

 

So, according to tradition, possibly as many as three other biblical prophets who have left books for us in our canon ministered at the same time as Micah.

 

My comment: Perhaps make that just one other biblical prophet: namely, Isaiah (= Hosea, Uzziah).

 

That same tradition asserts, however, that Micah “was a younger contemporary of the other three” ….

 

My comment: Swing and a miss! Micah was older than the other one, who was his son.

 

It seems, therefore, that our hidden prophet Micah had to deal not only with other practitioners of his craft, but also with the fact that he was a junior to them.

 

My comment: Same comment. Micah was in fact like an Alpha prophet!

Further on, Michael Williams will write:

Although extrabiblical traditions regarding Micah are rare, there is one that claims he was a disciple of Elijah. …. Elijah ministered during the reign of Ahab in Israel (874–853). Clearly, this period precedes the time of Micah’s ministry by at least a hundred years. So how an assertion that Micah was a disciple of Elijah could possibly be true is interesting to consider.

 

My comment: Micah was Elijah according to my reconstruction (see Prophet Jonah article above). And Jonah, too – thought to have been the boy raised to life by Elijah – was Elijah.

 

As we saw above, Micah’s name is actually a shorter form of the name Micaiah. And there is indeed a prophet named Micaiah who ministered during the reigns of King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah (I Kings 22:8). Apparently, Jewish tradition has confused our Minor Prophet Micah with this earlier prophet Micaiah son of Imlah … even though they clearly ministered at different times.

 

My comment: “Different times” during a very long life of 120-130 years.

Jewish tradition got this connection dead right.

 

So not only is poor Micah overshadowed by Isaiah and opposed by false prophets, but he has also been mistaken for someone else.

 

My comment: The reality of Micah is far less negative than this, so I think.

 

 

 

 

King Coniah of Judah and the on-again, off-again signet ring

Image result for coniah exile babylon

by 

Damien F. Mackey

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off’.

Jeremiah 22:24

 

 

The name, “Coniah” is a truncated form of Jeconiah, who is otherwise known as Jehoiachin.

The prophet Jeremiah had cut off part of the name to abbreviate it to “Coniah”. For will not king Jehoiachin (as Haman) and his ten sons be cut off by being impaled in Susa? See my:

Haman un-masked

https://www.academia.edu/37584041/Haman_un-masked

 

When the deceitful Haman had devised his dastardly plan to exterminate the Jews, but was still in high favour with King Ahasuerus, we read (Esther 3:10): “So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha … the enemy of the Jews”.

 

But, later, when the Machiavellian machinations of that maniacal monster, Haman, had been exposed by Queen Esther and Mordecai, we read (8:1-2): “On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman”.

 

Coniah, a king of Judah, had no descendants of his own to continue on the throne of Judah.

The ‘signet ring’ would now pass to Zerubabbel.

 

 

The question is asked at: https://www.gotquestions.org/Zerubbabel-signet-ring.html

 

What does it mean that Zerubbabel was the LORD’s signet ring (Haggai 2:23)?

 

….
Answer:
In Haggai 2:23 we read, “‘On that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.’” What did God mean when He said Zerubbabel was His signet ring?

 

Ancient kings used signet rings to designate authority, honor, or ownership. A signet contained an emblem unique to the king. Official documents were sealed with a dollop of soft wax impressed with the king’s signet, usually kept on a ring on his finger.

Such a seal certified the document as genuine, much like a notary public’s stamp today.

 

In 1 Kings 21:8, the evil Queen Jezebel took King Ahab’s signet ring and “wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal.” The ring’s stamp gave her letters the king’s authority. In Daniel 6:17, a signet ring was used to seal a stone covering a lions’ den: “A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” A royal signet ring is also featured in Genesis 41:41-43 and Esther 8:8.

 

It is important to understand who Zerubbabel is. He is the governor of the rebuilt Jerusalem and is himself of royal blood, being a descendant of David and the grandson of Judah’s King Jehoiachin. Years earlier, Jehoiachin had lost his throne when he was deported to Babylon; in fact, God pictured Jehoiachin as a signet ring being removed from God’s finger (Jeremiah 22:24). Now, God calls Zerubbabel the “signet ring,” but this time it won’t be removed.

 

In Haggai’s prophecy, God is giving Zerubbabel encouragement and hope. The governor is “chosen” for a unique and noble purpose. As God’s signet ring, Zerubbabel is given a place of honor and authority. God is reinstating the Davidic line and renewing His covenant with David. Judah still has a future as they look forward to the coming Son of David, the Messiah, who would one day “overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms” (Haggai 2:22).

 

Zerubbabel is also called “my servant.” This title was often a Messianic reference in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 3:18; 1 Kings 11:34; Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25). The triad of servant, son, and signet ring creates a special combination of encouragement given to few in Scripture. Zerubbabel was an important leader involved in the reconstruction of the Jewish temple. As God’s “signet ring,” Zerubbabel becomes a picture of the future Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will establish His people in the Promised Land, construct an even grander temple (Zechariah 6:12-13), and lead the righteous in never-ending worship.

 

 

Book of Tobit a guide to neo-Assyrian succession

Image result for book of tobit

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Biblical scholars, such as Edwin Thiele, can be so committed to the supposedly unassailable accuracy of neo-Assyrian chronology that they are prepared to sacrifice multiple biblical synchronisms in order to ‘rectify’ the biblical chronology.

 

Here, instead, far from my passive acceptance of the received neo-Assyrian chronology, I shall be questioning the very number and succession of the neo-Assyrian kings.

 

 

Introduction

 

The extent of the neo-Assyrian succession that will occupy my attention in this article will be limited to that embraced by the Book of Tobit, i.e., from “Shalmaneser” (1:13: GNT) to “Esarhaddon” (1:21: GNT).

 

Whilst the standard textbook arrangement of neo-Assyrian monarchs runs something like this (my reason for including Tiglath-pileser III will become clear from Table 2):

 

Table 1

 

Tiglath-Pileser III 745–727 BC son of Ashur-nirari (V)
Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sargon II 722–705 BC
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

my revision would truncate this by reducing these conventionally five kings to a mere three, as according to the succession given in the Book of Tobit, whose accuracy I accept.

Hence:

 

Table 2

 

Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

The relevant parts of Tobit, all occurring in chapter 1, are verses 10, 12-13, 15, 21 (GNT):

 

‘Later, I was taken captive and deported to Assyria, and that is how I came to live in Nineveh.

…. Since I took seriously the commands of the Most High God, he made Emperor Shalmaneser respect me, and I was placed in charge of purchasing all the emperor’s supplies.

…. When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor.

…. two of Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him and then escaped to the mountains of Ararat. Another son, Esarhaddon, became emperor and put Ahikar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the financial affairs of the empire. …’.

 

The royal succession is here clearly given. “Shalmaneser”, who deported Tobit’s tribe of Naphtali (see Tobit 1:1), was succeeded at death by “his son Sennacherib”, who was, in turn, upon his assassination, succeeded by his “son, Esarhaddon”.

 

No room here for a Sargon II.

 

And Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” appears to have replaced Tiglath-pileser III as the Assyrian king who is said in 2 Kings 15:29 to have deported to Assyria the tribe of Naphtali: “… Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria”.

 

Is the Book of Tobit therefore contradicting the Second Book of Kings?

 

Objections to Tobit

 

It is common for scholars to point to what they consider to be the historical inaccuracies of those books generally described as “Apocryphal”.

To give some examples (https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/111-apocrypha-inspired-of-god-the): “Professor William Green of Princeton wrote: “The books of Tobit and Judith abound in geographical, chronological, and historical mistakes” (1899, 195). A critical study of the Apocrypha’s contents clearly reveals that it could not be the product of the Spirit of God”.

 

And (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=27KsQg7): “The books of Tobit and Judith contain some serious historical inaccuracies …”.

 

And – but more sympathetically (http://douglasbeaumont.com/2014/11/10/journey-through-the-deuteroncanonicals-tobit/):

 

The book of Tobit has occasionally been identified as being in the literary form of religious novel (much like Esther or Judith). Although it has sometimes been considered to be partially fictional (in the same way that Jesus’ proverbs are), Tobit was taken to be historical by Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Cyprian, Ephrem, Ambrose, Augustine, and Aquinas. Despite its solid historical pedigree, however, Tobit is often attacked for its historical errors (much like other biblical books are attacked by skeptics today). Further, Tobit’s manuscript history is messy. These alleged historical errors seem to have been caused by (and can be explained by) Tobit’s multiple manuscript versions and scribal inconsistency.

[End of quotes]

 

 

The common historical objections to the accuracy of Tobit are those already referred to, pertaining to both Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II.

Thus, for example, we read at (http://taylormarshall.com/2012/03/defending-the-book-of-tobit-as-history.html):

 

  1. Objection: It was Theglathphalasar [Tiglath-pileser] III who led Nephthali (IV Kings, xv, 29) into captivity (734 B.C.). But Tobit wrongly says that it was (i, 2), Salmanasar [Shalmaneser].
    ….
  2. Objection: Tobit wrongly states that Sennacherib was the son of Salmanasar (i, 19) whereas he was in verified history the son of Sargon.

 

These cease to be problems, however, if – as I have argued in a thesis and in various articles – Tiglath-pileser III was the same as Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” [= history’s Shalmaneser V], and Sargon II was the same as Tobit’s “Sennacherib” [= history’s Sennacherib].

 

Might not the Book of Tobit have the last laugh on its critics?

 

Revised Neo-Assyrian Succession

 

Whether or not my truncation of five neo-Assyrian kings to become three is valid, there are certainly some strong points in favour of such a reduction.

 

Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser

 

That Shalmaneser (so-called V) may be in need of a more powerful historical alter ego seems to me to be apparent from the fact that certain considerable deeds have been attributed to so virtually unknown and insignificant a king.

According, for instance, to 2 Kings 17:3-5:

 

Shalmaneser the king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea [king of Israel] became his vassal and paid tribute to him.  But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and he did not offer tribute to the king of Assyria as he had year after year; so the king of Assyria arrested him, and confined him in a house of imprisonment. So the king of Assyria went up in all the land, then he went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years.

 

Despite this, Shalmaneser qua Shalmaneser has left hardly a trace. According to one source, “there is no known relief depiction of Shalmaneser V” (http://emp.byui.edu/satterfieldb/rel3).

Be that as it may, there is so little evidence for him, anyway, that I was led to the conclusion, in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

that Shalmaneser must have been the same ruler as Tiglath-pileser III (Volume One, p. 147):

 

Unfortunately, very little is known of the reign of this ‘Shalmaneser’ [V] to supplement

[the Book of Tobit]. According to Roux, for instance: … “The short reign of … Shalmaneser V (726-722 B.C.) is obscure”. And Boutflower has written similarly: …. “The reign of Shalmaneser V (727-722) is a blank in the Assyrian records”. It seems rather strange, though, that a king who was powerful enough to have enforced a three year siege of Israel’s capital of Samaria (probably the Sha-ma-ra-in of the Babylonian Chronicle), resulting in the successful sack of that city, and to have invaded all Phoenicia and even to have besieged the mighty Tyre for five years … and to have earned a hateful reputation amongst the Sargonids, should end up “a blank” and “obscure” in the Assyrian records.

The name Tiglath-pileser was a throne name, as Sargon appears to have been – that is, a

name given to (or taken by) the king on his accession to the throne. In Assyrian cuneiform, his name is Tukulti-apil-ešarra, meaning: “My confidence is the son of Esharra”. This being a throne name would make it likely that the king also had a personal name – just as I have argued … that Sargon II had the personal name of Sennacherib.

The personal name of Tiglath-pileser III I believe to have been Shalmaneser.

 

And on p. 148 I continued:

 

Boutflower had surmised, on the basis of a flimsy record, that Tiglath-pileser III had died in battle and had been succeeded by Shalmaneser: …. “That Tiglathpileser died in battle is rendered probable by the entry in the Assyrian Chronicle for the year 727 B.C. ….: “Against the city of …. Shalmaneser seated himself on the throne”.” Tiglath-pileser is not even mentioned.

[End of quotes]

 

But the following may constitute the real crunch.

On pp. 371-372 of my university thesis I discussed the following fascinating piece of research by S. Irvine, who, however, may not have – due to his being bound to a conventional outlook – fully appreciated just what he had uncovered (Isaiah, Ahaz, and the Syro-Ephraimitic Crisis, Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series No. 123, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1990):

 

According to my revised neo-Assyrian chronology (as argued in detail in Chapter 6), Tiglath-pileser III himself was heavily involved in the last days of the kingdom of Israel. And indeed Irvine has discussed the surrender of Hoshea to Assyria, interestingly, and quite significantly, to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria, in connection with what he refers to as “ND4301 and ND4305 … adjoining fragments of a summary inscription found during the 1955 excavations at Nimrud and subsequently published by D. J. Wiseman”….. Here is Irvine’s relevant section of this: ….

 

Line 11 reports that Hoshea … submitted personally to Tiglathpileser. Where and when this occurred is not altogether clear, for the Akkadian text is critically uncertain at this point. Wiseman reads, ka-ra-ba-ni a-di mah_-ri-ia, and translates, “pleading to my presence”. This rendering leaves open the date and place of Hoshea’s submission. More recently, R. Borger and H. Tadmor restored the name of the southern Babylonian town, Sarrabanu, at the beginning of the line …. On linguistic grounds this reading is preferable to “pleading” (karabani). It appears then that Hoshea paid formal homage to Tiglathpileser in Sarrabanu, where the Assyrian king was campaigning during his fourteenth year, Nisan 731 – Nisan 730. The event thus occurred well after the conclusion of the Assyrian campaigns “against Damascus” (Nisan 733 – Nisan 731).

 

This may have vital, new chronological ramifications. If this were indeed the “fourteenth year” of the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, who reigned for seventeen years …. and if he were Shalmaneser V as I am maintaining, then this incident would have been the prelude to the following Assyrian action as recorded in 2 Kings 17:5: “Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it”. These “three years” would then approximate to Tiglath-pileser III’s 14th-17th years. “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria” (v. 6). That event, as we know, occurred in c. 722 BC. And it may just be that this apocalyptical moment for Israel is recorded in the fragments of Tiglath-pileser III now under discussion.

I continue with Irvine’s account: ….

 

The Assyrian treatment of Israel at large, presumably once described in 1. 10, is also uncertain. According to Wiseman’s translation, the text refers cryptically to “a district” and “their surrounding areas” …. Alternatively, Borger and Tadmor restore the Akkadian along the lines of III R 10,2:15-18: “[House of Omri] in [its] en[tirety …together with their pos]sessions [I led away] to [Assyria]” …. This reading is conjectural but possible. If it is correct, the text reports the wholesale deportation of Israel. The truth of this sweeping claim is a separate question ….

 

Further on, Irvine will propose that this “statement exaggerates the Assyrian action against Israel”, though he does not deny the fact of an Assyrian action. Thus:

…. “Not all the people could have been exiled, for some people obviously must have remained for the new king Hoshea to rule”. But if this were, as I am maintaining, the time of Hoshea’s imprisonment by Assyria, with the subsequent siege and then capture of Samaria, his capital city, then there may have been no king Hoshea any more in the land of Israel to rule the people.

….

 

Sargon II/Sennacherib

 

Without going over old ground here I shall simply refer readers to a recent article:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

 

according to which Sargon II, Sennacherib, the same person, represent ‘two sides of the one coin’. This conclusion arose, not from any direct intention to defend the Assyrian succession in Tobit 1 (from Shalmaneser straight on to Sennacherib), but from the significant overlap beyond mere co-regency that I found there.

And I notice that this connection has been taken up by A. Lyle (Ancient History: A Revised Chronology: An Updated Revision …, Volume 1) (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=w), when he writes: “Sennacherib is conventionally listed as a separate king. There are some who believe that he is the same king as Sargon, including this revised chronology”.

I believe that this serves to solve a host of problems, many of which I discussed in my thesis. For example, there is the constant problem for conventionalists of whether to attribute something to Sargon II or to Sennacherib, an irrelevancy in my scheme of things. Wm. Shea seems to struggle with this (SARGON’S AZEKAH INSCRIPTION: THE EARLIEST EXTRABIBLICAL REFERENCE TO THE SABBATH? Biblical Research Institute Silver Spring, MD

(https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:_96AnfQDj1gJ:www.auss):

 

The Azekah Text

 

The “Azekah Text,” so called because of the Judahite site attacked in its record, is an Assyrian text of considerable historical significance because of its mention of a military campaign to Philistia and Judah. …. In this tablet the king reports his campaign to his god. An unusual feature of this text is the name of the god upon whom the Assyrian king calls: Anshar, the old Babylonian god who was syncretized with the Assyrian god Assur. This name was rarely used by Assyrian kings, and then only at special times and in specific types of texts, by Sargon and Sennacherib. The text is badly broken. In fact, until 1974 its two fragments were attributed to two different kings, Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon. In that year, Navad Na’aman joined the two pieces, showing that they once belonged to the same tablet. When Na’aman made the join between the two fragments, he attributed the combined text to Sennacherib, largely on the basis of linguistic comparison. Because the vocabulary of the text was similar to the language used in Sennacherib’s inscriptions, Na’aman argued that Sennacherib was the author. However, since Sennacherib immediately followed Sargon on the throne, it would be natural to expect that the mode of expression would be similar. In all likelihood some of Sargon’s scribes continued to work under Sennacherib, using the same language.

 

[End of quote]

Likewise, G. Gertoux has appreciated the need to recognise a substantial overlap – though not a complete one, as in the cased of my reconstructions – between Sargon II and Sennacherib. This is apparent from what he has written in his Abstract to Dating Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah:

http://www.academia.edu/2926387/Dating_the_Sennacheribs_Campaign_to_Jud

 

The traditional date of 701 BCE for Sennacherib’s campaign to Judah, with the siege of Lachish and Jerusalem and the Battle of Eltekeh, is accepted by historians for many years without notable controversy. However, the inscription of Sargon II, found at Tang-i Var in 1968, requires to date this famous campaign during his 10th campaign, in 712 BCE, implying a coregency with Sennacherib from 714BCE. A thorough analysis of the annals and the reliefs of Sargon and Sennacherib shows that there was only one campaign in Judah and not two. The Assyrian assault involved the presence of at least six kings (or similar): 1) taking of Ashdod by the Assyrian king Sargon II in his 10th campaign, 2) taking of Lachish by Sennacherib during his 3rd  campaign, 3) siege of Jerusalem dated 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah; 4) battle of Eltekeh led by  Nubian co-regent Taharqa; 5) under the leadership of King Shabataka during his 1st year of reign; 6) probable disappearance of the Egyptian king Osorkon IV in his 33rd year of reign. This conclusion agrees exactly with the biblical account that states all these events occurred during the 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah dated 712 BCE (2Kings 18:13-17, 19:9; 2Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 20:1, 36:1, 37:9).

[End of quote]

 

Less perspicacious in this matter, however, was Edwin Thiele, who, in his much lauded text book, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Academie Books, Grand Rapids, 1983), had been prepared to sacrifice biblical chronology on the altar of a presumed highly accurate conventional neo-Assyrian chronology.

I wrote about this, for instance, on p. 22 of my thesis:

 

Firstly, regarding the Hezekian chronology in its relationship to the fall of Samaria, one

of the reasons for Thiele’s having arrived at, and settled upon, 716/715 BC as the date for the commencement of reign of the Judaean king was due to the following undeniable

problem that arises from a biblical chronology that takes as its point of reference the conventional neo-Assyrian chronology. I set out the ‘problem’ here in standard terms. If Samaria fell in the 6th year of Hezekiah, as the Old Testament tells it, then Hezekiah’s reign must have begun about 728/727 B.C. If so, his 14th year, the year in which Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, must have been about 714 B.C. But this last is, according to the conventional scheme, about ten years before Sennacherib became king and about thirteen years before his campaign against Jerusalem which is currently dated to 701 B.C. On the other hand, if Hezekiah’s reign began fourteen years before Sennacherib’s campaign, that is in 715 B.C, it began about twelve to thirteen years too late for Hezekiah to have been king for six years before the fall of Samaria. In short, the problem as seen by chronologists is whether the starting point of Hezekiah’s reign should be dated in relationship to the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C, or to the campaign of Sennacherib in 701 B.C.

[End of quote]

 

Another knotty problem, that dissolves completely, though, if Sargon II be Sennacherib.

 

Thiele’s influential work has in fact had a disastrous effect, serving to destroy a three-way biblical synchronism for the sake of upholding a hopelessly flawed conventional Assyriology.

Still on p. 22, I wrote:

….

 

The Fall of Samaria

 

This famous event has traditionally been dated to c. 722/21 BC … and, according to the

statement in 2 Kings, it occurred “in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel” (18:10). While all this seems straightforward enough, more recent versions of biblical chronology, basing themselves on the research of the highly-regarded Professor Thiele … have made impossible the retention of such a promising syncretism between king Hoshea and king Hezekiah by dating the beginning of the latter’s reign to 716/715 BC, about six years after the fall of Samaria.

[End of quote]

 

That vital three-way synchronism, the Fall of Samaria; 6th year Hezekiah; 9th year Hoshea; coupled with the known neo-Assyrian connections attached to it, is a solid biblico-historical rock of foundation that needs to be staunchly preserved and defended, and not overturned on the basis of a flimsy and unconvincing Mesopotamian ‘history’.

 

Esarhaddon

 

In my thesis, I, flushed with my apparent success in reducing Sargon II, Sennacherib, to just the one king, became ‘too cute’ afterwards in the case of Esarhaddon by trying to make his entire reign fit within that of his father Sennacherib.

I would have been far better off having paid closer heed to the Book of Tobit, as I had done in the cases of Esarhaddon’s predecessors.

 

I now fully accept the triple succession of neo-Assyrian kings as laid out in Tobit 1, namely:

 

“Shalmaneser”

(= Tiglath-pileser III), the father of

“Sennacherib”

(= Sargon II), the father of

“Esarhaddon”.

 

However!!! 

 

I have recently added to Esarhaddon, also, an alter ego, in the same fashion as I had to his predecessors (according to the Book of Tobit): “Sennacherib” (= Sargon II) and “Shalmaneser” (= Tiglath-pileser III), identifying the “son” with the conventionally-supposed “father”.

Esarhaddon I now consider to have been the same as his supposed son, Ashurbanipal.

 

See the implied connection between Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in my recent article:

 

“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” : dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Four: Archaeological precision about foundation alignment

 

https://www.academia.edu/37596969/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Four_Archaeological_precision_about_foundation_alignment

 

with more in the future presumably to be written about this fascinating new connection.  

Haman un-masked


by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face”.

Esther 7:8

 

 

“Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done.

Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt”.

2 Chronicles 33:21-23

 

Amon …. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. …. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace.

 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”.

 2 Kings 21:19, 23-24

 

 

Introductory

 

A notable feature of the extremely brief biography of king Amon of Judah, as given above in 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings, is that one so young as he, in his early twenties, whose reign was so short, seemingly, “two years”, could have outdone in wickedness his father Manasseh, who reigned for “fifty-five years” (2 Kings 21:1), and who was – according to the prophet Jeremiah – a very cause of the Babylonian catastrophe that was then about to befall Jerusalem and the Jews (Jeremiah 15:4): “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”.

 

Jeremiah’s statement here immediately prompts a further consideration.

Why would the prophet single out Manasseh, by now supposedly well dead, when other evil kings of Judah would fill in the gap between Manasseh and the Babylonian incursions?

Prior to the Fall of Jerusalem certain idolatrous progeny of king Josiah of Judah would reign: namely, (i) Jehoahaz; (ii) Eliakim (re-named Jehoiakim); (iii) Jehoiachin; and (iv) Mattaniah (re-named Zedekiah).

 

Also in need of explanation is the testimony of 2 Chronicles that “Amon increased his guilt”. “Two years” of reign might seem hardly enough time for one notably to “increase” one’s guilt, at least to the extent that it would be considered worth mentioning.

There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!

The solutions to be proposed in this article will serve to solve not a few problems – although they will cause new ones as well. The positives, however, will well outweigh the negatives.

 

 

Part One:

Amon during the Babylonian Era

 

 

Duplicate Kings of Judah

 

 

  • Amon’s royal alter ego

 

 

Commentators, suspecting that Amon ruled “in a critical period”, wish that they could know far more about him. Thus we read in the Jewish Encyclopedia (“Amon, King of Judah”): http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1420-amon-king-of-judah

 

It is rather unfortunate that so little is known of the reign of Amon, king of Judah; for he lived evidently in a critical period. The endeavors of the prophets to establish a pure form of YHWH worship had for a short time been triumphant in Hezekiah’s reign; but a reaction against them set in after the latter’s death, and both Manasseh and his son Amon appear to have followed the popular trend in reestablishing the old Canaanitish form of cult, including the Ashera and Moloch worship. Whether Manasseh “repented,” as the chronicle tells us, is more than doubtful. There is no record of this in the book of Kings, and absolutely no indication of such a change in the subsequent course of events. ….

 

{The repentance of Manasseh is yet another issue that we intend to address in this article}.

 

Above we read that at least two of Josiah’s sons, Eliakim and Mattaniah, were re-named.

The same, we think, must have applied to King Amon, for this name “Amon” is not Hebrew, but is the name of the Egyptian “king of the gods” Amon (also Amun, Amen, Ammon).

It is found, for instance, in the name Tutankhamun.

“Living Image of Amun”

 

The first step in our search for the complete King Amon (Part One) could therefore be to find an initial alter ego for him. And the likeliest possible alter ego for Amon among the evil later kings of Judah is the similarly short-reigning Jehoiachin, an historically-attested king.

 

 

 

Amon-as-Jehoiachin offers the two immediate advantages of this king’s:

 

(i) having gone into Babylonian captivity and continuing on there for about four decades (Jeremiah 52:31) – thereby enabling for him to have, as is said of Amon, “increased his guilt”;

 

and

 

(ii) having as his father one Jehoiakim, who – since the latter was appointed and re-named by pharaoh Necho – was an Egyptian vassal – hence providing an explanation for why his son Jehoiachin might also have the Egyptian name Amon.

 

Whilst, admittedly, Jehoiachin’s age and length of reign in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8): “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months”, do not perfectly match those of Amon (“twenty-two years” of age and “two years” of reign) – one of those newly-created problems referred to above – the differences can largely be accounted for by co-regency.

Indeed, a calculation of the reigns of Jehoiakim and his son, Jehoiachin, in relation to those of the contemporaneous Babylonian (Chaldean) kings will bear this out. The most important date in the Old Testament, synchronising two biblical kings with a secular king, and also including a number for Jeremiah, is this one from the Book of Jeremiah (25:1-3):

 

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.  So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: ‘For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened’.

 

Since Jehoiakim’s 4th year corresponded to the 1st year of King Nebuchednezzar II, then Jehoiakim’s last year in Jerusalem, his 11th (2 Kings 23:36): “ Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years”, must correspond to Nebuchednezzar’s 8th year of reign.

Jehoiachin then succeeded his exiled father, Jehoiakim, as king in Jerusalem.

It is commonly agreed that Nebuchednezzar II reigned for 43 years, which would mean that, by the end of his reign, 35 years after Jehoiakim’s exile, in the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar’s son-successor, Evil-Merodach,

 

(i) Jehoiakim would be in about his 46th year, whilst

 

(ii) Jehoiachin would be in about his 35th year.

 

However, according to Jeremiah 52:31, Jehoiachin was then in his 37th year: “And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”.

That two-year discrepancy (35th, 37th) is just the amount of co-regency required – if we have properly calculated it – for an accurate merging of the reign of Amon with that of Jehoiachin.

 

Perhaps more difficult to explain is the apparent discrepancy in the case of the “mother”.

Compare these two texts:

 

“[Amon’s] mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah” (2 Kings 21:19).

“[Jehoiachin’s] mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem” (2 Kings 24:8).

 

Different names, different geography!

But “mother” can have a somewhat broad meaning, not always intending biological mother.

It can also refer to the Gebirah, גְּבִירָה “the Great Lady”, who can be the grand-mother.

“Gebirah = grandmother Maacah, 1 Kings 15:8-24 …”. (Agape Bible Study)

 

I Chronicles 3:16 seems to have Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, as the latter’s brother.

 

We shall return to this in Part Two when we further extend Amon as a captive in a foreign land, where we shall find him designated as a “son of” his actual aunt, and not his mother.

 

 

  • Manasseh’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, we turn to consider the possibility (already alluded to above) that Amon’s father, Manasseh, was the same as Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim. This new identification, whilst seeming to solve a host of problems, does, once again, create new ones, such as the need now to re-arrange the list of late Judaean kings. And this will, in turn, affect a part of Matthew’s “Genealogy of Jesus Christ”.

 

Advantages of this identification

 

It would immediately explain why Jeremiah would attribute the Babylonian catastrophes to Manasseh, instead of to a supposedly later idolatrous king of Judah, such as Jehoiakim.

For, if Manasseh were Jehoiakim, as we are thinking, then that problem simply dissolves.

From 2 Kings 24:6 it appears that King Jehoiakim, though taken into captivity in chains, had actually died in peace. That would accord nicely with the biblical testimony that Manasseh finally repented (“humbled himself before the Lord”), returned to Jerusalem, then rebuilt and fortified the capital city (2 Chronicles 33:14).

From the above calculations for Jehoiakim in relation to the Babylonians, his alter ego, Manasseh, would have been, with the advent of the Medo-Persian era, in about the 50th year of his 55 years of reign.

Twelve years old at the commencement of his reign (2 Kings 21:1), now plus 50.

We might even be able to identify him with the mysterious “Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah” of Ezra 1:8, into whose hands Cyrus gave “the treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken”.

{Was “Sheshbazzar” also the “Shaashgaz” of Esther 2:14?}

King Manasseh would have died only a few years after this famous Ezra 1:8 incident.

 

Again we ask: What about that very strong tradition that the prophet Isaiah was martyred during the reign of King Manasseh? There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Manasseh, under this name, had martyred Isaiah. Might we, though, find the incident in the account in which his alter ego (as we think), Jehoiakim, had a fleeing prophet pursued into Egypt (Jeremiah 26:20-23)? The prophet is there named “Uriah” (or Urijah), which name is, in its variant Azariah, compatible with “Uzziah” (Isaiah’s name in Judith – see next page).

 

{King Uzziah of Judah: 2 Chronicles 26:1, was also named Azariah: 2 Kings 15:1)}.

 

 

Seal of the prophet Isaiah?

 

We know this of “the great prophet Isaiah” from Sirach 48:24-25: “His powerful spirit looked into the future, and he predicted what was to happen before the end of time, hidden things that had not yet occurred”. His foretelling of Cyrus (e.g. Isaiah 45:1): “Cyrus is my anointed [“messiah”: מְשִׁיח] king”, is one such case, and, owing to Isaiah’s propensity for predicting hidden and distant things, commentators must scramble to create a Deutero-, even a Trito-Isaiah. Chances are, though, that, according to our revision – which shunts the age of Isaiah (and the late neo-Assyrian kings) right into the age of Isaiah’s younger contemporary, Jeremiah (and the neo-Babylonian kings) – Cyrus was already a teenager by the time of the reign of Jehoiakim; the reign that bore the burden, as we think, for Isaiah’s martyrdom.

Cyrus may therefore have been known to Isaiah as a young prodigy, perhaps, for instance under the tutelage of Ahikar, nephew of Tobit, a governor of Elam (Susa) from where Cyrus would one day reign. Ahikar had previously been the mentor of Sennacherib’s eldest son, the treacherous “Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit 14:10, and the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith.

 

Ahikar and Isaiah had met at least once, in the midst of the Judith drama, Ahikar as “Achior”, and Isaiah as “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon” (Judith 6:15).

 

Now, regarding the king’s mother’s name, which had loomed as somewhat awkward in the case of Amon-Jehoiachin, Manasseh’s “mother’s name … Hephzibah” (2 Kings 21:1) stands up quite well against Jehoiakim’s “mother’s name … Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah” (2 Kings 23:36). Thus, Zibah and Zebudah.

 

We read above that Jehoiakim was taken into Babylonian captivity in chains, and so, too, was Jehoiakim’s alter ego, Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:11): “So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon”. “’Manasseh King of the Jews’ appears in a list of 22 Assyrian tributaries of Imperial Assyria on both the Prism of Esarhaddon and the Prism of Ashurbanipal” (E.M. Blaiklock and R.K. Harrison, The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, 1983)”.

The approximately 43-year reigning Ashurbanipal (c. 669 – c. 626 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Manasseh, must therefore be the same as the 43-year reigning Nebuchednezzar (c. 605 – c. 562 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Jehoiakim.

 

As with Jehoiakim’s death, apparently, so was Manasseh’s passing peaceful (2 Kings 21:18): “And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza”. This unknown location, presumed to be somewhere in the city of Jerusalem, is where we shall learn that Amon, too, was buried.

And we shall find that it was not in Jerusalem but was in the land of exile of these two kings.

 

 

  • Hezekiah’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, and Manasseh as Jehoiakim, then we ought now look to consider the possibility that Manasseh’s father, King Hezekiah, was the same as Jehoiakim’s father, King Josiah. This question is asked at Bible Hermeneutics: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1298/who-was-a-greater-king-hezekiah-

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

About Hezekiah, we read in 2 Kings 18:5-6:

 

Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

 

But then about Josiah a couple chapters later in 2 Kings 23:25:

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

 

How can the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah both be the greatest, especially when it is said of both that neither before nor after him was there a king like him? Is this a contradiction?

[End of quote]

 

This is an excellent question, and our proposed answer to it is that Hezekiah and Josiah were equally great, because Hezekiah was Josiah.

Once again, this new suggestion will have its advantages, but will also create its problems – some of these being rather severe. For instance, according to various scriptural texts as we now have them (e.g., 2 Kings 21:25-26; 2 Chronicles 33:25; Zephaniah 1:1; Matthew 1:10), Josiah was the son of Amon, who, in turn, post-dates Hezekiah.

 

This is how (our current) Matthew 1 sets out the relevant series of kings of Judah (vv. 9-11):

 

 

…. Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah …

at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

Obviously, this is totally different from our proposed:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin ….

 

Our exit-clause suggestion: “Amon the father of Josiah” needs to be amended to read, as according to the ESV Matthew 1:10: “Amos the father of Josiah”.

“Amos” (Amoz) would then be meant to indicate – at least according to our revision – not Amon (“Amos” being a name entirely different from “Amon”), but Ahaz.

Amos (or Amoz) is a name associated with Amaziah (Abarim Publications), which name, in turn, at least resembles Ahaziah (= Ahaz).

Allowing for our duplicate kings, Matthew 1:9-11 could now read as:

 

…. Ahaz [Amos] the father of Hezekiah [= Josiah],

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh [= Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon [= Jehoiachin]

… at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

With the recognition of these several duplicate kings, then another problem might be solved. Early kings Joash and Amaziah, omitted entirely from Matthew’s Genealogy, and whose combined reigns amounted to some 7 decades, could now be included in Matthew’s list.

 

The Hezekiah and Josiah narratives are so similar for the most part as to strengthen the impression that we are dealing with just the one goodly king of Judah.

Although the 55-year reign of Manasseh is supposed to have separated Josiah from Hezekiah, one can only marvel at the fact that Hezekiah, Josiah, have virtually the same lists of priests and officials.

 

Previously we had written on this phenomenon (original version here modified):

 

“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”

2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

The reigns of the pious, reforming kings Hezekiah (c. 716-697 BC, conventional dating) and Josiah (c. 640-609 BC, conventional dating) are so alike – with quite an amazing collection of same-named officials – that we need to consider now the possibility of an identification of Hezekiah with Josiah.

 

The Domain of Man’s important Chart 37 shows up some striking comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah (we do not necessarily endorse every single detail given in this chart): http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.html

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

Hezekiah Narrative
2 Chron. 29-32
2 Kings 18-20
Book of Isaiah
Josiah Narrative
2 Chron. 34-35
2 Kings 22-23
Book of Jeremiah
“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
2 Kings 19:1; 20:2-19; 2 Chron. 32:20,26
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
(2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28)
Revival of Laws of Moses
“according to what was written”
2 Chron. 30:5,16, 18; 31:2-7,15
Discovery of the Book of the Law (of Moses)
2 Kings 22:8-10; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
Passover Celebration Passover Celebration
“For since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
2 Chron. 30:26
“Not since the days of the Judges (Samuel) who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.”  2 Kings 23:22
Year not given
14th day of the second month
Year 18
14th day of the first month
17,000 sheep and goats, 1,000 bulls
(not including the sacrifices of the first seven days)  (1 Chron. 30:24)
30,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 cattle
Participating tribes:  Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Asher, Zebulun & Issachar
(2 Chron. 31:1)
Participating tribes: Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Simeon & Naphtali
(2 Chron. 34:9,32)
Temporary priests consecrated for service Employed “lay people” 2 Chron. 35:5
“. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 31:1 “. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 23:14
High places and altars torn down High places and altars torn down
“. broke into pieces the bronze snake” “. burned the chariots dedicated to the sun”
Name Comparisons
Hezekiah Narrative Josiah Narrative
…. ….
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, palace administrator Eliakim “son” (?) of Josiah (future Jehoiakim)
Zechariah (descendant of Asaph)
Azariah, the priest (from family of Zadok)
Zechariah
Zechariah
(variant of Azariah)
Shaban/Shebna/Shebniah, scribe Shaphan, scribe
(son of Azaliah son of Meshullam)
Hashabiah/Hashabniah  (2 Chron. 35:9)
Jeshua
Isaiah son of Amoz, prophet
Joshua, “city governor”
Hoshaiah (Jer. 42:1; 43:2)
Asaiah, “king’s attendant”
Ma’aseiah, “ruler of the city”
Jerimoth Jeremiah son of Hilkiah
Conaniah and his brother Shemei, supervisors
(2 Chron. 31:12)
Conaniah/Cononiah, along with his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel (2 Chron. 35:9)
Hananiah the prophet, son of Azzur/Azur (Azariah)  (Jer. 28)
Nahath Nathan-el/Nathan-e-el/El-Nathan/Nathan-Melech
2 Kings 23:11
Mattaniah, Mahath Mattaniah (future Zedekiah)
Jehiel Jehiel, “administrator of God’s temple”

 

Our comment: Other names could be added to Chart 37, such as Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the high-priest Joakim of the Book of Judith (for Hezekiah); and “Jehoiakim the High Priest, son of Hilkiah” (Baruch 1:7) (for Josiah).

 

Shallum/Meshillemoth (reign of Ahaz) Meshullam (the Kohathite)
Shellemiah son of Cushi (Jer. 36:14)
No mention of a prophetess

[Our comment: What about Judith?]

Huldah, wife of Shallam/Meshullam,
prophetess (spokeswoman of the “Lord”)
Shemaiah Shemaiah
Jozabad Jozabad
Jeiel Jeiel

 

The author of the article The Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles: Meals in the Persian Period”, for instance, who accepts the conventional view that Hezekiah and Josiah were two different kings, has pointed nonetheless to certain similarities:

http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Doc15/meals.pdf

 

…. The descriptions of the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles are centralized festivals, held in Jerusalem and linked in both cases to the feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chr 30:13, 21 and 2 Chr 35:17) …. In 2 Chronicles 30 this two-week celebration is followed by various reform activities by all Israel in the territories of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. In Chronicles this festive celebration forms the climax of the reign of Josiah, followed only by his death at the hands of Necho. These two Unleavened Bread and Passover feasts enhance the reputation of two of the Chronicler’s favorite kings, Hezekiah and Josiah.

The meals in both cases are accompanied by a full array of the clergy …. The addition of the Passover of Hezekiah and baroque expansion and development of the three-verse celebration of the Passover of Josiah may conform the story of this eighth and seventh century kings to the tradition of royal banquets …. Unlike the Persian banquets, the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles were not characterized by excessive drinking. In fact, alcohol is not mentioned at all. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

John Mayne investigates the matter in “Hezekiah and Josiah: Comparisons and Contrasts”: https://www.academia.edu/12836231/Hezekiah_and_Josiah_Comparisons_and_Contrasts

 

Abstract:

 

Hezekiah and Josiah were the joint authors of unparalleled and unprecedented religious reforms that found their purpose in Yahweh, and their presence in Jerusalem. Through dissecting their methods and motivations, we can begin to uncover the full extent to which their reforming stratagem converged, diverged, or existed in parallel.  Factoring in the contribution of the Historian and Chronicler, the geopolitical situation, personal devotion to Yahweh, monarchical relationships with the prophetic conscience and each king’s lasting historical legacy, we can begin to also shed light on what role their transformative measures carried out on the macro scale of Israelite history. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

The least reconcilable detail of comparison at this stage has to be this one:

 

Hezekiah                                               Josiah

 

25 years at ascension, reigned 29 years 8 years at ascension, reigned 31 years

 

Whilst we do not have any convincing solution for this one, we can at least say again that the two-year difference in reign length might be accounted for by a co-regency.

The inerrancy of the Bible applies only to original manuscripts, and numbers can be tricky. For example, this is how the NRSV translates 1 Samuel 13:1: “Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . two years over Israel.”

And, in the case of our main character, Amon-Jehoiachin, whereas 2 Kings 24:8 has this: “Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he began to reign,” 2 Chronicles 36:9 says that: “Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he began to reign”. Presumably both cannot be right.

 

There is a further complicating factor that Sirach has separate entries for Hezekiah (48:17-22) and for Josiah (49:1-3), and he continues on (v. 4) as if these were two distinct individuals: “All the kings, except David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were terrible sinners, because they abandoned the Law of the Most High to the very end of the kingdom”.

 

On the positive side, there may be yet other significant advantages to be derived from this new crunching of the era of Isaiah into the era of Jeremiah.

Isaiah’s father, Micah (refer back to Judith 6:15), now also becomes a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, who will favourably recall the older prophet. Jeremiah, now threatened with death in the reign of King Jehoiakim (the son of King Hezekiah as according to our reconstruction) (Jeremiah 26:1, 8), will tell this of Micah (26:18):

“Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

 

“Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets”.’

 

Moreover, the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, who various commentators think most resembles (in literal terms) the prophet Jeremiah – although we know that Jesus Christ is the most perfect Suffering Servant – can now be Jeremiah himself as a younger contemporary of Isaiah, and well-known to the latter (Isaiah 53:2): “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. Isaiah, here, was clearly describing a younger contemporary known to himself and to the local citizens.

Jesus Christ was not a contemporary who had grown up before their eyes, though He himself is the quintessential “Suffering Servant” in the sense that both the Church and Benedict XVI tell of Jesus perfectly fulfilling the Old Testament and making it new.

 

“The Atonement of Christ, as both the eternal high priest and sacrificial victim, not only fulfils the Old Testament in the sense of transfiguring its symbols into a new reality; it also gives rise to a new sovereignty, a new kingship”.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/no-bloodless-myth-jesus-as-priest-and-

 

 

 

Part Two:

Amon during the Medo-Persian Era

 

 

Introductory section

 

—————————————————————————-

The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself,

meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been

by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.

—————————————————————————-

 

As with his father, Manasseh-Jehoiakim, our composite king, Amon-Jehoiachin is scarcely attested during the long reign of Nebuchednezzar II. The two names emerge in Baruch 1:3-4: “Baruch read the book aloud to Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and to all the people who lived in Babylon by the Sud River”.

Nebuchednezzar II, perhaps “the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17), and from a barbarous race, would experience a marvellous conversion (Daniel 4:37), but his son, Belshazzar, would not. And this has a parallel with Manasseh-Jehoiakim, who ‘humbled himself before the Lord’, while his son, Amon-Jehoiachin did not. For, as we have read: “Amon increased his guilt”. Perhaps King Belshazzar, or Evil-Merodach as he was also known – {which name has nothing to do with Evil, though the king himself had much to do with it} – recognised a kindred spirit in the Jewish king, because – as we have also read – the new Babylonian king “graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”. Evil-Merodach did even more than that for Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 52:33): “He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon”. Amon-Jehoiachin was now second-ranked in the kingdom.

And this explains why King Evil-Merodach, or Belshazzar, making wild promises to Daniel when faced with the Writing on the Wall, could promise Daniel only third place in the kingdom (Daniel 5:16): ‘If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom’.

Note that Daniel says of King Belshazzar (v. 22): ‘But you, Belshazzar [Nebuchednezzar’s] son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this’, precisely what 2 Chronicles 33:23 says of King Amon, “… he did not humble himself before the Lord”.

That was to be the end of King Belshazzar and the Babylonian kingdom, which would now be superseded by the Medo-Persian kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31): “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two”.

 

But it was by no means yet the end of the second-in-command, Amon-Jehoiachin, who must by now have been very close in age to the “sixty-two” years of King Darius the Mede.

 

As for Daniel so favoured by Nebuchednezzar II, who had lately – despite his protests (5:17): ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else’ – been elevated to third in Belshazzar’s kingdom, his fortunes were on the verge of skyrocketing (6:3): “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king [Darius] planned to set him over the whole kingdom”.

Sadly, though, the situation became messy between Darius and his administrators and satraps, who greatly envied Daniel, with the result that Daniel ended up in the lions’ den (6:16).

 

Before we can proceed further with the burgeoning career of Amon-Jehoiachin, now in the kingdom of Medo-Persia, we need to make the point that the Medo-Persian kings, and the duration of that kingdom, have been vastly over-extended by the conventional historians.

This will have relevance for what is to follow.

 

Conventional Persian history lacks an adequate archaeology

 

The reality (e.g., the archaeological evidence), is somewhat less than the current ‘history’, with one scholar, H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, going so far as to declare that: “The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable”. (“Was the ever a Median Empire?”, 1988). The few Medo-Persian kings whom we encounter in Daniel are far outnumbered by a super-abundant conventional listing (even with Cambyses omitted):

 

  • Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, founder of the greatness of the Achaemenids and of the Persian Empire (c. 559–529 B.C.)
  • Darius I (Darius the Great), king of ancient Persia (521–486 B.C.)
  • Xerxes I (Xerxes the Great), king of ancient Persia (486–465 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes I, king of ancient Persia (464–425 B.C.), of the dynasty of the Achaemenis
  • Xerxes II, king of ancient Persia (424 B.C.)
  • Darius II, king of ancient Persia (423?–404 B.C.)
  • Tissaphernes, Persian satrap of coastal Asia Minor (c.413–395 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes II, king of ancient Persia (404–358 B.C.)
  • Mausolus, Persian satrap, ruler over Caria (c.376–353 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes III, king of ancient Persia (358–338 B.C.)
  • Darius III (Darius Codomannus), king of ancient Persia (336–330 B.C.)The biblical Nehemiah, Ezra, belonged to the reign of an “Artaxerxes”. But which one?The big problem is, the “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was a “king of Babylon”, though he was sometimes found in Susa – which location was well-known also to Daniel (8:1-2): “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.  In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam …’.Nehemiah, the high official of the “king of Babylon” was more than likely Daniel himself, serving Nebuchednezzar. The wall of Jerusalem, just lately destroyed by the Babylonians, would be quickly rebuilt by Nehemiah after his prudent, wise and prayerful – indeed most Daniel-like (cf. Daniel 2:14, 18, 27-28) – approach to the unpredictable king, “Artaxerxes” (Nehemiah 1:11): ‘Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man. I was cupbearer to the king’.Having made this strong point about Medo-Persian ‘history’ (it is only the tip of an iceberg), our attention can now be focussed again upon Amon-Jehoiachin.  of the Book of Esther There is much here, in just this one verse, requiring to be unpackaged.“After these things …”. The Persian king, who had survived an attempted assassination plotted by two of his officials, but foiled by Mordecai the Jew (2:21-23), had married Esther (1-18).  We shall explain this further on the next page.“… the son of Hammedatha …”. Hammedatha was not the father, as one might immediately be inclined to think, but the mother, at least the “mother” in that broad sense of the term as discussed in Part One (pp. 3-4). That makes “Hammedatha” Haman’s (Jehoiachin’s) aunt, and not his biological mother.Let us now elaborate on some of these points.For a time Daniel (our Nehemiah) – who had even during the reign of Nebuchednezzar II begun to rebuild fallen Jerusalem, and who had been raised to third in the Babylonian kingdom only to see Darius the Mede (= Cyrus = “Ahasuerus”) take the throne and begin to reorganise his empire (Daniel 6:1-2), and who (as Nehemiah) had returned to Jerusalem in the 1st year of Cyrus to commence the rebuilding of the Temple – fades into the background (he may still have been in Jerusalem) to be ‘overshadowed’ in the biblical narrative by the Benjaminite Jew, Mordecai. {“The name “Mordecai” is of uncertain origin but is considered identical to the name Marduka or Marduku …attested as the name of officials in the Persian court in thirty texts”}: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai Despite Mordecai’s timely intervention to save the Persian king from those plotting his assassination – these probably having been incited by Haman – nothing is done to increase his being honoured in the kingdom. Instead, Haman takes all the honours, for, as we read above: “King Ahasuerus … advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”. This Haman (Amon-Jehoiachin), who appears to have been – according to the testimony of Esther, as she prays, a “king” (Esther 4:36-38): ‘And now they are not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they have covenanted with their idols to abolish what your mouth has ordained, and to destroy your inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to quench your altar and the glory of your house, to open the mouths of the nations for the praise of vain idols, and to magnify forever a mortal king’[,]must have been an extremely charismatic and competent character for, firstly, Evil-Merodach (as we read) to elevate him above the rest, and, now, for that Babylonian king’s successor, Ahasuerus, to do the very same thing for him. As we wrote at the beginning:And this is borne out in part by 2 Kings 21:25: “As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”
  • But now the next question needs to be answered: If Haman were, in fact, a Jewish king, why does the Book of Esther call him an “Agagite” (etc.)? Previously we have written on this:
  • There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!
  • This well-respected Mordecai may possibly have been the highly-respected and wealthy Jew, Joakim, the husband of the beautiful Susanna, as recorded in the Book of Daniel. If so, then Susanna – {said by Hippolytus to have been the sister of Jeremiah} – may well have been Esther herself, since Jewish tradition claims that Mordecai’s avuncular protection of Esther (2:7) indicated that Mordecai was actually married to her.
  • She was Queen “Hammutal” (Hamutal), mother of two of Jehoiachin’s uncles, Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31) and Zedekiah (24:18).
  •  
  • “… promoted Haman the Agagite …”. The name “Haman”, as we once had imagined, must have been the Persian name given to this character, e.g., “Achaemenes” (Persian Hak-haman-ish). But we now know its precise origins: Aman (var. Haman) is Amon, an Egyptian name. It is the name of the captive king, Amon (or Jehoiachin), of Judah.
  • “King Ahasuerus …”. He is both Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, and not, as commentators tend to think, Xerxes ‘the Great’ (c. 486–465 B.C, conventional dating) – a largely fictitious creation of the Greco-Romans, but also a composite mix of real Assyro-Babylonian-Persian kings (e.g. Sennacherib; Nebuchednezzar II; Cyrus).
  • {The LXX implicates Haman in the assassination plot}
  • According to Esther 3:1: “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”.
  •  
  • Amon is Aman (Haman)
  • For there is still some honey to be extracted from that old carcase. (Cf. Judges 14:9)
  • The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself, meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.
  • There can be fierce debate over whether Artaxerxes I or II is meant.

Haman’s Nationality

 

This is a far bigger problem than the traditional view might suggest. Though Scripture can present Haman variously as an “Amalekite”; an “Agagite” (MT); a “Bougaean” (Septuagint); and a “Macedonian” (AT) – and though the drama is considered to be a continuation of the long-running feud between the tribe of Benjamin (started by king Saul, but now continued by Mordecai) and the Amalekites (Agag thought to be an Amalekite name, cf. 1 Samuel 15:8) – the problem with this tradition is that King David had long ago wiped out the Amalekites.

 

“Bougaean” is quite a mystery … Haman was certainly a ‘Boogey-Man’ for the Jews.

 

And “Macedonian” for Haman appears to be simply an historical anachronism.

 

Perhaps our only consolation is that we can discount “Persian” as being Haman’s nationality, since king Ahasuerus speaks of Haman as “an alien to the Persian blood” (Esther 16:10).

 

But what about a Jew? Surely we can immediately discount any Jewish ethnicity for Haman. After all, this “alien” was the Adolf Hitler of the ancient world: a Jew hater!

 

{Though some suspect that Hitler himself may have had Jewish blood in his veins}.

 

Surely not Haman, however? No hint of Jewishness there!

But, wait a minute. Jewish legend itself is not entirely lacking in the view that Haman may in fact have been a Jew. Let us read what Louis Ginzberg (Legends of the Jews) had to say on this, as quoted by another Jewish writer (emphasis added):

 

Power struggle between Jews

….

EUGENE KAELLIS

 

Purim is based on the Book of Esther, the most esoteric book in the Hebrew Testament. …. Its hidden meaning can be uncovered only by combining a knowledge of Persian practices during the Babylonian Captivity, the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great, his Edict … and Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews which … contains a great deal of relevant and credible history.

Using these sources, one can arrive at a plausible interpretation completely in accord with historically valid information. Esther, it turns out, describes an entirely intra-Jewish affair set in the Persian Empire, with the two major antagonists as factional leaders: Mordecai, whose followers advocate rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple, and Haman, also a Jew, whose assimilationist adherents oppose the project.

Ginzberg furnishes substantial evidence that Mordecai and Haman were both Jews who knew each other well .

 

[Our comment: They had gone into captivity together (Esther 2:5, 6): “Mordecai … had been carried into exile … by Nebuchadnezzar … among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah”].

 

From this, and from some other evidences, a total picture began to emerge. Haman, a king as we saw – obviously a sub-king under Ahasuerus ‘the Great’ – was none other than the ill-fated king Jehoiachin (or Coniah), the last king of Judah. Like Haman, he had sons. But neither Coniah, nor his sons, was destined to rule. The story of Esther tells why – they were all slain. ….

 

As for “Agagite”, or “Amalekite”, it seems to have been confused with the Greek word for “captive”, which was Jehoiachin’s epithet. Thus we have written before:

 

Our view now is that the word (of various interpretations) that has been taken as indicating Haman’s nationality (Agagite, Amalekite, etc.), was originally, instead, an epithet, not a term of ethnic description. In the case of king Jehoiachin, the epithet used for him in 1 Chronicles 3:17 was: (“And the sons of Jeconiah), the captive”.

In Hebrew, the word is Assir, “captive” or “prisoner”. Jeconiah the Captive!

 

Now, in Greek, captive is aichmálo̱tos, which is very much like the word for “Amalekite”, Amali̱kíti̱s. Is this how the confusion may have arisen?

 

 

Haman the “cut-off” one

 

Thanks to the continued alertness of Mordecai, and to the heroic intervention of Queen Esther – a type of Our Lady of Fatima (today being the 13th of October, 2018) – Haman the (Hitlerian) Jew’s “Final Solution” plan to exterminate all of the people of Mordecai, who had refused to bow the knee (proskynesis) to Haman (Esther 3:2), was brilliantly turned on its head due to the Lord’s ‘rival operation’.

 

 

 

Had not the Book of Jeremiah early predicted this, it even cutting short the name of Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah), to render it as “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24-30)?:

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to’.

 

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?
O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!

This is what the Lord says:
‘Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah’.

 

This is how Jehoiachin, as Amon, came to die – and it was a violent death (2 Kings 21:23): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace”.

It bears favourable comparison to the violent death of Haman, also in his palace (or “house”) (Esther 7:8-10):

 

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‘A gibbet reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house [palace]. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king’.

The king said, ‘Impale him on it!’ So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

 

What the Book of Esther does not tell us, but we find it in the account of the violent death of King Amon (2 Kings 21:24): “Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”. For the conflict between the Haman-ites, “the people of the land [of Susa]”, and the loyal Jews, had not fully been resolved with the death of Haman.

It, like Fatima, was awaiting a 13th of the month fulfilment, “… the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar” (Esther 9:1).

Only then do we find that (vv. 5-12):

 

The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, ‘The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted’.

 

Queen Esther, no doubt well aware of what Jeremiah had foretold of Haman (as “Coniah”), and not wanting any of his seed left alive to rule over the Jews, seems to go into overkill here (v. 13-14): “‘If it pleases the king’, Esther answered, ‘give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles’. So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman”.

 

Daniel 9:26’s “And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing” must surely refer to the “anointed” (that is, ruler), King Amon, now “cut off” (dead) and having “nothing” – “none of his offspring will prosper” – all of his ten sons impaled!