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View Diary: Dvar Torah: Parshat Balak (40 comments)

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  •  Please also publish to Street Prophets (4+ / 0-)


      •  The Toponyms of this passage (1+ / 0-)
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        are interesting and informative textual artifacts. For a lot of people who claim there is no evidence the Exodus ever took place I would submit the stations list provides testable corroboration.  

        KIRIATH-HUZOTH is an Akkadian Logogram retaining the Sumerian form URU KI in Akkadian

        38 URU
        (before) cities, often in combination with KI after city names.
        Cities are often indicated with their Sumerian names (Akkadian logograms)

            meaning: Sum. uru `city', Akk. alu(m) `city'

        KIRIATH-HUZOTH, Biblical and modern Medeba in Moab, modern Jordan was a cattle town with streets plural; big for the time.

        Balak and Balam are clearly worshipers of Baal. Its also pretty clear that the sons of Israel and Aaron as priest were among the Hyksos worshipers of Baal and Asherah/Hathor/Astart/Anat in Egypt, and in the construction of an image of Ihys, Hathors calf graven in gold. That supports the idea that in looking for a place to call home they are visiting people in what they consider to be the old country.

        Lets momentarily flashback to Numbers 21 where the Sons of Israel continue walking the metes and bounds of Edom in the Negev from Elat northwest up to Kadesh Barnea, and destroy Arad at Hormah on the road to Atharim. (The Kings Highway)

        Here they are returning to a place Abraham once called home. While Egypt considers Edom and the Negev as well as Canaan within its sphere of influence the local kings also have a lot of self determination in their role as vassals.

        There is a kings highway with wells and garrisons and mines maintained by the Egyptians but also what the Egyptians considered to be the tribes of the Nine Bows who think of themselves as semi autonomous kingdoms, not always looking for permission from higher powers to make or break alliances or allow passage through their lands to strangers.

        Hormah (meaning "broken rock", "banned", or "devoted to destruction"), also known by its Canaanite name Zephath (Tsfat צפת) is an unidentified city in the Hebrew Bible, mentioned as one of the cities captured by Joshua. Its location is unknown; some place it between Beer Sheba and Gaza, some between Beer Sheba and Arad and some in the east side of the Arabah in the ruins of Sarta (under the town of Tafileh, Tufileh or Tafyleh, identified as biblical Tophel)[citation needed].
        The Canaanite name Zephath would be the feminine form of Zephon, Greek for the west wind, first encountered in the story as Baal Zephon. Its actual location is best determined as between the stations previously mentioned and those yet to come.

        At the time of the Exodus Canaan was an Egyptian province. In Egyptian "ta" is the word for land with "fy" as a suffix pronoun after duals Tafylah = lands of lah (the moon god).

        Arad Destroyed 21 When the Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev, heard that Israel was coming along the road to Atharim, he attacked the Israelites and captured some of them. 2 Then Israel made this vow to the Lord: “If you will deliver these people into our hands, we will totally destroy[a] their cities.” 3 The Lord listened to Israel’s plea and gave the Canaanites over to them. They completely destroyed them and their towns; so the place was named Hormah.[b]
        The Bronze Snake

        4 They traveled from Mount Hor along the route to the Red Sea,[c] to go around Edom. But the people grew impatient on the way; 5 they spoke against God and against Moses, and said, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? There is no bread! There is no water! And we detest this miserable food!”

        6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

        8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.

        That would seem to be an example of the construction of a graven image
        The Journey to Moab
        The journey from Hormath to Oboth is headed east from the boders of Edom and Canaan to the Arnon river on the border of Moab with the Amorites who are north of Moab.

        There is no Afroasiatic or Semitic root using the letter O, so its likely that words using the letter O are textual artifacts of an author writing in a language such as Greek or Phoenician.

        Omicron Beta Omicron is suggestive of the Greek word Obol which was a small coin, the sixth part of a drachma. Three obols was the price of a prostitute.

        Where the worship of Baal involved rites at the Bamoths or high places where one could become holy or Kodesh through washing away sins at baths sacred to lust and desire its interesting how the bamoths become a part of this story.

        10 The Israelites moved on and camped at Oboth. 11 Then they set out from Oboth and camped in Iye Abarim, in the wilderness that faces Moab toward the sunrise. 12 From there they moved on and camped in the Zered Valley. 13 They set out from there and camped alongside the Arnon, which is in the wilderness extending into Amorite territory. The Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 That is why the Book of the Wars of the Lord says:

        “. . . Zahab[d] in Suphah and the ravines,
            the Arnon 15 and[e] the slopes of the ravines
        that lead to the settlement of Ar
            and lie along the border of Moab.”

        16 From there they continued on to Beer, the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”

        17 Then Israel sang this song:

        “Spring up, O well!
            Sing about it,
        18 about the well that the princes dug,
            that the nobles of the people sank—
            the nobles with scepters and staffs.”

        The idea of celebration involving sacred prostitutes, along with a sort of baptism which washed away sins in  sacred baths, music and dance is typical of the worship of Bes and Qetesh, goddesses whose rites entered Elim and Elat from the Red Sea.
        Follwing the Kings Highway which was an Egyptian road along the southern bound of Canaan, Mattanah or Ma'at Anat (the straight road to Anat), Nahaliel and the Bamoth or high place from which the spring of Zerka M'ain, the Zerqa or Yabok river falls down a narrow ravine to the valley, the Sons of Israel came to the border of Moab where there was a huge battle with Sihon.
        Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah, 19 from Mattanah to Nahaliel, from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley in Moab where the top of Pisgah overlooks the wasteland.
        Defeat of Sihon and Og

        21 Israel sent messengers to say to Sihon king of the Amorites:

        22 “Let us pass through your country. We will not turn aside into any field or vineyard, or drink water from any well. We will travel along the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”

        23 But Sihon would not let Israel pass through his territory. He mustered his entire army and marched out into the wilderness against Israel. When he reached Jahaz, he fought with Israel. 24 Israel, however, put him to the sword and took over his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, but only as far as the Ammonites, because their border was fortified.

        The Amorites occupied the highlands of the Medeba between Moab and the Ammonites east of the Dead Sea and were cattlemen.
        25 Israel captured all the cities of the Amorites and occupied them, including Heshbon and all its surrounding settlements. 26 Heshbon was the city of Sihon king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken from him all his land as far as the Arnon.

        27 That is why the poets say:

        “Come to Heshbon and let it be rebuilt;
            let Sihon’s city be restored.

        28 “Fire went out from Heshbon,
            a blaze from the city of Sihon.
        It consumed Ar of Moab,
            the citizens of Arnon’s heights.
        29 Woe to you, Moab!
            You are destroyed, people of Chemosh!
        He has given up his sons as fugitives
            and his daughters as captives
            to Sihon king of the Amorites.

        30 “But we have overthrown them;
            Heshbon’s dominion has been destroyed all the way to Dibon.
        We have demolished them as far as Nophah,
            which extends to Medeba.”

        31 So Israel settled in the land of the Amorites.

        Chemosh is another name for Moloch, the deity for whom Abraham was instructed to pass his only son through the fire. The Sons of Israel who settled in the land of  the Amorites and celebrated Chemosh were following rites closely associated with the beliefs of the Phoenicians and Carthagineans.

        One has to wonder why if Abraham is the Patriarch and patriarches rule, how it comes to be that the covenants with Abrahams deities are ammended so that  the inheriteance is Matralineal with the first born son, properly circumcised and included in the covenants put aside.

        32 After Moses had sent spies to Jazer, the Israelites captured its surrounding settlements and drove out the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan and his whole army marched out to meet them in battle at Edrei.

        34 The Lord said to Moses, “Do not be afraid of him, for I have delivered him into your hands, along with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon.”

        35 So they struck him down, together with his sons and his whole army, leaving them no survivors. And they took possession of his land.

        This conguest of the Medeba would have left the Sons of Israel cattlemen and nomadic pastorialists; high plains drifters living among other peoples with other beliefs along the border.
        1. And Israel abode in Shittim, and the people began to commit harlotry with the daughters of Moab.

        ב  וַתִּקְרֶאןָ לָעָם, לְזִבְחֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן; וַיֹּאכַל הָעָם, וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶן.    

        2. And they called the people unto the sacrifices of their gods; and the people did eat, and bowed down to their gods.

        ג  וַיִּצָּמֶד יִשְׂרָאֵל, לְבַעַל פְּעוֹר; וַיִּחַר-אַף יְהוָה, בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.    

        3. And Israel joined himself unto the Baal of Peor; and the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel.

        This seems to say the same things as Judges 4: about the nature of the Sons of Israel, possibly something assimilated in Egypt has created an understanding that all the plurality of different celebrations and worships speaking to the different attributes of the divine are within the image of man that reflects them.

        Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

        by rktect on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 08:32:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You would have to "Exodus" too (0+ / 0-)

          if you kept wandering around an area killing all kinds of people at the insistence of your god(s). What confuses me about all this in terms of history is why the texts that are the basis of the OT and Torah keep insisting that Moses and his tribes were acting on the direction of only one god while at the same time, history and parts of the texts talk about them still worshipping other gods (and goddesses).

          •  Monotheism has never actually existed (1+ / 0-)
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            but priests see it as an ideal that whatever their sect believes everybody else should believe as well. Thus the covenant to be law abiding that worships the written law makes it sovereign over all the other laws, and the people who most often refer to Mosaic Law think the United States should be an English speaking Christian nation.

            Putting other people with different beliefs under the ban and leading genocidal pograms, crusades or jihads against them until they are "made completely nonexistent" and their seed is no more is a phrase found both in the Merneptah stele and in the quotes the diarist has selected from Numbers 22.

            This graphic is the last eight lines of the Merneptah  stele (aka the Israel stele)

            made completely nonexistant

            Line 27 with no reference to Ashkelon, Gezer, Yenoam, Israel or Khor because Egyptian word order is Verb, Subject Object (VSO)
            Green (verb)
            [in (bring, fetch) u (imperfect past participle) (brought)]
            Yellow [iskadny aggression strong anger] adverbial phrase Bourchard read as Ashkelon
            [Yellow adr (abode) subject
            purple r (determinative the thing itself ) name]
            Purple [base enemy foreign] object
            Purple [enemy foreign]
            Orange [y ending]
            [n mr u nu (this) n G3 (renewal)]
            Green [ir u (made)] (verb)
            Yellow [determinative (sledge) (completely)]
            Blue [n wn n non existent]

            This is the portion first read by Petries Willian Spiegleberg in 1896 as Israel to which Petrie replied "won't the reverend be pleased"

            Orange [y]( ending from previous nwny (nonexistent)
            Yellow [s y (her) r name)] subject
            [ia (ruin] object
            [ r (name) determinative the thing itself club (enemy)]
            Yellow [determinative (people) determinative (plural)
            f k t determinative sparrow (weak)]

            Yellow [bn (not)
            Yellow [p r t (seed) determinative (seed) determinative plural f ending]
            Yellow [determinative (1000)a (is used for h, in group writing indicates an obscure foreign name is ihi determinative (lion used as r) (hr spelling) (Tjhenu)] {read as Gezer by Bourchard Gardiner gives Krr Gerar but here there is no k)
            Purple (enemy foreign)
            Green [L1 r (make) verb
            Yellow u  m determinative (thousand) a rt determinative (plough) (variant prt seed)]
            Red [red crown determinative for red land beginning of cartouches on line 28

            The Merneptah stele tells the tale of a famine among the Meshwesh who were originally part of the Hyksos possibly emigrants from Greek Cyrene. They lived south west of Lake Meroe across from Alexandria and raised Apis Bulls in walled villages. Famed as bowman they wore a side curl like orthodox jews. During the reign of Merneptah they had a bad year and their crops failed so to survive the famine they began raiding the Tjhenu and began to be reviled as an enemy.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:08:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  This is exactly what I was complaining about (4+ / 0-)
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          JDsg, carl offner, ramara, Velvele

          A comment should be no longer than 3 or 4 paragraphs.  Otherwise, you should write a diary.  Instead of cutting and pasting you can link - people who want to click on the link can do so and that helps to shorten the comment.  There is probably no work of literature more readily available than the Bible, cite chapter and verse and people can google it and find it in seconds, or just link to the text.

          You have been posting these excessively long comments with excessively long cuts and pastes every week for the past month.  They are always on the same topic, never directly responsive to the diary.  We know where you are coming from - the Bible is a myth stolen from the Babylonians and other peoples in the area.  You repeat this stuff over and over and over again, via these excessively long diary length comments.

          In the past weeks you have posted these extraordinarily long comments, likely cut and pasted from somewhere, multiple times in each week's diary.  I cannot help but to conclude that your aim is to disrupt these diaries.

          "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

          by Navy Vet Terp on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:09:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Some find the topic of the diaries interesting (0+ / 0-)

            and enjoy the extended discussion. Thank you for your critique. I generally source the block quoted parts and you can click on the orange for links.

            As with the above its hard to provide transliteration for even a single line of the original Egyptian phrase that ends up being the subject of the diary without being a bit more painstaking than would be necessary if everyone had a proper reference library.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:19:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I would be willing (2+ / 0-)
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              mayim, JDsg

              to link to your diaries as a historic companion to these. It really is disruptive to have such long comments in a thread and can discourage some readers from continuing to read the comments that actually discuss the diary.

              Would that work for you?

              Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

              by ramara on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 03:58:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Sure, that works (1+ / 0-)
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                I have no wish to be disruptive and appreciate your gentle approach.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 04:21:24 PM PDT

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                •  You can comment (1+ / 0-)
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                  giving a link, which probably makes the most sense. I would be interested in reading your diaries.

                  Being attentive to the needs of others might not be the point of life, but it is the work of life. It can be ... almost impossibly difficult. But it is not something we give. It is what we get in exchange for having to die. - Jonathan Safran Foer

                  by ramara on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:46:47 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Seconding what Ramara said. (4+ / 0-)

                  I'd be far more likely to read your comments in diary form. I often skim over them here because they break up the flow of the discussion for me -- but in a diary I think they'd work much better.

                  "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell)

                  by Eowyn9 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:14:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  One also has to remember this (1+ / 0-)
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          Exodus 12:38 And a mixed multitude went up also with them, and flocks and herds even very much cattle

          That mixed multitude that left with Israel did not leave Egypt intending to serve the true and living God; they retained their worship of Egyptian/Canaanite/Phoenician et al deities and that is the worship that generation of Israelites were most familiar with from their 430 year sojourn in Egyptian bondage.

          Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

          by awesumtenor on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 10:59:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Its nice to run into someone who reads the details (0+ / 0-)

            The Hyksos generally arrived in Egypt as adventurers, and if they weren't to begin with, in the emporia they rapidly became merchants, traders, mercenaries,  horsemen, skilled craftsmen, boatbuilders, carpenters, masons, cattlemen, shepherds, leatherworkers, weavers, with some of them priests, administrators, diplomats, artisans, jewlers and mathematicians. The literature presents their primary worship was Egyptian/Canaanite/Phoenician et al deities; Baal and his consort Asherah with Anat, Qetesh, Hathor and Ihys.

            Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

            by rktect on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:39:28 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The details (0+ / 0-)

              Are the only way to separate wheat from the chaff so to speak...

              Fear doesn't just breed incomprehension. It also breeds a spiteful, resentful hate of anyone and everyone who is in any way different from you.

              by awesumtenor on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 08:07:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What's really interesting (0+ / 0-)

                are the advances in all the professions brought to Egypt by the Hyksos. Wilkenson discusses some of the medical developments, surgical techniques, pharmeceuticals, certification. Gillings discusses mathematical advances such as those on the Rhind Papyrus and the Mathematical Leather Roll.

                Egyptian Circle

                Above is a method for squaring a circle fairly accurately
                that is documented from Saqarra

                Architects were able to use these techniques to enable workmen to execute their ideas easily and merchants found it provided an advantage in taking inventory and making business deals

                There is also a lot of interesting general knowledge of things like the size of the earth, geography, history, geo-commensurate standards of measure that show up later in the riddles of Solomon's temple that so interested the famous alchemist Sir Isaac Newton.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 02:33:50 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  None of this has the slightest thing (2+ / 0-)
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                  JDsg, Batya the Toon

                  to do with this diary!

                  "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

                  by Navy Vet Terp on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 11:14:00 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  What we were discussing were the textual artifacts (1+ / 0-)
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                    known as toponyms as regards Balak in Numbers 22; the passage and personage the diary is focused on. It should be noted that things like a reference to the god Baal in the names Balak and Balam are a part of the story.

                    Its also notable where the story takes place and what events have immediately led the Sons of Israel to where they are in that passage.

                    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                    by rktect on Sun Jun 23, 2013 at 03:05:03 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

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