The Mythical Monster Moses - 1

In this two-part post I plan to address the question: Who was Moses? And immediately I want to acknowledge rapport with any reader who would respond: “Who cares?” That is, personally, I don’t care who Moses was – or if he existed at all. And I admit that my feelings on the matter are rather convenient, given that nobody seems to know for sure who Moses was – or if he existed at all.

My principal reason for not caring (who Moses was) is simply because the Old Testament (OT), as well as the New Testament (NT), the Koran (or Qur’an), the Book of Mormon (and the Mormon’s Book of Moses), and for that matter, all “sacred scripture” and “holy books” that “reveal” interactions with various gods are either delusions or fabrications, i.e., either phantasmal speculations of psychotics or simply lies. The most certain knowledge that we humans can possess, even more certain than the knowledge that we exist, is that no supernatural being (no “god”) exists or has ever existed. We can therefore unequivocally conclude that all the stories in the OT (and in the NT, the Koran, the Book of Moses, etc.) about Moses interacting with his god and performing various supernatural stunts (and similar stories about Jesus, Muhammad, Joseph Smith, etc.) are childish speculations (pure, unadulterated balderdash) not worth the huge amount of paper and brainpower wasted on them.

All such stories are ruses used by clerics (to this day!) to hoodwink people into carrying the clerics’ useless (and in most cases, worse-than-useless) carcasses. In particular, in the stories about Moses in the Pentateuch, the role that the clerical authors assigned to Moses was similar to the roles that other authors assigned to Robin Hood, King Arthur, William Tell, and tens of thousands of other fictional “heroes”, namely, contrivances to convey the authors’ messages. But in the case of the clerical authors, their message is horrible: as I’ll detail below, their mythical Moses is a monster. So, my personal opinion about Moses, his god, and all the damnable priests who profit from peddling their poisonous messages, indoctrinating children (and childish adults) in clerically concocted tales of mayhem, murder, and debauchery, is: “To hell with them all!”

Unfortunately, however, there does seem to be some value in examining characteristics of the clerically concocted Moses monster, because stories fabricated about him have caused and continue to cause so much hell on Earth. In the Bible, Moses is depicted to be a real “nut case”, convinced that he knew “the truth” (without even knowing what “truth” means). Worse, the depicted Moses proceeded to ram his “truth” down other people’s throats – or have the throats of “unbelievers” slit.

Thereby, the clerics’ Moses served as a role model for such maniacs as the butcher-emperor “Saint” Constantine and subsequent Christian leaders (who crammed Christian “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of Europeans), Muhammad and subsequent caliphs (who crammed Islamic “truth” down the throats of the remaining unslit throats of those whom they conquered), Hitler, Mussolini, and Hirohito’s handlers (who crammed fascist “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of those whom their armies conquered), Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. (who crammed Communist “truth” down the remaining unslit throats of those who survived their purges), and so on. Thus, the clerical authors depicted Moses as an ideologue: he wasn’t just someone who possessed a special idea; instead, like all ideologues, a special idea possessed him.

That the clerical authors chose such a monster as Moses to be the “hero” of their fiction is one thing. But the real horror is that (as unbelievable as it may seem that people could possibly be so dumb) approximately half the people now living in the world (including all “believing” Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Mormons) “think” that the depicted Moses was not only a real person but also “a holy man”, a “prophet of God”, someone who was in direct communication with “the creator of the universe” (i.e., the symmetry-breaking quantum fluctuation in the original void that led to the Big Bang). Consequently, both because so many people “believe” such nonsense about Moses to be “true” and because Moses (as depicted in the OT) has served as a role model for so many megalomaniacs, I reluctantly conclude that it might be helpful to humanity to address the otherwise pointless question: Who was Moses?

But for those readers who (understandably) don’t want waste their valuable time slogging through the details, in the following sentence I’ll summarize the results of my own slogging. My guess is that, with maybe 80% probability, there was a historical figure whom the Ancient Hebrews called Moses, but the Moses depicted in the OT is (with about 90% probability) essentially entirely (~99%) a fictional character, a literary construct, who (in essence) was the author’s “alter ego”. Exactly who was the author (or authors) of the Moses tale (as given in the Pentateuch) is unclear. But whereas it appears that Ezra & Co-Conspirators (whom I’ve been identifying in these posts as Ezra & C-C) appear to be the final “redactors” of the Pentateuch, then I expect it’s fairly safe to say (as I’ll be saying), with ~60% reliability, that Moses was Ezra’s alter-ego. For this two-part post, my goal is provide my reasons for the above speculations.

First, though, because little is known about Ezra (and much less is known about Moses), I probably should explain what I mean by describing Moses as Ezra’s alter ego. What I mean is simply that the principal author of the OT’s tales about Moses (whom for definiteness I call Ezra), knowing essentially nothing about Moses, created the literary character Moses in the author’s own image. In a way, then, Moses is what Ezra wanted to be. And it would probably surprise Ezra to know that he was amazingly successful: Ezra depicted Moses as the founder of the Jewish religion, but now, throughout Judaism, Ezra is recognized as “the father of Judaism”!

Now, exactly how the clerical authors concocted their Moses story is, of course, unknown. Yet, the following list of ten possibilities (which continues into the next post) suggests that the authors had a substantial number of readily available ingredients to “cook up” their Moses myth, relying on available myths and on the people’s vague memories of historical events.

1. The hero, while still an infant, escaping execution.
In Exodus 1 the authors inform us that the dictator of Egypt (the pharaoh) ordered the death of the infant Moses, “the deliverer”, just as the authors’ audience in Babylon almost certainly knew that the dictator of Persia (the emperor) had ordered the death of the infant who became Cyrus the Great, whom the Jews in Babylon called the “anointed one” or “the Messiah”.

Further, at Exodus 2, 3 the authors inform us about details of the escape:
But when she [Moses’ mother] was no longer able to hide him [Moses], she took a papyrus basket for him and sealed it with bitumen and pitch. She put the child in it and set it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile.
That’s the same story as the people had probably heard about Sargon the Great (who ruled the Akkadian Empire, extending from parts of present-day Iran to parts of present-day Syria, for 56 years in about 2300 BCE, i.e., about 1,000 years before Moses allegedly lived). For example, an Akkadian myth about Sargon the Great (a myth written about 300 years before Ezra & C-C completed their “redaction” of the Moses story) states:
My humble mother conceived me; she bore me in secret, placed me in an ark of bulrushes, made fast my door with pitch and gave me to the river which did not overwhelm me… (or, in another translation, “set me in a basket of rushes; with bitumen she sealed my lid. She cast me into the river which rose not over me.”)
2. Astrological tales.
Almost certainly the ancient Hebrews had heard many astrological tales (“stories told in the stars”) about the constellation called by the Sumerians “Gilga the hero” (or “Gilgamesh”), called by the Egyptians "Osiris" (probably the origin of the English word 'sir'), and called by the Greeks “Orion the hunter” (who allegedly could walk on water). In many such tales this constellation (Gilga, Osiris, Orion, Moses?) interacts with one or more of (the stars in the constellation known as) “the Seven Sisters” or “Pleiades” (known in many aboriginal cultures as “the water girls”), just as the authors of the Pentateuch tell us (at Exodus 2, 15 et seq.) that Moses met a Median priest’s seven daughters at a watering trough (and eventually married one of them, namely, Zipporah).

Additional hints that some of the stories about Moses were Jewish versions of astrological tales about Gilgamesh, Osiris, or Orion include his walking through the constellation known in some astrological charts as the Reed Sea (at Orion’s feet), his defeating Taurus the bull (as did Gilgamesh – with the added feature in the Moses myth that the astrological symbol of Egypt was Taurus), his leading the twelve tribes of Israel (each identified with one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac) out of the wilderness by a “pillar of fire” (a comet?), and his inability to cross the river Jordan (the constellation Eridanus, known as the Great River, which lies at Orion’s/Moses’ feet and which, of course, he never crosses).

3. Myths about the magical power of names.
At Exodus 3, 13 the authors inform us:
Moses said to God, “If I go to the Israelites and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ – what should I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I am that I am.” And he said, “You must say this to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you’.”
That might seem to have been a strange interaction [people of the modern era (I don’t want to write “modern people”) might ask God how Elvis was doing or ask for God’s assessment of the assumptions of string theory], but to ancient people, names seemed magical. As an example, consider again the Egyptian creation myth:
In the beginning, before there was any land of Egypt, all was darkness, and there was nothing but a great waste of water called Nun. The power of Nun was such that there arose out of the darkness a great shining egg, and this was Re [the sun god]. Now, Re was all-powerful, and he could take many forms. His power and the secret of it lay in his hidden name…
Later in this same myth, the goddess Isis tricks the sun god Re into revealing his “secret name” (namely, “power”), which then gave Isis power – just as the biblical story tellers have Moses gain power by learning God’s name.

Further, as described by Mudarras Kadhir Gaznavi:
In the Papyrus of Prisse, dating from about 1000 years before Moses, god has [the] following to say of himself:

I am the unseen One who created the heavens and all things. I am the supreme god, made manifest by Myself, and without equal. I am yesterday, and I know the morrow. To every creature and being that exists I am the Law.

Please make a note: This concept of god has appeared about 1000 years before Moses!

How about this? It is very easy to detect the chief attributes of the god of The Old and New Testaments and Islam. This ‘One’ without equal was referred to in Egypt as “the nameless”, the “One whose name cannot be spoken”. The name of the god of Moses also cannot be uttered freely. That is why YHVH the ‘tetragrammaton’ (four letters) and eventually Jehovah-Yehova have replaced it in daily use. When the Egyptian god’s name was ‘unspeakable’ Moses was not around. It was long before him. Most important of all, this Egyptian god has called himself ‘Nuk pu Nuk’…

Prepare yourself for the shock! When “nuk pu nuk” is translated into English it means exactly, ‘I am who I am’. Yes! An almost identical announcement could be seen in Exodus 3, 14: “I am that I am.” Which is how the god of Moses announces himself to his messenger.
As evaluated by Judge Thomas Troward in Chapter 4, entitled “The Mission of Moses”, of his 1913 book Bible Mystery and Bible Meaning:
But though this [the name “I am that I am”] may have been a new announcement to the masses of the Hebrew people, it could have been no new announcement for Moses, for we are told in the Acts that Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, a circumstance which is fully accounted for by his education at the court of Pharaoh, where he would be as a matter of course initiated into the deepest mysteries of the Egyptian religion. He must therefore have been familiar from boyhood with the words, “I AM that I AM”, which as the inscription “Nuk pu Nuk” appeared on the walls of every temple…
But beyond the above “ingredients” available to “spice” a Moses myth, the following “entrĂ©es” surely got the authors of the Moses myth salivating.

4. Rule of the Hyksos.
Almost certainly, the people living in Canaan continued to tell stories about when their ancestors ruled Northern (or Lower) Egypt. Egyptians called these foreign rulers “Hyksos”. In about 250 BCE the Egyptian historian Manetho (or Manethon) explained the meaning of ‘Hyksos’ by saying:
Their race as a whole was called Hyksos, that is ‘king-shepherds’: for hyk in sacred language means ‘king’ and sos in common speech is ‘shepherd’ or ‘shepherds’; hence the compound word ‘Hyksos’.
The same reference adds: “Most scholars think that the proper translation for ‘Hyksos’ is ‘Ruler from foreign lands’.” In Egyptian texts the Hyksos are also called “the Asiatics”.

Describing the Hyksos rule, the same reference states:
The Hyksos were foreign rulers of Lower Egypt from about 1663 to 1555 BCE. They were expelled from Egypt by Ahmose who founded the 18th Dynasty… Manetho describes the rise of the Hyksos by writing:

In his [Tutimaeus’] reign, for what cause I know not, a blast of God smote us; and unexpectedly, from the regions of the East, invaders of obscure race marched in confidence of victory against our land. By main force they easily seized it without striking a blow; and having overpowered the rulers of the land, they burned our cities ruthlessly, razed to the ground the temples of the gods, and treated all the natives with a cruel hostility, massacring some and leading into slavery the wives and children of others. Finally, they appointed as king one of their number whose name was Salitis. He had his seat at Memphis, levying tribute from Upper and Lower Egypt, and always leaving garrisons behind in the most advantageous positions.
The relevance (to the Moses story) of the fact that the ancestors of the Canaanites (or, at least, some of their ancestors) had lived in Egypt, was that those who were to become known as Israelites thereby undoubtedly learned much about Egyptian culture, which was dominated by the supernaturalism in which the Egyptian priests were immersed (a little of which I plan to illustrate in a later post). Further, Egyptian records show that for much of its history, Canaan was ruled by Egyptians.

5. Expulsion of the Hyksos.
After the Hyksos ruled Northern Egypt for more than a century, finally the Egyptians expelled them. As described at the same reference:
The earliest document that describes the time of the Hyksos is from the Temple of Hat-shepsut (1486-1469 BCE) at Speos Artemidos which says:

Hear ye, all people and the folk as many as they may be, I have done these things through the counsel of my heart. I have not slept forgetfully, (but) I have restored that which had been ruined. I have raised up that which had gone to pieces formerly, since the Asiatics were in the midst of Avaris of the Northland, and vagabonds [Canaanites?] were in the midst of them, overthrowing that which had been made. They ruled without Re, and he did not act by divide [divine?] command down to (the reign of) my majesty…

The expulsion of the Hyksos was a series of campaigns which started with Kamose who was king in Thebes, and rebelled against the Hyksos. His son Ahmose was finally successful in pushing the Hyksos out. A commander named Ah-mose records in his tomb the victory over the Hyksos. He says:

When the town of Avaris was besieged, then I showed valor on foot in the presence of his majesty. Thereupon I was appointed to the ship, Appearing in Memphis. Then there was fighting on the water in the canal Pa-Djedku of Avaris. Thereupon I made a capture, and I carried away a hand [to illustrate that he had killed its owner; I suppose it was easier than taking a scalp!]. It was reported to the king’s herald. Then the Gold of Valor [apparently a medal] was given to me. Thereupon there was fighting again in this place… Then Avaris was despoiled. Then I carried off spoil from there: one man, three women, a total of four persons. Then his majesty gave them to me to be slaves. Then Sharuhen was besieged for three years. Then his majesty despoiled it…

Note that Avaris was besieged, there is no mention of how Avaris was taken, and there is no burning of Avaris stated which still fits [the ~100 CE Jewish historian] Josephus’ account. Bietak who has been excavating ancient Avaris says that there is no evidence for a violent destruction of Avaris. He states:

The archaeological material stops abruptly with the early 18th Dynasty [1550–1292 BCE]. There are no scarabs of the 18th Dynasty type… The most likely interpretation is that Avaris was abandoned. No conflagration layer or corpses of slain soldiers have been found so far in the large and widely separated excavation areas… The end of Avaris may have involved a surrender, or as Josephus has stated, an arranged retreat to Palestine…

This exit from Egypt by the Hyksos probably included the Israelites as well. [Although it would probably be better if the author called them not Israelites but Canaanites, since they apparently worshipped Baal, not Yahweh.] The story of the Exodus is most likely based on the expulsion of the Hyksos from Egypt, for there is no other record of any mass exit from Egypt… The evidence seems to fit well with Josephus’ account. Although the Egyptians saw the expulsion of the Hyksos as a great military victory, the Israelites viewed this as a great salvation victory for them. This seems similar to other events recorded in ancient history where both sides claim a great victory.
For later reference in this and the next post, the 18th Dynasty “was founded by Ahmose I, the brother of Kamose, the last ruler of the 17th Dynasty. Ahmose finished the campaign to expel the hated Hyksos rulers… he was succeeded by his son Amenhotep I… [followed by] Thutmose I… Thutmose II and his royal queen, Hatshepsut… daughter of Thutmose I… [Soon] after her husband’s death, [she] ruled for over twenty years… during the minority of her stepson… Thutmose III…” Additional rulers of the 18th Dynasty (including “the world’s first monotheist” Akhenaten and the “boy king” Tutankhamun) are shown in the timeline below [click to enlarge]. The next Dynasty, the 19th, started in 1292 BCE.


6. Multiple “Moses” Legends.
With the myths, legends, and stories outlined above, the authors of the Pentateuch had a substantial number of ingredients to concoct their Moses myth, but as yet, they didn’t have central character! To remedy that serious deficiency, the authors apparently tapped the Hebrews’ vague memories of a substantial number of “heroic figures”. For example, with their song that appears at Numbers 21, 18 (copied below) the people apparently maintained memory of their leaders finding water in the desert, possibly during the Hyksos expulsion. The authors could have tapped this memory to create the stories about how Moses allegedly used his magical staff to make water flow from rocks (as I quoted in the previous post); yet, if the song is examined in detail, it appears that the people’s memory was not about “prince Moses” but about the “princes” (i.e., probably the Hyksos leaders):
Well up, spring water!
[Water from a spring, not a rock!]
Greet it with song,
The spring unearthed by the princes,
[Unearthing a spring is a lot different from getting a rock to yield water – and notice that the people sang “princes” not “prince”!]
Laid open by the leaders [plural!] of the people
With scepter [a ceremonial staff] and mace [a spiked war club]
[Did they use scepter and mace to dig up a spring?!]
A gift from the wilderness.
[Not, as claimed by the clerics, a gift from God.]
To me, the song suggests that the people maintained memories of how the severe thirst of their ancestor (when they tromped out of Egypt with the Hyksos) was slaked by the Hyksos leaders digging up water with their weapons. I therefore suspect (as have many authors) that “the real Moses” (if there were one – or if there were only one!) lived after the Hyksos were expelled from Egypt.

One possibility for who Moses might have been is contained in the following quotation:
Cornelius Tacitus was born about 55 AD [CE]. He became a senator under Vespasian in 69 [CE], until the death of Domitian in 96 [CE] Tacitus wrote a book called Histories that covers the years from Nero’s death to the death of Domitian. In this book he has a brief discussion about the history of the Jews before describing the fall of Jerusalem in 70 [CE]. Tacitus states:

Most authors agree that once during a plague in Egypt which caused bodily disfigurement, King Bocchoris approached the oracle of Ammon and asked for a remedy, whereupon he was told to purge his kingdom and to transport this race (the Jews) into other lands, since it was hateful to the gods. So the Hebrews were searched out and gathered together; then, being abandoned in the desert, while all others lay idle and weeping, one only of the exiles, Moses by name, warned them not to hope for help from the gods or men, for they were deserted by both, but to trust to themselves, regarding as a guide sent from heaven to one whose assistance should first give them escape from their present distress. They agreed, and then set out on their journey in utter ignorance, but trusting to chance. Nothing caused them so much distress as scarcity of water, and in fact they had already fallen exhausted over the plain nigh unto death, when a herd of wild asses moved from their pasturage to a rock that was shaded by a grove of trees. Moses followed them, and, conjecturing the truth from the grassy ground, discovered abundant streams of water. This relieved them, and they marched six days [not the 40 years claimed in the OT!] continuously, and on the seventh seized a country, expelling the former inhabitants; there they founded a city and dedicated a temple. To establish his influence over this people for all time, Moses introduced new religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions…

Although Tacitus has a number of differences with the Bible, there are a number of important similarities. Tacitus acknowledges that there was a plague in Egypt, the Jews were expelled out of Egypt, Moses was their leader, and they conquered a new country. Tacitus gives us a secular viewpoint on Jewish origins.
Meanwhile, a major complication in trying to determine who “the real Moses” might have been (if there were one – or if there were only one!) is the near certainty that his name wasn’t Moses. Thus, the name “Moses” or “mose” is an abbreviation, meaning “born (of)” or “son (of)”, as in the name of the founder of the 18th Dynasty of Egypt Ahmose I (meaning “the moon is born” or “born of the moon”) or the name of the famous conquering pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty Thutmose III [meaning (the god) “Thoth is born” or “son of Thoth”, Thoth being the Egyptian god of wisdom, learning, and magic, and scribe of the gods], with the rest of his name omitted. It’s as if someone with the surname Johnson or Peterson had his name abbreviated to just “son”!

Another possibility for who “the real Moses” might have been is provided in a story from about 250 BCE by the Egyptian priest and historian Manetho (as quoted by the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, 37 – c.95 CE):
This king [of Egypt, whom Manetho calls ‘Amenophis’, which is Greek for ‘Amenhotep’ – but Manetho didn’t identify which Amenhotep he was writing about (or Josephus didn’t record it); so, the time could be anywhere in the 200-year time period from about 1520–1320 BCE] was desirous to become a spectator of the gods [i.e., he desired to see the gods]… [he] communicated… his desire to… one that seemed to partake of a divine nature, both as to wisdom and the knowledge of futurities, [who] told him that he might see the gods, if he would clear the whole country of the lepers and of the other impure people… [The] king was pleased with this injunction, and got together all that had any defect in their bodies out of Egypt; and that their number was eighty thousand, whom he sent to those quarries which are on the east side of the Nile, that they might work in them, and might be separated from the rest of the Egyptians… [Among these impure people] there were some of the learned [Egyptian] priests that were polluted with the leprosy…

After those that were sent to work in the quarries had continued in that miserable state for a long while, the king was desired that he would set apart the city Avaris, which was then left desolate of the shepherds [or Hyksos, earlier expelled from Egypt], for their habitation and protection; which desire he granted them. Now this city, according to the ancient theology, was Typho’s city. But when these men were gotten into it, and found the place fit for a revolt, they appointed themselves a ruler out of the priests of Hellopolis, whose name was Osarsiph, and they took their oaths that they would be obedient to him in all things. He then, in the first place, made this law for them: That they should neither worship the Egyptian gods, nor should abstain from any one of those sacred animals, which they have in the highest esteem, but kill and destroy them all; that they should join themselves to nobody but to those that were of this confederacy.

When he had made such laws as these, and many more such as were mainly opposite to the customs of the Egyptians, he gave order that they should use the multitude of the hands they had in building walls about their City, and make themselves ready for a war with king Amenophis, while he did himself take into his friendship the other priests, and those that were polluted with them, and sent ambassadors to those shepherds [Hyksos] who had been driven out of the land by Tefilmosis to the city called Jerusalem; whereby he informed them of his own affairs, and of the state of those others that had been treated after such an ignominious manner, and desired that they would come with one consent to his assistance in this war against Egypt. He also promised that he would, in the first place, bring them back to their ancient city and country Avaris, and provide a plentiful maintenance for their multitude; that he would protect them and fight for them as occasion should require, and would easily reduce the country under their dominion… [Thus, Mantheo claims, this leader (subsequently called Moses) was inviting the Hyksos to return to Egypt.]

But for the people of Jerusalem, when they came down together with the polluted Egyptians, they treated the men in such a barbarous manner, that those who saw how they subdued the forementioned country, and the horrid wickedness they were guilty of, thought it a most dreadful thing; for they did not only set the cities and villages on fire but were not satisfied till they had been guilty of sacrilege, and destroyed the images of the gods, and used them in roasting those sacred animals that used to be worshipped, and forced the priests and prophets to be the executioners and murderers of those animals, and then ejected them naked out of the country. It was also reported that the priest, who ordained their polity and their laws, was by birth of Hellopolls, and his name Osarsiph – from Osyris, who was the god of Hellopolls; but that when he was gone over to these people, his name was changed, and he was called Moses…

[On] the thirteenth year afterward, Amenophis… came upon them out of Ethiopia with a great army, and joining battle with the shepherds and with the polluted people, overcame them in battle, and slew a great many of them, and pursued them as far as the bounds of Syria.
The above is certainly a very different story from the one in the OT! But then, as a general rule, one should never trust what a priest says about another religious leader – or another religion – or even about his own!

Still another possibility for who “the real Moses” might have been has been argued, for example, by Richard Darlow, namely, that Moses was Prince Ramose, who was heir to Thutmose III, who was known as “the great army commander”, and whose name means “son of [the god] Ra”. If Ramose were “the real Moses”, it’s understandable that the Yahwists would drop the name of the god Ra (or Re) from his name!

One of the reasons for suggesting that Ramose was “the real Moses” is that, strangely, Moses is found (at Numbers 12, 1) to be married not only to Zipporah (one of the seven sisters) but also to a black woman:
Then Miriam and Aaron [Moses’ sister and brother] spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman he had married (for he had married an Ethiopian woman).
Meanwhile, the little that’s known about Ramose includes (as given at Darlow’s referenced website):
Prince Ramose commanded Pharaoh’s southern army, most famously in a campaign against the Ethiopians (then called the Cushites). Pharaoh rewarded his victory by making Prince Ramose the Viceroy of Cush in circa 1462 BC, whereupon Ramose also married the daughter of the king of the southern land. Jewish tradition has Moses conquering the Cushites and marrying Princess Tharbis, daughter of the King and Queen of Cush…
And I should admit that I included the above on Moses’ interracial marriage because it’s in stark contrast to Ezra’s racism, which I’ll address in the second part of this post. In that regard, Ezra seems to have been even more hideous than the fictional Moses.

And still another possibility for who Moses might have been is that he was the Pharaoh Akhenaten [who ruled about 100 years after Thutmose III and was known as “the world’s first monotheist”; he worshiped the god Aton, consistent with which he changed his name from Amenhotep (meaning “Amun is satisfied”) to Akhenaten or spelled Akhnaton or Akhenaton (meaning “spirit of Aton”)]. This possibility (or the possibility that Moses might have been a royal-born priest of Akhenaten's monotheism) seems to have been originally made by Freud, apparently in part because of the many similarities in Akhenaten’s Hymn to the Sun and the Bible’s Psalm 104. The reader interested in the possibility that Moses was Akhenaten might want to start by reading the great summary available here.

In his 2002 book Bloodline of the Holy Grail (partially available online at Google Book Search), Laurence Gardner provides additional details (derived from studies by Ahmed Osman) to support Freud’s proposal that Moses was the deposed pharaoh Akhenaten (copied here from pp. 9–11, with footnotes omitted):
The annals of Ramesses II (c.1304–1237 BCE) specify that Semitic people were settled in the land of Goshen, and it is further explained that they went there from Canaan for want of food. But why should Ramesses’ scribes mention this Nile delta settlement at Goshen? According to standard Bible chronology, the Hebrews went to Egypt some three centuries before the time of Ramesses and made their exodus in about 1491 BCE, long before he came to the throne. So, by virtue of this first-hand scribal record, the standard Bible chronology as generally promoted is seen to be incorrect.

It is traditionally presumed that Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt in the 1720s BCE and was made Governor by the Pharaoh a decade or so later. Afterwards, his father Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel) and seventy family members followed him into Goshen to escape the famine in Canaan. Notwithstanding this, Genesis 47:11, Exodus 1:11, and Numbers 33:30 all refer to “the land of Ramesses” (Egyptian: “the house of Ramesses”) – but this was a complex of grain storehouses built by the Israelites for Ramesses II in Goshen some 300 years after they were supposedly there!

It transpires, therefore, that the alternative Jewish Reckoning is more accurate than the Standard Chronology: Joseph was in Egypt not in the early 18th Century BCE, but in the early 15th Century BCE. There, he was appointed Chief Minister to Thutmosis IV (c.1413–1405 BCE). To the Egyptians, however, Joseph (Yusuf the Vizier) was known as Yuya and his story is particularly revealing – not just in relation to the biblical account of Joseph, but also in respect of Moses. The Cairo-born historian and linguist Ahmed Osman has made an in-depth study of these personalities in their contemporary Egyptian environment and his finding are of great significance.

When Pharaoh Tuthmosis died, his son married his sibling sister Sitamun (as was the pharaonic tradition) so that he could inherit the throne as Pharaoh Amenhotep III. Shortly afterwards he also married Tiye, daughter of the chief Minister (Joseph/Yuya). It was decreed, however, that no son born to Tiye could inherit the throne and, because of the overall length of her father Joseph’s governorship, there was general fear that the Israelites were gaining too much power in Egypt. So when Tiye became pregnant, the edict was given that her child should be killed at birth if a son. Tiye’s Israelite relatives lived at Goshen, and she owned a summer palace a little upstream at Zarw, where she went to have her baby. She did indeed bear a son, but the royal midwives conspired with Tiye to float the child downstream in a reed basked to the house of her father’s half-brother Levi.

The boy, Aminadab (born c.1394 BCE) was duly educated in the eastern delta country by the Egyptian priests of Ra. Then, in his teenage years he went to live at Thebes. By that time, his mother had acquired more influence than the senior queen, Sitamun, who have never borne a son and heir to the Pharaoh, only a daughter who was called Nefertiti. In Thebes, Aminadab could not accept the Egyptian deities with their myriad idols, and so he introduced the notion of Aten, an omnipotent god who had no image. Aten was thus akin to the Hebrews’ Aton – a title borrowed from the Phoenician and meaning ‘Lord’ – in line with Israelite teachings. At that time, Aminadab (the Hebrew equivalent of Amenhotep: “Amun is pleased”) changed his name to Akhenaten (Servant of Aten)…

Akhenaton…was banished from Egypt [because of his introduction of monotheism]. He fled with some retainers to the remote safety of Sinai, taking with him his royal scepter topped with a brass serpent. To his supporters he remained very much the rightful monarch – the heir to the [Egyptian] throne from which he had been ousted – and he was still regarded by them as the Mose, Meses or Mosis, meaning ‘heir’ or ‘born of’ – as in Tuthmosis (“born of Tuth”) and Ramesses (“fashioned of Ra”).
But I should add that the reader who desires to see data that support such speculations will likely become as frustrated as I became. I’ll quote here the criticism by “boniface” of another of Osman's proposals:
There is far too much here that lacks substantiation, and the author relies far too heavily on the Bible itself (which he himself claims is completely unreliable) and his personal interpretation thereof, to measure up to even a weak academic standard. It IS an entertaining read; but far too many speculations are held together with very little solid evidence for Osman’s argument to be taken completely seriously.
Meanwhile, some circumstantial evidence that supports Manetho’s story about Moses being a rebellious Egyptian priest is available even in the OT and other Jewish literature. For example, the OT includes an amazing amount of detail on skin infections: in Leviticus 13 & 14, it goes on and on and on! Also, on the internet are many versions of the following story, the one below copied from Benyamin Cohen (although the webpage seems to be no longer available):
Rabbi Yisrael Lipschutz, a classic 19th Century commentator on the Mishnah, tells the story that a king [of Arabia] once heard about the greatness of Moses and commissioned an artist to go to the Israelite camp to paint a portrait of him. Upon the artist’s return, the king gasped when he saw the portrait of what appeared to be a mass murderer. “How can this be?” shouted the king. “This evil man which you painted cannot be Moses!” The artist insisted that the evil degenerate in the portrait was indeed Moses. The king could not believe this and himself traveled to the Jewish people’s camp in order to see Moses in person. When the king arrived, he was astonished to find out that the artist had in fact painted Moses. The king, surprised, admitted to Moses why he originally did not believe the artist. Moses responded by saying that the evil they saw in his face was there. Those evil characteristics were a part of him since birth.
Although it’s highly doubtful that the above story can be validated, yet to me, it’s rather surprising that the Jewish priesthood would have continued to repeat a story (for more than 2,000 years!) that supports Manetho’s “historical report” that Moses was a Egyptian priest with physical defects. Even the OT states that Moses had a speech defect, leading to his brother Aaron speaking for Moses (and founding the Jewish, Aaronite priesthood). But then, the reader can also find reports on the internet that Pharaoh Akhenaton also had physical defects; so, who knows?

There is, however, an obvious problem with the idea that Akhenaton (“the world’s first monotheist”) was Moses, namely, the Moses depicted in the Pentateuch wasn't monotheistic but monolatrous (i.e., he worshipped one god without denying the existence of other gods). Thus, no monotheist would claim (as Exodus 20, 3 states Moses did) that his god (the sole god) would dictate (as no less than Commandment #1!): “You shall have no other gods before me.”

But then again, the authors and redactors of the OT didn’t seem to worry much about consistency; recall, for example, the two different genesis myths. Thus, in the case of whether or not the depicted Moses was a monotheist, at Deuteronomy 4, 39 the authors have the monotheist (!) Moses say: “Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below – there is no other!"

Yet, later in the OT, in Psalm 82, we learn that God sentences the other gods to death:
“This is my [God’s] sentence: Gods you may be, sons all of you of a high god, yet you shall die as men die; princes fall, every one of them, and so shall you.”
If you think about it a bit, you’ll probably conclude that, thereby, God pulled off quite a coup, since by definition, gods are immortal (i.e., they don’t die). In fact, the only way to get rid of gods is the same way as they’re created: via imagination unconstrained by logic or reality!

Fortunately for those of us whose constitution is more comfortable with trying to digest logic and reality, in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra Friedrich Nietzsche offered the following bromide to relieve resulting indigestion (or cognitive dissonance):
For with the old gods things came to an end long ago: – and verily, they had a good and joyful gods’ end! Theirs was no mere ‘twilight’ death – that is a lie! Rather: one day they – laughed themselves to death! This happened when the most godless words issued from a god himself – the words: “There is one God! Thou shalt have no other God before me!” – an old wrath-beard of a god, most jealous, forgot himself…
[To be continued…]



Clerical Enslavement of Cultures

In the previous post I tried to sketch some differences that arose among the cultures of the ancient Greeks, Hebrews, and Persians, differences that were recorded in their respective stories (whether fictional or not). Some of the cultural differences seem to have been derived from differences in locations and associated experiences. Another obvious difference from the Greeks and Persians (and, for that matter, also from the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians) is that the Hebrews prior to Moses were depicted as without a priesthood. Thus, recall from the stories in the Old Testament’s (OT’s) Genesis that all the Jewish patriarchs (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, etc.) communicated directly with their god, without the need for intervening priests.

A major change dominates the next four books of the Pentateuch (i.e., in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy): in the stories contained in these books, the Israelites are saddled with an Egyptian-style priesthood, which interrupts direct communications between the people and their god. The stories introduce “the prophet” Moses, who is depicted as knowing the wily ways of the Egyptian priesthood, who specifies a huge number of perks that the priests are to receive (at the people’s expense!), and who claims to speak to – and for! – the Israelites’ god, Yahweh. Thus, associated with the priests’ imposition of a communications barrier between the people and their god, the stories in the rest of the Pentateuch depict how the poor Jewish people were infected with a parasitic priesthood, which like all priesthoods before and since, controlled communications between the people and their god – for a price, which (of course) the people were to pay the priests.

Admittedly, it was no small trick for the authors of the stories to convince their readers (or, originally, their listeners) that their ancestors would have accepted the priests’ interventions in and interpretations of communications with God – and therefore, so should they. As an important step toward their goal, the authors (whom I’ve been identifying in these posts as Ezra & Co-Conspirators, abbreviated to Ezra & C-C) describe how their (fictitious) Moses put “the fear of the Lord” in the people, claiming (Exodus 19, 12, as given in the New English Bible) that God stated:
“Any man who touches the mountain [which Moses ascended to communicate with God] must be put to death [for even just touching the mountain]! No hand shall touch him [i.e., the person who just touches the mountain]; he shall be stoned or shot dead [or, in another translation, “hurled to his death”]; neither man nor beast may live.
Further, the authors claim that even Moses wasn’t permitted to see Yahweh (Exodus 33, 20):
But he [God] added, “My face you [Moses] cannot see, for no mortal man may see me and live.”
That’s quite a change! For contrast, recall from stories in Genesis that Adam and Eve, Cain, Noah, and Abraham (and even Sarah) had nice little face-to-face chats with God – and Jacob (aka Israel) damn near beat him in a wrestling match!

Even with that change in their stories, however, Ezra & C-C continued (using their fabricated stories about Moses) the same theme promoted in their stories in Genesis about the Jewish patriarchs, namely, that a despicable person could nonetheless be “righteous in the sight of the Lord.” For example, besides being a murderer of an Egyptian and one who was too cowardly and dishonorable to face justice (Exodus 2, 11), Moses is depicted as a mass murderer of Israelites (Exodus 32, 27-29) and as promoting a horrible policy of rape and genocide of people living peacefully on their own land (e.g., Exodus 20). Thus, with their stories about Moses, Ezra & C-C emphasized the same theme as in Genesis:
“You people aren’t to decide who’s righteous and who isn’t; we clerics will do the deciding; your job is to obey [us clerics].”
Thereby, the clerical authors continued their assault on individualism, enslaving the thoughts of individual Hebrews.

As part of that enslavement, the clerical authors continued to stimulate cognitive dissonance in individuals who dared to think for themselves. For example, after God informed Moses (as given above, from Exodus 33, 20) “My face you [Moses] cannot see, for no mortal man may see me and live”, God then states (at Numbers 12, 6):
"Hear now my words: if there is a prophet among you, I the Lord will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. My servant Moses is not like this; he is faithful in all my house. With him I will speak face to face, [italics added] openly, and not in riddles…"
Pity the poor people who were forced to believe such contradictory statements – or who still do.

But what’s additionally new in the rest of the Pentateuch (besides the introduction of a priesthood) is emphasis on collectivism, which has enslaved most Jewish people for more than 2,000 years. Thus, as I mentioned in the previous post, a major feature of Ezra & C-C’s method seems to have been to create a collective feeling in the Jewish culture of oppressed superiority. In this post, I’ll try to explain what I mean by that statement; I’ll also try to illustrate other techniques Ezra & C-C used to enslave the Jewish culture.

To try to rule the Jewish people, Ezra & C-C could chose among many options. They could have chosen to try to rule by example, by persuasion, by force-of-argument, by force-of-arms, democratically, and so on. By examining the messages and morals of their Moses myth, one can see that, from among their many choices, Ezra & C-C rejected the example set by Cyrus the Great (i.e., a benevolent dictatorship, promoting the people’s welfare, including some freedoms, including freedom of religion). Instead, Ezra & C-C selected the examples set, in part, by Persian emperors subsequent to Cyrus (in particular, Cyrus’ son Cambyses and then Darius the Great) and in part by much earlier Egyptian and Sumerian priesthoods: they chose to rule by force, fear, fraud, bribery, trickery, and hate. In short, they chose to rule psychologically. Below, I’ll try to defend that claim – by showing another example from Persia, by describing some of the obvious messages and morals in the stories that Ezra & C-C concocted about Moses, and by suggesting the purposes of their Moses myth.

Skeptical of my claims, the reader might think that Ezra & C-C wouldn’t have been sufficiently cunning to concoct and execute the suggested subterfuge. The reader might think that religious and political leaders ~2400 years ago weren’t so scheming as modern priests and politicians! If so, such a reader – in fact, any reader – may find the following story to be informative. It’s another story from Herodotus. And I think it’s important to repeat that, of course it’s not known if the stories relayed by Herodotus are accurate, but for present purposes, it doesn’t matter: what matters is that his stories probably fairly accurately record the stories that the people (including Ezra & C-C) heard.

In particular, the following is the story about how Darius became the Persian emperor. This Darius must be Darius I (i.e., “Darius the Great”), who ruled from 521–486 BCE, since Darius II lived later (ruling from 423–404 BCE) than when Herodotus published his book (in 440 BCE). And I’ll add (as I mentioned in an earlier post) that I presume (but I’m not sure) that it’s to Darius II that Ezra wrote his message (at Ezra 5, 6) that starts: “To King Darius, all greetings…”

The story (quoted below, copied from Herodotus’ Book 3, starting at ¶80) illustrates not only that the Persians (and therefore Ezra & C-C) were well accustomed to conspiracies but also that the Persian leaders were well aware of different possible ways to rule the people, well aware of the pitfalls of monarchies, oligarchies, and democracies, well aware of the importance of the law, and well aware of basic human psychology. The story also illustrates that the leader who emerged (Darius the Great) was intelligent, resourceful – and cunning.

The setting for the story is the accidental death (described in a story quoted in the previous post) of Cyrus’ son Cambyses, following his learning that Smerdis the Magian had proclaimed himself king, claiming to be Cyrus’ son Smerdis (who had been ordered killed by Cambyses). Subsequently, seven Persians (including Darius, son of a companion of Cyrus) successfully conspired to eliminate the Magian imposter and regain the empire for the Persians.
And now when five days were gone and the hubbub had settled down [this “hubbub” followed the public announcement in Persia by Cambyses’ companion, Prexaspes, that he had (following Cambyses’ orders) killed Cambyses’ brother, Smerdis, and that the Smerdis on the throne was an imposter – and then Prexaspes’ suicide], the conspirators [who sought to regain the throne for the Persians] met together to consult about the situation of affairs. At this meeting speeches were made, to which many of the Greeks give no credence, but they were made nevertheless. Otanes recommended that the management of public affairs should be entrusted to the whole nation. “To me,” he said, “it seems advisable, that we should no longer have a single man to rule over us – the rule of one is neither good nor pleasant. Ye cannot have forgotten to what lengths Cambyses went in his haughty tyranny, and the haughtiness of the Magi ye have yourselves experienced. How indeed is it possible that monarchy should be a well-adjusted thing, when it allows a man to do as he likes without being answerable? Such license is enough to stir strange and unwonted thoughts in the heart of the worthiest of men. Give a person this power, and straightway his manifold good things puff him up with pride, while envy is so natural to human kind that it cannot but arise in him. But pride and envy together include all wickedness – both of them leading on to deeds of savage violence. True it is that kings, possessing as they do all that heart can desire, ought to be void of envy; but the contrary is seen in their conduct towards the citizens. They are jealous of the most virtuous among their subjects, and wish their death, while they take delight in the meanest and basest, being ever ready to listen to the tales of slanderers. A king, besides, is beyond all other men inconsistent with himself. Pay him court in moderation, and he is angry because you do not show him more profound respect – show him profound respect, and he is offended again, because (as he says) you fawn on him. But the worst of all is, that he sets aside the laws of the land, puts men to death without trial, and subjects women to violence. The rule of the many, on the other hand, has, in the first place, the fairest of names, to wit, isonomy [equality under the law]; and further it is free from all those outrages which a king is wont to commit. There, places are given by lot, the magistrate is answerable for what he does, and measures rest with the commonalty. I vote, therefore, that we do away with monarchy, and raise the people to power. For the people are all in all.”

Such were the sentiments of Otanes. Megabyzus spoke next, and advised the setting up of an oligarchy: “In all that Otanes has said to persuade you to put down monarchy,” he observed, “I fully concur; but his recommendation that we should call the people to power seems to me not the best advice. For there is nothing so void of understanding, nothing so full of wantonness, as the unwieldy rabble. It were folly not to be borne, for men, while seeking to escape the wantonness of a tyrant, to give themselves up to the wantonness of a rude unbridled mob. The tyrant, in all his doings, at least knows what is he about, but a mob is altogether devoid of knowledge; for how should there be any knowledge in a rabble, untaught, and with no natural sense of what is right and fit? It rushes wildly into state affairs with all the fury of a stream swollen in the winter, and confuses everything. [Writing approximately 80 years after Herodotus, Plato said similar: “Democracy… is a charming form of government, full of variety and disorder; and dispensing a sort of equality to equals and unequals alike.”] Let the enemies of the Persians be ruled by democracies [e.g., the Greeks]; but let us choose out from the citizens a certain number of the worthiest, and put the government into their hands. For thus both we ourselves shall be among the governors, and power being entrusted to the best men, it is likely that the best counsels will prevail in the state.”

This was the advice which Megabyzus gave, and after him Darius came forward, and spoke as follows: “All that Megabyzus said against democracy was well said, I think; but about oligarchy he did not speak advisedly; for take these three forms of government – democracy, oligarchy, and monarchy – and let them each be at their best, I maintain that monarchy far surpasses the other two. What government can possibly be better than that of the very best man in the whole state? The counsels of such a man are like himself, and so he governs the mass of the people to their heart’s content, while at the same time, his measures against evil-doers are kept more secret than in other states. Contrariwise, in oligarchies, where men vie with each other in the service of the commonwealth, fierce enmities are apt to arise between man and man, each wishing to be leader, and to carry his own measures; whence violent quarrels come, which lead to open strife, often ending in bloodshed. Then monarchy is sure to follow; and this too shows how far that rule surpasses all others. Again, in a democracy, it is impossible but that there will be malpractices: these malpractices, however, do not lead to enmities, but to close friendships, which are formed among those engaged in them, who must hold well together to carry on their villainies. And so things go on until a man stands forth as champion of the commonalty, and puts down the evil-doers. Straightway the author of so great a service is admired by all, and from being admired soon comes to be appointed king, so that here too it is plain that monarchy is the best government. [As Plato later summarized: “Dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy…”] Lastly, to sum up all in a word, whence, I ask, was it that we got the freedom which we enjoy? – did democracy give it to us, or oligarchy, or a monarch? As a single man [Cyrus the Great] recovered our freedom for us, my sentence is that we keep to the rule of one. Even apart from this, we ought not to change the laws of our forefathers when they work fairly; for to do so is not well.”

Such were the three opinions brought forward at this meeting; the four other Persians voted in favor of the last [i.e., a monarchy]. Otanes, who wished to give his countrymen a democracy, when he found the decision against him, arose a second time, and spoke thus before the assembly: “Brother conspirators, it is plain that the king who is to be chosen will be one of ourselves, whether we make the choice by casting lots for the prize, or by letting the people decide which of us they will have to rule over them, in or any other way. Now, as I have neither a mind to rule nor to be ruled, I shall not enter the lists with you in this matter. I withdraw, however, on one condition – none of you shall claim to exercise rule over me or my seed for ever.” The six agreed to these terms, and Otanes withdraw and stood aloof from the contest. And still to this day [~440 BCE] the family of Otanes continues to be the only free family in Persia; those who belong to it submit to the rule of the king only so far as they themselves choose; they are bound, however, to observe the laws of the land like the other Persians.

After this the six took counsel together, as to the fairest way of setting up a king: First, with respect to Otanes, they resolved, that if any of their own number got the kingdom, Otanes and his seed after him should receive year by year, as a mark of special honor, a Median robe, and all such other gifts as are accounted the most honorable in Persia. And these they resolved to give him, because he was the man who first planned the outbreak, and who brought the seven together. These privileges, therefore, were assigned specially to Otanes. The following were made common to them all: It was to be free to each, whenever he pleased, to enter the palace unannounced, unless the king were in the company of one of his wives; and the king was to be bound to marry into no family excepting those of the conspirators. Concerning the appointment of a king, the resolve to which they came was the following: They would ride out together next morning into the skirts of the city, and he whose steed first neighed after the sun was up should have the kingdom.

Now Darius had a groom, a sharp-witted knave, called Oebares. After the meeting had broken up, Darius sent for him, and said, “Oebares, this is the way in which the king is to be chosen – we are to mount our horses, and the man whose horse first neighs after the sun is up is to have the kingdom. If then you have any cleverness, contrive a plan whereby the prize may fall to us, and not go to another.” “Truly, master,” Oebares answered, “if it depends on this whether thou shalt be king or no, set thine heart at ease, and fear nothing: I have a charm which is sure not to fail.” “If thou hast really aught of the kind,” said Darius, “hasten to get it ready. The matter does not brook delay, for the trial is to be to-morrow.” So Oebares when he heard that, did as follows: When night came, he took one of the mares, the chief favorite of the horse which Darius rode, and tethering it in the suburb, brought his master’s horse to the place; then, after leading him round and round the mare several times, nearer and nearer at each circuit, he ended by letting them come together.

And now, when the morning broke, the six Persians, according to agreement, met together on horseback, and rode out to the suburb. As they went along they neared the spot where the mare was tethered the night before, whereupon the horse of Darius sprang forward and neighed. Just at the same time, though the sky was clear and bright, there was a flash of lightning, followed by a thunderclap. It seemed as if the heavens conspired with Darius [or – as if the story was embellished!], and hereby inaugurated him king: so the five other nobles leaped with one accord from their steeds, and bowed down before him and owned him for their king…

Thus was Darius, son of Hystaspes, appointed king; and, except the Arabians, all they of Asia were subject to him; for Cyrus, and after him Cambyses, had brought them all under. The Arabians were never subject as slaves to the Persians, but had a league of friendship with them from the time when they brought Cambyses on his way as he went into Egypt; for had they been unfriendly the Persians could never have made their invasion.

[Which, by the way, might explain why the Arabs didn’t adopt (until Muhammad) the Persians’ (Zarathustra’s) speculations about God and Satan, Heaven and Hell, and a cosmic battle between Good and Evil: it’s clear from the Koran that the Arabs continued to be polytheists until Muhammad forced on them the crazy ideas that he learned from stories in the Persian-inspired Bible! Similarly, the Greeks didn’t become Persian “slaves” and maintained their polytheism until the Romans under “Saint” Constantine (the “butcher emperor”) forced the Bible on them (and on the rest of Europe). The Hebrews, on the other hand, were one of the first groups to be “subject as slaves to the Persians” and incorporated Zarathustra’s wild ideas into their Old Testament. And currently, after another bizarre turn of events (after the Arabs conquered Persia and forced the Islamic version of the Persian religion as found in the Bible onto the conquered Persians!), Iranian leaders are threatening to destroy the Israelites, who for ~2,400 years have most conscientiously and completely (save for the few remaining Zoroastrians) preserved the original Persian religion! Upon considering such craziness (and contemplating some of the horrors of the associated wars and terrorism) surely no one would suggest that such religious people are sane.]

And now Darius contracted marriages of the first rank, according to the notions of the Persians: to wit, with two daughters of Cyrus, Atossa and Artystone; of whom, Atossa had been twice married before, once to Cambyses, her brother, and once to the Magus, while the other, Artystone, was a virgin. He married also Parmys, daughter of Smerdis, son of Cyrus; and he likewise took to wife the daughter of Otanes, who had made the discovery about the Magus. And now when his power was established firmly throughout all the kingdoms, the first thing that he did was to set up a carving in stone, which showed a man mounted upon a horse, with an inscription in these words following: Darius, son of Hystaspes, by aid of his good horse [here followed the horse’s name] and of his good groom Oebares, got himself the kingdom of the Persians.

This he set up in Persia; and afterwards he proceeded to establish twenty governments of the kind which the Persians call satrapies, assigning to each its governor, and fixing the tribute which was to be paid him by the several nations. And generally he joined together in one satrapy the nations that were neighbors, but sometimes he passed over the nearer tribes, and put in their stead those which were more remote. The following is an account of these governments, and of the yearly tribute which they paid to the king…

During all the reign of Cyrus, and afterwards when Cambyses ruled, there were no fixed tributes, but the nations severally brought gifts to the king. On account of this and other like doings, the Persians say that Darius was a huckster [italics added], Cambyses a master, and Cyrus a father; for Darius looked to making a gain in everything [italics added]; Cambyses was harsh and reckless; while Cyrus was gentle, and procured them all manner of goods.

The Ionians, the Magnesians of Asia, the Aeolians, the Carians, the Lycians, the Milyans, and the Pamphylians, paid their tribute in a single sum, which was fixed at four hundred talents of silver. These formed together the first satrapy.

The Mysians, Lydians, Lasonians, Cabalians, and Hygennians paid the sum of five hundred talents. This was the second satrapy.

The Hellespontians, of the right coast as one enters the straits, the Phrygians, the Asiatic Thracians, the Paphlagonians, the Mariandynians’ and the Syrians paid a tribute of three hundred and sixty talents. This was the third satrapy.

The Cilicians gave three hundred and sixty white horses, one for each day in the year [before the calendar was revised to have 365.25 days per year!] and five hundred talents of silver. Of this sum one hundred and forty talents went to pay the cavalry which guarded the country, while the remaining three hundred and sixty were received by Darius. This was the fourth satrapy.

The country reaching from the city of Posideium (built by Amphilochus, son of Amphiaraus, on the confines of Syria and Cilicia) to the borders of Egypt [therefore, I assume, including the land of the Canaanites], excluding therefrom a district which belonged to Arabia and was free from tax, paid a tribute of three hundred and fifty talents. All Phoenicia, Palestine Syria, and Cyprus, were herein contained. This was the fifth satrapy…
I continued the above quotation further than the reader might have expected (if my goal were solely to show the political astuteness of the Persian leaders) to include Herodotus’ reports both that “Darius was a huckster” and that the Hebrews were required to pay “tribute” to Persia. I wanted to include those assessments to suggest that Darius’ prime goal in having the Hebrews return from Babylon to Canaan was probably to increase his “revenue stream” – and it was Ezra & C-C’s job to insure that the tribute was paid! To do so, the Hebrew conspirators (Ezra & C-C) chose to establish not a monarchy, an oligarchy, or a democracy, but a theocracy.

To establish their theocracy (i.e., their psychological tyranny) over the Jewish people, the first important trick that Ezra & C-C had to accomplish was to convince the Israelites that fabricated stories about Moses were “true”: that the imagined, fictitious creator of the universe was “personally” interested in their fate. To that end, Ezra & C-C used a ruse undoubtedly concocted by the first successful con artist, thousands of years earlier: offer “the mark” something he wants whose value far exceeds what the mark is willing to pay. They accomplished that con (as in “confidence scheme”) by selling the Hebrews the idea that they were “the chosen people”, chosen by no less than the creator of the universe, who (if they’d only accept him as their god – and Ezra & C-C as their rulers!) would give them “a land flowing with milk and honey.”

Those two themes appear repeatedly. The “milk and honey” enticement appears (for example) at Exodus 3:8, 3:17, 13:5, 33:3 (using the usual scheme for referencing the Bible) and (for example) at Deuteronomy 6:3, 11:9, 26:9, 26:15, 27:3, and 31:20. Meanwhile, the “chosen people” theme appears (for example) at Exodus 5:1, 7:4, 7:16, 8:1, 8:8, 8:21, 8:22, 8:23, 9:1, 9:13, 9:17, 9:27, 10:3, 10:4, 12:31, 19:5, 22:25… In fact, at Exodus 19, 5 Ezra & C-C even “butter-up” the “chosen people” theme with:
“If only you [Israelites] will now listen to me [God] and keep my covenant, then out of all peoples you shall become my special possession… You shall be my kingdom of priests, my holy nation…”
Happiness is being God’s “special possession”, a member of a “holy nation”, living in a land “flowing with milk and honey”!

But as any competent con artist knows, selling only greed can be risky: if you don’t produce “the goods” (or, at least, appear to produce the goods), then not only will the greedy people soon become suspicious (that they’ve been conned) but also, quite commonly, they’ll hypocritically accuse the con artists of being greedy – and seek revenge for having been conned. Long before Ezra & C-C, therefore, Sumerian and Egyptian con-artist clerics had learned (by experience) that to entrap people, it was advisable to stimulate in their marks not only greed but also fear.

Illustrative of how Ezra & C-C added fear to their con game (beyond the people’s fear in seeing God – or even, just touching his mountain!) is the following fabricated story, from Exodus 32. [And I should admit that, to illustrate the method by which Moses allegedly instilled additional fear in the people, I could have quoted just the final paragraph of what’s given below. My reason for including more is that I wanted to encourage readers to consider, also, the quality of the writing in this part of the Pentateuch (possibly written by Ezra himself). My assessment is this: in contrast to the writings of Homer (a little of which I quoted in the previous post) or even of Herodotus (e.g., quoted above), writings that I think can challenge the intellectual capabilities of many adults, I think that many of the writings in the Bible (e.g., those quoted below) frequently insult the intelligence of children – and commonly challenge adult readers to try to avoid adding snide comments (a challenge to which, I admit, I succumbed!)] The (long) quotation follows; I’ve copied it from the (digitized) NET version of the Bible.
When the people saw that Moses delayed in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron [Moses’ brother] and said to him, “Get up, make us gods that will go before us. [The people seem to have no trouble giving Aaron orders!] As for this fellow Moses [Did the people really use the word ‘fellow’? Maybe the transcriber on the scene (☹) misheard the word ‘brother’ as ‘fellow’.], the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt [Someone’s gotta be kidding! Would the people really have added “the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt”? Was there some other Moses? Did Aaron not know that his brother (allegedly) brought the people out of Egypt? Was the author of this nonsense concerned that his readers wouldn’t remember who Moses was – and so added some “stage directions”?!], we do not know what has become of him!” [“We hear all this talk about a land flowing with milk and honey, but that’s all it’s been: just talk.”]

So Aaron said to them, “Break off the gold earrings that are on the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” [How the fleeing slaves managed to have so much gold is another story; why the sons were wearing golden earrings is a story that I’m not a liberty to divulge.] So all the people broke off the gold earrings that were on their ears [they didn’t remove the earrings that were on the noses – I guess] and brought them to Aaron, he accepted the gold from them [has any priest, anywhere, ever refused to accept gold?!] fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf. [Hello? Anyone tried to make a golden calf that way? “Fashioned {the gold} with an engraving tool”? How about first carving out a mold and then pouring molten gold into the mold? Collecting and using the gold from the earrings of the wives, sons, and daughters of (a reported) 600,000 men, the task should take only about six months!] Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” [Isn’t it neat that, approximately 1,000 years after the incident allegedly happened, we have an EXACT recording of what was said?]

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it, and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow will be a feast to the Lord.” So they got up early on the next day and offered up burnt offerings and brought peace offerings, and the people sat down to eat and drink, and they rose up to play. [What clumsy writing! How about something of the form: So, Aaron built an alter before their new god and proclaimed: “Tomorrow will be a feast to your god.” On the next day, the people brought peace offering and burnt offering, they ate and drank, and then rose up to play – volleyball!]

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Go quickly, descend, because your people, whom you brought up from the land of Egypt [did Moses have some other people?] have acted corruptly. [And Moses responded: “Oh, don’t be such a worry wart, Yahweh: they’re just playin’ volleyball.”] They have quickly turned aside from the way that I commanded them – they have made for themselves a molten calf and have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt’.” [If they made only one idol, why would they say “these are your gods” {plural}?]

Then the Lord said to Moses: “I have seen this people. Look what a stiff-necked people they are! [They aren’t stiff necked; they’re looking out for the volleyball: that Aaron has a wicked spike.] So now, leave me alone so that my anger can burn against them and I can destroy them, and I will make from you a great nation.” [Well, if that was God’s desire, then why in the previous paragraph did he tell Moses: “Go quickly, descend”? And is there some new, untold reason why the creator of the universe couldn’t “burn” his anger in the presence of Moses? I mean, rumor has it that God was omnipotent, able to do pretty much whatever he damn well pleased.]

But Moses sought the favor of the Lord his God and said, “O Lord, why does your anger burn against your people, whom you have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? [Wouldn’t it have been sufficient to say “with great power”?] Why should the Egyptians say, ‘For evil he led them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’? [And you wouldn’t want the Egyptians to think badly of you, would you – I mean, beyond their anger at your killing all their firstborn?] Turn from your burning anger, and relent of this evil against your people. [God, being a little slow witted (maybe from the mountain's altitude) apparently missing the opportunity to say: “Evil? What do you mean evil, you little worm? I’m talking here about punishment! If you want to see evil, I’ll show you what I do to little worms who describe what I do as ‘evil’.”] Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel your servants, to whom you swore by yourself and told them, ‘I will multiply your descendants like the stars of heaven, and all this land that I have spoken about I will give to your descendants, and they will inherit it forever’.”

Then the Lord relented over the evil [?!] that he had said he would do to his people. [And so, by the way, in case the reader should ever happen to meet up with the creator of the universe (i.e., the original symmetry-breaking fluctuation in the total void), then the reader might profit from noticing that Moses (and similarly, Abraham) had little difficulty in getting God to see the errors in his plans. I mean, there’s theoretical omniscience, and then, there’s God’s omniscience. Besides, notice that God apparently has a very poor memory – except, of course, he does remember not to flood the Earth again – we hope – because he tied rainbows around his finger to remind him of, er, does he remember?! In any event, if the reader should ever find a poor little child reading the Bible, it would be good to assure her: “No, Dear, you needn’t worry that God will punish you in Hell for eternity for taking that cookie. On the one hand, God’s got a crummy memory, and on the other hand, even in the unlikely event that he does remember that you took the cookie (when he can’t even remember not to flood the world unless he sees a rainbow!), then you’ll easily be able to show him his errors. Tell him that, in your family, children were always allowed to take at least one cookie per day without asking – and if he doesn’t believe you, tell him to come and talk to me about it, and I’ll straighten him out.”]

Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the two tablets of the testimony in his hands. The tablets were written on both sides – they were written on the front and on the back. [In case the reader didn’t know what “both sides” meant. Of course, one should consider the possibility, I suppose, that the testimony could have been written also on the edges (in smaller letters) – but then, it wouldn’t have been appropriate to say “both sides”, as in “two sides”, would it?] Now the tablets were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets. [A remark added, no doubt, in case someone might have thought that Moses spent all that time on the mountain chiseling the messages into the stone by himself. As for what Moses might have been doing all that time on the mountain or why an omnipotent god couldn’t whip the tablets out in a fraction of a picosecond, I’m sorry, but again I’m not a liberty to say.]

When Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said to Moses, “It is the sound of war in the camp!” [By the way, in case the reader doesn’t know, Joshua was a military man, and to him, everything sounded like war – making him drool.] Moses said, “It is not the sound of those who shout for victory, nor is it the sound of those who cry because they are overcome, but the sound of singing I hear.” [Goodness gracious! We can’t have singing! That’s terrible!]

When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry. He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain. [They must have been very fragile stone-tablets! Were they sandstone? If so, why did it take Moses (or God) so long to write on sandstone?] He took the calf they had made and burned it in the fire, ground it to powder, poured it out on the water, and made the Israelites drink it. [Although later, at Deuteronomy 9, 21, Moses says: “I [Moses] took the calf, that sinful thing that you had made and burnt it and pounded it, grinding it until it was as fine as dust; then I flung its dust into the torrent that flowed down the mountain.” So, does that mean Moses just had them drink some of the water from the torrent? There’s quite a difference between those two possibilities!]

Moses said to Aaron, “What did this people do to you, that you have brought on them so great a sin?” Aaron said, “Do not let your anger burn hot, my lord [so, earlier, when the Lord’s anger “burned hot”, just exactly who was the Lord? Is there as suggestion, here, that Moses is the Lord?]; you know these people, that they tend to evil. [Like eating, dancing, and singing, doncha know.] They said to me, ‘Make us gods that will go before us, for as for this fellow Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has happened to him.’ So I said to them [‘I know what Moses you’re talking about; don’t treat me like an idiot!’], ‘Whoever has gold, break it off.’ So they gave it to me, and I threw it into the fire, and this calf came out.” [All by itself, did it? Even though, a few paragraphs earlier, we read: “So all the people broke off the gold earrings that were on their ears and brought them to Aaron, he accepted the gold from them, fashioned it with an engraving tool, and made a molten calf.” Gosh, does that mean that Aaron, the founder of the Jewish priesthood, lied? Gosh. Who would have thought? And God assigned a liar to be the founder of the Jewish priesthood? Gosh. Who would have thought?]

Moses saw that the people were running wild [dancing and singing (not to dwell on playin' volleyball) is kinda wild, doncha know], for Aaron had let them get completely out of control [and for God’s (and the clerics’) sake, the people aren’t to get out of control!], causing derision from their enemies. [What “enemies” knew about it? The pursuing Egyptians were long since killed. Is the author referring to the people’s archenemies, i.e., the priests? Or does the author mean (as seems apparent from the next paragraph) that the “enemies” are the enemies of the priesthood, i.e., the Israelites who decided that Moses and his henchmen were running a con game?]

So Moses stood at the entrance of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” All the Levites [i.e., the subsequent assistants to the Aaronite priesthood] gathered around him, and he said to them, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel [and although there’s no record of God actually saying this, it’s to be understood, doncha know, that when Moses says something, he’s speaking for God – or if you want, just assume he’s God!]: ‘Each man fasten his sword on his side [I’m sorry, but once again, I’m not at liberty to divulge how the fleeing ‘slaves’ acquired swords], and go back and forth from entrance to entrance throughout the camp [how about just “go through the camp”?], and each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor’.” [And this, Moses allegedly said, almost immediately after he relayed the commandment from God (so he claims), “Thou shalt not kill” (or “Thou shalt not murder”), and not long before he relayed that God said (Leviticus 19, 17): “You shall reprove your fellow-countryman frankly… you shall love your neighbor as a man like yourself.” Here, Moses is just being more explicit (doncha know) about what he means by “reproving… frankly” not only “neighbors” and “fellow-countryman” but also “friends” and “brothers”, namely: kill them!] The Levites did what Moses ordered, and that day about three thousand men of the people died [i.e., were murdered by the priests’ henchmen]. Moses said [to the henchmen, his fellow Levites], “You have been consecrated today for the Lord, for each of you was against his son or against his brother [i.e., you murdered them], so he has given a blessing to you today [or, in another translation, “so you have brought a blessing upon yourselves”].”
And thus Ezra & C-C demonstrated competence in their skullduggery: with their story about Moses offering the people “a land flowing with milk and honey”, they stimulated greed in “the chosen people”, and with the above story, Ezra & C-C stimulated their fear – not just fear of God but, more significantly (for the clerics) fear of the clerics: death to those who disobey!

More generally, there’s a rule in the above that all clerics have learned (and history has show that, when given the chance, they eagerly apply): fear of God isn’t sufficient to control the people; what’s needed is fear of some “Special Security” (SS) troops loyal to the clerics. Thus, Ezra & C-C have their mythical Moses form an SS force, a squad of killers, who would murder anyone for their leader. That example was followed by “Saint” Constantine (the butcher emperor of Rome) who used troops to force Christianity on the Roman Empire, by subsequent popes (and other Christian leaders) who tortured and murdered “heretics”, by Muhammad and subsequent caliphs (“deputies of God”) who used jihadis to ruthlessly rule a Muslim empire, by Joseph Smith whose Danites murdered Mormon apostates, and still today, the rule is mimicked by Taliban enforcers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, by the Secret Police in Iran, by the Religious Police in Saudi Arabia, and by bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. The leaders “justify” their actions by claiming that they serve some “higher good” – with the highest “good” of course being that the leaders remain in power.

Now, readers might hope that the above quotation illustrating religious intolerance (killing apostates) would represent the limit of the Ezra & C-C’s depravity, promoted using the twin prongs on the devil’s fork of fear and greed. Unfortunately, though, there’s much more. For example, in the quotation below (from Exodus 20) Ezra & C-C proposed that their mythical Moses instigated an absolutely horrible campaign of brutality, murder, rape, genocide… against the people who were peacefully living on their own land (imagined to be invaded by the mythical Jews) but who, horrors of horrors, were so depraved that they worshipped other gods. Thereby, Ezra & C-C stimulated and focused the people’s common tendency to hate – in this case, hate of “foreigners” and “unbelievers” (in the clerics’ con game).
When you go to war against your enemies [Moses allegedly said] and see chariotry and troops who outnumber you, do not be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt, is with you. As you move forward for battle, the priest will approach and say to the soldiers [giving them a “pep talk” – while staying out of harm’s way, of course, as clerics invariably do], “Listen, Israel! Today you are moving forward to do battle with your enemies. Do not be fainthearted. Do not fear and tremble or be terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you to fight on your behalf against your enemies to give you victory [which is similar to the stupidity that Islamic leaders now use to stimulate Muslim terrorists]…"

When you approach a city to wage war against it, offer it terms of peace. If it accepts your terms and submits to you, all the people found in it will become your slaves. [It’s not that God is opposed to slavery – just slavery of his “chosen people”!] If it does not accept terms of peace but makes war with you, then you are to lay siege to it. The Lord your God will deliver it over to you and you must kill every single male by the sword. However, the women, little children, cattle, and anything else in the city – all its plunder – you may take for yourselves as spoil. [Happiness is having women as “spoil” and children to “plunder”.] You may take from your enemies the plunder that the Lord your God has given you.

This is how you are to deal with all those cities located far from you, those that do not belong to these nearby nations. As for the cities of these peoples that the Lord your God is going to give you as an inheritance, you must not allow a single living thing to survive. [Not even bunny rabbits?] Instead you must utterly annihilate them – the Hittites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites…
Thus, the authors claim, the superiority of the “true-believers” justified their slaughtering the unbelieving men, raping their virgin women, etc., who were peacefully living on their own land but who worshipped different gods – and more significantly, paid a different parasitic priesthood.

Upon reading such hideousness as the above, readers whose humanity hasn’t been completely subverted by one of the Abrahamic religions surely have a host of questions, such as: How could parents permit their children to hear such filth? Why isn’t this horrible stuff restricted so that only those who have demonstrated critical-thinking skills are permitted to read it? How could it possibly be that approximately half the people in the world consider this crap to be directly communicated from the creator of the universe?! Elsewhere, I've addressed such questions. Here, I want to address more restricted questions, such as: Why did Ezra & C-C concoct this junk? What was the message that they were attempting to communicate? What is the main moral of their Moses myth?

Well, in response to such questions, many biblical scholars have concluded that Ezra & C-C (i.e., the authors), themselves, provide answers – albeit indirectly. Such answers can be seen in what the authors have Moses say at, e.g., Deuteronomy 4, 32-38 and 30, 1-10, quoted below. To appreciate the answer, the reader is encouraged to imagine how the Israelites would have likely interpreted these statements upon first hearing the stories (as read to them by Ezra & C-C), while they were either living in Babylon or just returning from Babylon.

For reasons that I mentioned in the previous post (dealing with archeological and historical investigations) and for additional reasons that I intend to address in the next post (dealing with who Moses might have been – if he existed at all!), it seems likely that the Israelites who listened to the stories about Moses previously knew essentially nothing about either Moses or about a Jewish exodus from Egypt (which allegedly occurred approximately a thousand years earlier). In contrast, though, the listeners were certainly keenly aware of their own exodus from Babylon. Therefore (many scholars have suggested), it was the Israelites’ Babylonian experience that gave meaning to the following (from Deuteronomy 4, 32–38):
Indeed, ask about the distant past, starting from the day God created humankind on the earth, and ask from one end of heaven to the other, whether there has ever been such a great thing as this, or even a rumor of it. Have a people ever heard the voice of God speaking from the middle of fire [fire being the principal symbol of Zoroastrianism], as you yourselves have, and lived to tell about it? Or has God ever before tried to deliver a nation [the Israelites] from the middle of another nation [such as the Persian nation!], accompanied by judgments, signs, wonders, war, strength, power, and other very terrifying things… You have been taught that the Lord alone is God – there is no other besides him. From heaven he spoke to you in order to teach you, and on earth he showed you his great fire from which you also heard his words. Moreover, because he loved your ancestors, he chose their descendants who followed them and personally brought you out of Egypt with his great power to dispossess nations greater and stronger than you and brought you here this day to give you their land as your property…
The reader is thus asked to consider the possibility that, to the Babylonian exiles, the above seemed less like a “pep talk” given by Moses to the Israelites leaving Egypt and more like a “pep talk” given by Ezra to the Israelites leaving Babylon! Viewed that way, the above quotations allegedly from Moses appear in an entirely different light, especially for readers who appreciate (e.g., from historical and archeological research) that (with about 99% certainty) the events depicted about Moses leading an exodus from Egypt probably never occurred – and in the ~1% chance that something similar to the events depicted did occur, then there’s about a 99.99% certainty that they aren’t reported accurately!

This alternative illumination of the above quotations (and of quotations to follow) can help the reader to see Ezra & C-C’s skullduggery more clearly. Thus, the reader is asked to consider the obvious: the purpose of these stories about Moses was NOT to describe Hebrew history to the Israelites. Instead, their purpose was to motivate the descendants of the Jews who declined Cyrus’ invitation for them to leave Babylon [The Paris of the Ancient world! Who wants to return to the Israeli farms?!] to finally get off their butts, discard their luxuries, and return to their homeland – so the “huckster” Darius would be paid his “tribute” from his “Fifth Satrapy”. It’s therefore suggested that the story about the Exodus from Egypt isn’t about Moses shepherding the Israeli sheep out of Egypt; instead, it’s a literary construct concocted by Ezra & C-C to herd the Jews out of Babylon, with the shepherd being Ezra – disguised as Moses!

When Moses is viewed as a literary device, then not only do the Moses stories in the Pentateuch start to make sense but also, surely the reader becomes more impressed with the skill at which Ezra & C-C perpetrated their deception: it was on par with the skullduggery achieved by Cyrus the Great (getting the Persians to follow him to overthrow the Medes), by Cambyses (murdering his brother Smerdis, so he wouldn’t ascend to the throne), by the magus Patizeithes (putting his own brother Smerdis on the throne, claiming that it was Cyrus’ son Smerdis), and by Darius the Great (joining the conspiracy to overthrow the magus Smerdis, gaining the crown by arranging for his horse to be the first to whinny, and organizing his empire so that the loot would flow back to him).

To see it more clearly, consider another example of Ezra & C-C’s stimulating greed and fear in the Israelites (this one from Deuteronomy 28). This time, however, the reader is asked to consider that it’s not Moses talking to Israelites who were Egyptian exiles but Ezra talking to Israelites who were Babylonian exiles:
If you indeed obey the Lord your God and are careful to observe all his commandments I [Moses/Ezra!] am giving you today, the Lord your God will elevate you above all the nations of the earth. [Greed is good!] All these blessings will come to you in abundance if you obey the Lord your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the field. Your children will be blessed, as well as the produce of your soil, the offspring of your livestock, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your mixing bowl will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out. The Lord will cause your enemies who attack you to be struck down before you; they will attack you from one direction but flee from you in seven different directions. The Lord will decree blessing for you with respect to your barns and in everything you do – yes, he will bless you in the land he is giving you.

The Lord will designate you as his holy people just as he promised you, if you keep his commandments and obey him. Then all the peoples of the earth will see that you belong to the Lord, and they will respect you [a superior people]. The Lord will greatly multiply your children, the offspring of your livestock, and the produce of your soil in the land which he promised your ancestors he would give you. The Lord will open for you his good treasure house, the heavens, to give you rain for the land in its season and to bless all you do; you will lend to many nations but you will not borrow from any. The Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always end up at the top and not at the bottom, if you obey his commandments which I am urging you today to be careful to do. But you must not turn away from all the commandments I [Moses/Ezra] am giving you today, to either the right or left, nor pursue other gods and worship them. [All of which is similar to (but, fittingly for Ezra the priest, more verbose than!) the “blessings” both Cyrus and Cambyses offered to their followers.]

But if you ignore the Lord your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I [Moses/Ezra] am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force [so, fear the Lord!]: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the field. Your basket and your mixing bowl will be cursed. Your children will be cursed, as well as the produce of your soil, the calves of your herds, and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out. The Lord will send on you a curse, confusing you and opposing you in everything you undertake until you are destroyed and quickly perish because of the evil of your deeds, in that you have forsaken me. The Lord will plague you with deadly diseases until he has completely removed you from the land you are about to possess. He will afflict you with weakness, fever, inflammation, infection, sword, blight, and mildew; these will attack you until you perish. The sky above your heads will be bronze and the earth beneath you iron. The Lord will make the rain of your land powder and dust; it will come down on you from the sky until you are destroyed. [Again, similar to the curses of both Cyrus and Cambyses, made to instill fear.]
And as if that weren’t enough, at Deuteronomy 30, 1–10, Ezra & C-C have their literary Moses “prophesy” that, in fact, the Israelites won’t do as they’re told, that they’ll be overrun by enemies (e.g., led by Nebuchadnezzar!), that they’ll be banished (to Babylon!), but then, that they’ll be redeemed – exactly as just happened to have already occurred (☹):
When you have experienced all these things, both the blessings and the curses I [Moses/Ezra] have set before you, you will reflect upon them in all the nations where the Lord your God has banished you [in Babylon!]. Then [i.e., now!], if you and your descendants turn to the Lord your God and obey him with your whole mind and being just as I [Ezra!] am commanding you today, the Lord your God will reverse your captivity and have pity on you. He will turn and gather you from all the peoples among whom he has scattered you. Even if your exiles are in the most distant land [e.g., Babylon] from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.

Then he will bring you to the land your ancestors possessed [But notice: Moses couldn’t have said that, because the Israelites leaving Egypt had never possessed the land of the Canaanites – but the Israelites leaving Babylon had!] and you also will possess it; he will do better for you and multiply you more than he did your ancestors. The Lord your God will also cleanse your heart and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your mind and being and so that you may live. [Yet, if one makes an obvious extension to Aristotle’s, “No one loves the man whom he fears”, then Moses’ (/Ezra’s) demand is seen to be asinine: No man loves a god whom he fears.] Then the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies, on those who hate you and persecute you [an oppressed, superior people]. You will return and obey the Lord, keeping all his commandments I [Moses/Ezra] am giving you today. The Lord your God will make the labor of your hands abundantly successful and multiply your children, the offspring of your cattle, and the produce of your soil. For the Lord your God will once more rejoice over you to make you prosperous just as he rejoiced over your ancestors, if you obey the Lord your God and keep his commandments and statutes that are written in this scroll of the law. But you must turn to him with your whole mind and being.
Since that “prophecy” had been fulfilled (☹), then wasn’t it obvious (the poor Jewish people were undoubtedly expected to conclude) that Ezra was telling “the truth”?!

And in their deceit, Ezra & C-C even concocted a response to the expected question: “What did our ancestors do so wrong that we ended up being captives in Babylon?” In fact, answering that question seems to be the linchpin that Ezra & C-C used to lock the poor Jewish people in their chains. Thus, to “explain” to the Israelites why they’d experienced so many troubles [e.g., being captured by Nebuchadnezzar and hauled off to Babylon – in spite of their being “God’s chosen people” and having been promised (by no less than the creator of the universe) that they’d possess someone else’s land that was “flowing with milk and honey”], Ezra & C-C have Moses allegedly [and, again, prophetically (☹)] explain that he knows that the Israelites will fail to obey and will be punished for it!

Moses’ threat to the Jewish people (that their god would punish them for violations of “the law”) appears multiple times in the OT. At Deuteronomy 4, 25, for example, it appears as follows.
When you have children and grandchildren and grow old in the land, if you then fall into the degrading practice of making any kind of carved figure, doing what is wrong in the eyes of the Lord your God [italics added] and provoking him to anger, I [Moses/Ezra] summon heaven and earth to witness against you this day [happiness is being able to summon heaven and earth to do your bidding!]: you will soon vanish from the land which you are to occupy after crossing the Jordon. You will not live long in it; you will be swept away [e.g., to Babylon]. The Lord will disperse you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations [e.g., the Assyrian and Persian nations] to which the Lord will lead you.
One might think that the above threat would have been clear enough, certainly clear enough for such reportedly intelligent fellows as David, Saul, Solomon, and so on. Yet, according to the OT, they (and many, many, other Israelites) ignored this warning – which of course the clerical authors used (in hindsight, in their prophetic “vision”, ☹) to “explain” why the Israelites were punished, exactly as they claimed Moses had warned.

The easiest way to see how many times the Israelites “did wrong in the eyes of the Lord” [or, in other translations, “did evil in the sight of the Lord”], that is, “sinned” (at least, according to the clerics!) is to search for “wrong in the eyes of the Lord” (or equivalent) in a “Bible search engine” on the internet. The result will probably “blow you away”. Some examples are the following (referenced using the standard format): Judges 2:11, Judges 3:7, Judges 3:12, Judges 4:1, Judges 6:1, Judges 10:6, Judges 13:1, 1 Samuel 12:17, 1 Samuel 15:19, 2 Samuel 12:9, 1 Kings 11:6, 1 Kings 14:22, 1 Kings 15:5, 1 Kings 15:26, 1 Kings 16:7, 1 Kings 16:25, 1 Kings 16:30, 1 Kings 21:25, 1 Kings 22:52, 2 Kings 3:2, 2 Kings 8:18, 2 Kings 13:2, 2 Kings 13:11, 2 Kings 14:3, 2 Kings 15:9, 2 Kings 15:18, 2 Kings 15:24, 2 Kings 16:2, 2 Kings 17:2, 2 Kings 17:17, 2 Kings 21:2, 2 Kings 23:32, 2 Kings 24:9, 2 Chronicles 22:4, 2 Chronicles 28:1, 2 Chronicles 29:6, 2 Chronicles 33:2, 2 Chronicles 33:6, 2 Chronicles 33:22, and 2 Chronicles 36:5.

No wonder that the Jewish people listening to Ezra & C-C read the Torah (who almost certainly were hearing the stories for the first time!) were “weeping”, as described at Nehemiah 8, 2–10:
On the first day of the seventh month, Ezra the priest brought the law before the assembly… He read from it… from early morning till noon… all the people listened attentively to the book of the law. Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform made for the purpose, and beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah [possible co-authors (or better, co-conspirators)] on his right hand; and on his left [other possible co-authors (or better, co-conspirators) – all needed to show the people that the priests were united in their conspiracy, were] Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchiah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam… And day-by-day, from the first day to the last, the book of the law of God was read… Then Nehemiah the governor and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who instructed the people, said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping while they listened to the words of the law [italics added]
One can almost hear the poor Jewish people sob:
“How could our forefathers have done such evil (in the eyes of the Lord), when they had been warned to obey the Commandments and when they had been told about the blessings they’d receive if they obeyed.”
Thereby – and I admit that with substantial skill – Ezra & C-C added to the Israelites’ feelings: not only of oppressed superiority, greed, fear, and hate but also the feeling of collective guilt.

And I admit, also, that there’s some finite (but small!) probability that the OT is right: that the Jewish people were “stupid” and “wicked” and “sinful” and “did what was evil in the eyes of the Lord”. But, given the likelihood that the Israelites were pretty much the same as any other group of people, it seems likely that they had only recently heard about Moses’ commandments. As Frank Smitha describes in Chapter 4 of his online book The Ancient World:
David, like many other Hebrews, appears to have been influenced by the religion of the Canaanites. He gave one of his sons, Beeliada, a Canaanite name. David kept in his house images of gods other than Yahweh. His “leaping and capering before the Lord” with music accompaniment, as described in Chapter 6 of the Second Book of Samuel, was a Canaanite practice. These were times of religious tolerance among the Hebrews. No evidence exits that David, Saul or others influenced by Canaanite religion knew of the commandment said to have been given to Moses that “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Apparently the story of Moses and the Ten Commandments were not yet a part – at least an influential part – of Hebrew culture.
As a minimum, questions seem appropriate. If a group of people with a normal range of intelligence had experienced the incredible (meaning “not credible”!) miracles as the Israelites reportedly had experienced exiting Egypt (Moses turning the water of the Nile to blood, parting the Reed Sea, having manna drop down from the heavens, etc.), and then had been given some rather simple rules, then would they have done “evil in the eyes of the Lord”? Or is it a more likely that the people had never heard of such rules, and that centuries later, the priests (culminating in Ezra & C-C) concocted the Moses’ story as a propaganda-sham to promote their own interests? The skeptic in me can almost hear Ezra & C-C’s gloat: “Gotcha, you stupid, gullible people!”

It therefore appears that, with their Moses myth, Ezra & C-C sought to convey (to the Babylonian Israelites) messages along the following lines:
In the distant past, a thousand-or-so years ago, a great leader of our people, the prophet Moses (who was in direct communication with God) tried to show your ancestors the right path. He warned your forefathers that, if they didn’t follow the straight and narrow path, then their descendants would suffer. Unfortunately, your ancestors didn’t listen to Moses, and you have suffered the consequences. But now, if you’ll be better than your ancestors, if finally you’ll do what Moses said, if you’ll obey us priests, then you’ll be blessed; if you don’t, you won’t.
And then, with the following, Ezra & C-C banged into place the linchpin of the chains with which they enslaved the Jewish people. To show that they meant that the people were to do EXACTLY as they were told, Ezra & C-C have their mythical Moses fail to do EXACTLY as he was allegedly told, and for his minor slip, he was punished severely. The crazy little story is at Numbers 20:
Then the entire community of Israel entered the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. Miriam died and was buried there. And there was no water for the community, and so they gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron. The people contended with Moses, saying, “If only we had died when our brothers died before the Lord! Why have you brought up the Lord’s community into this wilderness? So that we and our cattle should die here? Why have you brought us up from Egypt only to bring us to this dreadful place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink!”

So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting. They then threw themselves down with their faces to the ground, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. Then the Lord spoke to Moses: “Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak to the rock before their eyes. It will pour forth its water, and you will bring water out of the rock for them, and so you will give the community and their beasts water to drink.”

So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, just as he commanded him. Then Moses and Aaron gathered the community together in front of the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, must we bring water out of this rock for you?” Then Moses raised his hand, and struck the rock twice with his staff. [Doing what God has told him to do on previous occasions – but this time, notice that God told him to “speak to the rock before their eyes”, rather than touch the rock with his (magic) staff.] And water came out abundantly. So the community drank, and their beasts drank too.

Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough to show me as holy before the Israelites [i.e., speak to the rock rather than strike it with his staff!], therefore you will not bring this community into the land I have given them.”
And thus, said Ezra & C-C (in effect):
“Don’t think you’ll get away with doing roughly what we tell you to do; we speak for God, and he punished even Moses for failing to do EXACTLY as he was told: while wandering in the desert Moses served God almost perfectly for 40 years, but because he made one little slip, he was prevented from crossing the Jordan. So, not only are you people to do what we say, you’re to do EXACTLY what we say.”
In summary, the critical links in the chain (with which Ezra & C-C enslaved the Jewish culture) were to show the people: 1) what they were supposed to do, 2) the blessings they’d receive if they did what they were told, 3) the curses if they didn’t, 4) what their ancestors had done wrong (to “explain” why they were oppressed – ostensibly by the Egyptian, but in reality by the Assyrians and then the Persians), 5) what they now must do (including killing any apostates) to finally gain the superior position that was their due, and 6) the troubles that they’d encounter if they didn’t do EXACTLY what they were told – not just in the 10 Commandments, but in all 613 of them! Thereby, Ezra & C-C enslaved the Jewish people with feelings of oppressed superiority, with collective guilt, and with greed, fear, and hate (e.g., for the horrible unbelievers). In short, Ezra & C-C ruled the people psychologically.

And the people (convinced by their clerics that they were a chosen people, chosen by no less than the creator of the universe) loved it! At Nehemiah 8, 12, for example, it’s reported that, after the Israelites stopped sobbing (having learned what they were supposed to do and how their ancestors had “done evil in the eyes of the Lord”):
…all the people went away to eat and to drink, to send shares to others and to celebrate the day with great rejoicing, because they had understood what had been explained to them [by Ezra & C-C].
And thus the poor Jewish people were freed from Babylon, but their minds were entrapped by their clerics’ fictitious stories about Moses: their bodies were freed, but their minds were enslaved, as was their culture; out of the Persian frying pan, into the priests’ Zoroastrian fire.

And as incredible as thinking people find it to be, the enslavement of the Jewish culture has continued for more than 2,000 years – although a few brilliant Jews, such as Baruch Spinoza (1632–77), did manage to break free. But the majority of fellow Jews weren’t about to discard their chains (and their claims of superiority), as evidenced by their acceptance of the 27 July 1656 decree against Spinoza written by the Jewish priests:
By decree of the angels and by the command of the holy men, we excommunicate, expel, curse and damn Baruch de Espinoza [Spinoza], with the consent of God, Blessed be He, and with the consent of the entire holy congregation, and in front of these holy scrolls with the 613 precepts which are written therein; cursing him with the excommunication with which Joshua banned Jericho and with the curse which Elisha cursed the boys and with all the castigations which are written in the Book of the Law.

Cursed be he [Spinoza] by day and cursed be he by night; cursed be he when he lies down and cursed be he when he rises up. Cursed be he when he goes out and cursed be he when he comes in. The Lord will not spare him, but then the anger of the Lord and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the Lord shall blot out his name from under heaven. [Not very bloody likely! For example, as illustrations of his continued influence on others, there’s Santayana’s, “My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety towards the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests”, as well as Einstein’s, “I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings”, and as an illustration of the priest’s failure to “blot his name from under heaven”, “the highest and most prestigious scientific award of the Netherlands is named the Spinoza prijs (Spinoza prize).”] And the Lord shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this book of the law… no one should communicate with him neither in writing nor accord him any favor nor stay with him under the same roof nor within four cubits in his vicinity; nor shall he read any treatise composed or written by him.
But Spinoza’s principal offense (according to the Jewish priests) was not, I suggest, his claiming that God was everything – another name for which is ‘Nature’. Similar claims had been made by Heraclitus (c.540 - c.480 BCE), e.g., “God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger” and by Pindar (c.518 - c.438 BCE), e.g., “What is God? Everything.” Instead, I suspect that, by inquiring into what’s now called psychology, Spinoza (known as “the father of psychology”) began to reveal how clerics manipulate people psychologically – and as modern people know, priests don’t like people peeking behind the clerics’ magic curtains!

The seventeenth century Jewish people, however, didn’t understand how their priests had manipulated them; so (out of fear and greed and guilt), they agreed with the above condemnation of Spinoza, unable to overcome their feelings of oppressed superiority (and greed and fear and hate) in which they were indoctrinated as children. And thus the clerical enslavement of the Jewish culture continued – enslavement from which, even now, approximately half of the Jewish people have been unable to break free. And if that weren’t bad enough, conniving, power mongering, scientifically clueless clerics of other religions (Christianity, Islam, Mormonism…), having learned from the Jewish clerics how to enslave their followers, have currently entrapped more than half of all people in the world – using the same stories about Moses, his fictitious miracles, and his nonexistent god!

Today, the most complete case of clerical enslavement of their cultures occurs for the poor Muslim people. For more than a thousand years, Islamic clerics have controlled the stories heard by Muslims. In their principal story book, the Koran (or Quran or Qur’an), according to the book by Sohaib Sultan The Qur’an and Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (available on Google Books), Moses is referenced more than any other character, specifically: “136 times across thirty-six different chapters [of the 114 chapters in the Koran].” Thereby, the stories about Moses (enslaving the Jewish people in his fanciful religion, his murdering “unbelievers”, his brutal conquest, subjugation, and slaughter of people living peacefully on their own land, and his fanatical desire to have everyone believe in his fictitious god) undoubtedly provided Muhammad (or those who concocted the Koran) with a model for how the Islamic clerics could enslave their culture – as well as other people’s cultures – permitting a new group of clerical parasites to leech off still more producers.

Expect, therefore, that all Islamic clerics will “scream bloody murder”, issuing “fatwas”, demanding the death of anyone who claims that Moses was a fictional character, concocted by Ezra & C-C. They’ll demand that such ideas be suppressed, because if Muslims learn that Moses was a literary construct, it would mean that their “holy book”, the Koran [claimed to be “perfect” and communicated to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel from “the God” (Allah)], is as fictitious as the Bible (and the Book of Mormon): it would mean that Muhammad didn’t get his stories from Allah (as claimed) but, instead, from the OT, which is a litany of priestly lies.

Meanwhile, the rest of us can hope that, when a sufficient number of people see that the stories about Moses are just myths, then the Koran as well as the Bible will come crashing down in a pile of rubble, like the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11. On 9/11, Muslim terrorists and their supporters rejoiced at the death of thousands of innocent people. When the Bible and the Koran come crashing down, librating cultures from their Abrahamic clerics, we’ll be able to rejoice at the death of the God idea – and then (if we can also get the enslaved Hindu people to look behind their clerics’ curtains) the end of clerical enslavement of cultures.