The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
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11-11-2012, 07:01 AM (This post was last modified: 29-06-2014 12:16 PM by Bucky Ball.)
The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
Or what's up with this "who brought us up out of the land of Egypt" stuff, when they were supposedly still "down over" in the Sinai desert ?

THAT'S fishy. Was this a mistake in Exodus, or an oversight ? Why did Exodus say Yahweh had brought them "up and out" when it hadn't happened yet ? (Exodus 32)
https://www.google.com/search?q=biblical...66&bih=650

So, have you ever wondered how the stuff in the Bible, actually got there, or why certain things were actually put there, and not other things ?

Humans wrote the torahs or scrolls that eventually ended up in the Bible, for very specific political non-religious reasons. At the time they wrote the scrolls, the authors had no clue that they might some day end up in a collection of texts called "Ta Biblia", or The Books, (the Bible), or that someday, people would claim they were somehow "inspired", or "god breathed". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible
The scrolls that were written were kept rolled up, and locked up, for hundreds of years, before they were assembled into the Bible. The authors wrote things on the scrolls, in order to have their opinions and points-of-view about certain subjects and events "remembered" the way they wanted them "remembered", when they were heard in public (worship) ritual events. No one "read" torahs/scrolls in Biblical times, in the sense of "sat around reading". They were usually sung aloud in worship events. The scrolls were rare, and were not available except to the priests.

Before we get into this we should take a moment and look at how a text "remembers" something. When an author writes her/his account of an historical event there are many unseen assumptions that underlie the "telling" of the event. The "remembering" is 100 % dependent on the authors worldview, and prejudices. No matter how hard one tries, (if one even wants to try), there are always more assumptions that could be examined. There is also the concept of *active* and *passive* "remembering. If an author just tries to recount an event as he/she thinks they observed it, it's a sort of passive "remembrance". If the purpose of the text is to retell the story so the listener/reader obtains a certain point-of-view, then the intent of the "remembering" is *active* "remembering". The Bible texts are *active* remembering. The authors want the hearer to see the author's point-of-view, as the texts were written for a specific purpose, and involved a lengthy process of composition/assembly, writing, copying, and preparation. Since there was no notion of "historical accuracy" when the Bible was written, there was no reason to attempt only *passive* "remembering. The events in the Bible are composed as *actively remembered" events. You and I, seeing the events, would not agree they happened the way they are recounted. The "remembering" had a purpose. That's simply the way ancient literature was written, and certainly Hebrew literature was written.

If one suspends, even for a while, the idea that somehow what is in the texts was "inspired", ie that the laws of Physics and Chemistry, and Neuro-chemistry and Neuro-biology were capriciously suspended, and suspended for only *certain* people *some* of the time, for scrolls that just happened to be voted hundreds of years later into a "canon", you can ask : "well, I wonder why they put THAT there, exactly ?"

There are some interesting answers to that question. The Old Testament is full of very strange stories, and statements. Unless the very specific historical context is understood, one simply misses what the story meant to the Hebrews, to whom the texts were specifically addressed.

A good example of this "directed remembering" is the Book of Exodus, and a good example in Exodus are the events in the 32nd Chapter.
http://bibledbdata.org/onlinebibles/jps1917/02_032.htm

This is the chapter where the scroll "remembers" (wink wink), when Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, being written on the tablets, from Yahweh. Moses is told by God to go down, and deal with the people of Israel. They had become impatient with the length of time that Moses had been up on the mountain. "While the cat's away", ... they were naughty. ... Or were they ? Maybe it's all about something else. Maybe, because we are so distant from those times and culture, we can't even begin to see what it's all about.

In most translations, when Moses comes down the mountain, he discovers that there was a golden calf in the encampment with an altar, and the calf was being worshiped. So Moses gets angry, and smashes the tablets that the god had just finished writing on, (carving), and sets about trying to figure out who was responsible for what. If YOU had tablets with carving from (a) god, would YOU smash them ? Nope. So was Moses a fool ? Why would the author make him look like one ? Could there have been a reason for "remembering" that, in that way ?

There was. Why did the authors put a "golden calf" in this scroll story ?
They did it for a specific reason.

In order to understand why the writer wrote, or "remembers" the story in that particular way, with the particulars in the text the way they were written, it is necessary to understand the early history of Israel, and what had happened, and how political relationships played out, and the prejudices that had resulted from those particular events. The particulars of the history had a direct bearing on why the author(s) wrote out the story the way they did. It is also important to understand the history of the particular historical groups from which the authors of Exodus came, and their prejudices. If prejudice can be said to be "inspired", well, then, good for prejudice.

Some background :

A. History vs Literature

The Bible is not "History". The Bible is "Literature". What's the difference ? History is a modern discipline, with modern standards by which historians work, to arrive at a knowledge of what may have happened in, and surrounding historical events. Literature, on the other hand, has many purposes, vehicles, and forms, such as poetry, metaphor, ironic tragedy, mythology, and many others. The purposes of History and Literature may intersect, but are not the same. The Bible is not History. It's Literature.

There was no word in archaic (Biblical) Hebrew which corresponds to the modern word "history". The concept as we think if it, was not present in that culture, as there was no need for it. Historical dating, standards, and methods were unknown, specifically, at that time, in Hebrew culture. The concept of "history" as we think of it did not exist. It was not until a "historical" reference to/for a kingly succession was needed, that the concept arose, so that the succession's validity, or authenticity could be kept "present", in the mind of the people. Before that, there was no need for the idea. This idea did exist already in many of the surrounding cultures, and some of the educated Hebrew class probably were aware of such a concept, but it was unnecessary, on a practical basis. There were a number of similar concepts, but "historical accuracy" was not a concern, to these tribes. If it had been important, there would have been a word for it. The other major cultures (Rome and Greece) did not actually get around to trying to define what it meant to "write history", until after the turn of the millennium. (See the writings of Tacitus on the subject).

B. Purpose of the torahs, or scrolls.

In general, the texts in the Bible have many motivations. One of them was, as we read it today, to provide a story, or "national myth" *presented* (in, or by use of Literature), as (the) "story" of ancient Israel, and it can be seen in epoch periods.

In the Levant, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant ) in the ancient Near East, there was a group of Semites who organized themselves on the basis of male kinship bonds, into tribes. There were 13 tribes in ancient Israel. They all had their own territories, except the thirteenth tribe, the Tribe of Levi. The Levites were the priests, and were allowed to live within the territories of the other tribes, as they had a special function, (much as in the US, churches have a tax exempt status, today). The tribes were loosely organized into a "Tribal Confederation". This Tribal Confederation was the first known existence of the nation or political entity of Isra-El. In a way it could be seen as similar to the precursor of the United States, when the 13 colonies were a confederation of colonies, with a loose organization, or the Confederate States in the South in the US during the Civil War era, with no absolute central authority. The tribal confederation was formed by the first certainly historical "Judge", whose name was Deborah, and she lived about 1200 BCE.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsou...doms1.html Before that, the tribes of Semites were independent, and there was no notion of an "Israe-El". Isra-el means "walks with El". "El" or it's longer version "Elohim" was seen as the chief god in certain parts of the confederation's territories. They got the notion from the Babylonians council of gods, in which El Elyon was the highest god of the council of gods, (plural) which was also called the Elohim.

There was no capital at that time in Israel, and no central authority, there was also no temple at that time, and no central worship site. Each of the tribes had their own shrines to the gods, which included the Yahweh god, and in some, (for sure in Dan, Shiloh, Beth-El, and Jerusalem), his consort or wife, Ashera, was venerated also. Statues of her have been found in Jerusalem, Dan, and Beth-el. The Levites were the priestly class that spanned the tribes, but each worship site had it's own customs, families and traditions. Among the worship centers were locations named Beth-el, Dan, and Shiloh in the North, and Jerusalem in the South. Each of the sites had their own customs, and traditions, and scrolls, and sets of priests. Don't forget, there was NO Bible at this time, and no common national "story", or national myth. No Genesis, no Exodus, or anything else. The Hebrews were operating at that point without those scrolls. The Bible was written/assembled about 700 years later. So here we have the Hebrews operating during this period, without any central organizing documents or scrolls. No common national story. No Bible.

One brief comment about a common misconception. Hebrew culture was a "writing" culture. They liked to write things down on scrolls. While they, as all cultures have, had oral stories, and oral "re-tellings", they did NOT have a tradition of "inerrant absolute oral transmission", such as the Arabs did, and the Greeks did, in which poems were memorized word for word. Priests read stuff, and wrote scrolls. They didn't memorize poems as history, or texts as history. Arabs had a name for the men who did the memorizing, (the "Hafiz"). Hebrews had no such linguistic equivalent, and there is no evidence for that function, or occupation. Everything was written. The Babylonians carved long stories and epic poems on stone tablets. Occasionally the Hebrews carved small things on tablets, but not lengthy works as the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. When the Sea Peoples, (Phoenicians) invaded the Levant around 1200 BCE, they brought scroll writing with them from Greece. Before that there was no scroll writing, and no texts that we have today, reference or "know of" anything written before this date. The earliest, or oldest sentences in the Old Testament are thought to be the Canticle of Moses, in Exodus 15 : 1-18, which the people are said to sing with Moses in thanks for having been delivered from the Egyptians, Obviously, if the people knew the canticle well enough to sing it with Moses, it existed in the culture, a priori, probably in written form. Thus we know it was "placed in Moses' mouth" (and was sung by the people), as a literary device.

C. Epochs

The first is the Primordial (mythical) epoch, with Adam and Eve, and Noah, and the Patriarchs. Joseph, and Moses, the sojourn in Egypt. These are mostly mythical. There may have been some sort of "exodus event", but whatever it was, it certainly did not happen the way it's portrayed in the Bible. There are some very specific archaeological dating and geographical findings which relate some of the patriarchs, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to specific locations. From those findings and locations we know they are not actually related by kinship bonds, and that the stories from this period are certainly mythical.

Next came was the Epoch of the Judges. This was the period where the nation of ancient Israel actually began to take shape, in human history. There were a number of Judges. Some, as portrayed in the Book of Judges, may actually have been historical people, and we know some, as recorded in the Bible could not have been historical. The first Judge who can be accurately dated is Deborah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah Deborah was the first Judge who actually worked to unite the Semite tribes of ancient Israel. (Judges 4 and 5 :7 ) "When I, Deborah rose up, when I arose a mother in Isra-el". The text speaks very matter-of-factly, "when Deborah was judging in Isra-El", as though having a woman being a Judge was a common thing. She is the Mother of that nation, as Washington is the Father of the American nation. Judges could be either men or women. The Bible talks about a couple of Judges before her. One has some evidence for him, and one is almost certainly mythical. Deborah united the tribes for a reason. It was to meet the enemies, that appeared on the scene with a united powerful army. The motivation for the formation of Isra-el was military, and political. It had nothing to do with religion, and had no religious motivation.

This Tribal Confederation, or Confederacy, was different from it's surrounding neighbors, who all had political structures with central authorities. The tribes prided themselves on this uniqueness, and thought they were special because they thought they didn't need a central authority, as their leader was their chief god, Yahweh. He was seen as the leader and god of their army. They didn't think they needed a king during this period. This Yahweh god was also unique in another way. Most of the surrounding culture's gods were nature gods, like storm gods, and wind gods. Yahweh was different. Yahweh was an action hero. Yahweh was seen as "acting" in the history of those who worshiped him, which was very different from the other gods in the neighborhood. Yahweh was unique in another way, as we shall see later.

As trade and interaction with surrounding cultures increased in the Bronze Age, having been exposed to the systems of monarchy and the status and security they thought it provided to their neighbors, towards the end of the period of Judges, the people decided, against the advice of their prophets, to abandon the Tribal Confederation model, and demanded that the prophets and priests choose and anoint a king. There was a lot of resistance to this huge cultural shift by some of the prophets, and the conservative wing of the prophets and priests worked to oppose the change, but eventually reluctantly agreed. But even then, they "worked their way " into it. This opposition, and capitulation to public pressure is reflected in Amos 5:2 "Fallen is the Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up." Amos didn't like this development one bit. He knew it was ripe for abuse, and warned them about the possibilities. The priests also didn't like the idea very much, as they well understood, that the priests of the territory from where the king came from, would be favored, and be seen as more important, and be more powerful.

The major motivation for the shift to monarchy was the coming of the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples, (as proven by Archaeology), had arrived, probably from the Greek islands during this period, (1200-1100 BCE). They probably had as their goal the defeat of the Egyptian Empire, and they were growing stronger, and were seen as a threat in the region. To counter this threat, the tribes decided they needed a central leader, to lead them into battle. Both Judges 18, and 19 start out by stating, "At that time there was no king in Isra-el", emphasizing that the chaos which was happening, (and would be recounted in the chapter to follow) was due to no central leader. To us it sounds like a simple reminder. To the Hebrews of the day, it served as a *special* reminder to them, that the chaos in the story to follow, happened because there was no king yet, ie no central authority to organize them, if they were all attacked. The scroll served as a *justification-reminder* of why they had chosen, (and needed, and continued to need), to have a king.

One of the best known Judges and priests of this period was Samuel and he lived in a Northern city called Shiloh. He was a member of a distinguished priestly family, which thought of themselves as descendants of a figure called Moses. Remember this : Moses was very important to the priests of the North. He was seen as their "ancestor" and their identity derived from him.

Shiloh had a "tabernacle", (actually a "tent" with an arc), which contained some tablets, on which was carved some of the laws of the day. This was actually the first time we know about an "arc", in the Bible. Exodus had not been written yet, thus the "story" of the arc, had not been formed ("remembered" in a literary fashion) yet. The first known arc was already in Shiloh, long before the Bible was written. In the ancient Near East, there were many "arcs".

Some were just decorated boxes, and were carried around, especially into battles as a symbol of the presence, (or actual presence), of their gods. Some were kept in temples, and some were on wheels, and were rolled around to various public events. So Shiloh was important. It had an arc.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/arc...bible.html

It would have been impossible to have kingly legitimacy without religious legitimacy. Since Samuel, who was the greatest judge, was also a prophet and a priest, he could confer religious legitimacy to a king. So they sought him out, to confer to this new office, an official legitimacy. Samuel anointed Saul as the first king. However, there are more than one account recorded. Saul, in one version, in Judges, was chosen by lots, and in another version, was chosen by "acclaim".

In order to maintain his position of power, the king had to keep the priests, prophets, (prophets were traditional "wise men" or advisors, NOT tellers of the future), and judges happy, and keep their support, and the support of the other tribal leaders. The king had to "know" his place, in this structure. He was a military commander. That was it. Eventually King Saul and Samuel had a falling out as King Saul himself offered a sacrifice, and in doing so, over-stepped himself, and encroached on the office of the priest. The falling out is "remembered" in Judges as an historical *one time* event, but it was likely a long series of events. The text "remembers" the combined idea as one event, but it was likely a long simmering jealousy and a rivalry which had developed. However it happened, it resulted in the anointing of David, before Saul was dead, as Samuel wanted to transfer monarchical legitimacy to David. One of the reasons Saul was chosen, was that he was from the least prominent tribe. The Tribe of Benjamin. This is pivotal. Benjamin posed no threat to the other tribes. The power of the PRIESTHOOD conferred legitimacy on the monarchy, and was not to be trifled with. The transition to David, and the formation and transition to him as "legitimate" is seen in his becoming "as a son" to Saul, and intimate companion to Jonathan. The story was "remembered" the way it was, specifically to confer legitimacy, and family kinship status on David. It was not told that way because Jonathan and David were good buds, as is often portrayed. The friendship had a political purpose. They may or may not have actually been friends, but the reason the texts talks about it at all, is that it confers kinship legitimacy, where there was none.

Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin. David was from the Tribe of Judah. Different (geographical) sites. Different priests. Very important. If the king comes from from a place with different priests, the old ones gets marginalized, and lose their old power. The king had "coat-tails". David was a man from Saul's household who had married one of his daughters, and eventually came to be seen as a rival for power. In the rivalry, David was given the support of the priests from Shiloh. Saul then executes all the Shiloh priests, as they were part of the rival group. All except ONE, who was "remembered" as having *escaped*. 1 Samuel 22:20. His name was Abiathar. Abiathar is then "remembered" as having gone to David, and told him what happened. Abiathar says to David, "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, and that he surely told Saul 'I am responsible for the death of all your family' ". Thus we have the text "remembering" a (supposed) *confession* of guilt. Abiathar, a Northern priest, is "remembered" by the text as having confessed to being part of the group which murdered the Royal Family.

David replies to Abiathar, "Stay with me. Fear nothing. He that seeks your life must seek mine also. You are under my protection." The text "remembers" the Shiloh priest Abiathar, as the SOLE survivor of the massacre of the Shiloh priests, and under the protection of the king. There is a reason the text "remembers" things this way.

There was a lot of other internal discord dealing with the prominence of the oldest Shiloh worship site, and the Tribe of Benjamin, as Saul came from that tribe, and there was resentment, as they were seen as no longer equal, and it's fascinating, but too long to go into. In Samuel 4, there is also a story of an arc, or decorated rolling chest, being taken into a battle, out of Shiloh, and lost to the Philistines, and placed in the Temple of an important Near Eastern god named Dagon. The arc, or rolling box also had poles for carrying it. Some arcs were carried, and some think THIS is the origin of the arc that ended up as one of the central organizing features of Hebrew life, However it's more likely the arc in Shiloh came FROM the Temple of Dagon, and was not taken TO the Temple of Dagon. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dagon , and then brought back.
The story was reversed. In the story, the statue of Dagon kept falling over, and the priests of Dagon were said to be afraid of the ark, and this is likely the origins of the magic powers of this arc. Everywhere the arc was taken, chaos was "remembered" to have ensued, and plans were made to return it to Shiloh. There were other arcs rolling around in the ancient Near East. It was a common part of many of the worship sites. The one in Shiloh came to be seen as special. It was decorated in a particularly strange way. It looked, (as it is described in Exodus), as if it had come straight from a Babylonian temple. It had the two winged angels, or sphinxes, on it's top, which was a common Babylonian and Egyptian theme, in Near Eastern art. Sphinxes were the "guardians" of thousands of Babylonian and Egyptian objects, and architectural sites, and cities. They guarded the arc also.

So David came to be king. He was from the Tribe of Judah. Judah was the largest, and most powerful tribe. This was a change from Saul's origins from the LEAST powerful tribe. This was not lost on the Hebrews. The warnings of Amos had come true. He therefore was a threat to the "old ways" and traditions from the Confederacy. He first moved his capital to Hebron, in Judah, then to Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been occupied by the Jebusites, which was a Canaanite family, and not one of the Tribes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jebusite . He may have done this to escape the "locality" of prior tribal traditions, and the specific authority of priestly local power. There would have been no local Levite priests in Jerusalem for him to deal with. He out-maneuvered the priests at their own game. The absence of a local priesthood necessitated the naming by David of new priests. He picked Abiathar from Shiloh in the North, and Zadok, from his former capital, in Judah to be priests together in Jerusalem. It was a unity of North and South. It was also the unity of something else. In the mythological origins of the North, there were the Moses stories. In the South, there were Aaronic stories. In combining the two traditions, (making them "brothers"), David combines Moses and Aaron for a person of that day, and attempts to unify the separate traditions.

David also hired himself a professional army. Thus he freed himself from dependence on tribal priesthood, and tribal military support. He then went on to build his empire, and had established Jerusalem as his capital, which was politically, and religiously independent, and then he transferred the arc from Shiloh down to Jerusalem to cement the power, and perceived central authority.

David had many children, who vied for power. Two of the sons were Solomon and Adonijah. So who would be heir ? The insiders in the palace intrigue basically chose sides, and had their camps of supporters. Adonijah had the support of his brothers and sisters. Solomon had the support of his mother, (David's favorite wife..Bathsheba), the prophet Nathan, and the professional army. When the sides lined up, one of THE most important things in the history of Israel happened. It cannot be over-estimated. Abiathar, from the North ... from Shiloh, sided with Adonijah. Zadok, from Judah, from the South, sided with Solomon.

David chose Solomon to succeed him, and after David's death, Solomon executed his half-brother, and had to get rid of those who opposed him. But he could not just kill a priest, so he exiled Abiathar to a small village outside Jerusalem. Of course, Solomon built a temple for the remaining priests, and the temple came to be a symbol of the nation of Israel. Before the temple, the arc was, during the Confederate period, kept in a tent. The golden sphinxes on the top of the box were seen as the throne of the invisible Yahweh, and under the throne was kept the arc that David had brought down from Shiloh. The PRIMARY symbol for the religion was the TWO GOLDEN SPHINXES, on which the god Yahweh was thought to rest. The invisible presence of the god, "rested" on the "seat" of the sphinxes. Not 2 stone tablets. Not two winged "cherubim". Not a temple, or temple vessels, and candelabra. Two golden sphinxes. The stone tablets were inside the box, and not visible.

Just as the Confederacy is "remembered" in US history, in nostalgic terms, by the defeated, so in the time of Solomon, the Confederacy was "remembered" and many resented the changes and hated the monarchy and "remembered" the "old days" of the independent Tribal Era. The Kingdom of Solomon had come from the unification of the Tribal territories with the new territory which David had conquered in the South. Solomon was a master politician. Literally every king in the ancient Near East was his father-in-law, as he had multiple wives, and contributed to his building projects. Solomon taxed everyone, but spent more, and gave more to his tribe in Judah. He neglected the North, which already resented him for his treatment of Abiathar. Solomon did two more things which made him hated by the North. He "gerrymandered" 12 administrative "districts" which did NOT correspond to the old tribal territories, in an attempt to "confuse" the old tribal boundaries, for tax purposes, which did NOT include Judah, and he instituted a policy of "missim", or forced physical labor for his building projects. Males had to give a month a year of labor to the king. Sound familiar ? Forced labor. In the Book of Exodus, the Egyptian supervisors were named as "officers of the missim". Is it possible the words in Exodus were meant to insult Solomon, when they were later written, and specifically refer to HIM ? Hmm. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam goes North to be crowned, and the elders ask him if he is going to continue the hated policies of Solomon, and he says "Yes". Immediately the Northern Tribes secede. The leaders of the North also stoned, and they killed the chief of the "missim". They HATED the forced labor policy.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So after the secession, Rehoboam ruled only Judah, in the South, and also over the smaller tribe of Benjamin, which Judah dominated. In the North, they chose a king named Jeroboam, and thus the Kingdom of David became two kingdoms. The two similar, but different names had at least a partial meaning of "he who expands his area/territory", or "king who conquers more lands". Jeroboam made the old seat in Shechem his capital in the North. Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem, in the South.

So that's fine, but what happens when the people of the North want to worship Yahweh ? All the "stuff" is in the South. The temple, the arc, and the High Priest are all in the South, in Jerusalem. They had to travel. The legitimate seat of Yahweh was still, post secession, in Jerusalem. Rehoboam was seen as "more" legitimate than Jeroboam, as he had the "stuff", the "regalia" of Yahweh. So Jeroboam decided to act. He re-establishes the old worship sites in the North as sites for his new VERSION of the old religion. He doesn't create a NEW religion. He uses the old one, and just as Christianity has many sects, Jeroboam created his new sect of the old religion. The centers of his new sect were at Dan up in the far North, and Beth-el, which is not far from Jerusalem. He creates new holidays, appoints new priests, and creates new symbols. Jeroboam's new national holiday was also in the Fall, but a month later than Judah's holiday.

Guess what ? Are ya ready ? Guess what his new symbols are ?

Two Golden Bulls

No longer two golden sphinxes. Two golden calves. Yup. Two golden calves. But the people, just like in the South did not *worship* the golden calves. The golden calves were meant to be a "symbol" of the power and virility of Yahweh. Yahweh remained the deity. This modern shift of understanding, that what was going on was not "idol worship" but "symbolism", and not "Paganism" is one of the big developments in the last 150 years in Biblical Studies. Up in the North. The people whose culture the Moses myths originated from, came to worship THE SAME YAHWEH, but his symbol was changed to two golden calves, instead of having two golden sphinxes for their symbol, as in the South.

Now can we see why Moses might have been made to look a fool, and made, by the writer to disrespect the tablets by smashing them ?
HIS (Northern) YAHWEH TRADITION CAME TO DISRESPECT THE ORIGINAL YAHWEH TRADITION.
Can we see why, when HE comes down from the mountain HE smashes a golden calf ?
Could the smashing mean he repudiates HIS OWN tradition's DISrespect of the law and original culture ?

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

In archaic Hebrew, the word which is translated as "calf", really should be translated as "young bull". There is no weakness, or vulnerability seen in the Golden Calf, (as in a "baby cow"). It's about Young Bull Virility, (strength and power) in which the "presence of Yahweh" was seen, just as the "presence" of Yahweh was seen in the South as resting on the golden sphinxes.

There is also another misunderstanding. We all know, or have heard of the god Baal. That is also a mistake. We also know that Baal was associated with orgiastic feasts, in Canaan. In fact, in ancient Canaan, the god Baal, is really, or should be translated "bull-el", the bull god. Ba-al, IS the golden young virile bull. But Baal is the "bull god", or the "virility god", similar to Yahweh as the "god of the armies". So Jeroboam, in starting his "new version" identifies Yahweh with both the "El" god, AND the virility god. This unification would have served to unify the other indigenous Canaanites in the North, along with the Hebrews, as they knew of Bull-El. But Jeroboam also "shifts" the bull god cult's understanding, from an "idol", to a "symbol".

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

When Jeroboam chose his new priests, in the North, he waded into a morass. The Northern priests had suffered badly under Solomon, Many of these Northern Levites happened to live in cities that Solomon had given as a gift to Hiram, the King of the Phoenicians. The resentment remained, and burned, because they remembered THEIR own prophet/priest had anointed the first two kings, and then the kings "bit the hand that fed them". The resentment was very present, and palpable. Then on top of this, Solomon had expelled Abiathar.

The man who designated, or granted kingly authority to Jeroboam was Ahijah of SHILOH. Not surprising. But once again the Northern priests had their hands bitten by the king. Jerobaom, instead of using them for the centers of worship in Dan and Beth-el and Shiloh, changed the criteria. No longer was it good enough to just be a Levite. The new criterion became that the priest would be one who would "fill the hand with a bull and seven rams". They now had to BUY their office. So now, even the Northern priests opposed Jeroboam, and condemned the "new version", and it's symbols, (the golden bulls). The golden bulls were opposed, not as idols, but as "heresy". The shift from "invisible presence above" (the Golden Sphinxes), to "young virility" (the Golden Bulls), was seen as false, and non-authentic to the Yahweh tradition. Thus these Northern Levites had fallen from important people to poor landless and unemployed.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So now Israel was two separate kingdoms, and the priests hated each other's guts. Then came the catastrophe. The people who thought of themselves as "chosen", were conquered by the Assyrian empire. How could that happen if their Yahweh god was powerful ? There must be a reason. The old priests told the people that the reason was, that they had been unfaithful in the shift to the use of Golden Bull symbology. However only the Northern kingdom went off to exile in 722 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah lasted another 100 years, The ten tribes from the North have come down in history as the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel". The two others, (Judah and Benjamin), were in the South, and remained free for a while.

During the time the two kingdoms existed, side by side, there arose writers in the two separate kingdoms. Each of these two writers/groups composed their own separate version of the story of their nation. These two separate writers began the writing of the Bible we know today. The discovery that there were two sources of the story was made by at least three different people. It's too long to discuss here, but it came to be called the Documentary Hypothesis.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Documentary_hypothesis
Scholars noticed that there were two creation accounts, two flood stories, two versions of the covenant with Abraham, but most important the two sources consistently used different names for the god. Scholars realized what they were dealing with were two works that had been cut up, and combined. When the sources are separated they obviously have consistent narrative, different vocabulary, and different idioms, and emphasis. The source that referred to the deity as Jahweh (Yahweh) was called "J", (concerned with things in the South) and the other source that referred to the deity as El, or Elohim, was called "E", concerned with things in the North. Later it was discovered that within the "E" tradition there actually was another one, with more "doubling", which was called "P", because it seemed to emphasize things about PRIESTS. Laws about priests, matters about ritual and sacrifice, incense-burning, purity, dates, numbers, and holidays. These three sources were easily seen to flow through Genesis, Exodus Leviticus, and Numbers. Deuteronomy was a special case. The Old Testament was a "woven garment", and had to be dissected, to be understood. There was HUGE resistance to this idea, by religious people, but it gradually came to be the accepted hypothesis by scholars. So there were four "hands writing", and one "redactor" or editor/assembler. J and E have distinctly different views of many things, as obvious they would living in different kingdoms, with different prejudices. One from Judah. One from the old Northern kingdom of Israel. J was concerned with things that had to do with Judah, E was concerned with stuff from the North.

In the stories of E, which talk about El, or Elohim, there are stories of the son's of Jacob who are named as Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Ephriam, Manasseh and Benjamin.

In J, the tribes which are used IN CONJUNCTION, (ie "legitimacy associated with, or conferred by") the name of Yahweh are named as Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Of the four Yahweh tribes, the first three lost their territories, and were absorbed into the tribe of Judah. Judah is seen as *ascendant*, and the most important to Yahweh, in J. There are biblical rationalizations for these various statuses, but too long to go into. When the mythological story of Isaac's twins was written it reflects the later division of the kingdom, and a national history, ("story" as "active remembering") was created to explain the two kingdoms, which in literary terms, were "placed" later as a "realized event" in the text of the story, even while making it "appear" as a prediction/explanation of the future.

So, back to Moses and his decent from the mountain. While Moses is up on the mountain, the text has Aaron make a Golden Bull, and say "These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you UP, OUT, of the land of Israel". (They were still "down over" in the desert ... and the statement obviously reflects a later view). Then Aaron says "A holiday to Yahweh TOMORROW !" When Moses comes down, the Tribe of Levi is made to carry out a bloody purge, and Moses makes a plea for forgiveness. Why was Aaron made to be seen as the leader of the rebellion, yet NOT purged ? Why did it say "These are your gods" when there was only one Golden Bull ? Why did it say "UP, OUT" when at the time of the flight from Egypt they were "down over" ? The Documentary Hypothesis answers all the questions. If Moses was some sort of a "cultural historical memory", he was a Northern memory, which the E source was interested in. Moses was written into the E text as the intercessor, and Aaron, (in E), was seen as the instigator. Aaron, was, (in E) specifically associated with the Southern traditions. If the author of E was a Levitical (ex)priest from Shiloh, it answers all the questions, and fits perfectly. The Shiloh priests were frustrated by the Golden Bull's introduction, and their marginalization. Aaron was seen as an ancestor of Zadok, from the South, (Judah). Aaron could not be eliminated in the story, as they obviously could not eliminate all the ancestors of people everyone KNEW were historical, (ie Zadok). So why "a holiday to Yahweh tomorrow" ? Because the writer of E HAD to separate the *seat* (or presence of Yahweh above the Golden Sphinxes), from the understanding of the heresy of the Golden Bulls, from the actual belief in the Yahweh god itself. Two different days. Two different belief/symbol systems. They are metaphorically separated by time, and day. Why did the writer of E picture the Northern Levites acting with bloody zeal ? Because HE was a Levite, and wanted to make HIMSELF, and his group look good. Why did Moses smash the tablets in E ? Because the tablets were down in Judah, in the temple, and E wanted to question the entire business of the J centered system down in Jerusalem.

In Exodus 34:17 the people are told "You shall not make for yourselves "MOLTEN gods". This is the J version of the commandments received from Yahweh. Why "molten" ? Because the Golden Bulls were "molten", and the symbols of Yahweh's seat in Jerusalem, (the Golden Sphinxes) were WOODEN, covered with gold. In J, the arc, (now residing in Jerusalem when J was writing), is seen as important to success in the desert. In E, the "tent of the meeting" was important to success. The Tent was from the Shiloh tradition in the North. There are many many other obvious references, totally consistent with the Documentary Hypothesis.

The second main example of the belittling of the Aaronoid priests, and the conflict between the North and the South, is the one where Miriam is turned "snow-white". Did you ever hear the story of Miriam getting leprosy for a week ? Probably not. It's an amusing story, for a number of reasons. If there actually was a "Moses" it is likely he was a member of the Levite tribe in the North. "Mosheh" was a common Egyptian name , so it is possible he may have led, or been a part of a small group of Semites who left Egypt, at some point, and settled in Northern Canaan. At the time that may have happened, there were already Semite settlements in Canaan, so we know the story did not unfold the way Exodus "remembers" it. In Numbers 12: 1-15, it talks abut Miriam and Aaron talking about Moses and criticizing him, as he had taken a "Chushite" wife. Yahweh hears them, and begins to speak to the three. In the text that follows Yahweh says Moses is "special" as he is the only one ever who has seen the "form of Yahweh". (verse 8). As a punishment for taking ill about Moses, Miriam is sent out of the community for seven days, and afflicted with Leprosy. Moses asks Yahweh to relent, and he does, but says Miriam must go out for seven days. So why do they hate Moses' wife ? The Cush was Ethiopia, thus it is likely she was a black woman. She was "different". In the interchange Miriam and Aaron ask if Moses has special status, and they ask "Has Yahweh indeed only spoken through Moses ? Has he not also spoken through us ?" Yahweh then replies that Moses IS special, as he has actually seen God, and lived. It says the kind of Leprosy Miriam gets , causes her skin to turn white. So IF, the issue of "difference" is that Moses wife WAS black, then the punishment meeted out, perfectly fits the crime. But what about Aaron. Nothing. The male priest again gets no punishment. This time, though, it's because someone who had suffered from Leprosy, could not be a priest. The text says Moses' experience of Yahweh was superior to the priest Aaron. This fits perfectly with E trying to make the Aaronoid priests down in Judah look stupid, and second class. Also, at the end of the story, specifically E places the words "my lord" in the mouth of Aaron, when he talks to Moses, thus demonstrating the power structure. (BTW this notion that Moses actually sees the "form" of Yahweh is a direct contradiction to the Burning Bush story, and others dealing with Yahweh and Moses, where NO *form* was seen, or could even be imagined as having happened. The "formlessness" of Yahweh was totally antithetical to this "seeing". Two entirely separate systems are operating here.)

So we have the Documentary Hypothesis. There has never been another hypothesis put forward, which so fully accounts for, and explains all the evidence above. During the period of the Exile, when the priests were in Babylon, they had with them the E scroll and the J scroll. The "Redactor" cut them up, and reassembled them. They added the P material, and the first four books of the Pentateuch were born. In addition to J, E and P, the redactor, (a priest), added material from the Sumerian myth system, which they were exposed to in Babylon, (if not before), and that material is very obvious in the first 9 chapters of Genesis, one of the Creation accounts, the Great Flood, and the Confusion of Speech.

When the Prophet Ezra returned from Babylon, he had with him two things :
1. A letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the king the power to rule in his name,
2. The Torah of Moses, for the first time in human history.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ezra , see The Book of Ezra, Chapters 8-10, for the real origins of modern Isra-El. and Nehemiah for the introduction of the Torah of Moses, to Isra-el.
Ataxerxes probably had more to do with the foundation of what we now know as the Hebrews, and Isra-El, than any god or any other human, "patriarch" or otherwise. HE decreed / decided what would happen to post-Exilic Isra-El. This was also the first time in human history, that the Pentateuch scrolls appeared united. They had been formulated, edited, and combined from the sources by the priests in exile. Ezra organized a festival the Fall after he returned, and introduced the Torah of Moses to the people, as described in the Book of Ezra.

Since everything above is really only about politics, and human in-fighting and resentments, was there really anything seriously unique or important, in a religious sense, about the thought system of the Hebrews ? I submit there was. The very fact that the Golden Bulls were EVEN POSSIBLE , as a realistic substitute in the North, for the rituals, ideas, concepts, and temple accoutrements in the South, means that the Golden Sphinxes/Golden Bulls were only symbolic as the "seat" or throne of the Yahweh god, who was seen to rest *invisibly* above the sphinxes. The Golden Bull was also a *symbol*, not an idol. A symbol of strength and potency. Saying it's about "idol worship" completely misses the point.

Thus the ancient Hebrews seemed to have progressed or evolved to the "symbolic" stage of religion, in human culture, and this was not the common theme in the ancient Near East.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/ori...bible.html

Ref :
William M. Schniedewind PhD, Kershaw Chair of Ancient Eastern Mediterranean Studies and Professor of Biblical Studies and Northwest Semitic Languages at UCLA, author of "How the Bible Became a Book, The Textualization of Ancient Israel", also "The Word of God in Transition" and "Society and the Promise to David".
Richard Elliott Freidmann, PhD, "Who Wrote the Bible", among many others.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-11-2012, 09:20 AM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
Was that "it's linger version?" Tongue

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11-11-2012, 12:35 PM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 07:01 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Or what's up with this "who brought us up out of the land of Egypt" stuff, when they were supposedly still "down over" in the Sinai desert ?

THAT'S fishy. Was this a mistake in Exodus, or an oversight ? Why did Exodus say Yahweh had brought them "up and out" when it hadn't happened yet ? (Exodus 32)

So, have you ever wondered how the stuff in the Bible, actually got there, or why certain things were actually put there, and not other things ?

Humans wrote the torahs or scrolls that eventually ended up in the Bible, for very specific political non-religious reasons. At the time they wrote the scrolls, the authors had no clue that they might some day end up in a collection of texts called "Ta Biblia", or The Books, (the Bible), or that someday, people would claim they were somehow "inspired", or "god breathed". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible
The scrolls that were written were kept rolled up, and locked up, for hundreds of years, before they were assembled into the Bible. The authors wrote things on the scrolls, in order to have their opinions and points-of-view about certain subjects and events "remembered" the way they wanted them "remembered", when they were heard in public (worship) ritual events. No one "read" torahs/scrolls in Biblical times, in the sense of "sat around reading". They were usually sung aloud in worship events. The scrolls were rare, and were not available except to the priests.

If one suspends, even for a while, the idea that somehow what is in the texts was "inspired", ie that the laws of Physics and Chemistry, and Neuro-chemistry and Neuro-biology were capriciously suspended, and suspended for only *certain* people *some* of the time, for scrolls that just happened to be voted hundreds of years later into a "canon", you can ask : "well, I wonder why they put THAT there, exactly ?"

There are some interesting answers to that question. The Old Testament is full of very strange stories, and statements. Unless the very specific historical context is understood, one simply misses what the story meant to the Hebrews, to whom the texts were specifically addressed.

A good example of this "directed remembering" is the Book of Exodus, and a good example in Exodus are the events in the 32nd Chapter.
http://bibledbdata.org/onlinebibles/jps1917/02_032.htm

This is the chapter where the scroll "remembers" (wink , wink), when Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, being written on the tablets, from Yahweh. Moses is told by God to go down, and deal with the people of Israel. They had become impatient with the length of time that Moses had been up on the mountain. "While the cat's away", ... they were naughty. ... Or were they ? Maybe it's all about something else. Maybe, because we are so distant from those times and culture, we can't even begin to see what it's all about.

In most translations, when Moses comes down the mountain, he discovers that there was a golden calf in the encampment with an altar, and the calf was being worshiped. So Moses gets angry, and smashes the tablets that the god had just finished writing on, (carving), and sets about trying to figure out who was responsible for what. If YOU had tablets with carving from god, would YOU smash them ? Nope. So was Moses a fool ? Why would the author make him look like one ? Could there have been a reason for "remembering" that, in that way ?

There was. Why did the authors put a "golden calf" in this scroll story ? They did it for a specific reason.

In order to understand why the writer wrote, or "remembers" the story in that particular way, with the particulars in the text the way they were written, it is necessary to understand the early history of Israel, and what had happened, and how political relationships played out, and the prejudices that had resulted from those particular events. The particulars of the history had a direct bearing on why the author(s) wrote out the story the way they, did. It is also important to understand the history of the particular historical groups from which the authors of Exodus came, and their prejudices. If prejudice can be said to be "inspired", well, then, good for prejudice.

Some background :

A. History vs Literature

The Bible is not "History". The Bible is "Literature". What's the difference ? History is a modern discipline, with modern standards by which historians work, to arrive at a knowledge of what may have happened in, and surrounding historical events. Literature, on the other hand, has many purposes, vehicles, and forms, such as poetry, metaphor, ironic tragedy, mythology, and many others. The purposes of History and Literature may intersect, but are not the same. The Bible is not History. It's Literature.

There was no word in archaic (Biblical) Hebrew which corresponds to the modern word "history". The concept as we think if it, was not present in that culture, as there was no need for it. Historical dating, standards, and methods were unknown, specifically, at that time, in Hebrew culture. The concept of "history" as we think of it did not exist. It was not until a "historical" reference to/for a kingly succession was needed, that the concept arose, so that the succession's validity, or authenticity could be kept "present", in the mind of the people. Before that, there was no need for the idea. This idea did exist already in many of the surrounding cultures, and some of the educated Hebrew class probably were aware of such concept, but it was unnecessary, on a practical basis. There were a number of similar concepts, but "historical accuracy" was not a concern, to these tribes. If it had been important, there would have been a word for it.

B. Purpose of the torahs, or scrolls.

In general, the texts in the Bible have many motivations. One of them was, as we read it today, to provide a story, or "national myth" *presented* (in, or by use of Literature), as (the) "story" of ancient Israel, and it can be seen in epoch periods.

In the Levant, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant ) in the ancient Near East, there was a group of Semites who organized
themselves on the basis of male kinship ties into tribes. There were 13 tribes in ancient Israel. They all had their own territories, except the thirteenth tribe, the Tribe of Levi. The Levites were the priests, and were allowed to live within the territories of the other tribes, as they had a special function, (much as in the US, churches have a tax exempt status, today). The tribes were
loosely organized into a "Tribal Confederation". This Tribal Confederation was the first known existence of the nation or political entity of Israel. In a way it could be seen as similar to the precursor of the United States, when the 13 colonies were a confederation, with a loose organization, or the Confederate States in the South in the US, and no absolute central authority. The tribal confederation was formed by the first certainly historical "Judge", whose name was Deborah, and she lived about 1200 BCE.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsou...doms1.html Before that, the tribes of Semites were independant, and there was no notion of an "Israe-el". Isra-el means "walks with El". "El" or it's linger version "Elohim" was seen as the chief god in certain parts of the confederation's territories. They got the notion from the Babylonians council of gods, in which El Elyon was the highest god of the council of gods, which was also called the Elohim.

There was no capital at that time in Israel, and no central authority, there was also no temple at that time, and no central worship site. Each of the tribes had their own shrines to the gods, which included the Yahweh god, and in some, his consort or wife, Ashera, was venerated also. Statues of her have been found in Jerusalem, Dan, and Beth-el. The Levites were the priestly class that spanned the tribes, but each worship site had it's own customs, families and traditions. Among the worship centers were locations named Beth-el, Dan, and Shiloh in the North, and Jerusalem in the South. Each of the sites had their own customs, and traditions, and scrolls, and sets of priests. Don't forget, there was NO Bible at this time, and no common national "story", or national myth. No Genesis, no Exodus, or anything else. The Hebrews were operating at that point without those scrolls. The Bible was written/assembled about 700 years later. So here we have the Hebrews operating during this period, without any central organizing documents or scrolls. No common national story. No Bible.

One brief comment about a common misconception. Hebrew culture was a "writing" culture. They liked to write things down on scrolls. While they, as all cultures have, had oral stories, and oral "re-telling", they did NOT have a tradition of "inerrant absolute oral transmission", such as the Arabs did, in which poems were memorized word for word. Priests read stuff, and wrote scrolls. They didn't memorize poems as history, or text as history. Arabs had a name for the men who did the memorizing, (the "Hafiz"). Hebrews had no such linguistic equivalent, and there is no evidence for that function, or occupation. Everything was written. The Babylonians carved on stone tablets. Occasionally the Hebrews carved things on tablets, but not lengthy works as the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. When the Sea Peoples, (Phoenicians) invaded the Levant around 1200 BCE, they brought scroll writing with them from Greece. before that there was no scroll writing, and no texts that we have today reference or "know of" anything written before this date. The earliest, or oldest sentences in the Old Testament are thought to be the Canticle of Moses, in Exodus 15 : 1-18. Obviously, if the people knew the canticle well enough to sing it with Moses, it existed in the culture, a priori, probably in written form. Thus we know it was "placed in Moses' mouth" (and was sung by the people), as a literary device.

C. Epochs

The first is the Primordial (mythical) epoch, with Adam and Eve, and Noah, and the Patriarchs. Joseph, and Moses, the sojourn in Egypt. These are mostly mythical. There may have been some sort of "exodus event", but whatever it was, it certainly did not happen the way it's portrayed in the Bible. There are some very specific archaeological dating and geographical findings which relate some of the patriarchs, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to specific locations. From those findings and locations we know they are not actually related by kinship bonds, and that the stories from this period are certainly mythical.

Next came was the Epoch of the Judges. This was the period where the nation of ancient Israel actually began to take shape, in human history. There were a number of Judges. Some, as portrayed in the Book of Judges, may actually have been historical people, and we know some, as recorded in the Bible could not have been historical. The first Judge who can be accurately dated is Deborah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah Deborah was the first Judge who actually worked to unite the Semite tribes of ancient Israel. (Judges 4 and 5 :7 ) "When I, Deborah rose, when I rose a mother in Isra-el". The text speaks very matter-of-factly, "when Deborah was judging in Isra-el", as though having a woman being a Judge was a common thing. She is the Mother of that nation, as Washington is the Father of the American nation. Judges could be either men or women. The Bible talks about a couple of Judges before her. One has some evidence for him, and one is almost certainly mythical. Deborah united the tribes for a reason. It was to meet the enemies, that appeared on the scene with a united powerful army. The motivation for the formation of Isra-el was military, and political. It had nothing to do with religion, and had no religious motivation.

This Tribal Confederation, or Confederacy, was different from it's surrounding neighbors, who all had political structures with central authorities. The tribes prided themselves on this uniqueness, and thought they were special because they thought they didn't need a central authority, as their leader was their chief god, Yahweh. He was seen as the leader and god of their army. They didn't think they needed a king during this period. This Yahweh god was also unique in another way. Most of the surrounding culture's gods were nature gods, like storm gods, and wind gods. Yahweh was different. Yahweh was an action hero. Yahweh was seen as "acting" in the history of those who worshiped him, which was very different from the other gods in the neighborhood. Yahweh was unique in another way, as we shall see later.

As trade and interaction with surrounding cultures increased in the Bronze Age, having been exposed to the systems of monarchy and the status and security they thought it provided to their neighbors, towards the end of the period of Judges, the people decided, against the advice of their prophets, to abandon the Tribal Confederation model, and demanded that the prophets and priests choose and anoint a king. There was a lot of resistance to this huge cultural shift by some of the prophets, and the conservative wing of the prophets and priests worked to oppose the change, but eventually reluctantly agreed. But even then, they worked their way into it. This opposition, and capitulation to public pressure is reflected in Amos 5:2 "Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up." Amos didn't like this development one bit. He knew it was ripe for abuse, and warned them about the possibilities. The priests also didn't like the idea very much, as they well understood, that the priests of the territory from where the king was from, would be favored, and be seen as more important.

The major motivation for the shift to monarchy was the coming of the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples, (as proven by Archaeology), had arrived, probably from the Greek islands during this period, (1200-1100 BCE). They probably had as their goal the defeat of Egyptian Empire, but were growing stronger, and were seen as a threat. To counter this threat, the tribes decided they needed a central leader, to lead them in battle. Both Judges 18, and 19 start out by stating, "At that time there was no king in Isra-el", emphasizing that the chaos which was happening, (and would be recounted in the chapter to follow) was due to no central leader. To us it sounds like a simple reminder. To the Hebrews of the day, it served as a *special* reminder to them, that the chaos in the story to follow happened because there was no king yet, ie no central authority to organize if they were all attacked. The scroll served as a *justification-reminder* of why they chose to have a king.

One of the best known Judges and priests of this period was Samuel and he lived in a Northern city called Shiloh. He was a member of a distinguished priestly family, which thought of themselves as descendants of a figure called Moses. Remember this Moses was very important to the priests of the North. He was seen as their "ancestor" and their identity derived from him.

Shiloh had a "tabernacle", (actually a "tent" with an arc), which contained some tablets, on which was carved some of the laws of the day. This was actually the first time we know about an "arc", in the Bible. Exodus had not been written yet, thus the "story" of the arc, had not been formed ("remembered" in a literary fashion) yet. The first know arc was already in Shiloh, long before the Bible was written. In the ancient Near East, there were many "arcs". Some were just decorated boxes and were carried around, especially into battles as a presence of their gods. Some were kept in temples, and some were on wheels, and were rolled around to various public events. So Shiloh was important, as it had an arc.

It would have been impossible to have kingly legitimacy without religious legitimacy. Since Samuel, who was the greatest judge, was also a prophet and a priest, he could confer religious legitimacy to a king. So they sought him out. Samuel anointed Saul as the first king. Saul, in one version, in Judges, was chosen by lots, and in another version was chosen by "acclaim".

In order to maintain his position of power, the king had to keep the priests, prophets,and judges happy, and keep their support, and the support of the other tribal leaders. The king had to "know" his place. He was a military commander. That was it. Eventually Saul and Samuel had a falling out as Saul offered a sacrifice, and in doing so, over-stepped himself, and encroached on the office of the priest. The falling out is "remembered" in Judges as an historical one time event, but it was likely a long series of events. The text "remembers" the combined idea as one event, but it was likely a long simmering jealousy. However it happened, it resulted in the anointing of David, before Saul was dead, as Samuel wanted to transfer monarchical legitimacy to David. One of the reasons Saul was chosen was that he was from the least prominent tribe. The Tribe of Benjamin. This is pivotal. The power of the PRIESTHOOD conferred legitimacy on the monarchy, and was not to be trifled with. The transition to David, and the formation and transition to him as "legitimate" is seen in his becoming "as a son" to Saul, and intimate companion to Jonathan. The story was "remembered" the way it was, specifically to confer legitimacy, and family kinship status on David. It was not told that way because Jonathan and David were good buds, as is often portrayed. The friendship had a political purpose. They may or may not have actually been friends, but the reason the texts tlks about it at all, is that it confers kinship legitimacy, where there was none.

Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin. David was from the Tribe of Judah. Different (geographical) sites. Different priests. Very important. If the king comes from from a place with different priests, the old ones gets marginalized, and lose their old power. The king had "coat-tails". David was a man from Saul's household who had married one of his daughters, and eventually came to be seen as a rival for power. In the rivalry, David was given the support of the priests from Shiloh. Saul then executes all the Shiloh priests, as they were part of the rival group. All except ONE, who was "remembered" as having *escaped*. 1 Samuel 22:20. His name was Abiathar. Abiathar is then "remembered" as having gone to David, and told him what happened. Abiathar says to David, "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, and that he surely told Saul 'I am responsible for the death of all your family' ". Thus we have the text "remembering" a (supposed) *confession* of guilt. Abiathar is "remembered" by the text as having confessed to being part of the group which murdered the Royal Family.

David replies to Abiathar, "Stay with me. Fear nothing. He that seeks your life must seek mine also. You are under my protection." The text "remembers" the Shiloh priest Abiathar, as the SOLE survivor of the massacre of the Shiloh priests, and under the protection of the king. There is a reason the text "remembers" things this way.

There was a lot of other internal discord dealing with the prominence of the oldest Shiloh worship site, and the Tribe of Benjamin, as Saul came from that tribe, and there was resentment, as they were seen as no longer equal, and it's fascinating, but too long to go into. In Samuel 4, there is also a story of an arc, or decorated rolling chest, being taken into a battle out of Shiloh, and lost to the Philistines, and placed in the Temple of a god named Dagon. The arc, or rolling box also had poles for carrying it. Some arcs were carried, and some think THIS is the origin of the arc that ended up as one of the central organizing features of Hebrew life, However it's more likely the arc in Shiloh came FROM the Temple of Dagon, and was not taken TO the Temple of Dagon. The story was reversed. In the story, the statue of Dagon kept falling over, and the priests of Dagon were said to be afraid of the ark, and this is likely the origins of the magic powers of this arc. Everywhere the arc was taken chaos was "remembered" to have ensued, and plans were made to return it to Shiloh. There were other arcs rolling around in the ancient Near East. It was a common part of many of the worship sites. The one in Shiloh came to be seen as special. It was decorated in a particularly strange way. It looked, (as it is described in Exodus), as if it had come straight from a Babylonian temple. It had the two winged angels, or sphinxes, on it's top, which was a common Babylonian and Egyptian theme, in Near Eastern art. Sphinxes were the "guardians" of thousands of Babylonian and Egyptian objects, and architectural sites, and cities.

So David came to be king. He was from the Tribe of Judah. Judah was the largest, and most powerful tribe. This was a change from Saul's origins from the LEAST powerful tribe. This was not lost on the Hebrews. The warnings of Amos had come true. He therefore was a threat to the "old ways" and traditions from the Confederacy. He first moved his capital to Hebron, in Judah, then to Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been occupied by the Jebusites, which was a Canaanite familiy, and not one of the Tribes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jebusite . He may have done this to escape the "locality" of prior tribal traditions, and the specific authority of priestly local power. There would have been no local priests in Jerusalem for him to deal with. He out-maneuvered the priests at their own game. The absence of a local priesthood necessitated the naming by David of new priests. He picked Abiathar from Shiloh in the North, and Zadok, from his former capital, in Judah to be priests together in Jerusalem. It was a unity of North and South. It was also the unity of something else. In the mythological origins of the North, there were the Moses stories. In the South, there were Aaronic stories. In combining the two traditions, David combines Moses and Aaron for a person of that day, and attempts to unify the separate traditions.

David also hired himself a professional army. Thus he freed himself from dependence on tribal priesthood, and tribal military support. He then went on to build his empire, and had established Jerusalem as his capital, which was politically, and religiously independent, and then he transferred the arc from Shiloh down to Jerusalem to cement the power, and perceived central authority.

David had many children, who vied for power. Two of the sons were Solomon and Adonijah. The insiders in the palace basically chose sides, and had their camps of supporters. Adonijah had the support of his brothers and sisters. Solomon had the support of his mother, (David's favorite wife..Bathsheba), the prophet Nathan, and the professional army. When the sides lined up one of THE most important things in the history of Israel happened. It cannot be over-estimated. Abiathar, from the North ... from Shiloh, sided with Adonijah. Zadok, from Judah, from the South, sided with Solomon.

David chose Solomon to succeed him, and after David's death, Solomon executed his half-brother, and had to get rid of those who opposed him. He could not just kill a priest, so he exiled Abiathar to a small village outside Jerusalem. Of course, Salomon built a temple for the remaining priests, and the temple came to be a symbol of the nation of Israel. Before the temple, the arc was, during the Confederate period, kept in a tent. The golden sphinxes on the top of the box were seen as the throne of the invisible Yahweh, and under the throne was kept the arc that David had brought down from Shiloh. The PRIMARY symbol for the religion was the TWO GOLDEN SPHINXES, on which the god Yahweh was thought to rest. The invisible presence of the god, "rested" on the "seat" of the sphinxes. Not 2 stone tablets. Not two winged "cherubim". Not a temple, or temple vessels, and candelabra. Two golden sphinxes. The stone tablets were inside the box, and not visible.

Just as the Confederacy is "remembered" in US history, in nostalgic terms, by the defeated, so in the time of Solomon, the Confederacy was "remembered" and many resented the changes and hated the monarchy and "remembered" the "old days" of the independent Tribal Era. The Kingdom of Solomon had come from the unification of the Tribal territories with the new territory which David had conquered in the South. Solomon was a master politician. Literally every king in the ancient Near East was his father-in-law, and contributed to his building projects. Solomon taxed everyone, but spent more, and gave more to his tribe in Judah. He neglected the North, which already resented him for his treatment of Abiathar. Solomon did two more things which made him hated by the North. He "gerrymandered" 12 administrative "districts" which did NOT correspond to the old tribal territories, in an attempt to "confuse" the old tribal boundaries, for tax purposes, which did NOT include Judah, and he instituted a policy of "missim", or forced physical labor for his building projects. Males had to give a month a year of labor to the king. Sound familiar ? Forced labor. In the Book of Exodus, the Egyptian supervisors were named as "officers of the missim". Is it possible the words in Exodus were meant to insult Solomon, when they were later written, and specifically refer to HIM ? Hmm. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam goes North to be crowned, and the elders ask him if he is going to continue the hated policies of Solomon, and he says "Yes". Immediately the Northern Tribes secede. The leaders of the North stone, and kill the the chief of the "missim". They HATED the forced labor policy.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So after the secession, Rehoboam ruled only Judah, in the South, and also over the smaller tribe of Benjamin, which Judah dominated. In the North, they chose a king named Jeroboam, and thus the Kingdom of David became two kingdoms. The two similar, but different names had at least a partial meaning of "he who expands his area/territory", or "king who conquers more lands". Jeroboam made the old seat in Shechem his capital in the North. Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem, in the South.

So that's fine, but what happens when the people of the North want to worship Yahweh ? All the "stuff" is in the South. The temple, the arc, and the High Priest are all in the South, in Jerusalem. They had to travel. The legitimate seat of Yahweh was still, post secession, in Jerusalem. Rehoboam was seen as "more" legitimate than Jeroboam, as he had the "stuff", the "regalia" of Yahweh. So Jeroboam decided to act. He re-establishes the old worship sites in the North as sites for his new VERSION of the old religion. He doesn't create a NEW religion. He uses the old one, and just as Christianity has many sects, Jeroboam created his new sect of the old religion. The centers of his new sect were at Dan up in the far North, and Beth-el, which is not far from Jerusalem. He creates new holidays, appoints new priests, and creates new symbols. Jeroboams new national holiday was also in the Fall, but a month later than Judah's holiday.

Guess what ? Are ya ready ? Guess what his new symbols are ?

Two Golden Bulls

No longer two golden sphinxes. Two golden calves. Yup. Two golden calves. But the people, just like in the South did not *worship* the golden calves. The golden calves were a "symbol" of the power and virility of Yahweh. Yahweh remained the deity. This modern shift of understanding, that was going on was not "idol worship" but "symbolism"/"Paganism" is one of the big developments in the last 150 years in Biblical Studies. Up in the North. The people whose culture Moses originated from, came to worship THE SAME YAHWEH, but his symbol was changed to two golden calves, instead of having two golden sphinxes for their symbol, as in the South.

Now can we see why Moses might have been made to look a fool, and made, by the writer to disrespect the tablets by smashing them ?
HIS (Northern) YAHWEH TRADITION CAME TO DISRESPECT THE ORIGINAL YAHWEH TRADITION.
Can we see why, when HE comes down from the mountain HE smashes a golden calf ?
Could the smashing mean he repudiates HIS OWN tradition's DISrespect of the law and original culture ?
Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.
In archaic Hebrew, the word which is translated as "calf", really should be translated as "young bull". There is no weakness, or vulnerability seen in the Golden Calf, (as in a "baby cow"). It's about Young Bull Virility, (strength and power) in which the "presence of Yahweh" was seen, just as the "presence" of Yahweh was seen in the South as resting on the golden sphinxes.

There is also another misunderstanding. We all know, or have heard of the god Baal. That is also a mistake. We also know that Baal was associated with orgiastic feasts, in Canaan. In fact, in ancient Canaan, the god Baal, is really, or should be translated "bull-el", the bull god. Ba-al, IS the golden young virile bull. But Baal is the "bull god", or the "virility god", similar to Yahweh as the "god of the armies". So Jeroboam, in starting his "new version" identifies Yahweh with the "El" god, AND the virility god. This unification would have served to unify the other indigenous Canaanites in the North, along with the Hebrews, as they knew of Bull-El. But Jeroboam also "shifts" the bull god cult's understanding, from an "idol", to a "symbol".

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

When Jeroboam chose his new priests, in the North, he waded into a morass. The Northern priests had suffered badly under Solomon, Many of these Northern Levites happened to live in cities that Solomon had given as a gift to Hiram, the King of the Phoenicians. The resentment remained, and burned, because they remembered THEIR own prophet/priest had anointed the first two kings, and then the kings "bit the hand that fed them". The resentment was very present, and palpable. Then on top of this, Solomon had expelled Abiathar.

The man who designated, or granted kingly authority to Jeroboam was Ahijah of SHILOH. Not surprising. But once again the Northern priests had their hands bitten by the king. Jerobaom, instead of using them for the centers of worship in Dan and Beth-el and Shiloh, changed the criteria. No longer was it good enough to just be a Levite. The new criterion became that the priest would be one who would "fill the hand with a bull and seven rams". They now had to BUY their office. So now, even the Northern priests opposed Jeroboam, and condemned the "new version", and it's symbols, (the golden bulls). The golden bulls were opposed, not as idols, but as "heresy". The shift from "invisible presence above" (the Golden Sphinxes), to "young virility" (the Golden Bulls), was seen as false, and non-authentic to the Yahweh tradition. Thus these Northern Levites had fallen from important people to poor landless and unemployed.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So now Israel was two separate kingdoms, and the priests hated each other's guts. Then came the catastrophe. The people who thought of themselves as "chosen", were conquered by the Assyrian empire. How could that happen if their Yahweh god was powerful ? There must be a reason. The old priests told the people that the reason was, that they had been unfaithful in the shift to the use of Golden Bull symbology. However only the Northern kingdom went off to exile in 722 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah lasted another 100 years, The ten tribes from the North have come down in history as the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel". The two others, (Judah and Benjamin), were in the South, and remained free for a while.

During the time the two kingdoms existed, side by side, there arose writers in the two separate kingdoms. Each of these two writers composed their own separate version of the story of their nation. These two separate writers began the writing of the Bible we know today. The discovery that there were two sources of the story was made by at least three different people. It's too long to discuss here, but it came to be called the Documentary Hypothesis. Scholars notices that there were two creation accounts, two flood stories, two versions of the covenant with Abraham, but most important the two sources consistently used different names for the god. Scholars realized what they were dealing with were two works that had been cut up, and combined. When the sources are separated they obviously have consistent narrative, different vocabulary, and different idioms, and emphasis. The source that referred to the deity as Jahweh (Yahweh) was called "J", and the other source that referred to the deity as El, or Elohim, was called "E". Later it was discovered that within the "E" tradition there actually was another one, with more "doubling", which was called "P", because it seemed to emphasize things about PRIESTS. Laws about priests, matters about ritual and sacrifice, incense-burning, purity, dates, numbers, and holidays. These three sources were easily seen to flow through Genesis, Exodus Leviticus, and Numbers. Deuteronomy was a special case. The Old Testament was a "woven garment", and had to be dissected, to be understood. There was HUGE resistance to this idea, by religious people, but it gradually came to be the accepted hypothesis by scholars. So there were four "hands writing", and one "redactor" or editor/assembler. J and E have distinctly different views of many things, as obvious they would living in different kingdoms, with different prejudices. One from Judah. One from the old Northern kingdom of Israel. J was concerned with things that had to do with Judah, E was concerned with stuff from the North.

In the stories of E, which talk about El, or Elohim, there are stories of the son's of Jacob who are named as Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Ephriam, Manasseh and Benjamin.

In J, the tribes which are used IN CONJUNCTION, (ie "legitimacy conferred by") with the name of Yahweh are named as Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Of the four Yahweh tribes, the first three lost their territories, and were absorbed into the tribe of Judah. Judah is seen as *ascendant*, and the most important to Yahweh, in J. There are biblical rationalizations for these various statuses, but too long to go into. When the mythological story of Isaac's twins was written it reflects the later division of the kingdom, and a notional history, ("story" as "active remembering") was created to explain the two kingdoms, which in literary terms, were "placed" later as a "realized event" in the text of the story, even while making it "appear" as a prediction/explanation of the future.

So, back to Moses and his decent from the mountain. While Moses is up on the mountain, the text has Aaron make a Golden Bull, and say "These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you UP, OUT, of the land of Israel". Then Aaron says "A holiday to Yahweh TOMORROW !" When Moses comes down, the Tribe of Levi is made to carry out a bloody purge, and Moses makes a plea for forgiveness. Why was Aaron made to be seen as the leader of the rebellion, yet NOT purged ? Why did it say "These are your gods" when there was only one Golden Bull ? Why did it say "UP, OUT" when at the time of the flight from Egypt they were "down over" ? The Documentary Hypothesis answers all the questions. If Moses was some sort of a "cultural historical memory", he was a Northern memory, which the E source was interested in. Moses was written into the E text as the intercessor, and Aaron, (in E), was seen as the instigator. Aaron, was, (in E) specifically associated with the Southern traditions. If the author of E was a Levitical (ex)priest from Shiloh, it answers all the questions, and fits perfectly. The Shiloh priests were frustrated by the Golden Bull's introduction, and their marginalization. Aaron was seen as an ancestor of Zadok, from the South, (Judah). Aaron could not be eliminated in the story, as they obviously could not eliminate all the ancestors of people everyone KNEW was historical, (ie Zadok). So why "a holiday to Yahweh tomorrow" ? Because the writer of E HAD to separate the *seat* (or presence of Yahweh above the Golden Sphinxes), from the understanding of the heresy of the Golden Bulls, from the actual belief in the Yahweh god itself. Two different days. Two different belief systems. They are metaphorically separated by time, and day. Why did the writer of E picture the Northern Levites acting with bloody zeal ? Because HE was a Levite, and wanted to make HIMSELF, and his group look good. Why did Moses smash the tablets in E ? Because the tablets were down in Judah, in the temple, and E wanted to question the entire business of the J centered system down in Jerusalem.

In Exodus 34:17 the people are told "You shall not make for yourselves "MOLTEN gods". This is the J version of the commandments received from Yahweh. Why "molten" ? Because the Golden Bulls were "molten", and the symbols of Yahweh's seat in Jerusalem, (the Golden Sphinxes) were WOODEN, covered with gold. In J, the arc, (now residing in Jerusalem when J was writing), is seen as important to success in the desert. In E, the "tent of the meeting" was important to success. The Tent was from the Shiloh tradition in the North. There are many many other obvious references, totally consistent with the Documentary Hypothesis.

The second main example of the belittling of the Aaronoid priests, and the conflict between the North and the South, is the one where Miriam is turned "snow-white". Did you ever hear the story of Miriam getting leprosy for a week ? Probably not. It's an amusing story, for a number of reasons. If there actually was a "Moses" it is likely he was a member of the Levite tribe in the North. "Mosheh" was a common Egyptian name , so it is possible he may have led, or been a part of a small group of Semites who left Egypt, at some point, and settled in Northern Canaan. At the time that may have happened, there were already Semite settlements in Canaan, so we know the story did not unfold the way Exodus "remembers" it. In Numbers 12: 1-15, it talks abut Miriam and Aaron talking about Moses and criticizing him, as he had taken a "Chushite" wife. Yahweh hears them, and begins to speak to the three. In the text that follows Yahweh says Moses is "special" as he is the only one ever who has seen the "form of Yahweh". (verse 8). As a punishment for taking ill about Moses, Miriam is sent out of the community for seven days, and afflicted with Leprosy. Moses asks Yahweh to relent, and he does, but says Miriam must go out for seven days. So why do they hate Moses' wife ? The Cush was Ethiopia, thus it is likely she was a black woman. She was "different". In the interchange Miriam and Aaron ask if Moses has special status, and they ask "Has Yahweh indeed only spoken through Moses ? Has he not also spoken through us ?" Yahweh then replies that Moses IS special, as he has actually seen God, and lived. It says the kind of Leprosy Miriam gets , causes her skin to turn white. So IF, the issue of "difference" is that Moses wife WAS black, then the punishment meeted out, perfectly fits the crime. But what about Aaron. Nothing. The male priest again gets no punishment. This time, though, it's because someone who had suffered from Leprosy, could not be a priest. The text says Moses' experience of Yahweh was superior to the priest Aaron. This fits perfectly with E trying to make the Aaronoid priests in Judah look stupid, and second class. Also, at the end of the story, specifically E places the words "my lord" in the mouth of Aaron, when he talks to Moses, thus demonstrating the power structure. (BTW this notion that Moses actually sees the "form" of Yahweh is a direct contradiction to the Burning Bush story, and others sealing with Yahweh and Moses, where NO *form* was seen, or could even be imagined as having happened.)

So we have the Documentary Hypothesis. There has never been another hypothesis put forward, which so fully accounts for, and explains all the evidence above. During the period of the Exile, when the priests were in Babylon, they had with them the E scroll and the J scroll. The "Redactor" cut them up, and reassembled them. They added the P material, and the first four books of the Pentateuch were born. In addition to J E and P, the redactor added material from the Sumerian myth system, which they were exposed to in Babylon, (if not before), and that material is very obvious in the first 9 chapters of Genesis, one of the Creation accounts, the Great Flood, and the Confusion of Speech.

When the Prophet Ezra returned from Babylon, he had with him two things :
1. A letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the king the power to rule in his name,
2. The Torah of Moses,
This was the first time in human history, that the Pentateuch scrolls appeared united. They had been formulated, edited, and combined from the sources by the priests in exile. Ezra organized a festival the Fall after he returned, and introduced the Torah of Moses to the people.

Since everything above is really only about politics, and human in-fighting and resentments, was there really anything seriously unique or important, in a religious sense, about the thought system of the Hebrews ? I submit there was. The very fact that the Golden Bulls were EVEN POSSIBLE , as a realistic substitute in the North, for the rituals, ideas, concepts, and temple accoutrements in the South, means that the Golden Sphinxes were only symbolic as the "seat" or throne of the Yahweh god, who was seen to rest *invisibly* above the sphinxes. The Golden Bull was also a *symbol*, not an idol. A symbol of strength and potency. Saying it's about "idol worship" completely misses the point.

Thus the ancient Hebrews seemed to have progressed or evolved to the "symbolic" stage of religion, in human culture, and this was not the common theme in the ancient Near East.


Do you have to add even more bullshit to the bullshit? What a waste of time...
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11-11-2012, 12:48 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2012 03:34 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 12:35 PM)Janus Wrote:  
(11-11-2012 07:01 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Or what's up with this "who brought us up out of the land of Egypt" stuff, when they were supposedly still "down over" in the Sinai desert ?

THAT'S fishy. Was this a mistake in Exodus, or an oversight ? Why did Exodus say Yahweh had brought them "up and out" when it hadn't happened yet ? (Exodus 32)

So, have you ever wondered how the stuff in the Bible, actually got there, or why certain things were actually put there, and not other things ?

Humans wrote the torahs or scrolls that eventually ended up in the Bible, for very specific political non-religious reasons. At the time they wrote the scrolls, the authors had no clue that they might some day end up in a collection of texts called "Ta Biblia", or The Books, (the Bible), or that someday, people would claim they were somehow "inspired", or "god breathed". http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bible
The scrolls that were written were kept rolled up, and locked up, for hundreds of years, before they were assembled into the Bible. The authors wrote things on the scrolls, in order to have their opinions and points-of-view about certain subjects and events "remembered" the way they wanted them "remembered", when they were heard in public (worship) ritual events. No one "read" torahs/scrolls in Biblical times, in the sense of "sat around reading". They were usually sung aloud in worship events. The scrolls were rare, and were not available except to the priests.

If one suspends, even for a while, the idea that somehow what is in the texts was "inspired", ie that the laws of Physics and Chemistry, and Neuro-chemistry and Neuro-biology were capriciously suspended, and suspended for only *certain* people *some* of the time, for scrolls that just happened to be voted hundreds of years later into a "canon", you can ask : "well, I wonder why they put THAT there, exactly ?"

There are some interesting answers to that question. The Old Testament is full of very strange stories, and statements. Unless the very specific historical context is understood, one simply misses what the story meant to the Hebrews, to whom the texts were specifically addressed.

A good example of this "directed remembering" is the Book of Exodus, and a good example in Exodus are the events in the 32nd Chapter.
http://bibledbdata.org/onlinebibles/jps1917/02_032.htm

This is the chapter where the scroll "remembers" (wink , wink), when Moses was up on the mountain receiving the law, being written on the tablets, from Yahweh. Moses is told by God to go down, and deal with the people of Israel. They had become impatient with the length of time that Moses had been up on the mountain. "While the cat's away", ... they were naughty. ... Or were they ? Maybe it's all about something else. Maybe, because we are so distant from those times and culture, we can't even begin to see what it's all about.

In most translations, when Moses comes down the mountain, he discovers that there was a golden calf in the encampment with an altar, and the calf was being worshiped. So Moses gets angry, and smashes the tablets that the god had just finished writing on, (carving), and sets about trying to figure out who was responsible for what. If YOU had tablets with carving from god, would YOU smash them ? Nope. So was Moses a fool ? Why would the author make him look like one ? Could there have been a reason for "remembering" that, in that way ?

There was. Why did the authors put a "golden calf" in this scroll story ? They did it for a specific reason.

In order to understand why the writer wrote, or "remembers" the story in that particular way, with the particulars in the text the way they were written, it is necessary to understand the early history of Israel, and what had happened, and how political relationships played out, and the prejudices that had resulted from those particular events. The particulars of the history had a direct bearing on why the author(s) wrote out the story the way they, did. It is also important to understand the history of the particular historical groups from which the authors of Exodus came, and their prejudices. If prejudice can be said to be "inspired", well, then, good for prejudice.

Some background :

A. History vs Literature

The Bible is not "History". The Bible is "Literature". What's the difference ? History is a modern discipline, with modern standards by which historians work, to arrive at a knowledge of what may have happened in, and surrounding historical events. Literature, on the other hand, has many purposes, vehicles, and forms, such as poetry, metaphor, ironic tragedy, mythology, and many others. The purposes of History and Literature may intersect, but are not the same. The Bible is not History. It's Literature.

There was no word in archaic (Biblical) Hebrew which corresponds to the modern word "history". The concept as we think if it, was not present in that culture, as there was no need for it. Historical dating, standards, and methods were unknown, specifically, at that time, in Hebrew culture. The concept of "history" as we think of it did not exist. It was not until a "historical" reference to/for a kingly succession was needed, that the concept arose, so that the succession's validity, or authenticity could be kept "present", in the mind of the people. Before that, there was no need for the idea. This idea did exist already in many of the surrounding cultures, and some of the educated Hebrew class probably were aware of such concept, but it was unnecessary, on a practical basis. There were a number of similar concepts, but "historical accuracy" was not a concern, to these tribes. If it had been important, there would have been a word for it.

B. Purpose of the torahs, or scrolls.

In general, the texts in the Bible have many motivations. One of them was, as we read it today, to provide a story, or "national myth" *presented* (in, or by use of Literature), as (the) "story" of ancient Israel, and it can be seen in epoch periods.

In the Levant, ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levant ) in the ancient Near East, there was a group of Semites who organized
themselves on the basis of male kinship ties into tribes. There were 13 tribes in ancient Israel. They all had their own territories, except the thirteenth tribe, the Tribe of Levi. The Levites were the priests, and were allowed to live within the territories of the other tribes, as they had a special function, (much as in the US, churches have a tax exempt status, today). The tribes were
loosely organized into a "Tribal Confederation". This Tribal Confederation was the first known existence of the nation or political entity of Israel. In a way it could be seen as similar to the precursor of the United States, when the 13 colonies were a confederation, with a loose organization, or the Confederate States in the South in the US, and no absolute central authority. The tribal confederation was formed by the first certainly historical "Judge", whose name was Deborah, and she lived about 1200 BCE.
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsou...doms1.html Before that, the tribes of Semites were independant, and there was no notion of an "Israe-el". Isra-el means "walks with El". "El" or it's linger version "Elohim" was seen as the chief god in certain parts of the confederation's territories. They got the notion from the Babylonians council of gods, in which El Elyon was the highest god of the council of gods, which was also called the Elohim.

There was no capital at that time in Israel, and no central authority, there was also no temple at that time, and no central worship site. Each of the tribes had their own shrines to the gods, which included the Yahweh god, and in some, his consort or wife, Ashera, was venerated also. Statues of her have been found in Jerusalem, Dan, and Beth-el. The Levites were the priestly class that spanned the tribes, but each worship site had it's own customs, families and traditions. Among the worship centers were locations named Beth-el, Dan, and Shiloh in the North, and Jerusalem in the South. Each of the sites had their own customs, and traditions, and scrolls, and sets of priests. Don't forget, there was NO Bible at this time, and no common national "story", or national myth. No Genesis, no Exodus, or anything else. The Hebrews were operating at that point without those scrolls. The Bible was written/assembled about 700 years later. So here we have the Hebrews operating during this period, without any central organizing documents or scrolls. No common national story. No Bible.

One brief comment about a common misconception. Hebrew culture was a "writing" culture. They liked to write things down on scrolls. While they, as all cultures have, had oral stories, and oral "re-telling", they did NOT have a tradition of "inerrant absolute oral transmission", such as the Arabs did, in which poems were memorized word for word. Priests read stuff, and wrote scrolls. They didn't memorize poems as history, or text as history. Arabs had a name for the men who did the memorizing, (the "Hafiz"). Hebrews had no such linguistic equivalent, and there is no evidence for that function, or occupation. Everything was written. The Babylonians carved on stone tablets. Occasionally the Hebrews carved things on tablets, but not lengthy works as the Babylonians, and the Egyptians. When the Sea Peoples, (Phoenicians) invaded the Levant around 1200 BCE, they brought scroll writing with them from Greece. before that there was no scroll writing, and no texts that we have today reference or "know of" anything written before this date. The earliest, or oldest sentences in the Old Testament are thought to be the Canticle of Moses, in Exodus 15 : 1-18. Obviously, if the people knew the canticle well enough to sing it with Moses, it existed in the culture, a priori, probably in written form. Thus we know it was "placed in Moses' mouth" (and was sung by the people), as a literary device.

C. Epochs

The first is the Primordial (mythical) epoch, with Adam and Eve, and Noah, and the Patriarchs. Joseph, and Moses, the sojourn in Egypt. These are mostly mythical. There may have been some sort of "exodus event", but whatever it was, it certainly did not happen the way it's portrayed in the Bible. There are some very specific archaeological dating and geographical findings which relate some of the patriarchs, (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) to specific locations. From those findings and locations we know they are not actually related by kinship bonds, and that the stories from this period are certainly mythical.

Next came was the Epoch of the Judges. This was the period where the nation of ancient Israel actually began to take shape, in human history. There were a number of Judges. Some, as portrayed in the Book of Judges, may actually have been historical people, and we know some, as recorded in the Bible could not have been historical. The first Judge who can be accurately dated is Deborah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deborah Deborah was the first Judge who actually worked to unite the Semite tribes of ancient Israel. (Judges 4 and 5 :7 ) "When I, Deborah rose, when I rose a mother in Isra-el". The text speaks very matter-of-factly, "when Deborah was judging in Isra-el", as though having a woman being a Judge was a common thing. She is the Mother of that nation, as Washington is the Father of the American nation. Judges could be either men or women. The Bible talks about a couple of Judges before her. One has some evidence for him, and one is almost certainly mythical. Deborah united the tribes for a reason. It was to meet the enemies, that appeared on the scene with a united powerful army. The motivation for the formation of Isra-el was military, and political. It had nothing to do with religion, and had no religious motivation.

This Tribal Confederation, or Confederacy, was different from it's surrounding neighbors, who all had political structures with central authorities. The tribes prided themselves on this uniqueness, and thought they were special because they thought they didn't need a central authority, as their leader was their chief god, Yahweh. He was seen as the leader and god of their army. They didn't think they needed a king during this period. This Yahweh god was also unique in another way. Most of the surrounding culture's gods were nature gods, like storm gods, and wind gods. Yahweh was different. Yahweh was an action hero. Yahweh was seen as "acting" in the history of those who worshiped him, which was very different from the other gods in the neighborhood. Yahweh was unique in another way, as we shall see later.

As trade and interaction with surrounding cultures increased in the Bronze Age, having been exposed to the systems of monarchy and the status and security they thought it provided to their neighbors, towards the end of the period of Judges, the people decided, against the advice of their prophets, to abandon the Tribal Confederation model, and demanded that the prophets and priests choose and anoint a king. There was a lot of resistance to this huge cultural shift by some of the prophets, and the conservative wing of the prophets and priests worked to oppose the change, but eventually reluctantly agreed. But even then, they worked their way into it. This opposition, and capitulation to public pressure is reflected in Amos 5:2 "Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up." Amos didn't like this development one bit. He knew it was ripe for abuse, and warned them about the possibilities. The priests also didn't like the idea very much, as they well understood, that the priests of the territory from where the king was from, would be favored, and be seen as more important.

The major motivation for the shift to monarchy was the coming of the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples, (as proven by Archaeology), had arrived, probably from the Greek islands during this period, (1200-1100 BCE). They probably had as their goal the defeat of Egyptian Empire, but were growing stronger, and were seen as a threat. To counter this threat, the tribes decided they needed a central leader, to lead them in battle. Both Judges 18, and 19 start out by stating, "At that time there was no king in Isra-el", emphasizing that the chaos which was happening, (and would be recounted in the chapter to follow) was due to no central leader. To us it sounds like a simple reminder. To the Hebrews of the day, it served as a *special* reminder to them, that the chaos in the story to follow happened because there was no king yet, ie no central authority to organize if they were all attacked. The scroll served as a *justification-reminder* of why they chose to have a king.

One of the best known Judges and priests of this period was Samuel and he lived in a Northern city called Shiloh. He was a member of a distinguished priestly family, which thought of themselves as descendants of a figure called Moses. Remember this Moses was very important to the priests of the North. He was seen as their "ancestor" and their identity derived from him.

Shiloh had a "tabernacle", (actually a "tent" with an arc), which contained some tablets, on which was carved some of the laws of the day. This was actually the first time we know about an "arc", in the Bible. Exodus had not been written yet, thus the "story" of the arc, had not been formed ("remembered" in a literary fashion) yet. The first know arc was already in Shiloh, long before the Bible was written. In the ancient Near East, there were many "arcs". Some were just decorated boxes and were carried around, especially into battles as a presence of their gods. Some were kept in temples, and some were on wheels, and were rolled around to various public events. So Shiloh was important, as it had an arc.

It would have been impossible to have kingly legitimacy without religious legitimacy. Since Samuel, who was the greatest judge, was also a prophet and a priest, he could confer religious legitimacy to a king. So they sought him out. Samuel anointed Saul as the first king. Saul, in one version, in Judges, was chosen by lots, and in another version was chosen by "acclaim".

In order to maintain his position of power, the king had to keep the priests, prophets,and judges happy, and keep their support, and the support of the other tribal leaders. The king had to "know" his place. He was a military commander. That was it. Eventually Saul and Samuel had a falling out as Saul offered a sacrifice, and in doing so, over-stepped himself, and encroached on the office of the priest. The falling out is "remembered" in Judges as an historical one time event, but it was likely a long series of events. The text "remembers" the combined idea as one event, but it was likely a long simmering jealousy. However it happened, it resulted in the anointing of David, before Saul was dead, as Samuel wanted to transfer monarchical legitimacy to David. One of the reasons Saul was chosen was that he was from the least prominent tribe. The Tribe of Benjamin. This is pivotal. The power of the PRIESTHOOD conferred legitimacy on the monarchy, and was not to be trifled with. The transition to David, and the formation and transition to him as "legitimate" is seen in his becoming "as a son" to Saul, and intimate companion to Jonathan. The story was "remembered" the way it was, specifically to confer legitimacy, and family kinship status on David. It was not told that way because Jonathan and David were good buds, as is often portrayed. The friendship had a political purpose. They may or may not have actually been friends, but the reason the texts tlks about it at all, is that it confers kinship legitimacy, where there was none.

Saul was from the Tribe of Benjamin. David was from the Tribe of Judah. Different (geographical) sites. Different priests. Very important. If the king comes from from a place with different priests, the old ones gets marginalized, and lose their old power. The king had "coat-tails". David was a man from Saul's household who had married one of his daughters, and eventually came to be seen as a rival for power. In the rivalry, David was given the support of the priests from Shiloh. Saul then executes all the Shiloh priests, as they were part of the rival group. All except ONE, who was "remembered" as having *escaped*. 1 Samuel 22:20. His name was Abiathar. Abiathar is then "remembered" as having gone to David, and told him what happened. Abiathar says to David, "I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, and that he surely told Saul 'I am responsible for the death of all your family' ". Thus we have the text "remembering" a (supposed) *confession* of guilt. Abiathar is "remembered" by the text as having confessed to being part of the group which murdered the Royal Family.

David replies to Abiathar, "Stay with me. Fear nothing. He that seeks your life must seek mine also. You are under my protection." The text "remembers" the Shiloh priest Abiathar, as the SOLE survivor of the massacre of the Shiloh priests, and under the protection of the king. There is a reason the text "remembers" things this way.

There was a lot of other internal discord dealing with the prominence of the oldest Shiloh worship site, and the Tribe of Benjamin, as Saul came from that tribe, and there was resentment, as they were seen as no longer equal, and it's fascinating, but too long to go into. In Samuel 4, there is also a story of an arc, or decorated rolling chest, being taken into a battle out of Shiloh, and lost to the Philistines, and placed in the Temple of a god named Dagon. The arc, or rolling box also had poles for carrying it. Some arcs were carried, and some think THIS is the origin of the arc that ended up as one of the central organizing features of Hebrew life, However it's more likely the arc in Shiloh came FROM the Temple of Dagon, and was not taken TO the Temple of Dagon. The story was reversed. In the story, the statue of Dagon kept falling over, and the priests of Dagon were said to be afraid of the ark, and this is likely the origins of the magic powers of this arc. Everywhere the arc was taken chaos was "remembered" to have ensued, and plans were made to return it to Shiloh. There were other arcs rolling around in the ancient Near East. It was a common part of many of the worship sites. The one in Shiloh came to be seen as special. It was decorated in a particularly strange way. It looked, (as it is described in Exodus), as if it had come straight from a Babylonian temple. It had the two winged angels, or sphinxes, on it's top, which was a common Babylonian and Egyptian theme, in Near Eastern art. Sphinxes were the "guardians" of thousands of Babylonian and Egyptian objects, and architectural sites, and cities.

So David came to be king. He was from the Tribe of Judah. Judah was the largest, and most powerful tribe. This was a change from Saul's origins from the LEAST powerful tribe. This was not lost on the Hebrews. The warnings of Amos had come true. He therefore was a threat to the "old ways" and traditions from the Confederacy. He first moved his capital to Hebron, in Judah, then to Jerusalem. Jerusalem had been occupied by the Jebusites, which was a Canaanite familiy, and not one of the Tribes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jebusite . He may have done this to escape the "locality" of prior tribal traditions, and the specific authority of priestly local power. There would have been no local priests in Jerusalem for him to deal with. He out-maneuvered the priests at their own game. The absence of a local priesthood necessitated the naming by David of new priests. He picked Abiathar from Shiloh in the North, and Zadok, from his former capital, in Judah to be priests together in Jerusalem. It was a unity of North and South. It was also the unity of something else. In the mythological origins of the North, there were the Moses stories. In the South, there were Aaronic stories. In combining the two traditions, David combines Moses and Aaron for a person of that day, and attempts to unify the separate traditions.

David also hired himself a professional army. Thus he freed himself from dependence on tribal priesthood, and tribal military support. He then went on to build his empire, and had established Jerusalem as his capital, which was politically, and religiously independent, and then he transferred the arc from Shiloh down to Jerusalem to cement the power, and perceived central authority.

David had many children, who vied for power. Two of the sons were Solomon and Adonijah. The insiders in the palace basically chose sides, and had their camps of supporters. Adonijah had the support of his brothers and sisters. Solomon had the support of his mother, (David's favorite wife..Bathsheba), the prophet Nathan, and the professional army. When the sides lined up one of THE most important things in the history of Israel happened. It cannot be over-estimated. Abiathar, from the North ... from Shiloh, sided with Adonijah. Zadok, from Judah, from the South, sided with Solomon.

David chose Solomon to succeed him, and after David's death, Solomon executed his half-brother, and had to get rid of those who opposed him. He could not just kill a priest, so he exiled Abiathar to a small village outside Jerusalem. Of course, Salomon built a temple for the remaining priests, and the temple came to be a symbol of the nation of Israel. Before the temple, the arc was, during the Confederate period, kept in a tent. The golden sphinxes on the top of the box were seen as the throne of the invisible Yahweh, and under the throne was kept the arc that David had brought down from Shiloh. The PRIMARY symbol for the religion was the TWO GOLDEN SPHINXES, on which the god Yahweh was thought to rest. The invisible presence of the god, "rested" on the "seat" of the sphinxes. Not 2 stone tablets. Not two winged "cherubim". Not a temple, or temple vessels, and candelabra. Two golden sphinxes. The stone tablets were inside the box, and not visible.

Just as the Confederacy is "remembered" in US history, in nostalgic terms, by the defeated, so in the time of Solomon, the Confederacy was "remembered" and many resented the changes and hated the monarchy and "remembered" the "old days" of the independent Tribal Era. The Kingdom of Solomon had come from the unification of the Tribal territories with the new territory which David had conquered in the South. Solomon was a master politician. Literally every king in the ancient Near East was his father-in-law, and contributed to his building projects. Solomon taxed everyone, but spent more, and gave more to his tribe in Judah. He neglected the North, which already resented him for his treatment of Abiathar. Solomon did two more things which made him hated by the North. He "gerrymandered" 12 administrative "districts" which did NOT correspond to the old tribal territories, in an attempt to "confuse" the old tribal boundaries, for tax purposes, which did NOT include Judah, and he instituted a policy of "missim", or forced physical labor for his building projects. Males had to give a month a year of labor to the king. Sound familiar ? Forced labor. In the Book of Exodus, the Egyptian supervisors were named as "officers of the missim". Is it possible the words in Exodus were meant to insult Solomon, when they were later written, and specifically refer to HIM ? Hmm. When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam goes North to be crowned, and the elders ask him if he is going to continue the hated policies of Solomon, and he says "Yes". Immediately the Northern Tribes secede. The leaders of the North stone, and kill the the chief of the "missim". They HATED the forced labor policy.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So after the secession, Rehoboam ruled only Judah, in the South, and also over the smaller tribe of Benjamin, which Judah dominated. In the North, they chose a king named Jeroboam, and thus the Kingdom of David became two kingdoms. The two similar, but different names had at least a partial meaning of "he who expands his area/territory", or "king who conquers more lands". Jeroboam made the old seat in Shechem his capital in the North. Rehoboam remained in Jerusalem, in the South.

So that's fine, but what happens when the people of the North want to worship Yahweh ? All the "stuff" is in the South. The temple, the arc, and the High Priest are all in the South, in Jerusalem. They had to travel. The legitimate seat of Yahweh was still, post secession, in Jerusalem. Rehoboam was seen as "more" legitimate than Jeroboam, as he had the "stuff", the "regalia" of Yahweh. So Jeroboam decided to act. He re-establishes the old worship sites in the North as sites for his new VERSION of the old religion. He doesn't create a NEW religion. He uses the old one, and just as Christianity has many sects, Jeroboam created his new sect of the old religion. The centers of his new sect were at Dan up in the far North, and Beth-el, which is not far from Jerusalem. He creates new holidays, appoints new priests, and creates new symbols. Jeroboams new national holiday was also in the Fall, but a month later than Judah's holiday.

Guess what ? Are ya ready ? Guess what his new symbols are ?

Two Golden Bulls

No longer two golden sphinxes. Two golden calves. Yup. Two golden calves. But the people, just like in the South did not *worship* the golden calves. The golden calves were a "symbol" of the power and virility of Yahweh. Yahweh remained the deity. This modern shift of understanding, that was going on was not "idol worship" but "symbolism"/"Paganism" is one of the big developments in the last 150 years in Biblical Studies. Up in the North. The people whose culture Moses originated from, came to worship THE SAME YAHWEH, but his symbol was changed to two golden calves, instead of having two golden sphinxes for their symbol, as in the South.

Now can we see why Moses might have been made to look a fool, and made, by the writer to disrespect the tablets by smashing them ?
HIS (Northern) YAHWEH TRADITION CAME TO DISRESPECT THE ORIGINAL YAHWEH TRADITION.
Can we see why, when HE comes down from the mountain HE smashes a golden calf ?
Could the smashing mean he repudiates HIS OWN tradition's DISrespect of the law and original culture ?
Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.
In archaic Hebrew, the word which is translated as "calf", really should be translated as "young bull". There is no weakness, or vulnerability seen in the Golden Calf, (as in a "baby cow"). It's about Young Bull Virility, (strength and power) in which the "presence of Yahweh" was seen, just as the "presence" of Yahweh was seen in the South as resting on the golden sphinxes.

There is also another misunderstanding. We all know, or have heard of the god Baal. That is also a mistake. We also know that Baal was associated with orgiastic feasts, in Canaan. In fact, in ancient Canaan, the god Baal, is really, or should be translated "bull-el", the bull god. Ba-al, IS the golden young virile bull. But Baal is the "bull god", or the "virility god", similar to Yahweh as the "god of the armies". So Jeroboam, in starting his "new version" identifies Yahweh with the "El" god, AND the virility god. This unification would have served to unify the other indigenous Canaanites in the North, along with the Hebrews, as they knew of Bull-El. But Jeroboam also "shifts" the bull god cult's understanding, from an "idol", to a "symbol".

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

When Jeroboam chose his new priests, in the North, he waded into a morass. The Northern priests had suffered badly under Solomon, Many of these Northern Levites happened to live in cities that Solomon had given as a gift to Hiram, the King of the Phoenicians. The resentment remained, and burned, because they remembered THEIR own prophet/priest had anointed the first two kings, and then the kings "bit the hand that fed them". The resentment was very present, and palpable. Then on top of this, Solomon had expelled Abiathar.

The man who designated, or granted kingly authority to Jeroboam was Ahijah of SHILOH. Not surprising. But once again the Northern priests had their hands bitten by the king. Jerobaom, instead of using them for the centers of worship in Dan and Beth-el and Shiloh, changed the criteria. No longer was it good enough to just be a Levite. The new criterion became that the priest would be one who would "fill the hand with a bull and seven rams". They now had to BUY their office. So now, even the Northern priests opposed Jeroboam, and condemned the "new version", and it's symbols, (the golden bulls). The golden bulls were opposed, not as idols, but as "heresy". The shift from "invisible presence above" (the Golden Sphinxes), to "young virility" (the Golden Bulls), was seen as false, and non-authentic to the Yahweh tradition. Thus these Northern Levites had fallen from important people to poor landless and unemployed.

Remember ... no Bible exists yet. It has not even been started.

So now Israel was two separate kingdoms, and the priests hated each other's guts. Then came the catastrophe. The people who thought of themselves as "chosen", were conquered by the Assyrian empire. How could that happen if their Yahweh god was powerful ? There must be a reason. The old priests told the people that the reason was, that they had been unfaithful in the shift to the use of Golden Bull symbology. However only the Northern kingdom went off to exile in 722 BCE. The Southern kingdom of Judah lasted another 100 years, The ten tribes from the North have come down in history as the "Ten Lost Tribes of Israel". The two others, (Judah and Benjamin), were in the South, and remained free for a while.

During the time the two kingdoms existed, side by side, there arose writers in the two separate kingdoms. Each of these two writers composed their own separate version of the story of their nation. These two separate writers began the writing of the Bible we know today. The discovery that there were two sources of the story was made by at least three different people. It's too long to discuss here, but it came to be called the Documentary Hypothesis. Scholars notices that there were two creation accounts, two flood stories, two versions of the covenant with Abraham, but most important the two sources consistently used different names for the god. Scholars realized what they were dealing with were two works that had been cut up, and combined. When the sources are separated they obviously have consistent narrative, different vocabulary, and different idioms, and emphasis. The source that referred to the deity as Jahweh (Yahweh) was called "J", and the other source that referred to the deity as El, or Elohim, was called "E". Later it was discovered that within the "E" tradition there actually was another one, with more "doubling", which was called "P", because it seemed to emphasize things about PRIESTS. Laws about priests, matters about ritual and sacrifice, incense-burning, purity, dates, numbers, and holidays. These three sources were easily seen to flow through Genesis, Exodus Leviticus, and Numbers. Deuteronomy was a special case. The Old Testament was a "woven garment", and had to be dissected, to be understood. There was HUGE resistance to this idea, by religious people, but it gradually came to be the accepted hypothesis by scholars. So there were four "hands writing", and one "redactor" or editor/assembler. J and E have distinctly different views of many things, as obvious they would living in different kingdoms, with different prejudices. One from Judah. One from the old Northern kingdom of Israel. J was concerned with things that had to do with Judah, E was concerned with stuff from the North.

In the stories of E, which talk about El, or Elohim, there are stories of the son's of Jacob who are named as Dan, Napthali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulon, Ephriam, Manasseh and Benjamin.

In J, the tribes which are used IN CONJUNCTION, (ie "legitimacy conferred by") with the name of Yahweh are named as Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah. Of the four Yahweh tribes, the first three lost their territories, and were absorbed into the tribe of Judah. Judah is seen as *ascendant*, and the most important to Yahweh, in J. There are biblical rationalizations for these various statuses, but too long to go into. When the mythological story of Isaac's twins was written it reflects the later division of the kingdom, and a notional history, ("story" as "active remembering") was created to explain the two kingdoms, which in literary terms, were "placed" later as a "realized event" in the text of the story, even while making it "appear" as a prediction/explanation of the future.

So, back to Moses and his decent from the mountain. While Moses is up on the mountain, the text has Aaron make a Golden Bull, and say "These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you UP, OUT, of the land of Israel". Then Aaron says "A holiday to Yahweh TOMORROW !" When Moses comes down, the Tribe of Levi is made to carry out a bloody purge, and Moses makes a plea for forgiveness. Why was Aaron made to be seen as the leader of the rebellion, yet NOT purged ? Why did it say "These are your gods" when there was only one Golden Bull ? Why did it say "UP, OUT" when at the time of the flight from Egypt they were "down over" ? The Documentary Hypothesis answers all the questions. If Moses was some sort of a "cultural historical memory", he was a Northern memory, which the E source was interested in. Moses was written into the E text as the intercessor, and Aaron, (in E), was seen as the instigator. Aaron, was, (in E) specifically associated with the Southern traditions. If the author of E was a Levitical (ex)priest from Shiloh, it answers all the questions, and fits perfectly. The Shiloh priests were frustrated by the Golden Bull's introduction, and their marginalization. Aaron was seen as an ancestor of Zadok, from the South, (Judah). Aaron could not be eliminated in the story, as they obviously could not eliminate all the ancestors of people everyone KNEW was historical, (ie Zadok). So why "a holiday to Yahweh tomorrow" ? Because the writer of E HAD to separate the *seat* (or presence of Yahweh above the Golden Sphinxes), from the understanding of the heresy of the Golden Bulls, from the actual belief in the Yahweh god itself. Two different days. Two different belief systems. They are metaphorically separated by time, and day. Why did the writer of E picture the Northern Levites acting with bloody zeal ? Because HE was a Levite, and wanted to make HIMSELF, and his group look good. Why did Moses smash the tablets in E ? Because the tablets were down in Judah, in the temple, and E wanted to question the entire business of the J centered system down in Jerusalem.

In Exodus 34:17 the people are told "You shall not make for yourselves "MOLTEN gods". This is the J version of the commandments received from Yahweh. Why "molten" ? Because the Golden Bulls were "molten", and the symbols of Yahweh's seat in Jerusalem, (the Golden Sphinxes) were WOODEN, covered with gold. In J, the arc, (now residing in Jerusalem when J was writing), is seen as important to success in the desert. In E, the "tent of the meeting" was important to success. The Tent was from the Shiloh tradition in the North. There are many many other obvious references, totally consistent with the Documentary Hypothesis.

The second main example of the belittling of the Aaronoid priests, and the conflict between the North and the South, is the one where Miriam is turned "snow-white". Did you ever hear the story of Miriam getting leprosy for a week ? Probably not. It's an amusing story, for a number of reasons. If there actually was a "Moses" it is likely he was a member of the Levite tribe in the North. "Mosheh" was a common Egyptian name , so it is possible he may have led, or been a part of a small group of Semites who left Egypt, at some point, and settled in Northern Canaan. At the time that may have happened, there were already Semite settlements in Canaan, so we know the story did not unfold the way Exodus "remembers" it. In Numbers 12: 1-15, it talks abut Miriam and Aaron talking about Moses and criticizing him, as he had taken a "Chushite" wife. Yahweh hears them, and begins to speak to the three. In the text that follows Yahweh says Moses is "special" as he is the only one ever who has seen the "form of Yahweh". (verse 8). As a punishment for taking ill about Moses, Miriam is sent out of the community for seven days, and afflicted with Leprosy. Moses asks Yahweh to relent, and he does, but says Miriam must go out for seven days. So why do they hate Moses' wife ? The Cush was Ethiopia, thus it is likely she was a black woman. She was "different". In the interchange Miriam and Aaron ask if Moses has special status, and they ask "Has Yahweh indeed only spoken through Moses ? Has he not also spoken through us ?" Yahweh then replies that Moses IS special, as he has actually seen God, and lived. It says the kind of Leprosy Miriam gets , causes her skin to turn white. So IF, the issue of "difference" is that Moses wife WAS black, then the punishment meeted out, perfectly fits the crime. But what about Aaron. Nothing. The male priest again gets no punishment. This time, though, it's because someone who had suffered from Leprosy, could not be a priest. The text says Moses' experience of Yahweh was superior to the priest Aaron. This fits perfectly with E trying to make the Aaronoid priests in Judah look stupid, and second class. Also, at the end of the story, specifically E places the words "my lord" in the mouth of Aaron, when he talks to Moses, thus demonstrating the power structure. (BTW this notion that Moses actually sees the "form" of Yahweh is a direct contradiction to the Burning Bush story, and others sealing with Yahweh and Moses, where NO *form* was seen, or could even be imagined as having happened.)

So we have the Documentary Hypothesis. There has never been another hypothesis put forward, which so fully accounts for, and explains all the evidence above. During the period of the Exile, when the priests were in Babylon, they had with them the E scroll and the J scroll. The "Redactor" cut them up, and reassembled them. They added the P material, and the first four books of the Pentateuch were born. In addition to J E and P, the redactor added material from the Sumerian myth system, which they were exposed to in Babylon, (if not before), and that material is very obvious in the first 9 chapters of Genesis, one of the Creation accounts, the Great Flood, and the Confusion of Speech.

When the Prophet Ezra returned from Babylon, he had with him two things :
1. A letter from Artaxerxes giving him and the king the power to rule in his name,
2. The Torah of Moses,
This was the first time in human history, that the Pentateuch scrolls appeared united. They had been formulated, edited, and combined from the sources by the priests in exile. Ezra organized a festival the Fall after he returned, and introduced the Torah of Moses to the people.

Since everything above is really only about politics, and human in-fighting and resentments, was there really anything seriously unique or important, in a religious sense, about the thought system of the Hebrews ? I submit there was. The very fact that the Golden Bulls were EVEN POSSIBLE , as a realistic substitute in the North, for the rituals, ideas, concepts, and temple accoutrements in the South, means that the Golden Sphinxes were only symbolic as the "seat" or throne of the Yahweh god, who was seen to rest *invisibly* above the sphinxes. The Golden Bull was also a *symbol*, not an idol. A symbol of strength and potency. Saying it's about "idol worship" completely misses the point.

Thus the ancient Hebrews seemed to have progressed or evolved to the "symbolic" stage of religion, in human culture, and this was not the common theme in the ancient Near East.


Do you have to add even more bullshit to the bullshit? What a waste of time...

Sorry if this comes as a shock to you asshole. YOU do not think or make decisions for anyone other than your ignorant self. If YOU are not interested in something, then don't fucking read it. NO ONE FORCED you to read anything.

Newsflash #1 : Not everyone is interested in the same things.
Newsflash #2 : Not everyone is interested in that which interests you.
Newsflash #3 : YOU do not dictate anything here.
Newsflash #4 : Many people ARE interested in the history of what WAS important in this culture, and still is.

How old are you. Like 5 ?
Your anti-intellectualism is pathetic, but very common. Many of my threads have literally tens of thousands of hits, proving at least a few are interested in them. How many hits do your posts get for the threads you have started ? I have the data for mine. Care to compare them ?

In short, GO FUCK YOURSELF.

Why the hell do you think there is an "Atheism and Theism" section in the first place ?
Idiot.
Learn how to click off that which you are not interested in.
If you want to lob peanuts from the peanut gallery, and not participate in the thread, fine.
You will just be put on ignore, which we all should have done long ago.

And BTW, the title of Mark Fulton's book is "Getting Over Christianity by Understanding it".
All of Christianity rests on the culture, and content of the Old Testament, (supposedly).
Every bit of understanding of the real political history in old Testament chips away at the bullshit of Christianity, and it's foundations.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-11-2012, 04:07 PM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
Boring! Drinking Beverage
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11-11-2012, 04:20 PM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
I enjoyed it,Bucky.

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11-11-2012, 04:54 PM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 04:07 PM)Janus Wrote:  Boring! Drinking Beverage
Thanks for confirming you continue to waste your time reading that which you keep *saying* does not interest you. Thumbsup

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-11-2012, 07:03 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2012 07:08 PM by Janus.)
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 04:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-11-2012 04:07 PM)Janus Wrote:  Boring! Drinking Beverage
Thanks for confirming you continue to waste your time reading that which you keep *saying* does not interest you. Thumbsup

Thanks for confirming that you create your own 'reality'. Like e.g. how you assume out of thin air that I actually read your verbal diarrhea. Big Grin

You should be so lucky... Rolleyes
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11-11-2012, 07:18 PM (This post was last modified: 11-11-2012 10:51 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 07:03 PM)Janus Wrote:  
(11-11-2012 04:54 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Thanks for confirming you continue to waste your time reading that which you keep *saying* does not interest you. Thumbsup

Thanks for confirming that you create your own 'reality'. Like e.g. how you assume out of thin air that I actually read your verbal diarrhea. Big Grin

You should be so lucky... Rolleyes
I see you are psychic, and can tell things are boring without reading them.
Can I have a reading with your crystal ball ? Thumbsup
Actually, if you feel you need to run around, pressuring people, attempting to limit the freedom of speech,
you might want to consider moving to Iran.
You'd make a great Muslim.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein Certified Ancient Astronaut Theorist
Isaiah 45:7 "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things" (KJV)

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11-11-2012, 08:28 PM
RE: The Golden Calf and Bible Bull(s)
(11-11-2012 07:18 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-11-2012 07:03 PM)Janus Wrote:  Thanks for confirming that you create your own 'reality'. Like e.g. how you assume out of thin air that I actually read your verbal diarrhea. Big Grin

You should be so lucky... Rolleyes
I see you are psychic, and can tell things are boring without reading them.

...Aaaaaand win. Thumbsup

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