Biblical War Revealed on 2,800-Year-Old Stone Altar

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF LIVE SCIENCE)

 

Biblical War Revealed on 2,800-Year-Old Stone Altar

an inscription found in ataroth

This 2,800 year-old cylindrical stone altar was recently discovered in a sanctuary within the ancient city of Ataroth in Jordan. It has two inscriptions inscribed on it. The inscriptions appear to refer to events that happened during a biblical war.
(Image: © Photo courtesy Adam Bean)

A 2,800-year-old inscribed stone altar, found within a Moabite sanctuary in the ancient city of Ataroth in Jordan, may shed light on an ancient biblical war.

The altar bears two inscriptions. The words are in the Moabite language and script, while the numerals in the inscriptions are in Hieratic (an Egyptian writing system). The altar appears to date to a time after Mesha, king of Moab, successfully rebelled against the Kingdom of Israel and conquered Ataroth (sometimes spelled Atarot), a city that the Kingdom of Israel had controlled. By this time, Israel had broke in two with a northern kingdom that retained the name Israel and a southern kingdom called Judah.

The Hebrew Bible mentions the rebellion, saying that before Mesha rebelled, Moab had to give Israel a yearly tribute of thousands of lambs and a vast amount of ram wool. The rebellion is also described in the so-called Mesha stele discovered in 1868 in Dhiban, Jordan, which claims that Mesha conquered Ataroth and killed many of the city’s inhabitants.

Related: Biblical Battles: 12 Ancient Wars Lifted from the Bible

The altar was discovered while the sanctuary was being excavated, in 2010. The altar and sanctuary were recently described in the journal Levant.

One of the two inscriptions written on the altar appears to describe bronze that was plundered after the capture of Ataroth. “One might speculate that quantities of bronze looted from the conquered city of [Ataroth] at some later date were presented as an offering at the shrine and recorded on this altar,” the researchers wrote in the journal article.

The second inscription on the altar is fragmentary and harder to understand. Part of it appears to say (in translation) that “4,000 foreign men were scattered and abandoned in great number,” while another part of the inscription mentions “the desolate city.”

“Much remains unclear about this inscription,” the researchers wrote, noting that this inscription may discuss events that occurred during Mesha’s rebellion against Israel and capture of Ataroth.

Fragrant substances like incense, aromatic woods and oils would have been burned on the altar, said lead author Adam Bean, a doctoral student in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Biblical clues

The inscribed altar provides confirmation that the Moabites succeeded in taking over Ataroth, said study co-author Christopher Rollston, a professor of northwest Semitic languages and literatures at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

The altar also shows that, 2,800 years ago, the Moabites had skilled scribes who used their own script. The inscriptions on the altar “are the earliest evidence we have so far for a distinctive Moabite script,” Rollston told Live Science, noting that the inscription discovered in 1868 used the Hebrew script to write the Moabite language.

“We often talk about the sophistication of the scribal education of ancient Israel, and rightfully so, [but the inscriptions on the altar show] that ancient Moab had some gifted scribes as well,” Rollston said.

Today, Ataroth is called Khirbat Ataruz. Excavations at the site are led by Chang-Ho Ji, who is dean of education at La Sierra University in Riverside, California.

Originally published on Live Science.

Palestine: Abbas Thinks Everyone Is An Idiot And A Fool

Palestine: Abbas Thinks Everyone Is An Idiot And A Fool

 

I have to admit that this letter I am writing to you tonight is one based within a little bit of upset-ness. Earlier today I reblogged an article from the Saudi Newspaper Asharq al-Awsat about comments from the Palestinian President Abbas and the stupidity of his comments is causing me to write this article to you tonight. For it is my belief that Mr. Abbas thinks that everyone who might hear or read his words are idiots and or fools. Mr. Abbas said and I quote “Palestine is for Canaanites and outsiders must leave.” I realize that there are a lot of people who don’t know what a Canaanite even is as people who aren’t familiar with the first few books of the Old Testament would probably have never had any reason to care or know about those folks from so long ago. The exception may be some of the people who live in the Middle-East now, mainly the Palestinians and the Israelite’s. Mr. Abbas’s comment also shows very plainly that he and the Palestinians have no intention of ever allowing there to be any such thing as a Nation of Israel. Giving land for piece is pure stupidity as all they will ever do is to keep attacking anyone who is not Islamic believers. This is exactly what happened when Israel turned over the West Bank and Gaza to them, the Palestinians simply used this land as a new base to continue their attacks on the people and Nation of Israel. There will never be a true peace between the two ever because Islamic believers will never ever let it be so.

 

Mr. Abbas now says that they, the Palestinians are modern day Canaanites and that only they have the right to live in the land of Canaan, or modern day Palestine. He is using this ideology for the purpose of saying that the Palestinian people’s linage goes back before the Hebrew (Israeli) peoples claim to the land when through God’s power He brought them out of the land of Egypt with Moses at the helm. This is because their claim to the land from the time of Mohammed in the seventh century when Islamic raiders took over the whole Middle-East does not go back before the time of the Nation of Israel. In the past the Islamic believers simply have said that there never was a Nation of Israel, disallowing all of Israels people from having been there before Islam was born. They have stated this theology ignoring all written and physical evidence of what they were saying was a total lie. So, now it appears that Mr. Abbas is trying another angle, but, for anyone to believe what he is saying now they would have to be ignorant (un-knowledgeable) of the Old Testament writings. One can easily say that the Islamic people don’t believe in the teachings of the Bible anyway so what would that matter. Good point except that they do honor Abraham and Moses as being Prophets of God. They believe parts but then disavow other teachings all around them. What Mr. Abbas is hoping for is that you, I, and everyone else of the planet is either an idiot and or a fool. In truth everyone that is alive today is an idiot meaning un-knowledgeable about somethings and or many things. Being an idiot on a subject matter is a whole lot different than being stupid, meaning that you are just mentally unable to learn. I looked up the meaning of stupid at Dictionary.com and for the word Fool it says: A person who lacks judgement or sense. And: a person who has been tricked or deceived into appearing to act silly. When I looked up the definition in the Bible it says: Those who misuse wisdom. And foolishness: A disregard of final issues. In other words, they don’t actually care what the truth is, thus showing themselves to be foolish or a fool.

 

I am going to give you a little bit of Biblical input to help you build your knowledge on the matter of the Canaanites and of the Hebrew people, God’s chosen people, the Israelite’s. I am not going to get into copying down ever word written in each paragraph but I will give you a very good detailed base in which you can then easily look up each paragraph that I list to help you understand. I believe that the information that I am going to give you straight from Scripture will open your eyes to the understanding as to why, even if the modern day Islamic believers or Palestinians claim to be of the bloodline of the Canaanites that they are not the ones to be the legal residents of the land of Israel, Palestine. Mr. Abbas knows this, he is just hoping that you and I are all idiots who can be easily fooled.

 

Starting with the first book of the Bible, the Book of Genesis.  Chapter 12 verses 6 and 7. Written as 12: 6-7. (1) This is when Abram (later named Abraham) was sent into Canaan, the land was occupied by the Canaanites. (2) God said to Abram “unto your seed I will give this land.”

10: 19 God describes the borders of Palestine in which the 7 Nations of the Canaanites lived. This would be the future borders of the land of Israel once they came up out of Egypt with Moses. Current day Israel is but a small sliver of the land that belongs to the Biblical Nation of Israel.

Genesis 15: 18-21 God tells Abram that He will give the land (what is considered to be Palestine) to his seed and God will DRIVE OUT THE NATIONS THAT ARE NOT HIS SEED, INCLUDING THE CANAANITES!

Exodus 3: 6-8 God talked to Moses at the Burning Bush. There God refers to the Hebrews (Israelite’s) who were slaves in Egypt as “His people” telling Moses that He will bring them to the land of Canaan and plant them there.

Deuteronomy 7: 1-2 In verse one God told Moses for “the People to go and possess the land” from those who current inhabited it. (2) “God will deliver them (the inhabits) to you and you shall smite (kill) them and utterly destroy them, you shall make no agreement with them, nor show mercy to them.”

7: 6 God speaking: “For you (Hebrews) are a Holy People to Himself above all people who are upon the face of the Earth.”

7: 16 God Speaking to Moses about the Canaanites “destroy them, show no pity.”

There are three people who are called the “Fathers of Israel” they are Abraham (Abram), Isaac his son and Jacob, his son. God changed Jacobs name to Israel and the 12 Tribes of Israel are named after the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel. The following passages are where God gave promises to each of them.

Abraham Genesis 12: 1-3

Isaac Genesis 26: 2-3

Jacob Genesis 28: 10-13

Israel Exodus 3: 8

 

Joseph while in captivity in Egypt in Genesis 40: 15 Referring to his homeland (Palestine) as “the land of the Hebrews.” This was several hundred years before the birth of Moses.

Exodus 15: 14-17 Palestine: all the inhabitants of Canaan shall melt away. (17) Canaan is Israel’s inheritance.

Hebrews 11: 9 (New Testament) The Apostle Paul speaking of Abraham “by faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.”

 

For President Abbas to say that his people (of the PA, Palestinian Authority) are the descendants of the Canaanites thus being Canaanites themselves, thus the rightful owner of the land of Palestine either he is an ignorant and or stupid fool in this regard or he simply believes that you/we are.

 

 

5 Amazing Things You Should Know About Yemen

(This article is courtesy of travel trivia)

 

5 Amazing Things You Should Know About Yemen

Think fast! What do you know about the country of Yemen? Aside from its involvement in the socio-political event known as Arab Spring, you might be drawing a blank. And in all fairness, it’s not your fault. Compared to better known Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or even Iraq and Iran, Yemen is often overlooked. But we have a few amazing facts about “Arabia Felix” (the happy land) that will make you want to know more about this unique country.

It’s Home to One of the Oldest Occupied Cities in the World

Credit: Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Yes, Yemen is that old. Sana’a is not only the capital city, but it’s also a city with ancient roots. Sana’a has served as a home to its people for over 2,500 years, is the country’s largest city, and it serves as a major transit hub for other popular stops within the nation. But the populous city is also the seventh-highest capital in the world, sitting at over 7,500 feet above sea level.

Socotra Island Is One of the Most Isolated Places on Earth

Credit: alex7370 / Shutterstock

Socotra island is a place so unique that you can’t find a third of the flora or fauna elsewhere in the world. It’s located in an archipelago off the coast of Yemen and has been dubbed Alien Island because of its unique wildlife. But Socotra is also called the pearl of the Indian Ocean. Archeologists, scientists and anthropologists have been visiting the island for years because of the unique biodiversity. But tourists are starting to recognize this untapped gem as well. Flights connect out of Sana’a and the UAE if you have your heart set on Socotra.

Yemen Is Home to the “Manhattan of the Desert”

Credit: Judith Liener / Shutterstock

When you think of skyscrapers, you probably imagine modern cities like New York or Tokyo. But the concept of urban planning is far older than both of these cities and their iconic histories. Shibam is a 16th-century city that first embraced the idea of “building up” rather than urban sprawl. And the ancient city is also listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list. The walled city features a variety of buildings as tall as seven stories, which is pretty impressive considering that the structures are made of mud bricks. It’s important to note that several buildings throughout the city date back as far as the ninth century during pre-Islamic times.

You Have to Try the National Dish “Saltah”

Credit: Judith Liener / Shutterstock

One of the best ways to get to know a culture is through its cuisine. And Yemen is a nation with plenty of unique dishes that help it stand out from other countries within the Arabian peninsula and the greater Middle East. Saltah is a shorter way of saying “salatah,” which further translates to “a combination of vegetables.” You might know that as a salad. The dish has its origins from the Ottoman Empire and was believed to be made from charitable leftover food donations from wealthy families and area mosques. Today, the dish features a meat broth base, fenugreek froth, a mix of tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and garlic, and usually lamb or beef for the meat. However, some variations include potatoes and other ingredients.

Yemen Has Roots That Go Back to the Bible

Credit: Dmitry Chulov / Shutterstock

Even if you’re not particularly religious, it’s still pretty awe-inspiring when you walk through ancient lands that figured prominently in well-known literary works. Before the country was known as Yemen, it went by a few other names. It was first known as Sheba when it served as the stronghold for the Queen of Sheba. But you might also know it as the “land of milk and honey” during Noah’s time. And the story of Jesus and the Three Wise Men with their gifts of frankincense and myrrh also took place in this ancient land.

(Poem) Knowledge And Faith

Knowledge And Faith

 

I like everyone am but flesh, blood and bone

Descendants from both Kings and from Beggars

Nine plus months we were nurtured in the womb

Our first sound was like all, from a slap on the butt

Knowledge we learn is from both the flesh and Spirit

 

There is but one entrance into this human life

And there is only one way that we will leave it

We need to hope, wish and pray for understanding

Always we should pray for knowledge to be given us

Knowledge and faith are tools to cast down evil Thrones

 

Salvation will come to the Soul who through Faith earns it

Knowledge and one’s Faith are indeed ones unfailing treasures

Yet are our ways and thoughts worthy of God’s good judgement

The Spirit of Knowledge is Faith and worthy of God’s blessings

Nothing in the life of a Mortal is a more blessed gifts then these

 

Israel: Colossal ancient structures found at Gath may explain origin of story of Goliath

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Colossal ancient structures found at Gath may explain origin of story of Goliath

Newly unearthed, unusually large fortifications from the 11th century BCE could be the genesis of the biblical tall tale, says Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project director

A giant of a man may have sprouted from an equally giant-sized city. Super-sized remains of “enormous” architecture and fortifications from a new, unexpected “biblical-era” layer of the Philistine city of Gath were unearthed this summer at the ongoing Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project.

Whereas most of the site’s previously excavated areas date to the 10th and 9th centuries BCE, this new layer dates to the 11th century, when, according to the biblical narrative in Samuel I 17, the future King David slew the giant Goliath.

“For those scholars that accept that David was a historical figure — and I’m among them — the late 11th-, early 10th century BCE, the time of the earlier phase of the city of Gath, whose impressive remains were just found, is the time frame in which David existed,” Bar-Ilan University Prof. Aren Maeir, the 23-year excavation director of the Tell es-Safi/Gath dig, told The Times of Israel. The dating follows the chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah as presented in the Bible.

“If in fact David did confront an opponent in single combat, most often identified as Goliath, this would, more or less, be the time of this early Iron Age phase of the city of Gath,” said Maeir. He emphasized that “it is hard to say whether or not there is a historical kernel to the story, and if there is in fact a kernel, what this kernel was.”

There is still no inscription conclusively stating that “this is Gath,” however the previous two decades of excavation at Tell es-Safi/Gath have uncovered a massive Iron Age Philistine site that served as the region’s center of gravity in the 9th and 10th centuries, said Maeir. The settlement was destroyed by the Aramean King Hazael around 830 BCE, which is echoed in the account of Gath that is written in Kings II 12:18.

Archaeologist Aren Maeir (left) supervises at a 830 BCE destruction layer at the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

For years, said Maeir, he and his team had assumed that the Hazael destruction layer was the largest phase of ancient Gath. “But I kept having this niggling feeling. It was bothering me: If the city destroyed by Hazael was so important, why didn’t it have fortifications? There were some, but nothing to write home about,” said Maeir.

King Hazael? A detailed figurine of a king’s head on display at the Israel Museum, dating to biblical times, and found near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, in Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Ilan Ben Zion)

Digging a little deeper this year, the team found impressive remains that predate the settlement destroyed by Hazael in 830 BCE, as first reported in Haaretz.

“They show that the buildings and the fortifications were very large, built with extremely large stones,” Maeir said. The team also unearthed unusual 11th century walls constructed with very thick, well-built, burnt brick. Maeir said this type of brick is rarely used in pre-Roman times.

While beginning excavation at the 11th century site, “We got the feeling that perhaps this earlier phase is larger and dramatically more impressive than the city that was destroyed by Hazael,” he said. “It’s a surprise, but on the other hand — it explains something… The pieces fit together now much better.”

Aerial view of Iron I fortifications in the eastern lower city of Gath. (Aren Maeir/Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

The monumental architecture is of much larger dimensions than almost anything found in the Levant during this era, said Maeir. This unexpected layer opens up the possibility that the city was a regional stronghold by the 11th century, said Maeir, as opposed to the previously assumed settlement of Ekron. As such, the find could cause a rethink of the “matrix of who were the strong powers in the region at the time,” he said.

The uncovered fortifications discovered in the lower city are 4 meters (13 feet) wide, versus the 2-2.5 meter (6.5-8 foot) wide walls discovered from later periods. Likewise, the dimensions of the building material itself are dramatically different. In later layers at the site, said Maeir, the ancient architects used half-meter-long (1.6 foot) stones. In the “Goliath layer,” the blocks measure between one and two meters (roughly 3.2-6.5 feet).

The 11th century city was outstandingly large and would have covered an area of 500 dunams (123.5 acres) — more than twice the area of most comparable cities in the Levant, said Maeir. For point of reference, when ancient Jerusalem was at its height a few hundred years later, it would have reached 400-500 dunams, he said.

“In geographical terms, Gath was a ‘primate city’ and on a larger and different scale than others,” said Maeir, comparing it to the difference between New York City versus Indianapolis.

View of the Water Gate at Gath, summer 2019 (Aren Maeir/Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

Echoes of an Aegean origin?

recent study of ancient Philistine DNA appears to corroborate the long-held hypothesis that the Philistine “Sea Peoples” arrived from the Aegean region.

Through analysis of 10 ancient individuals’ DNA, the study suggests that Philistines reached Ashkelon from Europe by the 12th century BCE, the early Iron Age. After two centuries, however, the European genetic markers were dwarfed by the Levantine gene pool, suggesting intensive intermarriage. The Philistine culture and peoplehood remained distinct from other local communities for six centuries.

A skull from a 10th-9th century BC burial in the excavation of the Philistine cemetery by the Leon Levy Expedition to Ashkelon. (Tsafrir Abayov/Leon Levy Expedition)

The DNA study is important, said Maeir, because it is the first and confirms that at least a component of the Philistine DNA come from the west. He did not find the results surprising due to the myriad of archaeological evidence that also supports the conclusion.

A volunteer at the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)

According to Maeir, there is in Greece, Anatolia and Cyprus a tradition of building with large and monolithic stones, similar to what is now found at Gath. He said he has discussed the possibility of an imported architectural style at Gath among his colleagues and does not rule out the idea.

“It is possible there is another tradition or traditions coming out here [in the large architecture], and it could very well be that they are western,” he said.

The Bar-Ilan professor explained that in classical Greece, as seen in remains of the Bronze Age Mycenaean culture, there were walls so enormous that Greek philosopher Aristotle thought the stones could only have been moved by the cyclopes. From this perception, recorded in Pliny’s “Natural History,” comes the archaeological term, “Cyclopean Walls.”

Detail from Gustave Doré’s 1866 ‘David Slays Goliath’ from Samuel I 17:49-51. (public domain via wikipedia)

“All Philistine skeletal remains discovered so far have shown absolutely no evidence that the people were larger or different from normal-sized people,” joked Maeir. In light of the new find, he wonders whether the various biblical traditions referring to the giants of Gath — Goliath is only one example — may stem from the size of the Philistines’ monumental building.

Perhaps the authors of the Bible saw the remains of the outsized 11th century building on the ground, speculated Maeir, and thought to themselves, “Enormous stones? Who could move such things? Only giants could move it.” Similar mythological narratives have developed at other ancient wonders, including Stonehenge and Easter Island, he said.

View of Iron I fortifications of Gath (Aren Maeir/Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

“Maybe there’s a family of large people we haven’t found, but it’s more likely to say that a mythical story developed over time based on the size of the architecture,” he said.

We can’t know the Philistines’ take on the giant story — written Philistine inscriptions are extremely rare, and often undecipherable.

In previous decades, said Maeir, archaeologists had thought it was just a question of time until they would find the “Philistine archive.” Today, he’s come to the conclusion that “the Philistines didn’t write a lot.” At the same time, the neighbors of the People of the Book “could do all kinds of impressive things and not write a word.”

3000-year-old brick wall with plaster and a doorway unearthed during the summer 2019 excavations at the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project. (Aren Maeir/Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project)

In addition to the gigantic building discovery, Maeir and his team also uncovered several 3,000-year old rooms that appear to be fortifications created just prior to the Hazael conquest. The 9th or 10th century mudbrick rooms were filled with earth, which preserved their 2 meter-high plastered walls and doorways leading to other rooms. It is unusual to have such high walls made of intact sun-dried bricks, he said.

This summer’s dig has just concluded. According to the project’s well-updated website, 2021 will mark the 25th and final season.

“You excavate a site so for long that you think you understand it,” said Maeir. “But every turn of the trowel can bring a new and unexpected find.”

Volunteers at the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project, July 2018. (Amanda Borschel-Dan/Times of Israel)
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4 Extinct Languages That Used to Be Widely Spoken

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

4 Extinct Languages That Used to Be Widely Spoken

Countless factors facilitate the extinction of a language. A language becomes extinct when the members of the community who speak it are forced to integrate with larger populations. Through assimilation and the loss of cultural norms, these four languages fell out of the mouths of speakers, despite once being commonly heard around the world.

Coptic

Credit: Ram Kay / Shutterstock.com

An extinct language that consisted of ancient Egyptian, Demotic, and Hieratic origins, Coptic was widely used in ancient Egypt after the spread of Greek culture to the region. This extinct language is considered the first language of Christianity, and scholars who specialize in theology often study it. Linguists agree that Coptic is similar to Late Egyptian, which was written with Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This ancient language existed as a literary-based language, so even in its most popular time, it was only written. The Coptic alphabet looks like a combination of hieroglyphs and Greek, probably because it borrowed letters from the Meroitic letters of the Demotic origin. Like most languages, Coptic is an example of the ever-evolving nuance of language. Though it is unspoken, the use of Coptic in liturgical practices, especially within the Greek Orthodox Church, is still going strong.

Biblical Hebrew

Credit: Fat Jackey / Shutterstock.com

An extinct language that laid the foundation for modern spoken Hebrew, Biblical Hebrew is no longer used in conversation. This ancient way of writing in Hebrew grew from the literary and biblical scholars at the height of its popularity – around 200 CE. Most ancient Israeli people spoke biblical Hebrew in daily conversation. However, the language is considered extinct because it is only taught within the construct of the Jewish faith as a way to understand the Jewish bible, the Torah.

The main difference between Biblical Hebrew and Modern Hebrew is the use of verb tenses. As Hebrew evolved from an ancient language to one in modern use, the need for the past, present, and future tenses arose. Earlier versions of ancient Hebrew had only two tenses – perfect and imperfect.

Sumerian

Credit: Aleksandr Stezhkin / Shutterstock.com

A true ancient language, Sumerian was spoken in southern Mesopotamia long before the Greeks and Romans were jostling. As a culture, the Sumerians’ most widely accepted accolade is that they invented a system of writing. In fact, the first recorded example of written language comes from a group of texts dating from 3200 BCE written in ancient Sumerian.

Many linguists agree that the ancient language was an amalgamation of many different languages of the world, but the path of origin is not clear. What’s more, most archaeologists are not sure how or when the Sumerian-speaking people arrived in Mesopotamia, but one thing is for sure. The region served as a multicultural hub for a long time. However, there have not been any native Sumerian speakers in generations. This might be because of the decline of the Sumerian empire. As the people migrated north in search of lands for farming and lost their language to that of their new home, this made it one of the most famous extinct languages.

Akkadian

Credit: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock.com

Linguists assume that Akkadian developed out of Sumerian, since there are some linguistic connections in this extinct language. At its height, Akkadian was the language to speak in the entire world. Speakers ranged from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. It has only been in the last century that scholars have revitalized the language while uncovering ancient ruins.

Language extinction is both gradual and sudden. If a community is forced to forfeit its language due to political pressure or because there is not enough interest in it, it is going to become extinct. Many believe it is vital that the current languages spoken do not disappear entirely and that records are maintained for posterity.

(Philosophy Poem) I Thought To Late

I Thought To Late

 

I had the chance to except your love

Almost changed the way I live my life

Yet my own self love got in the way

Got scared and asked You please, not today

Come back again when I am old and gray

 

Go away now Holy Man your messing up my day

You have tried to change the way I think and live

Someday I may convert but today is not the day

Life’s joys are many and I won’t to live them all

It is many years till my sun will set so today I play

 

My life is filled with golden lace and many riches all

I fear no foe for I am young, strong, handsome and tall

Again you told me of the Lord of Light and His loving call

You almost persuaded me to pick up His Cross and follow

Woke up this morning with a hot pitchfork stuck in my side

Lights of life they dimmed so quick I think I thought to late

 

(Religious Flavored Poem) Now In It’s Time

Now In It’s Time

 

The Spirit of God speaks to the Soul

It is time to go for the Seed is in the womb

The Soul to the Seed now the heart beats

The Seed does swell and fills the womb

Now it is time to breathe and feel the Sun

 

The Soul is given within the Momma’s womb

The Soul is now designated a woman or man

First we crawl then we walk or run the trail of life

Now the Mind learns what the Soul already knows

Now it is time, responsibility is now our own

 

We grow, we learn, we live,  but in our own way

We see evil, we see good, now we do choose

Freedom of choice, this we all have within

Do we choose love, kindness, mercy, or no

How did we choose for now in it time we die

 

 

 

The Sixty Days Of Purim

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

This article will be something of a mixed-media piece. It’ll start with a “Purim Torah,” move on to more serious “Kabbalah” stuff, and conclude with an inspiring Chassidic teaching.

(A “Purim Torah” is what Torah scholars do for fun on Purim: a short exposition that sounds and feels like a typical piece of Talmud, yet is either patently absurd or just skewered enough to be taken seriously on Purim.)

First, the Purim Torah:

Question: We read in the Book of Esther how Hamandesired “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, from young to old, infants and woman, in a single day — on the 13th of the twelfth month, that is, the month of Adar” (Esther 3:13). But why was it so important to Haman that his evil decree be carried out “in a single day”? Would such a thing even have been logistically possible? Indeed, Haman initially cast lots to determine which month should be chosen as the time for the genocide of the Jews.1 Our sages tell us that when the lot fell on the month of Adar, Haman rejoiced: this was the month in which Moses had died (on Adar 7), surely a month that bodes ill for the Jews.2 Having hit on an apparently auspicious month for his plans, why did Haman continue with his lot-throwing to pinpoint a particular day?

Answer: Haman was a keen student of Jewish history. He knew that the Jewish calendar is dotted with festivals celebrating the Jewish people’s salvation from an enemy who sought to destroy them. What if — Haman worried — their G‑d saves them again? If I designate the month of Adar for their destruction, they’ll celebrate all month long!

Finale: In this, too, Haman’s plan was foiled. When Mordechai and Esther institutionalized the celebration of the Purim miracle, they ordained not only the Purim observances of Adar 14 and 15, but also the commemoration of “the month that was transformed for them from sorrow to joy, from mourning to festivity” (Esther 9:22). Hence the Talmudic ruling, “when the month of Adar enters, increase in joy” (Talmud, Taanit 26b).

Now for the Kabbalah:

There are two ways in which the Jewish Calendar, and the nature of Jewish time, can be understood:

a) The “Special Days” Approach: The annual cycle consists of hundreds of days, most of which are of the ordinary, run-of-the-mill variety. Thankfully, these are punctuated by a number of special days — festivals and holy days imbued with special spiritual qualities. We trudge through the ordinary days, inspired and encouraged by the fact that we’re never more than a few weeks away from a Passover or Purim, or — at the very least — a Lag BaOmer or a “New Year for Trees.”

b) The “Quality of the Month” Approach: Jewish time is comprised not of days but of months, each possessing a distinct spiritual essence. The “special” days of the year are simply days on which the particular month’s quality is more pronounced and actualized. Thus, Nissan is the “Month of Liberation,” while Passover (observed on Nissan 15 to 22) is a week-long period in Nissan during which the month’s freedom-quality is more accessible. Similarly, Sivan is the month of Wisdom, Shevat is the month of Growth and Fruitfulness, Elul is the month of Compassion, and so on. Each month has days in which the month’s quality rises to the surface and manifests itself more than on the month’s “ordinary” days; but these are differences of expression rather than of essence — essentially, each day of the month equally possesses the month’s unique spiritual properties. This is why many of the festivals and special dates of the Jewish calendar occur on the 15th of the month — the night of the full moon, representing the point at which the month’s essence is in its most revealed and luminous state.3

Adar is the month of Transformation. Adar transforms sorrow into joy, doubt into supra-knowledge, oblivion into exuberant being. Adar transforms a “scattered people” into a unified nation, and a moment of national weakness (when the Jewish people participated in Achashverosh‘s feast in the belief that allegiance to a mortal king will ensure their survival) into the greatest statement of Jewish commitment of all time (when for an entire year every single Jew remained faithful to his/her people and G‑d, even as a decree of annihilation hung over the head of every Jew in the world). Adar transforms the most physical of activities — eating and drinking — into an affirmation of our bond with G‑d.

So while two days in Adar — the 14th and the 15th of the month — are observed as “Purim,” these represent the apex of an entire month of joyous transformation and transformative joy.

Finally, here’s the inspiring chassidic thought we promised:

A month on the Jewish calendar includes either 29 or 30 days (reflecting the 29.5-day lunar cycle). But every two or three years — seven times in a 19-year cycle, to be exact — Adar doubles in size: on these “pregnant years,” as they’re called, there’s a 30-day “Adar I” followed by a 29-day “Adar II.” In addition, 30th of Shevat is also the first of Adar I’s Rosh Chodesh (“head of the month”) days. This makes for a total of 60 “Adar days.”

The Lubavitcher Rebbe points out that the number “60” represents the power of transformation. A rule-of-thumb in Torah law is the “nullified by sixty” principle. For example, if a piece of non-kosher food accidentally falls into a pot of kosher food, the undesirable element is “nullified” if the desirable element is sixty times greater than it.

Thus, the Rebbe concludes, in a year blessed with a double, 60-day Adar, all undesirable elements — every and any cause for pain, sadness, discouragement or dejection — are nullified and sublimated by the transformative joy of Adar.

Who Was Nathan The Prophet?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CHABAD.ORG)

 

Nathan (c. 880-790 BCE1 ) was a prominent prophet during the reign of King David and King Solomon. According to tradition, Nathan studied in an elite academy of mystics2 under the tutelage of the prophet Samuel.3 Although no book in the Biblical Canon is associated with his name, the Talmud tells us that Nathan concluded the writing of the book of Samuel.4

Nathan Rebukes David

Nathan first gains fame in the Biblical account, in the heat of the great debacle of David and Batsheba. King David had cohabited with Bathsheba after observing her beauty from the palace rooftop and was severely reprimanded by G‑d for doing so.5

Nathan delivered G‑d’s rebuke by opening the conversation with a parallel. “There were two men,” said Nathan, “one rich and one poor. The rich man had very many sheep and cattle, and the poor man had nothing but one small ewe which he had bought. He cared for it, and it grew up [under his care] along with his children. It ate from his bread, drank from his cup, and slept in his bosom. It was a daughter to him.”

Nathan continued. “Then a guest came to the rich man. The wealthy host was too miserly to take any of his own sheep or cattle to prepare for the guest who had come to him. [Instead,] he took the poor man’s ewe and prepared it for the guest who had come to him.”

King David was outraged by the arrogance and impudence of the rich man, and declared, “As G‑d lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He shall pay fourfold for the ewe, since he did this and had no pity!”

By issuing a verdict in the case set before him, David had unwittingly set the rules for his own prosecution and conviction.6

Nathan responded and said, “You are the man! . . . Why have you treated G‑d’s word with contempt, doing evil in My sight? You cut down Uriah (Bathsheba’s husband) with a sword and took his wife as your wife! . . . I will raise evil against you from your own house . . . I will do this in the sight of Israel, in the open!”

When David recognized the scope of his sin, admitted his guilt and repented for his actions, Nathan conveyed G‑d’s message that He had accepted his atonement.7

Nathan was thus instrumental in restoring King David’s dignity (allowing him to “raise his head”) in the aftermath of this sin. Having been informed of G‑d’s forgiveness by Nathan, David remarked, “Instead of my beheading, you have raised my head.”8

Prophecy Regarding Building the Temple

When quiet finally reigned in the land of Israel, after King David subdued the enemies of Jews through many bloody battles, he sought the counsel of Nathan with respect to building a sanctuary for G‑d, a Holy Temple. Despite his initial nod, Nathan was informed by prophecy that King David was ineligible to erect the House of G‑d, which was to be a house of peace. King David, he was told,9 whose sword smote the enemies of the Jewish people, would be unsuitable to construct the Temple.10 Instead, his son, King Solomon will build the Temple.11

Through his prophetic vision, Nathan helped design the configuration of the Temple’s floorplan as well as develop the appropriate activities performed therein. The verse states:

“[King Hizkiyah] also stationed the Levites in G‑d’s Temple with cymbals, and harps and Iyres, as commanded by David, Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet, for this was the commandment of G‑d through his prophets.”12

The Appointment of King Solomon

As the reign of King David was winding down and David took ill, the race was on for a successor to the throne. David’s son, Adoniyahu put forward his candidacy and as the prospect of his nomination appeared to gain traction, a growing number of royal dignitaries declared him king.13

But David had already sworn to Bathsheba that her son Solomon would inherit the throne.14

Nathan proceeded to inform Bathsheba of the development and together they coordinated their appearance before the king.15 When David heard the news he swore, saying: “By the Living G‑d . . . I swore to you by G‑d, L‑rd of Israel: ‘Your son Solomon will reign after me and he will sit on my throne after me,’ and I will fulfill [my vow] today!”16

David then proceeded to have Solomon coronated in public view, by the agency of Nathan, Zadok the high priest, Benayahu ben Yehoyada and many other dignitaries.17

Nathan remained one of the closest confidants of King Solomon. The Midrash teaches that two honorary seats flanked the throne of King Solomon, one for Gad the Seer and the other for Nathan the prophet.18

FOOTNOTES
1.

See Shalshelet Ha-Kabalah p. 98b, cited in Seder Ha-Dorot, s.v. 2935 that Nathan’s lifespan was 94 years.

2.

See I Samuel 10:5. Radak, ibid.

3.

See R. Yehuda Ha-Levi Lifshitz, Dor Yesharim (Piotrkow, 1908) vol. II, p. 10.

4.

Bava Batra 15a.

6.

R. Israel Ba’al Shem Tov, cited in Likutei Maharankama, 113. See also the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s exposition of this teaching in Likutei Sichot, vol. IV, p. 1208 where this is understood as a testimony to the transcendence of the divine soul vested within a Jewish person, insofar as no force of nature or spirit can assert control over his destiny, unless he himself has granted that force the authority to do so, abdicating his state of transcendence above the natural order.

7.

II Shmuel, 12:13-14.

8.

Pesikta d’Rav Kahana II, Parshat Ki Sisa, 1. Midrash Tanchuma, ibid, 3.

9.

I Chronicles 22:7-8. Radak, ibid.

10.

Much like the prohibition against using metal instruments to carve the stones of the altar in the Temple (Metzudat David, I Chronicles 22:8).

Radak (ibid) adds that David also orchestrated the death of Uriah, husband of Bathsheba (See II Samuel 11:15-17). In addition, the tragic slaughtering of 85 kohanim(priests) of the city of Nob (I Samuel 22:22) by the instruction of King Saul, was an inadvertent result of David’s actions. In lamentation, David stated, “I knew that day, when Doeg the Edomite was there, that he surely told Saul. I have caused the death of your clan.”

With respect to casualties of war, the Midrash (Bereishit Rabbah 63:8) states that David’s actions were sanctioned by the Sanhedrin. See also, Kli Yakar (R. Shmuel Laniado, II Shmuel 2:7 p. 133). Yachin Uvoaz-Zera Rav, p. 126. Ezrat Kohanim, p. 48.

11.

I Chronicles ibid. 9.

13.

See I Melachim, 1:5-7. Ibid, 25.

14.

Ibid., 17 and Abarbanel. See Radak, II Shmuel, 12:24who explains that Bathsheba initially refused to bear another child with king David, fearing that he would be taunted for his being of tainted lineage. David assured her that he had been informed by the prophet of G‑d that the first son that would be born to her would inherit the throne.

A commentary attributed to Rabbi Yehuda Ha-Chassid (Pirushei Ha-Torah l’Rebi Yehudah Ha-Chassidhaftorahof parashat Chayei Sarah, cited in Chumash Otzar Ha-Rishonim) presents an alternative narrative. After Solomon was born, Nathan had informed David that Solomon would reign, which prompted David to seek qualified teachers to prepare Solomon for the position. When his mother, Bathsheba, protested saying that she feared that he would be slain by his older brothers such as Abashalom, Adoniyahu and Amnon, David swore that he would ensure his ascent to the throne. He then enlisted Nathan, Tzadok (the high priest), Benayahu ben Yehoyada (the chief commander of the military) to train Solomon in various fields, and an entire corps of guardians to provide physical protection for Solomon.

I am grateful to Rabbi Joseph Asia (publisher of Chumash Otzar Ha-Rishonim) for sharing the original source with me.

18.

Midrash Abba Gurion, 1.

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