The Majesty of God
Chapter Twenty–Three – Moses the Pastor
The lightning display to the north eventually died down and the Israelites fell into an exhausted sleep under the shade of the pillar of smoke, collapsing where they were standing, without setting up their tents for privacy. Here and there, a few still sang the victory song, smiling with weary satisfaction while sitting on their baggage, and some staggered around in circles, still attempting to dance. Moses wavered on his feet, looking at the scene, and then down at Tharbis who was sleeping on a mat she had rolled out for herself, her bodyguards sleeping around her a few yards away, some of them in a sitting position, their heads on their knees, each holding their spear.
There were guards at the edges of the camp, but Moses did not doubt that most of them were asleep, too, after all the stress and sleepless nights that they went through since leaving Egypt. It was unlikely that any of the neighbouring tribes would interfere with them, but he prayed that God would keep their assembly safe, then he lay down beside his wife and curled around her to sleep.
When he awoke many hours later, Moses discovered that his tent was set up over him. Tharbis sat nearby and her maid was braiding her hair. She grinned when she noticed him watching her and asked if he slept well. He replied that it was the best sleep he'd had in seventy–seven years.
Tharbis called for Hoshea; he came into the tent and bowed. The young man had attached himself to Moses's service, intently taking note of Moses's personal habits in regards to waiting on God and how he conducted himself around people, and of every conversation that he was allowed to listen in on.
Hoshea was a strong, handsome warrior, approaching forty years, and people had been urging him to marry. In Egypt, he declined, as the times were troubled and he did not want to put a wife and children at risk of being punished, if his guerilla activities were discovered. Now he felt compelled to follow Prince Moses around and find out all he could about how he related to God. Hoshea wanted the kind of relationship with God that Moses had.
Hoshea noted that Moses was awake and said, "I will fetch water for you, my lord." He ducked outside the tent again. Tharbis pushed away her maid's hands, dismissed her and picked up an ivory comb, then went over to Moses. She knelt beside him and, as gently as she could, untangled his hair and beard, working the grit out of it. Hoshea returned with water for Moses to wash with and Tharbis took care of that, too, carefully cleaning sand out his ears and off his body, helping him change into fresh clothes, until he looked presentable enough to leave to the tent. Before she met Moses, she never imagined herself grooming another person, but being in love changed that. Now she counted it a privilege to have a husband who loved her, especially because the feeling was mutual, and to serve him in mundane ways.
Moses stood by the main support of the tent, which was the only place in the tent where he could stand to his full height, then crouched to make his way outside to find a place to relieve himself, without it even crossing his mind to make a performance out of it or declaring his body fluids holy, though he was the great leader of a nation. Humility was one of the things that made him a great leader. He found the area that was made private for the men to use and then meandered back towards his tent. People bowed and thanked him for guiding them across the sea. Some reached out to touch him as he passed.
By the time he returned to Tharbis, the servants had set out his breakfast. Moses was famished, so he ate, then he went to the special tent Hoshea had set up for him where he could spend some time alone to wait on God without distractions. He knew he would never be able to handle the people's needs, unless God refreshed him and gave him instructions. It was a couple of hours before he emerged from the tent and began to make his inspection of the camp.
Things were slowly being put in better order. Tents were set up and meals were being cooked outside, but a lot of people wandered along the beach with carts, recovering weapons and armour that washed ashore. It was a good thing for the Israelites that the Egyptian army pursued them because they needed those weapons, having very little of that type of gear themselves when they left Egypt.
As for the treasures that they asked to "borrow" from the Egyptians, God's purpose in telling them to use that term relates to the fact that everything a human being has is borrowed from God. Our bodies belong to God and are only on loan to us, our time on Earth is borrowed from Him, and all our possessions, as well. The Bible says that the Earth is the Lord's and all its fullness. It all came from God and it can be recalled at any time He chooses. God did not want to lend those treasures to the Egyptians anymore, besides the fact that much of what they had was not obtained honourably, and they owed centuries of pay to the children of Jacob. The Israelites were actually borrowing the treasure from God, not from their oppressors.
Moses told Hoshea that it was time to divide the spoil they took from the Egyptians and explained how it was to be done. Hoshea then ran to relay his instructions and make preparations for distribution.
It took several days to get this in order and then implemented. The Bible does not say how the treasure was distributed, but I like to think that it was distributed evenly among all, and that it went something like this:
Various things were set aside for the Lord's service and then stations were set up in the camp where the rest of the treasures were brought. Some items were tagged for people who had priority to choose them. The treasures were arranged according to similar values and then lines were formed, with the princes and other leaders at the head, their wives and children behind them. Each person passed by displays of treasures and chose three items, except for those that were tagged and set aside in a separate place.
At first, people complained that the children were allowed to have an equal share of the spoil. Moses asked, "Why not? They may be small, but they are as much a person as an adult." People who had no children were the ones who protested the most. They said that the distribution would end up being unequal. Families would have more spoil than single individuals. Moses replied that the children were entitled to their inheritance. Their little eyes had seen atrocities that a child's eyes should never have to see. Many of them suffered things that children should not even know existed in the world. Their suffering more than sufficed to entitle them to inherit the wages their forefathers were unable to collect from cruel masters.
It was observed that the babies had not seen much. Moses said, "They drank grief and worry with their mother's milk. Do not grudge them their compensation. There is plenty for all, and when we get to the Promised Land, you men will gather more spoil for yourselves."
The murmuring subsided and the distribution continued. Parents tried to coach the children what to select, but the people in charge said, "No coaching allowed. Let them take what appeals to them." The parents were often pleased with their children's selections and their friends teased them in a good–natured way about their children's choices. The most fun was when the babies were held over the treasures, so that their chubby, little hands could grasp the shiny things or flail around until they touched something.
The Israelites who served as slaves in Egyptian households had an incredibly good time. Their mark was placed on items that their masters and mistresses had owned, so they were allowed to choose those items, if they did not see other things that they liked better. Some did not care that there were better things available. It gave them more satisfaction to adorn themselves with jewellery that their previous owners had worn, and gloat that they were now wearing the property of people who had ordered them about imperiously and beaten or molested them.
Many of the former slaves were awed that they were getting to keep any of the spoil they gathered. They were forced to do things that they hated and their self–esteem was beaten into the mud. They were not sure if they deserved to share in the spoil. Their shyness was tenderly addressed, with people coaxing them to go ahead and choose whatever their heart desired, and the fanciest pieces on display were presented, with people telling them, "Go ahead. Take it, if you want it. It would look very nice on you. Our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would want you to have it. God wants you to have it. He promised our forefathers that you would get it."
After everyone went past the stations once, more items were set out and everyone went past again to select three items, and so on, until only one item was permitted for selection and everything was gone. The people who were left at the end when the spoil ran out grumbled, but Moses quickly donated some of his spoil and Tharbis followed suit. Other leaders and good–hearted people donated spoil, too, until all the people at the end received an item.
The only thing that remained to be settled was the matter of the treasures that Tharbis wanted to return to Ethiopia. She and Moses chose mostly Ethiopian treasures, and Moses donated his share to Tharbis for that purpose. She protested that he should have some things to leave to his children as an inheritance. He replied, "People are always giving me gifts. I am sure that, by the time I die, there will be plenty to divide between my sons."
His sons were not born and raised in Egypt. They led fairly easy lives as the grandsons of Midian's high priest and their mother pampered them to win their affections. They never served as slaves or saw atrocities to the extent that the Israelites experienced. Nonetheless, if they had not behaved like jerks to Tharbis and were still around during all the plagues and the exodus, they probably would have gotten to choose some spoil for themselves.
Tharbis commissioned her steward and guardsmen to take the treasure she entrusted to them for Ethiopian relief and sent them to their people, with the message that she would not be returning to them. She included a letter naming the man she recommended to be their king, if he had survived the cataclysms of the comet so far. Many of the Ethiopians and Nubians in the mixed multitude returned with them, but not all. Like Tharbis, some joined themselves to the congregation of the Israelites, and there were also those who thought it prudent to follow Moses for as long as the comet hovered over them. It seemed to be the surest way to stay alive.
Moses prayed for God's blessings on the Ethiopians before they embarked on the boats they rounded up to take them back across the sea. Tharbis stood as straight and dignified as ever, dressed royally for this occasion of her people's last look at her before they returned home. Her heart felt heavy at the thought that she had not seen her land for forty years and would never see it again. But then she turned to the tall, handsome man at her side and thought, "A kingdom is a fair trade for the man I married and the God whom I have come to know." When she saw that her people safely reached the other side of the strait, she raised her hand in a farewell salute and returned to her tent.
The mixed multitude was tempted to envy the Israelites their spoil, but they had to allow that they would not have escaped from Egypt, if it had not been for the mighty works that the Israelites' God had done, and they were thankful to the Israelites for letting them to tag along. There was also opportunity for the able–bodied men to train as warriors with the Israelites and fight alongside them, if battle should arise before they reached their Promised Land. They would receive a share of spoils in that case. Moses said that everyone had to be on the alert. He had received reports from his scouts that a great swarm of bandits was roaming the wilderness.
The pillar of smoke was on the move and the Israelites followed it for three days through the wilderness without coming across water. They grumbled about their thirsty trek, but they finally came to the waters of Marah, which means bitter; the water was akaline. The people were shattered at this discovery and were on the verge of insurrection. Moses was distressed at their nasty mutterings and cried out to God, who instructed him to do something that made no sense. Moses obeyed. He chopped down a nearby tree and threw it into the water and the water became sweet.
It was the demonstration of a principle; do whatever God tells you to do, no matter how foolish it seems. At Marah, after this object lesson, he told the people to do what is right in God's eyes. We are not to do things that are right in our own eyes, even if our ideas make better sense to us. God knows a whole lot more than we do and requires us to have faith; it is impossible to please Him without it. If we trust and obey Him, He will even suspend, reverse, speed up, or over–ride the laws of Nature, if need be, to help us. It was at Marah that God instructed the Israelites that He would protect them from disease, if they obeyed Him. [Exodus 15:26]
Here is a link to MARAH, in the exact location in Saudi Arabia where the Bible records it, so readers can see what it looks like today. The waters reverted to their former condition after the Israelites moved on.
The Israelites next came to Elim, an oasis that still exists today with its twelve springs, but there are more palm trees than the seventy that provided shade and nourishment to the Israelites when they began their travels in the wilderness.
A couple of American adventurers, whose story is told in The Gold of the Exodus by Howard Blum, came upon the oasis when they were searching for the real Mount Sinai, which is located in Saudi Arabia, currently called Jabal al Lawz (or Jebel el Lawz). The site that has been visited for centuries in the belief that it was Mount Sinai was designated so by the mother of a Roman emperor. It has none of the features of Mount Sinai that are recorded in the Bible and the area could not have supported over a million people camping in its vicinity. Ever since the emperor's mother said that it was the mountain of Moses, the Catholic church has raked in tons of wealth from pilgrims who visited that tourist trap. The American explorers followed directions given in the Bible and came first to the oasis. They said that the water from Elim's wells is cold and sweet. Here is a link to ELIM.
After the Israelites departed from Elim, they came near Madian, Jethro's city, which in modern times is now only a small village called Al Bad. Ancient historians describe this city as being near Mount Sinai, which they said was the highest mountain in the area. The Israelites probably camped near where the burial caves are, which the local people in the present day call "the caves of Moses," or "the caves of Jethro." Here is a link to the CAVES OF MOSES, which were embellished with carvings at a later date.
The next occasion for complaint was lack of food. The people had animals with them, but they needed to keep them for breeding stock and to carry baggage, as well as to supply sacrifices. They left Egypt only a month ago, but their memories of the land of their oppression started to take on a golden glow, for they had food there. Food fit for slaves and scarce, but after the supplies they brought with them completely ran out and they had killed for food as many of their livestock as they dared, their former rations started to seem like abundance.
They said that they would have rather died in the plagues than of starvation in the wilderness. Right. Well, some of those plagues were not quick deaths and starvation (the locusts) was one of them. And if they died without having faith in God and obeying Him, they would have gone to Hell the same as any of the Gentiles who refused to serve the Lord. Then they would have starved and been thirsty forever, as well as suffer a lot of other horrific tortures, all of them far worse than the worst circumstances on Earth among the living.
Now if any of us regular folks who aren't tough commandos were to actually visit Saudi Arabia and find ourselves wandering around those sand dunes under the blazing sun without food and water for days, we would probably feel even more miserable than the Israelites, who were used to heat, heavy labour, and severe privations, but an important lesson here is, no matter how much discomfort and despair we feel, the very least true believers should do is to keep our mouths shut and not complain. After all, if we are redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and die while continuing to believe in the integrity of God's character, we will feast in Heaven and won't ever feel hungry or thirsty or any other kind of discomfort again.
But God bore with the whiners and promised that He would send them meat that evening and, in the morning, provide them with a wondrous supply of food. He would, however, prove them with the latter. They could collect it only six days, but collect twice as much on the sixth day, so that they could prepare half of it for the next day and rest on the Sabbath. The fact that Moses could assure them of meat that evening would be a sign to them that it really was the Lord who had brought them out of Egypt, not coincidences of Nature.
Interestingly, no mention is made in the Bible of any of the mixed multitude griping to Moses about the lack of food or water. There was no need to, as the Israelites made enough commotion for both congregations and the other people probably did not take the miracles in Egypt as much for granted as the Israelites, who were now feeling entitled to God's favour. The other nationalities were grateful that they had a chance to escape slavery or heavy taxation, as well as, through Moses' leadership, protection against further paroxysms of Nature. It seems that they had more confidence in Moses than what his own people demonstrated. The mixed multitude probably decided to just wait and see what happened, and they were not disappointed.
Sure enough, that evening, a strong wind blew flocks of quails into the camp sufficient to provide a hearty meal for millions of people. All the adults and children were excited about catching the quails, and so easily, too, as there were so many of them. The birds were quickly killed, plucked, cleaned, cooked, and consumed. Everybody went to bed that night with full bellies.
In the morning, when the people came out of their tents, it looked like it had snowed, but few of them would know about snow. The ground was covered with white pellets that were oily and tasted sweet. This was a carbohydrate that fell off the comet in great swathes across the Earth. It is completely in the character of God to have pity on others of Adam's race and supply them with food to sustain their lives and preserve various tribes.
Years ago, I read on a can of instant whipped cream that it is an edible oil product, meaning that it was actually made from petroleum. (That blows my mind.) In India, the pellets were called "honey lash" and the Greeks called it "ambrosia of the gods." The manna was water soluble, which is why the streams of Canaan caused the area to be described as a land of milk and honey.
The Israelites did not know what this white, edible stuff was, so they called it "manna," which means "What is it?" The miraculous thing about God's supply to the Israelites is that the manna fell every day wherever they were for forty years, instead of only sporadically. They did not have to frantically hunt for it like other tribes in hot climates before it melted in the heat of the sun at mid–day. Also, it went rancid and attracted worms over–night, except on the Sabbath. It always stayed intact that day, so that the refugees could rest.
Psalm 78:25 calls manna "angels' food." This does not mean that it is literally what angels eat. I am sure that the angels of Heaven have far better food. The source of the manna was a comet; in that sense, it was angels' food. The term angel is taken from a Greek word that means "messenger," and comets are God's messengers. In most cases, the message seems to be, "Wise up, earthlings, and stop behaving like idiots!", though in the days that Jesus was born, the comet that God sent did not come close to the Earth. It appeared as a travelling star and its purpose was to herald the Messiah's birth and identify His location in Bethlehem.
I have heard of manna being produced by demons. That might unsettle some, who regard manna as a miracle that has no natural explanation, but I am sure that the fallen angels know what manna consists of, and it is no challenge for them to gather the same ingredients to form manna from them, in order to confuse people. Some will suppose that evil forces can match God because satan can reproduce lying wonders similar to some of the miracles that God has performed. Making manna is not hard for those who know how to combine its molecules, have access to the materials, and can make it seem to drop down from the sky or suddenly appear out of nowhere.
The comet had a death angel in charge of it, directing it what to do to bring judgment, but its effects always brought benefits to the Israelites who stayed under God's protection through their submission and obedience to Him.
Not all of the Israelites passed God's testing of their hearts. Some left manna until the next day, instead of eating it the same day as instructed. Hence, it rotted. Also, some of them went looking for manna on the Sabbath, disrupting the day of rest for others and denying themselves rest that they needed for their physical, psychological, and spiritual health.
Worse yet, by doing even this small bit of labour, they broke the symbolism of the Sabbath foreshadowing the coming of the Messiah, who is the true Sabbath rest, to help people understand the futility of trying to earn their way into Heaven on their own through their good deeds. Instead, we must rely on the pure righteousness of Jesus Christ to clothe us appropriately to enter God's holy celestial abode, through turning away from our sins and receiving Jesus as our Saviour. After redemption, we learn to hear His voice, and to let His wisdom direct our works, and to draw on His power to enable us to obey. God doesn't want us to stress. He wants us to rest in Jesus and discover joy in doing what He directs us to do, like Adam and Eve did when they looked after the Garden of Eden before their fall.
God was angry when the people broke the Sabbath. He told Moses to caution them to stay in their own place and just rest on that day. Besides the promise in the Sabbath of the coming Messiah, it's pretty nice to know that it is okay with God for us to take one day out of seven to loaf around, instead of always being busy and accomplishing stuff.
Devout Israelites eventually made it their custom to go to a local synagogue on the Sabbath, to study the Scriptures and pray, which was good, too, as making God our focus is always a good thing, but focusing on God is something we should do all day, every day, while we go about our activities. As I've heard a pastor named Joseph Prince say, "If we focus on what is going on around us, we will be distressed. If we focus on what is inside us, we will get depressed. But if we focus on Jesus, we will be at rest."
God directed Moses to save a generous sample of the manna as an artifact for the benefit of successive generations and that manna stayed fresh for hundreds of years. Then there was a battle that Israel lost and her enemies managed to capture the special box where the golden pot of manna was kept. The pagans paid dearly for that trophy, though, until they returned the box with its remaining contents to Israel.
God can keep any substance fresh. During the next forty years in the wilderness, the Israelites' clothes and shoes did not wear out. These articles even expanded as the children grew up, growing with them. The Israelites were not set up for the extensive work of producing textiles. When the pillar of cloud moved, always without any prior warning, they had to quickly pack up and move with it, so it was practical to have less things to cart around with them and less things of value to have to leave behind.
To the carnal mind, it is really boring to have only manna to eat, with the exception of meat when sacrifices were called for, and only one set of clothes to wear day after day. Carnal man says that variety is the spice of life, but the spiritual man realizes that it is Jesus who is the spice of life. With Him, life becomes an adventure. It takes courage to leave our comfort zone and follow Jesus' lead. Thankfully, Jesus is able to supply courage to even His most timid disciple.
It was while they were camped here that Jethro came to Moses, returning Zipporah and her sons to him. His greeting, "I, your father–in–law Jethro am come unto you, and your wife, and her two sons with her." Did people in the middle east always speak so formally? I think that Jethro was embarassed over his daughter's attitude and behaviour, and knew that Moses wasn't eager to have her back, so he reminded Moses that Zipporah was his wife. She was his responsibility. Jethro was sick to death of listening to her complaining and wanted to unload her.
He also wondered if Moses, the man who was raised to be a prince, and was now restored to a position of power, feel he was too lofty to consort with the chief of a tribe that was born to one of Abraham's lesser sons. As one who now knew the true God as a friend, who heard Him so clearly as his Counsellor, would Moses disdain a man who meddled around with idols, mixing pagan beliefs into his belief in the Creator? Jethro realized that Moses was now his superior in wisdom, power, and wealth, no longer a confused, disappointed renegade in need of his protection.
Would he disdain his coarse, ill–mannered, ill–tempered wife, now that he was reunited with the royal one, who was much better suited to be the consort of such a great man? This is why he reminded Moses that, for all her faults, Zipporah had borne him two sons. Jethro had seen their unhappiness, their regretting that they had angered their father and been sent away. They had missed out on sharing his adventures. They missed his affection. He wanted those young men to be reconciled to their father and come under his protection while the comet was wreaking so much damage on the Earth, as well as receive benefits from being the sons of Israel's leader.
Moses welcomed Jethro with humble courtesy and sincere affection, not just because he needed his favour as they were passing through his land, but he genuinely liked him and was grateful for the refuge Jethro provided for forty years while Egyptian agents were looking for him. Jethro's heart was encouraged because his dignity was upheld and Moses was not upset with him for bringing along Zipporah.
Moses concentrated on making Jethro feel sure of his friendship and respect. His wife and sons he would deal with later, telling them how things were going to be, if they were to remain with him.
Moses took Jethro into his tent and told him all about the wonders that God had worked in Egypt and how He had miraculously met their needs since departing. Jethro was finally converted to God, recognizing that He has the highest place and is greater than all other powers, after hearing of these marvels. Moses allowed the elderly priest to preside over a sacrifice to God, and then he and his brother and the elders ate dinner with their honoured guest.
The next day, Jethro watched as Moses sat to judge various matters that were brought before him. He no longer stuttered, he could make quick decisions, and he was sure of what was right in each circumstance. He was vastly increased in wisdom, but Jethro could still be of help to him in that area.
People lined up for hours to have their turn, right up until the sun went down. Jethro spoke to him that evening, noting that Moses was going to get burnt out from being the only judge, and the people were getting worn out, too, from waiting. He advised Moses to choose wise men from the congregation, men of integrity who would not take bribes or let hopes of personal advantage influence their decisions, and for Moses to teach them God's laws and statutes. Then they could help with the task of judging matters for the people.
So Moses took his advice and formed levels of government, setting wise men over groups of fifty people, and wiser judges that two groups of fifty could go to for difficult questions, and then the wisest men to preside over ten groups of 100. The knottiest problems were taken to Moses, if the men who were placed over 1000 didn't know what to do. He also appointed captains over groups of ten, to keep people in order, so that the courts didn't get burdened with trivial matters.
Moses invited Jethro to join his tribe to the Israelites and find safety with them through the direction that God gave him, but Jethro declined. One history I read said that Jethro replied that he had to stay among his own people, because he was so highly esteemed and trusted that they gave their treasures into his care, and he felt obliged to continue this service to them.
This could be true; the burial caves were probably where Jethro kept a treasury. I think, though, that Zipporah's attitude towards Tharbis was a strong factor in his decision to return to his own city.
Moses understood Jethro's feelings about the matter. The fact that he urged Hobab, Jethro's son and heir, into agreeing to scout for him, instead of staying with his father to help lead their tribe, indicates that Zipporah was the true reason why Jethro opted to return to his city. Hobab was not as embarassed as his father over how his sister behaved so nasty to the Ethiopian princess. After all, he hadn't raised her. Hobab's descendents, the Kenites, still lived near their cousins, the Israelites, hundreds of years later, according to Judges 4:11.
The Israelites' courage was soon tested when they encountered the Amalekites, known to the Egyptians as the Amu. They were Hamites, according to the records of the Arab tribes; they were no relation to Esau's grandson Amalek. Esau probably gave his son that name because it was the name of a warrior of reknown or the father of the Amalekites was given that name because Esau's son was a warrior of reknown.
One should not assume when they read the Bible that the people it names are the only people at that time who had that particular name, and that they were responsible for everything that history records in association with that name, unless there is something else that directly connects them to those deeds.
If our civilization was destroyed and there were only a few scraps of paper remaining, it would be silly for people to assume that Bill Clinton, whom they read about in a recovered school textbook as being the President of a place called the United States of America, was an auto mechanic at one time, because archeologists found a receipt from Bill's Autobody and Repairs. They would marvel that a man who started out in life repairing horseless vehicles ended up leading a nation.
Then another book turns up. It outlines Bill Clinton's early life and the geniuses conclude that there must have been at least two people named Bill at that time, one of whom owned an autobody shop. Years later, someone finally manages to figure out how computers worked, they get one working and discover a data bank that shows that millions of men back in Bill Clinton's day were named Bill, including those who were named William; somewhere along the way, they realized that Bill is a nickname for William. There may not have been millions of men named Amalek in Esau's day, but if Amalek was a famous warrior who carved a kingdom out for himself, there probably were a lot of kids named after him to inspire them to be as ambitious and courageous and ferocious as their namesake.
The Amalekites were indeed ferocious, a wicked people who were judged during the cataclysms of the comet. A tidal wave and an earthquake were followed by swarms of tiny, stinging ants that drove the survivors out of their city, which was Mecca. The Amalekites were unbearably evil; therefore, their land vomited them out. After they abandoned Mecca, the Amalekites were punished further by drought and famine, which accompanied them on their search for a new territory.
Incidentally, Mecca was not the original city of Mohammed. It does not match any of the descriptions given of it in the Koran, but Petra does, and the qiblas in some of the oldest mosques align in Petra's direction. The qibla tells the Moslims which way to face when they say their prayers. The conflicting directions of the qiblas were discovered after the advent of the Internet, where satellite photos and diagrams of the mosques were posted by Arch.net, an architectural organization for professionals in related disciplines. The location of the Moslems' original holy city was changed in the re–writing of the Koran due to political conflicts that arose between the Arabs in the centuries that followed Mohammed's demise.1 The Amalekites became extinct centuries ago; they were not ancestors of the Arabs who exist today.
The Amalekites formed a vast multitude that streamed out across the wilderness and into other countries, Syria and Egypt to start with, herding their animals in front of them. Their animals ate up all the crops they encountered, which left the surviving people whom the Amalekites invaded to face starvation. Then the Amalekites fell on the population, killing, maiming, torturing, raping, and looting. They were incredibly cruel and frequently hacked off the limbs of their captives, according to Hebrew records. A burial pit at their fortress, Auaris, a northeast outpost on the river of Egypt (called Nakhal Mizraim in the Septuagint), also known as el–Arish, revealed some dismembered body parts of their prisoners.2
The Amalekites swarmed into Egypt's delta on the heels of the last plague. Egypt was in ruins. Pharaoh and his army had not returned from their pursuit of the Israelites. His son Geb marched off with some men to discover what happened to his father. Geb and his soldiers were struck by lightning and he returned badly burned.
Tribesmen along the Red Sea described what happened to Pharaoh's army there. The Egyptians inscribed a stone at el–Arish with their take on those events, asserting that Pharaoh pursued the evil–doers to the sea and then jumped into a whirlpool (deliberately), whereupon he was caught up to heaven to reside among the gods.
The Amalekites established themselves with Auaris as their base, to the east of the Delta, and ruled Egypt for 430 years as the Hyksos at the end of the Middle Kingdom. They spread out around across the Middle East and were as powerful as the Roman Empire in their day, which is why Agag, the name given to their kings, was described later by a pagan prophet named Balaam as the highest among rulers. Agag was equivalent in rank and power to a Roman Caesar.
The Hyksos were described as shepherd kings because their method of invasion also involved driving their livestock in front of them. Immanuel Velikovsky identified the Hyksos as the Amalekites and pointed out that the phrase "evil angels" in Psalm 78:49,3 regarding the trouble sent upon the Egyptians, can read "king shepherds," if one tiny change is made to one letter. He thought that king shepherds was the original intention and that evil angels is a copyist error. Either way, the Hyksos were evil messengers. God may have inspired the phrase "evil angels" as a play on words, indicating that He sent the king shepherds to Egypt.
Velikovsky said that the Amalekites were the eleventh plague. He also pointed out that historians' confusion about who the Hyksos were is in line with the God's curse on them that the name of Amalek would be blotted out.
Immanuel Velikovsky asserted that conventional historical dating in the Middle East is out by six hundred years. He makes a very rational case for this in his book Ages in Chaos. I suppose that his findings met with so much opposition by other historians because it embarrassed them to be shown to be in error. Well–paying university and museum careers were established, books were sold, and royalties were sent to the authors on the assumption that the historians knew what they were talking about in their interpretation of archeological artifacts because they had a degree or a doctorate, and sophisticated language skills to lend their lectures and writing more credibility.
Their interpretation also threw a lot of doubt on the Bible, which is strongly encouraged by those in power who are committed to an antichrist agenda and benefit by undermining people's confidence that the Bible was inspired by God. Velikovsky himself did not believe it is the inspired Word of God, but he allowed that there is a lot in the Bible that is confirmed by archeology, if the ancient records are interpreted logically, taking them at face value where merited.
An example of this is an article I recently read where the Cannibal Hymn to Pharaoh Unis was spiritualized, asserted to be no more than a metaphorical description of the Pharaoh's consumption of lesser gods in his afterlife, rather than a literal gorging on his enemies. Part of the text reads as follows:
Pharaoh is the Bull of the Sky,
who shatters at will,
who lives on the being of every god,
who eats their entrails,
even of those who come with their bodies
full of magic from the Island of Flame
The song boasts that Unis is the Bull of the Sky, which is probably a reference to the comet in Moses' day that destroyed Egypt. The comet had two tails, which appeared like two horns from viewers on the ground, and is why the Egyptians worshipped the Apis bulls afterwards. It is also probably why the ancestors of the Hindus started to worship cows. Like the Pharoah of Moses' day, Pharaoh Unis linked his kingship to the comet.
Pharaoh is he who eats men and lives on gods,
It is Pharaoh who eats their magic and gulps down their Akhs.
Their big ones are for his morning meal,
their middle-sized ones are for his evening meal,
their little ones are for his night meal,
their old men and their old women are for his incense-burning.
It is the Great Ones in the North of the sky who light the fire for him
to the cauldrons containing them,
with the thighs of their eldest.
Those who are in the sky serve Pharaoh,
And the butcher's blocks are wiped over for him,
with the thighs of their women.
The commentary completely avoided linking this poem to actual cannibalism, though, as if the ancient Egyptians were above such behaviour. The Egyptian Mysteries were an offshoot of the Babylonian Mysteries and it was a common practice in the latter for the adherents to eat human flesh. It is where the word cannibal originates from, which means "priests of Baal" in Chaldee and Hebrew. It is highly unlikely that the Egyptians were more enlightened in their religion than the Babylonians. The Egyptian Mysteries were established by emissaries sent out from Babylon to propagate that evil religion by two of its originators, Cush and Semiramis.
Cush took up residence just south of Egypt, establishing Ethiopia. Ethiope was another of his names and Ethiopians were also called Cushites. So we can surmise that cannibalism was a common practice among other pagan nations, which is why he could claim to eat even those who are full of magic, weirdos who believed they had ingested other people's powers by eating them. Well, they probably inherited all their victims' demons when they ate their flesh, but none of their human strengths.
The reference to those who are in the sky serving Pharaoh relates to the fallen angels who inhabit the second heaven. Like all those who start out in sorcery thinking that they are in control of demons who serve them, it is the demons who are actually in control of the practitioners of witchcraft and sorcery, and claim their souls upon their deaths. This section of verse asserts that it is the powers in the sky that enables Pharaoh to overcome his enemies so that his cooking pots are supplied.
As for the commentator prosing on that the mention of Pharaoh Unis eating the gods indicates that this is all something that is a boast of his afterlife ... come on! Was Unis really so rabid in his afterlife as to devour all those other gods when he could have been taking it easy finally, enjoying comforts that he no longer had to labour for by serving idols and fighting battles and intimidating people? And why write this hymn to him after he was dead? It is obviously a total suck–up to a living megalomaniac who would be flattered by all this applause of his gruesome cruelties.
It seems logical that these other gods are kings whom Unis conquered or captured. Many rulers in the ancient world liked to style themselves as gods to the populace, to inspire awe and facilitate control over them. Unis celebrated his victories by eating his conquests, as well as practicing a cannabalistic belief that consuming one's enemy enabled one to absorb their power. His victims' "akh" refers to their spirit.
Sensibly, it would seem that Pharaoh ate small victims (children?) at night, so that his stomach did not have to work so hard digesting his food while he slept. Maybe he thought it would encourage sweeter dreams, too, because of their innocence.
Old people were too tough and stringy, so they were relegated to a use that did not require chewing. As their strength had faded, there wasn't much point to eating them, but he derived satisfaction from exploiting their dead bodies, like the Nazis during the Holocaust who had lampshades made from the tattooed skins of their murder victims. This guy was a complete psycho.
That nutty Idi Amin, the former tyrant of Uganda in the 20th century, ate chunks of flesh from Christian pastors in the shamanistic belief that he was acquiring their admirable traits. Unis would admire the courage of common men who defied his rule, and think to absorb their strong energy by eating their bodies, though they were not as gourmet to his putrid palate as an aristocrat or a royal personage.
The Island of Fire in the poem probably refers to cooking the flesh before eating it, and it does refer later in the poem to Unis cooking his victims himself. That culinary little detail indicates to me that this poem is about literal cannabalism, besides saying that Unis ate men. "Men" refers to ordinary people and "gods" refers to rulers. The writer of the article went to great lengths to sound like they were too sophisticated to take the poem literally, ascribing the verses to blah, blah, blah references to this or that god, but the very last verse says:
The doers of ill deeds have no power to destroy,
the chosen seat of Pharaoh,
among the living in this land.
For ever and ever.
So, though it may have not been common for ancient Egyptian kings to have recorded in their public inscriptions that they were eaters of human flesh, this particular dude wanted to intimidate dissenters and outside enemies that he was ferocious and his cooking pot would be the fate of those who opposed him. Also, the fact that he refers to his throne as his chosen seat indicates that he took it by force, not because he inherited it or had it conferred on him. He says it is his forever and ever, meaning there ain't no way he is going to let anyone take it away from him.
The person who wrote that article and prides themself on knowing so much about ancient Egypt probably would not feel so proud of themselves for their knowledge and admiration of ancient Egypt, if they consciously realized that some Pharaohs and their priests were cannibals. They could admit, though, cannibalism did take place in Egypt during famine, describing how people in the streets were abducted by a hook being lowered from an upper storey in the buildings that they walked by, then they were killed and cooked, and sometimes human flesh was sold in the market.
Cannibalism probably was not a practice among average people, except during famine, or if they were crazy, but there is nothing rare about cannibal behaviour among ancient potentates. In the court of Kublai Khan, Marco Polo recorded that the Khan's sorcerers were cannibals. Even in modern times, there are some people in government who made pacts with satan in exchange for power, and cannibalism is part of their secret rituals.
If cannibalism was a routine practice in the Egyptian Mystery religion, as I suspect, then Egypt's survivors were further judged by the invasion of the Amu aka the Amalekites aka the Hyksos, who perpetrated atrocities on them. The survivors after the ten plagues would be those who agreed with the cruel practices of their government and its state religion, possibly even participated in them, and were too afraid to join the mixed multitude that left Egypt with the Hebrews, in case they were confronted by their former victims.
We can surmise that the Amalekites were outraged when they discovered that the Israelites carried off Egypt's treasures, leaving very little spoil for them to plunder. As the people who took over Egypt when it had been brought to its knees, they presumptuously considered themselves the heirs of Egypt's wealth and its slaves. To their twisted way of thinking, the Israelites were their escaped slaves whom they aimed to recover.
But before the Amalekites caught up with the Israelites, the people again suffered from lack of water when they camped at a place in Midian called Rephidim. It is a valley two miles north of Mount Horeb and its companion peak Mount Sinai. Moses the Pastor could easily be called Moses the Pestered, and many pastors probably can identify with that. Again, the people murmured and became restless. They accused him of leading them out of Egypt to Rephidim so that he could kill them and their children with thirst. Oh, yes, this was on his mind when he risked his safety all those times to confront Pharaoh.
His life was now in danger again. He pleaded with the Lord to help him because the people were about ready to stone him. The Lord pointed out a huge rock in that place and said He would stand upon the rock while Moses smote it with his rod of authority and water would pour out. Really? Water from a rock? Well, it made no sense, but Moses obeyed and the rock, which is four stories high, split vertically along its length and water gushed from it in a torrent.
Horeb means "dry" and only half an inch of rain falls over each ten year period in that part of Saudi Arabia, but the stones by that rock are worn smooth by water erosison. They show a path where the fountain from the rock flowed down into a large basin in the land, forming a lake which the refugees could surround to gain access to the water.
This split in this monolith is wide enough for a person to stand in and see that it is pressure–flaked from the bottom to the top, due to a huge geyser of water having errupted and flowed out for a lengthy time in the past. Ordinarily, granite flakes from the outside, due to wind erosion, not from the inside.
A Korean doctor, David Kim, received permission to visit Mount Sinai from his employer, a Saudi prince who was the Governor of Mecca, and visited the Rock of Horeb where he saw a feature that escaped the notice of previous visitors who took photos of it. At the base of the rock was a small formation of rocks which looked like a long–haired man in a robe kneeling in prayer. The photo he took of this is in one of his videos on YouTube. Bear with his accent and try hard to understand his English; it will really be worthwhile.
Dr. Kim travelled to the site twelve times before it became too dangerous for him to continue because of the Saudi military presence in the area. Recently the Saudis opened the site of Mount Sinai to visitors, which probably means that they are satisfied that they have recovered all of the treasures that were left buried there by the Israelites.
In the Rock of Horeb, we are again introduced to a foreshadowing of the Messiah, symbolic of Jesus being our Rock, the foundation of our faith, and the Source of the Water of Life that satisfies the soul. When Moses struck the rock, it paralleled how the Messiah was struck by the wrath of God on the cross, and bore the judgment that we deserve for our sins.
The Lord said that He would stand on top of the rock. This is symbolic of how God would come down from Heaven, in human flesh, to preside over and perform that which was necessary to obtain our salvation. He reminded Moses that the rod in his hand was the one that was used to smite the Nile and turn it to blood, which represented the judgment of sin.
It was also the one that Moses used at the Red Sea. God can make a way where there seems to be no way. There is no way that humans can be good enough to satisfy God's standards of holiness, but Jesus was perfect in ALL his behaviour and words and thoughts. He became the Way, the Redeemer, by His death on the cross. The presence of the elders was called for to represent the religious leaders of Jesus' day who delivered Him up to take our judgment and witnessed His execution.
While they were camped at Rephidim, the Israelites were attacked by the Amalekites, who searched for them and stalked them, like a roaring lion, seeking whom they could devour. According to the scribe Ipuwer, the Amu raided the census offices. This explains how they knew the names of the Israelites.
Besides wanting to rob Israel of their treasures, they wanted to take over that lake, as well, which was constantly replenished from the split rock. They were too lunkheaded to realize that the rock gave forth water only because God's people camped there, and that the lake would dry up when they were gone. There they were with a miracle on the behalf of God's people happening right before their eyes, but they still too perverse to recognize the majesty and might of Israel's God, and to, at least, leave God's people alone, if they were not willing to serve Him.
Employing psychological warfare, the horde approached under the cover of a cloud, according to Immanuel Velikovsky, and stood outside the Israelite camp while they shouted to the Israelites, addressing them by name to intimidate them as they ordered them to return to their "lawful" masters. Many of the Israelites found this terrifying. Some probably had to be restrained by their friends when they caved into their fear and attempted to comply with the Amalekites' demands.
The Amu perhaps shouted, "Eli, son of Joseph, come out to us. We will spare you, if you surrender now. Return to your burdens and you will live, but if you do not, when we attack and overcome your people, we will see to it that you die slowly and painfully, until you beg for death." The Amalekites probably followed their threats up with descriptions of torture to make the Israelites tremble with fear and demoralize them.
The Israelites and their friends fought for their lives, possibly cutting very soon into this performance before it could do more damage. All day they fought while Moses stood on a hill overlooking the battlefield, with his hands raised, surrounded by protectors who fought off the jackals who kept launching themselves in the direction of the Hebrew leader. As long as Moses' hands stayed raised, as an intercessor for his nation, the Israelites had mastery over the Amalekites. This was amazing, for they were not nearly as trained and practiced in fighting as the Amalekites.
But Moses' arms became tired, and then the Israelites lost some of their men in the battle, so a rock was rolled to the top of the hill for him to sit on, and his brother and brother–in–law stood on either side of Moses to hold up his arms. This established a pattern in the Church for Christians to support their leaders with prayer, for the ones whom God appoints to leadership positions have the greater anointing to take down the forces of darkness, though the faith–filled prayers and Holy Spirit–directed works of all born–again believers can do a lot of damage to the enemy of souls.
Psalm 24: 7 & 8 says, "Lift up your heads, O you gates; and be lifted up, you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle." The redeemed of God are everlasting doors, like sluice gates, who let Heaven come down to Earth when we are obedient to the Lord, and the word used for heads means leaders, as well as referring to literal heads.
When we lift up our eyes to the Lord, looking to Him for encouragement and direction, we release Him into the various situations that we are concerned about, but also when we lift up our leaders in prayer, and by honouring them and cooperating with what God has directed them to do, victory is released.
Key words there are "What God has directed them to do." If they slip into their flesh and go beyond their prerogatives, we aren't obliged to cooperate with that, but this is where discernment comes in. We should know the Bible really well, so that we can filter everything through it, and also be in tune with the Spirit, so that we know whether the pastor is following God's direction, and work with him/her, if they are, or at least do nothing to hinder.
The Bible says that the battle with the Amalekites happened before Moses arrived at Mount Sinai and set up camp there. It would seem that satan went to a mighty effort to try to prevent the fulfillment of God's word to Moses that he would return to the mountain and worship Him there, after he brought the people out of Egypt.
Satan does indeed go to mighty efforts to try to prevent the fulfillment of specific words that we have received from the Lord. He launches attacks all along the way. Frequently, the biggest attacks seem to occur when we are standing on the threshold of receiving the fulfillment of the dreams that God has put in our hearts.
When that happens, we should rejoice, for it is an indication that satan is desperately afraid, for he can see that we have gotten past much of the unbelief that has hindered our faith, and now have the ability to bring Christ's victory, which is in our spirit, into the material realm.
Besides that, God will not permit a big attack against His children, unless we have the spiritual maturity to enforce His victory against it. He has promised that He will never allow us to be tempted so much that we will stop believing in His goodness, unless we choose to abandon faith in Him. He will always provide a door of escape and sometimes that door is a martyr's death, which is a gain to those who are redeemed for then we go to Heaven to rest and enjoy our rewards.
The Amalekites lost that battle, which God permitted so that Israel could gain more camping supplies and weapons and riches when they gathered up the spoil. But though they turned tail at sundown, the Amalekites did not give up on their pursuit of the Hebrews. Now they also followed them to seek opportunity to take revenge for their defeat. They were well aware of the mighty interventions of God on behalf of the Israelites in Egypt. Where other tribes learned to beware of the God of the Hebrews and dared not attack them, the Amalekites proved to be more insolent than Pharaoh.
The attitude of other tribes changed after the Amalekites' first attack, when they saw that some of the Israelites died in battle. They now dared to make bids to sieze the plunder of Egypt for themselves and added their attacks to the hardships and dangers that the Israelites faced.
As the Israelites travelled through the wilderness, the Amalekites went after the stragglers. The Bible identifies them as Israelites, so I assume that the entire mixed multitude did not follow behind the Israelites. The Bible sets out what order the Israelites were told to march in, particularly after the Tabernacle was assembled a year after they left Egypt. There probably was an order before then, though not as well defined, where people marched by tribes. The mixed multitude possibly marched alongside, providing a buffer at the sides, as well as at the back. Perhaps some of them attached themselves as servants to Israelites and walked with the family they served, carrying baggage.
It was as if the Amalekites considered the wonders God worked on behalf of His people in Egypt as a means to transfer the Israelites over to themselves. Only a people of the most shocking presumption would interpret those events that way.
Their psychotically self–centred attitude and evil behaviour was a demonstrated blasphemy against the Most High. For this reason, God judged the Amalekites, telling Moses that the Israelites were to always be at war with them, never making any treaties or showing mercy to such a vile people. They were slated for utter destruction. God instructed Moses to make sure that Joshua, his lieutenant, understood this directive and passed it on to suceeding generations until the Amalekites were all destroyed, so that the greedy, sadistic, murderous poison ingrained in their DNA could never again trouble Israel or oppress other nations.
The people left Rephidim and moved towards Mount Sinai, following the pillar of cloud. After they set up camp there, Moses told them to wash their clothes and prepare themselves for what God had to say to them. Where did they get the water to wash their clothes? The split rock of Horeb was two miles behind them. Of was it? The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that the rock followed them in the wilderness and indicates that the rock was a type and shadow of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Did the Apostle Paul mean that the rock literally followed them, that it plucked itself up from its resting place and then plunked itself down wherever the pillar of smoke stopped? Well, considering all the amazing stuff that God did for the Israelites so far, why not? Besides that, it is typical of Jesus to hover over His children and attend to their needs. He may have wanted them to have this powerful visual aid to help them understand His everlasting faithfulness.
Moses saw God's faithfulness. He saw it throughout the plagues of Egypt and his people's deliverance from them. He saw it in their escape from Pharaoh's army and God's provision while they wandered in the desert. He saw it in their deliverance from the Amalekites. Now he saw it in the fulfillment of God's promise that He would bring him again to the holy mountain, along with his rescued tribe. The pillar of cloud led them here and now it rested.
Moses went up alone to the top of the mountain with two peaks and God called out to him there. He told him, "Thus shall you say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I carried you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation. These are the words which you shall speak unto the children of Israel."
So Moses went back down the mountain, called together the elders, and relayed the message. They all said that they would obey the Lord.
Then God told Moses that He was going to display Himself magnificently to the people, so that they could hear Him speak to Moses and believe forever that Moses was His spokesperson.
Moses told the people this and then God gave him instructions about how the people were to prepare themselves. They had to wash their clothes, which meant that they were going to be taking a bath before they put them on again. This was symbolic of how God requires inner cleanliness in order to bear His holy Presence. They had two days to get themselves ready and He would then appear to all of them on the third day.
But they were not to presume to go up the mountain or even near it, so boundary markers were set up around it. Guards were set there to stone trespassers to death or kill them with arrows, whether it was a human or an animal that touched the border.
Besides these instructions, men were to not have sex with their wives during the preparation and God's visitation. Everyone's focus was to be entirely on God, to learn how they were to conduct their lives in ways that give reverence to God.
Moses came down from the mountain and gave all these directions and sanctified the people. They washed their clothes and then on the third day, the glory of God appeared on the mountain in a terrifying display.
1Qur'anic Geography by Dan Gibson, Independant Scholar's Press, an imprint of CanBooks, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.
2Earth in Upheaval by Immanuel Velikovsky, page 106, Abacus edition, published 1973, printed and bound in Great Britain by Collins, Glasgow.
3He cast upon them the fierceness of his anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, by sending evil angels among them.
Click below to read:
The Majesty of God, Chapter 24