by Laura Knight-Jadczyk
Ancient Science Future Science: Finis Gloria
Mundi: The Living Fourth Way
From the earliest times, Israel was composed of a poorly
distinguished and variable number of “city-states” (more like tribal
towns) whose population was a melting pot from all areas of the
Mediterranean. The specific location that is identified as Israel
proper was a more or less backward, rural buffer zone between the
civilized Syrians and the nomads of Arabia. The “culture” of this
region was a mixture of the advanced cultures surrounding: Egyptian,
Assyrian and Babylonian. These “city states” rose and fell, fighting
each other incessantly. A retrospective view seems to suggest that
acquiring plunder was seen as more productive than agriculture. In
another sense, these petty wars were seen as the conflict between
the gods of one tribe against the gods of another. As we will
discover, this concept may not have been too far from the truth.
What about the Kingdom of David and Solomon?
The books of Samuel tell us that the anointing of David, son of
Jesse, as king over all the tribes of Israel was the culmination of
the promises that had begun with the covenant between Abraham and
“God.” Never mind that the first choice for king had been the heroic
and dashing Saul from the tribe of Benjamin, it was David who became
the “folk hero” of early Israelite history.
The endless stories in praise of King David were claimed by
Bible to be so widespread that it passes understanding how they were
not known in the “external world” of Egypt, Greece,
Babylon - if they were true. But, as we will discover, perhaps they
were - under a different name and title. The only question is: which
versions are the most accurate? Did the Hebrews co-opt these stories
to their own “history,” or was there something about their history
that was borrowed by the later sources? And in either case, what is
the actual historical setting of these stories? Were they an overlay
of myth on an actual historical series of events? Or was a
historical series of events manufactured out of myth?
In any event, just as
Perseus slew the Gorgon and cut off her head,
David slew the giant, Goliath.
They both had “wallets” and “stones”
were important elements of both stories.
David was “adopted” into
the royal court because he was a famous harpist and singer in the
manner of Orpheus.
Like Hercules and other Greek heroes,
David was a
rebel and freebooter, and like Paris stole Helen, he stole another
man’s wife - Bathsheba.
He also conquered the great citadel of
Jerusalem and a vast empire beyond.
The stories of David’s son and heir (from
Bathsheba), Solomon, tell
us that he was the wisest of all kings. He was also the greatest of
all builders. The stories tell how he was so brilliant and how his
judgments stand as a model for all time. What is more, his wealth
was beyond anything else in the known world, and most particularly,
he constructed the great Temple in Jerusalem.
For millennia, readers of the Bible have discussed the days of
and Solomon in Israel as though they actually occurred exactly as
described. Even people who are not Christian accept that the Temple
of Solomon existed, and the plan of this temple has been developed
and discussed endlessly by esotericists for centuries. Endless books
and legends and secret doctrines have been based on the stories of
the Temple of Solomon. Pilgrims, Crusaders, visionaries and even
many modern-day books about human origins and the origins of
Christianity, have all spread fabulous stories about the
magnificence of David’s city and Solomon’s Temple and the supposed
treasures contained within. Our entire Western culture has a heavy,
vested interest in these stories being true. What are we going to do
with this vast body of literature, including such things as Masonic
and Magical lore if it turns out that there never was a “Temple of
But, the fact is, that seems to be the case. At least, there was no
Temple of Solomon in the terms described in the Bible.
One of the first quests of archaeologists in Palestine was the
search for the remains of Solomon’s Temple and the great empire of
David. It would be tedious to go through all the descriptions of the
many excavations, the results, the assumptions, the wild claims of
“I’ve found something that proves it!” which were then followed by
sober science demonstrating that it wasn’t so. The reader who is
interested in deeper knowledge in this area can certainly read both
sides of the argument, and then look at the scientific evidence and
come to the same conclusion we have: The Kingdom of David and the
Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem never existed as described by the
Even though there were remains of some sort of “kingdom” found at
Megiddo, Gezer and Hazor, it was later determined that this “empire”
was actually something altogether different than might initially be
supposed as we shall soon see. What is important, however, is the
fact that the area that was specifically claimed as the “homeland”
of David and Solomon - Judah - was “conspicuously undeveloped”
during the time of the purported empire of Solomon. The facts are
that the culture of this region was extremely simple. Based on the
evidence of the spade, the land was rural - with no trace of written
documents, inscriptions, or even any signs of the kind of widespread
literacy that would be necessary for a functioning monarchy. What is
more, the area was not even homogeneous. There is no evidence of any
kind of unified culture, nor of any sort of central administration.
The area from Jerusalem to the north was densely settled, and the
area from Jerusalem to the south, the land “in question,” was very
sparsely settled in the time that David and Solomon were supposed to
have lived. In fact, Jerusalem itself was little more than a typical
highland village. Archaeologically, nothing can be said about David
and Solomon. Yet the legend endured. Why?
The important thing to remember at this point is the fact that the
evidence supports only a gradual emergence of a distinct group in
Canaan at the end of the thirteenth century BC, not a sudden arrival
of a vast number of Israelite settlers. And, as noted, the ones who
were present in the land were not very organized or “civilized” in
the area that was claimed as the great kingdom of David and Solomon.
Ahab and Jezebel: Solomon and Sheba?
Biblical historians and biblical archaeologists have long attempted
to take the biblical account of the rise and fall of the united
monarchy at face value. They have assumed an original ethnic unity
and distinctiveness of the Hebrew people reaching into the primeval
past. They took for granted that the united monarchy of David and
Solomon, and its tragic collapse, were facts belonging to
terms of the land of Palestine at a particular period in time.
Further, it was assumed that, since Judah and Israel, the two
kingdoms, had originally been one, when they split, they both
inherited fully formed institutions of church and state. At that
point, they were believed to have engaged in competition with one
another on a more or less equal footing.
However, intensive archaeological work in the hill country of Israel
in the 1980s put those ideas to rest. Curiously, what the
archaeologists found was that there had been three waves of
The first was between 3500-2200 BC.
was around 2000-1550 BC.
The third was 1150-900 BC.
these time windows as being previously related to possible
In any event, during these three periods of settlement activity -
periods when new people arrived and left evidence of a distinct
cultural norm, the northern and southern “kingdoms” always seemed to
be separate in these terms. The northern settlement system was
always dense and possessed evidence of complex hierarchy of large,
medium, and small sites. These sites were heavily dependent on
The southern “kingdom,” on the other hand, was sparsely settled in
small sites, with only evidence of a population of migratory
pastoral groups. We have, then, a division between agriculturalists
and shepherds right from the beginning.
During the early period of settlement, these northern and southern
regions were each dominated by a single center that was probably the
focus of regional politics, economics, and most likely, cultic
activity. In the north, it was the area that was later occupied by a
city that the Bible calls Tirzah. This became the first capital of
the northern kingdom. In the south, the main center was Ai, located
northeast of Jerusalem.
In the Middle Bronze Age, there was the second wave of settlement,
again, the north was dense and agricultural and the south was sparse
- with tiny settlements - and a lot of evidence of wandering
pastoralists. But, by now, the central site of cult and economy was
Jerusalem - a heavily fortified city that gives evidence of being
part of the Hyksos Empire. This matches Manetho’s account of the
Hyksos leaving Egypt and building a city and temple in Jerusalem.
The only problem is: it’s the wrong date to have been built after
the Hyksos left Egypt, so most archaeologists just assume that there
was a Hyksos presence in Canaan that was contemporary to the Hyksos
in Egypt. Nearby was Hebron; also heavily fortified. In the north,
the center of activity had moved to Shechem. Apparently,
possessed significant fortifications and a massive temple.
Regarding this particular period of history, there is also external
evidence from Egypt as to who was who and what was what. These
consist of what are called the “Execration Texts”, the Egyptian
version of voodoo. The Egyptians would write curses on clay figures
of their enemies and then smash them and ceremonially bury them. The
idea was, of course, to symbolically smash the object of the curse.
What is important about the Execration Texts is that they give us a
clue as to who the Egyptians felt to be most threatening. The
Execration Texts mention a large number of coastal and lowland
cities of Canaan, but only two highland centers: Shechem and
Jerusalem. Keeping in mind the probable link between the Hyksos in
Egypt and the Canaanites in Palestine, we can conjecture why the
Egyptians were feeling so hostile toward Shechem and
important thing is that the execration texts, which purportedly date
back to at least 1630 BC, mention Jerusalem, Shechem, and
none of them ever mention Israel.
Another Egyptian inscription, which records the adventures of a
general named Khu-Sebek who led an expedition into the Canaanite
highlands, purportedly in the 19th century BC, refers to the “land
of Shechem,” and compares Shechem to Retenu which is one of the
Egyptian names for all of Canaan. Interestingly, the Egyptians also
referred to the Hyksos as “princes of Retenu." This indicates that
as early as 1800 BC there was a territorial entity in northern
Canaan and that an important center of this territory was Shechem;
further, that it did indeed have a close relationship, at some
point, to the Hyksos in Avaris, and it wasn’t Israel.
The Tell el-Amarna letters confirm that there is, at some point late
in this period, a southern territory of some significance to Egypt,
with the city of Jerusalem as an important center. A number of these
letters refer to the rulers of these two city-states - a king named
Abdi-Heba who reigned in Jerusalem; and a king named
reigned in Shechem. Each of them controlled a territory of about a
thousand square miles. This was the largest area held by a single
local ruler since all the rest of Canaan was divided up into small
city-states. It is also curious to note the similarity of these
names to “Abraham” and “Laban.”
The problem is, as Redford notes, that “one has the sinking feeling
in approaching this period that a most significant page is missing
in the record.” And indeed there is.
The bottom line is: archaeological evidence suggests that despite
the biblical claims of richness and glory, Jerusalem was little more
than a village in the time assigned to David and Solomon. In the
interim, during the “missing page period,” the former fortified city
had long since disappeared. In other words, the northern kingdom
that was supposed to have “broken away” from the rule of Jerusalem
was well on its way to major state status while Judah
returned to a condition not unlike a backwater sheep station.
At the same time that the northern highlands were outpacing the
southern highlands during all the three periods of settlement, the
coastal city-states were leaving both of them in the dust. They were
busy, thriving, cosmopolitan, and wealthy. Archaeologists think that
what made possible the initial independence of the highlands was the
fact that the city-state system of Canaan suffered a series of
catastrophically destructive upheavals at the end of the Late Bronze
Age. The archaeologists are uncertain as to the cause of this
“cataclysm,” suggesting it to be the invasion of the Sea Peoples or
other such propositions. We have an idea already that it was
probably more than that.
What seems to have happened is that the coastal city-states
recovered from the “cataclysms,” had been rebuilt and were thriving,
when suddenly they were destroyed a second time in a rather short
period, this time - supposedly - by military onslaught and fire.
Whatever it was, the destruction was so complete that the Canaanite
cities of the plain and the coast never recovered. The source of
this destruction is thought to have been the military campaign of
Shishak, founder of the twenty-second Dynasty. This invasion is
mentioned in the Bible where it says that,
“In the fifth year of
Rehoboam, Shishak king of Egypt came up against
Jerusalem; he took
away the treasures of the house of the Lord and the treasures of the
king’s house; he took away everything. He also took away the shields
of gold that Solomon had made.”
Shishak/Sheshonq commissioned a triumphal inscription to commemorate
the event on the temple walls at Karnak. This inscription lists
about one hundred fifty towns and villages he wiped out in his
“march to the sea,” so to speak. The targets of the Egyptians seem
to have been the great Canaanite cities of Rehov,
Taanach, and Megiddo. A fragment of a victory stele bearing the name
of Shishak was found at Megiddo. Thick layers of ash and the
evidence of the collapse of buildings bear mute testimony to the
rage of Pharaoh, which led to the sudden death of the Canaanite
territory in the late tenth century BC. There is very little
evidence of this assault in the hill country, the main campaign
being directed at the cities of the Jezreel valley. If there was a
“Temple” that was plundered by Shishak, it wasn’t in Jerusalem.
Nevertheless, it is suggested that this raid of Shishak’s created an
opportunity for the people of the highland to expand into the
lowlands at the beginning of the ninth century. Meanwhile, the
archaeological records show that, far to the south, Jerusalem
continued along as a regime of dispersed villages and pastoral
This is the evidence of the spade at the time of the supposed end of
the united monarchy around 900 BC.
In the northern kingdom, regional administrative centers were built
in the early ninth century. They were heavily fortified and complete
with elaborate, luxurious palaces. These cities include Megiddo,
Jezreel, and Samaria. Similar constructions appear in the southern
territory only in the seventh century. Yet, even when the
construction methods moved south, the buildings were smaller and the
construction was of a poorer quality.
In short, it can be said that the northern kingdom of Israel,
supposed to have been the “bad boy breakaway” from the great united
kingdom of David and Solomon in the south, was actually a fully
developed state while Judah was still a country cousin.
Yahweh was present in both kingdoms, however - among many other cult
gods. And it is certain that peoples of both kingdoms shared similar
stories about their origins, though in different versions, and they
most certainly spoke a similar language. By the 8th century BC, they
also both wrote in the same script. The chief thing about them,
however, is that:
the two kingdoms had a different experience of the
world around them
their demographics were different
their material culture was different
related to their neighbors was different
in short, they actually
had quite different histories and cultures
The question we should like to ask is:
why does the Bible tell the
story of the schism and secession of Israel from Judah when that is
clearly not supported by the evidence of either archaeology or
history as known to external sources?
the two kingdoms
systematically portrayed as twin offspring of a single great empire
that was headquartered in Jerusalem?
There was a reason, as we will
In actual fact, the first great king of Israel was Omri.
gives a very sketchy and confused history of the first period of the
Northern kingdom after its supposed defection from unity. The sordid
tale of violence and treachery culminates in the suicide of a
usurper, Zimri, in the flames of the royal palace at Tirzah.
the commander of the army is invited by the people to become king,
and he naturally obliges. It was a good choice. Not only that, the
story bears some resemblance to the selection of David - a military
commander - for kingship over the heirs of Saul.
Omri built a new capital for himself at Samaria and laid the
foundations of his dynasty. After twelve years, his son Ahab came to
the throne. Ahab made a brilliant marriage to the daughter of the
Phoenician king Ethbaal, King of Tyre, so we have again a curious
reflection of the Bible story of Solomon and his friendship with
“Hiram, King of Tyre.” Was this Ethbaal the real “Hiram?” In any
event, Ahab built magnificent cities and established one of the most
powerful armies in the region. He conquered extensive territory to
the north and in the Transjordan, and Israel enjoyed wealth and
extensive trade connections. The kingdom of Israel was finally
something to notice! However, the character of this kingdom was
markedly different from the tiny kingdom of Judah.
Ahab was about the most hated individual in all the Biblical texts.
What Ahab did that caused him to be so viciously vilified, according
to the editor of the Bible, was that he committed the greatest of
Biblical sins: he introduced foreign gods into the land of Israel
and caused the priests and prophets of Yahweh to be put to death.
What’s more, he did it because of the influence of that wicked
Phoenician princess he had married: Jezebel.
The Bible dwells long and pruriently upon the sins of this famous
couple. Nevertheless, we ought to note that these very same sins
were attributed to Solomon who was, however, transmogrified into a
southern kingdom monarch, and was, therefore, forgiven even if
Yahweh was determined to punish his family. One gets the
disorienting feeling that the stories of Omri and Ahab and
Solomon are, essentially, the same. Jezebel was most especially
hated because she tossed the prophets and priests of Yahweh out on
their ears. Solomon was also recorded to have ejected the priests of
Shiloh, so again, we have a cross connection.
In the Bible, the heroes of the story of Omri and Ahab are the
prophets Elijah and Elisha - no doubt priests of Shiloh (which will
become quite significant rather soon) - since it was recorded as the
home of the prophet Ahijah in 1 Kings, 14:2. A great demonstration
of the power of Yahweh is said to have been engineered by
his confrontation with Ahab, and the result was that the people
seized the prophets of the foreign god, Baal, and slaughtered them
at the brook Kishon.
Jezebel, naturally, went on a rampage, and Elijah felt it was time
to get out of Dodge. He headed for the hills in the wilderness and
talked to God on Mount Horeb just like
Moses was supposed to have
done. Yahweh pronounced a dire prophecy against Ahab, but curiously
gave him a few more chances to redeem himself as evidenced by his
victories against Ben-Hadad, king of Aram-Damascus. Yahweh,
apparently, was willing to relent if Ahab would kill Ben-Hadad.
However, Ahab decided to make peace instead, and a treaty was
arranged. On and on the account goes, vilifying Ahab and Jezebel.
After his death, Elisha anointed another general in the army to be
king, Jehu. This guy was more to Yahweh’s liking, apparently, and
Yahweh saw to it that Jezebel suffered a terrible death, thrown from
a window and devoured by dogs. Jehu then sent for all of Ahab’s
sons, (there were reportedly 70 of them), by any number of wives or
concubines, and had them all slaughtered and their heads piled up in
a mound at the gate of the city to inspire awe and confidence in the
new king, not to mention Yahweh.
The Bible says that Jehu brought down the Omrides, yet there is
evidence that this is probably not true.
In 1993, an inscription was found that is believed to have been
produced by Hazael, king of Aram-Damascus. From the inscription, it
seems that Hazael captured the city of Dan around 835 BC and refers
to the “House of David.” Hazael’s invasion was clearly the one that
weakened the power of the northern kingdom. The text of the Dan
inscription links the death of Jehoram, the son of Ahab and
to an Aramaean victory. Hazael boasts:
[I killed Jeho]ram son of [Ahab] king of Israel and [I]killed
[Ahaz]iahu son of [Jehoram kin]g of the House of David. And I set
[their towns into ruins and turned [their land into desolation].
Thus it is that the likelihood that the violent destruction of the
“Solomonic” palaces that was long ascribed to the Egyptian raid led
by Pharaoh Shishak in the late 10th century BC, actually took place
around 835, and was due to Hazael and not Jehu.
Thus ended the Omride
Let me emphasize that the Omride dynasty is referred to by Hazael as
the “House of David.” Why? Was Omri, in fact, the “Beloved” of
Yahweh? Or was the House of the Beloved originally the
Nevertheless, we begin to see how Elijah’s terrible prophecy on the
fate of Ahab was fulfilled: by twisting the facts after the fact. Of
course, as we will see, an awful lot of Yahweh’s other prophecies
were “fulfilled” after the fact and only during the writing of the
Bible. The invasion of Ben-hadad, who Ahab was supposed to kill and
didn’t, and thus angered Yahweh, actually took place much later in
the history of the northern kingdom.
So we find, again and again, when the anachronisms and historical
inaccuracies are removed from the story, there is really nothing
left of the Bible proper except a tedious tale of threats by Yahweh
and fulfillment of those threats all designed to establish Yahweh
the Universal God. Never mind that this process includes twisting
and distorting the facts all out of recognition. What the record of
the spade shows about the Omrides is a great kingdom and a time of
general prosperity for all. It provides, in fact, a model of the
Davidic and Solomonic kingdom of Israel in all respects except for
the worship of Yahweh. That is why it was damned by the writers of
the Bible and retold in a “new version” that promoted Yahweh as the
god who had made Israel great, and whose abandonment had brought it
to its knees.
The facts are exactly the opposite. Israel never achieved anything
under the rule of the priests of Yahweh except constant suffering
and exile because of rulers who kept shooting themselves in the foot
with their two-faced politics and religio-cultural isolationist
The Omrides were a militarily powerful family of rulers reigning
over one of the strongest states of the Near East during that period
of time. It was only then that the rest of the world began to sit up
and take notice of Israel. A stele from this time says that “Omri
was king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab.” Moab
was a vassal state
of Israel. The stele continues by telling us how Mesha, the
Moab responsible for the stele, expanded his territory in rebellion
against Israel. We learn from Mesha that the kingdom of Israel
reached far to the east and south of its earlier domain in the
central hill country.
The Bible stresses the Omride’s military embarrassments repeatedly,
but it seems that they were sufficiently competent that they could
assemble a force that impressed the heck out of the great Assyrian
king Shalmaneser III, and sent him home in a hurry. Naturally,
Shalmaneser boasted of his victory in what is called the Monolith
inscription. But it was found in Nimrud, not Israel, which testifies
to who really prevailed! The Bible mentions an “Aramaean army”
besieging Samaria; it is clear that it was the Assyrian army and
that Israel held their own.
The many archaeological finds in Palestine that were at first loudly
proclaimed to have been evidence of the reigns of David and
actually turned out to be the building projects of Omri and
Thus it is that if there was a David and Solomon of Israel, it was
Omri and Ahab, the dynasty that established the first fully
developed monarchy in Israel.
It is evident that the building projects of Omri employed
sophisticated earthmoving operations to turn small hilltop
settlements into significant fortresses. Where did the power and
wealth come from? What occurred to enable the northern kingdom to
grow into the Omride state? With the limited resources of the hill
country being only sufficient to maintain relatively small towns and
villages, what happened to nurture expansion?
Well, as noted, there was a wave of destruction of the cities of the
lowlands at the end of the 10th century BC, prior to the destruction
of the "Solomonic palaces," of the Omrides and it is now thought
that this opened the way for a strong man with brains and ambition
to grab the reins and create an empire. Apparently Omri was such a
man. He wasn’t responsible for the destruction of the “Philistines,”
as the Bible claimed about David, but he was certainly the man of
the hour who knew when his star was on the ascendant. He expanded
from the original hill country into the heart of the former
Canaanite territory at Megiddo, Hazor, and
Gezer. He enveloped the
territories of southern Syria and Transjordan. He established a vast
and diverse territorial state that controlled rich agricultural land
and held sway over a busy international trade route. What was even
more significant: his territory was a multi-ethnic society. This was
another reason the authors of the Bible demonized him.
When the northern kingdom of Israel united the Samarian highlands
with the northern valleys, it amounted to the integration of several
ecosystems including the heterogeneous population. It is very likely
that the core territory in the highlands would have identified
themselves as Israelites, but the peoples of the lowlands, the
valleys, were the indigenous Canaanite population. Farther to the
north were those whose ethnicity was Aramaean. Toward the coast,
Omri ruled over peoples who were Phoenician in origin. The
archaeology shows that the cultural roots of each group were
consistent through this period, and thus were apparently not
disturbed by Omri. The evidence shows stability in the settlement
patterns such that it is evident that Omri did not try to force
anything on anybody; not even religious beliefs. He truly “united
the tribes of Palestine,” even if they weren’t, as the Bible
suggests, the “sons of Jacob” united under the divine guidance of
Yahweh; they were a diverse and unique mix. And it is very likely
this gathering together of different ethnic groups was the real,
historical event that was later falsified in the myth of the 12
tribes as actual “families” of sons descended from Abraham. It seems
that this very diversity was the most important factor contributing
to the growth and expansion of the Omride dynasty. According to
estimates, Israel may have been the most densely populated state in
the Levant. Its only rival was Aram-Damascus in southern Syria.
The rise to power of Omri coincided with the general revival of
eastern Mediterranean trade. The harbor cities of Greece, Cyprus,
and the Phoenician coast were busily involved in trade and commerce,
and thanks to Omri, Israel participated. There was a strong
Phoenician artistic influence on the Israelite culture, and a great
many Cypro-Phoenician style vessels appear in the archaeological
strata. This isn’t terribly unusual considering the fact that Ahab
married a Phoenician princess.
Conceptually and functionally, the Omride citadels resemble the
great Canaanite city-states of the Late Bronze Age. A similar
cultural continuity is evident in places like Taanach, where a
decorated cult-stand from the 9th century BC displays elaborate
motifs of the Canaanite traditions of that time. All of this is
interesting, however it creates a problem. From the archaeological
perspective, there is nothing particularly Israelite about the
northern kingdom at all. In fact, it is only from the Bible that we
learn - or are told - that it was an Israelite kingdom, broken away
from the Solomonic empire. The true character of the Omride dynasty
is that of military might, architectural achievement, governmental
sophistication, and cosmopolitan tolerance. But all we learn from
the Bible was how much Omri and Ahab were hated.
The Biblical author obviously had to tell the “real” stories about
Omri, even if they had already been “mythicized,” but he twisted and
distorted every word. He diminished their military might with
ridicule and recitations of failures. He omitted the many victories
and successes that must have occurred or the dynasty would not have
achieved such expansion. The Biblical author also linked the
opulence of the dynasty with idolatry and social injustice; he
connected the Phoenician princess to evil practices and whoring
after false gods. The Biblical author historicized what had already
been mythicized, only he put his own negative spin on it. In short,
he wanted to show that the entire history of the northern kingdom
had been one of sin and degradation piled to heaven.
Yet, the evidence of the spade says otherwise.
The Biblical author then tells the tales of the “House of David” as
though it were the exclusive possession of the Southern kingdom. And
we are beginning to understand why: it was to justify Yahweh as
Only God: the god of Israel.
The Ten Lost Tribes
As it turned out, the kingdom Omri built actually fell because he
succeeded too well. As an independent kingdom sitting in the shadow
of the great Assyrian empire, northern Israel was a tempting
treasure just asking to be plundered.
In the reigns of the several kings that followed Ahab, Yahweh
typically hypocritical in his judgments. Or rather, he is written
into the narrative as being behind the successes or failures of the
kings. If they succeeded at anything while remaining idolatrous, it
was because Yahweh had pity on the people. If the kings were
faithful to Yahweh, but were political failures causing the people
to suffer, it was because of some sin attributed to their forebears.
Divine blessings seemed to be singularly arbitrary. It never seemed
to occur to any of the priests of Yahweh that maybe he wasn’t such a
hot choice for the national god after all.
In any event, after a string of kingly failures, or failures of
Yahweh to come through on his promises, a truly idiotic king came to
the throne: Hoshea.
At the same point in time, the late 8th century BC, Shalmaneser V
came to the throne of Assyria. Hoshea gave his word to be a vassal
to Shalmaneser, but went behind his back to form an alliance with
Egypt. He must have been a lousy judge of which side his bread was
buttered on as well as not too ethically inclined since he made one
promise and then immediately reneged on it. Remember how much Egypt
is supposed to be hated because of the slavery of the Jews there?
Well, we will notice repeatedly that this factor never seemed to
have entered the minds of the Israelites during this early period.
What Hoshea wanted from Egypt was support for a revolution against
Assyria. When Shalmaneser heard about it, he took
invaded what was left of Israel, laid siege to Samaria for three
years, and when he captured it, he “carried the Israelites away to
Assyria.” Well, at least those who could not buy their freedom.
After exiling the Israelites, Assyria brought in people from
Babylon, Cuthah, Avva,
Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and settled them in
the cities of Samaria to replace the people of Israel. None of the
original inhabitants were ever reported to have returned, and the
legend of the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel was created from this event.
These lost tribes have been reported at:
The Book of Mormon discusses at great
length this matter of the “lost tribes” in America. The problem is,
of course, the assumption that there ever was 12 real tribes to
begin with as described in the Bible; that is, begun by the sons of
a single father, Jacob. I think that, by this time, the reader may
be coming to the realization that there could not be ten lost tribes
because there were no “tribes” to begin with – at least not in the
terms explicated in the Bible.
The story of Joseph in Egypt - Genesis 37 to 50 - is so different in
style and excellence that scholars believe it to be a literary
composition rather than a record. It shares many features with many
other Egyptian and Near Eastern stories of the same genre. The
change in style in passing from the short and disjointed sections
dealing with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is unusual in other ways. The
story of Joseph demonstrates no interest at all in the covenant,
promises, and precedents of the rights of Israel or any of the other
matters that concern the authors of the earlier tales. There are no
meetings with Yahweh/Jehovah, no angels, no cities being blown up;
in short, nothing Jewish at all.
According to Genesis 45:11, the journey of Jacob and his family to
Egypt was an emergency measure to help them survive a famine.
Another version suggests that their clear intent was to settle in
Egypt permanently. This suggests the story is a borrowed piece of
Middle Eastern Literature, inserted into the Biblical narrative as
history, and, most especially, as a “genealogical placeholder.” The
popular and obviously well known story of Joseph was claimed as the
origin of the diverse tribes that were later assimilated as “one
people.” The Joseph story brings all the “sons of Jacob” to
where they live out their lives. This directly and emphatically
contradicts the traditions of the individual tribes. For example,
Genesis 38, Judah marries, settles, and raises his family in Canaan
Simeon marries a Canaanite in Genesis 46:21
Ephraim dies in
Palestine in I Chronicles 6:20
Manasseh married an Aramaean in I
his son, Machir, was at home in Gilead in both
Numbers 32:40 and I Chronicles 2:21-22
Another discordant element in the
Joseph story is that the Egyptian
names it mentions, Saphnathpane’ah, Asenath, Potiphar, and
Potipherah, are names that belong to the 21st Egyptian dynasty, and
were common in the 9th through 7th centuries BC - the
period. Also, in Genesis 42:34, an Aramaic title - saris from the
Akkadian sa resi - is a title found in the Persian administration of
Egypt. In short, a strong case for a 7th or 6th century origin of
the story can be made, and the parallels to the story of Daniel in
exile in Babylon are numerous.
So, again, it seems that the “twelve sons of Jacob,” as the
progenitors of the twelve tribes of Israel, were originally just
simply loosely associated tribes with no specific familial
connection, and the story of Jacob as their father was
a genealogical placeholder/connector.
 Finkelstein, Israel, and Silberstein, Neil Asher; The Bible
Unearthed, (New York: The Free Press 2001).
 Baillie, Mike, Exodus to Arthur (London: B.T. Batsford 1999).
 Unfortunately, it had been dumped in the trash at the
archaeological site so its precise provenance is unknown.
 In Japanese,
koru means to freeze, and in Hebrew, kor means
cold. This is taken as proof that the “lost tribes”
went to Japan,
rather than the obvious solution that there was, at one time, a
proto-Nostratic language from which all others descend.