Notes: Clues the Ark of the Covenant Is a Transmitter

A representation of how the ark is thought to look.

If you don’t think the Ark of the Covenant was a transmitter for communicating with space ships (“God”), you just haven’t read the details yet.

The Ark of the Covenant is a container, whose location is currently unknown, said to house the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Von Daniken and Brasington suggest that the “ark of the covenant, as well as being a repository for the Ten Commandments and the law, also housed a transmitter that could communicate with the cloud-ships.” The more I read about it, the more I think they’re right. But, as we will see, whatever the Ark of the Covenant was, the instructions for creating and using it were extraordinarily bizarre, detailed, and intricate.

Yahweh dictated to Moses the kinds of offerings the people were required to make to Yahweh (most of which luckily they had taken from the Egyptians, on Yahweh’s orders, when fleeing Pharaoh), and Yahweh said they must use those offerings to make him a sanctuary so that he “may dwell among them”:

Exodus 25:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring me an offering: of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take my offering.
3 And this is the offering which ye shall take of them; gold, and silver, and brass,
4 and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair,
5 and rams’ skins dyed red, and badgers’ skins, and shittim wood,
6 oil for the light, spices for anointing oil, and for sweet incense,
7 onyx stones, and stones to be set in the ephod, and in the breastplate.
8 And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them.
9 According to all that I show thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it.

Yahweh dictated instructions for building an ark (chest) of shittim wood (probably Acacia seyal) overlaid with pure gold, about [45 inches long by 27 inches wide, and 27 inches high], in which the covenant, or testimony, he had dictated to Moses, and which the Israelites had agreed to follow, would be placed.

Exodus 25:10 And they shall make an ark of shittim wood: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof, and a cubit and a half the height thereof.
11 And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, within and without shalt thou overlay it, and shalt make upon it a crown of gold round about.

16 And thou shalt put into the ark the testimony which I shall give thee.

Yahweh said to Moses, “There [at the ark] I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim….”

Exodus 25:17 And thou shalt make a mercy seat of pure gold: two cubits and a half shall be the length thereof, and a cubit and a half the breadth thereof.
18 And thou shalt make two cherubim of gold, of beaten work shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy seat.
19 And make one cherub on the one end, and the other cherub on the other end: even of the mercy seat shall ye make the cherubim on the two ends thereof.
20 And the cherubim shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering the mercy seat with their wings, and their faces shall look one to another; toward the mercy seat shall the faces of the cherubim be.
21 And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee.
22 And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.

Yahweh also gave specific instructions for the construction and placement of a gold-plated table where a dozen loaves of showbread were to be left for him at all times in a prescribed pattern. According to the Mishnah, the oldest collection of Jewish law, the table could be disassembled into small portions, so that any piece that was no longer pure could be cleaned in a Mikvah, a ritual bath. Yahweh also commanded that implements for the table such as dishes and spoons and covers were to be produced, of pure gold, including ke’arots, which were probably the golden forms used in making the showbread, and tesawot, which may have been intended to cover the loaves.

Exodus 25:29 And thou shalt make the dishes thereof, and spoons thereof, and covers thereof, and bowls thereof, to cover withal: of pure gold shalt thou make them.
30 And thou shalt set upon the table showbread before me always.

According to Chronicles 9:32, the Kohathite clan were “over the showbread, to prepare it every sabbath”; some scholars believe the Kohathites were the keepers of a secret recipe, more complex and esoteric than the “fine flour” mentioned in Leviticus.

Leviticus 24:5 And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof: two tenth deals shall be in one cake.

These were not small loaves, ten etzba (finger-breadths) long and five etzba wide, with rims or horns that were seven etzba long. The Mishnah says that the loaves were made using three molds (golden, according to the scholar Maimonides); one mold was used for the dough, one to bake the bread in, and one to make the bread keep its shape after baking. Leviticus gives further showbread instructions.

Leviticus 24:6 And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord.
7 And thou shalt put pure frankincense upon each row, that it may be on the bread for a memorial, even an offering made by fire unto the Lord.
8 Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant.

According to the Mishnah, the bread was to be placed in equal piles, not rows, and there were 28 hollow golden tubes, 14 for each pile, and the tubes were either half-round with an open top, or open at only one end. They were arranged upon two fork-shaped gold supports that were set into each end of the table or perhaps set into the floor at each end of the table, with the golden tubes arranged in between such that, it was believed, air was conducted among the loaves. Here’s how the Gemara, the rabbinical commentaries and analysis of the Mishnah, envisioned it:

The four fork-like supports were let into the floor, two at each end of the table. They extended above the table, and between them, above the table, fourteen tubes, closed at one end, were fastened, forming a grate-like receptacle for the loaves. The lowest cake of each heap rested on the table; each of the next four rested on three tubes; the two upper cakes on two tubes. [(comp. Josephus, “B. J.” v. 5, § 5; “Ant.” iii. 6, § 6).]

The showbread was to be replaced every Sabbath, at which time, according to the Mishnah, two priests stood at one side of the table, and four more priests, holding the new showbread, stood across the table from them. As the two priests removed the old bread, the four priests put the new bread into place, so that there would always be showbread in position.

At the same time, two more priests would replace the pots of frankincense that, according to the historian Josephus, were made of gold and placed one atop each of the two piles of showbread. Some sources say the frankincense was mixed with salt, and some sources say the pots were placed not atop the piles but in between them.
After the showbread was replaced, the High Priest would eat five (!) of the week-old cakes, and the priests who had been on duty that week would split the other seven.

Leviticus 24:9 And it shall be Aaron’s and his sons’; and they shall eat it in the holy place: for it is most holy unto him of the offerings of the Lord made by fire by a perpetual statute.

New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates the above verse as, “It shall be for Aaron and his sons, and they shall eat it in a holy place; for it is most holy to him from the Lord’s offerings by fire, his portion forever.”

Yahweh also gave detailed instructions for making a menorah, which is a candlestick to be made out of pure beaten gold, holding seven lamps, and also instructions for attendant vessels such as tongs and snuffdishes:

Exodus 25:37 And thou shalt make the seven lamps thereof: and they shall light the lamps thereof, that they may give light over against it.
38 And the tongs thereof, and the snuffdishes thereof, shall be of pure gold.
39 Of a talent of pure gold shall he make it, with all these vessels.
40 And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount.

So Yahweh and Moses had gone over the blueprints in person previously, when Moses visited “the mount.” [The table for the showbread was to be positioned opposite the Menorah, with the Altar of Incense between them.]

A tabernacle (a lightweight portable dwelling) was to be built to hold the Ark of the Covenant. The instructions are long but interesting; I’m including just a bit of it here so you can see how precise Yahweh was about how he wanted the tabernacle constructed and also how he wanted the furniture arranged:

Exodus 26:1 Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work shalt thou make them.
2 The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.
3 The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.
4 And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.

12 And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the back side of the tabernacle.
13 And a cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and on that side, to cover it.

17 Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle.
18 And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward.
19 And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons.
20 And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards,
21 and their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
22 And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards.
23 And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides.
24 And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners.
25 And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board.
26 And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,
27 and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.
28 And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.
29 And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold.
30 And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was showed thee in the mount.
31 And thou shalt make a veil of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubim shall it be made.
32 And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.
33 And thou shalt hang up the veil under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the veil the ark of the testimony: and the veil shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy.
34 And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place.
35 And thou shalt set the table without the veil, and the candlestick over against the table on the side oLOf the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.

Yahweh also gives Moses instructions for building and arranging an altar for burnt offerings, which reads in part:

Exodus 27:1 And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits.
2 And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass.
3 And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basins, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass.
4 And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brazen rings in the four corners thereof.
5 And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar.
6 And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass.
7 And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it.
8 Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was showed thee in the mount, so shall they make it.

The New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates verse 5 as, “You shall put it beneath, under the ledge of the altar, so that the net will reach halfway up the altar.”

Yahweh also gives Moses instructions for building a “court of the tabernacle,” made of fine linen hangings 100 cubits long [150 feet]. He says olive oil is to be provided to keep the lamp [candlestick?] always burning.

Exodus 27:2 You shall make its horns on its four corners; its horns shall be of one piece with it, and you shall overlay it with bronze. —New American Standard Bible (©1995)

Exodus Chapter 28 describes in extensive detail the garments that were to be made for Moses and Aaron and the other high priests when they went about their holy duties. [Not only…. The Garments for the Priests, Ex. 39.1-31]

Exodus 28:1 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abi’hu, Ele-a’zar and Ith’amar, Aaron’s sons.
2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise-hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
4 And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
5 And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.
6 And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work.
7 It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together.
8 And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen.
9 And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel:
10 six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.
11 With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches [settings for precious stones] of gold.
12 And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial.
13 And thou shalt make ouches of gold;
14 and two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathed work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathed chains to the ouches.
15 And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it.
16 Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof.
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings.
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.
22 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathed work of pure gold.
23 And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate.
24 And thou shalt put the two wreathed chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate.
25 And the other two ends of the two wreathed chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it.
26 And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward.
27 And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod.
28 And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod.
29 And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.
30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; Num. 27.21 · Ezra 2.63 · Neh. 7.65 and they shall be upon Aaron’s heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually.
31 And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue.
32 And there shall be a hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent.
33 And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about:
34 a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about.
35 And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not.
36 And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE Lord.
37 And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
38 And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord.
39 And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework.
40 And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
42 And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
43 and they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him.

Exodus Chapter 29 deals with the consecration of Aaron and his sons so as to be holy enough to serve in the “priest’s office.” It goes into great detail about animal sacrifices on the altar and how to dispense with various parts of the animals, fat and skin, flesh and dung. It talks a lot about blood as being part of the sanctification process, for instance:

Exodus 29:19 And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram.
20 Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about.
21 And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons’ garments with him.

Exodus Chapter 30 begins with instructions for building an incense altar in front of the ark’s veil:

Exodus 30:8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even [burn forever?], he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements; once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

Yahweh goes on to require a half-shekel tax from “every man [20 years old or older] [as] a ransom for his soul.” He gives instructions for building a laver, a brass basin in which to wash:

Exodus 30:17 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
18 Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, Ex. 38.8 to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.
19 For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat:
20 when they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord:
21 so they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

He then gives recipes and use instructions for an anointing oil and incense:

Exodus 30:22 Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
23 Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
24 and of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive a hin:
25 and thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be a holy anointing oil.
26 And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony,
27 and the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense,
28 and the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot.
29 And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy.
30 And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.
31 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be a holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations.
32 Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you.
33 Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.
34 And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight:
35 and thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy:
36 and thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy.
37 And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord.
38 Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people. [Ex. 37.29]

Yahweh charged a couple of men to “devise cunning [and curious] works”.

Exodus 31:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 See, I have called by name Bez’aleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
3 and I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,
4 to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
5 and in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship.
6 And I, behold, I have given with him Aho’li-ab, the son of Ahis’amach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise-hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee;
7 the tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle,
8 and the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense,
9 and the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot,
10 and the clothes of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office,
11 and the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.
12 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
13 Speak thou also unto the children of Israel, saying, Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that ye may know that I am the LORD that doth sanctify you.
14 Ye shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy unto you. Every one that defileth it shall surely be put to death: for whosoever doeth any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people.


From The Alpha and the Omega – Chapter Four, by Jim A. Cornwell, Copyright © 1995, all rights reserved:
The Clouds and Darkness

At Sinai Moses was given a divine revelation concerning the nature, construction, and furnishings of the tabernacle (Exod. 25:40). The work was carried out by Bezaleel, Oholiab, and their workmen (Exodus 36:1-38); and when the task was accomplished, the tent was covered by a cloud and was filled with the divine glory (40:34).

The description in Exodus 26-27 and 35-38 present the structure as a portable shrine. The tabernacle (Heb. ‘ohel, mo’edh, tent of meeting, Canaanite mishkan, dwelling, Gr. skene, tent) stood in an outer court enclosure or court, described in Exodus 27:9-18 and 38:9-20. The designation ‘ohel mo’edh (Exodus 33:7 et al.) represents the name of the tabernacle here, as a place of revelation, where the people met with God. The word mo’edh has been discovered in an Egyptian document dated c. 1100 B.C. referring to an assembly of the citizens of Byblus. Later in Isaiah 14:13 it refers to the assembly of the gods in pagan Canaanite writings. This tabernacle combine political and social functions with the religious revelations given by God to his covenant assembly. The doctrine of the shekinah glory, which developed in the Intertestamental period was also related to the words shakhan (KJV “dwell” Exodus 25:8; 29:45) and mishkan, denoting a local manifestation of divine glory.

The ancient Hebrew cubit measured eighteen inches, thus the enclosure were one hundred fifty feet in length and seventy-five feet in width. The sides were covered with curtains made from finely woven linen about seven feet long which were fastened at the top by hooks and at the bottom by silver clasps to sixty supporting pillars of bronze, place at intervals of seven feet. On the east end was an opening about twenty feet wide screened by thirty foot wide curtains embroidered in red, purple and blue. The pillars had capitals (KJV “chapiters”) overlaid in silver and were set in bases (KJV “sockets”) of bronze, held in position by bronze pins (27:19; 38:20).

In the center of the open court was the great altar of burnt offering made from acacia wood overlaid with bronze (Exodus 27:1-8), which was eight feet square by five feet in height, with its four corners projecting probably “horns.”

To the west end of the enclosure, parallel to the long walls, stood the tabernacle itself. It was a rectangular structure about forty-five feet by fifteen feet, which was divided into two parts, a Holy Place and a Most Holy Place. It consisted of forty-eight “boards” (Heb. qerashim, board Exo. 26:15 KJV, NASB; frame JB, MLB, NIV, RSV; plank NE; is found on a Canaanite tablet describing the “throne room”, a trellis pavilion of the deity El) some fifteen feet in height (10 cubits) and over two feet wide (1_ cubit), overlaid with gold and made of shittim wood. All this was held together (26:17-30) by horizontal bars, sockets, and tenons.

The completed tabernacle was divided into two compartments by a curtain (vail) on which cherubim were embroidered in red (scarlet), purple and blue, and was suspended on four acacia (shittim) supports (26:31-34).

In (26:33-5) the outermost area was known as the Holy Place (thirty feet by fifteen feet) and the innermost part, the Holy of Holiesor the Most Holy Place was fifteen feet square. Also mentioned is the mercy seat on the ark of the testimony the location of the candlestick (menorah).

The entrance to the tabernacle was screened by embroidered curtains supported by five acacia pillars overlaid with gold (26:35-37).

The wooden framework of the tabernacle was adorned by ten linen curtains (Exodus 26:1-7) that were embroidered and decorated with figures of cherubim. It measured forty feet long (28 cubits) and six feet wide (4 cubits), and joined in groups of five to make two large curtains. All were fastened together by means of fifty loops and golden clasps (KJV “taches”) to form one long curtain sixty feet long and forty-two feet wide. This was draped over the tabernacle so that the embroidery was visible from the inside through the apertures of the trellis work, and then covered with three protective coverings: (26:7-13)

* 1st goat’s hair (11 curtains 30 by 4 cubits, 1 folded over); (26:14)
* 2nd red-dyed rams’ hides,
* and the 3rd is speculated on the term tahash leather (KJV “badger’s skins,” NIV “hides of sea cows”) which is connected etymologically with the early Egyptian word tj-h-s, used as a process of treating leather.

The contemporary Phoenician shrines had a flat roof, thus possibly the tabernacle did also.

Verbatim articles describing materials of which the Ark of the Covenant and Tabernacle were made:

From Uses of Gold by Rajib Singha, published 3/3/2010:

…Perhaps, gold is one element which is the most useful mineral on Earth…. From the very beginning of recorded history, gold has been in myriad of uses for mankind. Its occurrence is in the form of grains in rocks, veins and alluvial deposits. Out of all metals which are known, gold posses a high degree of ductility [ability to be drawn into a fine wire] and malleability and it is dense, soft and shiny. Apart from these, properties which make gold find numerous applications in industries, are its resistance to corrosion, electrical conductivity, infrared reflectivity and thermal conductivity.

…ductility. This is evident from the gold foil which is placed in Toi museum, Japan. This foil is about 0.5 square meter and it was formed by hammering a gold nugget of about 5 mm in diameter.

Coming to the industrial uses of gold… Solid state electronic devices work on very low voltages and currents. However, the contact points are prone to corrosion and being tarnished, which interrupt the proper functioning of the devices. This is overcome by the use of gold, which not only conducts the electricity, but also keeps the contacts free of corrosion. This is the reason why electronic devices which have gold in their built, are more reliable than those who don’t. Uses of gold in electronics are in contacts, switches, relays, soldered joints, connecting wires and connection strips. Television sets, cell phones, calculators, personal digital assistants, global positioning system units and other small electronic devices are products which have gold as one of their building components.

The desktop computers or laptop computers which you see and use everyday, also use gold as an efficient and reliable conductor. Unlike other metals, gold is more efficient in transmitting rapid and accurate digital information from one component to the other in such devices. The edge connectors and plug-and-socket connectors contain gold which is alloyed with other metals.

Nanotechnology is one of the major achievements in the scientific field and even this makes uses of gold, which is more reliable than other elements. Apart from this, future technologies like those which are aimed at water purification, mercury control and control of diesel emission have the prospect of using gold in their projects, due to its unique chemical and metallurgical properties.

Coming to uses of gold in medical science, most of us are aware of dental filling which also makes use of this metal. You may think of getting an iron filling, but few days later, this idea would seem to have been a good one. Dental filling using gold, is although, a pricey affair, but the metal’s superior performance and aesthetic look and appeal are worth the investment. Gold is an inert metal, i.e., it does not react with any other substance. Apart from this, it is non-allergenic and provides ease to dentists to work with it. Keeping all these things in mind, the metal is used in fillings, crowns, bridges and orthodontic appliances. However, pure gold is far from being used, as it is too soft to withstand any wear and tear. That’s why it is alloyed with other metals. Medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, lagophthalmos (abnormal condition in which an eye cannot close completely), liver and ear diseases, anergia, etc. also have the implementation of gold.

Gold being a dependable connector and conductor, finds numerous application in almost all space vehicles which are manufactured by NASA. … gold has the property of being a perfect reflector of Infrared (heat) radiation. In space programs, gold sheets are employed as radiation shield, as they can deflect the burning heat of the sun. The famous US Columbia space shuttle was manufactured using gold in its brazing alloys, fuel cell fabrication, coated plastic films and electrical contacts. How much of gold was used? More than 40.7 kg.

Other uses of gold are in the form of catalysts and in many engineering applications. In places like North America, gold-coated glasses are used for several climate controlled buildings and cases. As these glasses are coated with gold, they reflect solar radiation outward, thus, bringing down the cooling and heating costs by a large extent. Thin sheets known as gold leaf, are used on the external and internal surfaces of buildings. Not to mention the uses of gold in awards and as a symbol of high status. Even in food and drinks and in cosmetics and beauty applications, gold finds its usefulness and efficiency…

From Wikipedia:

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.[1] In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin.[2] Bronze does not necessarily contain tin, and a variety of alloys of copper, including alloys with arsenic, phosphorus, aluminum, manganese, and silicon, are commonly termed “bronze”. The term is applied to a variety of brasses and the distinction is largely historical.[3] Brass is a substitutional alloy. It is used for decoration for its bright gold-like appearance; for applications where low friction is required such as locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition, and valves; for plumbing and electrical applications; and extensively in musical instruments such as horns and bells for its acoustic properties. It is also used in zippers. Because it is softer than most other metals in general use, brass is often used in situations where it is important that sparks not be struck, as in fittings and tools around explosive gases.[4]

Brass has a muted yellow color, which is somewhat similar to gold. It is relatively resistant to tarnishing, and is often used as decoration and for coins. In antiquity, polished brass was often used as a mirror.

Although forms of brass have been in use since prehistory,[5] its true nature as a copper-zinc alloy was not understood until the post medieval period because the zinc vapour which reacted with copper to make brass was not recognised as a metal.[6] The King James Bible makes many references to “brass”.[7] The Shakespearean English form of the word ‘brass’ can mean any bronze alloy, or copper, rather than the strict modern definition of brass.[citation needed] The earliest brasses may have been natural alloys made by smelting zinc-rich copper ores.[8] By the Roman period brass was being deliberately produced from metallic copper and zinc minerals using the cementation process and variations on this method continued until the mid 19th century.[9] It was eventually replaced by speltering, the direct alloying of copper and zinc metal which was introduced to Europe in the 16th century.[8]

From Wikipedia:

Onyx is a cryptocrystalline form of quartz. The colors of its bands range from white to almost every color (save some shades, such as purple or blue). Commonly, specimens of onyx available contain bands of colors of white, tan, and brown…. Onyx is also mentioned in the Bible at various points, such as in Genesis CH. 2 ver.12 and the gold of that land is good: there is bdellium and the onyx stone. and such as the priests’ garments and the foundation of the city of Heaven in Revelation. [6]

From Wikipedia:

Onyx Agate where the bands are straight, parallel and consistent in size…. The word “quartz” comes from the German Quarz (help·info),[14] which is of Slavic origin (Czech miners called it k_emen). Other sources attribute the word’s origin to the Saxon word Querkluftertz, meaning cross-vein ore.[15]

Quartz is the most common material identified as the mystical substance maban in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is found regularly in passage tomb cemeteries in Europe in a burial context, such as Newgrange or Carrowmore in the Republic of Ireland. The Irish word for quartz is grian cloch, which means ‘stone of the sun’. Quartz was also used in Prehistoric Ireland, as well as many other countries, for stone tools; both vein quartz and rock crystal were knapped as part of the lithic technology of the prehistoric peoples.[16]

While jade has been since earliest times the most prized semi-precious stone for carving in East Asia and Pre-Columbian America, in Europe and the Middle East the different varieties of quartz were the most commonly used for the various types of jewelry and hardstone carving, including engraved gems and cameo gems, rock crystal vases, and extravagant vessels. The tradition continued to produce objects that were very highly valued until the mid-19th century, when it largely fell from fashion except in jewelry. Cameo technique exploits the bands of color in onyx and other varieties.

Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder believed quartz to be water ice, permanently frozen after great lengths of time. (The word “crystal” comes from the Greek word __________, “ice”.) He supported this idea by saying that quartz is found near glaciers in the Alps, but not on volcanic mountains, and that large quartz crystals were fashioned into spheres to cool the hands. He also knew of the ability of quartz to split light into a spectrum. This idea persisted until at least the 17th century.
In the 17th century, Nicolas Steno’s study of quartz paved the way for modern crystallography. He discovered that no matter how distorted a quartz crystal, the long prism faces always made a perfect 60° angle.

Charles B. Sawyer invented the commercial quartz crystal manufacturing process in Cleveland, Ohio, United States. This initiated the transition from mined and cut quartz for electrical appliances to manufactured quartz.
Quartz’s piezoelectric properties were discovered by Jacques and Pierre Curie in 1880. The quartz oscillator or resonator was first developed by Walter Guyton Cady in 1921.[17] George Washington Pierce designed and patented quartz crystal oscillators in 1923.[18] Warren Marrison created the first quartz oscillator clock based on the work of Cady and Pierce in 1927.[19]

Quartz crystals have piezoelectric properties; they develop an electric potential upon the application of mechanical stress. An early use of this property of quartz crystals was in phonograph pickups. One of the most common piezoelectric uses of quartz today is as a crystal oscillator. The quartz clock is a familiar device using the mineral. The resonant frequency of a quartz crystal oscillator is changed by mechanically loading it, and this principle is used for very accurate measurements of very small mass changes in the quartz crystal microbalance and in thin-film thickness monitors.

From Wikipedia:

Properties [of linen]: Highly absorbent and a good conductor of heat, linen fabric feels cool to the touch. Linen is among the strongest of the vegetable fibers, with 2 to 3 times the strength of cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. However, constant creasing in the same place in sharp folds will tend to break the linen threads. This wear can show up in collars, hems, and any area that is iron creased during laundering. Linen has poor elasticity and does not spring back readily, explaining why it wrinkles so easily.

Linen fabrics have a high natural luster; their natural color ranges between shades of ivory, ecru, tan, or grey. Pure white linen is created by heavy bleaching. Linen typically has a thick and thin character with a crisp and textured feel to it, but it can range from stiff and rough, to soft and smooth. When properly prepared, linen fabric has the ability to absorb and lose water rapidly. It can gain up to 20% moisture without feeling damp.

When freed from impurities, linen is highly absorbent and will quickly remove perspiration from the skin. Linen is a stiff fabric and is less likely to cling to the skin; when it billows away, it tends to dry out and become cool so that the skin is being continually touched by a cool surface. It is a very durable, strong fabric, and one of the few that are stronger wet than dry. The fibers do not stretch and are resistant to damage from abrasion. However, because linen fibers have a very low elasticity, the fabric will eventually break if it is folded and ironed at the same place repeatedly.

Mildew, perspiration, and bleach can also damage the fabric, but it is resistant to moths and carpet beetles. Linen is relatively easy to take care of, since it resists dirt and stains, has no lint or pilling tendency, and can be dry cleaned, machine washed or steamed. It can withstand high temperatures, and has only moderate initial shrinkage.[5]

…The discovery of dyed flax fibers in a cave in Georgia dated to 36,000 BP suggests people used wild flax fibers to create linen-like fabrics from an early date.[1][2] The use of linen for priestly vestments was not confined to the Israelites. Plutarch wrote that the priests of Isis also wore linen because of its purity.

In the Jewish religion, the only law concerning which fabrics may be interwoven together in clothing is one which concerns the mixture of linen and wool. This mixture is called shaatnez and is clearly restricted in Deuteronomy 22:11 “Thou shalt not wear a mingled stuff, wool and linen together” and Leviticus 19:19, “’…neither shall there come upon thee a garment of two kinds of stuff mingled together.’” There is no explanation for this in the Torah itself and is categorized as a type of law known as chukim, a statute beyond man’s ability to comprehend.[9] Josephus suggested that the reason for the prohibition was to keep the laity from wearing the official garb of the priests.[10] while Maimonides thought that the reason was because heathen priests wore such mixed garments.[11] Others explain that it is because God often forbids mixtures of disparate kinds, not designed by God to be compatible in a certain way, with mixing animal and vegetable fibers being similar to having two different types of plowing animals yoked together. And that such commands serve both a practical as well as allegorical purpose, perhaps here preventing a priestly garment that would cause discomfort (or excessive sweat) in a hot climate.[12]


atonement: reparation for a wrong or injury : she wanted to make atonement for her husband’s behavior.
• Religion reparation or expiation for sin : the High Priest offered the sacrifice as atonement for all the sins of Israel.
• ( the Atonement) Christian Theology the reconciliation of God and humankind through Jesus Christ.
ORIGIN early 16th cent. (denoting unity or reconciliation, esp. between God and man): from at one + -ment , influenced by medieval Latin adunamentum ‘unity,’ and earlier onement from an obsolete verb one [to unite.]

genesis 9:5 Young’s Literal Translation
‘And only your blood for your lives do I require; from the hand of every living thing I require it, and from the hand of man, from the hand of every man’s brother I require the life of man;’

Indigenous Australians
In many indigenous Australian Aboriginal peoples’ traditions, ochre (particularly red) and blood, both high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor states:

In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers. In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant’s arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies. Red ochre is used in similar ways in less-secret ceremonies. Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people’s bodies. Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.[28]

Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the invisible energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then connects these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, because iron is magnetic.

The Ancient Greeks believed that the blood of the gods, ichor, was a mineral that was poisonous to mortals.

In Judaism, blood cannot be consumed even in the smallest quantity (Leviticus 3:17 and elsewhere); this is reflected in Jewish dietary laws (Kashrut). Blood is purged from meat by salting and soaking in water.

Another ritual involving blood involves the covering of the blood of fowl and game after slaughtering (Leviticus 17:13); the reason given by the Torah is: “Because the life of the animal is [in] its blood” (ibid 17:14).

Also if a person of the orthodox Jewish faith suffers a violent death, religious laws order the collection of their blood for burial with them.

Consumption of food containing blood is forbidden by Islamic dietary laws. This is derived from the statement in the Qur’an, sura Al-Ma’ida (5:3): “Forbidden to you (for food) are: dead meat, blood, the flesh of swine, and that on which has been invoked the name of other than Allah.

Blood is considered as unclean and in Islam cleanliness is part of the faith, hence there are specific methods to obtain physical and ritual status of cleanliness once bleeding has occurred. Specific rules and prohibitions apply to menstruation, postnatal bleeding and irregular vaginal bleeding.

Jehovah’s Witnesses
Main article: Jehovah’s Witnesses and blood
Based on their interpretation of scriptures such as Acts 15:28, 29 (“Keep abstaining…from blood.”), Jehovah’s Witnesses neither consume blood nor accept transfusions of whole blood or its major components: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets (thrombocytes), and plasma. Members may personally decide whether they will accept medical procedures that involve their own blood or substances that are further fractionated from the four major components.[29]

From Wikipedia: Maban
This article’s factual accuracy is disputed. Please see the relevant discussion on the talk page. (August 2009)

Quartz crystal
Maban or Mabain is a material that is held to be magical in Australian Aboriginal mythology. It is the material from which the Clever Women and Clever Men [1] and Elders [2] of Indigenous Australia supposedly derive their magical powers. Maban is variously identified by different Australian Aboriginal tribes with quartz crystals, australites, mother of pearl, blood, ochre, feathers, Desert Rose, seeds, etc. The potent polyvalent term maban also shares meanings with the term ‘shaman’ and may be employed to denote Clever Women and Clever Men directly.

During the ceremony in which a karadji initiates an apprentice, maban is used and spiritually “inserted” into the body of the apprentice. Lawlor (1991: p. 374) states that:

A. P. Elkin compiled descriptions of Aboriginal initiations from diverse clans and distant tribes and found, beneath the innumerable variations, underlying universal themes. The most common was the implanting of a resonant substance in the body.

Lawlor (1991: p. 374)[unreliable source?] affirms that the insertion of quartz crystals or mabain into the body of the postulant is a consistent initiatory theme.

Aerodynamically shaped Australite

Lawlor (1991: p. 374-375) states that: Throughout Australia one of the most consistent themes in Aboriginal initiation is the insertion into the body of quartz crystals, or mabain. This procedure symbolizes the transformation of consciousness from physical to psychic levels. The Aborigines seek quartz crystals with internal fractures that produce vivid rainbow light refractions. These fractures signal that the stone resonates powerfully with the primordial energies of the Rainbow Serpent.

Blood and ochre
In many indigenous Australian peoples’ traditions ochre, feathers and blood, all high in iron content and considered Maban, are applied or adorned to the bodies of dancers for ritual. As Lawlor (1991: p. 102-103) states:

In many Aboriginal rituals and ceremonies, red ochre is rubbed all over the naked bodies of the dancers. In secret, sacred male ceremonies, blood extracted from the veins of the participant’s arms is exchanged and rubbed on their bodies. Red ochre is used in similar ways in less secret ceremonies. Blood is also used to fasten the feathers of birds onto people’s bodies. Bird feathers contain a protein that is highly magnetically sensitive.

Lawlor comments that blood employed in this fashion is held by these peoples to attune the dancers to the energetic realm of the Dreamtime. Lawlor then draws information from different disciplines charting a relationship between these invisible energetic realms and magnetic fields, iron and magnetism having a marked relationship.

Seed power and totem design
Guruwari may be translated as “Seed Power” and “Totem Design” and the energetic concept to which it refers is a pervasive cultural meme throughout indigenous Australia. Following is a quote from Lawlor (1991: p. 36) who references the source of this anthropological scholarship to Munn (1984): “Guruwari refers to the invisible seed or life-energy that the Creative Ancestors deposited in the land and in all forms of nature.

Cross-cultural lineages
The first clear example of Buddhist settlement in Australia dates to 1848. However, there has been speculation from some anthropologists that there may have been contact hundreds of years earlier; in the book Aboriginal Men of High Degree, A.P. Elkin cites what he believes is evidence that traders from Indonesia may have brought fleeting contact of Buddhism and Hinduism to areas near modern-day Dampier.[3] Elkin interpreted a link between Indigenous Australian culture and Buddhist ideas such as reincarnation.[3] He argued this link could have been brought through contact with Macassan traders.[3] There was also speculation due to reports of Chinese relics appearing in northern Australia dating to the 15th century, although it may have been brought much later through trade rather than earlier exploration. Not only maban-crystal, but also “magic cord” is used in the making of “clever men” in Australia. The “magic cord” is reminiscent of the Indian rope trick or of the silver cord. Elkin cited linguistic commonalities of certain far northern Australian indigenous words and lexical items and ancient southern Indian ‘Dravidian’ languages. There are also documented analogues and marked similarities in their kinship systems.

cherub ( pl. cherubim) a winged angelic being described in biblical tradition as attending on God. It is represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles’ wings and a human face, and regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy.

1 a natural or artificial hollow into which something fits or in which something revolves : the eye socket.
• the part of the head of a golf club into which the shaft is fitted.
2 an electrical device receiving a plug or light bulb to make a connection.

This first of its kind scientific-historical research project, run under the auspices of Professor Zohar Amar of Bar Ilan University, includes on its team archaeologists, nutritional engineer Arye Cohen, the Shteibel wheat mill, the Sharon Portos labs for food additives, and the Shifon bakery, located in the Sha’ar Binyamin industrial park north of Jerusalem.

Professor Amar has previously done groundbreaking research into the sources of the components of the ketoret incense used in the Holy Temple, and the sources of the biblical colors used for dying the garments of the High Priest, the techelet, (sky-blue), argaman, (purple), and tola’at sheni, (scarlet). Professor Amar has worked closely with the Temple Institute, most recently harvesting the tola’at sheni worms for use in dying, and in preparing the techelet, argaman and tola’at sheni used for dying the threads woven into the avnet belt of the lay priests.

From Wikipedia: Mitre:

In ancient Israel, the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) wore a headress called the Mitznefet (often translated into English as “mitre”), which was wound around the head so as to form a broad, flat-topped turban. Attached to it was the Tzitz, a plate of solid gold bearing the inscription “Holiness to YHWH”[1] (Exodus 39:14, 39:30).

Ouches [filigree settings] ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery : [as adj. ] delicate silver filigree earrings.
• a thing resembling such fine ornamental work : a wedding cake of gold and white filigree. ORIGIN late 17th cent. (earlier as filigreen, filigrane): from French filigrane, from Italian filigrana (from Latin filum ‘thread’ + granum ‘seed’ ).

Bless: ORIGIN Old English based on blood (i.e., originally perhaps [mark or consecrate with blood] ). The meaning was influenced by its being used to translate Latin benedicere ‘to praise, worship,’ and later by association with bliss.

also broken loose, out of control.
Young’s Literal Translation:
And Moses seeth the people that it is unbridled, for Aaron hath made it unbridled for contempt among its withstanders,

consecrate [literally says consecrate your hand to Jehovah]
dedicate formally to a religious or divine purpose

Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopian Chapel? The roof is leaking….

The high priest was trained to operate it.
Joshua 3:7, priests’ feet touched water, with ark, kept water back
Electrocuted priests, Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu; they offered “unholy fire before the Lord… And fire came forth from the presence of the Lord and devoured them.” (Lev 10:1-20); in sep incident, Uzzah (2 sam 6:6-7)

Joshua Ch 6: Jericho wall collapses
Horns Scholar Rudolf Simek comments that the use of a horn as both a musical instrument and a drinking vessel is not particularly odd, and that the concept is also employed with tales of the legendary Old French hero Roland’s horn, Olifant. Simek notes that the horn is among the most ancient of Germanic musical instruments, along with lurs, and, citing archaeological finds (such as the 5th century Golden Horns of Gallehus from Denmark), comments that there appears to have been sacral horns kept purely for religious purposes among the Germanic peoples, understood as earthly versions of Heimdallr’s Gjallarhorn, reaching back to the early Germanic Iron Age.[15]
Ark captured by Phil (god Dagon, statue fell 2 times) against Eli’s sons
1 Samuel
5:11 So they sent and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and said, Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place, that it slay us not, and our people: for there was a deadly destruction throughout all the city; the hand of God was very heavy there.
Plague of tumors, ended when Ark returned to Beth-shemesh (ancient city, “house of the sun”) with offering of golden mice and golden tumors. David transports ark to Jerusalem. Uzzak touched ark, killed.

The account in 1 Samuel 5.2–7 relates how the ark of Yahweh was captured by the Philistines and taken to Dagon’s temple in Ashdod. The following morning they found the image of Dagon lying prostrate before the ark. They set the image upright, but again on the morning of the following day they found it prostrate before the ark, but this time with head and hands severed, lying on the miptān translated as “threshold” or “podium”. The account continues with the puzzling words raq dāgôn nišʾar ʿālāyw, which means literally “only Dagon was left to him.” (The Septuagint, Peshitta, and Targums render “Dagon” here as “trunk of Dagon” or “body of Dagon”, presumably referring to the lower part of his image.) Thereafter we are told that neither the priests or anyone ever steps on the miptān of Dagon in Ashdod “unto this day”. This story is depicted on the frescoes of the Dura-Europos synagogue as the opposite to a depiction of the High Priest Aaron and the Temple of Solomon.

In an Ethiopian account (Kebra Nagast) it is maintained that the Queen of Sheba had sexual relations with King Solomon (of which the Biblical and Quranic accounts give no hint) and gave birth by the Mai Bella stream in the province of Hamasien, Eritrea. The Ethiopian tradition has a detailed account of the affair.

The boy was a son who went on to become Menelik I, King of Axum, and founded a dynasty that would reign what became the Christian Empire of Ethiopia for 2900+ years (less one usurpation episode and interval of ca. 133 years until a “legitimate” male heir regained the crown) until Haile Selassie was overthrown in 1974. Menelik was said to be a practising Jew, had been gifted with a replica Ark of the Covenant by King Solomon, but moreover, the original was switched and went to Axum with him and his mother, and is still there, guarded by a single priest charged with caring for the artifact as his life’s task.

The claim of such a lineage and of possession of the Ark has been an important source of legitimacy and prestige for the Ethiopian monarchy throughout the many centuries of its existence, and had important and lasting effects on Ethiopian culture as a whole. The Ethiopian government and church deny all requests to view the alleged ark.


The Ephod worn by ancient Israelite high priests.

There is much mystery about exactly what the ephod is. At least in part, an ephod is an article of clothing worn by ancient Jewish high priests, associated with the ark of the covenant and the oracle of Urim and Thummin. From :

A passage in the Book of Exodus describes the Ephod as an elaborate garment worn by the high priest, and upon which the breastplate, containing Urim and Thummim, rested. According to this description, the Ephod was woven out of gold, blue, purple, and scarlet threads, was made of fine linen, and was embroidered “with skillful work” in gold thread (Exodus 28:6-14) the Talmud argues that each of the textures was combined in six threads with a seventh of gold leaf, making twenty-eight threads to the texture in total (Yoma 71b). The Biblical description continues without describing the shape or length of the ephod, except by stating that it was held together by a girdle, and had two shoulder straps which were fastened to the front of the ephod by golden rings, to which the breastplate was attached by golden chains; (Exodus 28:6-14) from this description it appears to have been something like a minimalist apron or a skirt with braces, though Rashi argued that it was like a woman’s riding girdle. The biblical description also adds that there were two engraved gems over the shoulder straps (like epaulettes), made from shoham (thought by scholars to mean malachite,[6] by Jewish tradition to mean heliodor, and in the King James Version is translated as “onyx”), and with the names of the twelve tribes written upon them; the classical rabbinical sources differ as to the order in which the tribes were named on the jewels (Sotah 36a). —


Shiloh was the religious capital of Israel for 300 years before Jerusalem, where the “whole congregation of Israel assembled…and set up the tabernacle of the congregation…” (Joshua 18:1) to house the Ark of the Covenant. “According to Talmudic sources, the tent sanctuary remained at Shiloh for 369 years (Zevachim 118B) until the Ark of the Covenant was taken into the battle camp (1 Samuel 4:3-5) at Ebenezer and captured by the Philistines at Aphek (probably Antipatris). At some point during its long stay at Shiloh, the portable tent seems to have been enclosed within a compound or replaced with a standing structure that had “doors” (1 Samuel 3:15) a precursor to the Temple. The Mishkan [tabernacle] left Shiloh when Eli HaCohen died.

Shiloh was the center of Israelite worship. The people assembled here for the mandatory feasts and sacrifices, and here lots were cast for the various tribal areas and for the Levitical cities. This was a sacred act, revealing how God would choose to parcel out the land within the tribes.

Generations later, Samuel was raised at the shrine in Shiloh by the high priest Eli. Samuel began prophesying at a young age and continued to serve in the Tabernacle, but not as a priest because he was not from the family of Aaron.

When the Philistines defeated the Israelites at Aphek, one contingent of Philistines carried the Ark of the Covenant off to Philistia, while another contingent apparently marched on Shiloh and destroyed the shrine (1 Samuel 4:4-5, Psalms 78:60 and Jeremiah 7:4). Apparently the Tabernacle was removed before the Philistines arrived, and it was shipped to Gibeon, where it remained until Solomon’s time. The Ark was soon returned to Israel, but was subsequently kept in Kiryat-Yearim until David had it brought to Jerusalem. It never returned to Shiloh.

Angels Kept Busy Announcing Artificial Inseminations

Samson's Fight with the Lion, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, circa 1520.

Samson’s Fight with the Lion, painting by Lucas Cranach the Elder, circa 1520.

In Bible stories, angels were put to work announcing supernatural conceptions. We’ll look at three instances: Samson, John the Baptist, and Jesus.

If you can make it through the repetition in the verses describing the announcement of the conception of the famous strong man Samson — the angel keeps saying, “you’re pregnant, so no wine, liquor, or unclean food” — “and don’t cut his hair” — you’ll see humans having conversations with an angel, pissing him off, trying to make it up to him with a goat sacrifice, watching awestruck as the angel ascends in the “flame of the altar”, and freaking out afterwards.

Judges 13:2 And there was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren, and bare not.
3 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman, and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son.
4 Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing:
5 For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.
6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, A man of God came unto me, and his countenance was like the countenance of an angel of God, very terrible: but I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name:
7 But he said unto me, Behold, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb to the day of his death.
8 Then Manoah intreated the Lord, and said, O my Lord, let the man of God which thou didst send come again unto us, and teach us what we shall do unto the child that shall be born.
9 And God hearkened to the voice of Manoah; and the angel of God came again unto the woman as she sat in the field: but Manoah her husband was not with her.
10 And the woman made haste, and ran, and shewed her husband, and said unto him, Behold, the man hath appeared unto me, that came unto me the other day.
11 And Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said unto him, Art thou the man that spakest unto the woman? And he said, I am.
12 And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?
13 And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah, Of all that I said unto the woman let her beware.
14 She may not eat of any thing that cometh of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: all that I commanded her let her observe.
15 …Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, I pray thee, let us detain thee, until we shall have made ready a kid [young goat] for thee.
16 And the angel of the LORD said unto Manoah, Though thou detain me, I will not eat of thy bread: and if thou wilt offer a burnt offering, thou must offer it unto the LORD. For Manoah knew not that he was an angel of the LORD.
17 And Manoah said unto the angel of the LORD, What is thy name, that when thy sayings come to pass we may do thee honour?
18 And the angel of the LORD said unto him, Why askest thou thus after my name, seeing it is secret?
19 So Manoah took a kid with a meat offering, and offered it upon a rock unto the LORD: and the angel did wonderously; and Manoah and his wife looked on.
20 For it came to pass, when the flame went up toward heaven from off the altar, that the angel of the LORD ascended in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked on it, and fell on their faces to the ground.
21 But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD.
22 And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.
23 But his wife said unto him, If the LORD were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a meat offering at our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would as at this time have told us such things as these.
24 And the woman bare a son, and called his name Samson: and the child grew, and the LORD blessed him.

Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1489.

Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness, by Hieronymus Bosch, circa 1489.

Saint John the Baptist’s conception was foretold by the angel of the Lord, leaving the dad-to-be literally speechless:

Luke 1:9 According to the custom of the priest’s office, his [Zacharias’s] lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
11 And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

18 And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
19 And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to show thee these glad tidings.
20 And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.
21 And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
22 And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless.

Then, Mary got her visit:

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David….

Not surprisingly, the angel of the Lord finds it necessary to also pay a visit to Mary’s fiancé, Joseph:

Matthew 1:18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

What Swallowed Jonah and Why?

Raised with Sunday School sensationalism, I was aware that Jonah was swallowed by a whale, but the finer points escaped me. The info I picked up from Geppetto and Pinocchio’s Disney adventures inside Monstro was not much help, either. Now I’ve learned the whole Jonah story, or as much of it as has survived the ages.

The Jonah best-known to Yahweh-followers is an Israeli prophet circa 8th century BCE, whose story is told in the Bible’s Book of Jonah. Many Christians call him a saint. Jewish tradition has it that Jonah was the boy that Elijah is famous for bringing back to life. He is one of the 12 minor prophets in the Tanakh, and the Book of Jonah is read every year on Yom Kippur. Jonah (Yunus in Arabic) is a very important Islamic prophet, and the big fish story in the Qur’an is very similar to the Bible’s. Jonah may be the Oannes of the Babylonians, and the Jason of the Greeks.

The whale in the story was originally a big fish, becoming a whale in a 16th-century Bible mistranslation. Even so, scientists assert that there is no known sea creature that would swallow a man whole. Some whales eat plankton and would choke on a herring. Others, while capable of consuming something the size of a man, have shown no interest in doing so, and prefer to chew their food first. The big fishes under consideration all have deal-breaker problems, such as sharp turns in their gullets, or throats only four inches wide.

And let’s not forget: Jonah stays “in the belly of the fish” for three days and nights, praying about how sorry he is. What kind of fish would allow that? And how did all this happen?

It all starts when Yahweh tells Jonah, a minor prophet, to go to the city of Nineveh and warn its people that Yahweh is offended by their behavior and they have 40 days to shape up or the city will be destroyed. Instead of doing Yahweh’s bidding, Jonah leaves town and gets on a ship going the other direction.

If you’re familiar with how Yahweh mistreats his prophets, you can’t help rooting for Jonah. But it’s very hard to hide from God, as Jonah discovers when Yahweh sends a “mighty tempest in the sea,” such a ferocious storm the sailors have never seen anything like it. Jonah tells them it is his fault and that they should throw him overboard. With some moral qualms, they do (although why he didn’t just jump, I don’t know), and the storm stops. The sailors become on-the-spot true believers in Yahweh, and fire up the sacrificial altar (throw some shrimp on the barbie, in Australian).

Jonah, meanwhile, is right where Yahweh wants him.

Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

After three days and nights in the belly of the fish, after Jonah repeatedly says he is so, so sorry, and he will do whatever Yahweh wants:

Jonah 2:10 …the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

So then Jonah goes to Nineveh and tells everybody they’d better repent, and, to his fury, they listen to him. Everybody from the king on down to the sheep fasts and puts on sackcloth and ashes, repenting.

Why is Jonah upset? Because these people are Assyrians, hated enemies of Judah and Israel. He wants Yahweh to nuke them. He is angry that he had to go warn them, and he is angry that they listened to him and aren’t going to get destroyed, and his pride is hurt because he is going to look like his prophecy has failed. He actually camps outside the town for a while, hoping it will get destroyed. Yahweh asks him if he is angry, and he replies, basically, “You bet I am.” But Yahweh is impressed with the sackcloth and ashes, and spares the city, while Jonah continues to wish Yahweh’s mercy would be reserved for the Israelites.

I think it’s obvious, from a 21st-century perspective, that the fish/whale/sea monster that Jonah entered and stayed in for three days and nights was a vehicle that Yahweh sent to fetch him, just as the flying elephants and thunderbirds and dragons associated with sky gods were vehicles under their control. The sky vehicles are now called UFOs, and the sea monsters are now called USOs (Unidentified Submarine Objects).

As with UFOs, people have been having encounters with USO “sea monsters” in oceans, lakes, and rivers throughout the world for thousands of years.

I’m sure that being forced into whatever “swallowed” Jonah was a severe shock to his system, but the “great fish” was no more a fish than the Lernaean hydra was a many-headed water serpent (with “poisonous breath so virulent even her tracks were deadly”), no more than Indra’s flying Airavata was a three-headed elephant. Mythical animals often have the characteristics of vehicles (such as being made of bronze).

Btw, as a Biblical prophet, Jonah had it easy — compared to Isaiah, for instance, who had to walk around naked for three years, or Ezekiel, who had to lie on his side for 390 days and eat “measured food.”

Who knows what Yahweh was thinking?

A New Look at King David’s Song of Deliverance

The Triumph of David, circa 1630, by Nicolas Poussin. That's Goliath's head hanging at right. The Triumph of David, circa 1630, by Nicolas Poussin. That’s Goliath’s head hanging on the right.

David’s Song of Deliverance is well known as a beautiful Bible song praising Yahweh—but you should see the parts they ignore.

King David of Israel wrote this song to thank Yahweh for delivering him from his enemies. It sounds as if Yahweh gave David superpowers and super-weapons (for instance, “by my God I have leaped over a wall”). When he says God has given him “the shield of thy salvation,” it sounds like he’s speaking literally. This kind of physical help in battle — saving David from his enemies — may well be where the concept of salvation originated.

2 Samuel 22:1 And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song, in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:

7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13 Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the Most High uttered his voice.
15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16 And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
17 He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters:

30 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.

33 God is my strength and power; and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ [deer] feet; and setteth me upon my high places.
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.

43 Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth: I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.

Exodus: Into the Wilderness with Moses

For earlier parts of the Moses story, see:


So… Yahweh led the million-plus Hebrews towards the land of the Canaanites, which he promised them would be their new land:

Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.
22 He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

After a while, Yahweh told Moses to have his people camp in a certain place, backed up to the Red Sea (or perhaps the Sea of Reeds), where the Pharaoh would think they were vulnerable and come after them — because Yahweh was still “hardening the heart” of the Pharaoh and wanting to display his might. Pharaoh took the bait and sent all his horses and chariots and armies against the Hebrews, who became alarmed when the huge forces appeared — and blamed Moses for bringing them to die in the wilderness when they had been better off as slaves in Egypt. Moses said, Stand back and watch Yahweh defend you; you’ll never see these Egyptians again. Then Moses went calling to God for help:

Exodus 14:15 And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward:
16 but lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
17 And I, behold, I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians, and they shall follow them: and I will get me honor upon Pharaoh, and upon all his host, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.
18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten me honor upon Pharaoh, upon his chariots, and upon his horsemen.

So Yahweh’s plan was for Moses to lift his rod, the sea would split, the Israelites would cross over, and then the sea would close upon the pursuing Egyptians. The night before this was to take place, the “angel of God” placed itself between the Hebrews and the Egyptians, as did the pillar of cloud, to protect them.

Moses Parts Red Sea

Moses then stretched out his hand (or rod?) over the sea, and the sea was pushed back by a “strong east wind” Yahweh caused to blow all night. The Hebrews were able to cross the sea on dry ground, while the pursuing Egyptians ran into trouble crossing the seabed when Yahweh took off their chariot wheels. He then told Moses to stretch out his hand (rod?) again, and the water returned, drowning all of Pharaoh’s troops. The Israelites were finally convinced that Yahweh was a God to be feared and believed in.

Exodus 14:19 And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
20 and it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night.
21 And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
22 And the children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground: and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
23 And the Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh’s horses, his chariots, and his horsemen.
24 And it came to pass, that in the morning watch the Lord looked unto the host of the Egyptians through the pillar of fire and of the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians,
25 and took off their chariot wheels, that they drave them heavily: so that the Egyptians said, Let us flee from the face of Israel; for the Lord fighteth for them against the Egyptians.
26 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.
27 And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the sea returned to his strength when the morning appeared; and the Egyptians fled against it; and the Lord overthrew the Egyptians in the midst of the sea.
28 And the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.
29 But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.
30 Thus the Lord saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore.
31 And Israel saw that great work which the Lord did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the Lord, and believed the Lord, and his servant Moses.






After crossing the sea, the Israelites traveled through the wilderness for three days without finding water — and blamed Moses.

Exodus 15:24 And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
25 And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

Pretty soon, people were complaining about the lack of food, blaming Moses. It did no good for Moses to tell them that blaming him was like blaming Yahweh. Yahweh told Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven;” but first he appeared before the Israelites.

Exodus 16:9 And Moses spake unto Aaron, Say unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, Come near before the Lord: for he hath heard your murmurings.
10 And it came to pass, as Aaron spake unto the whole congregation of the children of Israel, that they looked toward the wilderness, and, behold, the glory of the Lord appeared in the cloud.

God told Moses to tell the people that there would be plenty to eat, quail every evening, and bread every morning. And indeed every evening “quails came up, and covered the camp.” And in the morning, with the evaporation of the dew, there was manna from heaven.

Exodus 16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.
15 And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.


Moses imparted Yahweh’s instructions to gather exactly how much manna they needed and to eat all of that, setting aside none for the morning. Nevertheless, some people kept some for later, and in the morning, it was full of worms and stank, and Moses was angry. For five days the Hebrews harvested and ate manna, and then on the sixth day there was twice as much manna as usual — which extra amount kept without spoiling so they had enough for both the sixth day and the seventh day, the sabbath, upon which day they were told to “abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” So they ate manna for forty years, as they journeyed to Canaan, complaining about it more or less continually.

Exodus 16:31 And the house of Israel called the name thereof Manna: and it was like coriander seed, white; and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

35 And the children of Israel did eat manna forty years, until they came to a land inhabited: they did eat manna, until they came unto the borders of the land of Canaan.

The Hebrews again couldn’t find water, and blamed Moses.

Exodus 17:4 And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying, What shall I do unto this people? they be almost ready to stone me.
5 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people, and take with thee of the elders of Israel; and thy rod, wherewith thou smotest the river, take in thine hand, and go.
6 Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.



After a while, the Israelites had to deal with a war. Moses told Joshua to get his men together to go out and fight the enemy Amalek, while he would go stand on top of a hill with “the rod of God” in his hand.



Whenever Moses held up his hand (or hands?), the Hebrews would win. Whenever he put his hand(s) down, the other side would win. But his hands were so heavy that he couldn’t keep them up; so he sat down on a stone, and Aaron and Moses’s nephew Hur held his hands aloft until sundown.


Exodus 17:8 Then came Am’alek, and fought with Israel in Reph’idim.
9 And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Am’alek: tomorrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.
10 So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Am’alek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.
11 And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Am’alek prevailed.
12 But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.
13 And Joshua discomfited Am’alek and his people with the edge of the sword.

Judges 5:4 LORD, when thou wentest out of Seir, when thou marchedst out of the field of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens dropped, the clouds also dropped water.


Moringa as Water Purifier. One possibility for the tree Moses used to purify water is the moringa tree. It likes dry, sandy, tropical to semi-desert conditions, and its seeds have been proven to purify water. It has many names in many languages, including some that translate as “tree of paradise” and “cannot be killed by the dry season.” When crushed moringa seeds are mixed with water, they create positively charged proteins, which attract the negatively charged bacteria and particles. In 1995, researchers at the University of Leicester released the results of a study showing that moringa seeds treat water as well as the commercial chemicals that are usually used — clearing the water of solids, and removing 90 to 99.99 percent of the bacteria.

The Pillar of Cloud. The Jewish Encyclopedia states that the Haggadah, the Jewish religious text that tells the story of Passover…mentions not one, but seven, “clouds of glory” as having accompanied Israel on its march through the desert; namely, one on each of the four sides, and one above, one below, and one in front of, these four. According to another passage there were even thirteen clouds, two on each side, two above, two below, and one in front. Others, again, speak of only four, or of two (Mek., Beshalla, i.; Sifre, Num. 83). The cloud in front prepared the way by leveling the heights and depths…, killing the snakes, and making the way pleasant. [These “clouds of glory” prevented the garments of the Israelites from becoming soiled or worn during the forty years in the wilderness].

From Wikipedia:

“Canaan: the biblical name for the area of ancient Palestine west of the Jordan River, the Promised Land of the Israelites, who conquered and occupied it during the latter part of the 2nd millennium bc.

“Canaan (Phoenician: ____________ or ________, Kana_n; Hebrew: ________ K_ná_an; Arabic: _____ Kan__n) is an ancient term for a region encompassing modern-day Israel, Lebanon, and adjoining coastal lands, including parts of Jordan, Syria and northeastern Egypt. In the Hebrew Bible, the “Land of Canaan” extends from Lebanon southward to the “Brook of Egypt” and eastward to the Jordan River Valley.

“The Canaanites (Hebrew: ______, Modern Kna’anim Tiberian K_na__nîm) are said to have been one of seven regional ethnic divisions or “nations” driven out before the Israelites following the Exodus. Specifically, the other nations include the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites (Deuteronomy 7:1).”

Numbers 16:46 And Moses said unto Aaron, Take a censer, and put fire therein from off the altar, and put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague is begun.
47 And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people.
48 And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.
49 Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah.
50 And Aaron returned unto Moses unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: and the plague was stayed.

See Wikipedia entry on Manna

The clothing and shoes of Exodus travelers did not wear out even after 40 years:

Deuteronomy 8:4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.

Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.

Conquering Canaan/Promised Land

Popol Vuh, 4 patriarchs tell their children: “Go on your way and you shall see again the place from which we came.”

Eibp, “The return to the ancestral land [promised] is a major theme in the Bible,” starting w/Genesis 15:7-16.

Both Popol Vuh and Genesis divide people into 3 groups. Genesis says descendants of 3 brothers Shem, Ham and Japheth.

Ten lost tribes of Israel (besides Judah and Benjamin), conquered by Assyrians. South America? 17th cent. Jewish traveler said he met Indians reciting shema, devout Jewish prayer. American Indians religion/Hebrew practices? Jews of Ethioia/tribe of Dan? Bene Israel – Jewish community in India.

The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens


For parts 1 and 2 of this story, see The Early Days of Moses and Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart.

To recap a bit: Moses frees the Hebrew slaves from the Pharoah by inflicting ten plagues. They leave in a hurry, “borrowing” silver and gold jewelry, and clothes from the Egyptians, which items would later be used to build the Ark of the Covenant and its Tabernacle.

So, in the third month after the Israelites left Egypt, they arrived in the Sinai desert, where they camped “before the mount”:

Exodus 19:2 For they were departed from Reph’idim, and were come to the desert of Si’nai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount.
3 And Moses went up unto God, and the Lord called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel;
4 Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.
5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people.

The people say they’ll follow God’s rules, so God tells Moses to go among the people and sanctify them for two days, and they must wash their clothes, and then God will appear to them on the third day. Moses is also supposed to warn the people that they must not climb the mountain:


Exodus 19:12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:
13 there shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.

So, it came to pass…

Exodus 19:16 And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.
17 And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.
18 And mount Si’nai was altogether on a smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.
19 And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.
20 And the Lord came down upon mount Si’nai, on the top of the mount: and the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up.
21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the Lord to gaze, and many of them perish.
22 And let the priests also, which come near to the Lord, sanctify themselves, lest the Lord break forth upon them.
23 And Moses said unto the Lord, The people cannot come up to mount Si’nai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it.
24 And the Lord said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the Lord, lest he break forth upon them.


Yahweh gave the Ten Commandments to the gathered Israelites, mentioning a few points that are generally ignored when listing the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:1 And God spake all these words, saying,
2 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:
5 thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6 and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:
10 but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12 Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Moses Receiving the Tablets of the Law on Mt. Sinai

Then the frightened people begged Moses to speak to them on Yahweh’s behalf, rather than have Yahweh speak to them directly.

Exodus 20:18 And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off.
19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
21 And the people stood afar off, and Moses drew near unto the thick darkness where God was.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Thus thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Ye have seen that I have talked with you from heaven.

God then gave Moses more rules to convey to the people: no golden or silver god images, build a certain kind of altar, perform a certain kind of animal sacrifice. He offered a great many other rules of his covenant that his people were required to follow if they wanted Yahweh’s help and to escape his wrath. The first section dealt with the treatment of servants. For instance:

Exodus 21:2 If thou buy a Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.
3 If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.
4 If his master have given him a wife, and she have borne him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.
5 And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife, and my children; I will not go out free:
6 then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the doorpost; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him for ever.


Then there were some laws concerning violence and responsibility, some clearly cribbed from other ancient codes:

Exodus 21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

20 And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.
21 Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money.

A lot of laws about restitution and oxen and thievery followed, then some laws about human relations:

Exodus 22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
18 Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.
20 He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the Lord only, he shall be utterly destroyed.
21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.
22 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child.
23 If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry;
24 and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.
25 If thou lend money to any of my people that is poor by thee, thou shalt not be to him as a usurer, neither shalt thou lay upon him usury.
26 If thou at all take thy neighbor’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down:
27 for that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.
28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
29 Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits, and of thy liquors. The firstborn of thy sons shalt thou give unto me.
30 Likewise shalt thou do with thine oxen, and with thy sheep: seven days it shall be with his dam; on the eighth day thou shalt give it me.


The laws went on and on, a lot of rules for behavior, including that they must let their fields sit fallow in the seventh year, and that they must rest on each seventh day, so that “thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.”

Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.

Then Yahweh urged the people to move on, saying he was sending an angel in front of them to show them the way, and would also send “hornets” before them, to drive out the peoples currently occupying the land God wanted his Israelites to have.

Exodus 23:20 Behold, I send an angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.
21 Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name is in him.
22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
23 For mine angel shall go before thee, and bring thee in unto the Amorites, and the Hittites, and the Per’izzites, and the Canaanites, the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites; and I will cut them off.
24 Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.
25 And ye shall serve the Lord your God, and he shall bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee.
26 There shall nothing cast their young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfill.
27 I will send my fear before thee, and will destroy all the people to whom thou shalt come; and I will make all thine enemies turn their backs unto thee.
28 And I will send hornets before thee, which shall drive out the Hivite, the Canaanite, and the Hittite, from before thee.
29 I will not drive them out from before thee in one year; lest the land become desolate, and the beast of the field multiply against thee.
30 By little and little I will drive them out from before thee, until thou be increased, and inherit the land.
31 And I will set thy bounds from the Red sea even unto the sea of the Philistines, and from the desert unto the river: for I will deliver the inhabitants of the land into your hand; and thou shalt drive them out before thee.
32 Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.
33 They shall not dwell in thy land, lest they make thee sin against me: for if thou serve their gods, it will surely be a snare unto thee.

Yahweh told Moses to bring some influential people closer, so as to see him, but not too close.

Exodus 24:9 Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abi’hu, and seventy of the elders of Israel;
10 and they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness.

The New American Standard Bible (©1995) translates verse 10 as “and they saw the God of Israel; and under His feet there appeared to be a pavement of sapphire, as clear as the sky itself.” Moses was told to come up to Yahweh “into the mount” to collect some stone tables (tablets):

Exodus 24:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them.

15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.
16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Si’nai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud.
17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.
18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights.

It isn’t clear from these verses whether Moses spent six days hanging around waiting to be invited in, or whether he made two visits “into the mount,” one of seven days and one of forty days.

The people got tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mount, and they asked Aaron to make them some gods they could believe in. They were used to worshipping idols, and this invisible god thing made them nervous. So Aaron made a golden calf and built an altar in front of it and made a sacrifice. He told the Israelites that, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” The he informed them they’d have a “feast to the Lord” the next day. He seemed to understand that they needed a representation of their god that they could see, and in fact all the people’s grumblings ceased as they enjoyed the festival day.


But Yahweh had been watching what they were up to, and he’d had enough. He was ready to destroy the Israelites:


Exodus 32:9 And the LORD said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked [haughty and stubborn] people:
10 now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them: and I will make of thee a great nation.

So, Yahweh suggested to Moses that he wanted to just wipe out this failed experiment and start over with Moses as the father of “a great nation.” But Moses talked him out of it, reminding Yahweh that the Egyptians would be pleased if he destroyed the Hebrews, and that Yahweh had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Israel there would be a promised land for their descendants.


Finally, Moses came down from the mount carrying two tablets containing the ten commandments and the covenant:

Exodus 32:15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
16 And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.

As Moses approached the camp, he heard the sound of singing; then he saw the calf and the dancing, and he threw the tablets out of his hands “and brake them beneath the mount.” In those days, a covenant that was no longer in effect would be literally broken (being written in stone or ceramic), so Moses was just stating the obvious. [Earlier the people had agreed to follow the covenant.]


Then he did something really interesting:

Exodus 32:20 And he took the calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and strewed it upon the water, and made the children of Israel drink of it.

[Musings about the ‘white powder of gold’.]

Moses was irritated with Aaron, but let him off lightly. On the other hand, when Moses noticed “the people were naked,” all hell broke loose.

Exodus 32:25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked, (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies,)
26 then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the LORD’s side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.
27 And he said unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.
28 And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the people that day about three thousand men.
29 For Moses had said, Consecrate yourselves today to the LORD, even every man upon his son, and upon his brother; that he may bestow upon you a blessing this day.

To summarize, Moses asked who was on the side of the god Yahweh. The male members of the tribe of Levi (who were charged with the Hebrews’ priestly duties as opposed to the military duties the other 11 tribes took on) all came to stand by Moses. He told them that Yahweh had said they were to go to the camps of the various Hebrew tribes and each man was to kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor. So they did, slaying about three thousand men. They did this like an entrance exam to be worthy of the favor of Yahweh.

The next day Moses went back up to the mount to see if he could “make an atonement for your sin.”

Exodus 32:32 Yet now, if you will forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written.

Yahweh explained he was going to blot sinners out of his book, period, and that Moses should get back down and lead the people towards Canaan. Yahweh was angry, and although “mine angel shall go before thee,” Yahweh went out of his way to make the journey difficult for the Israelites.

Exodus 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.
35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.

Yahweh told Moses to tell the people that they were “stiffnecked” and he was going to “come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee” unless they took off their “ornaments,” which they did, by the mount.

Exodus 33:5 For the LORD had said unto Moses, Say unto the children of Israel, Ye are a stiffnecked people: I will come up into the midst of thee in a moment, and consume thee: therefore now put off thy ornaments from thee, that I may know what to do unto thee.
6 And the children of Israel stripped themselves of their ornaments by the mount Horeb.

The next day Moses went back up to the mount to see if he could “make an atonement for your sin.”

Yahweh told Moses to go hew another couple of stone tablets to the same specs as the first pair, now broken, and to meet him in the morning on the top of the mount.

Exodus 34:3 And no man shall come up with thee, neither let any man be seen throughout all the mount; neither let the flocks nor herds feed before that mount.
4 And he hewed two tables of stone like unto the first; and Moses rose up early in the morning, and went up unto mount Si’nai, as the LORD had commanded him, and took in his hand the two tables of stone.
5 And the LORD descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the LORD.
6 And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD….

10 And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.

11 Observe thou that which I command thee this day: behold, I drive out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Per’izzite, and the Hivite, and the Jeb’usite.
12 Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest it be for a snare in the midst of thee:
13 but ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves: Deut. 16.21
14 for thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Moses stayed on the mount with Yahweh for 40 days and 40 nights, during which time he wrote on the tablet the 10 commandments plus the covenant, a long list of rules — for instance, keep the sabbath, undertake thrice-yearly pilgrimages, and do “not offer the blood of my sacrifice with leaven.”

Exodus 34:27 And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
28 And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.
29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.
30 And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him.
31 And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them.
32 And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the LORD had spoken with him in mount Sinai.
33 And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a veil on his face.
34 But when Moses went in before the LORD to speak with him, he took the veil off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded.
35 And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the veil upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

Yahweh dictated to Moses the kinds of offerings the people were required to make to him, and said they must use those offerings to make him a sanctuary so that he “may dwell among them.” See the Ark of the Covenant.



Joshua 5: Gilgal circumcisions
Jesus says no in gospel of Thomas


The First Circumcision,
Zipporah at the inn
From Wikipedia:
“After all the men in Egypt who had sought his death had died, God commanded Moses to return to Egypt. Moses took his wife and sons and started his journey back to Egypt. On the road, they stayed in an inn, where a mysterious and much-debated incident that features Zipporah took place. The Bible tells us that God came to kill Moses (Exodus 4:24-27). The passage contains four of the most difficult sentences in Biblical text.”

Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
25 Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.
26 So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

Zipporah quickly circumcised Gershom with a sharp stone and touched Moses’ feet with it, saying “A bridegroom of blood because of the circumcision.” (Exodus 4:26.) One possible interpretation is that something (perhaps God, perhaps an agent of God) tries to kill Moses, until Zipporah carries out a circumcision on their son. Other interpretations suggest that it is their son, Gershom, who is attacked, and yet another is that Moses tries to kill his own son and only after Zipporah cuts the child’s foreskin, drawing blood and pain, does his anger subside.

“While Exodus is unambiguous about Yahweh (God) himself performing the attack on Moses, other texts make the attacker an “angel of the Lord”.

“The version in the Book of Jubilees (2nd century BC) is attributing the attack to Prince Mastema, a title that was another name for Satan:

… and what Prince Mastema desired to do with you when you returned to Egypt, on the way when you met him at the shelter. Did he not desire to kill you with all of his might and save the Egyptians from your hand because he saw that you were sent to execute judgment and vengeance upon the Egyptians? And I delivered you from his hand and you did the signs and wonders which you were sent to perform in Egypt. —Jubilees 48:2-4

“The Septuagint version subtly alters the text by translating the Tetragrammaton not as κύριος “the lord” but as ἄγγελος κυρίου “the angel of the lord”. “Angel” (ἄγγελος ) is the translation throughout the Septuagint of the Hebrew “mal’ak”, the term for the manifestation of Yahweh to humanity. (It is the mal’ak that speaks to Moses from the burning bush).”

“The standard interpretation of the passage is that Yahweh wants to kill Moses for neglecting the rite of circumcision of his son. Zipporah averts disaster by reacting quickly and hastily performing the rite, thus saving her husband from Yahweh’s anger.

“In Hebrew, the word “feet” is used as an euphemism for the word “genitals.” Very few translators chose to use the word “genitals” in their interpretation, so it’s not clear what Zipporah touched with the bloody foreskin.

“The Hebrew for “bridegroom of blood” written as “hatan dimim,” is derived from a Semitic root verb which means “perform marriage.” In the Arabic language this phrase is linked to Hebrew, but means “perform circumcision.” In ancient Akkadian language related to Arabic and Aramaic/Hebrew, this phrase means “to protect.”

“Zipporah was a Midian woman. Midian is present day Saudi Arabia where Arabic is spoken. However, in Zipporah‘s day, Akkadian was spoken. In the ancient Akkadian language, casting the foreskin meant “to protect.” So “You are a bridegroom of blood,” can also mean, “This blood will protect you.”[1]

“The details of the passage are unclear and subject to debate. One problem is that the text uses pronouns multiple times, without ever identifying which of the three individuals of Moses, Yahweh (the LORD), and Moses and Zipporah’s son, is being referred to by each instance. In particular, it is unclear whose feet, Yahweh’s, Moses’ or her son’s, Zipporah touches with the foreskin, and the meaning of “bloody bridegroom”.




“Cleanliness” of animals in the Bible determines whether they can be eaten or not. Presumably, Noah took more of the clean animals onto the Ark (seven pairs as opposed to two) to serve as food.

Information re what was okay to eat is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Animals were clean if they had cloven (split) hooves and they did not chew their cud. Water-dwelling creatures who did not have fins and scales were unclean. “Every creeping thing that flieth” was unclean, and so on.

These are the animals specifically mentioned in the Bible as unclean (although translations vary):

Coney (Hyrax)
Gier Eagle[4]
Great Owl[5]
Little Owl
Night Hawk

Here are animals that, while not specifically mentioned in the Bible as unclean, fulfill the requirements of uncleanliness.

Tasmanian Devil
Umbrella bird

cud |k_d|
partly digested food returned from the first stomach of ruminants to the mouth for further chewing.
chew the cud 1 (of a ruminant animal) further chew partly digested food. 2 think or talk reflectively.
ORIGIN Old English cwidu, cudu, of Germanic origin; related to German Kitt ‘cement, putty’ and Swedish kåda ‘resin.’

Numbers 5:11 bitter water test
Numbers 15:32: Man stoned for gathering sticks on the Sabbath

Healing on the Sabbath

Luke 14:3 And Jesus answering spake unto the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
4 And they held their peace. And he took him, and healed him, and let him go;
5 And answered them, saying, Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fallen into a pit, and will not straightway pull him out on the sabbath day?

Numbers 16:2: Yahweh destroys rebel Hebrews, leaders swallowed[?], supporters fired.

Numbers 20:12: Moses disobeys Yahweh, denied promised land. Deut 34:6: Moses is buried.

Yom kippur should not be atone, should be purge/purify, levit 16:1-28, htrtb p. 74
Noah’s covenant
Abram’s covenant
Isaac’s covenant
Moses’s covenant(s): 10 commandments #1 and #2
Each covenant from diff time period, w/diff “ideological perspective” p. 69-72 htrtb/brettler
Covenant (Code) Collection exodus 20:19-23:33

Priestly code and Holiness code collection of Leviticus 17-26 et al.
Ordination of Aaron and his sons

2 Chronicles 26:19 Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the Lord, from beside the incense altar.
20 And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the Lord had smitten him.
21 And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the Lord….

A Blasphemer Stoned [?]
Deuteronomic law collection, deut 12-26

Next: Exodus: Into the Wilderness with Moses

Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart

'The Angel of Death and the First Passover.

‘The Angel of Death and the First Passover.’ Because this family have identified themselves as Hebrew by sacrificing a lamb and smearing the doorposts with its blood, their firstborn will be spared the death inflicted on other firstborns. In the background, the Lord’s angel flies with his weapon.

For the first part of this story, see The Early Days of Moses.

To recap a bit, Yahweh (or his angel) appeared in a burning bush and told Moses his mission from God was to go back to Egypt, free the Hebrew slaves, and lead them to the promised land, Canaan, which was already occupied by numerous tribes.

Moses was not interested in fulfilling this mission; he explained that he wasn’t eloquent enough, and that no one would ever believe Yahweh had appeared to him. The god told him that Moses’s brother Aaron was a good speaker and would help out, and that Yahweh himself would put the right words in Moses’s mouth. He also provided Moses with a rod that turned into a serpent and a couple of extra miracles to use if needed—an appearing/disappearing leprosy and the ability to turn river water into blood.

So Moses, along with Aaron, went to Egypt and organized the Hebrew slaves, and then went before the Pharaoh to demand the slaves’ release.


Moses made his rod turn into a snake, but the Pharaoh was not impressed. He called his own wise men/sorcerer/magicians, and they also threw down rods that became serpents, although Moses’s snake ate the others.

Exodus 7:12 For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods.

In the Young Literal Translation, the rods do not become serpents; they become monsters.

Exodus 7:10 And Moses goeth in — Aaron also — unto Pharaoh, and they do so as Jehovah hath commanded; and Aaron casteth his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it becometh a monster.
11 And Pharaoh also calleth for wise men, and for sorcerers; and the scribes of Egypt, they also, with their flashings, do so,
12 and they cast down each his rod, and they become monsters, and the rod of Aaron swalloweth their rods….


But Pharaoh did not relent. In fact, he made life even worse for the Hebrew slaves, who blamed Moses and Aaron. So Moses tried another trick, holding the rod above the river, which turned the water to blood, so that the fish died, and the river stank, and nobody could drink the water. But the Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to do the same trick, so the Pharaoh refused to give an inch.

Exodus 7:20 And Moses and Aaron did so, as the Lord commanded; and he lifted up the rod, and smote the waters that were in the river, in the sight of Pharaoh, and in the sight of his servants; and all the waters that were in the river were turned to blood.
21 And the fish that was in the river died; and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water of the river; and there was blood throughout all the land of Egypt.
22 And the magicians of Egypt did so with their enchantments: and Pharaoh’s heart was hardened, neither did he hearken unto them; as the Lord had said.
23 And Pharaoh turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.
24 And all the Egyptians digged round about the river for water to drink; for they could not drink of the water of the river.

Next Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that if he didn’t let his people go, there would be frogs:

Exodus 8:1 And the Lord spake unto Moses, Go unto Pharaoh, and say unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 And if thou refuse to let them go, behold, I will smite all thy borders with frogs:
3 and the river shall bring forth frogs abundantly, which shall go up and come into thine house, and into thy bedchamber, and upon thy bed, and into the house of thy servants, and upon thy people, and into thine ovens, and into thy kneadingtroughs:
4 and the frogs shall come up both on thee, and upon thy people, and upon all thy servants.

Pharoah didn’t blink at the threat, so Yahweh told Moses to tell Aaron to hold the rod “over the waters of Egypt,” and, sure enough, frogs infested the land. The Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to conjure up some frogs, too, but Pharaoh was desperate to get rid of the ones Moses and Yahweh had brought, so he told Moses that if he’d get rid of the frogs, the Hebrews would be given their freedom. So Moses went and talked to Yahweh (it’s never clear how he talks to Yahweh, except for the times he goes up into the mount and talks face to face), who obligingly killed all the frogs. The people heaped them into huge stinking piles. But, once the frogs were dead, Pharaoh went back on his promise.

Bad move, since Yahweh upped the game with a massive infestation of lice (sometimes translated as “gnats”).

Exodus 8:16 And the Lord said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt.
17 And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice in man, and in beast; all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt.

The magicians tried to make more lice, but they couldn’t. They told Pharaoh, “This is the finger of God,” but Pharaoh wouldn’t listen. So then Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that flies were going to be next — except there would be no flies in the Hebrew’s area of residence, the land of Goshen. (Does this mean Goshen got the earlier frogs and lice?) “Flies” is sometimes translated as beetles, insects, dog-flies, or even wild animals. But Pharaoh wouldn’t buckle, so:

Exodus 8:24 And the Lord did so; and there came a grievous swarm of flies into the house of Pharaoh, and into his servants’ houses, and into all the land of Egypt: the land was corrupted by reason of the swarm of flies.

Now under serious duress, Pharaoh said, Okay, I’ll let you all go away to worship your god — although I won’t let you go quite so far away as you ask — just get rid of the flies. So Moses told Yahweh the deal, and Yahweh got rid of every single fly. But Pharaoh again went back on his word.

Next came a plague of pestilence upon the Egyptians’ cattle; the plague did not touch Hebrew cattle.

Exodus 9:1 Then the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh, and tell him, Thus saith the Lord God of the Hebrews, Let my people go, that they may serve me.
2 For if thou refuse to let them go, and wilt hold them still,
3 behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thy cattle which is in the field, upon the horses, upon the asses, upon the camels, upon the oxen, and upon the sheep: there shall be a very grievous murrain [epidemic, infectious disease].
4 And the Lord shall sever between the cattle of Israel and the cattle of Egypt: and there shall nothing die of all that is the children’s of Israel.
5 And the Lord appointed a set time, saying, Tomorrow the Lord shall do this thing in the land.
6 And the Lord did that thing on the morrow, and all the cattle of Egypt died: but of the cattle of the children of Israel died not one.
7 And Pharaoh sent, and, behold, there was not one of the cattle of the Israelites dead.

But Pharaoh still refused to relent. After all, by some accounts [including Exodus], Egypt held 600,000 male Hebrew slaves, plus their wives, children, and herds. [historicity] So Yahweh told Moses and Aaron to take handfuls of ashes from a furnace, and told Moses to sprinkle it towards the heavens with the Pharaoh watching.

Exodus 9:10 And they took ashes of the furnace, and stood before Pharaoh; and Moses sprinkled it up toward heaven; and it became a boil breaking forth with blains [sores] upon man, and upon beast.
11 And the magicians could not stand before Moses because of the boils; for the boil was upon the magicians, and upon all the Egyptians.

So the Egyptian sorcerers could not match Moses’ trick. But Pharaoh still would not relent. So Yahweh told Moses to tell Pharaoh that he would send a plague of “very grievous hail.” The hail turned out to be fiery, and every unsheltered man, beast, herb, and tree was destroyed — except in the Hebrew area, the land of Goshen, where there was no hail.

Exodus 9:18 Behold, tomorrow about this time I will cause it to rain a very grievous hail, such as hath not been in Egypt since the foundation thereof even until now.
19 Send therefore now, and gather thy cattle, and all that thou hast in the field; for upon every man and beast which shall be found in the field, and shall not be brought home, the hail shall come down upon them, and they shall die.
20 He that feared the word of the Lord among the servants of Pharaoh made his servants and his cattle flee into the houses:
21 and he that regarded not the word of the Lord left his servants and his cattle in the field.
22 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch forth thine hand toward heaven, that there may be hail in all the land of Egypt, upon man, and upon beast, and upon every herb of the field, throughout the land of Egypt.
23 And Moses stretched forth his rod toward heaven: and the Lord sent thunder and hail, and the fire ran along upon the ground; and the Lord rained hail upon the land of Egypt.
24 So there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail, very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.
25 And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast; and the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.
26 Only in the land of Goshen, where the children of Israel were, was there no hail.

Moses went a short distance out of the city from Pharaoh, and spread abroad his hands unto the Lord, for he did not desire to pray to God within, where there were many idols and images. At once the hail remained suspended in the air. Part of it dropped down while Joshua was engaged in battle with the Amorites, and the rest God will send down in his fury against Gog. —Legends of the Jews, Louis Ginzberg, Book 2.

The Seventh Plague.

“The Seventh Plague.” Thunder was followed by hail mingled with fire, which destroyed everything that was outside, throughout Egypt — except for the Hebrews’ area, the land of Goshen, which was spared. The hail was described as very grievous, such as there was none like it in all the land of Egypt since it became a nation.”

Pharaoh said to Moses, You’re right; your god is righteous, and I and my people are wicked. I’ll let the Hebrews go. So Moses relayed this to Yahweh, who stopped the grievous hail.

But once more, Pharaoh went back on his word. If this seems unintelligent, note that Yahweh claimed to be hardening the Pharaoh’s heart on purpose so that Yahweh would get a chance to show how mighty he was (and how lame the Egyptian gods were by comparison). Remember, before his interactions with Moses, Yahweh had been absent from the Hebrews’ lives for [over 400 years]. He was using these terrifying, impressive spectacles to remind them that he is their god, and better than the Egyptian gods.

Exodus 10:1 And the Lord said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him:
2 and that thou mayest tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have wrought in Egypt, and my signs which I have done among them; that ye may know how that I am the Lord.

So next comes a plague of locusts:

Exodus 10:12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the land of Egypt for the locusts, that they may come up upon the land of Egypt, and eat every herb of the land, even all that the hail hath left.
13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the Lord brought an east wind upon the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
14 And the locusts went up over all the land of Egypt, and rested in all the coasts of Egypt: very grievous were they; before them there were no such locusts as they, neither after them shall be such.
15 For they covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened; and they did eat every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left: and there remained not any green thing in the trees, or in the herbs of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

At this point Pharaoh was begging for forgiveness, so Moses asked Yahweh to take away the locusts:

Exodus 10:19 And the Lord turned a mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts, and cast them into the Red sea; there remained not one locust in all the coasts of Egypt.
20 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go.

Since Pharaoh still wouldn’t relent, a plague of “thick darkness” was inflicted:

Exodus 10:21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt.
22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days:
23 they saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

The Ninth Plague, Darkness.

The Ninth Plague, Darkness.

The Egyptians must have wondered if their sun god Ra had been vanquished. Pharaoh said, Right, take yourselves and your children and go; just leave behind your livestock. Moses explained that they needed their flocks and herds, every last hoof, because they had to go make animal sacrifices and burnt offerings to Yahweh.
Yahweh tells Moses there is going to be one more plague, and that this is going to break the Pharaoh’s resolve once and for all. Moses gave Pharaoh the final, chilling warning:

Exodus 11:4 And Moses said, Thus saith the Lord, About midnight will I go out into the midst of Egypt:
5 and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sitteth upon his throne, even unto the firstborn of the maidservant that is behind the mill; and all the firstborn of beasts.
6 And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more.
7 But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.

Yahweh told Moses and Aaron to have each Hebrew household kill and roast a lamb on a certain night, and smear its blood on the doorposts:

Exodus 12:7 And they shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper doorpost of the houses, wherein they shall eat it.

Yahweh directed that the people be ready to move on out at a moment’s notice:

Exodus 12:11 And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and ye shall eat it in haste: it is the Lord’s passover.

Yahweh ordered that the Israelites were not to go out of their houses until morning.

Exodus 12:22 And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
23 For the Lord will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the Lord will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.
30 And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt: for there was not a house where there was not one dead.

Yahweh killed all the firstborn male Egyptians, human and animals. [angel of the lord, the lord, There is no clue in the Bible how it was done.]

"The Death of the Firstborn." “The destroyer” came “in unto [the Egyptians’] houses to smite” their firstborn males. Note the angel lurking in the background.

“The Death of the Firstborn.” “The destroyer” came “in unto [the Egyptians’] houses to smite” their firstborn males. Note the angel lurking in the background.

"The Firstborn of the Egyptians Are Slain." The Lord’s Angel is usually pictured as doing the work. “Natural” theories as to how the firstborn could have been singled out generally center around the fact that the firstborn received special privileges in the family, such as eating before the younger siblings, and therefore might have received a lethal dose of a food-borne toxin that had perhaps developed during the days of darkness.

“The Firstborn of the Egyptians Are Slain.” The Lord’s Angel is usually pictured as doing the work. “Natural” theories as to how the firstborn could have been singled out generally center around the fact that the firstborn received special privileges in the family, such as eating before the younger siblings, and therefore might have received a lethal dose of a food-borne toxin that had perhaps developed during the days of darkness.

Finally, the Pharaoh said, Get out, right now! The undertone was, “…before I change my mind and slaughter you all.” So the Hebrews gathered up their belongings, and, following Yahweh’s orders, they also “borrowed” silver and gold jewelry, and clothes from the Egyptians.

Exodus 12:31 And he [Pharaoh] called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, Rise up, and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel; and go, serve the Lord, as ye have said.
32 Also take your flocks and your herds, as ye have said, and be gone; and bless me also.
33 And the Egyptians were urgent upon the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste; for they said, We be all dead men.
34 And the people took their dough before it was leavened, their kneadingtroughs being bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders.
35 And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment:
36 and the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required: and they spoiled the Egyptians.

This collection of silver, gold, jewels, and raiment would be needed to build the Ark of the Covenant and its Tabernacle.

Next: The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens


Body Lice. This plague reportedly was responsible for many deaths of people and animals, their corpses covered with lice, or gnats, depending on the translation.

Flies. This plague might even have happened naturally, without Yahweh’s intervention, due to all the dead bodies from the previous plague. But, while it’s not clear whether the Hebrew slaves experienced the plagues of frogs and lice, they were specifically exempted from suffering the plague of flies.

Only Non-Hebrew Cattle Afflicted. Cattle were important not only as food but as sacrificial animals. They could not be sacrificed if they were imperfect. Yahweh took every opportunity to show his superiority to the Egyptian gods, and to induce the Hebrews to fear him as their God.

Boils on People and Animals. Some suggest that the plagues of lice, flies, and pestilence were natural results of the deaths of so many frogs. It’s not clear, though, how the Hebrews could have been spared. Also, Yahweh performed his [tricks] at specifically stated times, so as to prove they were his doing. What scenario seems more likely than these “natural” explanations? Yahweh was inflicting chemical and/or biological warfare.

Boil: an inflamed pus-filled swelling on the skin.

The Plague of Fiery Hail. A rain of fire, often containing “blood,” is a fairly common motif in ancient stories. According to the Aztec Codex Chimalpopoca, during the third sun (world age), the people were destroyed by a rain of fire sent by Quetzalcoatl. [popul-vuh “it was ruin and destruction…etc.” and Manuscript Quiche quote: “there descended from the sky a rain of bitumin, etc.”] [and Siberia/Vogul quote, “God sent a sea of fire upon the earth, etc.” and East Indies aboriginals quote “water of fire” etc. and Midrash Tanhuma, Midrash Psikta Raboti, Midrash Wa-Yosha quotes re naptha and hot stones pouring down upon Egypt (petroleum, common in Middle East, bubbles to ground). [hail actually translates as rocks] and in Homer’s Iliad, where Zeus twice caused a rain of blood, on one occasion to warn of slaughter in a battle.] [“since the foundation thereof even until now.” – ancient [nuclear] war]

Revelation 8:7 The first angel sounded, and there followed hail and fire mingled with blood, and they were cast upon the earth: and the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

Napalm is a generic name used to describe various flammable liquids used in warfare, often forms of jellied gasoline. [naptha]

Enough Locusts to Cover “the Face of the Whole Earth.” Suggestions for a natural explanation include locust swarms forming because of a lack of predators, or in order to focus on what few plants remained after previous plagues.

Thick Darkness. Throughout the Old Testament, the words “thick darkness” are associated with Yahweh’s appearance. For instance:

Psalms 18:9 And He inclineth the heavens, and cometh down, And thick darkness is under His feet. (Young’s Literal Translation)

Deuteronomy 4:11 And ye came near and stood under the mountain; and the mountain burned with fire unto the midst of heaven, with darkness, clouds, and thick darkness.

I Kings 8:12 and 2 Chronicles 6:1 Then said Solomon, The LORD hath said that he would dwell in the thick darkness.

Suggestions for natural explanations include solar eclipse, sandstorm, volcanic ash, or swarms of locusts blocking out the sun.

Gird: encircle (a person or part of the body) with a belt or band; secure (a garment or sword) on the body with a belt or band.

Loin: the part of the body on both sides of the spine between the lowest (false) ribs and the hipbones.

Gird Up One’s Loins: prepare and strengthen oneself for what is to come.

See How to Gird Up Your Loins: an Illustrated Guide.

Read the next part of the Moses story: The Hebrews See Yahweh; Moses Gets Covenants; Also, Circumcision Happens

The Early Days of Moses

Discovery of Baby Moses by Paul Delaroche

As the story goes, Moses was born in Egypt, probably in the 13th century BCE, at a time when Hebrews — in slavery for centuries — were required, by order of the Pharaoh, to drown their male babies in the Nile at birth. His mother instead set him adrift on the river in a papyrus basket, and he was rescued by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who raised him in the palace as if he were her son, naming him Moses.

Here’s the story as told by an old illustration caption:

Moses’s mother Jochebed kept him hidden for three months to avoid having to drown him in the Nile River as the Pharaoh — perhaps Thutmose III — required for all newborn Hebrew boys. When she could no longer keep the baby concealed, she set him in the Nile in an “ark of bulrushes … daubed with slime and with pitch.” The Pharaoh’s daughter was bathing downstream, and, glimpsing the little boat, had her servant fetch it. The baby inside was crying, and she felt compassion for him. Miriam, Moses’s sister, had been watching the basket’s progress from a nearby hiding place. When she saw that the Pharaoh’s daughter felt tenderly toward the baby, Miriam offered to find a Hebrew nursemaid for him. Thus, the Pharoah’s daughter unknowingly ended up paying Moses’s own mother, Jochebed, to nurse him until he was big enough to be raised as the Pharoah’s daughter’s own son. Perhaps young Moses was a friend to the future Pharoah — likely Amenhotep III — to whom he would later deliver Yahweh’s command: “Let my people go.”


As an adult, Moses killed an Egyptian whom he saw beating a Hebrew slave, and then fled for his life to the Arabian town of Midian. There, he married a priest’s daughter and worked for many years as a shepherd.

At this time, the Hebrew god Yahweh (Yahweh, Jehovah, God) had been absent from his people, the Israelites, for hundreds of years. Moses was tending his sheep in the desert near “the mountain of God” when Yahweh appeared to him in a burning bush.

Exodus 3:1 Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Mid’i-an: and he led the flock to the back side of the desert, and came to the mountain of God, even to Horeb.

2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.

Yahweh (or his angel) told Moses his mission from God was to go back to Egypt, free the Hebrew slaves, and lead them to the promised land, Canaan, which was already occupied by numerous tribes.

Exodus 3:8 and I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Per’izzites, and the Hivites, and the Jeb’usites.

Moses was not interested in fulfilling this mission; he explained that he wasn’t eloquent enough, and that no one would ever believe Yahweh had appeared to him. The god told him that Moses’s brother Aaron was a good speaker and would help out, and that Yahweh himself would put the right words in Moses’s mouth. He also provided Moses with a rod that turned into a serpent and a couple of extra miracles to use if needed—an appearing/disappearing leprosy and the ability to turn river water into blood:

Exodus 4:1 And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee.
2 And the Lord said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod.
3 And He said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from before it.
4 And the Lord said unto Moses, Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail. And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand:
5 that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath appeared unto thee.
6 And the Lord said furthermore unto him, Put now thine hand into thy bosom. And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow.
7 And he said, Put thine hand into thy bosom again. And he put his hand into his bosom again; and plucked it out of his bosom, and, behold, it was turned again as his other flesh.
8 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign.
9 And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe also these two signs, neither hearken unto thy voice, that thou shalt take of the water of the river, and pour it upon the dry land: and the water which thou takest out of the river shall become blood upon the dry land.

Moses really, really did not want to go back to Egypt, and he told Yahweh to please choose someone else. The god became angry and told him to just do it. He told Moses that all the people who had been after him for the murder he had committed were dead now. So Moses, along with Aaron, went to Egypt and organized the Hebrew slaves, and then went before the Pharaoh to demand the slaves’ release.

Next: Moses in Egypt: Miracles, Plagues, and a Hardened Heart

Noah and the Deluge, with Details and Illustrations


Genesis 6:5 And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
6 And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.
7 And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.
8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Like Enoch, Noah also “walked with God”:

Genesis 6:9 … Noah is a righteous man; perfect he hath been among his generations; with God hath Noah walked habitually. —Young’s Literal Translation

So Noah built an ark according to the instructions Yahweh gave him. Rabbinical texts say that Noah kept preaching at his neighbors, which annoyed them, and that Yahweh had to post guards — lions and other wild animals — in order to protect them. Yahweh, or his angels, were reportedly the ones to provide the animals and food for the trip.

Genesis 6:19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female.
20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind; two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.
21 And take thou unto thee of all food that is eaten, and thou shalt gather it to thee; and it shall be for food for thee, and for them.

But apparently it was a little more complicated than just two of every living thing of all flesh:

Genesis 7:2 Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female.
3 Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female; to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.


Genesis 7:2 [O]f all the clean beasts thou dost take to thee seven pairs, a male and its female; and of the beasts which are not clean two, a male and its female;
3 also, of fowl of the heavens seven pairs, a male and a female, to keep alive seed on the face of all the earth…. —Young’s Literal Translation

“Cleanliness” of animals in the Bible determines whether they can be eaten or not. Presumably, Noah took more of the clean animals onto the Ark (seven pairs as opposed to two) to serve as food. Information re what was okay to eat is found in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Animals were clean if they had cloven (split) hooves and they did not chew their cud. Water-dwelling creatures who did not have fins and scales were unclean. “Every creeping thing that flieth” was unclean, and so on.

Finally Noah (who was 600 years old) and his sons and their wives and all their beasts went onto the boat, having been given a week’s warning by Yahweh as to when the rain would start, and “the LORD shut him in.”

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside.

God Shuts the Door of the ark, after Noah and the other occupants are safely inside. This painting from 1340, in Gurk Cathedral, Austria, reflects biblical descriptions of the ark, which make it sound more like a chest (from Latin arca) than a boat.

Genesis 7:13 In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14 They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the Lord shut him in.

'World Destroyed by Water'

‘World Destroyed by Water’

It then rained for 40 days and 40 nights, and the Earth stayed flooded for another 150 days.


Noah’s ark has a leak.

When Noah was able to send out a dove who first returned with an olive leaf and then didn’t come back at all, he knew there was dry land to be found. Noah “removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.”



Elijah and Ahab’s Deadly Barbecue Contest

Elijah Barbecue ContestSource

Spoiler alert: Yahweh burns the sacrifice right on cue.

It’s easy to see why the miracles in the Bible (and in other religious texts) impressed the hell out of (or into) those observing them. But nowadays the miracles seem a lot more like parlor tricks. Here’s a quick look at one of my favorites:

The Bible tells the detailed story, in 1 Kings 18, describing the contest at Mount Carmel between the priests of Ba‘al, led by Ahab, and the priests of Yahweh, led by Elijah, to see whose god was best.

First, Elijah has Ahab gather all the “children of Israel” and all the 450 “prophets of Ba‘al” and the “400 prophets of the groves, which eat at Jezebel’s table” at Mt. Carmel (no word on how he accomplishes that). There, when his pleas that the heathen-worshipping Israelites switch to Yahweh fall on flat ears, Elijah proposes a contest—all the heathen prophets and their god Ba‘al versus Elijah and his god Yahweh. Whichever god can light his people’s fire, wins.

1 Kings 18:23 Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay it on wood, and put no fire under:
24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
25 And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress it first; for ye are many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire under.
26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.

So, although the heathens lay out a nice sacrifice and call on Ba‘al all morning long to light the fire, nothing happens. Elijah makes fun of them, causing them to express their pain via cutting, apparently not a new fad at all:

1 Kings 18:27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

So, the heathens carry on calling on Ba‘al until evening, without a sign from the god. So, Elijah says, here’s how it’s done:

1 Kings 18:29 And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
30 And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down.
31 And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:
32 And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.

After he has the altar and sacrifice nicely arranged, Elijah orders the heathens to pour 12 barrels of water all over it:

1 Kings 18:33 And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid him on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour it on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.
34 And he said, Do it the second time. And they did it the second time. And he said, Do it the third time. And they did it the third time.
35 And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.

Once everything is soaking wet, Elijah calls on the Lord, telling him he’s prepared everything the way Yahweh told him to. At the perfect dramatic moment, Yahweh sends down his fire, which consumes “the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench”:

1 Kings 18:36 And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench.

Not surprisingly, Yahweh makes a lot of instant converts among the straying Israelites. To keep them converted, Elijah kills the 450 prophets of Ba‘al:

1 Kings 18:39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
40 And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

This barbecue miracle requires only an airplane with a zappy weapon.

The whole Biblical text of the story is below, including the weird stuff that came after (huge rainstorm, a small still voice…). Continue reading

Are Mormons Christians? And What About the Underwear?

Modern Mormon 'temple garments' (underwear). You must have participated in an Endowment ceremony and have your membership number to buy it, although some rogue Mormons have been known to auction it off on e-Bay.

Modern Mormon ‘temple garments’ (underwear). You must have participated in an Endowment ceremony and have your membership number to buy it, although some rogue Mormons have been known to auction it off on e-Bay.

Just as there are a lot of different kinds of Christians, there are a lot of different kinds of Mormons. Depending on which kinds are being compared, Mormonism can be a fair amount like Christianity, or completely outside it.

But even when Mormonism is a fair amount like Christianity, it’s still a huge amount not like it.

The Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) in Manilla, Philippines.

The Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints (Mormonism) in Manilla, Philippines.

Mormons accept the Old Testament and the New Testament (King James version) as relatively valid, but include belief in some other Mormon-related documents on an equal footing. In fact, they believe that because the Bible has been so corrupted over the years, the Book of Mormon is an equal or better authority, since it was, they believe, overseen by God to restore the “lost truths” of the Bible.

Mormonism’s founder, Joseph Smith, Jr., said that the Book of Mormon is the “most correct” book of scripture, that “a man would get nearer to God by abiding by its precepts, than any other book,” and that Mormonism was the “only true and living Church.” (Smith also believed that God is a very advanced man with a throne situated near a star named Kolob. He said it was revealed to him that the Garden of Eden was in Missouri, as will be the Second Coming of Christ. He also believed that, if Mormons acquire the right information and go through the correct rites and annointings (including wearing the correct underwear) they can become equal to God).

Temple garment, circa 1879. The odd shapes were cut into the unbleached cotton during an Endowment ceremony, after which Mormons had to wear the underwear always, almost without exception. The cut shapes were likely based on freemasonry symbols, as Joseph Smith had been initiated into that order seven weeks before he invented the Endowment ceremony and the weird symbols, which have been given all sorts of high-falutin' symbolic meanings. The underwear is supposed to function as a constant reminder of the covenants  made as part of the Endowment ceremony, and, 'when properly worn...provides protection against temptation and evil.'

Temple garment, circa 1879. The odd shapes were cut into the unbleached cotton during an Endowment ceremony, after which Mormons had to wear the underwear always, almost without exception. The cut shapes were likely based on freemasonry symbols, as Joseph Smith had been initiated into that order seven weeks before he invented the Endowment ceremony and the weird symbols, which have been given all sorts of high-falutin' symbolic meanings. The underwear is supposed to function as a constant reminder of the covenants made as part of the Endowment ceremony, and, ‘when properly worn…provides protection against temptation and evil.’

'The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.'

'The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ.'

The Book of Mormon has been translated into 83 languages, with 150 million copies printed and given away. It purports to be written by prophets who lived in the Americas from circa 2600 BCE to 421 CE, telling the story of a people that God led from Jerusalem to the Americas 600 years before the birth of Jesus.

According to the Book of Mormon, Jesus visited the Americas after his death and resurrection, where he reiterated the teachings of the gospels and founded a (temporarily) peaceful civilization. Some Mormon scholars equate this Jesus with Quetzalcoatl, the great bearded white god of Mesoamerica who came from the sky, and left by sailing over the sea into the sunset (or, some say, the other direction) in a boat he built out of snakes, promising to return.

Some Mormon scholars believe that the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl and Jesus were the same.

Some Mormon scholars believe that the Mesoamerican god Quetzalcoatl and Jesus were the same.

Where did the Book of Mormon come from? Even a lot of Mormons have trouble believing the answer, and prefer to think of it as an allegory or a vision, or something.

It all started in 1820 in Palmyra, New York, when Joseph Smith, Jr., prayed to God, asking which denomination of Christianity he should join. In a scene with stunning similarities to modern alien encounters (History of Joseph Smith, the Prophet, History of the Church, Volume 1, Chapter 1, Verses 11-20), God and Jesus appeared and told Smith that all the different sects were corrupt and he should avoid them all.

Within a couple of years, Smith learned from the angel Moroni that it was his job to return the Christian Church, and the Biblical doctrine, to the way it had been when Jesus was still alive.

To that end, Moroni appeared to Smith three times one night and once again in the morning, telling him to go fetch some golden plates that were buried on a nearby hill, which would contain the corrected doctrine.

Smith kept neglecting to follow the angel’s instructions—Tell your father about the plates and then go get them, Don’t put the plates on the ground, etc.—resulting in his repeatedly being hurled to the ground by a supernatural force said to look like a huge toad, and resulting in Smith being unable to retrieve the plates until 1827, four years after he was told to do it.

The Angel Moroni delivering the golden plates to Joseph Smith, by Edward Stevenson, 1893.

The Angel Moroni delivering the golden plates to Joseph Smith, by Edward Stevenson, 1893.

Starting in the 1820s, Smith had found occasional work as a scryer (like a crystal-ball reader), using “seer stones” to locate buried treasure or lost objects for the locals. He reportedly would put a seer stone in a white stovepipe hat (to block the light), and the information would appear to him in the stone’s reflections. That experience came in handy, as he used the exact same method to translate the golden plates, which were reportedly in an unknown language.

This is a purported reproduction of the unknown written language used in Mormonism's golden plates.

This is a purported reproduction of the unknown written language used in Mormonism's golden plates.

From 1827 to 1829, Smith translated the plates, placing inside a hat his favorite seer stone (an egg-sized chocolate-colored one he had found in digging a well), or sometimes placing in the hat “Urim and Thummim,” a pair of spectacles provided by Moroni with seer stones for eyepieces. (Urim and Thummim are also the names of mysterious objects used in divination by Moses and other ancient Hebrews). Smith did not physically use the golden plates in doing the translation.

A rough reproduction of the golden plates of Mormonism, as described by Joseph Smith.

A rough reproduction of the golden plates of Mormonism, as described by Joseph Smith.

After the manuscript was finished, one of his scribes borrowed, and lost, 116 pages of it (some say the scribe’s wife stole them), but Smith refused to re-translate those pages, eventually having a revelation from God (Mormons believe their leaders get revelations from God) that he should not re-translate them because his opponents would be watching for any differences from the original pages, although he said he believed there would not be any differences. According to Smith, the angel Moroni was so peeved about the lost pages that he took back the golden plates and Urim and Thummim for several months.

The angel Moroni had made Smith promise not to show the plates to anyone without his permission, and also required that Smith return the plates to him when the translation was finished. Thus, there was a fair amount of skepticism as to their existence, which Smith partially dealt with by letting some people feel the plates through a piece of cloth, and, eventually, by taking a select 11 people to view them and attest to it.

Joseph Smith’s translation of the golden plates became, after copy-editing, the Book of Mormon, which reportedly was engraved on the plates by prophets Mormon and Moroni (Mormon’s son), circa 400 CE. Smith called the Book of Mormon “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” The story of the golden plates is very, very weird; read about it in detail here. The story of Smith’s meeting with God and Jesus, and stories of his interactions with Moroni are detailed in Smith’s writing (accepted as part of the canon by many Mormons) called Pearl of Great Price in the section called Joseph Smith—History.

In 1844, after years of adventures, Smith’s followers turned on him as being a megalomaniac who was spouting unacceptable doctrine and trying to steal their wives, leading to his arrest and murder in Nauvoo, Illinois. Although five men were tried for his murder, they were all acquitted.

Not long before Smith died (and probably contributing to his death), he had instituted the revealed doctrine of polygamy, which his successor, Brigham Young, put into practice after leading the Mormons to Utah. All except fundamentalist Mormons eventually set aside the practice of polygamy, since they recognized it was incompatible with Mormonism continuing to exist in the United States. (Otherwise, presumably, they’d still practice it, since it’s in their scriptures.)

The Mormon concept of how things work before we’re born and after we die is more New-Age-y than Christianity, with spirits making a pact with God to come down to Earth and be human. And Mormon hell (called “spirit prison”) is only a temporary stop before resurrection. Here’s the Mormon Salvation Plan in a nutshell:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints promotes this 'Plan of Salvation.'

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints promotes this 'Plan of Salvation.'

So—are Mormons Christians? Broadly speaking, yes, in that they believe in Jesus Christ and his teachings; they believe that he is the path to salvation, and will appear at the Second Coming. But the Jesus they believe in is in large part a different Jesus, on a different continent, part of a religion with “better, truer, more correct” teachings than any other version of Christianity—all other versions are “an abomination in his sight.” So—correct me if I’m wrong—unless you’re a Mormon, you’re not a true Christian; in fact, you’re abominable in the eyes of God.

The proper question from the Mormon point of view may not be “Are Mormons Christians?” but instead “Are Christians Mormons?”