Sunday, 24 February 2019

TL:DR: The Genesis Question part forty-two

Hi, Everybody!

So, two things:

1, the bizness:
There's a Indiegogo live if you missed the Kickstarter for the birthday card.

The remastered Volume 1, digitally for $9.99.

Postcard Kickstarter ya got three weeks!  no Star code for the remastered Jaka's Story yet, but I'll add it to the list when I get it!

2, I ran out of pages from issue 289/290 to run in front of Dave's Genesis Question commentaries. Dave suggested I use Jewish, Christian or Muslim religious images. But then, Superman's Frenemy: David Birdsong sent in a bunch of (so far) unused Cerebus in Hell? images and now I'ma gonna run them. So:
image by Doré, Sim & Birdsong
16 November 14

Hi Troy & Mia; David & Marie:

Ezeiel 45

Moreover [Hebrew: when ye cause the land to fall/when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance] ye shall offer an oblation unto the Lord, [Hebrew: holiness/a holy portion] of the land: the length the length of five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand: this holy in all the borders thereof round about.

It's an interesting way of phrasing it and, to me, it's not surprising that the translators of the KJV chose "when ye shall divide by lot the land for inheritance" as a replacement for the more literal translation from the Hebrew: "when ye cause the land to fall".  I think the latter is a more accurate expression of what God is doing here, which I read as capitulating to the YHWH's theological structure in the -- long term -- interest of assisting the YHWH to arrive at more rational conclusions.

"Causing the land to fall" in the short term is what the YHWH's followers will be doing: essentially the Babylonian Conquest will reiterate itself under Roman rule as a direct consequence of the YHWH's inherent paganism.  

But, of course, the YHWH, in a real sense, IS the land.  Which I suspect is God's Larger Meaning concealed from the YHWH by virtue of the YHWH's own overweening vanity.  Even as late as 1611, when the Bible was being translated, God's accomplishment was unrecognized.  The translators, reading "holiness of the land" convolute the meaning into "a holy portion of the land".  No, what God promised to do in Ezekiel's time was to redeem not only "the house of Israel" -- the Temple and the nation -- but also the holiness inherent in the land Israel was -- and is -- built upon.  That is, the YHWH, even contemplated as a strictly physical entity, is not without holiness.  God intends to redeem that holiness…while appearing to subvert His own avowed purpose by capitulating to the YHWH's UNholiness: the YHWH's paganism.

God, as I read it, methodically sets about His purpose:  

Of this there shall be for the Sanctuary five hundredth, with five hundredth square round about and fifty cubits round about for the [suburbs/void places] thereof

And of this measure shalt thou measure the length of five and twenty thousand and the breadth of ten thousand: and in it shall be the Sanctuary [interpolated: and] the most holy place

"In it", as I read it, is the key point.  God is describing the Sanctuary as a microcosm of Israel. Which, again, as I read it, is a point the translators missed: "IN IT shall be the Sanctuary the most holy place".  The "holy of holies", the innermost sanctum of the Temple is here construed as being, metaphorically, the same AS the Sanctuary, the Temple itself.  I'm sure the YHWH got the point right away:  if the "holy of holies", the innermost sanctum IS the Temple, what does that imply about the area AROUND the Temple? 

The holy portion of the land shall be for the priests, the ministers of the Sanctuary, which shall come near to minister unto the YHWH, and it shall be a place for houses and a holy place for the Sanctuary. 

And the five and twenty thousand of length, and the ten thousand of breadth, shall also the Levites, the ministers of the house have for themselves, for a possession for twenty chambers.

And ye shall appoint the possession of the city five thousand broad, and five and twenty thousand long over against the oblation of the holy portion: it shall be for the whole house of Israel.

This is, I think, where the translators got the "portion" term that they grafted onto the earlier verse.  But, I think they were missing the point. See, it's particularly interesting to me because, as I read it, what God is doing is finding a meeting place between God and YHWH, while also being aware that the YHWH is, structurally, attempting to ensnare and imprison God within the geometrically exact and mathematically exact Masonic Temple construct.  

And what God is doing here is saying, "Well, you missed a good bet, here, YHWH.  You've got Me -- theoretically -- trapped in the holy of holies, with the Sanctuary itself as a prison within the prison.  If you 'scale that up' and make the geographic area AROUND the Temple into another prison: strictly inhabited by the Levites who are offering pagan animal sacrifices on your behalf and against Me, then you've got another layer of imprisoning context."  It's like Houdini helpfully offering advice on how to make the chains and locks you're putting on him more secure. 

And [a portion shall be] for the prince on the one side, and on the other side of the oblation of the holy [interpolation: portion] and of the possession of the city, before the oblation of the holy [interpolation: portion] and before the possession of the city from the West side Westward, and from the East side Eastward, and the length over against one of the portions from the West border unto the East border.

The translators keep wanting to stick "portion" in there, as you can see.  They just see this as an instruction on "divvying up" Israel.  The Levites get a portion and the prince gets a portion. 

As I read it, it's actually a conclusion to the discussion on the part of God.  Basically, God saying, if you (YHWH) set things up this way, the prince, when he comes -- the "next David" so to speak, as the YHWH would read it -- then he will already inhabit the context, between the Levites who will have all of this physical territory around the Temple exclusively and the holy of holies which is (theoretically) where The One True God lives and where the YHWH keeps trying to trap God within that YHWHistic context.  That will be "his place": the "prince's" place. 

It's structurally unworkable from a YHWHistic perspective, but I don't think the YHWH saw that -- just the inherent logic of building another insulating layer around the Temple itself. 

The problem was that there were two conflicting constructs:  the monarchy had established the supposition that when the "next David" arrived he would be a King as David was and as the promised "prince" would be (prince is a strictly royal title). And, on the other hand, you had the Levitical priesthood, a competing power.

(which continues throughout human history.  Henry VIII basically made himself into a substitute Pope by forming the Church of England and endeavouring to make himself the head of the government AND the Church.  The United States early on framed things in terms of the separation of Church and State for the same reason: competing interests that needed to be resolved structurally)

What God was proposing was physically putting the royal figure between a rock -- "the holy of holies" -- and a hard place -- the Levitical geographic territory surrounding the Temple.  Ultimately, the Chief Priest becomes the de facto "prince" as a result, which we see clearly in the Jesus narratives.  Once elevated to the highest point in the Judaic theological context, proximate to God in the holy of holies and ruler of all you surveyed in the area surrounding the Temple it would be hard NOT to wonder if you were the "prince" promised in Ezekiel's time and quite easy to keep control over any political or military leader attempting to become "the prince".   

It's strategically brilliant:  it appeals to the YHWH's urge to contain God within another layer of imprisonment -- so making it impossible for the YHWH to object to it as a consensus construct with God -- while also serving to politicize the office of Chief Priest, while anchoring the political within the religious.

Once inserted into that construct, pretty much every decision that you make would be political in one form or another.  The government of Israel is subservient to you -- or is wrestling with you or, more likely, both.  Whomever was the highest ranking administrator, external to the religious context, in whatever time period could also be forgiven for thinking himself to be "the prince".

This is why I see this as a conclusion and not as "divvying up" Israel:

In the land shall be his possession in Israel, and my princes shall no more oppress my people, and [interpolated: the rest] of the land shall they give to the house of Israel according to their tribes.

For God, every man serving at the apex of any human construct is, structurally, a prince (with God as King).  Reading it in that way, it includes the YHWH.  God is content to be "imprisoned" by the YHWH and to allow the YHWH to perceive his/her/its self as having dominion because it means that "innermost motivation" comes to the fore.  The beneficent use of free will.  Whether you're the Chief Priest and think yourself to be "the prince" or whether you're the senior administrator of Israel as a political entity and think yourself to be "the prince", you have your instructions, direct from God and YHWH.  You shall "no more oppress my people" and (secondary concern) you shall "of the land…give to the house of Israel according to their tribes".

Thus saith the Lord GOD, let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgement and justice, take away your [Hebrew: expulsions/exactions] from my people, saith the Lord GOD. 

It's been a long, strange journey to arrive at this point, but there was no point in enunciating all this without a multi-thousand year history of violence and spoil, bad judgement and injustice, expulsions (starting with the Garden of Eden) and exactions.  The entire corrupt monarchy in Israel and Judah needed to be gotten through so that observant Jews could know the difference between a "good prince" and a "bad prince". 

And God is doing this exclusively in the YHWH's own frames of reference and, as I read it, in that spirit frames it in YHWHistic terms:

Ye shall have just balances, and a just Ephah, and a just Bath.

The Ephah and the Bath shall be one measure, that the Bath may contain the tenth part of an Homer, and the Ephah the tenth part of an Homer: the measure thereof shall be after the Homer.

And the shekel twenty Gerahs, twenty shekels, five and twenty shekels, fifteen shekels shall be your Maneh. 

This is the oblation that ye shall offer, the sixth part of an Ephah of an Homer of wheat, & ye shall give the sixth part of an Ephah of an Homer of barley.

Concerning the ordinance of oil, the Bath of oil, the tenth part of a Bath out of the Cor, an Homer of ten Baths, for ten Baths an Homer.

The Larger Idea that I see God as conveying here, is to move from the instructions to "those who would be the prince" -- he who will aspire to be the prince -- to the smallest scale and most literal and exact parts of the Law of Moshe with which every Jew was personally familiar.  Exact weights and measurements.  The sense conveyed is that they're the same thing.  You know good and evil.  Choose good. You know exact weights and fraudulent weights. Weigh exactly.

It's all "of a piece" -- from the size of the holy of holies relative to the Temple and the Temple relative to the proposed surrounding Levitical habitations down to the daily measurements used to measure what quantities you buy wheat and barley in. 

That is, if you aspire to be "the prince", you need to internalize ALL of that and be as exact as possible in executing it/them.  When does (as an example) good public order become state-sanctioned "violence"?  When does the financing of common welfare become "spoil"?  This, I read, as the underlying message of "Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel".  If you have moved yourself or found yourself at an apex point in the Judaic context, "Let it suffice you". 

And one [lamb/kid] out of the flock, out of two hundred, out of the fat pastures of Israel for a meat offering, and for a burnt offering, and for peace offerings to make a reconciliation for them, saith the Lord GOD.

Note that God -- Lord God -- is specific in what He is calling for.  Not a "sin offering" but "a meat offering, a burnt offering and for peace offerings to make a reconciliation".  This hinges as well, as do all of God's instructions (as I read them), on innermost motivation.  If your motivation in sacrificing a lamb or a kid of the goats is made to Him with your innermost motivation being "reconciliation", THAT God accepts, even though technically and structurally it's a pagan act. And, lest the YHWH accuse God of weaselling out of the agreed-upon context:

All the people of the land [Hebrew: shall be for] [shall (interpolated:) give] this oblation [for/with] the prince in Israel.

The translators of the KJV, as I read it, stumbled over this part because they lived on the other side of part of the fulfillment and a few hundred years prior to the other part of the fulfillment (the Holocaust).  The sense of the Hebrew is very specific:  "All the people of the land SHALL BE this oblation FOR the prince in Israel and WITH the prince in Israel." 

Basically, as I read it, there was no agreement between God and YHWH on dominion over "the cattle" in Genesis 1:26 (I infer that the "us" refers to God and YHWH):

And God said, let us make man in our Image, after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and OVER THE CATTLE, AND OVER ALL THE EARTH and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

I think the YHWH's response can be reasonably inferred from the content of Genesis 1:28:

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and REPLENISH THE EARTH AND SUDUE IT, and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air and over every living thing that creepeth upon the earth. 

That is, man was not given dominion over the cattle or the earth (the YHWH).  Whereupon the YHWH instructed man to sacrifice cattle to the YHWH.  Which, I infer, man was supposed to know he was not supposed to do (all he had to do was read those two verses in the first chapter of Genesis).  So, basically, man -- by sacrificing cattle to which he had no claim -- was making himself liable for sacrifice.  One man for each cattle. 

Hence:  "All the people of the land shall be for this oblation FOR the prince in Israel/ WITH the prince in Israel" makes perfect, albeit horrific, sense in the context, ultimately leading to the Holocaust.  The interpolation changes that exact meaning.  As, it seems to me, does the interpolation in the next verse:

And it shall be the prince's part [interpolated: to give] burnt offerings, and meat offerings and drink offerings, in the feasts, and in the new moons, and in the Sabbaths, in all the solemnities of the house of Israel:  he shall prepare the sin offering and the meat offering, and the burnt offering and the peace offerings to make reconciliation for the house of Israel.

See, it seems to me that God is just being an inclusive as is necessary in the context.  Part of "the prince's part" is to BE burnt offerings and meat offerings and drink offerings.  This was what the Johannine Jesus was talking about in offering his flesh to eat and his blood to drink -- and that of the Synoptic Jesus.  He was the inferred "prince" and the first not to just make a metaphorical self-sacrifice of the cattle, but to BECOME the sacrificial animal in himself. And it IS a "sin offering": explicitly stated.  

But, at the time, the YHWH could be forgiven for thinking that God had lost His mind:

Thus saith the Lord GOD, In the first [interpolate: month], in the first [interpolated: day] of the month, thou shall take a young bullock without blemish, and cleanse the Sanctuary. 

And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering, and put it upon the posts of the house, and upon the four corners of the settle of the Altar, and upon the posts of the gate of the inner court. 

And so thou shalt do the seventh of the month, for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye reconcile the house.

"Every one that erreth and for him that is simple" is a good way of putting it.  Yes, it's pretty basic that man was not given dominion over the cattle.  It's right there in the first chapter.  It's an error and a dumb one ("simple" is a nice way of putting it) on the part of men, generally.  But the YHWH, I think, would have seen it as an inconceivable "capstone" for God to basically concede the promised "prince" as being basically "of a piece" with every man who came before him:  erring in sacrificing cattle and "simple" in not seeing how stupid it was to do that.

In the first, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye shall have the passover, a feast of seven days, unleavened bread shall be eaten. 

And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself, and for all the people of the land, a bullock for a sin offering.

And there it is, the prince will PREPARE FOR HIMSELF AND FOR ALL THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND a bullock for a SIN offering.  As far as the YHWH could see, there was no escape clause. 

There WAS an escape clause, but strictly one based in inference. Who WAS "the prince"?  Two itinerant preachers?  Or the designated apex of the Judaic Temple observance?

At the same time that the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus were preparing for themselves to BE sacrifices, the Chief Priest would be enacting the next part of the covenant between God and YHWH:

And seven days of the feast, he shall prepare a burnt offering to the YHWH, seven bullocks, and seven rams without blemish daily the seven days, and a kid of the goats daily for a sin offering. 

And he shall prepare a meat offering of an Ephah for a bullock, and an Ephah for a ram, and a Hin of oil for an Ephah.

In the seventh, in the fifteenth day of the month shall he do the like in the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the burnt offering, & according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.

If the Chief Priest was "the prince" or if "the prince" was yet to come, it was all status quo.  The Chief Priest did what he was supposed to do according to the covenant that concludes the Book of Ezekiel.

But inference was the central problem. 

Who inferred what? 

The idea that either the Johannine Jesus or the Synoptic Jesus were "the prince" would not have been a popular one at the time of their deaths and for many decades afterward.  It would have just been seen as a weird Jewish heresy, both by the Jews and by the goyim. But that popularity would shift dramatically as 70 AD and the newest destruction of the Temple came about -- and then shift even more dramatically as there was, this time, a Jewish AND Christian diaspora which resulted.  The weird Jewish heresy, in retrospect, was quite specifically prophetic about what was about to happen. And WHY it was about to happen.

The inference evolved and became a societal juggernaut which steamrolled the YHWH's pagan Temple worship. 

God is not mocked.

Next week, God willing, Ezekiel 46.




Next Time: Everybody gets laid! (Or not...) -PAST Matt!!!


Damian T. Lloyd, Esq. said...

Once again we should all give thanks to Dave, the first person in history to understand the Bible correctly, for giving us "a more accurate expression of what God is doing".

Pretty funny this week! I love how Dave's conclusions directly contradict the text he quotes. Reminds me of Neil Gaiman's paraphrase of Dave's views: "Of course, your proving me wrong just demonstrates how right I am."

-- Damian

Anonymous said...

"And what God is doing here is saying..."

"Basically, God saying..."

"What God was proposing was..."

It's difficult to even imagine how much actual time Dave has wasted over the last decade or so figuring out the mind of God (i.e. disappearing into a wormhole of insanity). It's too bad he wasn't doing something useful with all that time. Instead, we now probably have as much bullshit about God as we have Cerebus stories. God, that's depressing.