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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem

CHAPTER THIRTY NINE Part 1 of 3

ZIONIST HISTORICAL CLAIMS TO PALESTINE ARE UNFOUNDED

In order to justify their usurpation of Palestine from its indigenous population, the Zionists have always claimed "that the Jewish people had a right to the land that had been the cradle of the Jewish heritage" and that they were "entitled to reconstruct their national life on the land of their ancestors after living nearly 2,000 years in exile." As reported on February 6, 1989 in the New York Post, in a nationally televised address to his Likud Party, Yitzhak Shamir branded Palestinians "alien invaders of the Holy Land ... They are brutal, wild, alien invaders in the land of Israel that belongs to the people of Israel, and only to them." The Zionists have also claimed that the Palestine Mandate recognized "the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine." They have named the state they established by force in occupied Palestine "Israel" in order to deceive world Christian opinion that this Zionist regime is the restoration of the kingdom established by King David and King Solomon. The evidence cited in this chapter, drawn from historical, scriptural, archaeological and linguistic sources, exposes the fallacy of the Zionist claims.

CANAANITES INHABITED THE LAND MORE THAN FIVE THOUSAND YEARS BEFORE ABRAHAM

British archaeologist James Mellaart reports that in thecity of Jericho in 7000 B.C., more than five thousand years before Abraham entered the land of Canaan, "people were living in plastered brick houses, some with clay ovens with chimneys, and even sockets for doorposts. They carefully made small clay figurines of the goddess type." (1) Palestine was then known as the land of Canaan.

Jewish historian H. Graetz records the evolution of the Canaanite society over succeeding millennia:


The Canaanites became the first mercantile nation in the world ... Through the peaceful pursuits of commerce the Canaanites were brought into contact with remote nations ... The Canaanites became subdivided into the small nationalities of Amorites, Hittites, Hivites and Perizzites ... The Jebusites dwelt on the tract of land which afterwards became the site for the city of Jerusalem. (2)
By the time that Abraham migrated from Mesopotamia circa 1800 B.C., the land of Canaan, according to scripture, was inhabited by "the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadomites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaims, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (3) All of these peoples were of Canaanite stock and spoke the Canaanitic i language. Together with the inhabitants of Syriaand Northern i Mesopotamia the Canaanites comprised the ethnic group known as the "Western Semites." (4)

In the middle of the third millennium B.C., the land of Canaan came under Egyptian domination. The Canaanite city of Jebus "was mentioned in Egyptian texts of the twentieth century B.C. (5) "Strong commercial ties existed between Egypt and Canaan: pottery from Canaan which once probably held agricultural produce has been discovered in Egyptian cemeteries, while a great deal of Egyptian pottery has been found at different sites in Palestine." (6)

ABRAHAM AND HIS DESCENDANTS

When Abraham came from Mesopotamia, the ancestral home of the Canaanites, the Canaanites received him as a kinsman. Abraham was the father of Isaac and Ishmael. Abraham's nephew, Lot, was the progenitor of the Ammonites and the Moabites living east of the Jordan River. Isaac was the father of Jacob and Esau, Esau was the progenitor of the Edomites. Jacob was the father of the progenitors of the "twelve tribes of Israel," Joseph and his brothers.

Joseph emigrated to Egypt, where he was joined by his brothers. Joseph's wife, the mother of his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, was Asenath, "Daughter of the high priest of the Egyptian temple of On." (7) Thus Joseph's spouse was neither a Semitenor a worshipper of the Jewish god, Jehovah.

HYKSOS CONQUER THE LAND OF CANAAN

Between 1700 and 1550 B.C. the land of Canaan came under the domination of the Hyksos, invaders from the north who intermarried with the Canaanites. "The technical and artistic achievements of the Hyksos Age 'are evident in all manifestations of material life, from fortifications, the socalled Hyksos glacis, to pottery and metal are.'' (8)

CANAANITE KINGDOMS AGAIN BECOME VASSALS OF EGYPT

Circa 1550 B.C. Egypt reconquered the land of Canaan and the Canaanite kings remained as Egyptian vassals until circa 1200 B.C. Archives of Egyptian royal letters dating from the 14th century B.C. which were discovered at Tel el-Amarna in Egypt, "reveal that the Egyptians maintained a permanent government in Canaan, including a military presence, administration, and tax collection. The local kings also took part in Egyptian military campaigns, and their city-states were charged with protection of Egypt's governing cities." (9)

ISRAELITE TRIBES ATTEMPT TO CONQUER THE LAND OF CANAAN

In the 13th century B.C., the descendants of Joseph and his brothers left Egypt for the land of Canaan. Calling themselves Israelites, they were led by Moses, the Law giver of the Ten Commandments. The Israelite tribes, which were really clans or extended families, were of mixed Semitic, Egyptian and other stock. They were also accompanied by a "mixed multitude." (10)

Moses' wife was Zipporah. Her father was "Jethro, a priest and leader of the Midianite tribe known as Kenites." (11) Thus the mother of Moses' descendants was neither an Israelite nor a worshipper of Jehovah. Moses died before the Israelite tribes reached the land of Canaan. His successor, Joshua, led the Israelite tribes in their invasion of the land of Canaan. The Israelite tribes faced a formidable array of Canaanite kings. The Bible records these thirty one Canaanite kings:


The king of Jericho: the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel; the king of Jerusalem; the king of Hebron; the king of Jarmoth; the king of Lachish: the king of Eglon; the king of Gezer; the king of Debir; the king of Geder: the king of Honnah; the king of Arad; the king of Libnah; the king of Adullam; the king of Makkedah; the king of Bethel: the king of Tappuah; the king of Hepher; the king of Aphek; the king of Lasharon; the king of Madon; the king of Hazor; the king of Shimron-meron; the king of Achshaph; the king of Taanach; the king of Megiddo; the king of Kadesh; the king of Jokneam of Camel; the king of Dor in the coast of Dor; the king of the nations of Gilgal; and the king of Tirzah. (12)

The primitive Israelite tribes waged war in a barbaric manner. The Bible records that after the capture of the Canaanite city-state of Ai, the Israelite bands slaughtered the defenseless men and women of that kingdom and hanged its king on a tree. (13)

The Israelite bands committed even worse atrocities at Jericho, where "they utterly destroyed all that was in the city, both men and women, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass, with the edge of the word." (14)

The motivation for this wanton slaughter is given by Jewish scholar Dan Jacobson of the University of London:


A herem was placed upon the peoples of Canaan: a ban, a curse, in terms of which they were devoted to destruction. Men, women, and children" were to be put to the sword or driven out: their religion and their women were a source of pollution: to show mercy to them was a sin and an offense to the God of Israel; to leave them in possession of any part of the country was to lay up a store of trouble for the future, for they would inevitably lure the Israelites away from the worship of the true God. (15)


THE ISRAELITE TRIBES CONQUERED ONLY PART OF THE LAND OF CANAAN

Although the Zionist claims to Palestine infer that the Israelite tribes conquered the entire land of Canaan, in fact they failed to conquer all of the Canaanite kingdoms. The Bible itself states:


Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. (16)

Although the Israelite tribes settled in the land of Canaan, the indigenous Canaanites remained a substantial proportion of the inhabitants, and the Biblical maps allotting the land to the diverse Israelite tribes do not reflect the actual situation on the land. "Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites from Jerusalem; nor Manasseh the people of Beth-shean; nor Ephraim those of Gezer; Zebulun spared Kitrath and Nahalal; Asher and Naphtali, other cities." (17)

Indeed, "as the Canaanites excelled in chariots and horses, and the Israelites were divided among themselves, the isolated tribes of Israelites, depending on their own strength, were, in some cases. driven from the rich valleys and level districts, to take refuge upon the less fertile ranges of the upper grounds." (18)

The revival of Canaanite power in the land of Canaan strongly influenced the primitive Israelite tribesmen. Many forsook the worship of Jehovah and followed "the gods of the people that were round about them." (19)

Archaeological evidence supports the survival of the Canaanites and their teligion. Excavation at "Tell Beit Mersin provides clear evidence for the presence of Ashtoreth plaques or similar figurines right down to the 7th century B.C.," (20) as reported by noted British archaeologist Dame Kathleen Keny on.

The excavation of the Canaanite city of Hazor at Tell al-Qidah prompted Yigael Yadin, Director of the Institute of Archaeology at Hebrew University, to write:


We know from both biblical verses and archaeological discoveries that the cult of Baal and Ashtoreth strongly influenced the local population. Indeed, we discovered in the excavation of Hazor quite a number of clay figurines representing Ashtoreth. (21)

The Zionist claim of the conquest of the land of Canaan by the Israelite tribes is disproved by historical facts. Rather than displacing the original Canaanite inhabitants, the historical evidence indicates that the Canaanites engaged in a process of absorbing the less culturally and economically advanced Israelite tribes.

THE NON-SEMITIC PHILISTINES MIGRATED FROM CRETE TO THE LAND OF CANAAN

The Israelite tribes were not the only ethnic group attempting to penetrate the land of Canaan. "Ethnic and political changes rocked Canaan following the penetration of other Semitic tribes, including the Edomites, the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Israelite tribes, and the Arameans from the east and the sea peoples from the north and west" (22) who were Zionist Historical Claims to Palestine are Unfounded called Philistines. The latter arrived circa the 13th century B.C. According to H. Graetz these sea people had


emigrated from Caphtor (Cydonia), a town on the island of Crete, and their territory had three ports - Gaza in the south, Ashdod (Azotus) in the north, and Ashkelon, midway between these two towns. In the interior, the Philistines occupied the cities of Gaih and Ekron. This group of five cities (Pentapolis) formed a small district, extending as far as the Egyptian frontier, and its population acquired much power and influence. On this account, the Greeks and the Egyptians designated the entire country by the name of Palestine (i.e., land of the Philistines). (23)

The Philistines, being of "Aegean origin," (24) were not Semites, but they adopted the language of the Avim, a Semitic tribe they conquered when they settled on the south coast of Palestine. (25)

The Philistines had developed iron tools and were advanced socially and economically as a result. "Their possession of iron ore gave them considerable military advantage." (26) They had adopted the Canaanite gods, Dagan and Baal-zebub, and the goddess Ashtoreth. "Some of their temples lasted into the Hellenistic period of Palestine." (27)

Although the confederation of Philistine states, "Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath and Ekron," (28) retained their independence and national identity, there was much intermarriage between Philistines and Canaanites, and even with Israelites. The biblical story of Samson's marriage to the daughter of a Philistine proves that intermarriage between Philistines and Israelites took place in unions recognized as legal by both peoples. (29)

Over a span of centuries the Philistines absorbed many Israelites. as is shown in the words of Nehemiah in the Bible:


In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab. And their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the languages of each people." (30)

It was the power of the Philistines which provided the impetus for reuniting the Israelite tribes which during the time of Judges had experienced tribal division and fragmentation, territorial discontinuity, family andclan instability, social and economic transitions, and pressure from neighboring i peoples." (31)

KINGDOM OF ISRAEL ESTABLISHED

After "the Israelites' defeat in the battle against the Philistines at Eben Ezer," (32) the prophet Samuel chose Saul to become the first king of Israel. Saul was chosen from the smallest of the tribes, the tribe of Benjamin. "His family, that of Matri, was one of the lowliest in Benjamin. His father, Kish, was not in any way distinguished." (33) Saul's failure as a king was inevitable in that he lacked all important family connections with the other Israelite tribes and with the Canaanite and other non-Israelite tribes in the land. Saul alienated a substantial part of the population when he massacred the Gibeonites, who were among the Canaanite families who "lived amongst the Israelites." (34)

In 1004 B.C., having failed miserably to lead the Israelites and Canaanites under his rule, King Saul and his sons were slain in battle with the Philistines. His "armor was sent into the Philistine cities and finally deposited in the temple of Ashtoreth in the Canaanite city of Beth-shean." (35) Another factor in King Saul's failure was the opposition of much of the Jewish priesthood to the institution of kingship.

Isaac ben Judah Abravanel, a fifteenth century Jewish biblical commentator and philosopher, describes the Jewish priesthood's attitude regarding a secular kingdom:


Israel was not commanded by the Torah concerning a king ... Their sin was in rejecting divine kingship and in choosing human rule. (36)

A reason for the Jewish priesthood's opposition to the institution of kingship is shown by various biblical scholar, including Martin Buber in his "Konigtum Gottes," who have deduced that the kingdom of Saul, David, Solomon and their successors were not of the Jewish tradition of God as the sole king, but derived from "the religion of the Canaanite world" and "was inextricably connected" with the Canaanites. (37)

KING DAVID FORGES A SECULAR KINGDOM OF ISRAELITES AND NON-ISRAELITES

David had been a captain in King Saul's army and "on his marriage with Michal, the king's second daughter, was raised to the high office of captain of the king's bodyguard." (38) After arguments with his father-in-law, David fled Saul's kingdom and was granted asylum by "Achish, a Philistine king of Gath." (39)

David's father, Jesse, of the important Israelite tribe of Judah, was a grandson of Boaz and Ruth, a Moabite. (40) Therefore, during his troubles with Saul, David was able to send his parents for their safety to King Mispeh of the Moabites. Although there is no mention of David's mother in the Old Testament, tradition cited in the Jewish Aggadah states that David's mother was a daughter of Ithra, an Ishmaelite. (41) Thus David, at birth, had close family ties to non-Israelite power centers.

In addition to his marriage to Michal, a daughter of King Saul, he married Maacah, the daughter of the Canaanite King Talmal of Geshur. (42) Another wife of King David, Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon, had her roots in the Canaanite town of Giloh. (43)

David's family and marital ties afforded him the capability of forging a secular stateuniting Israelites and Canaanites into one kingdom. He capitalized on this advantage by including non-Israelites in high positions in his government. For example. one of his top army commanders was Uriah. "Like others of David's officers he was a foreigner - a Hittite." (44) King David's army even included Philistines, traditional enemies of the Canaanites and Israelites. (45)

King David very wisely established his capital in the Canaanite city of Jebus, which he renamed Jerusalem. He did not expel the Jebusites, but moved in Israelites and other Canaanites into the new capital. He did not confiscate the Jebusites' property, as is clearly shown in his purchase of land from the Jebusite Araunah. (46) The Bible states that "The Jebusite dwell with the children of Judah at Jerusalem unto this day." (47)

The Encyclopaedia Judaica describes the foregoing as follows:


The Israelite capture of Jerusalem and its conversion into the capital of David's kingdom at the beginning of his reign put an end to the autonomy of the Jebusite kingdom. Clearly all Jebusite inhabitants were not destroyed because David bought a threshing door from Araunah the Jebusite in order to build an altar and also because David may have integrated Jebusite craftsmen and officials into his service. (48)

The influence of his Canaanite subjects in King David's kingdom created resentment among the Israelites, including the king's paternal tribe of Judah. Rebellion against King David "was fostered apparently by the growing jealousy of Judah at seeing their king absorbed into the whole nation." (49) The Jewish priesthood denied King David the right to build their temple in Jerusalem, a right that could not be denied his son and successor, King Solomon. (50)

KING SOLOMON'S KINGDOM A SECULAR STATE WITH MANY RELIGIONS

Although King Solomon erected the Temple for the Jewish priesthood, the historical facts show that his kingdom was a secular one in which other religions were officially sanctioned by the monarchy. The Bible records that King Solomon also built a temple for the priesthood of the Moabite god Chemosh, as well as a temple for the priesthood of the Ammonite god Milcom, among others. (51)

The Bible records that King Solomon "had seven hundred wives, princesses." (52) "Solomon's marriages, more numerous even than those of David, were largely diplomatic rather than personal affairs. He cemented firmer relations with various monarchs and men of importance by adding them to the ranks of his many fathers-in-law." (53) These marriages were used by King Solomon to try and cement the loyalty of the diverse clans, tribes and vassal states in his secular kingdom and for the purpose of alliances with neighboring states. Most notable of such foreign marriages "was his winning as wife an Egyptian princess, daughter of the reigning Pharaoh. With Egypt to the southwest and Tyre to the north, Solomon long enjoyed cooperative and profitable trade relations and treaties of friendship." (54)

As the population under his rule doubled during his reign, it is probable that the majority of King Solomon's subjects were not descendants of the Israelite tribes. This is indicated in that his chosen heir, King Rehoboam, was the son of Naamah, an Ammonite princess. (55) He cannot qualify as a Jew according to the Halacha.

King Solomon's "policy of toleration" (56) brought the Jewish priesthood into "active opposition" (57) to his rule. The Jewish priesthood stirred up opposition to King Solomon among the clans of the old Israelite tribes whose power King Solomon had tried to break. "The king had divided the country into twelve divisions, paying no attention to ancient tribal boundaries, but joining various tribes together." (58) The Jewish priesthood also stirred up fanaticism among followers of the Jewish religion against the secular state. This propaganda was especially effective among the clans of the ten northern Israelite tribes who resented King Solomon's policy of neglecting the "old Jewish holy cities of Gibeon, Shiloh, Shechem or Beth El in favor of a new place that had as yet no Israelite memories bound up with it." (59) The Royal House of David, by centering its administration on the Canaanite Jebusites of Jerusalem along with the Israelite tribe of Judah, had alienated the northern Israelite tribes.

"When Solomon's strong hand was withdrawn the crisis came," (60) and his successor, King Rehoboam, was unable to maintain the secular kingdom. King Rehoboam's rule was reduced to the "kingdom of Judah" around Jerusalem, while the northern Israelite tribes tried to establish a Jewish state in what is now Samaria, calling it "the Kingdom of Israel."

THE NORTHERN KINGDOM ALSO BECOMES A SECULAR STATE

The Kingdom of Israel, or Northern Kingdom, was not exclusively Israelite in the composition of its population. Its very first king, Jeroboam, was condemned by the Jewish priest Ahijah for following the Canaanite religion. He had "gone and made other gods, and molten images." (61) Moreover, he had responded to the fanatic troublemaking of the Jewish priesthood "by expelling the priestly Levites." (62)

Jeroboam was succeeded by his son, Nadab. While on an expedition against the Philistines he was deposed by an army officer, Baasha, who "seized the throne in a successful coup, overthrowing Nadab and putting him and all his offspring to death." (63)

The new king was condemned by the Jewish priesthood and "cursed by the Jewish prophet Jehu for permitting sinful conduct in religious matters." (64) Baasha was succeeded by his son, Elah, who within two years was murdered by an army officer, Zimri, who seized the throne. (65) Zimri was condemned by the Jewish priesthood and seven years after seizing the throne he was himself overthrown by another army officer, 0mri. (66)

"Omri was one of the ablest and most successful of the kings of the Northern Kingdom. Yet the Bible takes only a brief and unsympathetic notice of him. The royal house he founded was held in disfavor because of its ties with the Phoenicians.

King Omri constructed a new capital, Samaria, which was later completed by his son Ahab. "In due course the whole area of the Northern Kingdom became known as Samaria." (68)

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Northern Kingdom under King Omri and the dynasty he founded was a secular state in which the Jewish religion was tolerated along with other cults. The Jewish priesthood passed "a severe judgment on Omri, among his sins being 'the sin of Jeroboam,'" an allusion to the cult practices of the Canaanite religion. (69)

Omri's son and successor, King Ahab, married Jezebel, the daughter of Ethbaal, the king of the Zidonians in Phoenicia. "At the palace of King Ahab, Jezebel maintained as her pensioners a huge corps of some four hundred prophets of the god Baal."(70)

King Ahab himself "reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria." (71) Professor Andre Parrot, Curator-in-Chief of the French National Museum, describes the temple of the Canaanite god Melqart built by the Omri dynasty of the Northern Kingdom at which the kings "protested themselves and offered sacrifices to the image of Melqart. Thus the Canaanite cult was not only tolerated, but officially recognized. The adherents of the Jewish religion could not accept such a situation and opposed it strenuously." (72)

Ahab was succeeded on the throne of the Northern Kingdom by his eldest son, Ahaziah, "who sent messengers to the shrine of the Philistine god Baal-zebub at Ekron." (73) After one year he was succeeded on the throne by his brother, Jehoram.

During the reign of Ahab and his sons, the Jewish prophet Elijah, and his disciple Elisha, tried to foment rebellion against the Omri dynasty. Elisha finally succeeded in engineering a coup by Jehoram's general Jehu. Jehu followed the advice of the Jewish priesthood, with disastrous results for the Northern Kingdom. Jehu's twenty-eight year reign over the Northern Kingdom "was in fact a period of rapid decline in the fortunes of the kingdom, and of drastic shrinkage of its territory." (74)

Jehu, "who had shown no capacity nor statesmanship," (75) was succeeded on the throne by his son Jehoahaz, who came under the domination of the kings of Aram in Damascus. (76) Jehoahaz was succeeded on the throne by his son Joash, who was in turn succeeded by his son, Jeroboam II. (77)

Of King Jeroboam II, who reigned for forty eight years, Professor Parrot writes:


There can be no doubt that the new king was one of the greatest of the kings of Israel. No king enjoyed a longer reign, and under no other king did the country enjoy a greater prosperity. However, the biblical annalist is strangely reticent about him, for the reason that Jeroboam "had done evil in the sight of the Lord." (78)

The Jews condemned King Jeroboam II and the people of Samaria for following the religion of the Canaanite portion of the population of the Northern Kingdom. The prophet Amos charged: "Ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves." (79)

King Jeroboam II was succeeded on the throne by his son, Zechariah, who was assassinated six months later, ending the rule of the Jehu dynasty. (80)

His assassin, Shallum, seized the throne, but reigned for only one month before being himself assassinated. (81) His assassin and successor was Menahem, who paid tribute to the Assyrians. (82) Menahem was succeeded by his son Pekahiah. (83) Pekahiah's reign lasted but two years before he was overthrown by one of his army officers, Pekah. (84)

The Assyrian forces "invaded Samaria from the north, breaking through the line of forts guarding the upper Jordan valley and occupying Galilee and the coastal region. The invaders annexed the occupied territories and many of the inhabitants of these territories were taken away to Assyria as captives. All that was left intact of the Northern Kingdom was the capital city, Samaria, and the hill region around it." (85) King Pekah did not survive the disastrous outcome of the Assyrian invasion. He was murdered and succeeded by Hoshea, the last king of Samaria. In 721 B.C. the Assyrians captured the capital city, Samaria, and deported many of its inhabitants. (86)

The Northern Kingdom had lasted barely more than two hundred years. That the Canaanite religion and culture had long been in the ascendant among the people of the Northern Kingdom is shown by the criticism of the Jewish prophet Hosea during the last years of the monarchy against the Northern Kingdom's "licentious liaison with Baal." (87)

With the fall of Samaria the northern ten Israelite tribes, i.e. Reuben, Simeon, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Ephraim and Manasseh (88) disappeared from history. Most of the people of those tribes had long since been absorbed by the original Canaanite inhabitants of Samaria. The remnant which had maintained the Jewish faith were among the Samarians who "were deported to Assyria where they soon assimilated and lost their separate identity." (89)

The Assyrians brought in colonists, and "those remaining in the homeland commingled with those foreign colonists." (90)

Thus the revolt of the ten out of twelve Israelite tribes against the secular kingdom of David and Solomon ended in the disappearance of those tribes. The attempt of the Jewish priesthood to establish a Jewish State out of them failed and evolved into the absorption of those tribes into their Canaanite neighbors. The remaining two Israelite tribes, Judah and Benjamin, reacted to the assimilation of the Northern ten tribes as if their disappearance merely represented the severance of a gangrenous arm or leg. In the words of H. Graetz:


So estranged was that kingdom from those who recorded the memorials of the Israelitish nation, that they devoted but a few words to its decline. No lament resounded, as though the sad fate of the nation was a matter of indifference to the poets ... The country vomited out the Ten Tribes, as it had vomited out the Canaanitish tribes ... Thus the diseased limb, which had infected and paralyzed the entire body was cut off and rendered harrnless. (91)

JEWS OPPOSE THE ROYAL HOUSE OF DAVID IN THE SOUTHERN KINGDOM

After the northern ten Israelite tribes seceded from the rule of the Royal House of David, King Rehoboam, son of King Solomon and the Ammonite Princess Naamah, became the first king of the House of David to rule the Southern Kingdom. The Southern Kingdom was centered on the Canaanite Jebusites of Jerusalem, David's tribe of Judah, the small tribe of Benjamin, and the diverse Canaanite peoples remaining under Rehoboam's rule. That the Southern Kingdom was not officially a Jewish State is shown by the fact that King Rehoboam himself built Canaanite "high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree." (92)

On the death of King Rehoboam, the throne passed to his son by the Canaanite Maacah, King Abijah, who reigned for "a brief three year reign." (93) H. Graetz writes that King Abijah 'too, permitted the idolatrous practices of his mother Maacah." (94) Abijah was succeeded by his son, Asa. As he was a minor, his grandmother, Queen Maacah held the reins of government. Professor Graetz writes that "she erected a statue of Astarte in her palace, and maintained temple priestesses." (95) The Jewish priesthood conspired with the youthful Asa to seize the reins of power and deposed Queen Maacah as regent. Asa "stripped her of her dignities," and he restored the Temple in Jerusalem as the center of worship. King Asa "developed a disease in the legs, probably dropsy," and the Jewish priesthood reproved him for "his reliance on doctors and not on prayer alone." (96)

King Asa was succeeded by his son. King Jehoshaphat, who initially aligned himself with the Jewish priesthood although a large portion of his subjects were not Jewish, as is proved by the continued presence of "many local hill-shrines" to the Canaanite gods. (97) In spite of his attempts to appease the Jewish priesthood, Jehoshaphat ultimately suffered from "clerical disapproval." (98) His crown prince, Jehoram, was married to "Athaliah, the daughter of King Ahab" (99) of the Northern Kingdom. King Jehoshaphat was succeeded on the throne by Jehoram, who purged the Jewish influence in the kingdom, even "executing some of thecourt ministers." (100) He restored the official position of the Canaanite religions. His wife, Queen Athaliah, according to H. Graetz, "was fanatically attached to the rites connected with the worship of Baal." (101)

King Jehoram was succeeded by his son Ahaziah, who reigned but one year. (102) Ahaziah was succeeded on the throne by his mother, Queen Athaliah. Queen Athaliah "erected in Jerusalem an image of Baal, with altars and pointed pillars, and a high priest, named Mattan, with a number of subordinate priests, was appointed and installed." (103) Simultaneously, she "inhibited the use of the Jewish Temple for divine services." (104)

The Jewish high priest Jehoiada engineered a coup against Queen Athaliah, who was assassinated. Her seven year old grandson, Joash, was placed on the throne. (105)

When King Joash reached his majority and after Jehoiada's death, the House of David again purged the power of the Jewish priesthood. "At the command of King Joash some princes of Judah stoned to death the son of Jehoiada, the young priest Zachariah, in the Temple courts." (106) King Joash then "revived the worship of Baal and Ashtoreth." (107) King Joash was "murdered by two court officials, with the connivance of the Jewish priesthood." (108)

King Joash was succeeded by his son, King Amaziah, who executed his father's murderers. (109) Amaziah's mother was the Jebusite, Queen Jehoaddan. (110) Amaziah was murdered in turn, and was succeeded by Uzziah, his son by the Jebusite, Queen Jecoliah." (111) King Uzziah "gave frequent offence" to the Jewish priesthood, and tried "to deprive the high priest of his prestige." (112) The Jewish high priest, Azariah, with eighty priests accused the king of "being guilty of desecration." (113) In his old age King Uzziah was chronically ill, and his son Jotham served as regent for his father. (114)

When King Jotham finally succeeded his father as king of the Southern Kingdom "many princes of the House of David followed the Canaanite mode of worship privately." (115) On the death of King Jotham, the throne passed to his son, King Ahaz. who restored the Canaanite religion to primacy in the kingdom. The Bible says that King Ahaz "sacrificed and burned incense on the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree." (116)

Professor H. Graetz writes that under King Ahaz the "image of the sun-god was erected probably at the entrance of the Temple, and horses and chariots were dedicated to him ... These days witnessed a king trampling the ancient law underfoot, while the prophets of truth and justice were proscribed." (117)

King Ahaz was succeeded on the throne by his son, Hezekiah.Il8 When King Hezekiah began his reign, "the Temple was deserted, and the country was filled with idols and altars." (119) King Hezekiah "reopened the Jewish sanctuary, and restored it to its former dignity, but the nobles retained their silver and golden idols and statues of Astarte remained in their gardens." (120)

King Hezekiah was succeeded by his son, Manasseh, under whom Canaanite "altars and images were introduced even into the Temple." (121) Jewish influence receded so much that "according to legend, the aged Jewish prophet Isaiah was put to death by King Manasseh." (122) King Manasseh was succeeded by his son, Amon, who "served the Canaanite idols that his father served and worshipped them." (123) King Amon was assassinated by Jewish conspirators, who "were in turn put to death by the people, and his eight year old son Josiah succeeded to the throne." (124)

During the first eighteen years of King Josiah's reign the Canaanite religion was dominant in the Southern Kingdom. Most of his subjects "burned incense unto other gods." (125) King Josiah continued, according to H. Graetz, to "devote himself to the follies of idolatry," (126) but under the urging of the Jewish prophets he "took measures calculated to rescue the holy Temple of the Lord from its deserted state and the decay into which it was falling." (127)

Under the influence of the prophet Jeremiah, King Josiah began to favor the Jewish religion, but in a war with Egypt he was "mortally wounded at the battle of Megidd~."~~* He was succeeded by his son, Jehoahaz, "who was deposed by the Egyptian pharaoh Neco after a reign of but three months." (129) Neco appointed Jehoahaz's half-brother, Jehoiakim, to the throne of the Southern Kingdom. (130) During Jehoiakim's eleven year reign the Canaanite religion again became dominant in the Southern region. According to H. Graetz:


Altars and high places were erectedon every hill and under every green tree. In Judah there were as many gods as there were towns ... Images of gold and silver, of wood and stone, were again erected in the houses. The Temple itself was, as in Manasseh's time, once more desecrated by hideous idols. (131)

King Jehoiakim was succeeded on the throne by his son Jehoiachin whose mother was the Jebusite Nehushta. (132) According to Graetz, "King Jehoiachin and his mother continued to practice the horrors of idolatry as his father had done." (133)

After a rule of one hundred days King Jehoiachin was deposed by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar and exiled to Babylon "with his mother, his wives, his kindred." (134)

Nebuchadnezzar installed Jehoiachin's uncle, Zedekiah, on the throne, but after nine years he revolted against the Babylonians. (135) During the revolt the princes of the House of David seized the aged Jewish prophet Jeremiah "as a traitor and a spy" for the Babylonians. (136) They were incensed that he had condemned the Royal House of David and the people of Judah for "burning incense unto Baal, and walking after other gods." (137) In the year 587 B.C. Jerusalem was occupied by the Babylonians. Zedekiah and many of the inhabitants of the Southern Kingdom were deported to Babylon. (138) The more than three hundred year old Kingdom of Judah came to an end, and the Royal House of David was deposed. The history of the Southern Kingdom under the House of David clearly shows that the pretensions of theZionists to that kingdom's being a "Jewish State" is fallacious. The dynasty was built on the loyalty of the Jebusite city of Jerusalem, about which the Jewish prophet Ezekiel said: "Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite." (139)

Arthur Koestler writes:

The prophets may thunder against "marrying daughters of a strange god," yet the promiscuous Israelites were not deterred, and their leaders were foremost in giving a bad example. Even the first patriarch, Abraham, cohabited with Hagar, an Egyptian; Joseph married Asenath, who was not only Egyptian but the daughter of a priest; Moses married a Midianite, Zipporah; Samson, the Jewish hero, was a Philistine; King David's mother was a Moabite, and he married a princess of Geshur; as for King Solomon (whose mother was a Hittite), "he loved many strange women, including the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites." And so the chroniqiie scandaleuse goes on. The Bible also makes it clear that the royal example was imitated by many, high and low. (140)

In fact, many of the sovereigns of the Royal House of David favored the religion of the Canaanite portion of their subjects. For this reason the Jewish priesthood and adherents of the Jewish religion for the most pan were mortal enemies of the dynasty. Ancient Jewish texts actually "say that Jehovah never forgave Solomon's paganism, but after his death condemned him to perpetual punishment, like that of Prometheus: to be daily devoured, forever, by ten thousand ravens." (141) Jewish intrigues contributed much to instability in the kingdom.

The fact that worship in the Jewish Temple was frequently reduced to small levels of attendance indicates that the majority of the population of the Southern Kingdom was not Jewish, but either Canaanite or mixed Israelite-Canaanite. as was the royal house itself.

JEWS COLLABORATE WITH PERSIANS AGAINST THE HOUSE OF DAVID AND THE MAJORITY OF THE POPULATION

The fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 566 B.C. resulted in the exile of an indeterminate number of Judeans to Babylon. Some of the exiled Judeans were Jews, but the majority of the exiles followed Canaanite religions. As Professor Graetz writes:


The greater number of the Judean exiles, particularly those belonging to the most distinguished families, unchastened by the crushing blow which had befallen their nation and their country, persisted in their obstinacy and hardness of heart. The idolatrous practices to which they had been addicted in their own country, they continued in Babylon. It was difficult indeed to root out the passion for idolatry from the hearts of the people. The heads of the families, or elders, who laid claim to a kind of authority over all the other exiles were as cruel and as extortionate in Babylonia as they had been in Palestine. (142)

During the Babylonian exile the Jewish priests rewrote the Jewish Scriptures to fit the history of Palestine into their conception. One of them, probably Baruch, in 555 B.C., "gave his own coloring to these events, in order to demonstrate that the decline of the kingdom, from the death of Solomon, was owing to the apostasy of the king and the people." (143)

In 538 B.C. Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylon. He was petitioned by the "royal family of Judea" including "Zerubbabel, the grandson of King Jehoiachin" for permission to return to Palestine. "Cyrus invested Zerubbabel with the office of regent" in Judea. (144)

A period of the history of Palestine about which the Zionists have fostered great distortions began. The Zionists imply that all of the "Jews" were deported to Babylon and all subsequently returned from this Babylonian exile. However, it is clear that the majority of the Judeans at the time of the conquest by the Babylonians were not Jewish; the majority of the Judean exiles in Babylon were not Jewish; and the majority of the Jews, as modem biblical scholars such as Dr. Jacob Neusner, Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, have ascertained, either "remained in Babylonia or had never gone into exile at all." (145) Professor Neusner summarizes the accuracy of the history of this period as presented by the Jewish priesthood as follows: "We find history systematically selected, therefore invented, not described." (146)

 

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Encyclopedia of the Palestine Problem
By Issa Nakhleh

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