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KRONOS Vol VII, No. 2
JUPITER – GOD OF ABRAHAM (PART II)
Copyright (C) 1981 by Dwardu Cardona
9. The Warrior
Some years after Abram settled in Canaan, when, by all indications, he had become a wealthy and powerful lord, he had occasion to clash with the Elamites. Chedorlaomer, the Elamite king, swooped down upon the Valley of Siddim at the head of a coalition of other kings and crushed the cities of the plain – Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela (later known as Zoar). Abram's kinsman, Lot, together with his men, was one of those taken prisoner from Sodom, where Lot had been residing ever since he had parted from Abram years earlier. On hearing the news, Abram armed his men and some Amorite allies, and pursued Chedorlaomer. He overtook him at Dan. The armies clashed at night and Abram was victorious. He was able to rescue Lot and regain the spoils of victory. Not content with this, Abram continued to hound the survivors and chased them all the way to Hobah near Damascus.(99)
Jewish legend has it that "an angel, Lailah by name," fought on Abram's side against Chedorlaomer at Dan.(100) At first sight, this seems to bear the taint of myth. "Lailah", however, is only Hebrew for "night".(101) What might be at the root of this belief, therefore, is simply that the night had been on Abram's side. In fact, Josephus was of the opinion that Abram's success was due to his having attacked at night when the enemy lay asleep and/or intoxicated.(102) Ancient sources, however, go further for it is also stated that:
This is the third time that Jewish legend connects Jupiter with the life of Abram and it further cements our conviction that this planet was at the root of the terrestrial and celestial irregularities reported to have been taking place during his time. But what is meant by: "The planet Jupiter made the night bright"?
Three possible explanations come to mind. The first is that all the nights during Abram's time were made bright by the close proximity of the giant planet. The incident connected with Chedorlaomer would then have been reported as having been exceptional only because later generations would have forgotten the nature of the old celestial order. The second is that Jupiter brushed closer to Earth on that particular night – in which case it could also be assumed that the elements of nature, perhaps earthquake and fire from above, would have aided Abram's cause. This second alternative suffers somewhat if Earth, as Velikovsky has suggested,(103a) was a satellite of Jupiter at the time. For one thing, the giant body would already have been close enough. For another, a planetary fly-by is automatically excluded in the case of a primary and its satellite. The third alternative is that Jupiter could have undergone a minor flare-up similar, but obviously much inferior, to Saturn's earlier disruption.(104) It must not, however, be inferred from this that Jupiter went nova. Even the term "nova-like," through the use of which this writer had earlier described Saturn's much more powerful outburst, would here be misleading.
It is possible, on the other hand, that Jupiter, following its recent series of clashes with Saturn, was still in a very unstable state and given to periodic outbursts of released energy. Under these conditions, the planet's gaseous envelope, probably excited by stupendous electrical storms far superior to those which the planet's atmosphere continues to exhibit to this day, would have generated a tremendous increase in its shed light. This increase in light, which would probably have occurred in a pulsating manner, would have been enough to frighten Chedorlaomer's army even if there were no accompanying earthquake and/or meteor shower of which the legends make no mention (104a) Would not this celestial intervention be considered too much of a coincidence? Not if Abram knew beforehand that it would occur. And if Abram had long been studying Jupiter's antics, he might not only have predicted the time of the disturbance, but might even have timed his clash with Chedorlaomer to occur on that precise night.
In their treatment of the subject, Patten et al. would not accept that Jupiter had anything to do with these Abra[ha]mic incidents. Concerning the Jewish legends we have been citing in connection with Jupiter, they had this to ask:
"Where did the rabbinical translators get 'Jupiter?' Our research suggests Jupiter's son, Mars."(105)
According to them –
Apart from the fact that one cannot, at this late date, affirm with any certainty that Abram was one of the "leading" astronomical observers of his time, I have to start by asking in which ancient work have these writers found it stated that "many twentieth century B.C. observers" carefully watched "the coming and going of Mars or Bel"? We have nothing but their word for it. Where did they find Baal or Bel mentioned in connection with Abram? More than that I have to ask: Where is the evidence that Baal and/or Bel represented the planet Mars? Although their assertion is oft repeated, and their research is supposed to "conclude" it, not a single shred of evidence is supplied in their entire work. It is obvious that Patten et al. chose Mars as "the threatening planet" simply because their model demanded it. Reconstructive models, however, should be tailored to fit the evidence and not vice versa. "The current substitution in encyclopedias of Jupiter for Baal" is not the issue. If they did not know where "the rabbinical translators" got "Jupiter," they should have found out. Actually the writers in question could easily have discovered the clue they were purportedly seeking in the chapters of Isaiah wherein a verse reads:
The "righteous man" of this verse is sometimes given as a pseudonym for Abram and this would compare well with Berosus who alluded to the Patriarch as "a righteous and great man".(109) But, as B. O'Gheoghan has already indicated,(110) had "righteous man" really been intended in Isaiah, the Hebrew word should have been "hazedek". It is not. The word, as given in Hebrew, is simply "zedek," which can mean "righteousness" but which also happens to be the Hebrew name of the planet Jupiter.
The quote from Isaiah should therefore read:
In fact, Ginzberg's allusion to Jupiter having appeared in the east instead of the west, quoted earlier and questioned by Patten et al., is a reference to the Tractate Shabbat which, in turn, references Isaiah. The original reads:
We can see, therefore, that Baal or Bel does not even enter into the question; and, for that matter, neither does Mars.
It is unfortunate that "zedek" has been translated as "righteousness," when not mistranslated as "righteous man," in various passages of the Old Testament when it is obvious that "Jupiter" was originally intended. Instances are many but the following come immediately to mind. The Book of Psalms, for instance, praises Zedek as he who "looks down from heaven".(112) It is also curious that, as R. A. Rosenberg put it: "Sedeq [the same as Zedek] or its abstraction sedaqah is expressly identified with 'light,' through the device of poetic parallelism, in several parts of the Bible."(113) Malachi even referred to Zedek/Jupiter as "the sun of righteousness".(114) If Jupiter was indeed a "sun" – much like Saturn was in an even earlier time – and dispensed light of its own, we can all the more understand how the planet turned the night bright. While modern astronomy looks upon Jupiter as an aborted proto-star, it might be more logical to look upon that body as a dying one.
Jupiter's connection with "righteousness" is a borrowed one. The concept seems to have originated with Saturn. Rosenberg, for one, has stated:
Like most mythologists, Rosenberg spoke of Shamash as the Sun but that Shamash was Saturn as a sun has also been shown;(116) and this identification should now be accepted. The Babylonians were very specific when they stated that the star Gigi, which to them was the star of justice and righteousness, is the same as the planet Saturn.(116a)
Kittu (also Kettu) and Mesaru (or Mesharu) were the personifications of righteousness and justice.(117) Morris Jastrow informs us that
Although equivalent with Saturn, Kittu and Mesaru were also considered the children of Shamash.(117b) Sanchoniathon coupled Misor, who is the same as Mesaru, with Sydyk, who is the same as Zedek.(118) Zedek, therefore, is the same as Kittu and as such has he been accepted.(19) This makes Zedek the son of Shamash which compares favorably with the well known relation of Jupiter as the son of Saturn. It can therefore be seen that this attribute of Saturn, namely the concept of righteousness, passed on to Jupiter; and in time Jupiter's name, as Zedek, became synonymous with "righteousness".(120)
The root "zedek" as a theophoric element in personal names was common in Babylonia and elsewhere outside of Palestine. It continued in use well after the Israelite Exodus from Egypt and into the days of the Israelite and Judean kingdoms. Rosenberg supplied many examples from Babylonia, Ugarit, and South Arabia.(121) One of the most famous from the Babylonian period was Ammisaduqa (Ammi-Zedek) who has been associated with the Venus tablets. There is even a Rabsidqi (Rab-Zedek) mentioned in one of the letters from el-Amarna.(122) But perhaps the most famous of all, at least from a Biblical point of view, was Melchizedek, high priest and king of Salem.
This brings us to one of the most curious incidents in the life of Abram. On his return from the battle with Chedorlaomer, Abram was met by the defeated kings of the cities of the plain. Bowing before him, they asked for the return of their men whom Abram had rescued while, at the same time, they expressed their wish that Abram should keep the spoils of victory he had recovered as a reward for his noble deed. Abram, on the other hand, treated the kings with disdain and would not touch the booty except for a small portion which he allotted to his Amorite allies. Melchizedek, king and priest of Salem, also came but here the situation was entirely different. Abram looked upon Melchizedek as an equal, was blessed and feasted by him, and even paid a tithe to the Salemite lord.(123) No other mention of Melchizedek is made during the time of Abram or, for that matter, throughout the rest of the Book of Genesis. Yet Sarna has stated:
The name Melchizedek has been explained as meaning "the righteous king" or "king of righteousness". That this was a title rather than a personal name can be assumed from the fact that the king of Salem was not the only one who bore it. Yehimilki, king of Byblos, claimed the same title.(125) But, as O'Gheoghan pointed out, "melchizedek" can also be translated as "Jupiter the king"(126) although "Jupiter is (my) king" might be more in keeping with the Semitic form, the connotation being that the lords of Salem and Byblos were both priest-kings of Jupiter. Can this be substantiated?
That Salem was an earlier name for Jerusalem was known to Josephus.(127) Melchizedek was not the only king of that city to bear Jupiter's theophoric name. A later king of Jerusalem, with whom Joshua warred, was named Adonizedek.(128) In fact, Rosenberg has shown that "the divine name Sedeq . . . plays a prominent part in the traditions clustered about Jerusalem".(129) That the god of this city was really Jupiter/Zedek can also be gleaned from the pages of the Old Testament itself. Jeremiah, for instance, called the holy mountain of Jerusalem "neweh Zedek",(130) which means "the pasture (or habitation) of Jupiter". This parallels Isaiah who said of the city that "Zedek dwells therein" and went so far as to call Jerusalem "the city of Zedek".(131)
Jupiter remained associated with Jerusalem well into Israelite times. The gates of Solomon's temple were called "the gates of Zedek".(132) The very priesthood of the temple was derived from that of Jupiter/ Zedek. It passed from the hands of Zadok – the priest "dedicated to Zedek" – whom David appointed as high prelate of the temple in favor of the Mosaic priesthood descended from Levi.(133) Without wishing to detract from Lewis M. Greenberg's and Warner B. Sizemore's contention that Jerusalem was the city of Venus,(134) it can safely be stated that it was just as much the city of Jupiter. Did not Isaiah call it so?
What is curious about Abram's meeting with Melchizedek is this: In accepting the Salemite's blessing and paying him a tithe, Abram acknowledged Melchizedek's god. Does this mean that Shaddai and Zedek were one, and that Jupiter was indeed the god of Abram?
If the meaning of Shaddai's name as "he of the mountain" is accepted, it would compare favorably with Zedek/Jupiter as residing atop Jerusalem's holy mountain as well as with Indra/Jupiter who resided on top of Mount Meru. Like the concept of righteousness, the mountain-abiding characteristic of Jupiter would be another instance of a "borrowing" from the earlier Saturn. And was not Jupiter called "the younger Saturn" just as Saturn was called "the elder Jupiter"?(135)
11. The Covenant
Soon after his meeting with the kings, Abram performed a strange ritual. He offered his god a sacrifice in which he severed animals in half.
Concerning this ritual, Sarna had this to say:
The "other biblical parallel" mentioned by Sarna is found in the Book of Jeremiah. But whereas in Abram's case it was god, as "a smoking furnace and a burning lamp," that passed between the "pieces" of the sacrifice, in Jeremiah it is the entire population of Jerusalem that is made to pass between the two halves of the sacrificial animal.(138) Despite Sarna's contention that the meaning of this ritual is unknown, the rite itself is not. Samuel Burder noted:
Burder's opinion that this form of sacrifice "was a customary thing" finds confirmation in the fact that the usual Hebrew term for making a covenant is to "cut a covenant".(140) This conforms with ancient Greek usage since the Greeks also referred to the making of a treaty as "cutting a treaty,"(141) and the swearing of oaths as the "cutting" of oaths.(142) That this usage was the result of an ancient rite similar to the one performed by Abram and recorded by Jeremiah is proven by the incident in which Calchas made the Greeks pass between the divided parts of a sacrificed boar in swearing their enmity to Priam.(143)
Rites of a retributive character are known from all over the world, in both civilized as well as primitive countries, both in ancient and in modern times. But while, in these instances, the sacrificial animal is sometimes cut in two, it is more often mutilated in more severe and cruel manners while the covenanters call upon their heads similar retribution were they to violate the oath taken on the occasion. Neither is it customary in these retributive rites for the covenanters to pass between the severed pieces.
The passing between the pieces seems to conform, rather, with rites of protection and purification. Public purification in Boeotia consisted of passing between the severed parts of a sacrificed dog.(144) Macedonian armies were ritualistically purified in the same manner.(145) Human victims were also sometimes used as in the case of Astydamia whom Peleus cut in pieces and then had his conquering army pass between the gory parts.(146) According to J. G. Frazer, while this latter incident might have served to form a blood covenant between the conquerors and the conquered, of whom Astydamia was the queen, it might also have served "to secure the victors from all hostile attempts on the part of the vanquished".(147)
The protective interpretation, where the covenanter sought to be saved from some approaching calamity, seems more in keeping with our treatise. When in distress, the Algerian corsairs used to sacrifice a sheep, cut it in half, throw one part over the starboard and the other over the port side. Thus the ship was made to pass between the pieces.(148) An almost identical ritual, though not at sea, was performed for similar reasons until recently by the Chins of Burma.(149) But perhaps the best example comes from the very land through which Abram once wandered. When calamity threatened the Arabs of Moab, a sheep was divided in two and the halves hung on each side of every door while members of every family were made to pass between them. This was (as it is still believed) intended to deliver the people from the evil which threatened them.(150)
The Moabites call this sacrifice a "fedou", a term which has been defined as "the immolation of a victim sacrificed generally in the face of Allah to deliver man or beast from some malady or impending destruction".(151) Others have defined "fedou" as "commonly for the future to ward off evil"(152) or that "something is going to happen to a man, and the sacrifice is a substitute for him".(153)
Frazer summed up the issue in this way:
Abram's case is unique only in that it was god and not he who is described as having passed between the pieces of the covenant. Thus the narrator(s) made it appear as if it was god who made the pact with Abram and not vice versa. As Sarna has stated:
In his covenant with Abram, god promised him the land of Canaan as a country for his heirs.(156) As we have seen, the nature of the covenant conforms with the manner in which treaties were made.
There is, however, a discordant note in the telling of the incident. The account in Genesis commences with the following words:
What did Abram have-to fear? Certainly not the failure to inherit Canaan.
Sarna has also noted that the Hebrew word for "shield", which is "magen", here used by god in his reassurance to Abram, is connected with Melchizedek's invocation when he praised god for having "delivered" – "miggen" – Chedorlaomer's host into Abram's hands.(158) Thus god, who had just proved a shield to Abram, promises to shield him again. To shield him from what?
In view of the covenant's protective interpretation, is it not possible: (a) that Abram realized that Jupiter's intervention during the battle with Chedorlaomer was merely a promise of worse things to come; (b) that this was what Abram had been afraid of; (c) that it was originally Abram who passed between the pieces in an attempt to placate his astral deity and invoke protection from the approaching calamity? In fact, might this not be what is at the root of god's promise – that, despite the destruction which was to come, Abram was to survive, "be buried in a good old age,"(159) and that, in due time, the ravaged land of Canaan would pass on to his heirs?
Early in the morning, not long after, Abram (now renamed Abraham and residing in Hebron) stood and watched as a column of smoke, like "the smoke of a furnace,"(160) rose on the distant horizon. Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, were no more. Among the entire cities of the plain only Bela, henceforth to be called Zoar, had escaped the holocaust of fire that rained from the sky.
. . . to be continued.
REFERENCES99. This is in accord with all Abrahamic accounts.
100 L. Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews (Phila., 5728-1968), Vol. I, p. 232.
101. Ibid., Vol. V, p. 75.
102. Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (also known as The Jewish Antiquities), I, 10, 1.
103. L. Ginzberg, op. cit., Vol. I, p. 232.
103a. I. Velikovsky, "The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah," KRONOS VI:4 (Summer 1981), p. 50.
104. For Saturn's flare-up see: I. Velikovsky, "The Pitfalls of Radiocarbon Dating," Pensée (Spring-Summer 1973), p. 13; idem, "On Saturn and the Flood," KRONOS V:1, pp. 3-11; W. Mullen, "A Reading of the Pyramid Texts," Pensée (Winter 1972), pp. 13 ff.- H. Tresman and B. O'Gheoghan, "The Primordial Light?" SISR II: 2, pp. 37 ff., D. Cardona, "Let there be Light," KRONOS III: 3 (Spring 1978), pp. 34-55.
104a. The above postulates are the result of the author's continuing research, now in its 21st year, and his progressing reconstruction of the Saturnian and Jovian events. Until tested, they remain tentative.
105. D. W. Patten, et al., The Long Day of Joshua and Six Other Catastrophes (Seattle, 1973), p. 255.
106. Ibid., p.257.
107. Ibid., p.263.
108. Isaiah 41:2.
109. Flavius Josephus, op. cit., 1, 7, 2.
110. B. O'Gheoghan, "Jupiter and Abraham," S.I.S. Workshop, III:1 (July 1980), p. 30.
111. "Tractate Shabbat," 156b, Babylonian Talmud. (NOTE: L. Ginzberg, op. cit. Vol. V, p. 225, did not "misprint" this passage as B. O'Gheoghan, op. cit., affirms. He merely paraphrased it.)
112. Psalms 85:12.
113. R. A. Rosenberg, "The God Sedeq," Hebrew Union College Annual, Vol. XXXVI (1965), p. 170.
114. Malachi, 4:2, also referred to as such in the Gospel according to St. Mathew, 13:43.
115. R. A. Rosenberg, op. cit., p. 161; see also M. Jastrow, Religious Belief in Babylonia and Assyria (N.Y., 1911), p. 111.
116. M. Jastrow, "Sun and Saturn," Revue D'Assyriologie et D'Archeologie Orientale, Vol. 70, pp. 163-178; L. M. Greenberg and W. B. Sizemore, "Saturn and Genesis," KRONOS I:3 (Fall 1975), p. 46; D. Cardona, "The Sun of Night," KRONOS III:1 (Fall 1977), pp. 33-34; D. N. Talbott, The Saturn Myth (N.Y., 1980), pp. 38, 39, 53-54, and elsewhere in same work.
116a. M. Jastrow, op. cit., p.173.
117. R.A. Rosenberg, op. cit., p.161.
117a. M. Jastrow, loc. cit.
117b. See note No. 120 below.
118. Eusebius Pamphili, Praeparatio Evangelica, I,10, 35d.
119. R. A. Rosenberg, op. cit., p. 163.
120. This transition was not an abrupt one. Originally, Kittu and Mesaru, the right and left hands of god, were the lit and unlit crescents of Saturn's ring(s) – thus equivalent to the deity but also his children. For more on the subject, see the author's forthcoming article, "The Rings of Saturn".
121. R. A. Rosenberg, op. cit., pp. 163-164.
123. Genesis 14:18-20 and numerous other sources.
124. N.M.Sarna, Understanding Genesis (N.Y., 1970), pp. 116-117. (NOTE: Sarna's reference is to Psalms 110:4).
125. A. R. Johnson, Sacral Kingship in Ancient Israel (Cardiff, 1955), pp. 31 ff.
126. B. O'Gheoghan, op. cit., p. 30.
127. Flavius Josephus, op. cit., l, 10, 2; idem, The Jewish Wars(also known as Wars of the Jews), VI, 10.
128. Joshua 10:1.
129. R.A. Rosenberg, op. cit., p. 163.
130. Jeremiah 31:23.
131. Isaiah 1:21, 26.
132. Psalms 118:19.
133. R. A. Rosenberg, op. cit., p. 167.
134. L. M. Greenberg and W. B. Sizemore, "Jerusalem – City of Venus," KRONOS III:3 (Spring 1978), pp. 56-90.
135. D. N. Talbott, "Saturn: Universal Monarch and Dying God," Research Communications Network special publication (1977), p. 9.
136. Genesis 15:17.
137. N. M. Sarna, op. cit., pp. 125-126.
138. Jeremiah 34:18-19.
139. S. Burder in W. Whiston's translation of The Works of Flavius Josephus (N.Y. revised edition), p. 26.
140. W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites (London, 1894), new edition, p. 480.
141. Euripedes, Helena, 1235.
142. Homer, Iliad, ii, 124; idem, Odyssey, xxiv, 483; Herodotus, Historiae, vii, 132.
143. Dictys Cretensis, Bellum Trojanum, i, 15.
144. Plutarch, Quaestiones Romanae, III.
145. Titus Livius, History of Rome, xl, 6; Quintus Curtius, De Gestis Alexandri Magni, x, 9, 28.
146. Apollodorus, Bibliotheca, iii, 13, 7.
147. J. G. Frazer, Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, Vol. I (London, 1919), p. 419.
148. Pitts, Travels, cited by S. Burder, loc. cit.
149. B. S. Carey and H. N. Tuck, The Chin Hills (Rangoon, 1896), pp. 198, 200; H. W. Read, Hand Book of Haka Chin Customs (Rangoon, 1917), p. 40.
150. A. Jaussen, Coutumes des Arabes au pays de Moab (Paris, 1908), pp. 361-363; idem, "Coutumes Arabes," Revue Biblique (April, 1903), p. 248, both sources cited by J. G. Frazer, op. cit., p. 409.
152. S. Curtiss, Primitive Semitic Religion To-Day (N.Y., 1902), pp. 196 ff.
153. Ibid., p. 195.
154. J.G. Frazer, op. cit., p.412.
155. N.M. Sarna, op. cit., p. 126.
156. Genesis 15:18-21.
157. Ibid., 15:1.
158. N.M. Sarna, op.cit., p. 121.
159. Genesis 15:15.
160. Ibid., 19:27-28.