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Turning over like a Potters wheel … and the Big ugly Og

22 February 2014

Don Mills, on the Eric Aitchison chronology discussion (contact address available if you wish to participate) chips in on a debate about the Ipuwer Papyrus and the fact it is a similar document to other MK examples of the same kind of verbals and therefore must refer to the First Intermediate Period. Velikovsky of course claimed it really belonged to end of Middle Kingdom. He suggests Velikovsky was a bit naughty as he didn't finish off a quotation from the papyrus. The phrase, 'Lo, the land turns like a potters wheel …' (see Ages in Chaos page 25) was treated as an example of the physical turmoil on the Earth when in fact in its original context it plainly refers to social turmoil, he says. The next line, omitted by Velikovsky, reads 'the robbers own riches and the noble is a thief'. However, Mills makes the point he is convinced a 500 year revision is in order and he is not in favour of lesser versions, such as James (around 350 years) and Rohl (around 250 years). Hence, although he is critical of the way Velikovsky omits evidence that might be unfavourable,  something lots of historians do by the way and is not peculiar to him, he is still thinking an Ages in Chaos scenario is in order.

Ginzberg's Legends of the Jews can be viewed at www.sacred-texts.com/jud/loj/ and has a fascinating story about Joab (also linked by Don Mills in a posting). It has a fascinating story about Joab, the general of David, and how the Amalekites stronghold was taken. It is actually described in the legend as a great city but this is perhaps an embellishment as the Amalekites were a people of the Negev and Sinai – although the discussion has now found evidence that Amalekites were in occupation of some of the hill country too. Who exactly the Amalekites were is a bit of a mystery, in some respects, and they have too easily been defined as a tribe of the desert margins. In fact, as a legend this story is full of embellishment – but what is it hiding? For six months the army under the command of Joab had beseiged the Amalekite city (stronghold) without conclusion. Joab then came up with a plan – a really peculiar plan. The legends of the Jews are considered to be fantastical – and perhaps they are. My interpretation of this one is also fantastical and has an element of tongue in cheek. Joab proposed that he was shot into the Amalekite city with the propulsion of a sling – but it must have been a stupendously big sling to propel a human. Not only that he had a big money belt strapped round his waist – and he was carrying a sword. This broke when he landed and occasioned a sub-theme of a new sword being forged by the local smith, a common mythic theme in tall stories of the past.

Joab, cast into the city by a sling, and with money jingling around his midriff, was apparently injured (even the story tellers could not get away from the sheer impossibility of flying through the air and landing in a heap). He pretended to be a prisoner of the Israelite army that was subject to inhuman treatment – shot from a sling. He then set about killing the inhabitants, starting with 500 choice Amalekite warriors. A rumour spread through the city that Asmodeus, the king of the demons (and a feature of Levantine mythology throughout history) and this caused confusion. Joab went on to kill thousands of Amalekites and eventually, opened the gates to leave a few of them for the Israelite army waiting outside, and they finished the job. They killed every single inhabitant of the city apart from Agag the king, with his crown of pure gold, and destroying temples and buildings etc.

In this story Joab appears to have adopted the role of a bolide – emphasized by the fact his sword became part of his anatomy. Slings are associated with the old gods of Ireland too, one was launched against the eye of Balor, for example, and a sling shot (a round stone) was an apt way of to describe a meteor (or fragment). Hence, in the time of David, and Joab, a city (or settlement) was obliterated by said bolide. This has a resonance with a bolide associated with the threshing floor on which Solomon built his temple (a holy place specifically associated with the site of a bolide event). This is furthered by the gold crown (the sun like god) and the name of Agag. This is derived from Og the giant. He hitched a lift on the ark of Noah (another legend of the Jews). Agag has the meaning of 'giant, giant' and as we all know from Jack the Giant Killer and his bean stalk that the giant lived in the sky. Of course, I might be barking for saying this – but its all fun in the end. The interesting add-on to this legend is that in the version preserved in the Bible Samuel became angry because Agag had been spared – and hewed off the head of the Amalekite king. This has the ring of a legend as it is a fairly common mythic theme – the break-up of a comet. Perhaps. 

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