Israel - Egypt and the Ancient Near East - RR160A2a
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As I indicated last week what I shall be doing in these lectures is not to repeat the material that you will have in your notes. I will expect you to read the notes and ask any questions that come to your mind concerning them. What I shall do is to parallel the notes with comments which will be designed to bring out the meaning of that particular aspect of history. I’ve had to throw some light from literature of the period on the goals and the purposes of men. Our first chapter deals with Israel…with the history and the Old Testament period. God and Israel. Our source for this history is the Bible. It is customary nowadays even in so called evangelical circles to say that the Bible is not a textbook of history and it’s not a textbook of science and we should listen to scientists and historians and what they have to say which make correct or supplement scripture. This kind of division of faith and history is not Christian, it is [unintelligible]. It is a heresy. The Bible in fact is the best history book in the world and the source of our only infallible knowledge of history because it is the inspired and infallible word of God. This is its own claim. Now of course at this point if I were lecturing to a group of say college professors they would immediately raise the question that has been raised over and over again, ‘Well, what about all the other books that claim to be inspired books, all the books in the world that claim to be the word of God? Why should we believe that this one in particular is the true word of God rather than those of other religions?’ The answer to that is a very obvious one. Are there, we may ask, many books of many religions claiming to be the inspired word of God? The answer is very definitely no. In fact virtually all religions in the world are none theistic; that is they do not hold to a supreme absolute and perfect God. [00:03:04]
In fact most of them do not even affirm that there...
In fact most of them do not even affirm that there is a God. Thus, Buddhism has no God. In Buddhism it is not God who rules the world but nothingness is ultimate. [unintelligible] does not have a god. It says that basically there are two forces in the universe, the ying and the yang, the male and the female impulses and so there’s no right or wrong, but that which is fitting at a particular time, sometimes drive and initiative and sometimes to yield and to give in. These are the things that govern history. These two basic drives are impulses. For Hinduism like Buddhism, nothingness is ultimate. Daoism, another powerful religion in India has no God, it simply worships life and believes in the transmigration of souls and the daoists are the ones who go around with a veil before their faces lest they should by accident inhale a gnat or some other insect and kill it. For the gnat could be their grandmother or grandfather reincarnated. They have no concept of God. And so on, as you go around the world and examine the religions of the ancient world, outside of the Bible there is not one that affirms the belief in God, a sovereign absolute God. Oh yes they talk about gods but the gods were not anything that we would call even gods. [00:05:10]
As [unintelligible name] said to the Romans, one of...
As [unintelligible name] said to the Romans, one of the church fathers, he said ‘your gods are made or unmade by senate’ the senate passes a resolution and says that emperor so-and-so who died last year is now a god by act of senate. And he said what kind of god is one who is made or unmade by act of senate. In a very real sense the term to apply to the gods of paganism was the word ‘hero’ and in fact a hero was a semi-divine man, someone probably on his way to being fully a god. As a result there was no god in them. There were just deified men. And of course this is very clear in such religions as Shintoism. The gods are the ancestors and Shintoism is essentially ancestor worship. So the idea that any of these pagan religions had a Bible in which God claimed to be speaking or the writers of it said that God was speaking is ridiculous. The Bible we are told again and again the spirit of the Lord said thus and so. These are the words of the Lord, through the mouth of the prophet so and so. Now what are these pagan books are going to say? The spirit of nothingness says? Or nothingness said to me? The idea is ridiculous. And so the objection of these people that all these other religions have sacred books in which the god speaks or gods speak is nonsense. As a matter of fact we are the ones who gave their books, their religious books the name of Bible, we call them the bibles of these various religions which is nonsense, they don’t think of them that way. They don’t think of them as inspired infallible words of God because first of all they don’t have the concept of an inspired infallible word or any belief in a god who speaks. The Bible therefore is very clearly unique. No religion has what claims to be the word of God except Biblical faith. Now, having said that, we must state that although the Bible has no rivals it has imitators. In the Christian era there have been imitation Bibles. But no civilization, no culture, no religion independently of Christianity has ever produced a book that claims to be the word of God. [00:08:35]
The Bible is unique...
The Bible is unique. But after Christianity began to make none its message then there were imitations. And of course the first and greatest one was Islam. Islam. The Koran, k-o-r-a-n, the Koran of Mohammed. But it’s a pseudo-Bible. It has no verified prophecy, it has no verified history. There is nothing in it of any character that stands. For as the Bible at every point where archeology is done or any excavation it has been confirmed, to the very minute detail. Its prophecies have been fulfilled. But the Koran is just the endless statements about things by Mohammed and very often where he touches on history very clearly wrong. Another pseudo-Bible or imitation Bible is the book of Mormon. Here again we have a very sorry work. Very few people are aware of the fact that the book of Mormon since it was produced by Joseph Smith by 1900 had been revised over two thousand times. Over two thousand revisions in it. Why? To create very obvious and glaring blunders. One of the worst blunders that Joseph Smith worked into his book of Mormon was he had somebody supposedly a Hebrew writing about 1600 quote Shakespeare. [Laughter] Of course those older editions of the Book of Mormon had been recalled and virtually all destroyed, they’re exceedingly rare. But you can see why they had to revise it so many times, which means Joseph Smiths day and the end of the century. It was a pseudo-Bible, an imitation Bible. The concept of the word of God is unique. It belongs to the Bible only and it gives us a historical revelation, one which is abundantly at every point historical and relates to the problems of this world. [00:11:30]
I’d like to quote here from Gordon Clarks ...
I’d like to quote here from Gordon Clarks Study of Historiography, now this is basically a study of the philosophy of historical writers. But he has something to say about the difference between the Greek writers and the Hebrews, the biblical writers. And he says Plato, Cicero and Aristotle and other such historians had no sense of history. Plato apologetically remarks that human affairs are hardly worth considering. Cicero asserts that the gods attend great matters and neglect small ones. Aristotle teaches that the gods are not concerned with dispensation of good and bad portions and agrees that they’re not personal. Then in powerful knowledge maintained over a dozen pages, [unintelligible name] (he’s referring to another scholar) impresses upon his readers the prophetic abhorrence of evil and God’s concern for his people in the Bible, quote:
“But for the prophet however no subject is as worthy for consideration as the plight of man, indeed God himself is described as reflecting over the plight of man rather than as contemplating eternal ideas. His mind is preoccupied with man, with the concrete actualities of history, rather than the timeless issues of [unintelligible]. The prophets concern is not with nature but with history.” Unquote.
Now this is the difference. Go to these pagan so called sacred books and they’re talking about abstractions. Basically what they’re asking is life worth living or not and their basic answer is that it really isn’t and the goal is to be dead and finished with it all. But what does the Bible tell us? That the very hairs of our head are all numbered. That not a sparrow falls but our Father in heaven knows it. That he has a total concern with man and with the world. [00:14:05]
There is nothing in all the religions of the world...
There is nothing in all the religions of the world like it. And this is exactly why the Bible is a unique book, why it is historical. It begins by telling us the creation of the world and it goes on to tell us the history of the world in terms of God’s covenant with his people. And it tells us that that covenant is going to include finally all peoples, tribes and tongues. And that God’s order is going to prevail over the entire earth and then the end. We thus have something radically different in the Bible then in all other religions and you only have true historiography where Christianity has been, nowhere else. Before the Christians went to the Orient did they teach history? Not at all. You could study Confucianism or Buddhism or Daoism or Shintoism, but history? No. Who would be concerned with history? Or the welfare of men or the salvation of men? No! That didn’t concern anyone. Why should it? The one concern was how to escape from life. China was a country filled with Buddhism and Mohammadism and other religions but travelers there in the last century, in fact up until the time that the communists took over said that if somebody fell overboard on a boat on the yellow river no one would stop, no one would save his life, who wanted the liability of somebody’s life? Life wasn’t worth that much. So history was meaningless because life to them was meaningless. Thus the humanistic historians who despise Christianity are despising the very thing that has made the teaching of history and interest in history at all possible. [00:16:50]
It would be tempting to spend more time on this but...
It would be tempting to spend more time on this but since we have [unintelligible] borrowed the present to cover let’s pass on now to Egypt, our second chapter. Now on page nine of our chapter on history I call attention to the fact in the second paragraph, the sixth line from the end of the second paragraph that Johnny Wilson has observed in the symposium before philosophy, the Egyptians were monostasets [sp??]. It is not a matter of a single God but of a single nature of observed phenomena in the universe with a clear possibility of exchange and substitution. With relation to gods and men the Egyptians were monosasets, many men and many gods were all ultimately of one nature. Now the word monosasits literally means one nature, one nature in all things. Therefore all things are divine, the gods, the Egyptian gods, and the men and so on. As I point out in that chapter they sometimes would have an onion in their temple and you worshipped the onion because you were thereby indicating that there was one nature in all things. But all things were also evolving upwards and as a result the gods themselves spoke of evolution, evolution is a pagan concept. On page ten the third paragraph about the middle of the page, this development of men was simply a reflection of the evolution and development of the gods. The god [unintelligible] declared that I evolved the evolving of evolution. I evolve myself under the form of the evolutions of the god [unintelligible] which were evolved at the beginning of all time. I evolved with the evolution of the god [unintelligible], I evolved by the evolution of evolutions, that is to say I developed myself from the primeval matter in which I was made. I developed up myself to the primeval matter. My name is [unintelligible name] the germ of primeval matter. [00:19:39]
As a result they had a concept of evolution, everything...
As a result they had a concept of evolution, everything evolving, the onion had the same nature as you did and you and the onion had the same nature as the gods and the world to come and when you died if you had evolved properly during life by good works you would become a god. And in the book of the dead it is described how when you pass all the tests and the examinations if you were not destroyed because your bad works were greater than your good works, you would stand there and you would say ‘I feel the hands of myself becoming the hands of a god and I feel the hair of myself becoming a god’ and so on, a long ritual celebrating the fact that you were now a god. It was thus an evolving society but it was also a fixed society in a certain respect. What does that mean? Both evolving and yet fixed. Well it was fixed in that it was like a pyramid and the pyramid was the symbol of Egypt. The pharaoh who was the god man was at the top and down at the base were all the masses of the common people and around them the world of nature. As man progressed he began to move upward on that pyramid and until finally he went into another pyramid inverted which was the realm of the dead or the realm of the gods. But it was a fixed thing so that there was a static social order unchanging and in that framework man evolved. All pagan antiquity was evolutionary in its thinking, evolution has no evidence. It is a faith, now creationism is a faith too, we believe in God, therefore we believe His word when He declares that He created all things and that in the space of six days. Now we can say we believe there’s more evidence for our position than the evolutionary position but basically we accept it on faith. Only a few scientists will admit that their position is basically a faith. But it is! And it’s an ancient pagan faith. Now some societies were in continual flux, we shall see that when we come to the Babylon’s and the Assyrians; they were always changing as part of their evolutionary thinking. But the Egyptians were not, there couldn’t be change in the framework because they had a line that had kind of a Henry Ford concept. [00:22:42]
Now Henry Ford standardized the Model T at a certain...
Now Henry Ford standardized the Model T at a certain point. And he thought I might make from year to year minor changes to the motor but basically it’s the same thing. The motor cars developed to a certain point and I’ve got it to a certain point where it’s a terrific seller, it gives people what they want and I don’t have to advance it. So any customer can have any color provided it’s black. And it’s going to be standard year in and year out. Well he made a fortune that way but of course things didn’t stand still, you see. But he tried within a framework to standardize and then have minor changes within the framework. It’s basically been a profitable idea for the Volkswagen Company too. Up to a point they could do it, but now they’re feeling that things are leaving them behind so they’ve got to change their standardization but you get the idea. You freeze the form and you make minor changes within it. And you say well, you can have any color as long as its black and within that frame work we’ll tinker around but we won’t change the basic framework. Well that’s what Egypt believed. You made the basic framework, the pyramid of society and you did not change it. Well they made it work for quite a while. Egypt and the ancient world was a very great power and a very proud power. It was at the crossroads of the world. Three continents touching each other more or less in that area, Europe, Asia and Africa. And in those days North Africa was rich lush country, the Sahara in those days was not desert, partly the weather moved northward and partly men turned it into a desert. [00:24:50]
You know there’s some parts of the Middle West in the...
You know there’s some parts of the Middle West in the Dakotas for example that get as much rain as some parts of the Sahara. But look at the difference between them. And then when the French had North Africa they were in areas that were once rich civilizations with millions of citizens, beginning slowly to replant and reforest the area with certain types of trees. Now again it’s going downhill, but more than once man has turned some portion of the world into a desert. But in those days it was very populous. There were more people living in the Mediterranean world in the days of the Roman Empire and earlier than are living now. And they were not over populated. That area still has tremendous potentialities. In the right hands, after all remember North America was in the hands of three hundred Indians, some people say twice that, but nobody says more than a million, and they lived not only poorly but they starved to death almost every winter and resorted to cannibalism regularly. It was poor country as far as they were concerned and now look how rich it is. Egypt was tremendously rich and fertile. I point out to you now the second chapter that the soil along the Nile basin is one of the richest in the world. Tremendously rich, Egyptian cotton is by the way the best cotton in the world. But they’re still one of the poorest people in the world today. India and Egypt are perhaps the countries with the most insoluble problems of any country today. Egypt incidentally is no longer ruled by Egyptians but by Arabs. It was conquered by the Muslims and the Arabs have ruled it ever since except of course when the Turks and the British had it, but basically within the country Arabs have been dominant and the top, the ancient Egyptians are in the minority. [00:27:36]
It is interesting that one of the words used for Egypt...
It is interesting that one of the words used for Egypt in the bible is Mizrain, m-i-z-r-a-i-n, and we are told that the Egyptians descended from one of the descendants of Noah whose name was Mizrain. Someone who went to Egypt told me that it was an interesting thing after reading his Bible and knowing it, to realize that the Egyptian Airlines is called the Mizrain airlines. They still use that name there. But with the Egyptians their faith because it was a statist faith, because it was a faith in which the state was god on earth, and in which man had no life outside of the state, it was one in which there was no real hope. And so it is interesting to read Egyptian documents and to see the pessimism that gradually overwhelmed them…but first some Egyptian instruction. These are from the visor [unintelligible name] about 2450 B.C. and he wrote instructions as to how to live. And some of it is rather interesting and good sound advice.
“If thou art a man of standing and commandeth a household and produceth a son who is pleasing to the god, if he is correct and inclines towards thy way and listens to thy instruction while his manners are fitting and if he takes care of thy property as it should be, seek out for him every useful action, use thy son whom thy concubine engendered for thee, thou shouldn’t not cut thy heart from him but man’s seed often creates enmity. If he goes astray and transgresses thy plan and does not carry out thy instruction so his manners in your household are wretched and he rebels against all that thou sayest, while his mouth runs on in the most wretched talk, quite apart from his experience, while he possesses nothing, thou shoulds’t cast him off, he is not thy son at all. He was not really born to thee, thus thou enslaveth him entirely according to his own speech, he is one whom God has condemned in the very womb.” [00:30:34]
This is hard headed advice and listen to this...
This is hard headed advice and listen to this:
“If thou art a man of standing thou shouldsn’t bind thy household, and love thy wife at home as is fitting, fill her belly, clothe her back, ointment is a prescription for her body, make her heart glad as long as thou liveth. She is a profitable yield for her lord. Thou shoulds’t not contend with her at long and keep her far from gaining control. Her eye is her storm wind, let her heart be soothed through what maketh accrue to thee, it means keeping her long at thy house.”
Then another bit of advice from him:
“Do justice while thou endureth upon earth, [unintelligible] the weaker, do not oppress the widows, supplant no man in the property of his father and impair no officials at their post. Be on thy guard against punishing wrongfully. Do not slaughter it is no advantage to thee. But thou shoulds’t punish with beatings and with the rest, this land will be firmly grounded thereby, except for the rebel when his plans are discovered for the gods know the treacherous of heart and the gods condemn his sin and blood. Do not kill a man when you knowest his good qualities, one with whom thy dids’t once sing the writing. He who reads in the city book”—uh, and so on. [00:32:08]
Then for a little advice of another sort, this from...
Then for a little advice of another sort, this from the instructions of [unintelligible name] from the eleventh to the eighth century B.C. probably.
“Take for thyself a wife where out thou still a youth so she might produce a son for thee. Beget him for thyself while thou are still young. Teach him to be a man, a man where his people are many and happy, he is saluted respectfully with regard to his children. Be on thy guard for a woman from abroad who is not known in her own town. Do not stare at her when she passes by, do not know her carnally, a deep water whose windings one knows not, a woman who is far away from her husband, I am asleep she says to thee every day, she has no witnesses when she waits to ensnare thee. It is a great crime worthy of death when one hears of it. Do not talk a lot. Be silent and thou shalt be happy. Do not be careless.”
And then a little later:
“Thou shoulds’t not express thy whole heart ot the stranger to let him discover your speech against thee. If a passing remarks issues from thy mouth and is hasty and it is repeated, thou wilt make enemies. A man may fall to ruin because of his tongue.”
And then a little further:
“Thou shoulds’t not supervise too closely thy wife in her own house when thou knowest she is efficient. Do not say to her ‘where is it, fetch it for us’ when she has put it in the most useful place. Let thy wife have regard while thy-let thy eye have regard while thou art silent, thou mayest recognize her abilities. How happy it is when thy hand is with her, many are here who do not what a man should do to stop dissention in his house. Every man who is settled in the house should hold the hasty heart firm. Thou shoulds’t not pursue after women, (that is another woman) do not let her steal away thy heart.” And so on. [00:34:22]
The Egyptians thus were a very practical people...
The Egyptians thus were a very practical people. Very pragmatic and very hard headed in their practical wisdom. As a result because of their very pragmatic, practical way they did build up a very firm enduring empire, a very successful one and a very prosperous one. Incidentally we tend to think of people who lived long ago as having been more or less half savage and not like us. It may surprise you that in Moses’ day and remember Moses was a prince of the realm because Pharaoh’s daughter adopted him. According to what scholars have learned Solomon probably in the evening, in the cool of the day took a walk around the palace grounds with other gentlemen wearing a top hat and having a gold headed walking cane. So [laughs] it’s a little different then we imagine. But this is the way they lived. It was an advanced culture. But its pragmatism killed it. It was a culture without any real faith except in that which was practical and ultimately it was not able to stand. [00:35:55]
Then our third chapter deals with some of the ancient...
Then our third chapter deals with some of the ancient near eastern cultures. Again very briefly to touch on some of these I have shown these pictures to some of you previously but I think they’re well worth seeing again, we fail to realize that man the minute we find him on the scene of history is a very highly civilized man. But the idea of a primitive, a cave man is unknown to history. So that to understand what man is we have to recognize that he was created in the image of God and when we first meet him he has knowledge and he builds a civilization quickly. The Minoan civilization goes back about three thousand B.C. to about fourteen hundred B.C. it built a tremendous civilization. It may be a surprise to some of you they had hot and cold running water, flush toilets and so on. This is a portion of one of the great palaces and here is a portion of the interior. Hardly the kind of thing you associate with primitivism. And these are ruins, a shadow of what they once were. Now this is the Minoan civilization on Crete. Three thousand B.C. to fourteen hundred B.C.
Now the religion of most of these countries if not virtually all of them that are dealt with chapter three was a fertility cult religion. And Baal worship was a form of fertility cult worship. And fertility cult worship is a highly sexual worship. As a matter of fact the temples would have ritual prostitutes attached to them. And there would be worship which would require sexual acts so that you would go there and as a part of your worship at the temple there were no congregational meetings, incidentally, outside of the bible. Some have imitated it, Buddhists nowadays have congregational meetings. But in no pagan religion was there any such thing as one day of worship or a congregational service. You went to the temple to buy insurance as it were. And you did it through various ritual acts and a payment. But an important part of that worship was a sexual act with a sacred prostitute. It could be a homosexual or it could be a woman or it could be an animal. Bestiality was a part of these cult religions. Again what we must say these were not primitive religions. The evolutionists try to portray these fertility cults as though they represented an early stage in the development of religion. In reality they represented a stage of decline, of decadence, of cultural collapse. [00:39:57]
Just as today we have as we are declining and collapsing...
Just as today we have as we are declining and collapsing a tremendous amount of sexuality and sex worship, many of the black masters and magical groups their worship is a worship which is no different than the old fertility cults. In all of these today it’s a mark of cultural decay. The point is a very important one. Because man when he is helping when he is prospering, does not see sex as primary in his interests. He is concerned more with work, with calling, with statist, with property, with exercising dominion. This is the basic urge in man. But when you have a cultural collapse and men cease to be men in the true sense of the word then sexuality replaces man’s normal interests with an abnormal interest in sex. Now he may be less virile but he is more intensely interested then. Thus it has been shown again and again in times of war for example during World War Two, when people were in prison camps after they lost hope those who were without faith as they faced starvation became just before the time period that they became too weak to function so intensely and insanely interested in sex that it was just almost unbelievable. Why? Being without faith and without hope sex had replaced the normal God given desire in man to exercise dominion through a calling, through his position as head of a household and so on. So that whenever you have a fertility cult in a culture you know that instead of a culture that’s low on the evolutionary scale it is a culture that is collapsed, that is decayed. [00:42:46]
This is true whether you deal with say cultures like...
This is true whether you deal with say cultures like the ancient cultures of the near east or with the tribes of Africa. It’s a very interesting thing but there are evidences among the tribes of Africa of ancient Egyptian civilization. Very definite traces of it. The African was not originally an inhabitant of the whole continent. Even when the white man landed in South Africa it was still practically uninhabited, the whole lower half virtually of that continent. Only a few tribes of wandering Bushmen and Hotenttots who could be numbered in the hundreds could be found in the northern part of what is now the union of South Africa. They had not moved very far into Central Africa. And there are remnants even down into Rhodesia of stone fortresses which they don’t know much about. But one time various peoples had ruled and we know of Arab empires that ruled down in some areas of Central Africa. So that many of the practices of the modern African represent the cultural decline and collapse of superior cultures that were there before and ruled over them and they just have the dredges of it now. This is true elsewhere in the world. Thus when we first meet with the cultures of the near east in the Bible as well as in the historical records they were far gone. [00:45:08]
It would have been centuries after the flood after...
It would have been centuries after the flood after they had been established, they had declined. It’s always interesting to go to an ancient culture and look at its documents. Let’s take a look at some of the writings of some of these peoples that I deal with in chapter three. One instance (I can’t locate the passage) we have one culture looking back on [unintelligible] as the golden age. And I wanted to cite it, a very interesting one, they look upon it as paradise and of course [unintelligible] of which Jeffrey [unintelligible] has done some very interesting work on, was an ancient civilization before Crete’s day that was very powerful, very prosperous, very wealthy, we’re just learning a little bit about it. And so they looked back on that as paradise. But they had significantly a backward look, so that in some of the earliest inscriptions we have found men look back and say those were the good old days. Back when we had a good order, long order, prosperity, peace and so on. Now going centuries later to 1728 to 1686 B.C. to the code of the Hammurabi it’s very interesting to see the kind of law they had, and I’m going to read from the code of the Hammurabi and from Hittite law and then comment on it. [00:47:35]
Now from the code of the Hammurabi...
Now from the code of the Hammurabi: “If the wife of a senior, a citizen, has been caught while lying with another men they shall bind them and throw them into the water. If the husband of the woman wishes to spare his wife then the king in turn may spare his subject.”
Very interesting. They had a sense of justice; remember they all had the original revelation to all people in Noah’s day. But if the husband wanted to spare the wife then the adulterer had to be spared too, justice had to be even handed. If the finger was pointed at the wife of a senior because of another man but she had been not been caught while lying with the other man, she may throw herself into the river for the sake of her husband. Women’s lib would not like that. [General Laughter] In other words she was to protect her husband’s reputation if she was talked about, not exactly my idea of a just law. Then if the senior was taken captive, that is during law, but there was sufficient to live on in his house his wife shall not leave the house but she shall take care of her person by not entering the house of another. In other words she cannot remarry as long as there’s something to live on, but if he was captive and there’s nothing to live on, she’s free. If that woman did not take care of her person but had entered the house of another they shall prove it against that woman and throw her into the water. This was a favorite way in Hammurabi’s day apparently. [laughter] Then to cite a few more, to give an indication of the life of the times:
“If a father dedicates his daughter to deity as a [unintelligible] do, a sacred prostitute or a [unintelligible] and did not present a dowry to her after the father have gone to his fate she shall receive as her share in the goods of the eternal estate, a one third patrimony. But she shall have only the use of her [unintelligible] as long as she lives since her heritage belongs to her brother.”
This is a very interesting law in that it deals with a very common practice of the day that was regarded as a very holy practice: for people to dedicate their daughters to the temples as sacred prostitutes. [00:50:59]
Then to pass on into Hittite law...
Then to pass on into Hittite law. To give you a idea of the culture. I’m just giving a sampling, every type of thing was covered with very minute regulations so that they had a highly urban civilization with all kinds of laws for control of merchandising, of trade¸ everything. This from the Hittite law:
“If anyone steals a bull, if it is a weanling it is not a bull, if it is a yearling, it is not a bull, if it is a two year old that is a bull, they would formerly give thirty head of cattle, now he shall give fifteen head of cattle, specifically five two year olds, five yearlings and five weanlings. And he shall pledge his estate as security.”
Now I’ve cited those laws because they form quite a contrast to biblical law. These are laws from highly developed very advanced civilizations. But the basic biblical law of restitution is not there. The biblical law of restitution is if a man has stolen a cow he restores five-fold. Why? Because that cow is able to multiply and therefore he restores the one he stole and he restores five others as penalty. Restitution. The full value, if he steals a hundred dollars he restores that hundred dollars plus another hundred. He is fined commensurate with the value of that which he steals. And you steal a cow, the theft of that is the theft of future calves as well. But the principle of restitution was not in these laws. The punishment did not fit the crime. For women to be thrown into the water and drowned just because she was talked about when there was no guilt proven just to spare her husband’s reputation…that is not justice. And when a man has to restore fifteen fold and as the law says earlier, that was thirty fold but that was a little too much, and then his whole estate has to be put up as security. It is a really exploitation, it’s not justice. The principle of justice that the punishment should fit the crime and it should be restitution, commensurate with the value of that which was stolen, so it could be from two fold to five-fold, depending on the kind of thing it was, this you do not find anywhere else in the world and of course we as we become humanistic have lost it. We’ve gone to the idea of prison, which is a humanistic idea. It used to be restitution and if you didn’t have it to restore you became a bondservant and worked it off. [00:54:42]
Now to go on to some observations on writings from...
Now to go on to some observations on writings from the period. From [unintelligible] which was a sister state in the days of [unintelligible] or the Chaldea’s. This I think is very interesting, [unintelligible] The Observations on Life and the World Order.
“Whence come from the evil things everywhere. I look backwards, persecution, woe, like one who did not offer a libation to a god and at mealtime did not evoke a goddess. He did not bow his face and did not know reverence and whose mouth prayer and supplication cease. From whom the holiday had been eliminated. Whom became negligent, despise their images, who did not teach his people religion and reverence, who did not remember his god although eating his food, who forsake his goddess and did not offer for a libation. Nay worse than one who became proud and forgot his divine lord, who swore frivolously in the name of his honorable deity. Like such a one have I become. Yet I myself was thinking only of prayer and supplication, supplication was my concern and sacrifice my rule. The day of the worship of the gods was my delight; the day of my goddess was my profit and wealth. Veneration of the king was my joy and I enjoyed music in his honor. I taught my land to observe the divine ordinances, to honor the name of the goddess I instructed my people. The kings majesty I equated to that of a god and reverence for the royal palace I invocated in the troops. Oh if I only knew those things were well pleasing to a god, what is good in one’s sight is evil to a god, what is bad in one’s eyes is good for his god, who can understand the council of the gods in the midst of heaven. The plan of a god is deep waters, who can comprehend it. Where has be settled mankind ever learned what a gods conduct is.”
Now there’s your answer, this is from the supposedly...
Now there’s your answer, this is from the supposedly sacred writings. There’s your answer to those who say ‘well other religions have their bibles’. Well here is a man who begins by saying well I’ve done something wrong and that’s why I’m having problems, the gods don’t like me because I’ve neglected these things and then he says no! I’ve observed all things and I did everything. And look at me. How do I know what’s good to a god and what’s bad to him, the things that I think are good he seems to think are wrong and the things I think are bad he seems to think are good. Where has befuddled mankind ever known what the gods expect of him? Now there’s a cry out of the ancient world, of course a cry that would not listen to the word of God because His witness is always there. But this is paganism. They had no certain word. Or to cite another citation, this again from [unintelligible]. And this is a pessimistic dialogue between master and servant. And this I think is a very, very telling one because here is a very wealthy powerful master and I’ll just read portions of it, it is long.
“He is writing this, he has whatever he wants, he can say I want this and it’ll be brought to him, bring me food, bring me my chariot so I can take a ride, bring me some women, bring me this, but there’s no pleasure in all of these so he commands the many and nulls the commands, life is meaningless. Servant obey me. Yes, my lord yes. Bring me at once the chariot; I will ride to the palace. Ride my lord, ride. All your wishes will be realized for you, the king will be gracious to you. No servant I will not ride to the palace. Do not ride my lord, do not ride. Servant obey me. Yes my lord, yes. Bring me at once water for my hands and give it to me, I wish to dine. Dine my lord, dine. To dine regularly is the opening of the heart, it brings joy. To a dinner eat and then happiness and with [unintelligible] with the sun god comes. No servant I will not dine. Do not dine my lord, do not dine. To be hungry and to eat, to be thirsty and drink comes upon every man. Servant obey me. Yes my lord, yes. I would build a house. I will not build it. Servant obey me. Yes my lord, yes. I intend to start a rebellion. Do it, my lord, do it. But if you do not start a rebellion what becomes of your play (that is your body). Who will give you something to fill your stomach? No servant, I shall not do something well. Doeth not my lord, doeth not. The man doing something violent is killed or is maimed or captured and cast to prison. Servant obey me. Yes my lord, yes. I will love a woman. Yes my lord, love, love. The man who loves a woman forgets pain and trouble. No servant, a woman I shall not love. Do not love my lord, do not love, woman is a well; woman is an iron dagger, a sharp one who cuts a man’s neck.”
And so on it goes to the very end. [01:01:03]
And then finally...
And then finally:
“Servant obey me. Yes my lord yes, now what is good. To break my neck, your neck, throw both into the river; that is good. Who is tall enough to ascend to heaven, who is broad enough to ascend the earth? No, servant I will kill you and send you to heaven. Then will my lord wish to live even three days after me?”
Now that is a very telling dialogue. To a man to whom life means nothing. He’s ready to try anything. He’s a friend to the king, he thinks to go there and chat with the king, but oh, doesn’t mean anything. I’ll start a rebellion, why doesn’t mean anything. Bring me a woman, doesn’t mean anything. Food, build me a better house, nothing means anything. Let’s both die and I’ll kill you and send you ahead first. [laughter] This is the kind of pessimism you see, the loss of will to live, that came upon every one of these ancient countries. They committed suicide first by losing their will to live before they were overthrown by an enemy. [01:02:29]
Then one more quotation and this from another [unintelligibl...
Then one more quotation and this from another [unintelligible] statement now, this will go back you see to the days of Abraham and earlier.
“The primeval king, the god [unintelligible] creator of mankind with the glorious god [unintelligible name] who nipped off their clay, the queen who formed them, the divine lady Amama, they bestowed on humanity ingenious feet, fostered in untruth, they conferred upon them forever. Enthusiastically they speak of the rich man’s graciousness, he is a king, his [unintelligible] deities go to him as if he were a thief, they mistreat a wretched man, they bestow slander upon him, they plot murder against him. Slowly they bring every evil upon him because he lacks protection. Dreadfully they destroy him, they extinguish him like a flame.”
In other words against this man the deck is stacked. The gods are favorable to the rich and the powerful and the rest of us are treated like dirt. Life is no good, it is misery. And so what is there to live for. This is what over and over again in one nation after another in antiquity people decide. Life is meaningless. What is there to live for? And they collapse before an enemy knocks them over. This is always been the destiny of humanism. And this is why it is important for us to study history, last time you recall I said that those who are interested in history, in the past, are those who are interested in the future. And so as we study we shall see the pattern of things. How cultures rise and fall, that the meaningless of life without God overwhelms them before an enemy overwhelms them. And then in the Christian era we shall see the new strands that come in and how there is the wrestling with humanism. [01:05:18]
Next week if you will continue your reading through...
Next week if you will continue your reading through chapter seven and we will try and pick up a little speed as we lay a little more groundwork and get to the more familiar modern era where we can go into more detail if possible. Are there any questions now about anything in the written text or what we have said in discussion?
[Rushdoony answers] We don’t know what Shakespeare’s faith was, but this we do know. When Shakespeare went to school, the study of the Bible was mandatory in schools so that he would have had known it thoroughly from cover to cover, long sections of it by heart. Moreover not only was that mandatory but he also knew much of the Book of Common Prayer by heart. This would also be in his schooling. So that this is why when you read Shakespeare the echoes of the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer are so very, very extensive. He was schooled on that, that’s why he basically learned to read and write, not by textbooks, those were his textbooks. So that it was inescapable for him to know the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer. [01:07:26]
[Rushdoony Answers] Well, there is evidence that in every era of judgment there had been more earthquakes, over and over again in history, more disasters. But that has happened over and over again in history. Thus in the declining days of Rome the number of disasters and various sorts was very great. In my book Biblical Philosophy of History I just go to the Almanac and I show how in the fifty years before World War Two there were nowhere near as many earthquakes and tornadoes, hurricanes and so on as in the fourteen or fifteen years after World War Two. In other words there’s an increase right now but this has happened over and over again in history in times of judgment. So they’re wrong in saying it’s just a sign of the end, it’s a sign of judgment again and again in history.
Any other questions? Yes?
[Rushdoony answers] There are one or two good biblical atlases, I’ll try and get out the ones I have and see which ones I would recommend. If I had more available, some of them are stored in the garage but [interruption] yes, right, it would be a very invaluable thing. And maps are very interesting because they tell us so much. It’s hard to realize but at one time Lithuania which to us is such a little country extended all the way to the Black Sea. Was a very powerful country. And now it’s no longer in existence, the Soviet Union has swallowed it up and before that it was just one of the three Baltic Republics. Small countries. But it was a very powerful empire once. And maps can tell us that. Yes? [01:01:18]
[Rushdoony answers] Well, of course my belief is that we are in a time of judgment now. But I believe that we shall have a long time of Godly rule and prosperity before the end times. This is my belief and the Book of Isaiah certainly indicates that there will be a tremendous era of world-wide peace and prosperity and a glorious era in the latter days. Now…yes?
[Rushdoony answers] Yes, and that’s exactly what he said, that he has come to fulfill the law and it means to put it into force. Now, that statement would be ridiculous if Jesus said ‘think not that I have come to destroy the law, I have come to fulfill the law’ if it meant what some people think it means that he came to end it. He would then be saying ‘Think not that I came to destroy the law, I came to do away with it’. Now that’s a contradiction. What he says instead is that I have come to put the law in force. Yes? [01:12:10]
[Rushdoony Answers] yes, the origin of Halloween which has now become meaningless, it has no meaning really, it’s just a meaningless relic, is very definitely in distant antiquity, it goes back at least couple thousand years B.C. and there are scholars, notably Alfred Rehwinkel in his book the Flood who have developed a very good case for the fact that Halloween celebrates the dead from the flood. And many, many ancient legends and myths and you find Halloween all over the world, states that it was at that time that the people died in a judgment of God, in a flood. And therefore their spirits are commemorated on the anniversary of the date of the flood. Now this is the ancient story concerning it, there’s no reason to doubt it, because Halloween falls on the date that in terms of the Bible was the date of the beginning of the flood. So it’s the time when in the ancient world the ungodly began to honor the people before the flood who were ungodly and who perished. In other words by declaring ‘well we were on their side as against God so we’ll honor them against God’.
[Rushdoony Answers] Well it’s basically promised now because the meaning is gone, really. No one knows it any longer, or what it means, except a few Christians. The real problem today with Halloween is that it’s becoming dangerous for kids to be out. And I was really shocked the other day to see in the paper warnings to parents, first of all telling them to accompany their children and to go only in their neighborhood where there were lights on the porch and secondly if they received anything that indicated that the candy had been opened or if there was any sign of any bruise on the apple, not to do anything but throw it away. But the number of people that were putting poison into candy bars and razor blades into apples and things of that sort is a legion now. It’s an appalling fact that the police are seriously thinking of wishing they could abolish it because of that problem. So their counsel, which I thought was wise is a statement was if you can eliminate it with your children or else take them to a few selected homes in your neighborhood of people you know. So it’s not a harmless holiday now. So it’s exactly nine so our time is up.