Monday, May 23, 2011

The Jesus of Genesis: part one

To Abraham was born Isaac and to Isaac was born Jacob who was also called Israel.  Jacob fathered twelve sons.  Before Jacob’s death in the fifteenth century BC, he made the following prophecy:

The sceptre shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.

A sceptre was a highly decorated, ceremonial staff held by rulers as a symbol of sovereignty.  Judah was Jacob’s fourth son.  Moses and Joshua divided the land of Palestine between the descendants of the twelve sons of Israel early in the twelfth century BC.

About 1,000 BC, David the Bethlehemite began his reign over the United Kingdom, the core of which was the land of Palestine.  He was a member of the royal tribe of Judah and the first fulfilment of Jacob’s prophecy.

The United Kingdom was divided in 933 BC following the reign of David’s son, Solomon.  The northern kingdom, consisting of the land assigned to the ten northern tribes, took the name Israel and the southern kingdom, the name Judah.  The southern kingdom was comprised of the land allotted to the tribe of Judah and a portion of the land occupied by the tribe of Benjamin, including Jerusalem.  Before that time, the tribe of Judah had absorbed the tribe of Simeon and their land.

Nineteen kings ruled over the kingdom of Judah.  All were descendants of King David.  One queen also governed Judah.  She was the wife of Judah’s fifth king.

Assyria conquered the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC by capturing its capital city of Samaria.  However Judah did not suffer the same fate.  Instead it was conquered by Babylon in 586 BC.  Nebuchadnezzar deported all but a few of its inhabitants and appointed a Judean governor called Gedaliah.  The governor was assassinated by a member of Judah’s royal family and the remnant of Judeans, who had banded around Gedaliah, fled to Egypt in fear for their lives.

The kingdom of Judah lay desolate for about forty-five years.  Babylon oversaw a barren land devoid of any subjects.

Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, granted the return of Judeans to their beloved Judah in 538 BC.  He appointed Zerubbabel to lead the 42,360 person exodus from Babylon.  Zerubbabel was a descendant of King David and a member of the royal tribe of Judah.

Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 331 BC.  Greece became a world empire and Greek, the universal language of the dominion.  Alexander founded the Egyptian city of Alexandria to exhibit the superiority of the Greek way of life.  The Diaspora was encouraged to settle there and Alexandria became a centre for Hellenists—Jews who adopted the Greek culture.  Alexander died in 323 BC and his empire was divided between his four generals. 

The shaggy goat in the Book of Daniel represents the kingdom of Greece and the goat's large horn represents Alexander the Great.  The broken horn and the four horns that arose in its place symbolize the death of Alexander and the four kingdoms that arose from his empire.

Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals, ruled Palestine and Egypt.  That was a time of prosperity for the Jews.  High Priests from the tribe of Levi were responsible for the internal affairs of Judah, called Judea by the Greeks and Romans.  By the time Ptolemy II took the throne, the Jews in Alexandria spoke Greek rather than Hebrew.  Because there was a need for a Greek translation of the Holy Scriptures of Judaism, he commissioned 70 Palestinian Jews to translate the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek in the third century BC.


  1. Scriptural reference: Genesis 49:10

  2. When Moses & Joshua divided the land of Palestine between the twelve tribes of Israel, the descendants of Joseph received a double portion of the land in the name of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim & Manasseh. Instead of receiving an inheritance in the land, the descendants of Levi became God’s priests and occupied 48 cities spread throughout Palestine.

  3. Assyria’s conquest of Israel: click Assyria on the sidebar.

  4. The Babylonian captivity: click Babylon on the sidebar.

  5. The assassination of Gedaliah: click The Shadow of Egypt on the sidebar.

  6. Cyrus releases the captives: click The Conquest of Babylon on the sidebar.

  7. Alexander the Great & his generals: click Greece on the sidebar.

  8. Scriptural references: Daniel 8:3-8,20-22

  9. The Ptolemies: type Seventy Sages into my search bar.

  10. Diaspora: the dispersion of Jews after the Babylonian exile until the present time; the Jews thus dispersed; the lands to which the Jews were dispersed. (The main dispersions took place between the 8th and 6th century BC which included the transportation of Jews by the Assyrians after their conquest of Israel in 722 BC.)

  11. Dating assumptions: creation of Adam & Eve 3761 BC; reign of Ramses I 1292-1290 BC; reign of Seti I 1290-1279 BC; reign of Ramses II 1279-1213 BC; death of Moses 1170 BC; reign of Saul 1053-1013 BC; reign of David 1013-973 BC; reign of Solomon 973-933 BC.

  12. One of the shortcomings of Egyptian chronology is that it doesn’t reflect co-regencies. Ramses II was born about 1303 BC. He was appointed Prince Regent as a teenager. If his official coronation occurred in 1279 BC, it may have taken place before the death of his father Seti I. Moses was born about 1290 BC during the reign of Ramses I. According to Deuteronomy 34:7, he lived 120 years. Notably, Moses was portrayed as a young man in Exodus 2 rather than an eleven year old boy. Therefore, assuming Seti I was the pharaoh mentioned in Exodus 2:23, his death would have occurred a few years after 1279 BC.