Thursday, October 15, 2009


Chapter A - Messiahship and messianic personalities.

1) Is. 44:28 - 45:1

2) The Septuaginta, the well-known Greek translation of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible), renders the title Messiah in all these respective cases as Christos, while further translations into modern languages make often a distinction by speaking of Jesus as the Christ (Christos) in contrast to the Kings Saul, David, and Cyrus who are spoken of as anointed (e.g. 1.Sam. 24:7,11; Ps. 137:10). - The Encyclopedia Britannica (of 1980, entry Cyrus), although quoting from Ezra l:4-6, does not refer in any way to Is. 45:1 and its statement about the Messiahship of this king.

3) Similar, if we want properly to understand words like Tao; karma; Avatar; Rassul; etc, we have to trace their meanings in their respective languages.

4) Ps. 105:9-15

5) 1.Sam. 24:1; 26:10; Ps. 132:17

6) The High Priests were anointed (Exod. 28:41; Lev. 4:3,5; Numb. 3:3) but were not called Messiahs. – Also material things could be anointed, Gen. 31:13; Exod. 40:9,11; Is. 21:5, etc. Thus, the term anointed can be understood as being consecrated –with the help of special oil- to a holy purpose

7) Sura “House of Imram”, 41

8) Is. 11:2

9) cf 1.Sam. 10:1,6; 16:3-15.

The people’s desire to “make us a king to judge us like all the nations” (1.Sam. 8:5) was in Samuel’s eyes tantamount to rejecting God’s kingdom (vss 6,7). Yet being told to hearken to the people, he gave Saul the spiritual anointing (10:1), apparently in the hope that it would not only “turn him to be another man” (vs 6) but that it would strengthen him in leading he nation “to renew there (=in Gilgal) the kingdom” (11:14). The term renew in this context can only mean to re-establish the Kingdom of God, the conceptual existence thereof being implied in the term “Kingdom of Priests” (Exod. 19:6) as well as in Balaam’s vision (Numb. 23:21). In connection with King Saul we find this term in 1.Sam. 9:16, 10:1; and as for King David in 1.Sam. 13:14; 25:30; 2.Sam. 5:2, etc. The combination of the words ,משיח and נגיד forming the specific term משיח נגיד (mashiah nagid), is in the Tanakh not used neither in connection with King Saul nor with King David, but it appears in Dan. 9:25. Commentators refer it usually to Yehoshua ben-Yehozedek and to Zerubabel mentioned in Hag. 1:14 and Ezra 2:2 as the local ruler and High Priest respectively in Jerusalem after the return from the captivity in Babel. But since they were not independent rulers, this interpretation is questionable.

10) Shem, rendered Sem in English, was "the father of all the children of 'Eber" (Gen. 10:21-24). The Hebrew word, or name, given here as 'Eber, ,עברmeans Hebrew, while שם , Shem, means Name. By calling him , שם Shem, Noah ordained him to be the bearer of the Divine Name (שם) ,and form the priestly tribe for mankind after the Flood. In Hebrew tradition, Melchizedek, King of Salem (Gen. 14:18), was none other than Shem (Melchizedek means King of Righteousness). According to the Genealogy given in Gen. chpt. 10, both Shem and 'Eber lived long enough to see Jacob's return from Laban.

The priestly function of Shem and 'Ever was then confined to the people of Israel (including its Messiahs) as the "kingdom of priests" (Exod. 19:6). Its Messiah, and the people along with him, is "a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek" (Ps. 110:3,4). In this order, the Name ( ,שם Shem) of the Lord is put upon the people of Israel (Numb. 6:22-27), and all people of the earth shall see that thou [Israel] art called by the name שם) , Shem) of the Lord" (Numb. 28:10). Those who do not accept this order, are aptly called anti-Semites (=self-styled God's people, and thus opposed to Israel and its Divine call).

11) 1.Sam. 10:24,25; 12:13; and others, indicate that e people made Saul king by acclamation.

12) 1.Sam. 10:1 and 15:1 (the latter does not say that Samuel actually anointed Saul as king!) 1.Sam. 16:13; 2. Sam. 2:4,7; 5:3

In connection with King Saul we find this term in 1.Sam 9:16; 10:1; and for King David in 1.Sam. 13:14; 25:30; 2.Sam. 5:2, etc. The combination of the words משיח and, נגיד forming the specific term משיח נגיד (mashiah nagid), is in the Tanakh not used neither in connection with King Saul nor with King David, but t appears in Dan. 9:25. Commentators refer it usually to Yehoshua ben-Yehozadak and to Zerubabel mentioned in Hag. 1:14 and Ezra 2:2 as the local ruler and High Priest respectively in Jerusalem after the after the return from the captivity in Babylon. This interpretation seems questionable since was an independent ruler.

E.g. King Solomon who was anointed king by Zadok the Priest and Nathan the Prophet (1.Kings 1:3,4); or King Yehu on Prophet Elisha’s order, 2.Kings 8:1,6

Gen. 12:8; 21:3; 26:25; 28:17-22)

Moses and the Prophets merely codified and expounded the lessons and teachings derived from the Patriarchs, and were thus not called Messiahs.

1.Sam. 8:22; and others

The First temple marked the formation of Israel ‘s nationhood focused on Zion, this term describing the linkage between the people, the land, and the Divine Teaching

20) Ezra 5:1,16.

21) Ezra 6:7; and others.

22) More on that subject see in chpt “Zecheriah’s Vision of the Menorah”

23) There is not such a term as “Second Coming”, or “Coming Again”, in the Gospels. The Greek word paroussia in Matth. 24:3, often interpreted as coming again, literally means presence. – The phrase in John 14:3, usually rendered “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again, and will receive you…”, literally translated from Greek, should be rendered “and if I should go, and should prepare for you a place again, and will receive you..” - Tischendorf sees the whole phrase as out of place here, and omits it altogether as a later interpolation.

24) Jer. 29:10

25) When David got anointed, the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, 1.Sam. 16;:13,14. This point should be taken into consideration in the understanding of Dan. 9:25 (see above) - i.e. Zerubabel could not be named שיח נגיד , mashiah nagid, while King Cyrus, Messiah of the Lord, was still alive and functioning; or else one would have to prove that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him (as it had departed from Saul). - The expected Messiah Ben-Joseph and Messiah Ben-David need not be contemporaries.

26) The Hebrew word נביא , navi, describes foremost his task of bringing a Divine message (within that frame he may also foresee and foretell events); while the Greek word from which derives prophet in English, describes the foreseeing of events.

B - The historic setting.

1) Jehanian, dto, p. 163-165.

2) "The Conquerer's Chronicles", by Haim Tadmor. Cf 2.Kings 16:7-9

3) e.g. 2.Kings 18:33; Hab. 1:6-15.

4) 2.Kings 18:11.

Chapter C - The Forming of the Persian Empire.

1) Reflected in Is. 13:4-6,17-19; 21:1-10

2) Details in Xenophon's Cyropaedia; and Olmstead's "History of the Persian Empire", page 37.

3) Hos. 2:24,25. In chapters 1 & 2 Hosea makes a revealing pun on the similar sounding words Israel and Yezreel, the latter one meaning God will saw. Altogether Israel is compared to God's seed.

In the east, the soil must have been prepared by Abraham's seven sons from Kethurah whom he had sent to the east, Gen. 25:6.

3a) Talmudic traditions have it that the town was established by exiles from the kingdoms of Israel, or of Judah (see Enzycl. Judaica, entry Isfahan). ,

4) Quoted from "The Religion of the Achaemenians", by Ardeshir Jehanian, Athenaeum Press, Bombay 4, 1971, p. 14.

Zarathustra (Zoroaster, in Greek) whose name may be rendered as Outshining Light, was a reformer. He endeavored to lead his followers from nature worship and its dualism to monotheism, and praised as the One God Ahura Mazda (lit. Omniscient Judge, this term apparently corresponding to the Hebrew word אלהים , elohim, which means both God and Judge, cf Ps. 50:6; 82:2; and others. In his teaching, Ahriman plays the role of an embodiment of the tempter, comparable to the snake in the Garden of Eden, or to Satan in Job 1:16; Zech. 3:1,2; l.Chron. 21:1. It was only in the generations after Zarathustra that Ahriman was conceived as an entity on its own in opposition to Ahura Mazda. The Zend-Avesta (a kind of "Gemara" to his teaching) exposes an outspoken dualistic view.

In Zarathustra's teaching there are notable parallels to Biblical teachings which may lead to the conclusion that Zarathustra received them either in direct revelations, or more likely, that he echoes Biblic concepts. The latter version is supported by the fact that he puts much of his teaching in the form of questions to Ahaura Mazda, and asks to confirm them. This besides direct revelations which he also records.

Some parallels, gathered from the five still existing Gathas, are:

a) Ahura Mazda (liter. the All-Knowing Judge) is the Creator of all, (Yasna 44:3,4,7; and others (Gen. 1:1ff). In view of Good and Evil, this thought is specified in Y. 19:9 and in Y. 49:4 which read: "These two intellects, or primeval principles, called spento mainyush [=beneficient spirit], and angro mainyush [=hurtful spirit], are inherent in Ahura Mazda's own nature". "He who created, by means of his wisdom, the good and the evil mind in thoughts, words, and deeds, rewards his obedient followers with prosperity. Art Thou [Mazda] not he in whom the final cause of both intellects [=good and evil] exists?".

b) He creates and sustains the creation by his holy word (Manthra), Y. 44:17 (Ps. 19);

c) He sets the Law and gives commandments, Y.34:12, and many others;

d) His is the Divine Kingdom, Y. 34:10; 43:13; and others (cf Ps. 145:11,13);

f) He is the Giver of Life, Y. 50:11 (Gen. 2:7);

g) Man is in God's image and likeness, Y. 43:3 (Gen. 1:27);

h) Man is (meant to be) God's co-worker, Y. 34:14 (Gen. 1:26)

i) God is Friend, Brother, Father, Y. 45:10 (1.Sam. 14:3; Ps. 83:27);

k) The double aspect (of good and evil) of the human mind is seen as God's greatest boon to the wise, Y. 30:1;

l) The mind of evil men begets evil spirits, Y.. 32:3;

m) The fire of God's thought is light for the believer and a flame to the evil-doer, y. 34:3 (cf Is. 50:11);

n) The evil doers can repent and return to the good paths, Y. 46:5 (Ezek. 18:21,22).

Stressing Zarathustra's monotheism does by no means indicate conformity of the Persian and the Jewish religion. There were grave differences which must have led sometimes to frictions, as e.g. the latter one's requirement to burry the dead, in contrast to the Persian idea not to pollute the earth by doing so, but rather give the corpses to birds of prey.

Isaiah's famous word "I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil: I, the Lord do all these things" (45:7), is usually seen as a rebuttal of the dualism attributed - incorrectly so - to Zarathustra. Dualism existed before and after this Iranian teacher who, in fact, tried to overcame it. The problem of good and evil and their origin was known before him - Gen. 2:17 speaks already of it.

5) Darius' I record of ancestry, found in Behistun, mentions Achaemenes as the founder of the dynasty, followed by Vishtaspa (I ?), Cyrus I, Cambysos I, Cyrus II, the Great (i.e. the one mentioned in Is.45:1) who reigned from 558 - 530 B.C.E. Details see in the Appendix "Timetable based upon Zunz".

6) Achaemenes lived probably in the 7th century B.C.E. His name, literally translated can mean Friend of Men (if menes be related to Sanskrit Manu = Man, the conscious being); or, as some scholars hold, to Friend of Mind (the Mindful One, if menes be related to Latin mens, mind, consciousness). Whatever be the case, the name (or epithet?) Achaemenes was meant to be the pivot for the politics of the Persian kings from the dynasty's founder on.

7) See previous note. Zarathustra lived in what we may describe now-a-days as northern Iran, while Achaemenes reigned in its southern part. Yet news about extraordinary events, like the appearance of an outstanding personality, spread very quickly already then.

8) The fame of King David and of Solomon's Temple had certainly reached also the countries in the north and the east, and not only the Queen of Sheba in the south (cf. 1.Kings 10:1,23,24; 4:30-34; Lament. 1:1; 1.Chron. 14:17).

An impressive ruin near Pasargade, the Takht-i-Solomon (Throne of Solomon) is claimed by local people as dating back to that king and, if verified, could be an archaeological proof of this king's impact. Its masonry resembles indeed that of ruins in Israel dating back to the period of the First Temple. However, most scholars hold that the structure is of the Achaemenian period, and that it got its present name after the Moslem conquest.

D) Cyrus' personality and feats.

1) 1.Sam. 16::12,13

2) See Appendix "The Dynasty of the Achaemenians"

3) A later Jewish source depicts Cyrus as an offspring from King Ahasverus and Queen Esther. This may sound charming to those who cannot reconcile with the idea that the Almighty can call forth an Anointed (Messiah) from the Gentiles, but it has no backing in the historic facts.

3) Herodot noticed as a characteristic of Persian names that they always end with a s or sh sound. This is certainly true in many cases. The name Kurush could thus derive from Kuru.

4) Nah. chpts 2-3, esp. 2:9. Prophet Nahum was active in the middle of the 7th century B.C.E., i.e. several decades before Niniveh’s fall.

E) - The conquest of Babel.

1) The Hebrew Bible does not discern between Babylonia and Babel; there is only one word for it. Babylonia stands foremost for the New Babylonian empire whose best known king was Nebukadnezzar. Babel refers to the spiritual kingdom founded by Nimrod (Gen. 11:1-9). The building of its city came to an end because of the "confusion of their language", but the attempts to build the "tower with its head in the heavens" (vs 4) which stands symbolically for self-glorification in opposition to Shem and 'Eber (=Semites and Hebrews), is still going on. - In the text, both terms are used as befitting the context.

2) cf Dan. 1:20

3) Jer. 52:31-34

3a) To quite some degree, we may see in King Nabunaid's story a certain parallel to that of Pharaoh Amenhotep IV. The latter, better known as Ekhn'aton, reigned from 1378 - 1361, that is, during the period of Israel's bondage in Egypt. He, perhaps stirred by the latter, tried to replace Egypt's polytheism by the sun god as the one to be worshipped, and built a new capital for that purpose. However, his successors swayed by the priests had to return to polytheism.

4) Interestingly enough, also Herodot mentions the banquet.

5) Jehanian, dto, p. 16.

6) The question whether this passage was written by one Prophet Isaiah, or by a so-called Deutero-Isaiah in the Persian or Greek period, needs not to be dealt with in our context. Yet it seems appropriate to consider the following:

a) Why should someone deny the possibility that Isaiah foresaw and foretold Cyrus and the related events when Nostradamus was able to foretell events and names of persons centuries ahead? What is more, a recent study with the help of powerful computers revealed that the Torah contains in a coded arithmetic pattern names of historic people and events down to our days. Prophets might have had access to these names and events without the help of computers. (See , המימד הנוסףThe Additional Dimension, by Doron Witztum, Agudah le'Mehkar Torani, P.O.Box 16409, Jerusalem.(

b) Prophet Isaiah not only foresaw that Media and Elam would overthrow Babel, but that they would do so "stirred up by the Lord" (Is. 13:17; 21:2-9);

c) In case chapters 44 & 45 of the Book of Isaiah should have been written with hindsight (perhaps by the school of prophets to which Zechariah belonged), the attributing of the title Messiah to Cyrus would gain even more weight because his personality and his deeds would then have been actually known to the writers.

A recent suggestion that the captive Jews in Babel enticed (i.e. bribed) Cyrus to free them in exchange for calling him Messiah is worse than ridiculous. What charm was there to be given such a title by a slain people?

7) Ezra 1:18; 5:18

8) Numb. 16:38 (in the Hebrew Tanakh: Numb.16:3).

9) Jer. 25:9; 27:6; 43:10

10) Is. chpt. 13. This chapter, as well as many other sayings of the Prophets, have both a historic setting and, based upon it, a message for all times. [Note: Even modern Bible critics accept that this chapter with its prediction of Babylonia's fall by the hands of the Medo-Persians was not written by an assumed Deutero-Isaiah but by Prophet Isaiah].

11) Is. 45:4. See also previous chapters.

Chapter F - Cyrus' Edict.

1) cf Gen. 44:17, 45:25; Ezra 1:5; 7:28; and many others.

2) Gen. 12:3; also Gen. 26:4; Is. 56:7; Zech. 8:20-23.

The Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah (Noahide Laws, in short) are:

*no idolatry

*no blasphemy

*no murder

*no incest

*no stealing

*no eating from the living animal (i.e. no blood)

*passing laws to enforce these basic rules.

According to Jewish tradition, these Divine laws were transmitted by Noah, the father of mankind after the flood, to his three sons Sem, Ham, and Japhet. They are binding for all men, and provide the frame within which each tribe, nation, etc, could develop its own religion.

3) 1.Kings 8:41,42.

4) Since Cyrus put his son Cambyses in charge of Babel's affairs, these negotiations must have taken place under his administration. However, since he was in that office for approximately one year only, the actual release of the Jewish captives occurred under a governor not yet known to us.

4a) Interestingly enough, a court internal note, found in the archives of the palace in Ahmeta in the days of King Darius, is rendered in Ezra 6:2-5 in Aramaic.

5) Ezra 1:2-4; 2.Chron. 36:22.

All the Persian laws and documents, written on the famous "12000 cow hides" mentioned by ancient historians, were destroyed by the troops of Alexander the Great.

6) The mentioning of the title King of Babel in Ezra 1:18 and 5:13 apparently hints at this responsibility taken up by Cyrus as successor of the Babylonian kings.

7) Ezra 1:1; 6:5.

8) Ezra 1:6 and 6:4.

9) Whìle our Torah is (like) a commentary to this basic rule. Now, go and learn this commentary", implies that the so-called commandments between God and Man are ultimately meant to prepare us unto this proper love of neighbor.

Perhaps Cyrus played the role of a model for Apostle Paul when he told his Gentile addressees: "Whosoever loves the different one has fulfilled the law" (Romans 13:8). The usual translation "Whosoever loves another one has fulfilled the law" misses the mark and is not up to the original Greek text. The latter has here the word (hetero) which describes one of a different kind (in contrast to allo) which describes another of the same kind, as e.g. in Matth. 8:9). The people of Israel with its peculiar laws is in this respect certainly different from the Gentile nations, and it is most likely that Paul had this difference in mind when he enjoined the above rule.

10) Ezra 7:12 refers to Artaxerxes as King of Kings. Already Cyrus, perhaps taking over this custom from the Babylonian kings, had adopted the title King of Kings. In the Tanakh, he is not mentioned by this title.

10a) Ezra 6:8,9; 7:11

11) Although the nations did so far not accept the Tanakh as a binding legal document, its records of the juridical rulings of the Persian kings have yet their historical and political value, the more so as history as well as archaeological findings confirm them.

12) Zech. 12:6.

13) Ezra 6:3, 8-10.

14) Esra 6:11,12. Cf also Dan. 6:26.

15) The Persian Court entertained certainly an office we call in modern terms Ministry for Religious Affairs. It seems the representatives of the many nations with their varying cultures and languages were known as scribes. They had to be fluent in at least two languages, their own and the official international language, that is, Aramaic. (See Encyclopaedia Hebraica, vol. 25, column 549). Ezra, known as the Scribe, was not only a Torah scholar called by this term, but was probably also an official representative of the Jewish people at the Persian court called by this very same term. Such a double function of his seems to be indicated by the doubling of the word scribe in Esra 7:11 where it reads: "...Ezra the priest , the scribe, scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord...".

16) Ezra 6:12, echoing Deuter. 12:

the scribe, scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord...".

16) Ezra 6:12, echoing Deuter. 12:5

5, 1.Kings 8:16,20,29.

17) 1.Kings 8:27,29.

18) The Jewish community living on the isle of Elephantine had its own house of worship (temple). Cambyses, after conquering Egypt, protected it while he was harsh towards many Egyptian shrines and priests. - In the reign of Darius II it was destroyed by hostile locals with the help of the local Persian commander, but on appeal of the Jewish community it was restored, and the king ordered that the Jews should observe their Pessah (obviously meaning that they should feel free to do so unmolested by hostile elements. Cf Encyclopaedia Hebraica, vol. 6, column 314; Encyclopaedia Judaica vol. 5 column 71).

19) Dan. 6:18,20,25,26.

20) Mekhilta, Shemot Beth 46.

21) Baba Metzia 30b.

21a) The term "law" (and: Roman Law) should not be confused with the English term "Law of Moses": the Hebrew term for the latter is תורה , Torah, liter. Instruction, Teaching. It contains laws as well as historic records, prophecies, commandments [not to be confused with commands!], and various instructions. – The Hebrew term for the English word law is קוח. hoq

22) Yoma 9b

23) Maccoth 24b

24) Taanit 26b

25) John 1:41

26) ??????????????

G) More reflections on Cyrus' personality and feats.

1) In the Vendidad, a later elaboration on the Gathas and the Zend-Avesta (comparable perhaps to some degree to our Gemarra), this principle is stressed by a prayer recommended there: "Oh Ahura Mazda! grant me a child who may be educated and wise, who may enter the society and act according to its duties, a courageous and worthy child who fulfills the needs of others, a child who can strive for the progress and happiness of the family, the city, and the country. Grant me such a child". (Quoted from Jehanian, p. 55, 56).

2) Xenophon, a generation after Cyrus and exilant from Minor Asia, professing monotheism, wrote the Cyropeidea, a treatise in which he puts Cyrus as a model figure in the field of education in its widest sense.

3) The fate of the "Lost Ten Tribes" of the Northern Kingdom of Israel who were deported by the Assyrians about two hundred years earlier, cannot be dealt with in our context.

4) Xenophon puts the following words into Cyrus' mouth at the time of his death: "When my physical life will come to an end, I will be reduced to nothing. You could not see my soul but on account of its actions you knew that the soul existed within me. Are you aware of the terrible tortures inflicted by the souls of the massacred persons upon the executioners? Do you know what revenge is wreaked upon these irreligious persons? ...know this that I have never been able to convince myself that the existence of the soul is limited to the mortal body. The mortal body is alive on account of the soul...". - While it is very unlikely that Cyrus spoke actually these words on the battlefield after having been wounded fatally, they portray well his spirit.

5) The kings after Cyrus observed this tolerance, too. This is picturesquely reflected in Est. 1:8 which says that "the drinking was according to the law [dat]; none did compel: for so the king had appointed to all the officers of his house, that it should be done according to every one's wish". Thus, Jewish participants of the feast could abstain from the king's wine; or could drink from it; or could ask for "kosher" wine; each one as he wished. - Artaxerxes, in renewing Cyrus' edict, asserted that "all they of the people of Israel... who are minded of their own freewill to go up to Jerusalem, go..." (Esra 7:13). None was compelled to go, but the formulation "of the people of Israel" gave also the Israelites of the Northern Kingdom the chance to return, and to join again with Judah.

6) E.g. Pharao's daughter Batyah is seen as having renounced idolatry by saving the infant Mose hidden in the bulrushes. See Bereshit Rabba 1:15; Shmot Rabba 1:17; Vayikra Rabba 1:3; and others.

This indicates that God is not seen as some obscure power above, outside, beyond the realm of humans (described by the Hebrew word בעל, Baal, which means just that); rather, although infinite in every respect, he is "in the heavens above and here on earth" (Ps. 89:12; 1.Kings 8:23,27); dwells among us (cf Numb. 35:34, and others; and is visibly and powerfully confessed by people like Batyah (Pharaoh's daughter who saved Moses from the Nile, and brought him up);, Cyrus; the Prophets, etc. The heavens, our sages teach, begin approximately one meter above the ground, i.e. in every human being above his diaphragm. It is everyone's birthright, and call, to live consciously in this "Kingdom of Heavens". "In thy light we see light" (Ps. 36:10); and "The sawn light is for the righteous" (Ps. 97:11).

7) Mal. 1:11.

8) Is. 45:11-13.

9) that is in fact the meaning of the Hebrew word , אלהים elohim, which can be rendered as God and/or Judge, cf Ps. 82. See also note C 2.

10) Is. 45:6, and many others.

H) - Opposing forces in the Persian Court.

1) There are two differing records about the Smerdis:

a) Ancient Greek sources say that Bardya - called Smerdis by them - a brother of Cambysos, started the revolt while the latter was engaged in his campaigns in Egypt. They speak of him as Mogh (Magi).

b) Darius I (the Great), in his still existing inscription on a rock wall in Behistun, relates that the leader of the revolt was a Magi called Gautama who posed as Bardya the brother of Cambysos.

The Magi are not mentioned in the few still existing Gathas of Zarathustra, but no definite conclusion can be drawn from that omission. Some scholars hold that he did not want to have to do with them, while others point to (later) mentionings of theirs in the Avesta and the Zend-Avesta as those who presided over even his prayer meetings.

2) The Mithra cult centered around the worship of the sun as that life giving heavenly body which would also reveal ("bring to light") all the deeds of men and, consequently, expose the evil ones. However, since the sun is a body of nature, it lacks the aspects of mercy, compassion, grace, etc. For instance, in ancient Rome where the Mithra cult was very influential, it was "lawful" to enjoy theatre pieces with gladiators thrown before wild beasts. Aspects of mercy and value of human life were attributed to Ahura Mazda, the invisible and incorporeal Omniscient Judge whose worship, consequently, demanded a much higher ethical and moral standard of life. - In comparison, Ps. 19, and others, speak of the Lord God of Israel as sun and shield, etc (i.e. the other way round than the Mithra cult which poses the sun as God).

3) The Magi were either one of the Indo-Germanic (Persian) tribes to whom priestly services were entrusted (perhaps comparable to the tribe of Levi among the people of Israel); or, more likely, they were a clan, or guild, on their own (perhaps descendants of Aram, Gen. 10:22) spread all over Western and Central Asia and dealing professionally with matters of charm and magic interspersed with traditions deriving from Shem. - Balaam may have been one of those charmers (cf Encyclopaedia Hebraica, vol. 8, p. 927). - After the appearance of Zarathustra, some of the Magi apparently accepted his teaching, while others opposed it in an attempt to keep up the established system of the ancient Mithra cult. It may be due to their influence that "Zoroastrianism" slipped back into dualism as expressed in the Zend-Avesta.

4) Ezra 4:4 may refer to this situation.

5) Ezra 4:24

6) Ezra 1:8; 4:7. The name Mithradat means Law (or Rules) of Mithra (cf above note 2). The cult of Mithra extended into the Roman Empire, and apparently dissolved into Christianity.

The Mithradat mentioned in Ezra 1:8 might well have been one of its adherents. If so, it, too, would show that Cyrus in his tolerance did not force his religious view upon others.

7) Ezra 4:6-9; Nehem. 4:1.

The Samaritans, after their request to take part in the building of the Temple was rejected, instigated many riots in Jerusalem, applied at the Persian court to reject the Jews' request for building the Temple in Jerusalem, supported Haman's plot against the Jews, and supplied him with the money with which he tried to bribe King Ahasueros for attaining his consent to eliminate the Jews (cf Est. 3:9). Details see in "The Samaritans - religion, ritual and customs" by Israel Zedakah, in "Mudaout", issue 29, pages 154/5, published by the "Israel Society for the Development of Consciousness", Haifa.

Our enquiry into the hostilities of the Samaritans should in no way underrate their present faithfulness to the State of Israel. Throughout history, they suffered numerous persecutions. The two still existing communities (in Nablus/Sichem, and in Holon) number a little over six hundred souls. After the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948 the Jewish and the Samaritan communities agreed upon mutual recognition, and a small Samaritan unit is serving in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces).

8) In Cyrus' days, only the altar could be set up, Ezra 3:3. The building of the Temple itself was delayed apparently by several circumstances:

a) a reluctance of the Jews because the 70 years of exile predicted by Jeremiah had not yet passed: "This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord's House should be built" (Haggai 1:2). - When Ezra called upon the dispersed Jews to return and help building the Temple, the Yemenites refused, saying it is not the proper time; but they came in our days, the "Operation Flying Carpet" being the most famous relevant event.

b) Another impediment was obviously a very severe draught and famine (cf Haggai 1:6-11);

c) additional factors were probably Cambysos' campaigns in Egypt, and the widespread Smerdis revolt against him. While Cambysos seems to have been sympathetic to the Jews (as we may gather from his care for the Jews in Elephantine), it is quite likely that hostile elements destroyed during that revolt what was already rebuilt in Jerusalem. The actual construction of the House began then around 517 B.C.E. under the reign of Darius I (the Great) after he had quelled the revolt. Thus, Jeremiah's prediction of 70 years exile came true.

I) The Samaritans' rivalry.

1) 2.Kings 17:24-41.

2) In Hebrew, its name is Shomron, cf 1.Kings 16:24, and its inhabitants are called Shomronim.

3) vs. 41.

4) Ezra 3:2.

5) Ezra 3:4.

6) Ezra 4:4,5.

7) Ezra 6:1-12.

8) Ezra 4:6.

9) Ezra 4:13,15.

10) Est. 3:8.

11) Est. 3:9.

12) Cf. Neh. 1:1-3, 2:2,3. This assumption is supported by a mentioning in Megilath Esther Rabbah ( (ד:א which says that "the Land of Israel was desolate in the days of Ahasuerus, and its towns had no walls". It also tells us (page (א:א that "Ahasuerus who stopped the work at the Temple (i.e. at the beginning of his reign), he is the Ahasuerus who gave order to build it" (i.e. toward the end of his reign).

13) Neh. 2:7-9.

14) Neh. 2:10,19. Horon was, and still is, a town in Samaria.

15) Neh. 2:8,9; Ezra 7:12-26.

16) Neh. 2:10,19; 3:34,35; 4:1,2.

17) Neh. 4:10-12.

18) Neh.13:28

19) Neh. 5:2-5.

20) Neh. 13:7,28.

21) Neh. 2:20.

22) Neh. 13:30.

23) Deuter. 12:5. For the sake of justice, it should be mentioned here that the Samaritans, numbering once more peoples than the Jews, are proud that they never allowed themselves to get exiled, rather suffered throughout history very severe persecutions by the hand of respective conquerors, so much so that their remaining two communities (in Nablus and in Holon) count now some 630 souls only. After the rebirth of the State of Israel in 1948, peace could be established between Jews and Samaritans, and a small, rather symbolic unit of theirs serves in Israel's army.

K) Haman's plot - the story of Purim


2) Esth. 1:1; 10:1


4) Septuaguinta, Esther 8:12k (see also below note 15b); Flavius Josephus, in his writing "Against Apion".

I could not accept this version as it would cause even more difficulties in gaining a confluent picture of Biblical and worldly history.

5) H. Hefez, in במגדים די

6) Esth 2:5,6

7) A wall inscription at the palace of Shushan (Susa), from the days of Artaxerxes II, says: "Says Artaxerxes the king: By the favor of Ahuramazda... may Ahuramazda, Anahita, and Mithra protect me..." (quoted from Olmstead's "History of the Persian Empire", p. 423)

8) According to Est. 1:3, the banquet at which King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) denigrated Queen Vashti, took place in the third year of his reign - i.e. after he had crushed with iron fist and cruelty the revolts of Egypt and of Babylonia; and before the defeat of his campaign against Greece. - It is most unlikely that the Mordecai of the Scroll of Esther is identical with the Mordecai mentioned in Ezra 2:2 and Nehemiah 7:7.

9) Esth. 3:7

10) Dan. 7:5

11) Esth. 3:1

12) 1.Sam. 15:8

13) cf Gen. 36:12; Exodd. 17:8-13

14) Septag. Esth.8:12k

15) Esth. 3:6

16) Esth. 2:6,7

17) We may conclude this from Ezra 5:17; 6:1,2; which say that the Edict was found again after some lengthy search in the days of Darius II.

18) Details see in the previous chapter on the hostility of the Samaritans.

19) Esth. 6:7-9.

20) Esth. 2:10,20. Also the King's rude behavior towards Queen Vashti might have set a warning signal: what had happened to her could happen to any other person or group.

21) Esth. 2:17

22) Esth. 2:22,23; 6:2

23) Esth. 8:9-11; 9:3-5,12. In this context, the mentioning in Esth. 8:9 of "the month of Sivan, on the three and twentieth day thereof" as the day on which the royal orders were given which granted the Jews to take care of themselves, seems noteworthy. This date links probably up to another festival, i.e. that of the summer solstice which in that year might have coincided with the day mentioned. If so, it was to underline also symbolically the importance of the royal order. (The Hebrew lunar month of Sivan coincides more or less with the month of June).

24) Esth. 9:16

25) This understanding of the hints given in the Scroll of Esther is supported by at least two ancient sources:

a) In the Tosaphot to Esther of the Septuaginta, the term Haman the Agagi is substituted by the term Haman the Bougaios, as a slur. Haman is depicted there as a Makedonian (Greek) agent who had resolved from the start to plot against the Persians and to usurp the throne;

b) the above Tosephta is quite in line with the apocryph addition to the Greek version of the Scroll of Esther. It quotes a letter of the King in which he describes Haman as a Macedonian who in exploiting the benevolence of the Persians, libeled the Jews as a means to usurp the kingdom (see the apocryph addition to chapter 8 of the Scroll, numbered as verses 12k-12q. However, this letter is related there to "Artaxerxes, the great king", not to Ahasuerus).-

The historian Flavius Josephus, in his "Antiquitis", apparently quoting from the Septuaginta, has King Ahasuerus writing in a letter: "...such was the conduct of Haman son of Hamedata, an Amalekite, who, although being a stranger to us Persians, was well received like a guest, and enjoyed many benefits such as we are used to extend to all beings, even was called "father", and all bent the knees and bowed before him, yea received royal honors..., but he did not raise himself to this good fortune... rather he intrigued against me, (even me) from whom he received his high position, to take from me the kingdom and my soul..." (In this rather literal quote, Josephus omits to mention Haman as a Macedonian)

26) Septag. 8:12k-q

27) Esth. 3:15 “…the city of Shushan was perplexed…"; and then: "…the city of Shushan rejoiced and was glad", Esth. 8:16

28) Esth. 3:7

29) Esth. 4:5-10

30) We may safely assume that Hatach, mentioned in Esth. 4:5,9, informed officials of the Court about what is going on

31) Esth. 9:4; 10:2

32) Esth. 10:2. However, all the Persian records and laws were destroyed by the conquering Greeks (cf chpt "Cyrus' Edict", note 5); and the celebration of Nowrooz was abolished in Persia after the Moslem conquest.

33) Esth. 9:21,29-31

34) Persians still following Zarathustra's teaching are known as Parsees (their main community being in Bombay). - The Greek Apocryph to Esther (mentioned above in note 15b) relates a royal order according to which the Persians as well as those faithful to them ought to celebrate annually together with the Jews "also this day besides the other holidays", refering obviously to Purim (cf verses 12t - 12x).

With the dates given in Esth. 3:7 and 8:9 in mind, scholars of the complicated ancient Persian calendar could, in co-operation with astronomers, eventually find out the exact year of Nowrooz/Purim.

35) Ezra 6:1,2

36) Esth. 9:32

37) Esth. 4:10; 9:29,32. Verse 4:10 is often translated "...Esther ... gave him (=Hatach) commandment unto Mordecai", apparently because of the rare Hebrew wording ותאמר אסתר לחתך ותצוהו אל-מרדכי

A similar wording occurs also in Esth. 3:12 and 8:9 (also in Exod. 16:34) where the commandments, too, are directed towards the person(s) addressed, and not towards the person(s) conveying it.

38) Esth. 9:12

39) Jer. 31:30-34. (There is no hint whatsoever neither in the Gospels nor in the writings of Apostle Paul that the Lord God or someone else had made a "New Covenant" with the Gentiles. See Appendix "The Parable of the Olive Tree").

40) This understanding is in line with Isaiah’s well-known prophecy (2:2-5):: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go to the mountain of the LORD, and to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways…:”. Here, however, it is the Gentiles who would eventually, after realizing that all their crafts are in vain, encourage Israel, and go up with the latter to the House of the God of Jacob…

L) The Persian kings and the Temple.

1) Numb. 29:12-36

M) The period of the Second Temple.

1) Rav Yossi Ben-Halaphta lived in the second century C.E. See "Seder Olam Rabbah" 28; "Yoma" 9a; "Avodah Zarah" 9a; and others.-

Antiochus Epiphanes IV did not destroy the Temple. He desecrated it, and the Hasmoneans re-dedicated it, an event celebrated in Hanukkah. - Herode did not build a new, or Third Temple as often assumed. He rather enlarged the Second Temple, and beautified its outer shape, mainly in Greek style which he cherished.

2) cf Enzyclopaedia Judaica 8:917; 10:452. The story that Judith slew Holofernes before he could reach Jerusalem, is often seen as part of an effort to encourage its troubled Jews by this fictitious part of the apocryph book. There is also the possibility that his troops, after their general being slain, took revenge and assaulted Jerusalem under the command of another general; or that other marauding forces destroyed Jerusalem in that troublesome year.

3) Antiochus Epiphanes IV did not destroy the Temple. He occupied and desecrated it, and the Hasmoneans wrested it from him and rededicated it, an event celebrated as Hanukkah. - Herode did not build a new, or Third Temple, as often said. He rather enlarged the Second Temple, and beautified its outer shape often in Greek style which he cherished. .

N) The Jewish community vis-a-vis the Persians.

1) Ezra 1:8; 5:14

2) Ezra 5:16

3) Haggai 1:1,14; 2:2,21; Ezra 5:2

4) 1.Chron. 3:14-17

5) Haggai 1:1

6) Ezra 4:5; Neh. 6:7-9

7) Numb. 23:9

8) Already Deut. 30:1,3 speak of the dispersion "among all the nations" (that is, not only Egyptian and Babylonian captivities). Likewise Is. 11:12; Zech. 7:14. - Daniel's vision of the four (spiritual) world empires has the second (Persian) one followed by two other empires

9) Haggai 2:6-9

10) Haggai 2:22,23

11) Zech. 4:6,7

12) Zech. 6:15

13) e.g. Gen. 26:4; Deut. 33:29

14) as e.g. in Mount Sinai; Mount Moriah (in Hebrew, the words ,הרhar; הוראה...ראה , horaah; and ,תורה Torah, are closely related to the root words הורה to teach, and , יורה to lay a foundation)

15) cf Gen. 10:8-11; 11:3; Is. 13:1-3; 47:5; Dan. 2:31-38

16) cf Is. 55:3,4

17) Jer. 51:25 speaks of Babel as the destructive mountain which shall be made desolate

18) Is. 40:4,5

19) Mal. 1:10,11

20) Zech. 8:16,17

21) cf Pirkei Avot (Sayings of the Fathers); and others.

22) Zephan. 3:9

23) 1.Kings 8:38-42. The location of the Temple on Mount Moriah is stated in 2.Chron. 3:1

24) Ruth the Moabite was an ancestress of King David, Ruth 4:13,21. The term "in direction of the house" built on Mt. Moriah is to be understood spiritually as well as geographically. The direction of prayer towards Jerusalem, or to be more precise, towards the Temple Mount there, will eventually in , עולם הבא the coming world, be taken up also by the nations.

25) Zech. 8:19.

26) Talmud Baba Batra 15a. Even the entire Book of Ezekiel was written in Israel after the Babylonian exile since prophecies were not allowed to be written in foreign countries. Consequently, Ezekiel's prophetic revelations, both those he had in Israel before the exile (2:1; 17:2) and those which he had as an exile in Babel, were codified in Jerusalem during the Persian period (see the Commentary on the Book of Ezekiel, published by Rav Kook Institute, Introduction, page 4).

27) 1.Macc. 1:59

20) Gen. 41:46; Exod. 2:21; 12:38; Josh. 6:25

29) Ezra 10:1-3; Neh. 13:1-3

30) Esth. 8:17

31) The “Seven Noahide Laws, see chpt. F) Cyrus’ edict, note 2.

32) e.g. Judges 5:1; 6:13-24; 10:10; 11:30-32; 13:8; 1.Sam. 1:10-15; Dan. 6:10

33) Pirkey Avot 1:1

P) Zechariah's vision of the Menorah

1) Zech. 4:5,12

2) Zech. 4:14

3) Jer. 31:31-33

4) Zech. 2:11; 8:20-23; Is. 66:23; and many others.

5) Zech. 3:9

5a) Rambam in …….

6) Jer. 16:19,20

7) Ps. 133:3

8) Zech. 8:18-23

9) Zech. 2:15

10) Gen, 22:18, 26:14. The change from נברכו , shall be blessed (passive form, in Gen. 12:3), to התברכו, shall bless themselves (reflexive form, in Gen. 22:18 and 26:4), indicates that the blessing which came through Abraham upon the nations without any active involvement of theirs will at the end have to be merited by their own will and working for it, by actively blessing Isaac's seed.

11) Dan. 2:38-40

12) as observed by Karl Marx, in his "Communist Manifest"

13) Zech. 9:9. The Hebrew word נושע is a Niphal(passive)-form and cannot be translated "having salvation" (as several translations have it).

14) Ps. 20:7, and others. Rav R.S.Hirsch develops this idea in his comments on Gen. 49:10,11.

15) Zephan. 3:9

16) Zech. 12:16

17) Is. 56:7

18) The deportment of Cyrus might well have had some bearings on a Jewish teaching that the restoration of Israel in its homeland should not be enforced through armed attacks against the nations, rather the latter would eventually become willing to concede it. This view is supported by Rashi; Ibn Ezra; Radak; "Mezudath David" and others.

19) Ps, 122:6. The term "Ask for Jerusalem-Peace" means to desire that peace which the Lord God of Hosts offers in and through Jerusalem.

Q) Celebration of Succoth

1) cf Ezra 6:14; Neh. 8:1,9. - According to Sanh. 21b, Ezra was Malachi, and if so, was himself a prophet, not merely a scribe.

2) The Jewish calendar, besides its function as such, has also prophetic aspects which come clear foremost in its three feasts (mo'adim, holy convocations). In turn, they symbolize also the three Temples.

Pessah, the feast of liberation from material and from pseudo-spiritual bondages, marks the foundation of Israel with Zion/Jerusalem as its center, culminating in the First Temple. The nations were not meant to take part in it, except for King Hiram and the Queen of Sheva whose friendly attitude and help may be compared to the agricultural "first cut of the green".

Shavuoth celebrates "Mathan Torah", the Giving of the Divine Instruction (in Christian terminology Pentecost, the pouring out of the Holy Spirit which, of course, is in no way to do away with, or to alter, the Torah. It rather should transmit its message to the nations in their respective tongues). Agriculturally it is the feast of harvesting the first fruits, wheat and barley, with Ruth the Moabite lady symbolizing this first fruit. However, Shavuoth is the only feast where leaven had to be brought into the Temple, as the first fruits (Lev. 23:17). This may indicate an historic process of "mixing leavened wheat with flour, of fermenting, and finally of baking", these processes being here seen allegorically. The opening up to the Gentile world occurred in the period of the Second Temple which, fittingly enough, was inaugurated by Cyrus the Achaemenian. However, since the process of leavening and fermenting entails all kind of turmoil, Prophet Jeremiah could foresee that, after the destruction of the Second Temple, "The breath of our nostrils, the anointed [Messiah] of the Lord, was seized in their pits, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the nations" (Lament. 4:20). After the destruction of the First and the Second Temple, commemorated on Tisha be'Av (ninth day of the month of August), and after the Day of "blowing the trumpets" (Numb. 29:1, i.e. the Day of Judgment and Inthronization of the Divine King), and the Day of Atonement, we, Jews and Gentiles now purified and atoned (cf Zephan. 3:9, Zech. 14:9) usher into the Feast of Tabernacles,

Succoth, the feast of the ingathering of the final harvest agriculturally and socially (Is. 56:7), and thus of peace, is betokened by the Third Temple. The peoples will desire it when, after many errors, trials and tribulations, they will understand that the Lord God has commanded the blessing and lasting life in Zion (Ps. 133:3; 134:3). Ps. 81:3,4 says of this feast: "...blow the ram's horn in the new moon, in the (day of) full moon for the day of our feast; for it is a law (statute) for Israel, Judgment of the God of Jacob".

3) cf Zech. 14:16

4) in Hebrew עלי-עץ שמן ועלי זית , Ezra 8:15

5) Nehemiah 8:13-18. According to these verses, especially verse 15, Ezra gathered from the Thorah that branches from the wild and from the goodly olive tree should also be used for Succoth. - The term עלי עץ שמן . literally branches of the oil tree, is interpreted by some commentators as pine branches, and some translations render it this way. Yet it is most unlikely that Ezra, and even less so the people whom he sent to fetch branches, had pine branches in mind. The understanding of the term עץ שמן as referring to "goodly olive trees" - in contrast to the , עץ זית the ordinary, or wild, olive tree - is backed by Jer. 41:8 where we find the phrase "מטמונים בשדה חטים ושעורים ושמן = treasures in the field of wheat, and of barley, and of oil. Here, the word שמן., oil, does certainly not refer to (oily) pine trees!

6) Neh. 8:10

7) Romans chpt.11. Remarkably, Eph. 2:19 and 3:6 speak of the Gentile believers as co-citizens, co-heirs, co-fellows (i.e. side by side with the Jews, flanking the Menorah, in the language of Zechariah).

The Septuaginta, an official translation of the Tanakh into Greek language of the 2nd century B.C.E., was intended to serve as a facilitator in that way, as indicated in TB Megilath Esther I:5. There, Rabban Shimeon Ben-Gamaliel is quoted as saying "it is not allowed to write books [=the Hebrew Scriptures] except [also] in Greek"; and the Gemarrha explains this allowance by pointing at Gen. 9:27 which says: "God enlarge Japhet, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem". That means to say that the sages endorsed the Septuaginta as the means by which the "seventy nations of the world" should be instructed so that they would come to dwell in the tents of Shem. - On the other hand, many sages considered the translations [which are often unfaithful, even willful] a disaster "over which the angels wept for three days". - The Rambam saw in Christianity and in Islam agents for bringing knowledge about the Bible into the nations. - The parable of Romans chpt.11 which provides in fact the key for understanding Paul's message to the Gentiles, has sofar been ignored or downplayed by the majority of the churches, but they will rectify their attitudes towards Israel and its Torah once they will discover its constitutional significance.

8) so literally translated from the original Greek in Paul's Epistle to Ephesians 2:19; 3:6.

9) Zech. 4:6

10) Is. 2:2-5; 11:1-9.

R) Cyrus' Tomb

1) cf Pirkei Avot ("Sayings of the Fathers") 1:1

2) Encyclopaedia Judaica 4:823-4. However, the passages quoted there speak of facts, but do not qualify them as punishment

3) Hebrews 11:1-6

4) Zech. 1:15

5) Jer. 25:9; 27:6

6) Is. 2:2-5; 11:1-9; 56:7

T) Cyrus, Messiah of the Lord, the "Dhool Qarnain" of the Koran

1) Sura "The Cave" 83-98

In view of the different religious calls and rites, the Koran, perhaps in view of Cyrus' attitude, says so aptly: "To every one of you [i.e. Muslim, Christians, and Jews] We have appointed a right way and an open road. If God had willed He could have made you one nation; but that He may try you in what has come to you. So be ye forward in good works. Unto God shall you return, altogether; and He will tell you of that you were at variance" (Sura The Table, 53; and others).

2) According to the Maulana Abu'lkalam Azad, a recent Minister of Education in India, the term Dhool-Qarnain does not refer to Alexander the Great, as often thought, but to Cyrus' kingship of the Medo-Persian double monarchy; cf. Dan.8:3,20. (See "Pasargade", by Ali Sami, Shiraz, pages 181ff). Indeed, the description in the Koran of Dhool-Qarnain's conquests does not fit Alexander's conquests at all; it matches well those of Cyrus.

3) Gen. 11:4. The Hebrew word for name, שם , shem, is also the name of the father of the Semites and the Hebrews (Gen. 10:21; 11:10-31).

U) Some more Reflections

1) 2.Chron. 36:23

The arrangement of the Books of the Tanakh is not followed by the translations.

V) Addendum

1) 1.Kings 8:41-43

2) Jer. 1:5

3) Jer. 27:12

4) Jer. 31:9-14

5) Ezek. 37:28

6) In the Tanakh, the genealogy of Adam (or history of Mankind, in modern terms), begins with Gen. 5:1. The Hebrew calendar counts 5758 years since then, that is, roughly the same period which science knows as history (in contrast to previous periods of which we have not enough data to count them as history, and therefore speak of them as pre-historic periods).

7) Gen. 6:11

8) Deut. 5:10; 7:9,12

9) Ps. 89:2; also verses 24, 28, 34. 50

10) Ps. 136:1,16

11) Zech. 4:7

12) Details see in chpt. Appendix. - One of the thought provoking words in this context is

, תשואות חן חן לה usually translated "shoutings, crying Grace, grace unto it”. In:the Tanakh, the word rendered here as shoutings, has mainly the connotation of an emotional outcry (cf Hi. 39:7; Is. 22:2), and not of an expression of a pure, spiritual joy (in modern Hebrew, it is used for describing applause). This could indicate that the multitudes of the nations would feel cosseted in Grace, Grace.

13) Jewish sages calculate the "Giving of the Torah" on Mount Sinai exactly 50 days after the Exodus from Egypt. It is annually commemorated on Shavuoth. It symbolizes, as we saw, also the Second Temple. - "Pentecost" in the Book of Acts marks in fact the transmitting of the principles of the Torah on that day to the nations in their respective languages. Among the latter

r, the translation into Greek as the language of Japhet had the special sanction of the sages (Megilah 1:5).

14) Gen. 12:2,3 literally

15) ,חסד hesed, inadequately often rendered as mercy, has also the aspect of education, reproach, in which e.g. the father reproaches his son immediately for any wrong doing. In Ps. 136:16, the 40 years' desert experience with all its hardships, punishments, instructions, and Law Giving on Mount Sinai, are summed up as Divine hesed: "He led his people through the desert, for his mercy (hesed) lasts forever.. ,חן grace, lacks the aspect of immediate reproach

16) Is. 28:16. The usual translation "tried stone" instead of test stone, is not backed by the original Hebrew text.

17) Zech. 12:2,3

18) Ezra 7:1,12. King Darius II who followed Artaxerxes I on the throne is, intriguingly enough, mentioned in the preceding chapter 6:15. The Darius of verse 14 is Darius I. Darius II is mentioned also in Nehem. 12:22.

19) Ezra 7:13-26

20) Dan. 2:37

21) Ezra 7:27,28

22) as evidenced in the closing chapters of the Book of Ezra

23) According to a rabbinic tradition, Ezra compiled the book named after him, and wrote the geneology of the Book of Chronicles up to his time (Baba Bathra 15a); and had a hand in writing the Book of Psalms (Song R. 4:19)

24) Exod. 19:6

25) A legend of the sages has it that all the nations stood once before Mount Sinai, but that everyone of them had an excuse for not accepting the Torah. - Christianity commemorates Mathan Torah as "Pentecost" (notwithstanding numerous deviations from both the so-called AT and NT). - Also the Koran confirms the validity of the "Book", the Tanakh, and states plainly that it could not have been given without the latter (Sura "Jonah" vs 38; and many others)

26) Ps. 39:2; Ps. 44; Is. 43:9,10; and others

27) Some scholars count the "Times of the Gentiles" from Nebukadnezzar's Babylonia, the nations' "golden head" (Dan. 2:38) and "glory of the kingdoms" (Is. 13:19). - The 4 world empires of Daniel are part of the periods of , חסד Mercy, and ,חן Grace, and should not be confused with the four periods of mankind's history

28) Exod. 7:16,26; 8:14,21

29) Numb. 25:1-9

30) as e.g. in Exod. 32:15,16

30a) Is. 2:2-5. Note, that the nations will approach Israel - the house of Jacob! – and urge them to go ahead.

31) Is. 11:9

32) Jer.31:31-33

33) Zephan. 3:9

34) Zech. 12:9

35) R. Yohanan Ben-Zakkai in his comment on Song of Songs 1:8

Appendage (Parable of the Olive Tree; Summary)

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