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After four hundred years of oppression the children of Israel had been beaten down so thoroughly that Moshe found the first challenge, the task of taking up the mantle of leadership for the children of Israel, to be much easier than he had anticipated. After Moshe spoke to the people and got most of them on board with his plan to rescue them, he went before Pharaoh.
After four hundred years of oppression the children of Israel had been beaten down so thoroughly that Moshe found the first challenge, the task of taking up the mantle of leadership for the children of Israel, to be much easier than he had anticipated. After Moshe spoke to the people and got most of them on board with his plan to rescue them, he went before Pharaoh.
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All Moshe wanted at first was three days off for the people to go into the desert east of the Nile delta and hold a feast to rededicate everyone to the God of their forefathers. Not only did Pharaoh tell him no, he punished the Immigrants for even asking to get three days off by increasing their workload. The Immigrants complained to Moshe that so far his mission had only made things worse for the people. So Moshe decided he needed a little help from El Shaddai and the judicious transfer of various things from Barbelo to Earth through the wormtunnel.
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So began a sequence of ten plagues. Each cycle began with Moshe requesting three days of religious leave for the Immigrants, and if the religious leave was not granted, Moshe would do something to change Pharaoh’s mind. More often than not, Pharaoh’s court wizards were able to duplicate the plague on a smaller scale, so Pharaoh was not impressed and denied the religious leave.
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The first plague was a heavy spill of rock oil, which covered the surface of the Nile River with a brown syrupy layer. Many of the people said the god of Moshe had turned the river into blood, and it was bitter, and they were forced to dig new wells near to the river to drink. But Pharaoh’s magicians were able to mix oil with water and produce the same brown mess in the court of Pharaoh, so Pharaoh did not give in to Moshe’ request for religious leave for the Immigrants.
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The second plague was a great swarm of frogs that covered every square foot of Egypt. Pharaoh’s magicians were also able to bring forth frogs, but they could not remove the frogs, so this time Pharaoh said he would grant the religious leave if Moshe made the frogs go away. Moshe made the frogs go away, but Pharaoh went back on his word and did not grant the religious leave for the Immigrants.
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The third plague was lice, and Pharaoh’s magicians could not duplicate this plague, but Pharaoh did not let the Immigrants go on religious leave to worship El Shaddai, and he waited out the plague, which only lasted a few days anyway.
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The fourth plague was a swarm of flies that came upon the Egyptians and covered their skin, but did not come upon the Immigrants. Pharaoh begged Moshe to remove this plague, but after Moshe did so, Pharaoh refused to grant religious leave for the Immigrants.
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The fifth plague was a fungus from Barbelo that exterminated all the Egyptian livestock but left the Immigrant’s livestock standing. Pharaoh not only refused to let the Immigrants go on religious leave, he took the Immigrant’s cattle for his own people to replace the cattle that had been slain.
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The sixth plague was a loathsome skin disease, also from Barbelo. Pharaoh’s magicians could not even heal themselves, let alone anyone else afflicted in Egypt, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not grant the Immigrants three days of religious leave to worship El Shaddai.
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The seventh plague was giant hailstones that slew all the cattle that Pharaoh had stolen from the Immigrants, as well as anyone standing outdoors. But none of the hail fell on the Immigrants. Pharaoh admitted his guilt, and Moshe caused the hail to stop. But Pharaoh went back on his word again. Moshe, at great length, began to discern a pattern.
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The eighth plague was a swarm of locusts that ate every green thing in Egypt. Again, the three days of religious leave was not granted.
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The ninth plague was a darkness in Egypt so thick that the Egyptians could not even see each other across the room, and it was hard to breathe, but the Immigrants all had light in their houses. Pharaoh told Moshe he never wanted to see his face again, and that the next time they met, Moshe would surely die.
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Then Moshe said to him, “O Pharaoh, you have spoken true, you will never see my face again. But to you I say, a tenth-part of all the houses in Egypt will be destroyed this very night, killing or maiming everyone sleeping within, but none of the houses of my people will come to harm. Then when your servants come and bow down before me, and beg me to take the people on the three days of religious that leave that I have requested, only then will we go.”
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Then Moshe instructed the Immigrants in a new ritual that involved each Immigrant family killing a lamb without blemish, marking their front door with the lamb’s blood in the sign of the cross, roasting the lamb, and eating it in haste. That evening the avatar of El Shaddai passed over the whole land of Egypt and smote one in ten of every house where there was not a token of blood on the frame of the front door.
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And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not one warren where there were not flattened dwellings and many dead or dying.
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Then Pharaoh sent servants to prostrate themselves before Moshe and beg him to take the Immigrants and go into the desert on the brief religious leave they wanted. What Pharaoh had in mind, of course, was just a temporary leave of absence, and he was counting on them coming back to work later. That is why their Egyptian friends and neighbors “lent” the Immigrants jewels of silver and gold, ostensibly to wear for the feast, and much clothing for the trip. They all assumed the Immigrants would return within the week and give it all back.
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So a great multitude went into the desert on foot with all their animals. The crowd was not pure Israelite, but included those of mixed ancestry, half-Israelite and half-Egyptian. There were in such a big hurry that they had to eat unleavened bread, because there was never time to let the bread rise, and that is in fact what the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates, the necessity to make do when responding immediately to the imperatives of El Shaddai. The Immigrants had lived in Egypt a total of four hundred and thirty years.
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The avatar of El Shaddai led the chosen people out of Egypt, concealed inside a moving pillar of smoke during the day, and at night this was seen as a pillar of fire which gave them light to see. El Shaddai did not go straight to Canaan, the land of promise, because she knew when the Immigrants saw the Hittites and their chariots of iron their courage would fail, and they would all run back to Egypt.
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The Red Sea separates Egypt and Arabia, and at the Sinai Peninsula it divides into two long fingers of water that resemble the eyestalks of a snail. In ancient times the left eyestalk terminated at what is now called Lake Timsah, or Crocodile Lake. Timsah Lake and the Bitter Lakes are in the ancient depression of this old seabed. Perhaps the land has risen a bit, or the sea level has fallen. But so nearly flush with sea level is this whole area that a simple ditch dug in only ten years was sufficient to link the lakes with the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to create the Suez Canal. This artificial waterway sliced seven thousand miles off the route from India to Europe.
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Soon after fleeing Egypt, El Shaddai led her people to make their first encampment on the west shore of that extension of the Red Sea that today is a just a string of lakes. And when it became obvious the Immigrants were not coming back to labor for Egypt once again, nor to return the jewelry and clothing they “borrowed”, Pharaoh took his charioteers and went out after them.
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The tide went out. The stretch of sea water that is in modern times the land between Lake Timsah and the Great Bitter Lake became mudflats that were dry enough for those who go on two and four feet to cross to the eastern shore, but those who went about on chariot wheels had more trouble. Pharaoh and his Egyptian cavalry became stuck in the mud, and they could not escape before the sea tide flooded the mudflats once more and drowned all of them.
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After the transit of the House of Israel across the Sinai, aided by much food and drinking water transferred from Barbelo, El Shaddai learned that Moshe’s father the king had died, and Moshe was required to return home to take his seat upon the throne of the city-state of Salem in the Middle Land.
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Count Michael of the House of Gerash took command of the armed forces of the House of Israel in the place of Moshe and led them west over the Jordan River into the promised land of Canaan. And to him was given also the Golden Gift that had once been wielded as a fearsome weapon by Melchizedek.
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Michael led the army against the ancient settlement of Jericho, which was the first continuously inhabited walled city in the world. On the plains of Jericho before the battle was enjoined, Michael shouted to the defenders of the city, “As captain of the host of El Shaddai have I come. Throw open your gates, lay down your arms, and no harm shall come to you! But if you do otherwise, then none who dwell within the walls of the city shall live!”
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In response to this the archers of the city loosed a volley at Count Michael, who rendered them harmless with a sweep of the hissing black blade in his hand. Then he gave his lieutenant, General Joshua, detailed war orders. Even as Michael spoke, the mouth of the wormhole tunnel was undermining the walls of Jericho such that they stood with only the most precarious support.
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Then the avatar of El Shaddai landed outside the city with much smoke and fire, striking absolute fear into the heart of the people of Jericho. The avatar sent forth a sound like a trumpet that shook the earth, and the city walls fell flat to the ground, permitting the Immigrant army to rapidly occupy the city and carry out Michael’s threat to put every inhabitant to the sword.
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Buoyed by the spectacular victory over Jericho, the Immigrants had the animal spirits to conquer the rest of Canaan, even without the direct leadership of Michael and the appearance of the avatar of El Shaddai. Soon the territory of the Immigrants extended from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and many cities in central and northern Palestine. General Joshua partitioned all these lands among the twelve tribes which still bore the name of the sons of Israel. But the Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites continued to harass the Immigrants long after they had been dispossessed of their cities, even into the period centuries later when kings ruled the House of Israel.
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After the death of Joshua, the House of Israel had no formal ruler, but for the next two centuries a number of major and minor judges found themselves in positions of leadership over one or more tribes as the Immigrants continued to fight a stubborn insurgency by the people they had conquered.
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In the latter days of the period of judges, Eli became the first judge to be accepted by the whole House of Israel, but his own sons Hophni and Phinehas were greedy, and contrary to the Law they enlarged their own portion of the offerings made to El Shaddai. Eli knew about this but he refused to rebuke his sons. El Shaddai also knew about this and she didn’t like being short-changed. Mastema might say, “See, I told you so!”
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There was a young man named Samuel who also lived in the house of Eli, and Eli considered him almost another son. Samuel was the test subject of a medical experiment conducted by El Shaddai, the second attempt by Elohim to create a direct interface between the world-dwellers and the gods, and one that El Shaddai found much more palatable than the outright possession practiced by Mastema with abandon. One night while Samuel slept, El Shaddai narrowed her fold-door to just a little more than a hairbreadth, and briefly anchored the mouth of this tiny passage inside the head of Samuel. Then El Shaddai inserted a tiny bead about the size of a poppy seed and left it inside buried the young man’s skull.
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The next night Samuel began to hear voices. When he brought this to the attention of his patron, Eli recognized that he was beginning to receive revelations from El Shaddai. Eli instructed Samuel on how to listen, and Samuel did all that he was told. But Samuel knew some of the words he heard would be grievous for Eli to hear and he feared to speak them. In the morning Samuel came to Eli, but he was silent, and Eli ordered him to speak. For a little extra weight Eli added, ”May El Shaddai punish you if you do not speak!”
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Thus constrained, Samuel had no choice but to repeat the words of the vision and pronounce doom on the house of Eli. He said that many of the descendants of Eli would die by the sword, and of those who escaped this, none would attain to old age. The remnant of his family would beg to be appointed to a minor priestly function that they might have at least a morsel of bread to eat. And Samuel gave a sign so that Eli would know beforehand that this divine curse was coming true, and the sign was this: Both of Eli’s sons would die on the very same day.
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And it came to pass in the lands nigh to the sea claimed by the tribe of Ephraim that all of the men under arms in Israel camped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines camped at nearby Aphek. In the battle that followed, thirty-four thousand men among the House of Israel were killed, severely wounded, or taken captive. And Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas were among the dead.
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When word of this reached Eli in Shiloh, Eli accidentlly tipped back in his chair and struck the ground, breaking his neck. Thus passed Eli, who had judged the entire House of Israel for forty years. And Samuel, already a renowned prophet, attributed the terrible defeat to the straying of the Israelites after foreign gods, and exhorted them to return to El Shaddai and offer worship to him alone.
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So at Mizpah the people renewed their covenanted devotion to El Shaddai and Samuel began to judge all Israel on that day. Under Samuel the Philistines were routed, and the territory from Ekron to Gath was restored to Israelite control. The Philistines were subdued for all the years of Samuel’s life, and there was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
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When Samuel waxed old he appointed his own sons Joel and Abijah to judge Israel in his stead, but the young men accepted bribes and perverted justice. So the elders of Israel came to the house of Samuel at Ramah and said, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your own example, appoint a king to rule over us.”
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And Samuel tried to warn them all about the procedures of a king. He said, “The king would take your sons and make them serve in his army. He would set them to do his plowing and harvesting, and to make weapons of war and chariots. He would use your daughters as makers of ointments and cooks. He would take the best part of your fields and vineyards and groves and give them to his officials. He would take a tenth part of your increase to support his eunuchs and slaves, and over time you yourselves will become his slaves.”
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But the elders would not hearken to Samuel’s warning. They insisted that Israel must become just like all of the other nations in Canaan and have a king. So Samuel anointed Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to govern all the people as their first king. And King Saul reigned for twenty years, defeating the enemies of Israel on all sides. He defeated in turn the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Philistines, Beth-rehob, and the king of Zobah.
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But Samuel had developed a personal grudge against the Amalekites over the years, and he still felt he spoke for El Shaddai. Samuel ordered King Saul to attack Amalek. “Spare no one,” he said, “not the king, not the men and women under him, nor their children, nor their infants, nor even their animals and other property.
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King Saul duly routed Amalek in the field and put to death all of the Amalekite men, women, and children. But Agag their king he captured alive, and Saul’s troops took possession of the Amalekite animals and other items of worth as war booty in accordance with the war-making norms of the time.
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But Samuel was greatly displeased, and said El Shaddai had rejected Saul as king over his people on account of his disobedience of Samuel, which, Samuel claimed, was tantamount to disobedience of El Shaddai.
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Then Saul was very sorry for his mistake of allowing his troops to take booty from Amalek, but Samuel refused to forgive him, and ordered that king Agag be brought before him in Gilgal. And Samuel himself killed Agag with a sword, and departed to Bethlehem, where he anointed a youth named David, son of Jesse, to be the new king of Israel.
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El Shaddai realized that something had gone wrong with the modification to Samuel. In the absence of actual commands from El Shaddai, Samuel was hallucinating false ones. El Shaddai vowed to look into it and try to improve the design, but Samuel was a lost cause.

Revision as of 16:42, 10 December 2018

For centuries while El Shaddai stood apart, a great nation had been raised up to Abraham, the children of Israel, and all of them kept the covenant of Abraham even after they migrated from Canaan to Egypt during a “dark ages” which had been triggered by a severe long-term drought. This change in the regional climate also brought about the rapid decline of many advanced Bronze Age civilizations throughout the area of the eastern Mediterranean Sea. But Mastema’s original claim that humans would never remain loyal to Elohim if they were left to themselves utterly failed.

Mastema no longer had valid grounds to call for the destruction of the whole human race. Thus was the oracle of El Shaddai fulfilled when she said to Abraham, “All the earth shall find blessing in you.” El Shaddai would never carry out a demand by Mastema to destroy the human race, and there was nothing Mastema could do to assail mankind from his own remote location. Without a doubt, El Shaddai knew humans were the Students foreseen by the Old One. It was clear Elohim would need to come to terms with human beings and learn to co-exist with them. El Shaddai said it was time to make the announcement to El.

But Mastema thought to move the goal posts and try another delaying tactic. He told El Shaddai that anyone could obey a simple injunction like circumcision, but give the people a comprehensive written law like the Code of Ur-Nammu and they would soon break most of its precepts with abandon.

El Shaddai’s first impulse was to ignore this foot-dragging on Mastema’s part, but she thought at the very least it would present an opportunity to break loose a concession. The children of Israel had grown very numerous but they were not free, and as a nation they had slipped into bondage under Egypt. So El Shaddai would entertain Mastema’s idea for a second test, but to carry it out she required another agent from Barbelo, preferably in the same mold of Melchizedek.

The task that would be laid before this agent was almost inhumanly great. He was to establish himself as the leader and spokesman of the children of Israel in Egypt. He was to negotiate with Pharaoh for their release, or, failing that, lead a revolt to achieve their freedom. He was to lead the house of Israel back to Canaan, the land El Shaddai had promised to Abraham and his progeny, putting down any resistance by the existing inhabitants. And finally he was to give the Immigrants a working legal code that would get their society up and running.

Mastema turned once again to the city of Salem in the far west of the Middle Land and selected Prince Moshe to meet the challenge laid forth by El Shaddai.

After four hundred years of oppression the children of Israel had been beaten down so thoroughly that Moshe found the first challenge, the task of taking up the mantle of leadership for the children of Israel, to be much easier than he had anticipated. After Moshe spoke to the people and got most of them on board with his plan to rescue them, he went before Pharaoh.

All Moshe wanted at first was three days off for the people to go into the desert east of the Nile delta and hold a feast to rededicate everyone to the God of their forefathers. Not only did Pharaoh tell him no, he punished the Immigrants for even asking to get three days off by increasing their workload. The Immigrants complained to Moshe that so far his mission had only made things worse for the people. So Moshe decided he needed a little help from El Shaddai and the judicious transfer of various things from Barbelo to Earth through the wormtunnel.

So began a sequence of ten plagues. Each cycle began with Moshe requesting three days of religious leave for the Immigrants, and if the religious leave was not granted, Moshe would do something to change Pharaoh’s mind. More often than not, Pharaoh’s court wizards were able to duplicate the plague on a smaller scale, so Pharaoh was not impressed and denied the religious leave.

The first plague was a heavy spill of rock oil, which covered the surface of the Nile River with a brown syrupy layer. Many of the people said the god of Moshe had turned the river into blood, and it was bitter, and they were forced to dig new wells near to the river to drink. But Pharaoh’s magicians were able to mix oil with water and produce the same brown mess in the court of Pharaoh, so Pharaoh did not give in to Moshe’ request for religious leave for the Immigrants.

The second plague was a great swarm of frogs that covered every square foot of Egypt. Pharaoh’s magicians were also able to bring forth frogs, but they could not remove the frogs, so this time Pharaoh said he would grant the religious leave if Moshe made the frogs go away. Moshe made the frogs go away, but Pharaoh went back on his word and did not grant the religious leave for the Immigrants.

The third plague was lice, and Pharaoh’s magicians could not duplicate this plague, but Pharaoh did not let the Immigrants go on religious leave to worship El Shaddai, and he waited out the plague, which only lasted a few days anyway.

The fourth plague was a swarm of flies that came upon the Egyptians and covered their skin, but did not come upon the Immigrants. Pharaoh begged Moshe to remove this plague, but after Moshe did so, Pharaoh refused to grant religious leave for the Immigrants.

The fifth plague was a fungus from Barbelo that exterminated all the Egyptian livestock but left the Immigrant’s livestock standing. Pharaoh not only refused to let the Immigrants go on religious leave, he took the Immigrant’s cattle for his own people to replace the cattle that had been slain.

The sixth plague was a loathsome skin disease, also from Barbelo. Pharaoh’s magicians could not even heal themselves, let alone anyone else afflicted in Egypt, but Pharaoh hardened his heart and did not grant the Immigrants three days of religious leave to worship El Shaddai.

The seventh plague was giant hailstones that slew all the cattle that Pharaoh had stolen from the Immigrants, as well as anyone standing outdoors. But none of the hail fell on the Immigrants. Pharaoh admitted his guilt, and Moshe caused the hail to stop. But Pharaoh went back on his word again. Moshe, at great length, began to discern a pattern.

The eighth plague was a swarm of locusts that ate every green thing in Egypt. Again, the three days of religious leave was not granted.

The ninth plague was a darkness in Egypt so thick that the Egyptians could not even see each other across the room, and it was hard to breathe, but the Immigrants all had light in their houses. Pharaoh told Moshe he never wanted to see his face again, and that the next time they met, Moshe would surely die.

Then Moshe said to him, “O Pharaoh, you have spoken true, you will never see my face again. But to you I say, a tenth-part of all the houses in Egypt will be destroyed this very night, killing or maiming everyone sleeping within, but none of the houses of my people will come to harm. Then when your servants come and bow down before me, and beg me to take the people on the three days of religious that leave that I have requested, only then will we go.”

Then Moshe instructed the Immigrants in a new ritual that involved each Immigrant family killing a lamb without blemish, marking their front door with the lamb’s blood in the sign of the cross, roasting the lamb, and eating it in haste. That evening the avatar of El Shaddai passed over the whole land of Egypt and smote one in ten of every house where there was not a token of blood on the frame of the front door.

And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not one warren where there were not flattened dwellings and many dead or dying.

Then Pharaoh sent servants to prostrate themselves before Moshe and beg him to take the Immigrants and go into the desert on the brief religious leave they wanted. What Pharaoh had in mind, of course, was just a temporary leave of absence, and he was counting on them coming back to work later. That is why their Egyptian friends and neighbors “lent” the Immigrants jewels of silver and gold, ostensibly to wear for the feast, and much clothing for the trip. They all assumed the Immigrants would return within the week and give it all back.

So a great multitude went into the desert on foot with all their animals. The crowd was not pure Israelite, but included those of mixed ancestry, half-Israelite and half-Egyptian. There were in such a big hurry that they had to eat unleavened bread, because there was never time to let the bread rise, and that is in fact what the Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorates, the necessity to make do when responding immediately to the imperatives of El Shaddai. The Immigrants had lived in Egypt a total of four hundred and thirty years.

The avatar of El Shaddai led the chosen people out of Egypt, concealed inside a moving pillar of smoke during the day, and at night this was seen as a pillar of fire which gave them light to see. El Shaddai did not go straight to Canaan, the land of promise, because she knew when the Immigrants saw the Hittites and their chariots of iron their courage would fail, and they would all run back to Egypt.

The Red Sea separates Egypt and Arabia, and at the Sinai Peninsula it divides into two long fingers of water that resemble the eyestalks of a snail. In ancient times the left eyestalk terminated at what is now called Lake Timsah, or Crocodile Lake. Timsah Lake and the Bitter Lakes are in the ancient depression of this old seabed. Perhaps the land has risen a bit, or the sea level has fallen. But so nearly flush with sea level is this whole area that a simple ditch dug in only ten years was sufficient to link the lakes with the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to create the Suez Canal. This artificial waterway sliced seven thousand miles off the route from India to Europe.

Soon after fleeing Egypt, El Shaddai led her people to make their first encampment on the west shore of that extension of the Red Sea that today is a just a string of lakes. And when it became obvious the Immigrants were not coming back to labor for Egypt once again, nor to return the jewelry and clothing they “borrowed”, Pharaoh took his charioteers and went out after them.

The tide went out. The stretch of sea water that is in modern times the land between Lake Timsah and the Great Bitter Lake became mudflats that were dry enough for those who go on two and four feet to cross to the eastern shore, but those who went about on chariot wheels had more trouble. Pharaoh and his Egyptian cavalry became stuck in the mud, and they could not escape before the sea tide flooded the mudflats once more and drowned all of them.

After the transit of the House of Israel across the Sinai, aided by much food and drinking water transferred from Barbelo, El Shaddai learned that Moshe’s father the king had died, and Moshe was required to return home to take his seat upon the throne of the city-state of Salem in the Middle Land.

Count Michael of the House of Gerash took command of the armed forces of the House of Israel in the place of Moshe and led them west over the Jordan River into the promised land of Canaan. And to him was given also the Golden Gift that had once been wielded as a fearsome weapon by Melchizedek.

Michael led the army against the ancient settlement of Jericho, which was the first continuously inhabited walled city in the world. On the plains of Jericho before the battle was enjoined, Michael shouted to the defenders of the city, “As captain of the host of El Shaddai have I come. Throw open your gates, lay down your arms, and no harm shall come to you! But if you do otherwise, then none who dwell within the walls of the city shall live!”

In response to this the archers of the city loosed a volley at Count Michael, who rendered them harmless with a sweep of the hissing black blade in his hand. Then he gave his lieutenant, General Joshua, detailed war orders. Even as Michael spoke, the mouth of the wormhole tunnel was undermining the walls of Jericho such that they stood with only the most precarious support.

Then the avatar of El Shaddai landed outside the city with much smoke and fire, striking absolute fear into the heart of the people of Jericho. The avatar sent forth a sound like a trumpet that shook the earth, and the city walls fell flat to the ground, permitting the Immigrant army to rapidly occupy the city and carry out Michael’s threat to put every inhabitant to the sword.

Buoyed by the spectacular victory over Jericho, the Immigrants had the animal spirits to conquer the rest of Canaan, even without the direct leadership of Michael and the appearance of the avatar of El Shaddai. Soon the territory of the Immigrants extended from Kadesh-barnea to Gaza and many cities in central and northern Palestine. General Joshua partitioned all these lands among the twelve tribes which still bore the name of the sons of Israel. But the Philistines, Moabites, and Ammonites continued to harass the Immigrants long after they had been dispossessed of their cities, even into the period centuries later when kings ruled the House of Israel.

After the death of Joshua, the House of Israel had no formal ruler, but for the next two centuries a number of major and minor judges found themselves in positions of leadership over one or more tribes as the Immigrants continued to fight a stubborn insurgency by the people they had conquered.

In the latter days of the period of judges, Eli became the first judge to be accepted by the whole House of Israel, but his own sons Hophni and Phinehas were greedy, and contrary to the Law they enlarged their own portion of the offerings made to El Shaddai. Eli knew about this but he refused to rebuke his sons. El Shaddai also knew about this and she didn’t like being short-changed. Mastema might say, “See, I told you so!”

There was a young man named Samuel who also lived in the house of Eli, and Eli considered him almost another son. Samuel was the test subject of a medical experiment conducted by El Shaddai, the second attempt by Elohim to create a direct interface between the world-dwellers and the gods, and one that El Shaddai found much more palatable than the outright possession practiced by Mastema with abandon. One night while Samuel slept, El Shaddai narrowed her fold-door to just a little more than a hairbreadth, and briefly anchored the mouth of this tiny passage inside the head of Samuel. Then El Shaddai inserted a tiny bead about the size of a poppy seed and left it inside buried the young man’s skull.

The next night Samuel began to hear voices. When he brought this to the attention of his patron, Eli recognized that he was beginning to receive revelations from El Shaddai. Eli instructed Samuel on how to listen, and Samuel did all that he was told. But Samuel knew some of the words he heard would be grievous for Eli to hear and he feared to speak them. In the morning Samuel came to Eli, but he was silent, and Eli ordered him to speak. For a little extra weight Eli added, ”May El Shaddai punish you if you do not speak!”

Thus constrained, Samuel had no choice but to repeat the words of the vision and pronounce doom on the house of Eli. He said that many of the descendants of Eli would die by the sword, and of those who escaped this, none would attain to old age. The remnant of his family would beg to be appointed to a minor priestly function that they might have at least a morsel of bread to eat. And Samuel gave a sign so that Eli would know beforehand that this divine curse was coming true, and the sign was this: Both of Eli’s sons would die on the very same day.

And it came to pass in the lands nigh to the sea claimed by the tribe of Ephraim that all of the men under arms in Israel camped at Ebenezer, while the Philistines camped at nearby Aphek. In the battle that followed, thirty-four thousand men among the House of Israel were killed, severely wounded, or taken captive. And Eli’s two sons Hophni and Phinehas were among the dead.

When word of this reached Eli in Shiloh, Eli accidentlly tipped back in his chair and struck the ground, breaking his neck. Thus passed Eli, who had judged the entire House of Israel for forty years. And Samuel, already a renowned prophet, attributed the terrible defeat to the straying of the Israelites after foreign gods, and exhorted them to return to El Shaddai and offer worship to him alone.

So at Mizpah the people renewed their covenanted devotion to El Shaddai and Samuel began to judge all Israel on that day. Under Samuel the Philistines were routed, and the territory from Ekron to Gath was restored to Israelite control. The Philistines were subdued for all the years of Samuel’s life, and there was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.

When Samuel waxed old he appointed his own sons Joel and Abijah to judge Israel in his stead, but the young men accepted bribes and perverted justice. So the elders of Israel came to the house of Samuel at Ramah and said, “Now that you are old, and your sons do not follow your own example, appoint a king to rule over us.”

And Samuel tried to warn them all about the procedures of a king. He said, “The king would take your sons and make them serve in his army. He would set them to do his plowing and harvesting, and to make weapons of war and chariots. He would use your daughters as makers of ointments and cooks. He would take the best part of your fields and vineyards and groves and give them to his officials. He would take a tenth part of your increase to support his eunuchs and slaves, and over time you yourselves will become his slaves.”

But the elders would not hearken to Samuel’s warning. They insisted that Israel must become just like all of the other nations in Canaan and have a king. So Samuel anointed Saul of the tribe of Benjamin to govern all the people as their first king. And King Saul reigned for twenty years, defeating the enemies of Israel on all sides. He defeated in turn the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Edomites, the Philistines, Beth-rehob, and the king of Zobah.

But Samuel had developed a personal grudge against the Amalekites over the years, and he still felt he spoke for El Shaddai. Samuel ordered King Saul to attack Amalek. “Spare no one,” he said, “not the king, not the men and women under him, nor their children, nor their infants, nor even their animals and other property.

King Saul duly routed Amalek in the field and put to death all of the Amalekite men, women, and children. But Agag their king he captured alive, and Saul’s troops took possession of the Amalekite animals and other items of worth as war booty in accordance with the war-making norms of the time.

But Samuel was greatly displeased, and said El Shaddai had rejected Saul as king over his people on account of his disobedience of Samuel, which, Samuel claimed, was tantamount to disobedience of El Shaddai.

Then Saul was very sorry for his mistake of allowing his troops to take booty from Amalek, but Samuel refused to forgive him, and ordered that king Agag be brought before him in Gilgal. And Samuel himself killed Agag with a sword, and departed to Bethlehem, where he anointed a youth named David, son of Jesse, to be the new king of Israel.

El Shaddai realized that something had gone wrong with the modification to Samuel. In the absence of actual commands from El Shaddai, Samuel was hallucinating false ones. El Shaddai vowed to look into it and try to improve the design, but Samuel was a lost cause.

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Strangers In Paradise