IS IT GOD'S WORD?
THE HEBREW HEATHEN RELIGION
SEX WORSHIP AND IDOLS
R RTHE HEBREW HEATHEN RELIGION R R PHALLISM, OR SEX-WORSHIP R R THE PRIMITIVE TRINITY R R PHALLIC EMBLEMS
R RTHE PATRIARCHAL PHALLIC IDOLATRY R R THE PHALLIC SYMBOLS OF SCRIPTURE R R THE "PILLARS" OR MAZZEBAHS OF YAHVEH
R RTHIS "GROVES" OR ASHERAHS R R YAHVEH'S PHALLIC EPHODS AND TERAPHIM R R THE SACRED DICE OF YAHVEH
R ROTHER HEATHEN RITES OF YAHVEH R R THE TEMPLE AN IDOL HOUSE R R THE TEMPLE HARLOTS OF YAHVEH R R PHALLUS HOMAGE
R RSANCTITY OF THE PHALLUS R R THE SUPERSTITION OF WITCHCRAFT R R THE BIBLE A GREAT "DREAM BOOK"
R RRETURN TO THE INDEX OF CHAPTERS
THE first that we know of the Hebrew Yahveh, after the fabled Flood of Noah and the fabulous Tower of Babel, is his appearance to the Chaldean heathen Abram at Haran, telling him to move on west to the land of Canaan, which Yahveh then and there promised to give to Abram and his descendants as an inheritance and possession forever (Gen. 12: 1-3 ). With Abram we get our first Biblical initiation into the religion of the Semitic peoples and knowledge of the forms and ceremonies of their worship of El, Bel, or Baal, as the same deity might be called in their closely allied vocabularies.
In the Hebrew language, and throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, there is no word meaning "religion." The nearest approximation to the concept is the oft-repeated phrase "the fear of Yahveh." This priest-inspired fear was the only basis for the hated Yahveh -- cult which the priests strove to impose on the Baal-worshipping Israelites, who "feared Yahveh, and served their own gods" (2 Kings 17: 33, 39 ), and "did not believe in Yahveh their God" (17: 14 ).
It is important to fully understand this common Semitic religion and its forms of worship, which we shall see continued unchanged all through Bible times down to the end of the Hebrew record. The Hebrew Scriptures, in this respect, are certainly a revelation, in a sense all too little known to the casual reader or hearer of the Word of God.
PHALLISM, OR SEX-WORSHIP
The first notion of a supreme creator among early peoples was the great and glorious sun, giving light and heat and life; all early peoples, including the Hebrews, worshipped the sun, the beautiful, visible, shining agency of creation, as they did to the end, and as some primitive peoples do to this day.
Life was a wonderful thing to them, and creation the great miracle. Man discovered in himself the power to reproduce this miracle of creation, to recreate life; and the organ of procreation became from the earliest times an object of veneration and of worship, as the human representative of the divine Creator and Life-giver. The woman, too, or "womb-man" (as the derivation of the Anglo-Saxon word suggests), was an indispensable cooperator in this work of wonder, and almost equal veneration was paid to the organ by which she participated in the creative work and brought forth life. "Eve" was "Life" from the beginning of the human species. "And the man called his wife's name Havvah [Eve], because she was the mother of all living (Gen. 3: 20 ).
Hence, the human organs of life, symbolized as the "staff of life" and the "door of life," through which life entered and issued, were all through ancient history, Biblical and profane, and are at present among many peoples, sacred objects of worship.' Not only was it the soul of the Semitic religion, but of the religions of Egypt, [The Encyclopedia Biblica speaks of "the special sacredness of the generative organs," and says: "The organ of it in man could by the primitive Semites be taken as symbolizing the deity" (Vol. 3: col. 3453 ).] India, Greece, Rome, all Europe, and all primitive America. Its emblems have been unearthed in Missouri.
We have many early Biblical illustrations of this ancient, Hebraic, Semitic, universal phallic worship. All the ancient monuments, as well as Hebrew Scripture, testify to the same customs. In Genesis, of the reputed sons of Shem, son of Noah, one was Asshur (Gen. 10: 22 ). This phallic name signifies, more or less, happy, fortunate, upright, erect -- unus cui membrum erectus est, vel fascinum ipsum. Asshur went forth, we are told, out of that land, "and builded Nineveh," and founded the great kingdom of Assyria, which perpetuates his name, for its name in Assyrian, and in the Bible, is Asshur. Asshur, or Asher, as the triune God was called in their mythology, became deified; he represented the virile agency of creation, and was the special divinity of the Assyrians. His divine consort, Ishtar or Ashtoreth, was the deified personification of the female principle of creation. The idolic symbol under which they were worshipped was the Asherah, representing the creative union of Bel, or Baal, and Ashtoreth, and typifying "happiness."
THE PRIMITIVE TRINITY
The Assyrians, no less than the Egyptians, the Hindus, the Canaanites, the Israelites, the Christians, and many other religious peoples, had and have their Trinity, purely phallic in origin and significance. The phallus was noted to be not alone efficient in the work of procreation; its creative labors were shared by two coefficients, the two testes, or tests of efficient manhood. Hence these were likewise honored, personified, and deified, with distinctive names: the right one, supposed to be prepotent in the generation of a man-child, was named Anu, or On -- that is, "strength, power"; the left, or female-producing test was called Hoa or Hea. When Jacob's youngest son was born, his mother Rachel with her dying breath "called his name Ben-oni [son of strength]: but his father called him Benjamin [son of my right hand] (Gen 35: 18 ). Thus Anu and Hea completed the Assyrian, and Hebrew, Trinity, side by side with Asshur. This triad of the miracle of human procreation was represented by the triune symbol of the phallic cross in its most primitive, and natural, form:
A universal religious symbol, perpetuated under many variations of form, but always with the identical phallic significance: Its most conspicuous adaptations to-day are the sacred cross of Christ, and the Christian temple with its towering steeple and lateral transepts.
The Assyrian supreme masculine creator, Bel, was manifested in this male triad of Asshur-Anu-Hea, with the female creative consort, Ashtoreth, the whole symbolized and worshipped under the Symbolic Asherah. Bel, Ashtoreth, and the Asherah were integrally part and parcel of the fervent worship of the Hebrews in the land of Canaan, just as they had been in the land of Chaldea whence they came, and so continued to be from first to last, as their Scriptures vividly show.
The Assyrian Asshur was not the only one of the name to whom the Hebrew Scriptures introduce us. One of the sons of Jacob and of his wife Leah was given the name of his old Semitic ancestor; "and she called his name Asher, for, she said, "Happy am I" (Gen. 30: 13 ); and this Asher gave his phallic name to one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
A few more instances of identity with other Semitic peoples may be noted briefly. Of the offspring of the reputed triplet sons of Noah set out in Genesis 10:from Cush came the Ethiopians; from Mizraim the Philistines and the Egyptians; from Canaan the Canaanites; from Shem the Hebrews, the Assyrians, the Ishmaelites or Arabians, the Elamites, etc. From Lot, by his own daughters, sprang the Moabites, and Ammorites (Gen. 19: 30-37 ). Thus we see connected all the Semitic peoples, and with identical origin, traditions, deities, religion, and worship.
The universality of the phallus worship and the peculiar significance and sanctity of its emblems, especially the cross, the triangle, the spire. and the oval, are indicated in the universality of the use of these sacred emblems in nearly all lands and among nearly all peoples, both ancient and modern. The Christian emblem, the cross of Christ, is simply the ancient conventional emblem of the phallus and testes, and of the phallus in conjunction with the female "door of life," represented in every land and age, and especially in almost every hieroglyphic Egyptian record, where the "ankh" -- cross (cross and oval) is the emblem of life. This is exemplified in the name of Tut-ankh-amen, or "Life- image of Amen." The cross, in diverse forms, but with always the same phallic significance of "life," antedates Christianity by ages, and is found on the ancient religious monuments of many far- scattered peoples, even in prehistoric America.
Another favorite Hebrew and universal emblem is the triangle, the perfect representation of the pubic hairs on man and woman. The famous six-pointed star of David, the national emblem of Israel, and always to-day blazoned on the banners of Zion, is formed by superimposing the male on the female pubic triangle, and is of very sacred significance. The pyramids of Egypt, as of Central America, are faced by four triangles, representing in Egypt the "four great gods"' purely phallic and very sacred.
Of like origin and significance are the Jewish manner of holding the hands in priestly blessing, the oval windows of Gothic churches, the heaven-pointing spires of Christian temples; all purely phallic devices, though to-day seemingly formal or conventional, as the pagan phallic origins are forgotten. We shall now observe some other phallic devices of universal heathen, and Hebrew, usage, out of the Scriptures.
THE PATRIARCHAL PHALLIC IDOLATRY
Abraham, the Chaldean of Ur, and the patriarchal family and tribes which he is said to have established were, in common with all their Semitic kindred, Semitic idolaters; he and his descendants worshipped phallic idols; and they retained and worshipped these same common Semitic idols through all their history down to the times of the last of the prophets, as the Hebrew Bible makes amply evident. We shall make some review of this phallic cult, so that the interested reader may appreciate what was this Hebrew religion and its God, now taken over by the Christian religion.
THE PHALLIC SYMBOLS OF SCRIPTURE
Principal among the idols or images of their Yahveh were, throughout Hebrew history, the phallic objects of worship mentioned a thousand times in the sacred pages under the euphemistic and misleading terms "Pillar" and "grove." These so popular and venerated emblems were nothing more or less than the phallic reproductions of the erect male organ of procreation, the symbolic "staff of life, and the receptive and fecund female "door of life," to euphemize them ourselves. In the English translations the term "pillar" is used for the representation called in Hebrew "mazzebah," of the male organ; and "grove" for the "asherah" or female organ of reproduction. For public and outdoor worship these images were of large size and bold design, often actual, sometimes conventional or symbolic, representations of the sex-organs. Smaller idols of the same nature, more for household worship, were images of Yahveh, the peculiarly sacred alias of the Hebraic El, with an enormous phallus, or male organ, erect in situ. The names given to these household images were "ephods" and "teraphim," words constantly occurring together throughout the Hebrew Bible to as late as Hosea 3: 4. These phallic idols were used for worship, and for the purposes of divination or oracular consultation with the God Yahveh, in seeking his advice and receiving his awful decrees.
Thus the religion and worship of the Hebrews and their Semitic neighbors were frankly and purely phallic. I shall illustrate this fact by a few instances from among hundreds in the Hebrew Scriptures. And first of the "pillars" and "groves" of almost universal worship.
THE "PILLARS" OR MAZZEBAHS OF YAHVEH
The first mentioned mazzebah, or "pillar," as it is deceptively rendered in the English translation, is the one piously set up by Jacob at the place where he dreamed of the ladder (Genesis 28 ); that he "took the stone he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar [mazzebah], and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Beth-el -- the house of God (28: 18, 19 ); and he said: "This stone, which I have set up for a mazzebah, shall be God's house" (28: 22 ). The same or a similar incident is recorded of Jacob at Padan-aram, when his name was changed to Israel (35: 14 ). Now, Beth-el was a very sacred "high place" and holy shrine throughout Hebrew history. It was a center of phallic idol worship, and as such was railed against by the later prophets, who were trying to reform the religion of Israel. They "cried against the altar in Beth-el" (1 Kings 13: 4, 32 ); and Amos quotes Yahveh as commanding: "Seek not Beth-el. ... Beth-el shall come to nought" (Amos 5: 5 ); and Josiah, as one of his "reforms" in abolishing the phallic heathen practices of the Chosen, destroyed this holy phallic altar of Beth-el (2 Kings 23: 15 ), and burned the bones of its prophets and priests upon the polluted altar. This proves that the very sacred Beth-el was, from its beginning to its end, a place of heathen phallic Baal-Yahveh-worship, and somewhat discounts the eulogies heard upon it from modern Christian pulpits. Jeremiah declared: "The house of Israel was ashamed of Beth-el their confidence" (Jer. 48: 13 ).
Again, following the hot family quarrel between Jacob and Laban over the stealing of Laban's phallic gods (teraphim) by Rachel, as an emblem of peace, "Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a mazzebah. ... And Laban said, This heap is a witness between me and thee this day"; and he called it Mizpah, "for he said, Yahveh watch between me and thee when we are absent one from another" (Gen. 31: 5, 48, 49 ). This mazzebah was a representative of the sacred phallus, for which a tall or pointed stone, or even a heap of stones, was used when nothing else was available.
When Rachel died, in pious grief "Jacob set up a pillar [mazzebah] upon her grave: that is the mazzebah of Rachel's grave unto this day" (Gen. 35: 20 ). Moses, when he came down from flaming Sinai, where he is said to have received the fearful law of Yahveh, straightway, in celebration, "builded an altar under the hill, and twelve mazzeboth [plural], according to the twelve tribes of Israel" (Ex. 24: 4 ). This proves that Moses did not receive the law there, for, but a few verses before, that law expressly declares: "Thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their mazzeboth" (23: 24 ). But this evidently means the mazzeboth of the other peoples, the seven nations named in verse 23, not those of Yahveh, which were not then prohibited, as Moses' act in erecting the twelve pillars (mazzeboth) would indicate.
So all through the Hebrew Scriptures occurs mention of this popular phallic practice as perfectly proper and orthodox. A thousand years later the raptured vision of the great prophet Isaiah foresaw the glory of Yahveh in the heathen lands, and this is his ideal of the supreme emblem of that glory: "In that day shall there be an altar to Yahveh in the midst of the land of Egypt, and a mazzebah at the border thereof to Yahveh" (Isa. 19: 19 ). This is a further proof that there was yet no "law" of Yahveh condemning this phallic cult of the mazzebah, which Yahveh is quoted as having so fearfully denounced through Moses: "Neither shalt thou set thee up any mazzebah; which Yahveh thy God hateth" (Deut. 16: 22 ). Hosea speaks of the "goodly mazzeboth" (Hos. 10: 1 ); and laments that the Chosen shall be deprived of them (3: 4 ).
These phallic "pillars" or mazzeboth were regarded as the actual abiding-place of the deity who "put his name" on them; he verily lived in the stone, and it became sentient and possessed of faculties of sight, hearing, understanding, protecting. We have noticed the mazzebah which Jacob set up "for God's house" (Gen. 28: 22 ); and the mazzebah and stone heap which Jacob and Laban set up as a "witness" and "watch tower" between them, saying "this heap be witness and this pillar [mazzebah] be witness," to keep them from harming each other (Gen. 31: 45-52 ). And Joshua set up a great stone, and said unto all the people: "Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of Yahveh which he spake unto us" (Josh. 24: 26, 27 ). Samuel set up a "stone of help" (Ebenezer; I Sam. 7: 12 ). The superstition that deity, or spirits, or jinn resided in the sacred stones was almost universal among ancient peoples, and persists to-day among low tribes from Alaska to equatorial Africa.
And not only did the deity reside in the stones, but "stone" or "rock" was, and yet is, a favorite appellation of the Deity: Jacob calls Yahveh "stone of Israel"; Moses "the rock of our salvation," "the rock that begat me," "he is a rock"; and so says Samuel; and David says: "Yahveh is my rock; Elohim is my rock; my high tower, in whom I trust." Jesus says: "On this rock will I build my church," etc. All these inspired allusions are purely phallic in terms and in signification; and so is our "Rock of Ages, cleft for me." There could be no clearer evidence that the phallus, and the stone representation of it, were regarded religiously as the emblem of deity.
THIS "GROVES" OR ASHERAHS
The "grove" (asherah) or graven representation of the female "door of life" also makes a very early scriptural appearance, and runs hand in hand or, in phallic parlance, "linga in yoni" with the mazzebah, through the whole Hebrew Bible. In Genesis 21: 33 it is recorded: 'And Abraham planted a grove [asherah] in Beersheba, and called there on the name of Yahveh, the everlasting God [El]." To use the deceptive euphemism "planted a grove," as if it meant the commendable horticultural work of setting out trees, instead of the actual "erected an asherah," or visual phallic image of the female "door of life" penetrated by the male "staff of life," is another instance of "pious fraud" on the part of the Bible translators.
The idea of planting a grove of trees, besides being actually false, is negatived by so many expressions in sundry passages even in the English version of the Bible that the attempt to hide it becomes absurd. A few instances suffice to illustrate this: "And Ahab served Baal, and made a grove" (1 Kings 16: 33 ); under Jehoahaz "there remained a grove in Samaria" (2 Kings 13: 6 ); the children of Israel "set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree" (2 Kings, 17: 10 ); the Prophet Ahijah had already declared: "Yahveh shall smite Israel ... because they have made their groves, provoking Yahveh to anger" (1 Kings 14: 15 ). A grove of trees could not be planted under a tree, nor would such innocent and useful work of forestation provoke the Lord Yahveh to anger to the extent of smiting his chosen Israel. In every one of the passages cited, and in scores of others, the word used in the Hebrew Scriptures is asherah or the plural asherim, which was the name in Hebrew for the Semitic object of phallic idol-worship representing the conjunction of male and female sex- organs.
The proof in the concrete is close at hand and easy of verification. In the entrance hall of the Mercantile Library at St. Louis (where this is written), is an ancient stone slab from the walls of the Assyrian palace at Nippur. It is the Semitic, the Hebrew Scripture, asherah. The slab is so sawn, for removal from its original place, as to split the principal object, the female "door of life," vertically into two parts; but one half of it is very plainly shown. The oval vulva is here represented, with a fanciful fan-shaped clitoris within its upper arched point, divided into seven whorls representing the days of the week; around the edge of the vulva are thirteen conventionalized tufts of the pubic hairs of the mons veneris, representing the thirteen "periods" of a woman in a year; while penetrating erect within the female "yoni" is the male "linga" or phallus. Besides this phallic asherah altar stands the winged genius of the shrine; in his outstretched hand he holds the usual offering of the pine-cone, emblematic of fecundity, and in his other hand he holds the conventional bag fined with like emblems, for votive offerings to this phallic Assyrian, Canaanitish, and Hebrew divinity.
It is this selfsame phallic device, the asherah, which, not in wall-carvings but in practical altar-form, filled the holy temple of Solomon at Jerusalem, for the worship of Ashtoreth, Baal, and Yahveh, and there remained in constant and fervid orthodox Hebrew worship until Josiah "cleansed the temple," and brought "forth out of the temple of Yahveh all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove [asherah], and for all the host of heaven" (2 Kings 23: 4 ). The Encyclopedia Biblica says: "The Asherah-post was esteemed divine -- a fetish, or a cultus-god -- as no one doubts that it was in Old Testament times" (Vol. 1:col. 332 ).
YAHVEH'S PHALLIC EPHODS AND TERAPHIM
Besides the mazzebahs and asherahs which abounded in orthodox Hebrew worship, the ephods and teraphim, before described as being smaller household idols of Yahveh with great standing phalli, were popular objects of the worship of Yahveh, very potent for conjuring and oracular prophecy.
The first mention of "teraphim" is in the interesting passage in Genesis 31: concerning Jacob and his pagan father-in-law Laban, and involving the modest Rachel, Jacob's wife and Laban's daughter. Inspiration tells us that "Rachel had stolen the teraphim that were her father's" (Gen. 31: 19 ); and Laban was very wroth and asked Jacob (31: 30 ): "Wherefore hast thou stolen my gods [elohim]." But Jacob protested and said: "With whomsoever thou findest thy gods, let him not live. ... For Jacob knew not that Rachel had stolen them" (31: 32 ). Laban searched through all the household tents, and finally came into Rachel's tent. "Now, Rachel had taken the teraphim," says verse 34, "and sat upon them." The manner in which these idols were ornamented, with the erect male phallus, is suggestive of the form and manner of devotion that Rachel was engaged in, "sitting on" the gods, and explains the naive excuse which she gave to her father for not rising politely when he came into her tent (31: 35 ). Laban "searched, but found not the teraphim" (31: 35 ).
Gideon, the man of the gods, "made an ephod [of gold] and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it" (Judges 8: 27 ). This phallic idol was, at the time, expressly recognized as entirely proper and orthodox in the worship of Yahveh, who was personified by the image. The people had requested Gideon to set himself up as king and rule over them; but Gideon replied, "I will not rule over you; Yahveh shall rule over you." He called on the people for all their golden ornaments, and of these be made the golden ephod. The ephod was thus Yahveh or his idol. It was evidently the writer or editor of the Book of Judges, centuries later, who used the opprobrious term "went a whoring after" this sacred statue of Yahveh, which he says "became a snare unto Gideon and to his house" (Judges 8: 27 ).
In Judges 17 and 18 is the account of the idols of Micah the Ephraimite, which became famous: "The man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest" (17: 5 ). Afterwards he secured a Levite for this office, and said: "Now know I that Yahveh will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest" (17: 13 ). And the Danites came and consulted the ephod, or phallic image of Yahveh, in regard to their expedition against Laish; and they said to the Levite priest: "Ask counsel, we pray thee, of the gods [Elohim]" whether they should be successful, and the priest consulted the idol and reported: "Go in peace: before Yahveh is your way wherein ye go" (18: 1-6 ), again proving that Yahveh was worshipped and consulted through ephod idols. And when they had captured the city, and changed its name to Dan, and dwelt there, "they set them up Micah's graven image. ... an the time that the house of the gods [beth-ha-elohim] was in Shiloh" (18: 31 ) -- and there it remained and was worshipped "until the day of the captivity of the land" (18: 30 ), several hundred years later. This also proves that the Book of Judges was not written until after "the captivity of the land."
When David was on a foray against Saul, and had no weapon, he went to Ahimelech, the high priest (miscalled Abiathar by Jesus Christ in Mark 2: 26 ), in the house of Yahveh and got the sword of Goliath, which was "wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod" (1 Sam. 21: 9 ) or phallic statue of Yahveh. Once when Saul sought for David to kill him, the fair Michal, Saul's daughter and David's first wife, who "loved him," put one of her big phallic teraphim in the nuptial bed and covered it, while David, who was consequently supposed to be in the bed asleep, escaped (I Sam. 19: 13 ).
That these teraphim were idols used in divination or in oracular consultation with Yahveh is plain from the passage of the prophet Zechariah: "For the teraphim have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie, and have told false dreams" (Zech. 10: 2 ). The Authorized Version in English uses the word "idols"; but the Hebrew and the Revised Version, more honestly, both use the word "teraphim."
THE SACRED DICE OF YAHVEH
The pious Hebrews had another sacred device, common to the heathen peoples of those regions, which is said to have been revealed by Yahveh himself to Moses on Sinai. This was the sacred oracular dice, urim and thummim, by which Yahveh revealed his holy will to his Chosen, and which the priest must carry in his "breastplate of judgment ... before Yahveh continually" (Ex. 28: 30 ). These oracular dice or "lots" were "cast" before Yahveh, and answered yes or no just as the Assyrian "tablets of destiny" did before Marduk, or Bel.
Some random instances of the use of these sacred dice may be cited. Moses dedicated first Aaron (Ex. 28: 30 ), and later Joshua (Num. 27: 21 ), to use the urim and thummim; later still, he consecrated the sons of Le6: the Levites, for this office in perpetuity (Deut. 33: 8 ). Joshua used these dice as lots to detect Achan for his theft at the taking of Ai (Josh. 7 ). Samuel used them to select Saul to be king (I Sam. 23: 9 ). Saul said unto Yahveh: "Shew the right; cast lots between me and Jonathan my son"' to detect the person who had eaten during a battle with the Philistines, and the lot fell upon Jonathan, who then confessed (I Sam. 14: 41-43 ). Sometimes this device failed, as in 1 Samuel 28: 6; for, "when Saul enquired of Yahveh, Yahveh answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets" (the three methods of divination or fortune-telling used to secure the will of Yahveh); it was then that Saul made his visit to the witch of En-dor, to consult the shade of Samuel.
The pious King David "enquired of Yahveh" several times through the dice urim and thummim and by the phallic ephod of Yahveh. When he wished to know whether be should attack Saul, "he said to Abiathar the priest, Bring hither the ephod," and David inquired of it, saying: "O Yahveh God of Israel, I beseech thee, tell thy servant," and Yahveh replied to the satisfaction of David (1 Sam. 23: 9-12 ).
As late as the prophets Ezra (Ezra 2: 63 ) and Nehemiah (Neb. 7: 65 ), questions were not decided "till there stood up a priest with Urim and with Thummim," to consult Yahveh for the answer -- just like Greek oracle-mongers and Roman augurs. The superstitious and idolatrous Hebrews used these consecrated dice to decide even law-suits and legal controversies, a practice instituted on Sinai in Exodus 28: 30, and followed with the express approval of the Wisest Man, in two of his Proverbs. For Solomon says: "The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of Yahveh" (Prov. 16: 33 ); and again he records this maxim of legal practice: "The lot causeth contentions to cease, and parteth between the mighty" (Prov. 18: 18 ). As if the God of all wisdom would reveal himself and his will through such superstitious and childish devices, a sort of acrimonious craps-shooting. Dreams, dice, and prophets -- certainly a convincing triad for revelation of the oracles of God! And witches, and wizards, and necromancers, and charmers, and dealers with familiar spirits, to assist!
OTHER HEATHEN RITES OF YAHVEH
Besides all the phallic worship and idolatrous practices above noticed, which were throughout their history associated with the cult of Yahveh, as a sort of special Hebraic Super-El or Baal, the Chosen People never even for a season gave up the common heathen idolatry into which they were born and bred and with which they were everywhere surrounded among their kindred peoples. We remember that Aaron made the golden calf at the very foot of Sinai while Moses was with the new-found god Yahveh (if he ever was); and Aaron proclaimed to the people, then but three months out of Egypt: "These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt." The golden calf was perhaps a reproduction of the sacred bull Apis of Egypt, though it is said that it was the symbol of Baal, derived from the Canaanites, and changed by the Hebrews into "a representation of Yahv'e" (Encyc. Bib., Vol. 1, col. 632 ). The Chosen People had known no other gods or forms of worship than those of Egypt for 430 years, and were common Chaldean idolaters before that time; and ever after leaving Egypt they followed the practices of their kindred peoples among whom they lived, and refused to pay any very particular attention to the new "jealous God" Yahveh.
Moses himself, in addition to the "twelve mazzeboth" which he set up just after receiving a "law" against them, also made the famous brazen image of the fiery serpent, which healed the plague- stricken Israelites, and was preserved and worshipped as a god by them until it was finally destroyed by King Hezekiah; "for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it" (2 Kings 18: 4 ).
Gideon, as we have seen, also encouraged idolatry; his nickname was Jerubbaal, showing his dedication to the Canaanite- Hebrew Baal. The holy King David worshipped Baal religiously, and as the custom was in Baal-worship, danced the Baal-dance in public and naked, "with all his might" before the holy Ark of the Covenant of Yahveh; and his wife Michal, "looked through a window and saw king David leaping and dancing before Yahveh; and she despised him in her heart" (2 Sam. 6: 14-16 ). Absalom "reared up for himself a mazzebah [phallic "pillar"]. ... for he said, I have no son to keep my name in remembrance: and he called the mazzebah after his own name" (2 Sam. 18: 18 ). The wise Solomon, it is recorded, "loved Yahveh: ... only he sacrificed and burnt incense in high places" (1 Kings 3: 3 ); the bamah or "high place" being the popular shrine of Baal-worship throughout Israel. King Solomon also "loved many strange women" of all the heathen peoples; and impartially he built a phallic temple for Yahveh and "an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab ... and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon," and went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians; "and likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods" (I Kings 11: 1-8 ). Jeroboam, the first secessionist king over Israel, made two golden calves and set them up, one in Bethel and the other in Dan, saying, as did Aaron: "Behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt" (1 Kings 12: 28 ).
These heathenish practices were not confined to sundry "bad kings" who backslided from Yahveh; they were universal and constant throughout the rank and file of the Chosen, part and parcel of the orthodox worship of Yahveh: "For they also built them high places, and mazzeboth, and asherim, on every high hill, and under every green tree. And there were also sodomites in the land: they did according to all the abominations of the nations which Yahveh cast out before the children of Israel" (I Kings 14: 23, 24 ) -- only Yahveh never did cast them out; they stayed there until the Chosen were themselves carried into captivity.
The Books of Kings and Chronicles, and of the prophets are filled with these records of continuous idolatry under the successive kings of Israel and Judah, to the end of the national record. Even under the few, scattered "good kings" (i.e., Yahveh devotees), who made some reforms, it is always related, as of Joash: "But the high places were not taken away: the people still sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places" (2 Kings 12: 3 ). Asa "took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made"; he also removed his mother Maachah "from being queen, because she had made an asherah" -- "but the high places were not removed" (1 Kings 15: 12-14 ). The kings, however zealous for Yahveh they are reported, never once attempted to disturb the public idol worship of the people. Although the few "good kings" held personally, maybe, only to Yahveh, and some prophets thundered against other idols and other idolatry in favor of the "jealous God" Yahveh, the universal idol-worship of the Chosen People was never interrupted. Elijah, prophet of El-Yahveh, murdered the 450 prophets of Baal and 400 "prophets of the groves" (1 Kings 18 ), and wailed, in his solitude: "I, even I only, am left," of all the prophets of Yahveh. Later Jehu massacred every worshipper of Baal, although he continued the worship of the two golden calves of Yahveh in Bethel and Dan (2 Kings 10 ). Still the idol-worship throve, and the Chosen People "did not believe in Yahveh their God."
This recital of instances must end; and will be brought to a close with some panoramic views of idolatry throughout the history of the Chosen People. In 2 Kings 17 this striking picture is presented:
"And the children of Israel ... built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city. And they set them up mazzeboth and asherim in every high hill, and under every green tree: And there they burnt incense in all the high places [bamoth]; ... and wrought wicked things to provoke Yahveh to anger: For they served idols, whereof Yahveh had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing. ...
Notwithstanding they ... did not believe in Yahveh their God. ... And they ... made them molten images, even two calves, and made asheroth, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire [to Moloch], and used divination and enchantments."
This picture is drawn just at the close of the national existence, in the year in which the Children were first carried away into captivity. It is declared: "Yet Yahveh testified unto Israel and unto Judah, by the hand of every prophet, and of every seer, saying, Keep my commandments and my statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers. ... Notwithstanding they would not hear, like to their fathers, who believed not in Yahveh their God" (2 Kings 17: 13, 14 ).
This clearly proves that the few prophets; who "raved" against the "gods of the nations," which were also the gods of the Chosen People, were but as "a voice crying in the wilderness" against the popular religion, and were wholly without effect upon the prevalent popular practices, from Moses to the conquest by the Assyrians. The prophet Hosea (Hos. 3: 4 ), in bewailing the desolation coming upon his country, either bewailed or exulted in -- it does not clearly appear which -- the destruction of the national religion: "For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without a mazzebah, and without an ephod, and without teraphim." This indicates the prevalence and entire orthodoxy of these national customs and objects of popular worship.
THE TEMPLE AN IDOL HOUSE
Just before the captivity we find the "good King" Josiah, he who "found" the Book of the Law, making a crusade against the idols. Solomon's great temple to Yahveh was the consecrated shrine of Hebrew idolatry and sex-worship. Josiah brought forth "out of the temple of Yahveh all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the asherah, and for all the host of heaven. ... And he brought out the asherah from the house of Yahveh. And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of Yahveh, where the women wove hangings for the asherah".(2 Kings 23: 6, 7 ). "And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the [starry] host of heaven" (23: 5 ).
This is a graphic description of the polytheistic and phallic idolatry of the Hebrews, identical in every respect with that of all the other Semitic peoples among whom they lived. These records demonstrate that the Hebrew people never at any time before the return from captivity, knew or worshipped any such God as we are taught in modern Sunday schools was the "one true god" of Israel; but that they worshipped exactly the same El or Baal, and the same Elohim, or gods, as all the neighboring heathen nations. It is preposterous to pretend that the Hebrews as a nation were not heathen or pagan, like all their kindred and neighbors. We shall presently study the Hebrew "revelation" of their Yahveh at close range.
THE TEMPLE HARLOTS OF YAHVEH
There remain several aspects of Hebrew phallic worship which we shall briefly notice. One feature common to all the ancient religions was the consecrated women, or priestess-prostitutes, who were always in attendance in the temples and at the asherah ("groves"), to participate in the worship with the true believers who had the price of oblation. Their earnings in this sacred calling went into the "treasury of Yahveh," and were a large part of its legitimate income. True, the "law" prescribed: "There shall be no whore [qadeshah] of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite [qadesh] of the sons of Israel. Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of Yahveh thy God for any vow" (Deut. 23: 17, 18 ). But, this "law" was ex post facto, and totally unobserved, for the practice prevailed even in the holy temple of Solomon. The Hebrew word "qadesh," the name for the consecrated devotees of phallism, is exactly the same word as that for "holy" or "consecrated" or "sanctified"; it is used in the "ten commandments": "Wherefore Yahveh blessed the sabbath day and hallowed [qadesh-u] it" (Ex. 20: 11 ); and in the inscription on the golden crown of Aaron: "Holiness [godesh] to Yahveh" (Ex. 219: 30 ); and wherever this idea is expressed.
The first Bible mention of this cult is some five hundred years before the time of Moses, when the fair young widow Tamar, despairing of getting the man so often promised her, dressed herself in the garb of a "qadeshah" or temple-harlot, with a veil over her face, and went and "sat in an open place" where she knew that her father-in-law Judah would pass by; and Judah came by, and fell into her trap, with interesting sequel, related in Genesis 38. Later Moses, in instituting the religious observances of the Chosen People, thought it amiss that Hebrew young women and young men should engage in this religious prostitution, and hence the "law" above quoted, prohibiting them from acting the role of temple-prostitutes. So these sacred offices were usually filled by "the stranger within thy gate," and particularly by the Moabitish maidens and young men. While yet in the midst of their wanderings in the wilderness, "the people began to commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab, ... and bowed down to their gods. And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor" (Num. 25: 1-3 ); that is, to "Baal the hymen-breaker," so named because Moabitish maidens were wont to break their hymens on the idol-phallus before becoming qadeshoth, or religious prostitutes. As to the qadeshuth, or official sodomites, who abounded among the Chosen People, as attested by many scriptural passages, the less said about these detestable attendants of the worship of Yahveh, the better.
When Solomon erected the temple of Yahveh, built from plans drawn by Yahveh himself (1 Chron. 28: 19 ), he made arrangements for the comfort of these consecrated temple-attendants, and for the convenience of the phallic worshippers. It is recorded: "And against the wall of the house he built chambers round about. ... both of the temple and of the oracle; even ... for the most holy place" (1 Kings 6: 5, 16 ). These side-chambers (tselaoth), the small size of which is stated (6: 6, 10 ), were the habitations of the qadeshoth and the qadeshuth. When the holy temple needed repairs, the "good King" Jehoash told the priests to use "all the money of the qadashim [translated dedicated things] that is brought into the house of Yahveh" (2 Kings 12: 4 ) for the work of repairs; but the priests stole it and did not make the repairs (12: 6 ). These chambers were broken down by Josiah: "And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were in the house of Yahveh, where the women wove hangings for the asherah" (2 Kings 23: 7 ). Notwithstanding, so profitable a form of worship continued unabated in Israel, as in the rest of the heathen world.
Of another phallic practice of the Hebrew religion, of universal sanctity among them and their Semitic neighbors, we have frequent testimony, from first to last, in their Scriptures. This was the solemn phallic form of oath prevalent among them. As the phallus was the object of most sacred reverence in Israel, as everywhere else, the most solemn oaths and vows were taken upon it; the form of ceremony being for the person to be obligated to take in his hand the member of the person to whom he swore (euphemistically translated "put hand under the thigh"), and register thus his oath. As stated by a recent authority, "In exceptional cases the hand might be placed under the thigh of the person imposing the oath (Gen. 24: 2; 47: 29 ), as a sign of regard for the mystery of generation, whose source was God." [New Stand. Bible Dict., p. 630, art. Oath. The Encyclopedia Biblica says: "'Thigh' refers to the generative organ" (Vol. 3: col. 3453, art. Oath). Josephus, Antiq., 1, 16, 1, describes how the ceremony was performed.] Thus, Father Abraham called his majordomo, and said to him: "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will make thee swear by Yahveh. ... And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and swear to him concerning that matter" (Gen. 24: 2, 9 ). So Jacob, when he came to die in Egypt, called his son Joseph to him, and said: "Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh; ... bury me not, I pray thee, in Egypt. ... And he swear unto him" (Gen. 47: 29-31 ).
This phallic practice was not confined to the ancient patriarchs; it prevailed throughout Bible history. When Solomon was crowned king over all Israel, the ceremony of taking the oath of allegiance is related in 1 Chronicles 29: 24: "And all the princes, and the mighty men, and all the sons likewise of king David, gave the hand under Solomon." In other words, the spectacle was presented of all the mighty men of Israel lined up as at a Presidential New Year's reception, and filing by before the Wise King; as each came up he would take the royal phallus in his good sword hand, and with low obeisance pronounce upon it the solemn oath of fealty. In Lamentations, the weeping prophet bewails the dire distress of the Chosen People, and declares: "We have given the hand to the Egyptians, and to the Assyrians, to be satisfied with bread" (Lam. 5: 6 ) -- taken the phallic oath of fealty to those foreign nations in return for protection and provisions. Other instances might be cited, but these suffice to show the time- honored practice, in private and in public, of all Israel. In modern times we evidence the solemnity of an official or judicial oath by putting the hand on the Bible, as a sacred thing, and kissing it. It is much the same in effect as the older custom, and very little different as a matter of taste.
SANCTITY OF THE PHALLUS
The sanctity attached by the Hebrew religion to the male organs of generation is clearly recognized by various passages of the law. These phallic organs must not be profanely touched or injured, and the injury or loss of any part of them wrought an excommunication from the worship of Yahveh. In Deuteronomy 25: 11, 12, the rigorous law enacts that when two of the Chosen are engaged in a street fight together, "and the wife of the one draweth near for to deliver her husband out of the hand of him that smiteth him, and putteth forth her hand, and taketh him by the secrets: Then thou shalt cut off her hand, thine eye shall not pity her." In chapter 23: 1, excommunication is pronounced against the unfortunate one: "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of Yahveh." These two barbarous laws discredit the theory that a true and merciful God had anything to do with their enactment, or with the barbarous "Scriptures" which attribute them to him. But the One True Church of Yahveh to-day still holds to this phallic prohibition; and while it pretends to deny to its asexual ministers the natural exercise of these organs, its canons decree that its consecrated ones, from Yahveh's Vicar down, must be "perfect in all their parts"; and before the ceremonial "laying on of hands," it exacts a private and thorough examination, to satisfy Yahveh's and Peter's phallic requirements.
THE SUPERSTITION OF WITCHCRAFT
A brief reference to some other superstitions of the Hebrew Bible religion may be permitted. Witches, wizards, familiar spirits, and demons were as plentiful and popular as angels and devils in modern Christianity -- and as real. Yahveh, on Sinai, enacted (Ex. 22: 18 ): "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." When Saul was king, after the death of Samuel, be became virtuous for a while, and "banished those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land," on pain of death. This of course proves the existence of such unrealities. The Philistines came up against Saul, and he was very much afraid, and inquired of Yahveh what to do about it; but, as we have seen, "Yahveh answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her" (1 Sam. 28: 6, 7 ). A witch was as good an oracle of Yahveh as another, or better, to judge by the results. And they told Saul: "Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit, at En-dor"; and Saul disguised himself and went to her by night, and he said to her: "I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee"; proving that the soul is immortal, and that witches can call up the dead from Sheol to earth. And Saul ordered her: "Bring me up Samuel." After some bargaining, the witch of En- dor consented; and when the spirit was on her, she cried out: "I saw gods [elohim] ascending out of the earth." Then Samuel came up, and, talking as well as ever, said: "Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?" This is recorded as inspired truth in the "Holy Word of God." It is a ridiculous superstition; but it proves that the Chosen People of Yahveh reverenced and believed in witches; that the witches had the same supernatural powers as their Yahveh, and could also, through Yahveh, prophesy the future, -- "as Yahveh spake by me" (I Sam. 28: 17 ); and that the great El was, in their conception, nothing other or better than a sort of chief spirit among the many elohim (gods or spirits) which peopled their perfervid superstitious imaginations. Indeed, Yahveh is frequently called, "El, elohe of spirits," as in Numbers 16: 22 and 27: 16; and in Joshua 22: 22, "El elohim," the "God of gods, or spirits." Elsewhere he is "the El above all elohim.," the "God above all gods or spirits"; and Paul calls him expressly "the Father of spirits" (Heb. 12: 9 ).
Hundreds of years after Saul, old Isaiah vapoured about the "familiar spirits" and the "wizards that peep, and that mutter" (Isa. 8: 19 ); and others of the inspired holy prophets share the same superstition. Yahveh is "jealous" of these competitors; and in Deuteronomy makes a sweeping prohibition of them all: "There shall not be found among you any one ... that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer" (Deut. 18: 10, 11 ): all their practices were reserved for the priests and prophets of Yahveh alone. To cite but one other out of many instances, Manasseh, King of Judah, "used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards" (2 Chron. 33: 6 ). These superstitious beliefs and practices existed all through Bible times.
THE BIBLE A GREAT "DREAM BOOK"
As for dreams, it is idle to examine into any of them; the whole Bible, Old and New Testaments, is little more than a superstitious "dream-book," from Abram's dream that he should sacrifice his only son Isaac, to the apocalyptic nightmares of John on Patmos. One of these latter was indeed a vision unique in Scripture: "Behold, there appeared a great wonder in heaven, a woman" (Rev. 12: 1 ).
Most of the principal inspired events in the Hebrew Scriptures were dreamed -- all its miraculous happenings were of such stuff as dreams are made of. Abraham dreamed the promise and the covenant, as did Jacob at the ladder; Joseph was a "Baal of dreams." Yahveh himself prescribes dreams as the preferred medium of revelation of his awful will: "If there be a prophet among you, 1:Yahveh, will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream" (Num. 12: 6 ). David dreamed, Solomon dreamed, Ezekiel dreamed, Daniel was the premier dreamer of them all. Jeremiah derides the whole horde of self-styled prophets gadding about the land crying: "I have dreamed, I have dreamed," and who prophesy [Heb., rave] lies (Jer. 23: 25, 26 ). That Jesus Christ was "conceived by the Holy Ghost" is an admitted dream (Matt. 1: 20 ). The book of the Revelation is all a dream.
The superstition that dreams were sent by gods as a revelation of their will was not limited to the Hebrew "revelation" of Yahveh; it pervaded antiquity, and prevails yet among low-civilized tribes. Zeus lay awake all one night on high Olympus devising trouble for the Greeks:
"At last, this counsel seemed the best, -- to send A treacherous Dream to Agamemnon, son Of Atreus. Then he called a Dream, and thus Addressing it with winged words, he said: Go, fatal Vision, to the Grecian fleet, And, entering Agamemnon's tent, declare Faithfully what I bid thee. ... At his head the Dream Took station in the form of Neleus' son. ... In such a shape The Heaven-sent Dream to Agamemnon spake ... He spake, and disappearing, left the King Musing on things that never were to be" (Iliad, Bk. 2: 1-47 ).
This false dream from Jove for the undoing of the Greek hero has a counterpart in the "lying spirit" sent by Yahveh falsely to "entice Ahab king of Israel, that he may ... fall at Ramoth-gilead" (2 Chron. 18: 18-22 ).
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