Friday, December 9, 2016

Obstacles In Believing in One G-d: Abraham and Descendants

Nadene Goldfoot                                                     


Terah came from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers of the eastern part of the Middle East well into the 2nd  millennium BCE, over 4,000 years ago with his family and clan.  They settled in Ur of the Chaldees, today's Iraq.   Terah was an idol-maker.He made many different idols.                                                                                                            
Abram blessing the women
Abraham and Lot, his nephew
1948 BCE-2nd millennium
 His son was Abram, father to be of Jews and Arabs. Abram, later to be added the title making him Abraham, married Sarai, later to be called Sarah,  his niece, both name changes to be a revelation for them both.  Abram was confronted with his father's business of making clay idols and coming to the conclusion that they were just clay statutes that people worshipped, and not anything else.  He then realized that there was only one G-d in the world, something people had not realized, ever. G-d had spoken to him.   This fact would make his people stand out, to be accepted or not, the biggest event to hit the world.

Hadad, clay statue of Syria
Chief god of the ancient Semitic
family of gods. Ba
al was a title of
lordship of the world.
Esau and Jacob
Abraham, spoken to by G-d, was told that he would be the father of many, and wasn't fulfilling this agreement, so his elderly wife, Sarah told him to take her handmaid, Hagar,  and he did, producing Ishmael.  Later, Sarah produced Isaac.  Ishmael would later be leaving the clan to seek a wife among the native people away from his home, and they would be the future Arabs, Isaac's half brother.  Again, Isaac's son, Jacob, had a brother, Esau, who strayed away being very different and he also married into Ishmael's new clan, joining up with the future Arab people and bringing in more DNA from Sarah.  Abraham was directed to make his sons different from others by circumcising them and himself.  This would also keep them apart from non-believers.  However, circumcision was something that Egyptians practiced.  Abraham used it for a different reason.  With Abraham it was done on a child's 8th day of life, showing the covenant with the one G-d. It was a way of distinguishing the Jew from the idolator.
Son, King Solomon
King David
Abraham's family settled in Canaan among the Canaanites and Philistines.  Generations went by and his descendants came to the age when they wanted a king like other people to rule over them, so Saul was elected king in about 1100 BCE, with David being next in 1010 BCE to 970 BCE, creating a beautiful kingdom while he communicated with Abraham's G-d.
King Solomon's Temple
His son, Solomon, from 961 to 920 BCE created an empire, all built around the fact that there was only one G-d that he communicated with, and with a people who were also believers since Abraham's days.  This made them different from all other people.  Not only were they successful, but their religion was different from all others.
Sargon II of Assyria
The Assyrian Empire of the East attacked them in 721 BCE, taking away the best of their men for slavery.  They were established in the 20th century BCE till the 13th and then 10th centuries BCE.  Israel's Prophet, Hosea had defended his people against the Assyrians in 726 BCE which led to King Shalom V's siege of Samaria and its capture in 721 BCE by King Sargon.  He annexed the country and deported 27, 290 Israelites to Assyria and Media.  Syrian and Babylonian prisoners were exchanged.   King Hezekiah of Israel 720 BC-692 BCE was able to pay tribute and ceded some territory.  Judah was ravaged in 700 BCE.
Babylon with 200,000 people 
The Babylonian Empire (Shinar, of the Kasdim -Chaldees), who had taken over the Assyrian Empire, also came and attacked them from 597 BCE to 586 BCE and did the same thing, taking the best of the men and women away, and often replacing them with their own cast-offs.
 Their Temple, built by Solomon, was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE. It had stood for over 300 years.   All the time, the descendants of Abraham and Sarah kept to their beliefs. in one G-d, keeping them apart from all others socially and religiously.
All along, the ancient country of Egypt also had many gods until one day one of the pharoahs, Akhenaten (c1336 BCE),  believed in one god.  To him, it was the sun.  It was not a popular belief at all, and when he died, the people were only too happy to go back to their old beliefs, quite a lesson for the Jews to observe.
 Even with his belief, Abraham was ahead of him by over 700 years.
Moses bringing his people the 10 Commandments
from G-d
In the meantime, Moses was born in Egypt in c1391 BCE and lived for 120 years till 1271 BCE, .most likely earlier than Akhenaten.  He reinforced the belief in one G-d with G-d on the Exodus of all the Egyptian slaves-family members or not that lasted for 40 years, taking them all back to Canaan.  He laid down our 613 laws to fullfill the expectations of a creation of people most thoughtful of G-d to be the leaders and teachers of this way of life.

600–400 BCE
The probable life of Laozi, author of the Tao Te Ching, considered the founding work of philosophical Taoism

Taoism (/ˈdaʊɪzəm/), also known as Daoism, is a religious or philosophical tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao (道, literally "Way", also romanized as Dao). ... The roots of Taoism go back at least to the 4th century BCE.
551 BCE
Confucius, founder of Confucianism, was born.[Confucianism is often characterized as a system of social and ethical philosophy rather than a religion. In fact, Confucianism built on an ancient religious foundation to establish the social values, institutions, and transcendent ideals of traditional Chinese society.
440 BCE
Zoroastrianism from Persia entered recorded history.  is one of the world's oldest religions, "combining a cosmogonic dualism and eschatological monotheism in a manner unique [...] among the major religions of the world." Ascribed to the teachings of the Iranian prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra),  he exalted their deity of wisdom,Ahura Mazda (Wise Lord), as its Supreme Being. Leading characteristics, such as messianismheaven and hell, and free will are said to have influenced other religious systems, including Second Temple JudaismGnosticismChristianity, and Islam." However, it was in competition with Judaism.

The Greeks of the Mediterranean believed in Mt Olympus. home of multiple gods.  Hellenization was going on affecting Israel under Ptolemaic rule from 312 to 198 BCE, and then again under the Seleucids in trying to establish a Greek city.  After a 2 year struggle Judah the Maccabee occupied the hill and rewtored the Temple service-of which we have our holiday of Hanukkah from 164 BCE's date. Greeks played games, and Jewish men were involved.  The players played without clothing.  Jews were harassed because of their circumcision.
The Romans attacked the Greeks and borrowed their religion, putting different Roman names in place instead of Greek ones.

Rome  attacked Israel-Judah in about 200 BCE when they occupied Jerusalem.  There were Jewish slaves in Rome by 139 BCE.   In 63 BCE the Roman general Pompey made war between the Hasmoneans, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus to occupy Jerusalem.  The Parthians captured Jerusalem in 40 BCE. and it fell to Herod in 37 BCE who ruled as a Roman vassal.  He rebuilt the Temple and created the Wailing Wall.  From 6CE, Jerusalem was ruled by Roman Procurators.  Pontiuis Pilate crucified Jesus in 29 CE.  The people revolted in 66 CE.  They had 3 years of independence and then the Romans under titus took it once more.  Bar Kochba revolted from 132 to 135 and liberated Jerusalem for 3 years.  Rome's Emperor Hadrian rebuilt it as a Roman colony with Jews forbidden to approach it under pain of death.
Romans  became Christian with Emperor Constantine, of Rome, 312-337,  head of their empire with Jerusalem now their holy city.  His mother, Helena, visited the city in 325.

By 570, Mohammad was born in Arabia and taught a new religion to his people until his death in 632.
 By 614 Jerusalem  was again occupied, this time by the Persians.who were assisted by a Jewish force.  By 628 the Christian Byzantine rule was restored by Emperor Heraclius.  Finally, it fell in 628 to Caliph Omar who built a building for prayer on the Temple Esplanade where our 1st and 2nd Temples of Solomon had stood.  It was again rebuilt in 691 as the DOME OF THE ROCK by the Umayyad Caliph Abd-el Malik.
The Arabs, 1/2 brothers of Jews, had returned and they allowed the Jews to return!  However, this ancient site began to decay after the Abbasid rulers went to Baghdad in 750.  The Fatimids of the 11th century built the 2nd main mosque called El-Aksa on the Temple site, favorite place for all.
In 1099 the Christian Crusaders came to Jerusalem through Europe, killing Jews along the way under Godfrey of Bouillon and established the city as their capital of the Latin Kingdom.

In 1187, the Ayyubid Sultan Saladin retook the city for Islam and it remained in Moslem hands.  Finally it was in Ottoman Empire hands when it decayed till in the 18th and 19th centuries with the population below 10,000 and part lay in ruins.  The Jewish community was almost destroyed by the Crusaders and not many were left there by the 13th century in Jerusalem.  Reinforcements came who were pious immigrants from many lands, especially after the expulsion from Spain in 1492.  The government restricted the Jews' population.

In 1625 Jews were brutally attacked and robbed by the local Pasha Muhammad ibn Farukh.  More Jewish immigration came in and the population rose from 11,000 with 3,000 being Jews in 1838 to 68,000 with 50,000 being Jews.
By 1910 new homes outside the Old City wall were built by Sir Moses Montefiore from 1855 on.  The development of Jerusalem was stopped by World War I. in 1914-1917. At the end of the war Jews had met with Great Britain and finally a deal was made to procure the JEWISH NATIONAL HOME from the success of WWI's allies.    By 1929, the losers, mainly fretting over his loss mostly was the Sherif of Jerusalem, the Arab chief Haj Amin al-Husseini, who didn't want to turn over any land to Jews.  He set his followers against the Jews in a riot and against the Jews' friend, Emir Feisal.

Still, today, Jews believe in one G-d only.  No ifs ands or buts, that's the way it stands.  Jews do not draw pictures of this one G-d.  He is unseen.  He's a force.  He does not take a man's shape, yet we were made in his image, something for us to understand.  We have a soul, a mind, and we are to use it.
Moving eastward to India, "Although often viewed as a polytheistic faith, Hinduism is actually henotheistic, the worship of one god without denying the existence of other gods.  King Solomon's empire stretched far enough for Solomon to have relations with this country in trade.  "5500–4500 BCE was when it started. Hinduism is the religion of the majority of people in India and Nepal. It also exists among significant populations outside of the sub continent and has over 900 million adherents worldwide. Unlike most other religionsHinduism has no single founder, no single scripture, and no commonly agreed set of teachings.Hinduism is the world's third largest religion, with over 1 billion followers or 15% of the global population, known as Hindus. The majority of Hindus reside in IndiaNepalMauritius, and Bali in Indonesia.

The Proto-Indo-Europeans (PIE) emerged, probably within the Pontic-Caspian steppe.   and  developed a religion focused on sacrificial ideology, which would influence the religions of the descendant Indo-European cultures throughout Europe, Anatolia and the Indian subcontinent. It is said to be the period of Ramayana in India, beginning with the birth in 5114 BCE of Lord Sri Ram, a central figure of HinduismThe period of the Mahabharata in India and the period in which Hindu Sacred Scripture Bhagavad Gitawas written. 3112 BCE marked the birth of Lord Sri Krishna, an Incarnation of Lord Vishnu of the Hindu Trinity.

It was the hardest fact for a world of gods to accept; that there was only one.  This new concept brought Human Rights to a world where before, life was not important.

Research, The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia


  1. Shabbat reading is about the city of Haran. "Haran was a place where Terah temporarily settled with his son the Patriarch Abraham (who was known as Abram at that time), his grandson Lot, and Abram's wife Sarai, all of them descendants of Arpachshad son of Shem, during their journey from Ur Kaśdim (Ur of the Chaldees) to the Land of Canaan.[1] The region of this Haran is referred to variously as Paddan Aram and Aram Naharaim. Abram lived there until he was 75 years old before continuing his journey.[2] Although Abram's nephew Lot accompanied him to Canaan, other descendants of Terah remained in Paddan-Aram,[3] where Abraham's grandson Jacob sought his parents' relatives, namely Laban, for whom he worked for twenty years in Haran

  2. This is interesting since my father's Y haplogroup is Q1b1a, originally from Siberia, Mongolia and parts of Turkey. They journeyed from there to Canaan!