Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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August 27, 2012
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August 27, 2012
Which Gebal?, Origin Of Jabal, Cain Flees, Theories Regarding Location Of Garden Of Eden, The Inhabitants Of Tyre Or Tyrus, Jews And Arabs Are Notorious For Holding Long-Term Grudges, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Sunni-Shi'ite Tensions In The Middle East, Phoenician King Hiram King David And Solomon, King Solomon Employed Slave Labor To Build The First Temple, King David Foolishly Takes A Census Of Israel, King Hiram's Displeasure And Land Of Cabul, Ongoing Confrontations With Amalekites, Philistines: David And Goliath And The Giants, Theory: A Philistine-Palestinian Connection, Wikipedia Info, Assur: Assyrians And Syria, Promised Land Conquest, Hamath
Continuing our discussion from part four, concerning which of the two Gebals Psalm 83 is really referring to, I am not certain. One reason why it is difficult to ascertain which of the two is the correct Gebal in Psalm 83, is because the word has many different spelling variations. These include jabal, jabel, jebal, jebel, jbel, djebel, jibal, etc. The actual Arabic word seems to be "jah-bahl", which signifies a mountain, hill or slope, which could be indicative of the area below the Dead Sea. The difficulty is increased by the fact that these different words have been used to name a wide variety of mountains, places and people.
The Bible offers evidence which suggests that the name of the city may possibly be derived from Jabal -- or Yabal -- who was a descendant of Abel's wicked brother Cain. Jabal was the son of Lamech and Adah, the brother of Jubal, and the half-brother of Tubal-cain, who was born to Lamech by his second wife Naamah. As we can see by the verses below, "he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle:
"And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother's name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah."
Genesis 4:19-22, KJV
In light of these verses, it would seem fitting to find both tent dwellers and cattle herders in the region that is south of the Dead Sea. Let us not forget that the region has not always been as arid and sparse in vegetation as it is today. In fact, prior to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Book of Genesis informs us that the area around the Dead Sea was well-watered, and absolutely beautiful; so much so that when the Patriarch Abraham gave his nephew Lot a choice as to where he wanted to take his herds, Lot chose the Jordan River Valley. Consider this verse:
"And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar."
Genesis 13:10, KJV
However, allow me to point out that, to my knowledge, there is no definitive proof that Gebal was named after Jabal. As I said a moment ago, the word "jabal" and its variations is used extensively by Arab-speaking peoples in the naming of places throughout the Middle East. As you may know, there are various theories regarding where Eden and the Garden of Eden may have been situated, and thus, where Cain and his descendants may have settled after Cain murdered his brother Abel and fled eastward from Eden, as we see by this verse:
"And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden."
Genesis 4:16, KJV
The two most popular theories include southern Iraq near the Persian Gulf, and the eastern portion of Turkey, near Mount Ararat and the headwaters of the Euphrates River. However, I recently became familiar with another theory which appears to be popular with some Jews and Christians. It posits that the land of Eden may have been Canaan itself, and that the actual Garden of Eden may have been situated on the summit of Mount Moriah. As you may know, this is where Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isaac, where the two Temples stood at one time, and where the Dome of the Rock and the al-Aqsa Mosque have been standing in the Haram Ash-Sharif -- that is, the Noble Sanctuary -- since the late 7th Century. It may very well be the most controversial religious site in the entire world.
If there is any truth to this latter theory regarding Canaan actually being Eden, then if Cain dwelled "on the east of Eden" as the Book of Genesis informs us, then it does raise the possibility that his descendant Jabal could have settled to the south of the Dead Sea at Gebal. But again, it is just an unprovable theory.
While the Hebrew lexicon indicates the Gebal that was located to the south of the Dead Sea for the verse in Psalm 83, if we consider the fact that the inhabitants of Tyre are listed as one of the conspirators in the alliance that was organized against Israel, in my view, this leaves open the possibility that Psalm 83 could still be referring to the Gebal that was located in Phoenicia to the north of Israel.
This is because the maritime city of Tyre -- or Tyrus, as it was referred to by the Greeks -- is likewise a coastal city that was located in Phoenicia. Similar to Gebal, it is a very ancient city which is believed to be a little more than half as old as Gebal, or Jubayl/Byblos. Today, this city is still known as Tyre, Lebanon. It is located about fifty miles to the south of Beirut. I discuss the history of this city -- as well as God's prophecy against it -- in the article entitled "Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires".
Why would the inhabitants of Tyre choose to participate in the conspiracy against Israel? I can think of a good reason. As I explain in the series "The Fruits of Disobedience", as well as in "The International Jew and the Protocols of Zion", the Phoenicians had a score to settle with the Israelites. If there is one thing that you should know about the people of the Middle East, it is that they are notoriously famous for holding grudges. The problem, as I briefly mentioned in part four, is that they don't just hold grudges for hours or days. In fact, they don't even hold them for weeks or months or years or even decades. They literally hold them for many centuries and millennia, and that is why the Israeli-Arab conflict -- and the mutual hatred -- rages unabated today.
If you doubt that this is true for both Jew and Arab alike, then just consider how politics are run in the Middle East today. How long have the Israelis and the Palestinians been squabbling over the specifics regarding a Palestinian State? It has been literally decades now, and there is still not a viable solution in sight. They barely even want to talk to each other; and when they do sit down to talk, accusations tend to fly from both sides of the fence. Pride, deep-seated hatred, egos, and fear and mistrust of each other continue to get in the way. It has been in their blood for a very long time, and it is extremely difficult to exorcise the demons.
Another prime example is the current tense situation that we find in Iraq. As you may know, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a member of the Sunni Muslim sect. As a result, he kept the Shi'ite Muslims oppressed. By the way, in case you were not aware of it, the Sunni Shi'ite schism likewise involves a centuries old argument regarding who is actually the rightful heir and descendant of their prophet Muhammad. Now that the Shi'ites have gained the upper hand and are in power in Iraq, their long-held grudge against the Sunnis is on display, and it is the Sunnis who are feeling the wrath and prejudice of the Shi'ites, as the Shi'ites take revenge for the years that they were oppressed by Saddam Hussein.
In fact, as I mention in the article "Arab Spring and the Birth of the Beast and the Islamic Empire", even before the last of the American troops had pulled out of Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- a Shi'ite -- had already begun to throw around his weight, make accusations against his political opponents, and arrest people. But this conflict between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites is not just limited to Iraq. As you may know, the entire Middle East is divided up between Sunni-dominated nations, and Shi'ite dominated ones.
But to continue my explanation regarding why the Phoenicians would conspire against the Jews, according to the First Book of the Kings, a deep friendship existed between King David and King Hiram of Phoenicia, which likewise extended to King Solomon. As a result of their alliance, Phoenicia was allowed to rule itself as an "independent" nation. In fact, the Bible informs us that Hiram helped both David and Solomon with some of their construction projects. This included an elegant house of cedar that David built, the original Temple that was built some years later by Solomon, and other projects which required the cedar trees from Lebanon. Consider the following verses:
"And Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, and carpenters, and masons: and they built David an house."
2 Samuel 5:11, KJV
"And king Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre. He was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to king Solomon, and wrought all his work."
1 Kings 7:13-14, KJV
Concerning the parentage of Hiram, the previous verses seems to indicate that he may have been part Israelite, and part Phoenician. You will notice that in the previous paragraph, I placed the word "independent" in quotation marks. This is because in reality, while he was the king of Tyre, and thus the king of Phoenicia, the following verses plainly reveal that the Phoenicians were really under the dominion of, and subservient to, King Solomon. Furthermore, the Phoenicians were made to engage in forced labor -- basically slavery -- so that Solomon could complete his construction projects:
"And Hiram sent to the king sixscore talents of gold. And this is the reason of the levy which king Solomon raised; for to build the house of the LORD, and his own house, and Millo, and the wall of Jerusalem, and Hazor, and Megiddo, and Gezer . . . And all the cities of store that Solomon had, and cities for his chariots, and cities for his horsemen, and that which Solomon desired to build in Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, and in all the land of his dominion."
1 Kings 9:14-15, 19, KJV
In the previous verses, the word "levy" is not referring to a tax. It is derived from the Hebrew words "mac" and "mic". The Brown, Driver, Briggs, Gesenius Hebrew Aramaic English Lexicon clearly reveals that these words mean slave gangs, forced service and serfdom:
----- Begin Quote -----
1) gang or body of forced labourers, task-workers, labour band or gang, forced service, task-work, serfdom, tributary, tribute, levy, taskmasters, discomfited
1a) labour-band, labour-gang, slave gang
1c) forced service, serfdom, tribute, enforced payment
----- End Quote -----
Surprising, isn't it? We have a world-famous movie such as Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 classic "The Ten Commandments", in which Mr. DeMille walks out onto the stage before the film begins, and discusses the evils of slavery, and yet, one of Israel's most famous kings practiced slavery. In fact, the previous verses inform us that these slave gangs were used "to build the house of the LORD". Sadly, Solomon was by no means alone in using slave labor.
As further proof that at the very least, the southern part of Phoenicia fell under King Solomon's dominion, consider the fact that years earlier when King David foolishly told Joab and his captains to take a census of Israel and Judah, they also went to Zidon -- or Sidon -- and Tyre in Phoenicia as well, as we see by the following verses:
"And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. For the king said to Joab the captain of the host, which was with him, Go now through all the tribes of Israel, from Dan even to Beersheba, and number ye the people, that I may know the number of the people. And Joab said unto the king, Now the LORD thy God add unto the people, how many soever they be, an hundredfold, and that the eyes of my lord the king may see it: but why doth my lord the king delight in this thing? Notwithstanding the king's word prevailed against Joab, and against the captains of the host. And Joab and the captains of the host went out from the presence of the king, to number the people of Israel. And they passed over Jordan, and pitched in Aroer, on the right side of the city that lieth in the midst of the river of Gad, and toward Jazer: Then they came to Gilead, and to the land of Tahtimhodshi; and they came to Danjaan, and about to Zidon, And came to the strong hold of Tyre, and to all the cities of the Hivites, and of the Canaanites: and they went out to the south of Judah, even to Beersheba. So when they had gone through all the land, they came to Jerusalem at the end of nine months and twenty days. And Joab gave up the sum of the number of the people unto the king: and there were in Israel eight hundred thousand valiant men that drew the sword; and the men of Judah were five hundred thousand men. And David's heart smote him after that he had numbered the people. And David said unto the LORD, I have sinned greatly in that I have done: and now, I beseech thee, O LORD, take away the iniquity of thy servant; for I have done very foolishly."
2 Samuel 24:1-10, KJV
As a part of their arrangement, King Solomon provided Hiram with a yearly ration of wheat and oil which Hiram used to feed his personal household. Furthermore, after Hiram had provided Solomon with both slaves and materials for twenty years, when the first Temple and the king's cedar house were finally completed, Solomon rewarded Hiram with twenty cities that were located in the poor region of Galilee in northern Israel. However, as the following verses reveal, Hiram was greatly offended by the poor quality of the cities which he had been given. In fact, he viewed Solomon's gesture as a slap in the face. Consider this:
"And it came to pass at the end of twenty years, when Solomon had built the two houses, the house of the LORD, and the king's house, (Now Hiram the king of Tyre had furnished Solomon with cedar trees and fir trees, and with gold, according to all his desire,) that then king Solomon gave Hiram twenty cities in the land of Galilee. And Hiram came out from Tyre to see the cities which Solomon had given him; and they pleased him not. And he said, What cities are these which thou hast given me, my brother? And he called them the land of Cabul unto this day."
1 Kings 9:10-13, KJV
Within the previous verses there is a hidden insult which will not be readily apparent to the English reader. The name "Cabul" is derived from the Hebrew word "kabuwl". Pronounced kaw-bool', this word means "binding". But if we delve deeper into its origin, we discover that "kabuwl" is derived from the Hebrew root "kebel". Pronounced keh'-bel, it signifies bonds or fetters. In other words, the implication seems to be that upon realizing that he and his people had been used and manipulated by King Solomon for all of those years, in his displeasure, Hiram was contemptuously insinuating that Solomon had paid the Phoenicians as if they were cheap slave labor; which they obviously were in Solomon's eyes.
While King Solomon and King Hiram continued their amiable relationship despite Hiram's displeasure, as we discover in later prophecies, the situation did eventually deteriorate between Israel and Lebanon -- or Phoenicia -- to the point that the Lord prophesied the destruction of Tyre, or Tyrus, through the mouth of the Prophet Ezekiel, as I mentioned earlier.
Similar to the other nations which surrounded the Promised Land of Canaan, which had felt threatened by the Israelites, and which were then conquered and subdued by them, and forced into slave labor, forced to pay taxes to the Israelite kings, and who also lost many men, women and young children to the Israelite armies, the Phoenicians probably arrived at a point where they said enough was enough. Thus, when the opportunity arose to do something about it, and to change their fate, they joined the alliance of nations that is mentioned in Psalm 83.
The next nation of people who are mentioned in Psalm 83 are the Amalekites. As their name implies, the Amalekites were the descendants of Amalek, who was the grandson of Esau. They dwelt in southern Canaan, which was later to be called Israel and Palestine. Some years after the Israelites were freed from the bonds of slavery in Egypt, the trouble with the Amalekites began. As the Israelites slowly marched on their way to what we know today as the northwestern border of Jordan, where they would cross over and attack Jericho, they encountered the Amalekites, who apparently conducted a sneak attack from the rear.
While under the leadership of Moses, Joshua and his men were successful in defeating the Amalekites, the following verses reveal that this was not a permanent victory. In fact, the Lord says through Moses "war with Amalek from generation to generation". Thus we see that hundreds of years later, the Amalekites are still posing a problem for King Saul:
"Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim. And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand. So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed. But Moses' hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. And the LORD said unto Moses, Write this for a memorial in a book, and rehearse it in the ears of Joshua: for I will utterly put out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven. And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovahnissi: For he said, Because the LORD hath sworn that the LORD will have war with Amalek from generation to generation."
Exodus 17:8-16, KJV
"Remember what Amalek did unto thee by the way, when ye were come forth out of Egypt; How he met thee by the way, and smote the hindmost of thee, even all that were feeble behind thee, when thou wast faint and weary; and he feared not God. Therefore it shall be, when the LORD thy God hath given thee rest from all thine enemies round about, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it, that thou shalt blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; thou shalt not forget it."
Deuteronomy 25:17-19, KJV
"And Saul came to a city of Amalek, and laid wait in the valley. And Saul said unto the Kenites, Go, depart, get you down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them: for ye shewed kindness to all the children of Israel, when they came up out of Egypt. So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. And Saul smote the Amalekites from Havilah until thou comest to Shur, that is over against Egypt. And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive, and utterly destroyed all the people with the edge of the sword."
1 Samuel 15:5-8, KJV
Based on the previous verses, it is easy to see then why the remnant of the Amalekites would seek revenge against the Jews by joining the conspiracy and alliance against Israel, which Asaph was praying against in Psalm 83.
Let us now turn our attention to one of the most notorious enemies of the ancient Israelites; that is, the Philistines. It goes without saying that one of the main reasons why the Philistines are so familiar to Christians and non-Christians alike, is due to the famous confrontation which occurred in the days of King Saul, between a young lad named David, and a boastful Philistine giant named Goliath. As I explain in the series "Nephilim: The Giants of Genesis", Goliath was not the only giant who dwelt amongst the Philistines. It is evident that there were others, including his own brothers. In fact, it is possible that the Philistines themselves were a race of giants. Please refer to the aforementioned series for more details.
The Philistines dwelt primarily on the Mediterranean coast of Canaan; although they were sometimes found in other areas of Palestine as well. As I explain in the article entitled "The Philistine - Palestinian Connection", historical and Biblical evidence leads me to believe that the modern Palestinians may possibly be descended from the Philistines, and not from the Edomites, as some people have proposed. Personally, I find it rather interesting that the Palestinians occupy some of the very same regions as the Philistines did thousands of years ago; namely the Gaza Strip and Hebron. Following is a short excerpt from the Wikipedia website:
----- Begin Quote -----
The Philistines were a people who lived in the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age (circa 1175 BC), most probably from the Aegean region. According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states (the "Philistine Pentapolis") of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with no fixed border to the east. The Bible paints them as the Kingdom of Israel's most dangerous enemy. Originating somewhere in the Aegean, their population was around 25,000 in the 12th century BC, rising to a peak of 30,000 in the 11th century BC, of which the Aegean element was not more than half the total, and perhaps much less."
----- End Quote -----
Below is a map where you can see the five main city-states which were ruled by the Philistines.
Being as I discuss the many conflicts and wars which occurred between the ancient Israelites and the Philistines in a few other articles -- such as "The Fruits of Disobedience" -- I won't be devoting more space to them in this current series. Suffice it to say that the Philistines had plenty of personal motivation to join the alliance and confederacy of nations which conspired against Israel in Psalm 83.
Assur - The Assyrians
The final nation which is mentioned in Asaph's psalm -- that is, Psalm 83 -- as having joined the confederacy of nations which were secretly plotting against Israel is Assur. God's Word informs us that Assur was the second son of Noah's son Shem, as we can determine by the following set of verses:
"Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood . . . Unto Shem also, the father of all the children of Eber, the brother of Japheth the elder, even to him were children born. The children of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram."
Genesis 10:1, 21-22, KJV
"The sons of Shem; Elam, and Asshur, and Arphaxad, and Lud, and Aram, and Uz, and Hul, and Gether, and Meshech."
1 Chronicles 1:17, KJV
As I explain in such articles as "The Seven Heads", Assur's descendants eventually founded the Assyrian Empire. At their peak, the Assyrians controlled much of the Levant. The Levant refers to the geographical region that is located to the east of the Mediterranean Sea between Turkey -- or Anatolia -- and Egypt. From a modern perspective, it includes most of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Cyprus, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq as well. In a word, it roughly corresponds to the historic area which was known as Greater Syria.
As occurs with all earthly empires, with time, the Assyrians were dominated by their neighbors to the south; that is, the Babylonians. In fact, the Assyrians and the Babylonians were of the same ethnic stock and shared the same religion as well. Once the Assyrians were subdued by their Babylonian brethren, the territory which they controlled obviously began to shrink until what is recognized as Syria eventually remained. As we saw earlier in this series, and as I explain in more detail in other articles, similar to the Philistines, the kings of Syria -- from Damascus, Hamath, Zobah etc. -- were constantly at war with the kings of Israel, particularly with the kings of the Northern Kingdom which ruled from Samaria.
As with the other nations we have discussed which are named in Psalm 83, the animosity between the Syrians and the Jews dates back thousands of years. In fact, when Moses sent out spies to search the land before them, the Scriptures inform us that they went as far as Hamath in north-central Syria. Not only that, but as the following verses reveal, a large chunk of Syria was targeted and plotted out to be divided amongst the conquering tribes of Israel. Just prior to the Patriarch Joshua's death, the area around Hamath had yet to be conquered:
"So they went up, and searched the land from the wilderness of Zin unto Rehob, as men come to Hamath."
Numbers 13:21, KJV
"And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:) . . . And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor: From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad: And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border."
Numbers 34:1-2, 7-9, KJV
"Now Joshua was old and stricken in years; and the LORD said unto him, Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. This is the land that yet remaineth . . . And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrising, from Baalgad under mount Hermon unto the entering into Hamath. All the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon unto Misrephothmaim, and all the Sidonians, them will I drive out from before the children of Israel: only divide thou it by lot unto the Israelites for an inheritance, as I have commanded thee."
Joshua 13:1-2, 5-6, KJV
In the years following the deaths of Moses and Joshua, when the Judges ruled Israel, we discover that the region around Hamath had not yet been conquered. In fact, as I explain in the four-part series "Do You Want Love and Light, or Rod and Wrath?", the Lord had purposely allowed this to happen, as a means to keep the Israelites on their toes, and in obedience to His Will, as we can determine by the following verses:
"Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan; Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof; Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baalhermon unto the entering in of Hamath. And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses."
Judges 3:1-4, KJV
As a point of reference, please note that the modern Syrian city of Hama is built on the ruins of ancient Hamath. If you have been paying close attention to the news, then you will know that a lot of fighting has been going on there between the government forces of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and those forces which seek to oust him from power. As any map will reveal, Hama -- which is the provincial capital of the Hama Governorate -- is located on the banks of the Orontes River in west-central Syria. It is situated one hundred and thirty-two miles north of Damascus, and about twenty-nine miles north of Homs, which is another city where a lot of fighting has been occurring. Hama is the fourth-largest city in Syria after Aleppo, Damascus and Homs.
Please go to part six for the continuation of this series.
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