IV c – The Power of God

Each evening thereafter was reserved for another lesson from the Torah. Yeshu would come to reflect long and hard on these stories, for these were not stories to entertain, but essential tools used by the kohanim to teach their initiates the techniques of power and control. He was utterly amazed how the stories differed from those taught by the rabbis in the synagogue.

The only place God had in these stories was as co-conspirator in the kohanim efforts to terrorize, threaten and coerce others into submission to the Mikdash’s sacrificial system. The following evening, another sage arrived to begin the most revealing story to this point in the young lives of the students. That evening a tall, gaunt, bald-headed sage seated himself in the place of honor at the fire pit and began his story.

“As you recall after Aten banished Apep to the mines, the subordinate kohanim fled the garden. These renegades soon formed a secret society that lay outside Aten’s original creation. This was a secret brotherhood of men who had thoroughly examined and fully understood the power held by Aten’s knowledge of good and evil. Likewise, they knew Akhnaten and Ife had discovered a certain portion of these secrets and would eventually impart them to their children. For this reason, they decided to watch the two nomads with the intent of forming a special alliance with them in the future.

“As Aten had created his world, so too the brotherhood would create theirs in a similar image. The principal secret of Aten’s power was his title as “God,” for in this single God lay the fear, terror, hope and joy used to control men. Even kings and princes were forced to bow to the superior, unified, power of God. But the brotherhood had learned a deeper secret. While Aten was held forth as the ultimate power, this was but a façade, for there was in fact an invisible structure of men hiding behind this God called Aten.

“The emerging brotherhood’s organizational structure was pyramidal in form, with a central leader at the apex that governed an ever widening base of lesser bureaucracy below. The central leader was the kohein gadol who held final say over all matters. This kohein gadol spoke for God and thus held the power of God’s will in his hands. Although this kohein made the final decisions, the lesser men of the pyramidal structure were always consulted in important matters, for the brotherhood well understood the immense power of the unified collective over the individual.

“The second secret was to hide the kohanim power behind God, thereby remaining transparent to the men they ruled. The kohanim even forbade men to speak the true name of God, for these were the names of the men who spoke for God, and thus held his power. To speak the true name of God would mean exposing the men who held that power. Therefore, it was claimed God’s will alone was directly responsible for man’s condition, while the members of the kohanim simply served as God’s messengers, conveying his demands to his chosen people.

“These self-proclaimed proxies assumed God’s full authority among men. The lesser authorities among the brotherhood were described as ‘angels.’ They served as messengers, conveying God’s commands to not only their own people, but surrounding cultures as well. These angels were the kohanim agents who threatened and strong-armed the weak while delivering God’s favor or “blessings” to their allies. From a military standpoint, one might consider these angel/agents or ‘angents’ as God’s lieutenants. In the following stories, you will often hear these ‘angents’ identified as such, while at other times they will be synonymous with the power of God. As you listen, remember well this structure and their authority, for this is the true power that rules men’s lives.”

The sage continued his story.

“There was once a great city built by an advanced culture. This culture was comprised of a homogeneous people, superior in their advancement over the more primitive cultures of the region. Their leader was a great and farsighted king named Nimrod who ruled justly over his people. Now the kohanim had come into this region, and feeling itself threatened by the advancing power of his great culture, opposed Nimrod’s rule. The kohanim feared the considerable benefits offered by Nimrod’s advanced culture would result in the loss of their own small following, who would abandon them in favor of the much greater comforts of Nimrod’s culture.

“The kohanim had worked for many years to gather followers to their God and now this advancing culture presented all the people of the region a new ruler in the form of a King. However, it was not just a matter of losing followers for by this time, the kohanim made their living by sacrifices demanded from their followers. Thus if the kohanim lost their followers, they would lose their means of sustenance as well. Normally the kohanim would have sent their small military force into the city to destroy it outright, but their small army was far too weak to stage an outright attack on Nimrod’s considerably larger forces, so they resorted to a cunning subterfuge to conquer the more powerful culture. Up to this point, people of that isolated region had only seen villages, but Nimrod’s city was greater in size and magnificence than any other seen up to that point. In fact, Babel was one of the very first cities of its kind.

“One day the kohein gadol of the brotherhood and two lesser authorities gathered on a hillside not far outside Nimrod’s great city. For some time, the leader of the three watched the bustling city with measured intent before he spoke to the others.

“’Look at the effort that goes forth below. These are a dedicated people; such dedication could present a problem to our future.’

“The other kohein replied, ‘We have been watching them for quite some time and find they are of a unified people all of the same bloodline and therein lays real danger to our brotherhood for in this unified people lies great power. Their advancing culture with its wealth and religion threaten to attract our people to their city.’

“The other kohein then spoke, ‘What are we to do? If they continue their efforts, they will soon be so powerful that their mere presence will surely subsume our own people!’

“The leader spoke again, ‘They are too homogeneous and therein lays a danger to our power. They are all of the same bloodline and they all speak the same language. Worse, they build a magnificent temple, a ziggurat, that not only reaches to heaven, but greatly exceeds our efforts in all dimensions. Their religion grows among the people and the power and scope of their God has already surpassed ours. If this continues, we will soon lose our power over our people. This must be stopped; something must be done!’

“And something was done. The kohanim sent their angents far and wide, telling people of the wonders of Babel. A short time later, a growing influx of people from different cultures, speaking different languages, began to enter the city. The king had always maintained a cosmopolitan view of the world. He welcomed foreign visitors into his city and encouraged trade with other regions and their cultures. Because of his immense power, Nimrod never felt threatened by outsiders. As new inhabitants flooded into the city, a different element quietly followed their lead, promoting an ever greater invasion of outsiders into Babel. In a few years, the influx of foreign peoples soon confounded the city’s inhabitants with different languages and cultures. Among the confusion of these new people were angents of the kohanim who had stood on the hillside, but no one recognized them as such.

“These angents moved invisibly among the throng of invaders and soon began to speak honeyed words about the wondrous value of the new arrivals and how much they improved the city and its culture. They spoke of the evils of people being unified in their bloodline, expounding endlessly upon imaginary evils of cultural unity and homogeneity among the indigenous people. They promoted diversity and equality among all men.

“As the original inhabitants began to murmur with displeasure over the idea of equality, the angents spoke eloquently of justice for all, of love by the new arrivals for the indigenous culture whom they in turn accused of hatred. The angents convinced the king that ever-increasing trade with outsiders would contribute greatly to the growth of his power and wealth. They suggested erecting a beacon in front of the city. The light of this beacon would shine for a great distance, welcoming one and all into the city. The beacon was soon built and word went out to all, the city of Babel welcomed strangers, no matter their origin.

“Within a few short years, the angents had thoroughly ingratiated themselves among the original inhabitants, blending invisibly with the confused throng. In time, they became men of the law and leaders of the land. Then the angents began using their power to legislate laws against the original peoples who soon found themselves hounded and oppressed by the very invaders they had welcomed into their city. All the while they encouraged the invaders to preserve their foreign cultures and speak among themselves in their own language.

“Before long, the city’s commerce and infrastructure began dissolving as the disparate cultures intermingled and communication became increasingly difficult. Less skilled invaders took over the daily tasks required to run the city’s advanced technology of which they had little knowledge or skill. Many of those from the different cultures had profoundly different moral values and work ethics. Thus, while the original inhabitants had typically worked hard to build their city and nation, many of the new immigrants were lazy, often choosing to make their living off the efforts of the original inhabitants either by robbery or graft.

“But most insidious were the effect of the angent’s words on the women. The once beautiful and gentle women of the city became proud, spiteful and haughty, while many more were reduced to begging and prostitution. All the while, the angents sang the praises of intermarriage with the foreigners and from these marriages, the original stock of women frequently produced inferior offspring. These offspring were invariably more like the pernicious invaders than the original inhabitants. In time, the indigenous men of the city adopted the angent’s favorable attitudes towards graft and corruption. Instead of working together as they once did, they now spent their time trying to steal and cheat as much from everyone as possible, especially from their own kin. As the confusion of cultures grew, the corruption overwhelmed the people and their leaders. Many of the original inhabitants left, some departed the city in disgust while others fled in fear of their lives and the lives of their loved ones. In the end, the once magnificent city and its towering ziggurat collapsed into the timeless dust of eternity.

“At last the kohanim stood on the hill to survey the now deserted city. Dust blew through empty streets and wild dogs roamed the overgrown plazas looking for any remaining edible scraps of Nimrod’s once great civilization. His magnificent ziggurat temple now lay in ruins, as the bricks had been taken to build rude living quarters for the invaders that had served to destroy the city and its culture. As he surveyed the ruins below, the kohein gadol spoke once again to his associates standing on the hillside. ‘It is finished. Now that we have destroyed these people, the danger has passed. Let us now attend to our own people and elevate them to the status these people sought. Our angents learned many secrets from these people, secrets of their science and military technology. Let us now use that knowledge to advance our own military power and build our own cities and with this power we shall project our demands upon other peoples.'”

The sage fell silent and for some time, only the crackling of the dying fire was heard. Finally, the sage spoke, “This is the lesson found herein; divide and conquer. In this lesson is to be found the most valuable of all lessons, for in the bloodline lays the greatest importance for unity. Without its bloodline, there is no future for a people. Yet the very unity in blood relations that advance one people can likewise be used in the destruction of another, for it is in this unity that a people can willfully maintain their identity, even when there are no external signs on which to cleave. Thus, a people can live invisibly among others even as they remain wholly apart and opposed in purpose.

“The second lesson in this story is that a people can be destroyed more easily by subterfuge from within than brute force from without, for destruction from within brings inevitable dissolution and decay, while destruction from without unifies and solidifies the will of a people. However, in the end the results are equally assured. The only difference in these different manners of destruction is time, and time is irrelevant to those with a true bloodline, for in the bloodline is found true patience for a promised ascendancy.”

The sage now moved into the next story

“As the bloodline of the authority advanced, its people came and went. Many offspring were born and died, but there were none of true significance; none of importance, until one man arose from the midst of the nomadic culture’s bloodline. This man went by the name Abram and he took a wife named Sarai.

“By nature, nomads are herders, typically depending on their animals for sustenance. Such herds depend heavily on labor and a son means an increase in the family’s labor force. An increase in labor means increased productivity and more productivity translates to an increase in wealth.

“Among farmers and shepherds, a son means a doubling of productivity and a corresponding increase in wealth, but Abram and his wife Sarai suffered the misfortune of infertility. Because of their misfortune, the couple concluded they would remain poor throughout their lives.

“By the time of Abram and Sarai, the kohanim of the brotherhood had grown to a position of relative power and influence. They now decided to appoint a leader for the people of their chosen bloodline. They would breed this bloodline specifically to serve them and their God. Though Abram was of average intelligence, he had something far more important than intellect. Abram demonstrated a quality of unwavering loyalty and for this reason, the kohanim saw in him the greatest potential for leadership over their emerging bloodline.

“It was a dry, dusty day as the kohein gadol walked the path towards Abram and Sarai’s tent. As God’s authority approached their camp, Abram cried out, ‘Ho my lord! What brings you to my humble abode under God’s sun?’

“The authority returned the salutation, ‘Greetings faithful servant! I bring our message in the name of the greater God whose true name cannot be spoken lest it become known amongst all men.’

“Sarai hurried into the tent and emerged with a rug. Carefully spreading the carpet out under the extended flap of the tent, she silently motioned to her husband and the kohein to take a seat upon the carpet. As the two men sat down in the shade, the woman returned to her cooking.

“’What is my Lord’s desire?’ asked Abram.

“’Abram we know that you are without children and we know that this means a life of desire instead of fulfillment; but we also know you are a clever man, therefore we have a proposition for you.’

“’Speak of your thoughts on this matter’ implored Abram.

“The authority continued, ‘As with your wife, this place is barren and because there are no people around you there is no possibility of advancement. Therefore you must leave this place and travel to a place we have chosen, for in this place of our choosing you will find many people among whom you will find future prospects of wealth and power. Therefore, you must take up your tent and prepare for a long journey to these places.’

“’And if I make this journey, what then?’

“’Then you shall be rich’

“’And how is this to pass?’

“’We have a plan and you, dear Abram, are key to our plan.’

“’Pray my lord, do not keep suspense in this matter, tell me what it is you wish of me so I may understand my choices!’

“The authority paused, pensively pursing his lips before answering. ‘I will tell you of our plans Abram, but first know that if you are successful, we require one half the gain from your efforts.’

“‘What is fifty percent of nothing?’ replied Abram, ‘I have nothing and no prospects, so I have everything to gain and nothing to lose! I accept your offer, now what is your plan?’

“’Very well’ said the authority, ‘The first people of our bloodline were driven from a garden from which much wealth was gained. We want you to return to that land and avenge their blood. We want you to return to Aten’s land and reclaim the wealth denied our people. This then is what you must do, get out of your country and away from your family. Depart your father’s land to a place we will show you and from this you shall become as a great nation; we will bless you and your people. Your name shall be great and you shall be a blessing upon your people. We will bless those whom bless you and curse those who curse you and in you, all the families of our bloodline shall be blessed.’

“So Abram picked up his tent and with his wife Sarai and his nephew Lot, gathered their meager possessions acquired in Haran. They traveled for may days, passing though the region of Canaan and then on to Bethel. Between Bethel and Ai, Abram tarried a while until the day another angent appeared in their camp. It was here Abram took a fatted calf from his herd, sacrificed its meat upon an altar built for the occasion and bade the authority to sup upon the sacrifice with him.

“As they feasted on the meat of the slaughtered calf, the Lord’s angent spoke, ‘Abram, go now to Egypt for there you will find we have made accommodations for you among those people.’

“So Abram broke camp and took his caravan south to Egypt until one early morning found Abram and his wife walking down a hot, dusty road towards a large, prosperous city looming in the distance. For days, they had marked a smoke column rising above the horizon. Now they could clearly see the brilliant white lime coating of the triangular structure in the distance from which the smoke rose. The reflection of the sun from the structure was so dazzlingly intense that even from afar travelers could scarcely gaze at the object for more than a few seconds.

“Night after night they had traveled and now, with the city still far off in the distance, Abram stopped to speak to Sarai, ‘My love there are few women in these regions, and as you are a woman of beautiful countenance, you will be considered most desirable. When outsiders come into these places with a wife, the Egyptians frequently murder husbands so their women are free to be taken. The Pharaoh in this city is known for committing such atrocities, and I may well be murdered so that he may take you for his own. I have given this matter much thought and it has occurred to me if you were to say you were not my wife, but instead my sister, then I would be in no danger for the Egyptians would not have to resort to murder to obtain your favors. What is the harm, are you not my sister?’

“Sarai said nothing, but gave a hard look towards the distant beacon shining forth from the city. Abram continued, ‘Let this be our story, we are brother and sister, therefore you are open to the advances of potential suitors.’ Sarai began to protest, but he held up his hand to silence her, ‘I would never question your faithfulness to our vows and I know you will turn away any such advances. Remember you do this only to protect your beloved husband.’ Then he went to his nephew Lot saying, ‘I want you to go first into the city. Make no reference to us or give any hint that we are related in either blood or purpose. Instead, concern yourself only with your own welfare. We will meet later, after we have had a chance to establish ourselves among these people.’

“Now it happened that an angent provided special clothing for Sarai. This clothing consisted of a number of brightly colored robes along with more revealing outfits that would accentuate a woman’s charms. Abram now brought forth one of the brightly colored robes with matching veil. The garments were made of a cool, sheer, material that would allay the heat. Abram gave the robe to his wife saying, ‘These are for you my beloved.’

“Sarai looked at the cloth with pleasant surprise asking, ‘Where did you ever obtain such beautiful robes?’

“Abram simply smiled, and replied, ‘I had them made especially for you, my love.’

“Sarai donned one of the robes before resuming their journey into the city. They walked through the city gates at high noon to find a market bustling with activity. As they walked through the main plaza, it seemed as though everyone stopped to note the woman dressed in bright flowing robes. In contrast to the other women in the market, her dress seemed slightly gaudy in nature, almost like what a prostitute might wear. Now it came to pass that a young prince of Egypt saw the radiant Sarai and knew he wanted her and so approached Abram to speak with him.

“The prince asked, ‘Who might this beauty be?’

“Abram replied, ‘This is my sister, Sarai.’

“The young prince pressed further, ‘And what might your business be in our land?’

“’We are but travelers in this foreign land, we have come to seek respite from our journey and trade for goods.’

“’What goods have you to trade?’ asked the prince, eyeing the woman covered head to foot in bright robes.

“’We have skills that can be of service. We play the flute and the lyre and have semi precious stones that we trade.’

“’We shall see what skills you have!’ with that the prince barked, ‘Guards!’

“Two burley guards stepped forth and bowed to the prince, ‘By your command my Lord!’

“‘Take these two visitors to my father’s house! See they are well provided for, especially this woman. Attend to her wishes first.’

“With that, the guards took up their positions at the side of the two and escorted them to Pharaoh’s palace.

“The palace was located at the far end of the city, opposite the gate. It was considered an opulent palace by the standards of that time, with its many rooms boasting brightly tiled floors, an attached kitchen, and a central plaza with a stream of water flowing though that fed a walled garden. Water was siphoned off this stream by means of tiled troughs that branched into the various rooms to provide running water throughout the house. The guards were met at the door by a servant who then escorted Abram and Sarai into a central room. The two were told to wait there as the servant departed to inform the king of their arrival.

“Presently a large man appeared wearing a bejeweled robe. On his fingers were many rings and on his head he wore an abbreviated crown of gold, a headpiece obviously intended for daily wear. He sported a trim beard that was ornately wrapped with a flat, gold ribbon that crisscrossed its length and his eyes were adorned with udju, made from green malachite and mesdemet, a dark gray ore of galena (lead sulphide.) At once Abram and Sarai knew they were in the presence of Pharaoh.

“Pharaoh’s eyes fell immediately to Sarai’s figure shrouded beneath the flowing brightly colored robes. As was customary for those days and times, her face was covered by a veil. Although the veil covered her face, in the same manner as the robe, the cloth allowed for more than a hint of her features to show through. Intrigued by Sarai’s appearance, Pharaoh found he could barely take his eyes off her when speaking with Abram. ‘Why have you come to my kingdom?’ he asked.

“Abram replied, ‘My sister and I have come to this place in search of trade. We have jewelry and certain semi-precious stones to trade and my sister’s talent with a needle and thread are almost magical, why look at her fingers!’ and with this Abram’s wife held out her hands so Pharaoh could examine her long, slender fingers.

“’Quite so, quite so’ replied Pharaoh in a thoughtful manner. ‘And where is it you are staying in my city?’

“‘My lord, no appointments await us in your kingdom and we’re hoping to find lodging at an inn this evening.’

“’There is no need, for you shall both be guests in my house.’

“Clapping his hands twice, a servant moved silently into the room and Pharaoh commanded the servant, ‘These are my guests, their wishes are as my own, treat them accordingly. Escort them to the finest guest room, show them every amenity so they might refresh themselves from their journey.’

“The servant bowed first to the king, then to Abram and then to Sarai, waiting patiently while Pharaoh finished addressing his guest. ‘This evening I will host a dinner in your honor; until then enjoy this house and my gardens.’

“Pharaoh was known for his penchant for information and he immediately sent out spies to find out any information available on Abram and Sarai. After dispatching the spies, he stole off to a secret room adjoining the guest room where Abram and Sarai were staying. In this room was a viewing port, a magic mirror that allowed him to look in on any guest staying in that room. Pharaoh watched in fascination as Sarai disrobed for her bath and soon found himself smitten by her ample charms. He decided that Sarai would be the star among his harem and so he began to plan for this eventuality.

“That evening at dinner, Pharaoh became fully engrossed with Sarai, engaging her almost exclusively in his conversation while almost ignoring Abram. As the days progressed he became obsessed with the conquest of Sarai and soon became more forward. Finally Pharaoh found Sarai alone in the garden one day, swept her up in his arms and kissed her and then began stroking her in the most private places. But Sarai demurred at the king’s advances; yet he persisted until she finally broke free and ran to Abram crying.

“’Pharaoh has laid his hands upon me Abram, what am I to do now?’

“Abram calmed her saying, ‘worry not my love, for a greater power will soon intercede on our behalf.’

“Days passed, but nothing unusual happened. Pharaoh continued his pursuit of Sarai while she continued resisting, until one day a large population of rats was found to have suddenly infested the city. So large was the infestation that the sacred cats could scarcely keep them at bay. Soon people became sick and some began to die, but no one could find the reason for this sickness. Then the wells became foul and the water from them undrinkable, but as with the rats, the Egyptians were mystified as to the reason for this sudden fouling of their wells.

“Many of Pharaoh’s soldiers became afflicted with the illness from these plagues, thus depleting the strength of his army. The people of the city soon began to wonder what evil had befallen them. They began to ask what had angered their Gods; what they might have done to deserve the disease and pestilence that had befallen their city. Some of the people took note that their affliction began soon after the two foreigners had arrived and Pharaoh became enamored of the woman called Sarai.

“Before long, rumors began to fly. Many of the people began to blame Abram and Sarai for their suffering, calling for their expulsion from the kingdom. But so smitten was Pharaoh with Sarai that his ears were closed to their pleas. The days passed and the peoples’ dissatisfaction grew along with their illness. They began to say mean and ugly things to Sarai and Abram as they walked through the market. Finally Sarai pleaded with Abram to leave the city, but Abram replied Pharaoh would not allow it, so smitten was he with her.

“One day, an angent from the kohanim came into the city with a contingent of well-equipped soldiers demanding an audience with the king. As Pharaoh sat on his throne, the authority addressed him sharply. ‘Two of our people have come into your kingdom with honest intent and you have defamed them with your advances towards the woman. Know that we have an army of greater strength than yours. We demand you either serve our people justice in this matter or we shall lay waste to your city and kingdom!’

“Pharaoh looked at the angent, momentarily astonished, before he found his tongue to reply. ‘Defamed!? Justice!? What have I done to deserve such an affront and what is it with this woman!? Is she not of an independent state? I planned to make her the star of my harem, as Pharaoh it is within my right to do so!’

“The authority leveled a steady, malevolent gaze at Pharaoh. ‘You planned this intrigue with the wife of Abram?’

“‘Wife, what do you mean wife!?’ bellowed Pharaoh.

“Never allowing his piercing gaze to waver for a moment, the angent replied, ‘Do you claim you are unaware that Sarai is Abram’s wife?’

“Pharaoh, now almost apoplectic, exploded, ‘Wife? By the Gods! I was told by Abram himself that Sarai was his sister!’

“’And for what reason would he misrepresent himself and his wife?’ queried the authority.

“’How should I know!?’ shouted Pharaoh.

“The authority paused and waited, saying nothing for the longest time. Finally he spoke again, ‘You must make restitution for your actions towards our people and release them or we will attack your city and lay waste to your kingdom.’

“Pharaoh hissed, ‘Release them? LET THEM GO!? I never detained them, they are free to go!’

“The authority replied coolly, ‘If that is the case then you must make amends for your actions by bestowing gifts on these two victims of your lewd intent. You would do well to compensate them in some manner befitting their indignity and suffering. If you do not renounce your actions and make these amends, then we will destroy your city. Remember this, your army is depleted and your people dissatisfied. Because of this, your power is now in a greatly weakened state. Therefore, your kingdom will be easy prey for our army. We take our leave and wait without the city. You have one passing of the sun to make your decision. If by tomorrow at the sun’s zenith you do not make public suitable restitution and release our people, we will march on your city.’ With that, the angent and his soldiers withdrew from the city.

“Pharaoh immediately called Abram to his court where he waited with Sarai. As Abram bowed, Pharaoh, red with rage, bellowed, ‘Why did you lie? Why did you say this woman is your sister? I might have taken her as my concubine or even my wife! Now I am threatened by those claiming to be the authority of your blood. Here is your wife! Take her and begone! You will go your way on the morrow and never return to my kingdom!’

“The next morning Pharaoh held a public audience from a balcony of his palace. With Abram and Sarai standing at his side, he looked out on the large gathering of people and addressed them, ‘People of Egypt, I have made a grave error in my actions and in doing so have brought misery and suffering upon you. I have acted with the greatest impropriety towards this woman of high virtue and it was only her steadfast virtue that saved me from committing an even greater transgression. In apology for my actions, I now commit to these two guests the gifts of my kingdom.’ Making a grand sweeping gesture, towards a waiting caravan, he continued, ‘Upon them I bestow these gifts of our kingdom,’ Pharaoh then turned to the two standing beside him, ‘To you and your wife I give the best cattle of our herds, the finest gold and silver from our treasury and my most faithful servants. Go now, with these gifts; take leave of my kingdom!’

“That afternoon Abram and Sarai departed the city with a royal escort provided by Pharaoh. Abram led the long caravan laden with Pharaoh’s wealth from the city and at a suitable distance, the Egyptian escort returned to the city. As Abram’s caravan traveled forth into the desert, an angent of the authority rode up beside them. Trailing alongside, he spoke briefly with Abram. Then, wheeling his donkey away, he departed leaving Lot to bring up the rear of the caravan.

“Abram’s caravan traveled on until dark before making camp, putting as much distance as possible between them and Pharaoh. That evening Abram had his newly acquired slaves erect his tent and make the evening meal. After making sure the slaves had properly secured the animals, they all fell into a deep sleep.

“As they slept, a shadowy figure made its way into the camp. Stealing into Abram’s tent, the figure quietly woke him and beckoned him outside. Without a word, the shadow pointed towards a light in the distance where Abram could see a small fire burning far upon a hillside. The two faded silently into the darkness, making their way towards the fire under a waning moon.

“As they made their way up the hillside, far off in the distance a dog howled at the moon. While still some distance from the fire, two sentinels emerged from the shadows to silently challenge them. Abram’s escort made a secret sign and without a word, the sentinels signaled for them to pass. Approaching the camp, the escort dropped away into the night.

“As Abram drew up to the fire, he could see two ornate chairs and a small table situated beside the flames. The figure of an authority occupied one of the chairs. Without looking up from the fire, the kohein gadol bid Abram to sit in the empty chair beside him. As he settled into the chair, the priest spoke in a raspy whisper, ‘You have done well Abram; you have followed our plan and made a great success of it.’

“From the shadows, a ghostly servant suddenly appeared by the authority’s side. Setting two cups on the table he filled them with wine. Taking the cups in hand, the authority offered one to Abram and rasped out a toast, ‘Let us drink to our excellent planning and your perfect actions.’ With that, they raised their glasses and drank deeply.

“The kohein gadol set his glass aside and picked up a small vial from a table situated between the chairs. Handing the vial to Abram, he then picked up a small cage from the table. As Abram examined the vial by the firelight, the authority looked at the rat in the cage and smiled. Setting the cage down, he reclaimed the vial before Abram could remove the cork. The authority held up the vial of liquid to the light and watched the light play upon the muddy, sickly green liquid saying, ‘You would not want to open this vial for you might not survive the ill effects it would have upon you.’

“Abram looked at the odd rainbow effect the firelight produced on the liquid and realized that it most likely contained some horribly unpleasant agent. He then asked, ‘how is it you could threaten Pharaoh. Surely you cannot possess a force sufficient to overwhelm his great army?’

“’That is so’ replied the kohein, ‘but by using these agents of pestilence, we first greatly weakened his power. In such a confused state, could Pharaoh afford to take the chance that our forces were insufficient to carry out our threat? Without knowing the actual status of our army, he had no way of knowing our strength. The small contingent we led into his city was dressed in our finest armor. Every effort was made to present the grandest display of power, thus presenting the illusion of great strength at his weakest moment. It would have gone against his most fundamental nature to risk his kingdom as opposed to simply complying with our demand for tribute, for while one can regain spent wealth, one can never regain power lost. Tomorrow we shall divide our spoils. Considering the amount Pharaoh has provided, your half should provide a sufficient amount to begin your own empire.’

“Laughing a small throaty laugh, he raised his cup again, but before drinking, gazed intently at Abram. ‘This has been very profitable for all concerned parties, but do not think this is the end of it, for there are vast fortunes to be made among other peoples of this land and we plan to avail ourselves of that wealth. Abram you have been chosen as our chief servant. You have been selected to represent us in these future exploits.’ With that, the authority took a last deep drink from his glass as the fire flickered out and died.

“The sage paused heavily before speaking to the initiates gathered around the fire. ‘In this story one can see how the sexual desires of man can be played upon profitably. The lesson of Abram is one of conspiracy, duplicity and enticement. It is a lesson of how wealth can be extorted through the interrelation of vice and the carnal nature of man. Note carefully the demand for public apology. This holds several advantages for the extortionist. First, once an open admission of guilt is made, it cannot be retracted. Second, it publicly humiliates the victim, in this case Pharaoh. Third, it justifies the extortion demands. Fourth, it elevates the extortionist to a righteous man for graciously accepting what appears as a freely offered apology. This story holds the birth of corruption for the kohanim and so it has been to this day.'”

Yeshu’s head reeled at the unbridled greed and corruption of the story. He chafed at the thought of the kohanim complicity in such an extortion plot. He could only wonder how it might be possible that Sarai was unaware of the intrigue that surrounded her and her role as sexual bait. Was Sarai really so innocent, or was she perhaps remaining purposefully ignorant for some underlying, beguiling reason?