IV e – Continuation and Marks of the bloodline

The next night a new sage addressed the group. This time a woman would take the role of teacher for the young initiates. While most unusual for the time and place, Her presence was not unusual for the Essene who looked upon women as equals and accepted them into their order. The initiates noted that their teacher maintained a certain bearing, a calmness and gentleness that invited one to be near. Yeshu felt more at ease with this new sage then he had with her male counterparts.

She opened her story in the following manner, “Hear these stores and remember these are the stories that yoke your people with the burden of sacrifice to YHVH, god of Israel. It is the kohanim that represent and speak for this god, demanding tribute as intercessory for YHVH. Yeshu sat listening intently, unaware of the part he would play in delivering his people from the priesthood’s bloody, sacrificial system.

The sage continued, “We have spoken previously of the bloodline of our people. You must realize the importance of the bloodline in the advancement of the future generations of these chosen people. Although Abram had gained much wealth from his dealings with the kohanim, he had yet to sire an heir to the bloodline. He continually fretted over the problem of having no heirs until one day an authority came to visit him in his camp. As Abram treated with the authority, speaking of matters past and present, the subject of an heir finally came into the conversation.

“Abram complained to the authority, ‘My wife is childless and her time for bearing is quickly passing. How am I to advance my bloodline if I have no heir to whom I can pass on my wealth?’

“The authority replied, ‘You have seen our power, you have witnessed our knowledge in action and experienced the felicity of our rewards; do you think we have forgotten your needs in this regard? Rest assured we never forget the importance of blood in maintaining our power, your blood is our blood and we have made provisions for the advancement of that bloodline. One day, when we have conquered the lands we desire, it shall be populated by the people of our pure blood and only our blood, but this will take time. The heritage of our blood is timeless and thus we are timeless.’

“Then the authority ordered, ‘Bring a male calf from your herd and we shall demonstrate what the people of our blood must do to honor and remember our benevolent power and influence over them.’

“Abram summoned a servant forth, ordering him to bring up a male calf. The authority said, ‘Watch carefully and learn well what I am about to demonstrate.’ Having spoken, the authority moved to a broad flat rock and donned an apron of matted reed. He then wrestled the calf unto the alter and slit its throat, allowing the blood to drain from the living animal. The calf’s blood spurting from its neck splattered Abram and covered the authority’s apron and hands.

“After the blood had fully drained from the still living animal, the authority set the carcass upon the flat rock and butchered it, retaining some of the meat and handing the rest to Abram.

“Abram asked, ‘What am I to do with this meat?’

“We have established a system where by all people under our dominion pay tribute to our governance, thus payment must be made to honor their Lord YHVH. This payment is to be made as a portion of the total production of our people. This will henceforth be considered a sacrifice on the part of the people and will be made be made in remembrance of the original sins committed by Akhnaten and Ife, the originators of our people.

” ‘This meat is your portion; we take a tenth of the animal in tribute to the gifts brought forth by our influence and power. Know this Abram, the bullock is the preferred animal for our sacrifice, for in the bullock lay the strength of our people. The bullock provides our men the strength and endurance necessary for us to prevail in our desires. However, not everyone can be rich in cattle therefore we also specify other animals such as the sheep, goat, and even vegetable and grains for those unable to pay with the meat of the bullock. As we are of a nomadic people, animals not nomadic in nature are forbidden for the purpose of sacrifice, for if our people become accustomed to those animals that cannot be herded over distances, they will soon settle in as farmers and become worthless for our purposes.’

“The authority moved to a small round fire pit constructed of stone and elevated to approximately waist level to place the remaining fat and viscera within the confines of the pit. Turning to Abram he said, ‘Note this well, I take these remains and burn them upon this elevated altar to YHVH and the fat therein creates thick, greasy, black smoke. By this smoke you will have signaled to god that the sacrifice has been made and thus demonstrate that our portion has been collected.’

The sage paused at this point to elaborate the concept of this lesson. “In this critical lesson is the establishment of tribute to the authority who speaks for YHVH. This is the key to the expansion of power, for it is that small portion of wealth from all the people that increases the ability of the kohanim to expand their authority over others. This small portion of wealth from each productive individual exponentially increases the wealth of those who collect the tribute even as each small star contributes to the bright canopy of light under the night sky.

“It is important that one understands the corollary of this lesson as well, the extraction of wealth from an enemy likewise drains their unity, strength and resolve, for when one is preoccupied in maintaining a shrinking pool of wealth or resources, one pays little attention to the greater injustices meted out against them. Even greater is the fear of losing one’s wealth altogether, therefore if an authority controls all the wealth of the land, then that authority has instilled the ultimate fear in those governed. Know these lessons well so that you might not fall prey to others who use these mechanisms of control against you.

She then continued the story, “Now because Sarai bore no children, she delivered her Egyptian slave Hagar unto Abram to produce an heir. Abram moved swiftly into her tent taking his Egyptian servant in a sexual embrace, penetrating her repeatedly until Hagar cried out in anguish, ‘Am I but chattel to you, a mere cow that might be used to bear your herd of children?’

‘Sarai has delivered you to me for this very purpose for she cannot bare me an heir!’

“Hagar groaned and fell back in submission to Abram’s lust. Weeks later, when she was certain of her pregnancy, Hagar began to rebel against her mistress, believing her son would grant her recognition and greater privilege with Abram. When Sarai discovered Hagar’s intent to use her son to gain favor with Abram she went to him, ‘This is your fault, you are responsible for the wrong I suffer! I gave up my slave to your lusts and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the lord judge between us!’

“Abram went to the servant’s tent to confront Hagar with these accusations. Affronted, the slave girl cried out, ‘Is this not your child? Should I be refused an equal place under your tent with Sarai?’

“Hearing this reply, Sarai’s anger knew no bounds, she whirled like a hot wind into Abram’s tent blind with rage, ‘You are scum that floats upon the sea of this fetid existence! You are a worm that eats dust! You are a beetle that roles dung! You are the lowest and vilest of all creatures, I despise you as I despise the whore that I gave to you! Grant me the good fortune to be rid of you both!’

“Abram looked on, perplexed by his wife’s vicious tirade. ‘But my beloved why are you angry, did you not give your slave to me? Did we not agree that the authority could not possibly deliver us an heir? Did we not agree that my seed could bring forth an heir for my people?’

‘I did, you growth on the backside of an ass, but how readily you agreed to the arrangement! Now I realize that it was only your lust that drove you to bed with that whore; you dammed pig, you enjoyed every minute of your passion!’

“Abram then cried out in utter exasperation, ‘What? I am supposed to suffer the watering of my camel!? Curse you woman! Even more than this damnable heat, you have made my life hell on this earth! Do whatever pleases you for Hagar is still your slave!’

“With the gleam of fury still in her eye, Sarai ran to the servant’s tent to turn Hagar out into the desert with nothing more than the robes on her back. “Curse you whore and curse your child! Leave now and never return for you are not welcome anywhere among Abram’s camp!’

“Hagar’s banishment was essentially a death sentence, for the arid region would soon desiccate her body. She walked through the desert for days until finally, tortured by thirst, she found a meager spring of water. Crouching over the tiny muddy spring to slake her thirst, a hooded figure approached out of the shimmering heat as if from a dream. The figure walked up to Hagar and asked, ‘Are you not Hagar, slave of Abram, what is your destination?’

‘My mistress has connived to have me sent into this desert to die so my child could not become heir to her husband’s wealth.’

“The hooded figure stood erect, a shimmering image in the heat, ‘You must return my child to Abram’s tent, for we have made arrangements for the birth of your child. You shall name him Ishmael. As your child is from the seed of Abram therefore he will be of our blood even as the children of Sarai would be children of our blood. Therefore your child has the same birthright as Sarai’s child might have. Now go, return to Abram’s camp and hold no fear for either yourself or your child.’

“And so Hagar began her journey back to Abram’s camp. Yet even as the authority spoke to Hagar at the muddy watering hole, another member stood within Abram’s tent. The authority spoke to Abram in stern tones of admonishment, ‘What have you done? Did we not assure you that we would make provisions for an heir? You are a fool! Can you not understand that your wealth and welfare is inextricably tied to ours? Therefore a failure to provide an heir would be the same as cutting off our own right hand! However there is still palatable wine to be made from your overripe dates. The seed in your slave shall provide for an even greater legacy for the child be half Egyptian. We will use Hagar’s bloodline to exert our influence over the Egyptians as we do those of our own blood.

” ‘Listen carefully to our words Abram, from this point forward you would do well to keep your camel under its tent, for any more indiscretions of this nature on your part might cause undue grief to come unto you and your tribe.’ Abram bent his knees in supplication saying, ‘I hear and obey your command, for you are the authority, you are my authority.’

“The authority strode from the tent. Stopping at the entry way, he turned to Abram, ‘From this point forward Abram remain upon your knees before us and you will do exceedingly well.’

“And so it was that sometime later Abram once again walked with the kohein gadol, the man/god known as Melchizedek. Melchizedek spoke in soft tones, ‘Abram my son, our people, our blood have grown to a point where we must plan for the future, we must have a way to mark those people who are of our blood. Therefore we have a plan, a secret mark for all the males of our bloodline and you will have the honor of becoming the first to receive our mark.’

“Abram gave a curious look toward Melchizedek, ‘What manner of mark might this be and why only males?’ Melchizedek smiled. ‘Because firstly, only males will require this mark and secondly only males will have the ability to be marked.’

“Even though there were those who might have thought he was not the brightest star in the heavens, Abram now began to suspect this mark might be rather uncomfortable in its application. ‘Pray, what might this mark be then?’

Melchizedek replied, ‘The brothers have come to the conclusion that the best secret mark possible is the removal of the male’s foreskin.’

Abram suspicions began to grow larger, ‘What is this foreskin?’

Melchizedek smiled again, saying in honeyed tones, ‘It is the skin that covers the tip of that which you used freely on your wife’s slave girl.’

‘What!?’ cried Abram, “Cut my humpless camel? This cannot be, I cannot allow this for it would kill me!’

‘We call it “circumcision” and it will not kill you Abram for we have experimented with animals and have discovered this method to be a most efficacious process for the purpose of establishing an indelible mark upon our people. Know Abram, this mark is not necessary for your sake, but for the sake of your heirs. If the matter was of sole concern to you, there would be no need for such a mark. It is your heirs, the blood of our people, who will have need of this mark. You are to set the example for all our people from this point forward. You now stand at the crossroads, for without this mark you will be banished from your role as our representative. Now go and prepare yourself to accept our mark!’

“Abram returned to his tent with his head hung low. Sarai asked, ‘What is the manner of your vexation my beloved?’

‘It is nothing’ replied Abram.

“But Sarai persisted, ‘Oh, but it is my beloved, for you look much chagrined, again I ask: what is the cause of your vexation my beloved?’

‘Nothing! It is nothing at all!’ shouted Abram.

‘I suppose you raise your voice at me in anger, because of nothing at all?’

‘Woman, it is you who cause me vexation, why do you taunt me so?!’

“Dejectedly Abram plopped down on a nearby stool to take his head in his hands. Sarai put her arm around him and said soothingly, ‘Am I not your wife? Am I not here to comfort your pain, tell me my husband, what is it that troubles you?’

“Abram looked up at Sarai saying, ‘Woman you cannot understand my pain, but I am to take a mark upon my person as prescribed by the authority.’

“Hearing this Sarai probed further, ‘And what mark might that be my husband, perhaps some harmless number tattooed upon your forearm?’

” ‘No woman’ sobbed Abram, ‘not some harmless tattooed mark and not my forearm, but my foreskin! I am to commit myself to mutilation; I am to give up the foreskin of my humpless camel!’

“At this Sarai began laughing. ‘Give up your foreskin? The authority is going to circumcise you?’ She laughed again, this time a raucous belly laugh.

” ‘And how is it you know of this process my wife, have you forsaken your virtue with another?’ cried Abram.

“Sarai laughed again, ‘Do not be so dense my husband, this same mark was once said to be a Canaanite mark among the men of Aten’s empire, but it has now fallen from favor, perhaps for obvious reason.’

“Sinking his head back into his hands Abram moped, ‘Oh woman, why do you mock me?’

“The next night men in black robes came out of the desert to converge on Abram’s camp. In silence they led Abram to a crude stonework and then taking his robe, laid him out upon the alter. Holding candles aloft and chanting in low, rhythmic tones they circled the altar twelve times upon which Abram lay naked. As their chant reached a crescendo a figure in a blood-red robe approached the table and held up a blade that glistened and sparkled in the light of the candles. The man bowed his head and spoke, ‘All who are present know this, we are the authority, we are the sons of the cut, brotherhood of the bloody bris and we are about to take this brother into our fold with our mark.

” ‘This is the mark of the bris, the cut of our blood. Henceforth all brothers of our blood will be marked by this bris before the eighth day of their life. Those who are not so marked will not be recognized by our authority, nor accepted by the people of our blood! With this mark upon our brother, we now set this tradition as firmly as the stone upon which our brother lays.’

“And with that he took Abram’s penis in his hand and with a quick motion made a cut around the tip, neatly slicing off the foreskin. Abram yelped in pain. As blood spurted from the rough incision, the man in the red robe held up the foreskin saying, ‘It is done! This mark of our authority is made upon this man. He then leaned over and began sucking Abram’s bleeding member as Abram passed out from the pain.’

“The next day Abram awoke to find Sarai smiling down at him. He looked down to see a bloody rag covering his groin and then the pain hit him and his head fell upon the pillow. Abram groaned as Sarai took his head in her arm and with a gentle laugh, gave him some wine. ‘Drink this wine my husband, drink this and forget the pain of your new mark of nobility.’

“Abram looked up dazedly at Sarai. He thought he detected a slight smirk on her face, but before he could be sure he passed out again.

Here the sage paused to look at the eager young faces that surround the fire. “Know and understand this lesson well; the kohanim marks men even as they mark cattle, for like other animals of the herd, there must be a ready method of identification with the true bloodline. But unlike cattle, this cut, this mark conveys the idea of a peoples’ specialty, their uniqueness and exclusivity. This idea leads them to greatly increased unification and identification with the group or herd. The mark also ensures compliance, ameliorating positive control in the same manner that the yoke assures the oxen travels in the direction desired by the plowman. As with cattle, the kohanim seeks to govern every nuance of their people’s lives. Now let us continue our story.

“It was a bright day when the authority again came upon Abram and Sarai sitting outside their tent. ‘Abram, Sarai you have served us well, but that service has made your names infamous throughout the land. The extortion that has enriched you has also identified you as undesirables. Many are now alerted to your presence simply because of the knowledge of your names. Therefore we now assign you new names, names that will not be recognized by those with whom we shall deal in the future. Therefore Abram we now assign you the name of Abraham and Sarai we give you the name Sarah. Henceforth these are the names you shall be known by so that you may travel in peace among the foreign peoples of this land. Go know and rejoice that you have achieved a certain invisibility when moving among others and know that for this very reason the people of our blood shall likewise change their names when they might desire to disappear among other peoples.’

Again the sage paused briefly to emphasize this point, “The lesson of the name change is an important one, for in it lays the ability for a unified people to travel unnoticed among those foreign peoples, who might otherwise recognize those of the blood by their names and thus single them out for their complicity in the application of these lessons. Thus in the changing of ones name lays a certain ability to move invisibly among foreign peoples.” The narration then resumed.

“Once again the authority spoke, ‘Abraham now that you and your wife have been assigned these new names, you will be delivered an heir, a son and we shall name him “Isaac.” We will provide this heir the same benevolence we have shown you and Sarah. In time Isaac will supplant your place in our planning.’

“Upon hearing this Abraham broke into laughter, ‘What is it I hear you say? You tell me that an old man and his barren wife will have a son? Is this not a most humorous jest on the part of the authority?’

“Looking sternly upon Abraham he replied, ‘Abraham you never were the brightest star in our dark sky. Ponder deeply on what I have said and the understanding of my words will soon come upon you.’

“Abraham thought for a moment and then asked, ‘But if this does come to pass, what about my son Ishmael with whom I share with my wife’s slave?’

” ‘Do not fret in this matter, Ishmael shall not be forgotten; he too shall have his allotted share, but know that Isaac shall be fully of our bloodline and therefore shall receive preferential treatment over all others even as we have shown you such treatment. But enough of these matters, the time has come for you to deliver the mark of the bris unto all the people in your house, for they shall become a people of our bloodline. Arrange for this immediately, make a celebration of the bris, for it is a high honor to receive our mark. Now I must depart.’

“As the authority strode away from the camp, disappearing into the cool night air of the desert, Abraham called all the males in camp before his tent to announce the bris celebration that would commence that evening. He inveigled and cajoled his men so they might attend the celebration of mutilation. To those who blanched, he delivered threatening reproach; they could either be cut from their foreskin or cut-off from his people forever and turned out into the desert. And so that very evening, under the guise of a great celebration, all the men in Abraham’s camp received the bloody mark of the authority. Ishmael, who was thirteen years of age, screamed and fought when Abraham cut his foreskin. From that moment forward Ishmael’s demeanor was never the same for he never forgave Abraham for the pain he had wrought upon him.

“The day after the celebration, Abraham picked up his tent and moved to an oasis among a grove of trees that lined a cool glade of an oasis. By this time Abraham was exceedingly old, around ninety years of age. It happened during the heat of the day, as he sat dozing under the flap of his tent, that he heard a noise that caused him to open his eyes. When he looked up from his nap, he saw three men standing by his tent. Although Abraham did not recognize the faces he immediately recognized the manner of dress as that of the kohanim angents of higher authority. Instantly Abraham prostrated himself on the ground before the three saying, ‘Ho! Authority, I recognize I am granted the exalted presence of the authority, come and refresh yourselves!’

“Jumping up, Abraham ran into the tent and hissed, ‘We have important visitors from the priesthood; quickly woman, make something tasty for these authorities!’

“Sarah looked askance. ‘What? Again with the authorities!? Always with these authorities already, now you want me to bake something? Be a man Abraham, stand up to them! Find out what they want, then send them on their way.’

“But Abraham would not be dissuaded. Shushing Sarah he whispered, ‘Woman! These are the men that have made us, look at the wealth we have, look at what these authorities have provided for us, bake something NOW!’

“Sarah snapped, ‘Bake? Bake what on this short notice?’

” ‘I don’t know, bake something without leavening maybe!’

“With that, Abraham dashed from the tent, running out to his herd to pick the finest calf from his large herds, for he knew it was meat the authorities would desire. Pointing out a likely animal to a young slave, he commanded that the calf be prepared for a feast. Hurrying back to his tent with milk and butter, also recently extracted from his herd. He was well aware these products were also greatly desired by the authority.

“Eventually the roasted calf and other delicacies were brought out and set before the three authorities sitting under the palms where they consumed the feast with gusto. Finishing their meal, one authority, dressed in the finest garments, spoke, ‘Where is the woman who has baked this fine, unleavened bread? We have news for her, we are here to tell her that by our grace she will bear you a son.’

“Abraham, replied, ‘Wait here but a moment; I will return with my beloved wife forthwith.’

“Dashing inside the tent, he whispered excitedly, ‘Sarah come quickly, the authorities want an audience with you, they are here to promise you a son! Perhaps they will give you a key to some other great wealth as well, hurry without for we do not want to keep these authorities waiting!’

“But Sarah had been listening to the men’s conversation, for it is difficult not to hear through the walls of a tent. Upon hearing the authorities making their promise of her bearing a son, a harsh cackle escaped her lips. Men are such fools, I am old and far past the age of childbearing and Abraham cannot even make his humpless camel arise for a supple young slave of fetching beauty. Yet now he is to make me moan once again with the pleasure that will produce a child? And these men have the temerity to predict a pregnancy from his impossible action? These authorities are truly fools!

“Abraham entered the tent, but before he could speak Sarah rolled her eyes at him saying, ‘What now Abraham? What is it with these authorities? They are but rich, greedy men; why do you prostrate yourself before them, why do you grovel in their presence?’

“To this Abraham replied, ‘Woman! Have you not been witness to the power they wield? Have you not seen the incredible cunning in their actions? Did you not see how they treated the king who lusted after you and the wealth we obtained from their planning? Do you doubt they can make our wealth or break us at their whim? Do you not see our fortunes are inexorably tied to these authorities? Thus it is that we must bow in fealty and praise their power.’

“Sarah sighed, ‘Abraham, you are truly a fool, but I will go out and see what these men want with me.’

“With that Sarah and Abraham ducked from the tent to treat with the authorities. Prostrating themselves before the authorities the two waited for a time until the one dressed in the finest, richest garb spoke, ‘Abraham, why does your wife cackle so? Have we said something humorous? Does she doubt that we have the power to provide an heir to our bloodline? Have we not provided the finest cattle? Can we not provide a cow that will produce the finest calves for your herd? Could anything so simple possibly be beyond our great power?’

“Realizing that she had been overheard and knowing the lengths of terror the authorities would go to feed their greed and lust, Sarah replied, ‘My lord, what makes you think that I did cackle? Know that I have only the greatest respect for the power and authority you wield over the people of our blood.’

“The authority shot a stern look towards Sarah. ‘Perhaps what you say is true, but you did cackle. Do you think we are fools for saying we will provide an heir? Let us assure you both, Sarah will provide an heir for our bloodline and that heir will be Abraham’s legacy to the pure and true bloodline of our people!’

“With that the authorities rose to leave Abraham’s camp. Traveling back to their mountain lair, the authorities spoke among themselves. Their leader mused, ‘Should we continue to hide our plans from Abraham? After all is he not our appointed representative? Since he will be the legacy for the breeding of our people should we not make him privy to our plans for the bloodline?’

“Another authority replied, ‘He is not of the elect. He is but one of our cattle, our lead bull to be sure, but a bullock nonetheless. Would one make their animals privy to their plans for slaughter? If we tell him our plans might he not become anxious and bolt from our herd?’

“But a third authority rebutted, ‘Nonsense! Abraham has tasted our power and wealth, where is he to go without our lead on his camel? Would he not drift aimlessly without our direction? Would he not fully realize and fear the poverty he would face without our grace and mercy; would not the terror of such a loss keep him upon the path we have provided?’

“The leader spoke again, ‘This is so. Abraham is inextricably tied to our purpose, he cannot do but what we command of him. Therefore we shall make him privy to our plans for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but shall we tell him that these cities must be taken and their people destroyed so that we may have the water they provide for his herds?’

“Once again the second authority spoke, ‘Considering Abraham’s relation to Lot, will not such intelligence perhaps cause him to warn his brother of our intended destruction? And should he give such warning, would it not then be likely that Lot will in turn warn his friends and relatives among the Sodomites of their impending doom?’

“The lead authority replied, ‘Considering the ramifications of such actions, would he dare to do so without our express permission; would he even consider such a risk? No! Mark my words, we have trained Abraham well in our methods, he will not act unless we command! But consider this, we might make our claims more weighty by showing Abraham other evils of the inhabitants of these cities.’

‘And what evils might those be?’ asked the second authority.

‘Evils that we will provide!’ answered the lead authority with a smirk. ‘We shall create a moral imperative of an overarching evil among the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, a moral degeneracy that must be wiped from YHVH’s earth lest it infect the people of the surrounding region. Such an imperative will create a consensus of righteousness among all those who hear of such evil and by that righteousness we shall have ample alliance to carry out our plans for Sodom and Gomorrah. It is this evil degeneracy that we shall reveal to Abraham!’

Ending her story, the sage explained the meaning. “This is a lesson of fear and it’s younger brother, greed. Through these two base natures, men can be thoroughly controlled in their actions. If one fears the loss of his wealth and is then correspondingly promised greater wealth for his complicity of action, then the combination will be too great for him to resist. Therefore one only needs apply these two forces to assure total and complete compliance to their demands. But heed well the following thought; if men do not lust for wealth and conversely maintain a great fear for the loss of that wealth, then they will be immune to such manipulations. Therefore to maintain one’s power, it is imperative to ensure that all people are thoroughly inculcated with the concept that wealth is paramount to their condition; that there is no task of greater worth, nothing in life more important, nothing more worthy than the attainment of the material wealth provided by the power that controls them. Men must live fully within a system for them to be completely enslaved by it; therefore they must not be allowed any awareness of possible alternatives.

“Herein is also found a lesson of unification. Men have always sought special recognition. Those who control use this penchant to unify groups of others to do their bidding. Marks, signs, handshakes, and other secret signs are employed to achieve identification of special status. This is the purpose of the bris, it provides a special identification to mark Abraham’s tribe members and sets them apart from others. However it also marks them as one might mark cattle. The Lord God, through the kohein gadol, commands a census three times a year of all the male members of the chosen blood. The bris, an irredeemable mark, provides an accurate assessment of the number that can be depended on from which to extract their tribute. But what effect does this bloody terror hold for the infant male subjected to such indignations? Might not the memory of this horrible procedure alter the male’s entire outlook on life, perhaps making them even more susceptible to the commands of the Lord God and his administrators?”

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