First Person: Should Israel Return the Tablets of the Law to Egypt?

Cultural Heritage: A Hypothetical Case Study

Hershel-Shanks

Hershel Shanks’s First Person as it appeared in the September/October 2012 Issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

In 1969, barely two years after the 1967 Six-Day War, a team of Israeli archaeologists made an exploratory excavation at the base of one of the numerous sites in the Sinai Peninsula proposed as Biblical Mt. Sinai. It was not long before a member of the team exposed a piece of rock with a single Hebrew letter on it. This naturally led to more intensive excavation in this area, as a result of which additional, larger pieces of inscribed stones were recovered. They were taken to Israel for further study.

When examined by paleographers, experts in dating inscriptions by the shape and form of the letters, they were in agreement that this inscription dated to about 1200 B.C.E.

Gradually, the pieces of stone were fitted together. In the end, a few pieces from the end and on the side were missing, but they did not appear to have contained letters. What could be read was clear. Word for word, the inscription was identical to the text of the Ten Commandments. This text appears in the Bible twice, once in Exodus 20 and again in Deuteronomy 5. There are some differences, but the most important is in the Fourth Commandment’s reasons for the observance of the Sabbath. Surprisingly, the text on the reconstructed stone tablets from Sinai follows Deuteronomy more closely than Exodus.

It was difficult for the scholars to resist the obvious conclusion: These were the original Tablets of the Law that Moses destroyed when he came down from the mountain and found the Israelites worshiping the Golden Calf. The scholars agreed that, all things considered, it was best to keep the discovery secret, at least for the time being. The tablets as reconstructed were placed in the university vault and forgotten.

Since the Arab Spring and the revolution in Egypt, the new Egyptian government has learned of this archaeological discovery and made a formal demand for the return to Egypt of the two Tablets of the Law, claiming that they were recovered in territory under the sovereignty of Egypt. There can be no doubt is where they were found. Is Israel obligated to return them under international law if found in an excavation in the Sinai?

In law school this is called a hypothetical; that is, a hypothetical case that tests the application of a legal rule. In this instance: Would Israel be obligated to turn over to Egypt the original Tablets of the Law if they had been discovered in Sinai?

The rule generally recognized (like many rules of international law, it has not been formally “enacted” or enunciated in haec verba) is that archaeological objects, especially recently recovered objects, belong to the nation with sovereignty over the place where the object was found unless it was removed legally.

Often this makes sense. Sometimes, it doesn’t.a This hypothetical case would surely be one of them.

While the nation where the object was found certainly has some claim to the object, so does the culture that produced it.

This is especially so where a modern nation has no cultural connection to the culture/nation that ruled the area when the object was created. In this case, modern Egypt occupies largely the same space occupied by ancient Egypt, but it has no cultural relationship to ancient Egypt. Egyptians don’t speak the same language (ancient Egyptians spoke Egyptian; most modern Egyptians speak Arabic), they don’t use the same writing system (hieroglyphic vs. the Arabic alphabet), don’t worship the same gods, don’t revere the same texts, and there is no resonance of ancient Egyptian culture in modern Egyptian culture. The opposite, of course, is true of Israel.

If the outcome of this case is not clear, at least it should be discussed. As far as I can tell, it is not. The only cases that are discussed involve demands by Egypt, Greece, Italy, Turkey and perhaps a few other countries for the return of objects from Western, mostly American, museums and universities.

The “culture” element may well come up in contexts other than our hypothetical. The caves near Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found lie just within the West Bank. The Palestinians claim the scrolls as part of their heritage. (So does Jordan, which claimed this area when the scrolls were found.) Indeed, much of Israel today occupies ancient Philistia, rather than ancient Israel. Much of Biblical Israel lies in the West Bank.

Other questions involve not what Israel has that others could claim but what Israel could claim from others. For instance, the Gezer Calendar, which is a contender for the oldest Hebrew inscription,b was found in the early 20th century at Tel Gezer, a site that lies about halfway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. This treasure can be seen only in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum. The famous Siloam Inscription found in Hezekiah’s tunnel in Jerusalem was also discovered under Ottoman control and taken to Constantinople; it, too, now resides in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum.

Long ago, I pleaded with the Turkish government to return the Siloam Inscription to Jerusalem.c I did not even get a response. The inscription’s importance to Turkey is reflected in the fact that at that time the inscription was not displayed in a public gallery. Later, I urged the Turkish embassy to consider a short-term loan in connection with the observance of Jerusalem’s 3,000th anniversary in 1996. Same response—no response.

Ironically enough, as I write, the Turkish government has refused to lend objects to the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London unless they return disputed artifacts. Adding irony to irony, some of the objects Turkey refused to lend the Met were excavated in Saudi Arabia and were taken to Turkey in Ottoman times.1

I confess it is hard to imagine Israel’s giving up the Dead Sea Scrolls. On the other hand, it is hard to imagine the Jordanians giving up one of the most important and intriguing of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is exhibited in the Amman archaeological museum—the Copper Scroll, which probably records the location of hidden treasures from the Jerusalem Temple.

There are no easy answers to these questions.

 


 

Notes

1. Owen Matthews, “Turkey’s Archaeology Blackmail,” The Daily Beast (blog), Newsweek, April 9, 2012, http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/04/08/turkey-s-archaeology-blackmail.html.

a. See Rachel Hallote, Archaeological Views: “A Case Against the Repatriation of Archaeological Artifacts,” BAR 37:03.

b. See Christopher A. Rollston, “What’s the Oldest Hebrew Inscription?” BAR 38:03.

c. See Hershel Shanks, “Please Return the Siloam Inscription to Jerusalem,” BAR 17:03.

 


 

Reference for this article
Shanks, Hershel. “First Person: Should Israel Return the Tablets of the Law to Egypt?.” Biblical Archaeology Review, Sep/Oct 2012, 4, 63.

Posted in Artifacts and the Bible, Cultural Heritage.

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39 Responses

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  1. Kristina says

    How ironic that we are still fighting over the words “you shall not kill” etc.

  2. Sandra says

    This comment is regarding the question: “Would Israel be obligated to turn over to Egypt the original Tablets of the Law if they had been discovered in Sinai?”
    The tablets would never be discovered in the traditional location of Mt. Sinai. As the Bible said, “For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.”
    Professor Har-el in his book, The Sinai Journeys, has argued very convincingly, against the southern Sinai theory (1983: 175-233).
    After examining evidence, I believe the real Mt. Sinai site is where the Bible says it is–in Arabia.

  3. Sandra says

    The quotation from the Bible in my comment above is from Galations 4:25.

  4. Nancy says

    If every museum returned its specimens to the countries of origin, there would be nothing left in them.

  5. Dan says

    Assuming for a minute the tablets are genuine, they were given to the Children of Israel, not to the Egyptians. Provenance can be established by the Bible. Case closed.

  6. The says

    They should stay with the country that can best preserve, protect and exhibit them. That’s why it’s a good thing that the Greek marbles stayed in Britain for the past century and a half. If Egypt had possession of an ancient Hebrew treasure, it would be destroyed at the next anti-Israel riot.

  7. DR says

    As a “government” rather than “private” document, you have to consider the laws of replevin. Also you can’t dismiss the theory that the Tablets of the Law were actually created along the west coast of Arabia where there was documented sapphire, “clouds of smoke” and “columns of fire”, making any Sinai find a forgery.n

  8. jeff says

    Millions of Egyptians would take offence at your gratuitous smear that “there is no resonance of ancient Egyptian culture in modern Egyptian culture”!

  9. D. says

    There is no need to dig around trying to find the Prototype of the Ten Commandments. The published version is still extant, inside the Ark of the Covenant.
    Not only is the government of Ethiopia not about to turn them over to Egypt, from whence they were taken, they don’t dare try to even take possession of them.

  10. David says

    In an ideal world there would be no boundaries, no fear for one’s life in attempting to visit archaeological sites, and total cooperation in loaning artifacts among museums. Of course a world without boundaries does not exist so the best that msot of us can hope is that we can visit museums and doing so safely is a high priority. At this point I would not advocate the return of artifcats because to do so would impoverish the museums in the United States who would logically not be entitled to anything from the “Old World”. Many times I took students to the Rosecrucian Museum in San Jose, California, and as an educator I would not want its collection sent elsewhere. So, to answer your question, Hershel, if the Ten Commandments were found in the Sinai while under Israeli occupation I would want the Tablets displayed by Israel, first, and by a major metropolitan museum secondly. Giving them to Egypt, where the vast majority of people are cultural enemies of the ancient Hebrews would place them at risk of destruction.

  11. Emmanuel says

    Return the Tablets of Law to the Eygptians? Are you daft? The Ottoman Turks took the inscrip tions from Hezikiah’s Tunnel without so much as a cough when they stole it and brought it to Istanbul! And the Turks will not return it to Israel!

  12. Oun says

    First of all, anything belongs to the people who had it.

    Then we just find out who the people are.

    If none exists now, then it would belong to the land or the discovers. Ask UN to decide which way ;-)

  13. F. says

    The 10 commandments were “penned” for Moses, so, the heritage of Moses is the owner of them. Insofar as they were wandering, so what? If I take the family jewels to Utah with me and am overtaken with illness, my heritage is still the same? If you don’t mind? and I do not mean to imply lack of perception? but some things do not require anybody to figure out? What
    do you gain by creating commotion where none exists? Why would Muslims want to enter into the heritage of Moses? Now? or later? Excuse me again, but I must say this; how stupid! to set up such a hypthetical situation! where the premises are illogical and so any consequence would be illogical and untenable by mere logic?

  14. Rose says

    What does, ‘obtained legally’ mean?

    Do modern Jews share the same DNA as Moses?

    Are we positive Moses wasn’t Egyptian?
    After all we know who made breastplates of solid gold with lattice work and purple. Unlike the cheesy breastplate typically seen on ‘Moses’.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Tuthankhamun_Egyptian_Museum.jpg

    ‘Hey Moses, when are you gonna get a real breastplate ;-)

    Should the British Museum return the Cyrus Cylinder to Iran?

    too funny,
    Shalom,
    Rose

  15. Rose says

    Almost forgot.

    Remember the 12 stones in a 3×4 matrix on Moses’s breastplate. Well this one also has 12 rows of stones (don’t count the shadow) 3 different stones in 4 rows each.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/47/Tuthankhamun_Egyptian_Museum.jpg

    Should Egypt return Moses’s breastplate?

    lovin’ this,
    Rose

  16. Rose says

    Then one must ask, ‘who did Moses make this breastplate for’? His bro, Aaron. Who was Aaron? He was the one who broke away from the pack to worship the solar calf. Who made breastplates exactly as predicted in the book of Exodus? What Pharaoh broke away from the pack to worship the solar calf? What Pharaoh caused water to flow from a rock (Petra). What Pharaoh flooded the Nile Delta every year (the Red Sea and the Nile Delta are connected after all). Where is the wilderness of, ‘Sin’ (Pelusium)? Whose Father and Older Brother were killed (first born of the family and dynasty), and their death caused the walls of Jericho to fall for the final time (according to Kathleen Kenyon)? Ahmosis (meaning Moon born). Who instituted the Lunar calendar as the official calendar of Israel? Moses.
    Inductively placing Moses to the entire 18th dynasty of Egypt (not an individual) is obvious. Much of the articles here only use inductive reasoning to make their claim and leave any deductions unmentioned.

    I’ll do the same.

    Shalom,
    Rose

  17. Clay says

    Why would the Israelites have to share or turn over the law to Egypt? The Law was not given in Egypt but in Saudi Arabia – that is where Mount Sinai is – not in the wilderness of the Red Sea but near Midan. The King Solomon pillers were errected to commerate the location of the crossing some 400 years after and are still standing near Naweiba and at the other side of the Gulf of Aquba in Saudi Arabia. That is where the crossing occured. They have found 4, 6 and 8 spoke chariot wheels scattered over a mile and a half in the gulf of Aquaba at a dept of 50 to 200 feet.

  18. Rose says

    Actually the book of Exodus says they entered the wilderness at Pelusium. A 3,500 year old chariot wheel has never been found in the Red Sea.
    Any archeologist knows that modern Jerusalem is not the same city where Solomon’s temple was built. Ancient Jerusalem and Solomon’s Temple are still visible using Google Earth. The temple faces exactly east and fits the dimensions of Solomon’s Temple that are given by National Geographic in the insert of their December 2008 issue, within centimeters. It’s never been excavated (gee I wonder why? No conspiracy theory’s here). There is an entire city buried with this Temple. It’s all about a kilometer south of the traditional dig site at . . . . . . . Tanis.
    And it was the Pharaoh at Tanis who procured cedars from Lebanon, it was the Pharaoh in Tanis who built a porch for Pharaoh’s daughter. Any Egyptologist will tell us that whoever married Pharaoh’s daughter would be a Pharaoh by default. What was this Pharaoh’s name? Siamun
    Everything in the Old Testament attributed to Solomon was happening in the Nile Delta concurrently in that time under the Pharaoh Siamun. Where were the 666 talents of gold that the Bible says Solomon owned? How much gold existed on Earth in 1000 BCE? Again it was only in Tanis historically.
    Since the Ancient Israel included the Nile Delta shouldn’t we move the modern boarder to reflect the ancient boarder?

    Solomon’s Temple is here, now start diggin’ ;-) ))
    30°58’14.67″ N, 31°53’10.27″ E
    You’re Welcome and Peace,
    Rose

  19. Rose says

    How about the Dead Sea Scrolls? After all they were discovered in Jordan, the six day war was allegedly fought against Egypt but the only thing that changed was moving the Israel/Jordan boarder and putting the caves in Israel. Why not move the boarder again to include the Nile Delta (ancient Jerusalem)? After all its only war that determines who gets what right?
    We know the temples described by Ezekiel in the last 8 chapters of his book are in Egypt. They can be measured and their attributes are still clearly visible.
    Then brought he me into the outward court, and, lo, there were chambers, and a pavement made for the court round about: thirty chambers were upon the pavement.
    And the little chambers thereof were three on this side and three on that side; and the posts thereof and the arches thereof were after the measure of the first gate: the length thereof was fifty cubits, and the breadth five and twenty cubits.

    Whip out those measuring reeds boys and don’t count the corners.
    31°02’32.75″ N, 32°32’24.92″ E

    Ya think Joseph, Jesus and Mary passed by this place?
    You’re Welcome and shalom ;-)
    Rose

  20. Larry says

    Perhaps one of the commentators could improve my understanding regarding ownership of The Rock, as in The Dome of the Rock. We all know the story.

    Thank you.
    Greg

  21. Dim says

    Does somebody know the names of the Israeli team in 1969? The info about this discovery is scanty. I couldn’t find anything in the Net except this article.

  22. Rose says

    The 1969 expedition was fictional in order to create a hypothetical situation for the article.

    As for the Temple Mount or Dome of the Rock, we know from the book of Ezra that the foundation was not yet laid when the captives returned (Ezra 3:6). The Bible itself says that modern Jerusalem was not the same as ancient Jerusalem where Solomon’s Temple was located. We know that Cyrus was declared the messiah by _HVH himself or HaShem (Isa 45:1), although in the Cyrus Cylinder, Cyrus himself declares that he only worshipped the Solar Calf (Marduk) his entire life.

    We know that Daniel only mentions _HVH or HaShem in the 9th chapter when he’s translating and paraphrasing the book of Jeremiah. In every parallel Hebrew Bible Daniel says, “Blessed be the name of Allah for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: (Dan 2:20). Daniel also knelled and faced the west three times a day to pray to Allah (Dan 6:10). Literally it’s ‘Allah’ in the parallel Hebrew text not ‘Al’ or _HVH.

    Then came the New Testament and the Messiah who ended sin in the world forever. And this is absolutely true, there is no sin in the world according to the Hebrew definition of the word ‘sin’. Sin refers to the ‘sin offering’, the requirement of the High Priests, and a key to restoring _HVH or HaShem in the Temple. The English word ‘sin’ is meaningless.

    The Lord triumphed over the LORD in the New Testament and ended the ‘sin offering’ in the world forever. This is the entire point of the book of Hebrews chapter 9. And it’s all past tense in the Greek with phrases like, “he has been manifested”. It all comes down to the meaning of the word ‘sin’ in the Hebrew scriptures, vs. the 50 or more Greek words that are rendered as ‘sin’ in English translations.

    The question becomes what is God? Just a name? Just a set of rituals and laws? Could _HVH or HaShem be restored to the Temple Mount without ‘sin offerings”. Do we really want to start burning aminals on alters again? How come a monotheistic people have many gods like Baal, Molech, Allah, Al, and _HVH, to name a few?

    It seems the right God won.

    Shalom,
    Rose

  23. Rose says

    This article by Hershel Shanks is presumptuous to put it kindly. It’s presented in an intelligent manner so we can’t put it in a category with the ranting’s of Pastor Terry Jones or the Westboro Baptist Church. However it still creates a hypothetical designed to provoke more than enlighten.

    Every honest archeologist knows that the Solomon’s Temple mentioned in the book of Kings is at Tanis. This isn’t the Temple of Onias that Josephus wrote about. Not only is it too big, but there is a buried city all around the unexcavated temple at Tanis. Ezra says the foundation for the Temple at modern Jerusalem wasn’t laid (about 530 BCE or so).

    It’s pretty obvious who made gold breastplates with 12 rows of stones in a 3×4 pattern with lattice and purple. Even wooden arcs covered in gold with wings touching are found in tombs.

    The popular TV archeologists find nothing because they ignore most of the Bible and continue look in the same places where people have been digging for 1500 years. They sometimes wear cool hats and are funny to watch.

    Kadeshbarnea, how funny is that? What does the word ‘kadesh’ mean in Hebrew? Really? (Deut 23:17) how about the female form of kadesh? Why is that? Yah think? I can ask 10 people what the word ‘holy’ means in English and get 10 different answers.

    The fact is that Solomon’s Temple and all the treasures of ancient Israel are in the Nile Delta.

    Is the consensus for the hypothetical that modern Israel should get all the booty from its ancient roots? If so then another 6 day war needs to take place and the boarder moved to include Tanis. But that only covers part of the sanctuary. We may need another 6 day war after that to include Bubastis because that is the place Ezekiel described in the 47 chapter according to Herodotus.

    Or maybe we have to go all the way up into the high country and take Karnak, with its temple aligned to receive the full glory of God on Jesus’s Birthday. December 22 (according to the Julian Calendar).

    In other words, this article isn’t hypothetical at all. But Israel will not attack Egypt because the USA will not allow Israel to attack Egypt. Thank God for the United States of America.

    BTW Josephus writes that Solomon’s Temple was actually where Hiram’s Temple is located in Syria.

    Don’t covet your neighbors stuff, unless you want to fight for it.

    Sahlom (and I mean it!),
    Rose

  24. Michael says

    Both Daniel and Ezra use the aleph-lamed-heh-aleph spelling for “GOD” or several times in Daniel “most high God”—-this does not mean that the pronunciation as “Alha” is the personal name of GOD or refers to the Islamic “ALLAH” -if you think that originally denoted a personal name for their deity …..RATHER these terms in both Hebrew and Arabic simply refer to the generic term “GOD” or I would argue most closer to the TRUE MEANING of that GOD concept of ABRAHAM ‘s—the
    GOD MOST HIGH —aleph-lamed-het-aleph is ALSO the singular preferred use by Daniel and sometimes Ezra to express “GOD” instead of using the plural ELOHIM –which became the prefered exprression for the generic term “GOD” in the TORAH as all were to understand it as a singular monotheist God to worship andd not a set of plural Gods….It must be that Daniel and Ezra preferred not to confuse the singular God withany plural connotation even if the plural earlier useage in the Torah was deliberately chosen to indicate the singular God is a GOD of Gods –the idea of monotheism surpassing polytheism –hence the TORAH uses ELOHIM to denote GOD is all there is of all GODS ….whatever it seems Daniel and Ezra from their captivity in Persia –somehow prefered to use the singular “ALHA”
    instead of the plural ELOHIM ….Some will say “EL” is the singular of ELOHIM –but that is a coonotation actually derived from original Canaanite for the chief God whose name was “EL” …
    IN Daniel 2:47 the term aleph -lamed-heh is used with aleph-lamed-heh-yud-nun folowing it to denote “GOD of GODS” —-but note that “GOD there is only 3 letters not 4 –with the aleph droped at the end ..THis proves that it is not a personal name for God —but that either “ALHA ” or “ALH” is simply meant for the generic sinular concept of the only divinity–”GOD” –the term used for the diviniity.

    ALSO the difference between pronouncing the aleph-lamed -heh-aleph as AL-HA is incoorect–the HEBREW should be EL-HA ..naturally if you are some sort of ALLAH Islamic conspiracist that those dastradly Jews don’t recognize ALLAH in the Jewish Holy Books –well IGNORANCE of such pro-Muslim conspiracy nuts is a reason they are so pitfully out to lunch. (Sorry Rose,but you are out to lunch).

    HOWEVER we must acknowledge the VERY FIRST meaning for the use of EL-HA or AL-HA or ALLAH —-whether Hebrew or Arabic –they denote an elevated God –the GOD MOST HIGH —some would think this denotes the GOD in “HEAVEN”
    (the term for heaven above in Hebrew is the same as “SKY” (Shemmayim) –o all these connotations as well at the arabic “elevated GOD” meaning of ALLAH —-both derive from the “GOD OF THE LOFTY PEAKS”
    identified in the Sumerian GILGAMESH story… IN that story ,GILGAMESH goes chasing off after the NOAH of Flood fame –(the Hebrew Bible’s NOAH was based on the Sumerian ZIUSUDRA ,who was called UTNA PISHTIM in the AKKADIAN ad Babylonian versions of the story )…..Gilgamesh goes in search of the secret of immortality and seek to find Ziusudra who was granted immortality by the Annunaki GODS after they took him reside with them in some place that was across a sea to the WEST of SUMER …SUMER was in today’s Southern IRAQ…. this puts ARABIA out of the picture as desitnation for ZIUSUDRA/UTNAPISHTIM’s residence after the ANNUNAKI took him there to live out his immortality —rather it HAS TO BE SINAI because you need to cross WEST over the RED SEA from ARABIA which is the first SEA WEST of SUMER… now it turns out that when GILGAMESH gets to the EASTERN shore of that SEA ,he is ferried accross to the land where ZIUSUDRA/UTNAPISHTIM resides ,but the ferryman warns him to AVOID going through the territory of the GOD ILLU-YAH because EVEN THE ANNUNAKI GODS fear the power of that GOD ….This is strange because the ANNUNAKI GODS who came DOWN TO EARTH from the skies in craft travelling from their home planet NIBIRU –were sUPOSED TO BE THE MOST POWERFUL OF GODS on EARTH …yet even they feared the power of this mysterious God who had his abode somewhere which must by logical deducement be in SINAI …. WHAT is the translation of ILLU-YAH -it means “HE OF THE LOFTY PEAKS” –hence the implication of a MOUNT SINAI abode for the GOD MOST HIGH ….thus down later in time with the HEBREW BIBLE SINAI EXODUS story you get a REFLECTION of this GOD MOST HIGH whose power all other GODS even fear —in BOTH terms used for this concept of the MOST HIGH GOD …. that is the generic term for this GOD —EL-HA derived from the ILLU denoting lofty /elevated —and much later the ARABIC form of the conceot ALLAH …..but the HEBREW BIBE also presents the OTHER part of the name of this MOST HIGH GOD —this is where we get the YAH (the short-foem of the persnal name use by the children of Israel for their God who still resided on Mount Sinai in the SINAI in the Exodus story… as we know the Yud-He-Vav-He spelling of this name in the TORAH (while observant Jews pronounce it only by HASHEM –the NAME– or by ADONAI –”LORD”–because they do not wish to say the HOLY NAME) is however pronounced by non-jews as YAHWEH -though no one is sure that is the correct pronunciation since there are different vowel pronunciations that can be derived from this 4 letter combination….yET the YAH or YO pronunciations has been attached to so many names given to Jewish families or first names in history
    (eg, NETANYAHHU ,or in first names YONATAN ) that devoted attachment to part of the NAME OF GOD is revered by many Jews…
    BUT in any case it is fascinating that
    all this could derive from this mysterious lofty GOD whose abode was a high mountain in SINAI …

    ALLAH /ILLU-YAH one can easily see the derivation …SO to ALHA —if the YUD sound in ILLU-YAH is dropped –you easily get both AL (for ILLU) and AH or HA (for YA)..

    In all cases he CONNOTATION of the MOST POWERFUL GOD derives from the ELEVATED or LOFTY GOD who resided on a MOUNTAIN PEAK in SINAI !

    THE EXODUS story is thus on terra firma IN SINAI –notin ARABIA ….EVEN the KORAN confirms that ALLAH promised all the land he showed MOSES to the Children of ISRAEL —meaning all MUSLIMS ought to be ZIONISTS else they wilbe going to HELL fordefying ALLAH’s promise to the JEWS! BUt that issue is not for this discussion.

    IT is also interesting that the Hebrew for PRAISE THE LORD —is HALLELUJAH (the English spelling for te HEBREW letters pronouncing that phrase)–breaking this down we get: HA-L’EL -LU-YA –literally TO THE MOST HIGH GOD YA —or from its original older originating form
    (PRAISE) TO THE ILLU-YAH or even in the ISLAMIC much later form (TO THE AL-LAH –to the elevated GOD )…

    All these terms derive from that GOD of the LOFTY PEAK in SINAI…

    So here we have the best explanation for all tese later derivations—both the Hebrew Bible’s and the Kortan’s for their use in giving the GOD term and even turning it to the personal name for that GOD.

    In theological terns the GOD of ABRAHAM (remember he left his original home in SUMEr –so he would have known the Gilgamesh legends and the story of this MOST HIGH GOD in SINAI that even the ANNUNAKI gods he had worshipped in SUMER -via their idols– were powerless against and the GOD who they feared to disturb from his moutain abode in SINAI —is for both Jews and Muslims–the GOD MOST HIGH –ABOVE all other conceptions of who is a GOD..

    AS ABRAHAM”s GOD above all others—this god is suposed to be the SAME GOD for ABRAHAM’s offspring — for JEWISH descendants of ISAAC and for Muslim descendants of ISHMAEL …
    THE religions differ–but the concept of the ONE MOST HIGH GOD ought to be the same.

    SO there is ZERO gain to espousing some ALLAH must be in the TORAH conspiracy and thus ISLAMIC supremcy argument, or that ALLAH is suppoed to be a different God than the God Jews worship as the ONE MOST HIGH,whom they call by a different name.

    IN FACT –all names they both use for their god derive from the SAME earliest source–the GID who resided on a MOuntain in SINAI.

    Forget any ARABIA-ARAB-MUSLIM we win you lose scenarios..UNDERSTAND the REAL origins for this GOD story .IT connects to that GOD whose abode was a mountain top in SINAI.

    THe fact MUSLIMS are so screwed up and ignorant ,and of their GOD’s promise of ALL THE LAND HE SHOWED TO MOSES ,the same promise he made in the tORAH as in the KORAN to the JEWS (Cof I) –and that most Muslims see some difference in the GOD of each people –is simply CRAZY.

    WHY did the KORAN then use such vitriolicic verses against the JEWS ?
    Some Islamic apologists who are even MUSLIM ZIONISTS because of ALLAH’s KORANIC promises to the JEWS–explain the Jew-hate verses in the kORAN as only meant for the JEWS of MUHAMMAD’s time and place–not for jews in general or for other times…HOWEVER the better explanation comes from the fact the KORA N was fabricated for political prurposed many decades AFTER the MUHAMMAD character allegedly died –that he was a fabricated legend who never existed in history–at least not in the time and place alleged for him –and so the most likely explanation for the JEW hate of the time was that the CALIPHS who invented the KORAN in the LATE 7th century C.E. and shaped its development in the 8th and 9th centuries leading to its form today–
    needed a coverstory for their ethnic cleansing of Jews from arabia and the stealing of their wealth ,property and busineses.. HOW convenient if ALLAH said lots of bad things about Jews in his KORAN..YET ALLAH never revoked his promise that ALL the land he showed to MOSEs was promised to the JEWS…

    tHUS if you are stupid enough to believe Mount Sinai was in ARABIA– and since you can’t see ISRAEL from ARABIA -I guess this means ALLAH promised JEWS ARABIA! NO -it simply cannot mke any sense… SO MOUNT SINAI nmust be in SINAI…THE Cof I then went nORTH to the EAST of the pROMISED LAND and from MOAB
    observed the land of CANAAN to the WEST of that observation point in MOAB as their promised land…

    ALL MUSLIMS ought to be ZIONISTS else tey defy ALLAH’s KORANIC promise to the JEWS.. IF the CALIPHS hated JEWS of their time why leave tht promise in? BECAUSE no state of ISRAEL existed at the time..jEWS were in DIASPORA all over the world and once cleansed out of ARABIA ,it was enough that the Caliphs in their expansion hegemonic conquests would apply the PROTECTION RACKET scheme(a.k.a. the JIZYA poll tax) on JEWs as PEOPLE OF THE BOOK “DHIMMIS”–they could NEVER imagine ALLAH’s promise ever getting fulfilled .SO they somehow left it in.
    (OR it was the WISH of TtHE GOD MOST HIGH that it be kept in as he blinded the fabricators of the Koranic tale such that they could not see their stupidity by keeping those promises in)… Of course that GOD never promised his Jews either heaven nor Hell-but he did promise HELL to MUSLIMS who disobeued him.. SO by logic-IF MUSLIMS are anti-ZIONIST -they are going to HELL..

  25. Rose says

    Thanks Michael.
    Glad you recognize that Allah (ELHA) is part of the Hebrew Parthenon, but you just repeat the traditional talking points. You kinda went off a pro Zionist anti Islam rant, but this isn’t about the Koran or modern Isalm, it’s about who would have the rights to tablets of Moses if found in Egypt. Ironically your rant against the Quran puts you in the same category as those who rant against Judaism.

    Michael> that most Muslims see some difference in the GOD of each people –is simply CRAZY.

    Rose> Then the Egyptians would get to keep the 10 commandments in the hypothetical? Personally I think thae can only be one creator of light. So why did you spend so much effort to differentiate Allah from ELHA if they are the same ;-)

    Daniel writes, ShMH as in blessed be the name ELHA. This is not addressed to a generic God. Are you saying that ELHA and Allah are different Gods because of the spelling of the name?

    It’s the same phonically. Would the written name override the pronounced name 2500 years ago? Your entire explanation becomes vapor if we compare the laws and rituals that really differentiate the gods named in the Hebrew Parthenon.

    The problem is that _HVH represents a very specific set of rituals and laws to be observed. Deuteronomy says that those who don’t observe the proper rituals are said to be worshiping false gods. Doesn’t seem to matter what we call them.

    The whole problem over and over in the Old Testament is that the Israelite s did not observe _HVHs requirements. They preferred family life and land ownership (baal) to the tribal ways of _HVH. That’s the entire point of the Jubilee and a major theme in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

    http://www.gnosis.org/library/commelc.htm

    The method used to worship _HVH required burning animals on his alter, this is not an attribute of Biblical ELHA. Are El(the), Elohiym(gods), Baal(owner), Molech(king), ELHA, Yah, YHVH, Adonay(Adonis) and Allah the same God who created light?
    If not what makes them different?

    Why was _HVH called Baali (Hos 2:16)

    YHA (Ah) means moon in Egyptian as in Lunar Calendar, not that Moses understood the ancient Egyptian language or anything ;-0

    Using Yahoo is a terrible example; he makes the terrorists within Isalm look mild.

    But let’s talk about the god(ess) of Abraham. Who was the ‘Almighty’ (the Breast). There is no Hebrew word ‘almighty’ it’s the same word used for breast, breasts, teat and paps.

    Genesis 49:25
    Even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb:

    Was _HVH also Artemis, the many breasted one?

  26. Rose says

    After all we all know Abraham was owned by Sarah.

    Genesis 20:3 says Sarah is her husband’s master (baal of baal), and she did make Abraham do things against his will now didn’t she.

    Sarah was a real baal buster.

    YHVH was pronounced YAH-HVVH (god of ruin) because he required animal sacrifice.

    Shalom,
    Rose

  27. Arnie says

    This is all a lot of fun. The real issue is that a bunch of English citizens wrote the Declaration of Independence on British soil for future American citizens. GO figure!

    Cheers

  28. Rose says

    Since it’s all a hypothetical my closing thought would be the very nature of God. If there’s just one creator of light then we’re all referring to the same Creator. It’s only human rituals, laws and words that divide the creator of light. Maybe the creator of light is just the laws of physics that set the boundaries of light before it was created. After all those rules are intelligent and pre-existed the creation, they are invisible and rule everything we do. Or maybe God created the rules. Who knows?

    What you know, and the only thing you know is that is that you are real. It’s called self-awareness, and it’s all you really know. Everything else is the functions of your perception through your five senses. It could all be an illusion or delusion for all you know, yet you know that your self-awareness is your primary reference of reality. Sensory perception is secondary to consciousness itself.

    So if there’s just one Creator of Light and we all came from that, then that Creator of Light can only be you. Maybe just you and God, but that would be two, if there’s but one, it can only be you. At the very least you know there’s one consciousness in the universe. The common denominator and simplest thing is that you are the Creator of Light.

    The question is why did you create Light? Was it because eternal Life is divine, serene, cold and dark? Did you create Light to escape your eternal darkness? And what did you see once you created Light? You saw your reflection, and you fell in Love with yourself.

    8: 6 For he cannot be heard with ears, nor seen with eyes, nor expressed in words; but only in mind and heart.
    ~ Corpus Hermeticum

    Shalom,
    Rose

  29. Lynn says

    This scenario is similar to the situation with American Indian artifacts kept in Euro-American museums. NAGPRA determined that ownership belonged to the people of the culture that they originated from.
    ‘The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act is a Federal law passed in 1990. NAGPRA provides a process for museums and Federal agencies to return certain Native American cultural items — human remains, funerary objects, SACRED OBJECTS, or objects of cultural patrimony — to lineal descendants, and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. NAGPRA includes provisions for unclaimed and culturally unidentifiable Native American cultural items, intentional and inadvertent discovery of Native American cultural items on Federal and tribal lands, and penalties for noncompliance and illegal trafficking. In addition, NAGPRA authorizes Federal grants to Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, and museums to assist with the documentation and repatriation of Native American cultural items, and establishes the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Review Committee to monitor the NAGPRA process and facilitate the resolution of disputes that may arise concerning repatriation under NAGPRA.”
    “Who is responsible for complying with NAGPRA?”
    “All Federal agencies are subject to NAGPRA. All public and private museums that have received Federal funds, other than the Smithsonian Institution, are subject to NAGPRA.” United States Department of the Interior

    This would be a good model for the United Nations to use in regard to these types of situations.

  30. Rose says

    It seems like once something is excavated or ‘restored’ it’s soon to be destroyed. Not just by looters as happened last year in Cairo, but well-meaning archeologists destroy things as well. As soon as it’s dug up, the clock is ticking.

    Then the question is what culture? We know who the Native Americans are because we put them in reservations and their nations still follow a continuous chain. Who were the Israelites? Are the people living in modern Israel really related to David? Who was David?

    The facts (according to the Cyrus Cylinder, the cuneiform library at Yale University, and other books like Ezra/Nehemiah) are that the foundation for the temple was laid in modern Jerusalem under the direction of Cyrus the Great. Naturally the walled city of modern Jerusalem existed prior to Cyrus, but there was no temple at that location historically.

    This all happened in 559 BCE the first year Cyrus was king of Persia according to (Ezra 1:1, 2 Chronicles 36:22, Daniel 10:1). This is 49 years (the Hebrew word for 70 being identical to the word for ‘weeks’) or one Jubile period from the third year of Jehoiakim (about 606 BCE)

    Dan 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

    What people made up the Hebrew Diaspora prior to Cyrus the Great? Jeremiah says the seed of David ended with the captivity (Jer 33:19-26). Ezra says they separated men from their wives and children when they returned under Cyrus (Ezra 10) to purify their genetic strain. Are these the true remnants of David?

    Would it just be the Jews who get rights to so-called Biblical artifacts? What about the Levites and the other Hebrew tribes?
    Would Italy have claim to Roman sites in modern Israel? How about the Herodium? How about the Dead Sea Scrolls written in Greek? Should the Hyksos get Jericho?

    Who were David’s ancestors exactly?

    Peace,
    Rose

  31. RAY says

    Hershel:
    Reaching a sound conclusion to the issue of whether Israel is obligated to return ancient artifacts found on foreign country land during Israel’s occupancy of those territories after the 1967 war, is simple. Under International Law, ISR is deemed an “occupying power” of territories seized after the ’67 war. Numerous UN resolutions, the Geneva Convention Treaty, Protocols, Customs & Practice together with domestic laws of the harmed country, mandate ISR’s withdrawal to pre-67 boundaries. This determination conclusively establishes that ISR could not legally remove ancient artifacts from the country of origin. Those are the “legal facts on the ground.” ISR appropriated ancient artifacts from an occupied territory. This is also a violation against Treaty protections of Religious, Cultural and national treasures which are looted from occupied lands seized during war. All ancient artifacts removed from occupied territories must be returned to the country of ownership under international law. The Tablets of Law are required to be returned to Egypt.

  32. Rose says

    Obviously the UN resolutions and the Geneva Convention are just guidelines or suggestions but not laws. Nobody follows these guidelines, at least not in the last 45 years. These guidelines apply when the USA wants to go to war (United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441), however when the resolutions go against the will of the USA (waterboarding) they are ignored.

    Make no mistake about it people, if the Dead Sea Scrolls were never found, the British and USA would never have allowed modern Israel to form. The Arab League would have prevailed. We needed control of the Dead Sea Scrolls in spite of the world right?

    Same with the 6 day war. It was fought under the guise of a conflict with Egypt, yet all that came of it was moving the Israel boarder to include the caves of the Dead Sea Scrolls that were formerly in Jordan.

    The UN and Geneva Convention are just places and regulations where foreign leaders can feel like they have a voice, but they don’t.

    Modern Israel having a Mosque on its most sacred site is awesome.
    Peace,
    Rose

  33. RAY says

    You are “exactly” wrong, Rose.

    UN Resolutions, Geneva Convention, treaties, customs and protocols are law, under the doctrine of International Law. Further, there are UNESCO regulations binding on members (and non members of the UN) Non UN or Treaty members are bound under international law through international customs and protocols. The Secretary General of the UN has repeatedly announced that Israel “is in violation of international law” because of its settlement building in East Jerusalem. The inescapable legal conclusion is that Israel is legally obligated to return the tablets and ALL / ANY other artifacts removed from “occupied territories” or the territory of a sovereign country.

    You should also note that UN designated World Heritage Sites provide for “prima facie” violation of the Geneva Convention on protection of religious and cultural sites, when those sites are destroyed/damaged by parties. Violations of the Geneva Convention provisions protecting cultural sites, constitute “war crimes” and are punishable.
    International and domestic laws are not the “opinion” of world leaders. As background, I studied international law with Prof. Anne Marie Slaughter, who was Kennedy Professor of International law at Harvard Law at the time and is now dean of the Princeton Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy. I also chaired the international litigation committee for a state bar association.

    Israel is obligated to return the tablets to Egypt and any other artifacts removed from a sovereign country. The issue of ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls will develop later.

    Ray Oliver
    google: “rayoliveresq”

  34. RAY says

    Rose, I have the impression your comment about the “Mosque (being) on Israel’s most sacred site,” that you are implying that I am Muslim or have a personal interest in Palestine.

    If that was your intent, again you are wrong.

    I am neither Palestinian or Islamic. I am Catholic and an educational product of the Jesuits. My grandson is Jewish.

    Lastly, on the archaeological, evidentiary landscape, ancient Israelites-Hebrews, had a very, very small footprint and an insignificant signature on the geography of the Levant / Canaan- Palestine. (1180 bc)

    It is Judaism that had the significant impact.

    RAY OLIVER, ESQ.
    “rayoliveresq”

  35. RAY says

    Hershel notes:
    “This hypothetical case would surely be one of them…”

    Hershel’s hypothetical should lend insight into the clear responsibilities of an “occupying power” and the powers of a sovereign country on protecting their ancient cultural and religious heritage sites.

    The issue relating to the Dead Sea Scrolls and other artifacts removed from occupied territories is a serious and current dispute to be resolved under international law.

    *my final comment.
    RAY OLIVER

  36. RAY says

    footnote:
    Although no one will ever find the mythical Moses’ tablets, “Moses’ slippers” can be found in Oded Golan’s apartment. He stores them in his bone box…

  37. Joseph says

    Rose. But God can be heard. I have heard him speak to me. He speaks in various ways. There is only one God regardless of what they call him. Religions were made by man not by God and Christ came to do away with the law so that all the world could be saved by grace.

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Continuing the Discussion

  1. First Person: Should Israel Return the Tablets of the Law to Egypt? – Biblical Archaeology Society « archaeoinaction.info linked to this post on October 3, 2012

    [...] Person: Should Israel Return the Tablets of the Law to Egypt? Monday, 24th of September 2012 biblicalarchaeology.org Hershel Shanks’s First Person as it appeared in the September/October 2012 Issue of Biblical [...]


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