August 14, 2018

An Aristocracy Headed by Yahweh, a People of Happiness

*Editor’s Note* – In the historic documents of Flavius Josephus, specifically “The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged,” Book 4 and Chapter 8, Section 2, we find what is written below. As a preamble to this section, I first want to somewhat apologize (although not my work) for how the piece is written, i.e. as one long paragraph. In today’s world, few people can focus long enough to read the below work say nothing about deciphering it and finding understanding. Written work today is presented in short, choppy, sentences and paragraphs to match the manufactured attention spans of most. However, it is of my opinion that there is much knowledge and comparative understanding to gain by reading the below and then rereading it.

“Titus Flavius Josephus born Yosef ben Matityahu was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem” (link). The portion of his work, gathered from ancient historical documents, is presented as translated by William Whiston.

The quote is from Moses. He gathered his congregation to inform them that at the age of 120 it was time to pass the leadership of the Israelites, near the end of their 40-year wanderings in the “wilderness,” on to a successor as appointed by Yahweh – Joshua.

In so doing, he addresses the congregation and explains the only way in which they can find happiness and prosperity. Following this speech, he leaves with the leaders and people, in written form, “suggestions” as to the structure of an aristocratic government, one in which he claims is the one that will work, provided that the leader(s) of the Israelites seeks Yahweh and follows his commands. To do this, and to pass this down to the people, requires amazing leadership, of which cannot ever be found on this earth again. 

What this writing gives us, is a partial explanation of how Yahweh’s governmental structure for man works. Looking at modern-day governments, it’s easy to see that man’s governmental structure fails – as any honest historian will tell you.

Throughout this time, and under the direction of Yahweh, no appointment to leadership of any person, beginning with Moses (Joshua), the senators, judges, tribal leaders on down, could hold any office that did not meet the specific and strict requirements of virtue as directed by Yahweh. It must be stated that this “aristocracy” can only work with Yahweh at the head and all others in leadership roles must pass His test. Moses explains to the congregation what will happen to them when they refuse Yahweh’s protectorship. 

I have taken the liberty to embolden some of the words in order to help draw your attention to Moses’s words, given to him by Yahweh.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

“O you Israelites and fellow soldiers, who have been partners with me in this long and uneasy journey; since it is now the will of God, and the course of old age, at a hundred and twenty, requires it that I should depart out of this life; and since God has forbidden me to be a patron or an assistant to you in what remains to be done beyond Jordan; I thought it reasonable not to leave off my endeavors even now for your happiness, but to do my utmost to procure for you the eternal enjoyment of good things, and a memorial for myself, when you shall be in the fruition of great plenty and prosperity. Come, therefore, let me suggest to you by what means you may be happy, and may leave an eternal prosperous possession thereof to your children after you, and then let me thus go out of the world; and I cannot but deserve to be believed by you, both on account of the great things I have already done for you, and because, when souls are about to leave the body, they speak with the sincerest freedom. O children of Israel! there is but one source of happiness for all mankind, the favor of God for he alone is able to give good things to those that deserve them, and to deprive those of them that sin against him; towards whom, if you behave yourselves according to his will, and according to what I, who well understand his mind, do exhort you to, you will both be esteemed blessed, and will be admired by all men; and will never come into misfortunes, nor cease to be happy: you will then preserve the possession of the good things you already have, and will quickly obtain those that you are at present in want of, – only do you be obedient to those whom God would have you to follow. Nor do you prefer any other constitution of government before the laws now given you; neither do you disregard that way of Divine worship which you now have, nor change it for any other form: and if you do this, you will be the most courageous of all men, in undergoing the fatigues of war, and will not be easily conquered by any of your enemies; for while God is present with you to assist you, it is to be expected that you will be able to despise the opposition of all mankind; and great rewards of virtue are proposed for you, if you preserve that virtue through your whole lives. Virtue itself is indeed the principal and the first reward, and after that it bestows abundance of others; so that your exercise of virtue towards other men will make your own lives happy, and render you more glorious than foreigners can be, and procure you an undisputed reputation with posterity. These blessings you will be able to obtain, in case you hearken to and observe those laws which, by Divine revelation, I have ordained for you; that is, in case you withal meditate upon the wisdom that is in them. I am going from you myself, rejoicing in the good things you enjoy; and I recommend you to the wise conduct of your law, to the becoming order of your polity, and to the virtues of your commanders, who will take care of what is for your advantage. And that God, who has been till now your Leader, and by whose goodwill I have myself been useful to you, will not put a period now to his providence over you, but as long as you desire to have him your Protector in your pursuits after virtue, so long will you enjoy his care over you. Your high priest also Eleazar, as well as Joshua, with the senate, and chief of your tribes, will go before you, and suggest the best advices to you; by following which advices you will continue to be happy: to whom do you give ear without reluctance, as sensible that all such as know well how to be governed, will also know how to govern, if they be promoted to that authority themselves. And do not you esteem liberty to consist in opposing such directions as your governors think fit to give you for your practice, – as at present indeed you place your liberty in nothing else but abusing your benefactors; which error if you can avoid for the time to come, your affairs will be in a better condition than they have hitherto been. Nor do you ever indulge such a degree of passion in these matters, as you have oftentimes done when you have been very angry at me; for you know that I have been oftener in danger of death from you than from our enemies. What I now put you in mind of, is not done in order to reproach you; for I do not think it proper, now I am going out of the world, to bring this to your remembrance, in order to leave you offended at me, since, at the time when I underwent those hardships from you, I was not angry at you; but I do it in order to make you wiser hereafter, and to teach you that this will be for your security; I mean, that you never be injurious to those that preside over you, even when you are become rich, as you will be to a great degree when you have passed over Jordan, and are in possession of the land of Canaan. Since, when you shall have once proceeded so far by your wealth, as to a contempt and disregard of virtue, you will also forfeit the favor of God; and when you have made him your enemy, you will be beaten in war, and will have the land which you possess taken away again from you by your enemies, and this with great reproaches upon your conduct. You will be scattered over the whole world, and will, as slaves, entirely fill both sea and land; and when once you have had the experience of what I now say, you will repent, and remember the laws you have broken, when it is too late. Whence I would advise you, if you intend to preserve these laws, to leave none of your enemies alive when you have conquered them, but to look upon it as for your advantage to destroy them all, lest, if you permit them to live, you taste of their manners, and thereby corrupt your own proper institutions. I also do further exhort you, to overthrow their altars, and their groves, and whatsoever temples they have among them, and to burn all such, their nation, and their very memory with fire; for by this means alone the safety of your own happy constitution can be firmly secured to you. And in order to prevent your ignorance of virtue, and the degeneracy of your nature into vice, I have also ordained you laws, by Divine suggestion, and a form of government, which are so good, that if you regularly observe them, you will be esteemed of all men the most happy.”

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