Peter and the fixation with gematria

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Fri Jun 25 18:13:53 EDT 1999

Dear Peter,

I'm sorry that the inclusion of the years confused you so. They are merely
there because they are in the text and will help people find the
information more easily.

>I have not read the book of Enoch, just as I have not read the manuals 
>of gematria or the works on Bible Codes. 

It is an interesting maintenance of the parallels here that also carries
your polemic along. Enoch is an important book in the history of the second
temple. It is only to your detriment that you have not read it. I have a
copy on my website. You can find it at:

Let there be no excuses! Enoch is also important for the understanding of
Noah. It contains a crypto-history of the Hebrews from Adam through to
Judas Maccabaeus, provides background to the development of thought on
angels and demons, is taken as scripture by the letter of Jude, and
provides us with a look at Jewish cosmology.

>I wrote:
>>By the way, who first read these dates out of or into Ezekiel? Was it 
>>someone at Qumran etc? Or was it some medieval or modern scholar who 
>>discovered this alleged match with the "Enoch" and DSS calendar?
>and you answered:
>"Why not read the relevant ancient texts and discover it yourself."
>Sorry, you have not answered the question. In which ancient text does 
>it make the point that none of Ezekiel's visions took place on the 
>Sabbath? Chapter and verse please. I don't have time to go looking 
>through the unspecified "relevant ancient texts" for this.

Reading the relevant ancient texts will show you that the solar calendar
was in use, as was indicated in my earlier post. Obviously, you won't find
a reference to Ezekiel's visions not being recorded on Sabbaths. It would
be somewhat absurd to expect such a thing. Yet how many days given in the
year-month-day formula, and there are many more than just Ezekiel, actually
do fall on a Sabbath? Surely you can find a few with the aid of you computer.

>I wrote:
>>In that case, could it not be chance also that none of them took 
>place >on the Sabbath?
>and you answered: "Try and calculate it."
>OK, I now have the data I need. If the date of each vision is random, 
>there is a 6/7 chance that it did not take place on the Sabbath. You 
>quoted 11 fully defined dates. (6/7)^11 = 0.1834785562297. 

While we are manipulating the information, you may choose to ignore the
defective dates where the month is omitted, but you have no reason to, as
the calendar is quite specific and for the two examples you omit, they
could only fall on a Wednesday, Friday or Sunday, ie no chance of a
Sabbath, so they must be included in your calculations. We should have
nearly two occurrences of a Sabbath at random, yet there is none. We should
have nearly two examples of a Sunday, but there is in fact six with the
possibility of another two. The fisrt day was obviously propitious.

>implies, I think, an 18% probability that none of these visions would 
>have taken place on the Sabbath if the dates were chosen at random. 
>That is far less than is needed for any sort of statistical certainty. 
>We do also have the possibility that the calendar was deliberately 
>fitted to Ezekiel's dates rather than vice versa.

I have seen you argue consistently for the thin end of a wedge. Wouldn't it
be nice for once that you had a bit more support? The evidence is quite
clear that there is nothing random, given the fact that neither Sabbath nor
Monday is mentioned along with the overabundant presence of Sundays.

>So, I'm sorry, I come back to my former tentative conclusion. For you 
>have no evidence to support your argument that Ezekiel was written 
>after the introduction of the solar calendar. 

When one ignores most of the data one can conclude what they like. In my
previous post I showed that there was a preference in the hexateuch for
Fridays, but with your randomness thesis you can just explain the avoidance
of Sabbaths (and Mondays) away.

Why not try a revised calculation that not only includes the data about
Sabbaths but that of the day after the Sabbath as well, or would you like
to attempt a random occurrence of Sundays, ie that not only was the day
three times the random average but it was expressly the day after the Sabbath?

>If all you want to say 
>is that it may have been but may have not been, what are we arguing 
>about? It is just that I don't think the calendar helps the argument 
>in either direction.

Naturally, that is your thought.

>As for Tyre, I would suggest that even the Assyrians saw the benefit 
>of trade with the West and allowed the Tyrians to keep up their trade 
>with Cyprus, Rhodes etc., 

Actually not only did the Assyrians brutally put down a Tyrian rebellion in
645, but they had captured Tyre's commercial competitor, Sidon, and used it
as an outlet into the Mediterranea, so, no, the Assyrians didn't see it as
you would like them to have.

>which of course continued to flourish (and 
>was well known to Ezekiel) when Assyria went into decline.


>As for Egypt, if we want examples of peoples continuing to trust in 
>"broken reeds" even in a much better informed age, look at Serbia's 
>futile attempts to rely on Russia!

I saw no real evidence that Serbia actually relied on Russia. That was I
assume western propaganda: we get different news here. The Serbs did it a
la Saddam Hussein, alone.

The hotchpotch of history in Ezekiel is worth analysing. 

1) In 30:4 there is a harangue against amongst others Ethiopia (Nubia), the
house that reigned over the Egyptians until they were driven out by the
Assyrians around 665 BCE. From that time onwards the Nubians were no longer
players in the Egyptian game. The reference to them is anachronistic. The
Nubians remained in their traditional home and continued there with little
ado for several centuries. 

2) Egypt no longer stretched from Migdol to Syene, for from south of
Memphis down to the cataracts there was no global administration (though
local administration carried on as normal there): the kings of Egypt were
delta rulers. With the Persian invasion of Egypt there came a colony of
Hebrew mercenaries which was stationed at Syene (Elephantine) all of the
fifth century and remained in contact with Jerusalem. 

3) Ezek 29:18ff tells us that the siege of Tyre was drawing on and for
recompense Nebuchadnezzar was promised Egypt, though unfortunately he never
got it. Nebuchadnezzar closed Egypt into its own territory and may have
made a campaign into Egypt late in his reign, but the current pharaoh,
Ahmose, continued unabated and on Nebuchadnezzar's death (561) invaded Cyprus.

4) Ezek 31:2ff is a fairytale description of the Egyptian ruler (and Egypt
itself) and does not match reality, ie the pharaoh at that time definitely
was no pinnacle of excellence and power.

What we find in Ezekiel about Egypt is mainly prophet-speak (how great the
pharaoh is, so that his fall can be greater -- though neither are true in
590 BCE --, how Egypt will be reduced to dust, the use of "Pharaoh" as a
name instead of a real name -- eg 2Kg23 -- making recontextualisation easy
and you don't have to know the real name, the smitings, the sufferings,
etc) and may find a better context in the struggles between the Seleucids
and the Ptolemies when Hebrews were spread through Egypt as mercenaries,
traders and slaves.


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