Over the past weekend I posted an article about an attack upon the home of an elderly Palestinian woman by Israeli forces who employed a skunk water cannon upon her. Rubhiya Abd al-Rahman Darwish, 75, (photo below) was resting upon her couch when a high-pressure blast of the foul-smelling stuff came bursting through her window, drenching the inside of her house in stink and putridity.
“I went to the hospital and they gave me a shot, but the poison started coming out of my mouth and nose. I started screaming because my back was hurting, and it hasn’t stopped,” Darwish said.
If you haven’t checked out the post yet, the full article is here. The lady’s clothes were ruined, and other items from the house had to be thrown out as well. It got me to thinking: what kind of beasts would be capable of doing something like this to a 75-year-old woman?
And then like a flash of lightning it hit me: Gog and Magog.
What’s that? You’re not particularly religious? That’s fine. Bear with me anyway…just for a bit.
Gog and Magog are mentioned in two different places in the Bible—the Book of Ezekiel in the Old Testament, and the Book of Revelation in the New Testament. The more “in-depth” treatment, you might say, is found in Ezekiel—in chapters 38 and 39. Now it just so happens that these very two chapters of Ezekiel are particularly popular with Christian Zionists. But is it possible that they’re looking at the text upside down? Are you listening Christian Zionists? Pay attention, you might learn something.
What Ezekiel tells us is that enormously destructive forces of evil will at some point descend upon the land of Israel (or Occupied Palestine as we refer to it today), and that these forces will come out of the far north. The prophet basically describes this as an invasion and refers to the invaders collectively as “Gog and Magog.” Ezekiel 38:2-3 articulates the following:
“Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince ofMeshech and Tubal; prophesy against him and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince ofMeshek and Tubal.’”
And a little bit later, in verses 14 and 15, we get this:
“Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army.”
The word “Gog” is apparently a reference to a leader or king, while the Hebrew prefix ma can mean “place of.” We apparently, then, are talking about “Gog” and “Land of Gog.” Yet equally worth considering is that one of the sons of Japheth (who is the son of Noah) is named “Magog” as well. And two of Japheth’s other sons are named Meshech and Tubal. Are you with me so far, Christian Zionists? Now Japheth, who seems to have been a rather fruitful individual, also had yet another son (he had seven altogether) worth mentioning—Gomer—who in turn had a son of his own, named, rather curiously, Ashkenaz. Got that?
Keep in mind that when we speak of Noah and his sons and grandsons, we’re talking about pre-Abrahamic times. There are no such things as “Jews” or “Israelites” or “chosen people.” They haven’t come along yet. That’s something important to remember.
Now the genealogy of Japheth comes out of the Book of Genesis, but let’s return—shall we?—to Book of Ezekiel and Gog and Magog. What the two words, Gog and Magog, could in essence be referring to—again keeping in mind the many names…Japheth, Gomer, Magog, Ashkenaz, etc.—is in essence a nation or tribe of people. Well, what do we know about this tribe? Not much, other than that they come from the north—but here again, that geographic reference is strongly emphasized by the prophet. The following comes from Ezekiel 39:2:
I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel.
Well, it can’t be much clearer than that, can it? Gog and Magog come from the far north.
Now Christian Zionists have traditionally viewed this as meaning Russia. That view was of course popular during the Cold War, especially with such noted Christian Zionist “thinkers” as Hal Lindsey—Russia and Red China, along with all the other evil hordes from the north and east, posed the greatest threat to Israel, and when the Gog/Magog invasion finally comes, and the Battle of Armageddon is finally fought, those surely are the forces that would be descending upon the poor, defenseless little Jewish state. This has been the thinking of Christian Zionists ever since the mid twentieth century.
But most Christian Zionists, I would dare say, have never heard of the Khazar Kingdom, or if they have, they’ve probably bought into the hasbara talking point that the Khazar ancestry of Ashkenazi Jews has been “debunked” or “discredited.” Au contraire. It has not. The works of Shlomo Sand, Arthur Koestler, and others who’ve researched the Khazar history have stood the test of time. Wikipedia has an article attempting to explode the “myth” and relegating it to “Internet anti-Semitic websites,” but as has been documented recently (here, here, and here), Wikipedia has become little more than an Israeli propaganda outlet—and the fact remains: the Khazar empire existed—it underwent a mass conversion to Judaism in the eighth or ninth century—and after the kingdom’s fall in the eleventh century many of these people migrated into eastern Europe.
In short, there has been an invasion of Israel, and it has come from the far north. It kinda boils down to who you gonna believe—Wikipedia or the prophet Ezekiel?
In his book, The Invention of the Jewish People, Sand describes the Khazar kingdom as “a vast landmass, stretching from Kiev in the northwest to the Crimean Peninsula in the south, from the upper Volga to present-day Georgia.” He also informs us that it “dominated the Volga and Don rivers, which were major transportation routes.”
And here is what Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, in their Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, have to say about scholarly speculation on the geographic territory that may have comprised the land of Gog/Magog. Kind of a lengthy quote, I know, but please, persevere and read through it:
As far as the interpretation of the names Gog and Magog is concerned, the names of the nations in Gen. 10 (where Magog is mentioned) and the names of the nations that are a part of Gog’s military forces in Ezk. 38 have focused the attention of scholars on the northwest, on Anatolia and the regions north of Mesopotamia. The picture is uniform if we disregard the soldiers from Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya in Ezk. 38:5, who certainly come from 27:10: with a considerable degree of certainty, Meshech can be located in Phrygia, Tubal in Cilicia, Gomer in the Armenian mountains, and Togarmah in the territory east of Cilicia, (38:2,6) Most of the other nations mentioned in Gen. 10:2-5 (as far as they are known) are also found in this part of the world (the Ionians, the inhabitants of Tarshish, the Kittim, the Medes, etc.)
Even when the geographical location of Gog is determined, very different interpretations have been offered for the names Gog and Magog. An old interpretation, which is found as early as Josephus, that Gog represents the Scythians, is still advocated by Wellhausen. The usual interpretation in more recent times goes back to Delitzsch, etc.: Gog is the Lydian king Gyges (Akk. Gûgu), who dates ca. 670 B.C., and consequently the land of Magog is Lydia. Other scholars keep to the same time period, but think that Gog has reference to the dynasty of Gagi, in the territory north of Assyria, which is mentioned in a text of Ashurbanipal. Still others think it refers to a territory called Gaga mentioned in an Amarna letter (I, 38), which, according to the context (Hanigalbat and Ugarit are also mentioned), was located north of Syria, perhaps around Carchemish. Among scholars who regard Ezk. 38-39 as totally postexilic, Messel, e.g., attempts to interpret Gog as an officer in the army of the younger Cyrus (ca. 400 B.C.), and Winckler assumes that the old name Gog (derived from Gaga in the Amarna letter) was used as a pseudonym for Alexander the Great. In most of the attempts to explain Gog historically, the term Magog is interpreted either as an artificial form (“land of Gog”), or as a “Hebraizing” of an Akk. mātGog (= ᵐᵃᵗGaga in an Amarna letter). On the other hand, some scholars think the name of the land came first, and that the name Gog was derived from it.
Or to put it more simply, there is no scholarly agreement on the matter (to say the least!). But just to clarify some of the ancient place names mentioned by Botterweck and Ringgren, and where they were located, here are a couple of maps. The first shows (starting in the west and moving toward the east) Lydia, Phrygia, Cilicia, and Armenia:
As you can see, all are south and southeast of the Black Sea. Ah, but in the next map we see Scythia, located to the north—resting squarely, smack dab in what later would become the Khazar kingdom:
It was Wellhausen, you’ll recall, who pinpointed Magog as being Scythia. Well, who was Wellhausen, and if his Magog-Scythia analysis is on the money, is there anything else he got right?
Wellhausen refers to Julius Wellhausen, a German scholar who lived 1844-1918. This of course makes him a contemporary of Theodore Herzl and means he was around as the Zionist movement was gaining steam in Europe. I just mention that as an aside, though. Wellhausen, who was a Christian, is most famous today for having been the first scholar to propose the “documentary hypothesis” of the Old Testament. That theory states basically that the first five books of the Bible, rather than having been written by Moses, were actually derived from four separate text sources—a Yahwist source, usually abbreviated as J; an Elohist source, or E; a Deuteronomist, D; and a Priestly source, or P. These were the original textual antecedents of the first five books of the Old Testament. It was later redactors and editors who came along, spliced them all together in convenient ways, and produced what is today known as the Torah. That is the documentary hypothesis in a nutshell, and it, too, is a theory that has stood the test of time.
Another thing you’ll notice from the Botterweck/Ringgren quote is that there is no general agreement on who “Gog” was. Some think he was Gyges, the King of Lydia, while others posit Alexander the Great or various other names from history. What this could mean, of course, is that “Gog” was such a minor, obscure historical figure that no one today remembers him. But there are a couple of other possibilities to consider as well. One is that the prophet simply made him up out of whole cloth. That could be true. People certainly weren’t adverse to making things up in ancient times, nor in later times as well. In fact, it is a proud tradition carried on by today’s mainstream media owners.
The other possibility is that Ezekiel was speaking of someone who was to come along in the future. That is, of course, what prophets do—talk about the future. Good work, I suppose, if you can find it. But here is something I’ll throw out, more or less as my own not-so-scholarly theory on the subject. The leader of the Khazar kingdom was referred to not as a “king,” but rather was addressed by the title of “Kagan.” If you take the word Kagan and chop off the last two letters, you end up with:
Kag is very similar, phonetically speaking, to:
But one thing I can state for sure—something in fact most of us, scholars and non-scholars alike, would probably agree upon—is that spraying skunk water upon Ms. Rubhiya Abd al-Rahman Darwish was a totally evil thing to do. Take a good look at Ms. Darwish again:
She has about her a certain biblical look, doesn’t she? But of course, she’s “just a Palestinian,” which means she’s not one of the “chosen.” Or is she? If the vast majority of Jews are descended from the Khazars (and Ashkenazis do comprise the overwhelming majority of the world Jewish population), then is there any group of people today we can look to as possibly having descended from the biblical Jews? Sand tells us that the Romans “never deported entire peoples,” and that after the suppression of the Jewish revolts, many Jews, rural peasants in the main, remained on the land. Large numbers of these converted to Islam in the seventh century, but still they continued to till the soil, the am-haaretz, or people of the land. Sand also notes that in Palestine “many Hebrew place names have been preserved,” and that “the local Arabic dialect is strewn with Hebrew and Aramaic words, distinguishing it from literary Arabic and other Arabic vernaculars.”
In other words, what appear to be remnants of the ancient Israelite culture can still be detected in Palestinian culture today. In fact, when some of the early Zionist pioneers began settling in the area in the late nineteenth century, they were convinced they were meeting “a good many of our people…our own flesh and blood,” as one of them put it. Of course that view vanished rather quickly from the dominant political narrative when Palestinians began resisting the theft of their lands.
It may be a moot point—for naturally over thousands of years people of various cultures and ethnicities will always have a tendency to intermarry—but if you had to stand the two peoples side by side, the Ashkenazi Jews and the Palestinians, and try and render a verdict as to which had the most plausible, the more believable claim to the title of “direct descendants of the biblical Jews,” the winner most likely would be the Palestinians.
And if we go by Genesis 12:3, then whoever curses them will be “cursed by God,” as it were. Are you paying attention, Christian Zionists?
One other little thing I’ll mention. Gog and Magog, as I said above, are also referenced in the Book of Revelation. The specific passage in question is Revelation 20:8, but we find a curious little twist on the theme: here the Gog/Magog invasion is said to be coming not from the north but rather from “the four corners of the earth.” It seems that at some point along the road, between the time prophesied in Ezekiel and that prophesied in Revelation, the tribe has undergone a dispersion, or “diaspora,” if you will.
Before closing, let me return briefly to the subject of Ms. Darwish. The story of the skunk water attack—upon her own home and others in her area—was posted by Ma’an News. The incident took place on Sunday, June 22. The writer, Alex Shams, mentions also that the fetid substance causes nausea and vomiting, particularly among children and the elderly, and that the soldiers were laughing that day as they went about firing the cannon in various directions.
Nidal Al-Azraq, a volunteer at the Lajee Center, told Ma’an that the soldiers were “having fun” throughout the raid, mocking residents as they shot the cannon into homes and even taking pictures of themselves beside it.
“There was a dog above one of the walls on the street where they were spraying houses, and so they aimed at it and started shooting the water,” Al-Azraq said.
“After almost hitting it twice, the dog started barking, and on the third time the soldiers hit the dog straight on with the water cannon and they all started laughing,” he added.
Nobody seems to know what skunk water is made of. For some reason, the Israeli government refuses to divulge the contents. After the raid was over, residents emerged from their homes to find streets and alleyways covered with the fumy mess.
“For the next few hours locals attempted to clean it up, and while they managed to get rid of the worst of the smell, when a Ma’an reporter visited the scene three days later, the smell still hung heavy in the air,” Shams writes. He also quotes Ms. Darwish:
“Why do they do this to us?” she asked.
So tell me, Christian Zionsts—do you have an answer to that question? Do you still believe Ashkenazi Jews are “chosen”? You poor Racas have got it all wrong. You need to read your Bibles again, and do so with an open mind this time.
And here’s another newsflash for you:
Spraying skunk water on a 75-year-old woman is an abomination unto God.