The Two Satans: Hebrew on the Mayflower

There is more than a bit of similarity and coincidence between Israeli and American identity struggles. Both of our nations have borders that resulted from the outcome of wars. Both of our populations expanded into area that had been sparsely populated. And both of us either expanded into (us) or completely replaced (State of Israel) a decrepit empire’s mere cartographic presence. Spaces that had been backwaters of the passing Empires, of Spain (inherited by Mexico), and Ottoman Turkey (as inherited by Great Britain). And, come to think of it, we both have Great Britain to thank for the initial opening of the land to settle in, and to have reason for historic injustices and for having to fight them for our independence. But, the return to amicable relationships with Britain has been key to geopolitical strategy for all concerned.

The southwest, when it was a part of Mexico was an empty nearly total wilderness. Texas filled with Anglos, quickly seceded from Mexico and was attacked upon declaring its independence. Just as Israel was attacked at its independence. Both ultimately vindicated their independence by military victory. Texas joined the USA, and the border dispute with Mexico continued until the Mexican War saw the US Army take Mexico City. The rest of the territory claimed by Mexico by virtue of it having been claimed by Spain, was surrendered to the victor of the Mexican War. The land was nearly empty. There were far more Indians then Mexicans living in the entire region of California, Nevada, AZ, NM, UT, and CO. When the Anglos came in, they found uses for the land that Mexico had never bothered to tap. Gold and silver, coal, timber, oil, and good soils though requiring irrigation. Anglos like Israelis turned a lightly populated dusty backwater of a decrepit empire from desert into farms and orchards. Yankee capitalism sought and found veins of Gold and Silver, and coal, and oil in the crags of rock. Much as Jewish Zionists did, in Israel, we did here. In our success, the former stewards of the lands, who had let them lay waste, began to cross the new borders and seek work in the strong young economies. Finally, in both nations, the descendents of the former stewards who had done nothing to improve the land, and had never lived in the lands clamored for the “return” of the lands.

There are only 2 nations in the world with large ethnic groups descended from political units that had possession of the land, but whose population had been minimal until newcomers made the barren lands flourish: the USA and Israel. And only AFTER the wasteland was made productive did the descendents of the previous decrepit empire migrate in for work. And with demographics having switched to them, have begun claiming the Old Borders. The borders did NOT cross them. They migrated in after the new borders allowed the newcomers the ability to transform the land from desert to bountiful.

Here is one irony of many: The BORDERS that are so resented by the Arabs and the Mexicans allowed for the transformation of the American southwest and Israel into First World economies. As soon as the borders are breached the First World economy declines into what it was before the Borders were delineated. See Gaza, or East LA.

The similarity between Israel and America is even deeper than parallel history. Both have incorporated a sense of Manifest Destiny. In other words, the Pilgrims deeply believed that this land was given to them to be made into a New Israel. I have been reading “Making Haste From Babylon: The Mayflower Pilgrims and Their World” by Nick Bunker. And I have read many books on this topic. We have become indoctrinated, or at least our children are, that under all the high talk of Religion, the Pilgrims came for economic reasons. This is absolutely false. (The Jamestown and the later Tidewater colonies are another story.)

Amongst the first books to cross the Atlantic was Henry Ainsworth’s “Annotations Upon the Five Books Of Moses”. “Hebrew possessed a special appeal for the Pilgrims. They wished to swim back up the stream of learning, and to absorb the wisdom of The Bible from as close to the source as possible, free from what they saw as … duplicity or errors in translation. … But they did not expect the meaning of the text to be simple, and they did not simply dismiss the scholars who preceded them. Some of them did the reverse. They read with sympathy the rabbis of the Roman Empire, Egypt, and Medieval Spain, authors whose books were preserved by the Jews of Germany or Venice”. In 1600 Hugh Broughton was recognized as the premier Hebrew scholar in England. He traveled to Germany and debated scripture in the synagogues and made a list of 22 essential books by Jewish authors. “Besides grammars, and dictionaries, it included classic texts of Judaism such as the Midrash, and the Babylonian Talmud, vast rabbinic commentaries on the Torah, the five books of Moses, and on the rules and rituals of the Jewish faith.”

Ainsworth made new translations of the Torah and Psalms. He analyzed them word-by-word, just as the rabbis had done, and as the Torah is still studied to this day. It is assumed that the Torah is as brief as possible. Therefore every single word and letter is essential and thus has meaning. Ainsworth leaned heavily upon Moses Maimonides (Rambam), still a mainstay of Jewish Torah study. The Typology of finding allusions to Yeshua in the Torah had already been well established by Christian scholars. What Ainsworth did was to bring the agility and nuance of Maimonides to Christian typology study. Most Christian typology was rigid, “making each Bible passage carry fixed meanings sanctioned by tradition”. Ainsworth stated ” The Hebrew Doctors have a saying, that the Law hath seventie (sic) faces…. all of them truth”. ” When William Bradford a Pilgrim father read the Bible or meditated on his life, he looked for seventy meaning too.”

Bradford studied Hebrew, from Ainsworth and Broughton’s works, in New Plymouth. Paper was a scarce commodity in the New World. So, when he practiced writing Hebrew he carried out his exercises on the blank pages in the front of the Manuscript of his “History of the Plymouth Plantation”. Bradford covered the blank space with nearly 900 Hebrew words! Among them is found “Midbar,” for wilderness. Thus, when Bradford wrote his history, the word for wilderness contained many levels of meaning, from desert, to temptation, to sin, all in one!

I believe the Pilgrims truly believed they were AS Israel crossing the wilderness into their promised land. But I also believe that unbeknownst to them, they really WERE Israelites, and they were entering into the Promised Land between the seas. Just as Yeshua is to His Returning Power and Glory, so to is the land of Israel to the Greater North American Israel.

Because our claim to the land, both ours in the USA and Judea in Eretz Israel is dependent upon God’s deed, our straying from God leaves us uncertain of our right to our very lands. The more we refuse to see God’s handwork in our History, the more we are forced to claim it was by our own efforts that we seized the land. This leaves only two explanations, either we seized the land because we are superior races, or because we are predator races. Both Godless explanations lead to ruin, either Right Wing violence upon aliens, or cringing and submitting to the epithet of “Racist”, while kneeling before our “victims” pleading for mercy and forgiveness.

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