The Curious Case of Ptolemy

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
Charles Wilson
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am

The Curious Case of Ptolemy

Post by Charles Wilson » Wed Jul 29, 2020 6:57 pm

Hello everyone --

Matthew 3: 4 - 11 (RSV):

[4] Now John wore a garment of camel's hair, and a leather girdle around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.
[5] Then went out to him Jerusalem and all Judea and all the region about the Jordan,
[6] and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad'ducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
[8] Bear fruit that befits repentance,
[9] and do not presume to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.
[10] Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

[11] "I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

One of the problems I face on this Site is the result of asserting that the Gospels are Historical and that a large part of understanding the History of the NT is found in the study of the Priesthood vs. Herod. There are those who view the NT as Historical (NOT the arguments that "Jesus" is Historical!) but that the History is built around events such as Bar Kochba. I argue that my view, with Atwill's Roman Transvaluation Thesis, is the way to go.

I offer the following as a measure of this idea. It doesn't rise to the Proof Level but is VERY suggestive.

The Matthew quote is paralleled in Luke but is preferred since it refers to the Pharisees and Sadducees coming out to be Baptized by John. Note, again, verse 11. John is of Bilgah. Bilgah committed an Offense against the Priesthood. The "Jesus Character" is actually a Priest of Immer. He (Immer) comes AFTER Bilgah yet is "mightier" than Bilgah.

"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?..."

John is still in "Bilgah-Land" in the Settlement given to Bilgah in Galilee, which has plenty of water. Why would he cause trouble? Why scream at them about the Pharisees and Sadducees being warned?
I have written a fair amount about Nicholas of Damascus lately. Nick was THERE in Herod's Palace for decades. I call him "Rome's Political Control Officer" over Herod. He taught Herod about Kulture. He argued in front of Caesar and every time he argued in front of Caesar he won!

Clearly, Nick was a Powerful Agent.

Was that all there was to it?

From the ever Politicized Wiki-P:

"Nicholaus of Damascus:

"Nicolaus of Damascus (Greek: Νικόλαος Δαμασκηνός, Nikolāos Damaskēnos; Latin: Nicolaus Damascenus) was a Jewish historian and philosopher who lived during the Augustan age of the Roman Empire. His name is derived from that of his birthplace, Damascus. He was born around 64 BC. Nicolaus is known to have had a brother named Ptolemy, who served in the court of Herod as a type of book-keeper or accountant..."

"Isn't that nice?..." In the same sense as the banal comment about the Grand Canyon: "It's so...PRETTY." Nothing like Nepotism to keep the wheels of government turning, eh? - especially since the Support Staff has been installed by Rome.

Let's turn off the /sarc a little bit and see what else accrues.

It is at the death of Herod. There is a Coup being planned and Herod has been spirited away to the Palace in Jericho. Passover is days away. Herod is isolated. With no King in command, Jerusalem will be overrun and the Priesthood will take over, evict the Romans and Herodians and Re-Establish the Temple of God. It's almost as if Leviticus 26 was written just for this moment, especially after the Golden Eagle episode:

Leviticus 26: 1- 4 (RSV):

[1] "You shall make for yourselves no idols and erect no graven image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land, to bow down to them; for I am the LORD your God.
[2] You shall keep my sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the LORD.
[3] "If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them,
[4] then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit...

It will be the end of the Famine. The Students threw down the Golden Eagle. The Teachers promised them not Eternal Life but Eternal Remembrance. Get to Passover. Reverence the Sanctuary. Make Perfect Sacrifices. Stand with God and God will stand by YOU!!!

Only, Herod dies too soon...Doesn't he? Archelaus reigns and 3000+ died! What happened?

Josephus, War..., 1, 33, 8:

"So Herod, having survived the slaughter of his son five days, died, having reigned thirty-four years since he had caused Antigonus to be slain, and obtained his kingdom; but thirty-seven years since he had been made king by the Romans. Now as for his fortune, it was prosperous in all other respects, if ever any other man could be so, since, from a private man, he obtained the kingdom, and kept it so long, and left it to his own sons; but still in his domestic affairs he was a most unfortunate man. Now, before the soldiers knew of his death, Salome and her husband came out and dismissed those that were in bonds, whom the king had commanded to be slain, and told them that he had altered his mind, and would have every one of them sent to their own homes..."


Herod has murdered his son five days previous and now "Pardons" those whom he had ordered slain? He just...changed his mind?

There has to be more and there is:

"When these men were gone, Salome, told the soldiers [the king was dead], and got them and the rest of the multitude together to an assembly, in the amphitheater at Jericho, where Ptolemy, who was intrusted by the king with his signet ring, came before them, and spake of the happiness the king had attained, and comforted the multitude, and read the epistle which had been left for the soldiers, wherein he earnestly exhorted them to bear good-will to his successor; and after he had read the epistle, he opened and read his testament, wherein Philip was to inherit Trachonitis, and the neighboring countries, and Antipas was to be tetrarch, as we said before, and Archelaus was made king. He had also been commanded to carry Herod's ring to Caesar, and the settlements he had made, sealed up, because Caesar was to be lord of all the settlements he had made, and was to confirm his testament; and he ordered that the dispositions he had made were to be kept as they were in his former testament..."


Who was this Ptolemy?

Josephus, War..., 2, 2, 1 and 3:

"ARCHELAUS went down now to the sea-side, with his mother and his friends, Poplas, and Ptolemy, and Nicolaus, and left behind him Philip, to be his steward in the palace, and to take care of his domestic affairs. Salome went also along with him with her sons, as did also the king's brethren and sons-in-law..."

"In the mean time, Antipas went also to Rome, to strive for the kingdom, and to insist that the former testament, wherein he was named to be king, was valid before the latter testament. Salome had also promised to assist him, as had many of Archelaus's kindred, who sailed along with Archelaus himself also. He also carried along with him his mother, and Ptolemy, the brother of Nicolaus, who seemed one of great weight, on account of the great trust Herod put in him, he having been one of his most honored friends. .."

"Isn't that nice...?"

"You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?"

Matthew 23: 13 (RSV):

[13] "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in.

"Who warned..." indeed?


Charles Wilson
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am

Re: The Curious Case of the Golden Eagle

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Jul 30, 2020 1:24 pm

In following the Court Intrigues of Salome, sister of Herod, and the rest of the Detritus, I argued that the Teachers of the Students who axed the Golden Eagle promised NOT Eternal Life but Eternal Remembrance:

Josephus, Ant..., 17, 6, 2:

"So these wise men persuaded [their scholars] to pull down the golden eagle; alleging, that although they should incur any danger, which might bring them to their deaths, the virtue of the action now proposed to them would appear much more advantageous to them than the pleasures of life; since they would die for the preservation and observation of the law of their fathers; since they would also acquire an everlasting fame and commendation; since they would be both commended by the present generation, and leave an example of life that would never be forgotten to posterity; since that common calamity of dying cannot be avoided by our living so as to escape any such dangers; that therefore it is a right thing for those who are in love with a virtuous conduct, to wait for that fatal hour by such behavior as may carry them out of the world with praise and honor; and that this will alleviate death to a great degree, thus to come at it by the performance of brave actions, which bring us into danger of it; and at the same time to leave that reputation behind them to their children, and to all their relations, whether they be men or women, which will be of great advantage to them afterward..."

This is a distinguishing characteristic of Judaism and it is echoed explicitly in Ecclesiastes: "...the dead know nothing..."

Not so in War...!!!

W..., 1, 33, 2:

Now the king had put up a golden eagle over the great gate of the temple, which these learned men exhorted them to cut down; and told them, that if there should any danger arise, it was a glorious thing to die for the laws of their country; because that the soul was immortal, and that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did await such as died on that account; while the mean-spirited, and those that were not wise enough to show a right love of their souls, preferred a death by a disease, before that which is the result of a virtuous behavior.

Uh, Oh!!!

There's a surprise in the diaper!

I trying to trace the Path from the death of Herod - possibly now seen as murder - to the treachery against Archelaus as the "King" for the Passover where 3000+ died. The deaths are laid at Archelaus' feet. The Pharisees are complicit in this. The Coup was ON regardless and the Watch to warn of Trouble from the soldiers broke down.

Now the Platonists chime in to gum up the works.

I'm tired.


Charles Wilson
Posts: 1517
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2014 8:13 am

Re: The Curious Case of Ptolemy

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Jul 30, 2020 8:21 pm

Which is interesting since Wars... came first! (c. 75)
Any ideas as to why this thumb-in-eye statement occurred?

Mebbe Josephus converted to Judaism between Wars... and Antiquities...


Post Reply