Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Old fashioned wars using the Millo and siege ramps, and future wars using EMP genades and nuclear bombs

I am reading through 1 Kings and in chapter 9 and then chapter 11 and a mysterious thing called "the Millo" is mentioned. Here are two verses which mention the Millo, though certainly not the only verses in the only books of the Old Testament which mention this structure.

"And this is the account of the forced labor that King Solomon drafted to build the house of the Lord and his own house and the Millo and the wall of Jerusalem and Hazor and Megiddo and Gezer" (1 Kings 9:15)

"And this was the reason why he lifted up his hand against the king. Solomon built the Millo, and closed up the breach of the city of David his father." (1 Kings 11:27)

Other times the Millo is mentioned (and it is always the Millo) are 2 Samuel 5:9, 1 Chronicles 11:8 and 2 Chronicles 32:5.

The context of the mentions is always in a militaristic context, so the Millo seems to be something like a wall or a fortress, or a defense structure of some kind. It is not THE wall, because the Millo is mentioned separately from the wall in the 1 Kings 9 verse. This article abstract from Biblical Archaeology Society explains:

Scholars’ Corner: Has Jerusalem’s Millo Been Found?
"One of the puzzles British archaeologist Kathleen Kenyon solved during her Jerusalem excavations of 1961–1967 was the meaning of the untranslatable Biblical word Millo. Or did she? On the steep eastern slope of the city of David (or Ophel), the site of the original city of Jerusalem south of the Temple Mount, Kenyon uncovered tier upon tier of architectural terracing buried beneath an avalanche of stone and debris. Kenyon identified this terracing, which had supported buildings of the city located on the slope, as the Millo of the Bible: “And David dwelt in the stronghold, and called it the city of David. And David built the city round about from the Millo inward” (2 Samuel 5:9). The Millo is also mentioned in 1 Kings 9:15, 24; 11:27; 1 Chronicles 11:8 and in 2 Chronicles 32:5. Etymologically, Millo is related to a root meaning “filling,” and here there was filling aplenty. Moreover, we know from the Bible that the Millo was located in Jerusalem and had to be repaired from time to time."

Here is a photo from Jerusalem 101 website which shows the wall Kenyon uncovered which they believe was part of the Millo mentioned in the Old Testament.

source

Interesting, isn't it?!

I really enjoy the military aspects of the bible. The battle strategies, the terms for weapons and defense. I did a blog essay on bucklers once. You know, the verse where it says "Take up the shield and buckler"? (Psalm 35:2)

The Millo is pretty interesting to me. The siege ramp is also interesting. There is one mentioned in 2 Samuel 20:15, where it is a literal method of attack.

"And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down."

And in Job 19:12, where Job meant it as a metaphorical attack: "His troops come on together; they have cast up their siege ramp against me and encamp around my tent."

A siege ramp is where the opposing army of the besieged city constructs a huge earthen ramp against which they batter the walls, hoist armaments to lob at the interior of the city and scramble upward and over the walls to penetrate the besieged fortification. My description makes it sound a lot easier to construct and use a siege ramp than it was. Here is a description and illustration from Wikipedia--

"In his Commentarii de Bello Gallico (Commentaries on the Gallic War), Caesar describes how at the Battle of Alesia the Roman legions created two huge fortified walls around the city. The inner circumvallation, 10 miles (16 km), held in Vercingetorix's forces, while the outer contravallation kept relief from reaching them. The Romans held the ground in between the two walls. The besieged Gauls, facing starvation, eventually surrendered after their relief force met defeat against Caesar's auxiliary cavalry. The Sicarii Zealots who defended Masada in AD 73 were defeated by the Roman legions who built a ramp 100 m high up to the fortress's west wall."

And here is the ramp the Romans built at Masada, again Wikimedia Commons photo


I think about the battles to come in the last days and into the Tribulation. Albert Einstein was often quoted as saying "I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones." Einstein was born in 1879 and died in 1955. He certainly saw a great change in military capabilities within his lifetime. For example, he would have been a young man reading newspaper reports about the Spanish-American war of 1898. Both the regular cavalry and the volunteer cavalry, and Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders used smokeless ammunition. In later battles, national guard and other mobilized militia used black powder Civil War era rifles. That was the big military-technological advance back then.

By the time Einstein died, he had seen men split the atom and use an atomic bomb to end WWII. The first hydrogen bomb test occurred three years before Einstein died. No wonder he was musing about what military & technological advances would be unleashed in the future.

One side-effect of a thermo-nuclear blast is the electro-magnetic pulse emitted along with the regular pulses and shock waves of the blast. Except people are now catching wise to the fact that you don't need the nuclear part to render your enemy dead in their tracks. You can send any civilization back to the stone age with one pulse over the central part of their land mass and all life as they knew it would come to a dead stop in seconds.

And now people are catching wise to the fact that instead of mass blasts, you can target this EMP specifically to smaller ranges, as in use of an EMP grenade to stop a tank.

Here is an excerpt from a story from 2009 at The Register, a tech publication:

Contradicting previous reports, a US Army electronic-warfare colonel has apparently confirmed the existence of working non-nuclear electromagnetic pulse (EMP) ordnance - apparently so portable that it is even available in hand-grenade size. The revelation came at a blogger roundtable (press conference) held in order to introduce the US Army's new electronic-warfare specialist career field.

An electro-pulse will short out any and all electronic circuits within range. This means phones, computers, vehicles, buses, and anything else that relies on an electronic chip. So that means pretty much everything.

I was watching a Discovery program called Future Weapons, about what happens when an EMP blast hits a car. (the link goes to a 3 minute clip showing a small remote-controlled helicopter being hit with an EMP and then a car). I use the term 'blast' but you don't see anything nor hear anything. There is no light, no sound and no blast. Your car just stops. Simple. It doesn't affect people at all...until you starve to death. Then you're affected.

So Einstein was pretty much right, in my opinion. The next war could indeed be nuclear and the one after that, back to Stone Age fighting. The descriptions in Zechariah 14:12 seem to indicate the biological effects upon a person who is at ground zero of a nuclear blast. And the bio-hazard clean up described in Ezekiel 39 also seem to indicate that a nuclear war had occurred. The number of dead, also seem to indicate such a technologically advanced battle. The level of mutually assured destruction in the next war may well guarantee that the war after that may very likely be conducted as a Stone Age tribe used to.

So that begs the question of when the bible records the last days battles such as the Gog Magog battle of Ezekiel 38: "army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed in full armor, a great host, all of them with buckler and shield, wielding swords" it may be that the Prophet recording God's words was using language he understood and we understand to this day to describe a sophisticated war using artillery that was out of range of his comprehension. Or it could be a literal recording of such a war being conducted- with actual horses and shields and bucklers and not tanks and rocket launchers and planes.

I don't know. I'm just thinking out loud here. But it does make me wonder if the old time siege ramps and shields and bucklers and horses and swords will be used in the last wars of the Tribulation. Revelation 14:20 records the following-

"And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood flowed from the winepress, as high as a horse’s bridle, for 1,600 stadia."
Blood Flowing from the Great Winepress of God's Wrath,
Nicolas de Bataille, 14th century Apocalypse Tapestries

The winepress is the winepress of God's wrath but the blood is very real. The verse is telling the result of the battle at Armageddon when the Lord returns and smites His enemies. 1600 stadia is 20 miles. I wonder why the horse's bridles is used as a vertical measure here. Goliath was said to be 6 cubits high. Cubits was usually used to measure height, with span or handbreadth for smaller vertical measures. Maybe it's because actual horses are used at the battle of Armageddon?

With all the talk of Israel and Iran, and Iran's nuclear ambitions, and the window closing to when Iran will finally have made a bomb (and you know they will use it if they got it), I just wonder if the last technologically advanced war will be happening soon and then those who remain on the earth will be back to using sticks and stones (and the Millo and siege ramps and horses and bows and arrows) as Einstein predicted.

We know that the LORD our God is in charge of it all, and He never loses. He ordains everything and nothing is a surprise to Him.

I am an enlisted soldier in God's army (2 Timothy 2:3-4). The Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 3:8 that there is "A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace."

As long as sin in in the world, there will be war. But for all those in Jesus, He is the giver of peace. No longer am I at war with God who is Holy, my sin-nature rebelling against His statutes. I am at peace, being reconciled to Jesus my precious savior.

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid." (John 14:27)

3 comments:

  1. Interesting timing. I have been pondering some of the same items only in a different way. I stumbled across a series that NBC did called Revolution in which there is a sudden loss of power in America. These "heroes" are on their quest to find "someone" to turn the "lights" back on. Very interesting timing indeed.

    http://megashare.info/watch-revolution-season-1-episode-1-online-TlRJMk9BPT0

    With emp grenades, the possessor of such a weapon could effectively return anyone no matter how well "prepared" back to the primitive. In a second.
    The real answer? Christ. Will He be there when your "lights" go out?

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    1. That is pretty interesting! I love when that happens. Your last line is terrific, Jeff. Thank you

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    2. William Forschen wrote a book recently called One Second After, realistic novel about US society after an EMP rendered our nation useless and Stone Age. At the end of it there are interviews he had conducted with sociologists, military people doctors etc who said that his book is realistic and closely mirrors what would happen if an EMP was burst over the US.

      He had shown it from the perspective of a dad with a teenager with diabetes who relied on insulin, his other daughter, and his mother who lived with them- and went thru one year after in all 4 seasons (in the novel they lived in the Mountains of NC). His 'community' had a 20% survival rate while the outer society had a 5% survival rate. That means in general 95% of the population died within the first year.

      Many had quibbled with his survival rate, saying it as too low. But the doctors, sociologists, military people and psychologists he interviewed said that 5% is about right. The most common cause of death in that realistic scenario would be starvation, closely followed by disease, violence, and then suicide.

      Our society with its technological advances only covers up the need for Christ, it doesn't do away with the need. Apart from Him we can do nothing.

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