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More clues about what really happened during ‘The Jewish War’

Over Shabbat, I read some more of the Rav’s latest shiurim, and then a whole bunch of gemaras.

In true ‘Rav’ style, he also covered a whole bunch of topics including when ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’ actually lived (something I’ve been pondering for quite a while now….) and he also gave a bunch of references in the Gemara, which he said everyone should go and read.


This is a very short snippet, BH, I will try to translate way more of this shiur, from the motzae Shabbat before Purim.

This occurs in the middle of a discussion about ‘Alexander the Great’, and when he actually met ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’:

How long did the Temple stand for? How long?

You have to go and learn all the Tractates, Yoma, Avoda Zara, to know all the cheshbonot (timings).

How long did the Temple stand for? How long?

There’s then a few references for Avoda Zara 9a, and also for Yoma 9a-b – which led me to reading a whole bunch of other stuff in the Gemara.


For this post, the bit that caught my attention was the discussion of Ben Katin, King Munbaz, and his mother, Queen Helena of Adiabene, and the gifts they gave to the Second Temple, in Yoma 37a.

Here’s the bit that caught my attention, from a footnote in the Artscroll Edition:

Rashi (to Bava Batra 11a)…. says [Munbaz] was one of the Hasmonean Kings.

This is probably derived from Seder Olam Zuta, where Munbaz is described as the son of the Herodian King Agripas (Agrippa) son of Hordos (Herod).


There is a whole big balagan around these people – and the reason for that is that one member of this family launched the civil war against Rome, and became the template for the historical ‘Yoshki’ that was actually satirised by the Roman writers of the xtian Gospels.

I am in the middle of trying to unpick it all, and I am making some headway, BH.

In this post, I wanted to share with you where I’ve got to trying to figure out more stuff about this ‘King Agrippa’ and Munbaz / Queen Helena of Adiabene, because they hold the key to understanding what really happened around Judea’s great war against Rome, and the destruction of our Temple.

And of course, how that whole story was then twisted and propagandised to demonise the Jews, and create a new ‘hybrid’ religion to pull both Jews and gentiles away from the Torah, and a genuine belief in God, into the net of a Roman-created religion designed to enslave its followers, in a bunch of different ways.

It’s big stuff.


The first thing to understand, is that the writings of ‘Josephus’, and also the gospels, are Roman-sponsored government propaganda.

They contain some factual information, but especially when it comes to what was going on around the Jewish Revolt and the ‘Yeshua’ character, they are full of deliberate lies and deception.

The winners always write the history books, don’t you know?

So going forward, where I find a Talmudic source that contradicts Josephus, or ‘accepted history’, I am going with the Talmudic source as likely to be way more truthful and factual.

So now, let’s dive in to the next chapter of this extraordinary tale.


The story begins HERE, where this is a Geni discussion trying to figure out the real family tree of Titus, the Roman destroyer of Jerusalem.

If you’re interested, take a look, but the main thing to note is that this discussion contained a link to a different, simpler, and way less complicated family tree for the family of Herod the Great, that appears on the old Rootsweb site, HERE.

I started clicking around, like you do, and very quickly, I realised I was tripping over some game-changing information.


This is a picture of the family tree I put together based on this Rootsweb site:


And this is the basic information you need to know:

Herod the Great, that same evil king who built Caesaria, and took over from the Hasmonean Kings…. apparently also descends from the Hasmoneans, patrilineally.

Like this:

Eleazar Auran (Maccabeus – Hasmonean brother 4) > Jason (born in Idumea) > Antipas (born in Idumea) > Antipater II m Cypros of Nabatea > Herod the Great, Roman client king of Judea.


I am still trying to piece things together, but it seems at least possible that this ‘Jason’ is the ‘Jason-Jesus’ who is currently buried in the middle of Rehavia, that we wrote about HERE.

That guy was the hellenising High Priest who was in the middle of the war against Antiochus, and who made a lot of trouble at the time of the Chanuka miracle. No-one knows what happened to him, but there was a suggestion he somehow disappeared off to Sparta, or somewhere.

Now, it looks like maybe he laid low in Idumea…. and became the great-grandfather of Herod the Great.


Also, let’s take a closer look at Jason’s father, ‘Eliezer Auran’, the Maccabee brother who we know nothing about, other than the book of Maccabees tells us he got crushed to death by an elephant.

Here’s how that tale is usually told, from HERE:

According to 1 Maccabees 6:43–46, during the Battle of Beit Zechariah, Eleazar identified a war elephant that he believed to carry the Seleucid King Antiochus V, due to the special armor the elephant wore. He decided to endanger his life by attacking the elephant and thrusting a spear into its belly. The dead elephant then collapsed upon Eleazar, killing him as well. 

Despite this heroic effort, the smaller Jewish army was defeated in the battle. Josephus wrote that Eleazar, though killing many enemy soldiers, did not gain any real effect besides the name he made for himself. In another variation of this story which appears in the Megillat Antiochus, Eleazar’s body is discovered after sinking in the excrement of an elephant.


To be honest, I always found this story a little strange, because how would stabbing an elephant to death ‘kill Antiochus’ in the first place, even if he was sitting on it?

And at this stage, re-reading it, it’s sounding to me like it’s made up bubbie meises….

It’s likely the book of Maccabees was also written as deceptive propaganda, at least in parts, and to cover the trail of what seems to have been an awful civil war between the Kohanim of the ‘House of Tzadok’, which gave us both the hellenising High Priests, as well as the Maccabbee family members who were still loyal to Hashem.

And it seems, that ‘Elazar’ may not have been on the right side of that equation, after all.


So, Elazar’s son seems to have been born in Idumea, before Idumea was conquered by ‘John Hyrcanus I’ and forcibly converted to Judaism, as per the tale we are told by Josephus, who we already know is not reliable.

And that also explains how ‘Antipater II’ comes to be the trusted advisor of the Hasmonean King Hyrcanus II – they are actually close family.

Except, that Antipater II either isn’t Jewish, or is ‘Jewish’ the same way people are ‘Jewish’ if they have one Jewish grandparent….

And his son, Herod, is Rome’s choice for King of Judea, after Mark Antony has his main Hasmonean rival for the throne, King Antigonus Mattityahu, crucified and then beheaded….


This is already pretty shocking.

But there’s more.

While Josephus and ‘standard history’ tells us that there were two King Agrippas, the Talmud only ever talks about one ‘King Agrippa’.

And it was while I was trying to piece together more of that side of things, that I stumbled across this blog:


It’s written by someone called Stephan Huller, who describes himself like this:

of the last descendants of the Frankist Jewish faith in the world. “I grew up thinking that I was the last of the mohicans,” he muses. “All of this might sound kind of dramatic, yet that’s just the way I was raised. It was that kind of thinking that inspired the research behind this book.” Stephan has literally spent two decades piecing together the origins of his tradition’s fusion of the New and Old Testaments with a unique Jewish slant. His book The Real Messiah is scheduled to be released by Duncan Baird Publishing in the UK and Sterling Books in the US.


What does a Frankist have to do with ‘King Agrippa’s messianic hopes’ 2,000 years ago?

I already knew I was going to learn some interesting stuff here.

Long story short, he  has a few posts on his blog (from the last decade…) that seem to be suggesting that there really was only one ‘King Agrippa’, and that Josephus seems to have falsified or distorted a lot of the information surrounding him.

And also, that this ‘King Agrippa’ was actually starting to make a lot of real teshuva, before he conveniently disappears out the story in 44 CE, apparently poisoned to death.


Have a look at the following blog posts for more details, and then I’ll bring a couple of snippets below:



The first time “Agrippa” appears in the chronology of Jewish War appears at 2:178 which reads “In the mean time Agrippa, the son of that Aristobulus who had been slain by his father Herod, came to Tiberius, to accuse Herod the tetrarch.” The text might well have offered a different explanation of who this ‘Herod’ who killed Agrippa’s father. Nevertheless we need only note for the moment that the parallel text in Antiquities makes clear that the year is 37 CE.



He’s talking about a coin that was found that shows there is only one Agrippa:

Once we throw the idea of the coin depicting TWO DIFFERENT AGRIPPAS on each of its sides out the window we are left with the certain fact that ‘KING AGRIPPA’ on the front of the coin is one and same with ‘AGRIPPA THE SON OF THE KING’ on the other. As we shall see this is proved by other Agrippa coins from the period. However for the moment we are left with one nagging question – if ‘King Agrippa’ is the ‘Agrippa son of the King’ – who is ‘the King’?


This guy says ‘the King’ is Caligula, but the Talmud via Rashi already told us who ‘the King’ actually is: Herod.

And here is another screenshot, that shows you the basic direction this Frankist descendent’s blog is heading in:


It’s interesting, how Kohanim are always in the middle of this story of false messiahs.

Shabtai Tzvi / SHACH also fits that bill.

And also in our day, there are people who descend directly from Kohanim, who seem to believe in the ‘Moshiach ben Aharon’ that the Essenes apparently were also waiting for.


There’s a lot to unpick here…. And I’m not going to get through everything in this post.

But, I’m trying to share the information as I go along, because each bit of clarity that gets a wider audience on this topic will lead to more ‘birur’ and more truth coming out.

So now, here’s another snippet from another one of Huller’s blogs on the topic, HERE, including excerpts from Robert Graves’ books about the Emperor Claudius, who was known to be a close friend of Agrippa in Rome.


Robert Graves on Agrippa the Messiah

My compliments to the most virtuous and beautiful Lady Valeria Messalina, your wife. The more I studied this report, the less I liked it. It looked as though Herod, taking advantage of my preoccupation with Britain, and the presence there of so large an army – which might easily need further reinforcements – was planning a general rising in the East, for which his fortification of Jerusalem had been the prelude….

… And are you able to tell me anything definite, Brigand, about this prophesied Eastern Ruler who is destined after his death to become the greatest God that has ever appeared on earth? I am continually coming across references to him.

There was one in court the other day. A Jew was accused of creating a disturbance in the City. He was alleged to have shaken his fist at a priest of Mars and exclaimed : `When the Ruler manifests himself, that will be the end of men like you. Your temples will be razed to the ground and you’ll be buried in the ruins; you dog! And the time is not far off now.’ Under cross-examination he denied having said anything of the sort, and as the evidence was conflicting I did no more than banish him – if you can call it banishment to send a Jew back to Judaea.

Well, Caligula believed himself to be this prophesied Ruler and in certain respects the prophecy, as it was reported to me, did indeed seem to point to him…

… Caligula knew a part of the prophecy, which was that this King was to die forsaken by his friends and that afterwards they would drink his blood. Curiously enough, that was fulfilled in his case: Bubo, one of the assassins, you remember had sworn to kill him and drink his blood in revenge, and did dabble his fingers in the wound he had made and then lick them dry, the madman….


Why I wrote in this way was that I now knew that Herod did really fancy himself to be this prophesied Ruler.

‘I had been told all about it by Herodias and Antipas, whom I had visited in their place of banishment during my stay in France. I could not allow them to return to Judaea, though I knew now that they had not been guilty of plotting against Caligula, but I allowed them to leave Lyons and gave them a fair-sized estate at Cadiz in Spain, where the climate was more like the one to which they were accustomed.

They showed me an indiscreet letter from Herodias’s daughter, Salome, now married to her first cousin, Herod Pollio’s son.

Herod Agrippa is, growing more and more religious every, day.

He tells his old friends that he is only playing at being a strict Jew for political reasons, and that he still secretly worships the Roman Gods. But I know now that this is only pretence. He is extraordinarily conscientious in his observances.

The Alabarch’s son, Tiberius Alexander, [the man who was Titus’ second in command to destroy the Temple) who has abandoned the Jewish faith,. much to the shame and grief of his excellent family, tells me that while he was staying, at Jerusalem the other day he took Herod aside and whispered: `I hear you have an Arabian cook who really understands how to stuff and roast a midnight sucking pig. Would- you be good enough to invite me in some night? It is impossible to get really eatable food in Jerusalem.’

Herod went scarlet and stammered that his cook was ill! The truth is that he dismissed this cook long ago.


Tiberius Alexander has another queer story about, Herod.

You have heard of that farcical occasion when he visited Alexandria with a bodyguard of two soldiers whom he had kidnapped to prevent them from serving a warrant on him, and borrowed money from the Alabarch?

It. appears that the Alabarch afterwards went to Philo, that learned brother of his who tries to reconcile Greek philosophy with Jewish scripture, and said, `I have probably been a fool, brother Philo, but I have lent Herod Agrippa, a large sum of money on rather doubtful security. In return he has promised to protect our interests at Rome, and has sworn before Almighty God to cherish and protect His people, so far as in him lies, and to obey His Law.’

Philo asked: `From where did this Herod Agrippa suddenly appear? I thought that he was at Antioch.’ The Alabarch said: ‘From Edom wearing a purple cloak – Bozrah purple – and stepping like a king. I cannot help believing that in spite of his former follies and vicissitudes he is destined to play a great part in our national history. He is a man of outstanding talent. And now that he has definitely pledged himself …’


Philo suddenly grew very serious and began to quote the prophet Isaiah: `Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? This that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength?… I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was none with me. But the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my Redeemed is come.’

Philo has long been convinced that the Messiah is at hand.

He has written several volumes on that head. He builds his argument on the text in Numbers about the Star out of Jacob, and reconciles it with a number of others in the Prophets. He’s quite crazy, poor man. And now that Herod has become so powerful and has kept his promise about observing the Law so faithfully and done the Alexandrian Jews so many services, Philo is really convinced that Herod is the Messiah.

What finally decided him was the discovery that Herod’s family, though an Edomite one, is descended from a son of Zedekiah, the last king of Judah before the Captivity. (This Zedekiah managed to smuggle his newly-born son out of the city and get him safe to friends in Edom before Nebuchadnezzar captured the place.)


Herod (Agrippa) seems to have been persuaded by Philo that he really is the Messiah and that he is destined not only to redeem the Jews from the yoke of the foreigner but to combine all the Children of Shem together in a great spiritual rule of the Lord of Hosts.

[T]his is the only possible explanation for his recent political activities which, I must confess, make me feel extremely nervous for the future. Indeed, there seems to be altogether too much religion in the air. It’s a bad sign.

[Robert Graves, I Claudius p. 70]


I, Claudius is a historical fiction written in 1934, but it was based very closely on contemporary Roman sources, from HERE:

Though the narrative is largely fictionalized, most of the events depicted are drawn from historical accounts of the same time period by the Roman historians Suetonius and Tacitus.

It’s kind of mind-boggling what seems to be emerging out of the mists here.

All the people we’ve been writing about, all shoots from that same family of Kohanim and Kohen Gadols, that gave us the Hasmoneans, and also so many figures that Josephus writes about, and that appear, often in ‘disguise’ in the satirical xtian Gospels, mocking the real Jewish history and aspirations of that time – they keep connecting back to each other.

And also back to the Roman Emperors.


There is a lot to unpack here, so I am going to stop now, even though we didn’t get to the discussion about Monobaz and Helena yet.

There’s more information hiding out behind this couple, too.

But one thing at a time.


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