S
The Benjamites
  • Home
  • Elohism
  • The Benjamites
  • The Benjamites are among the most heroic people in Biblical history. Today, their struggle is ignored and the story of how they came close to destruction is falsified and twisted, as are many things within Yahweh's unholy book. The truth is hidden or ignored completely in favor of the prevailing narrative about the Bible: that it is the inspired word of the Creator God of the universe. Anything that conflicts with this narrative is disregarded by believers; they aren't interested in learning the truth behind their "holy texts;" they're only interested in basking in the narrative that has been fostered precisely for people like them.

    The Bible hides many truths, but even when it's staring them in the face, people refuse to see it. It doesn't fit into their worldview. The Bible is therefore an excellent example of confirmation bias, whereby people embrace things that support what they believe while ignoring anything that doesn't.

    As a result of the Bible's obfuscation and lies, and the fact that people are frequently too faithful to perform a serious examination of the text, the heroes of history are slandered and depicted as villains - so often the case with the Abrahamic religions. The Yahwists, those who first proclaimed that Yahweh was the only god, were an extremely violent and fanatical religious movement among the ancient Israelites. Just read the Hebrew Bible for an admission, straight from the Yahwists' mouths, of what they did to promote and enforce worship of their god.

    Rather than being a united whole, the twelve tribes of Israel often disagreed and squabbled and fought with each other. At the time, a serious religious division was prominent among the Israelites, and that is what much of the conflict revolved around. There were the Yahwists, who, as stated, insisted that the Israelites should worship Yahweh, god of storms and war, and that the surrounding nations were all practicing evil, and then there were the Elohists, who wished to remain loyal to El, the god with whom Yahweh would later become conflated and merged, and the original chief god of the Hebrews.

    It's clear when reading the Bible that there were frequent conflicts between the two groups, though attempts are made to hide this fact. The most remarkable of these conflicts was the civil war between the tribe of Benjamin and the other eleven tribes of Israel, and one that almost brought the Benjamites to complete destruction.

    Read Judges 19, 20, and 21:

    19:1 And it came to pass in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the side of mount Ephraim, who took to him a concubine out of Bethlehemjudah.

    19:2 And his concubine played the whore against him, and went away from him unto her father's house to Bethlehemjudah, and was there four whole months.

    19:3 And her husband arose, and went after her, to speak friendly unto her, and to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of asses: and she brought him into her father's house: and when the father of the damsel saw him, he rejoiced to meet him.

    19:4 And his father in law, the damsel's father, retained him; and he abode with him three days: so they did eat and drink, and lodged there.

    19:5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, when they arose early in the morning, that he rose up to depart: and the damsel's father said unto his son in law, Comfort thine heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward go your way.

    19:6 And they sat down, and did eat and drink both of them together: for the damsel's father had said unto the man, Be content, I pray thee, and tarry all night, and let thine heart be merry.

    19:7 And when the man rose up to depart, his father in law urged him: therefore he lodged there again.

    19:8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the damsel's father said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon, and they did eat both of them.

    19:9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel's father, said unto him, Behold, now the day draweth toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day groweth to an end, lodge here, that thine heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that thou mayest go home.

    19:10 But the man would not tarry that night, but he rose up and departed, and came over against Jebus, which is Jerusalem; and there were with him two asses saddled, his concubine also was with him.

    19:11 And when they were by Jebus, the day was far spent; and the servant said unto his master, Come, I pray thee, and let us turn in into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.

    19:12 And his master said unto him, We will not turn aside hither into the city of a stranger, that is not of the children of Israel; we will pass over to Gibeah.

    19:13 And he said unto his servant, Come, and let us draw near to one of these places to lodge all night, in Gibeah, or in Ramah.

    19:14 And they passed on and went their way; and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gibeah, which belongeth to Benjamin.

    19:15 And they turned aside thither, to go in and to lodge in Gibeah: and when he went in, he sat him down in a street of the city: for there was no man that took them into his house to lodging.

    19:16 And, behold, there came an old man from his work out of the field at even, which was also of mount Ephraim; and he sojourned in Gibeah: but the men of the place were Benjamites.

    19:17 And when he had lifted up his eyes, he saw a wayfaring man in the street of the city: and the old man said, Whither goest thou? and whence comest thou?

    19:18 And he said unto him, We are passing from Bethlehemjudah toward the side of mount Ephraim; from thence am I: and I went to Bethlehemjudah, but I am now going to the house of the LORD; and there is no man that receiveth me to house.

    19:19 Yet there is both straw and provender for our asses; and there is bread and wine also for me, and for thy handmaid, and for the young man which is with thy servants: there is no want of any thing.

    19:20 And the old man said, Peace be with thee; howsoever let all thy wants lie upon me; only lodge not in the street.

    19:21 So he brought him into his house, and gave provender unto the asses: and they washed their feet, and did eat and drink.

    19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.

    19:23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly.

    19:24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing.

    19:25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go.

    19:26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her lord was, till it was light.

    19:27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold.

    19:28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered. Then the man took her up upon an ass, and the man rose up, and gat him unto his place.

    19:29 And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel.

    19:30 And it was so, that all that saw it said, There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt unto this day: consider of it, take advice, and speak your minds.

    20:1 Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was gathered together as one man, from Dan even to Beersheba, with the land of Gilead, unto the LORD in Mizpeh.

    20:2 And the chief of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen that drew sword.

    20:3 (Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel were gone up to Mizpeh.) Then said the children of Israel, Tell us, how was this wickedness?

    20:4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman that was slain, answered and said, I came into Gibeah that belongeth to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge.

    20:5 And the men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about upon me by night, and thought to have slain me: and my concubine have they forced, that she is dead.

    20:6 And I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel: for they have committed lewdness and folly in Israel.

    20:7 Behold, ye are all children of Israel; give here your advice and counsel.

    20:8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, We will not any of us go to his tent, neither will we any of us turn into his house.

    20:9 But now this shall be the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up by lot against it;

    20:10 And we will take ten men of an hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and an hundred of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to fetch victual for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the folly that they have wrought in Israel.

    20:11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.

    20:12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, What wickedness is this that is done among you?

    20:13 Now therefore deliver us the men, the children of Belial, which are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel. But the children of Benjamin would not hearken to the voice of their brethren the children of Israel.

    20:14 But the children of Benjamin gathered themselves together out of the cities unto Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel.

    20:15 And the children of Benjamin were numbered at that time out of the cities twenty and six thousand men that drew sword, beside the inhabitants of Gibeah, which were numbered seven hundred chosen men.

    20:16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss.

    20:17 And the men of Israel, beside Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war.

    20:18 And the children of Israel arose, and went up to the house of God, and asked counsel of God, and said, Which of us shall go up first to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the LORD said, Judah shall go up first.

    20:19 And the children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah.

    20:20 And the men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin; and the men of Israel put themselves in array to fight against them at Gibeah.

    20:21 And the children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites that day twenty and two thousand men.

    20:22 And the people the men of Israel encouraged themselves, and set their battle again in array in the place where they put themselves in array the first day.

    20:23 (And the children of Israel went up and wept before the LORD until even, and asked counsel of the LORD, saying, Shall I go up again to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother? And the LORD said, Go up against him.)

    20:24 And the children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day.

    20:25 And Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again eighteen thousand men; all these drew the sword.

    20:26 Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came unto the house of God, and wept, and sat there before the LORD, and fasted that day until even, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the LORD.

    20:27 And the children of Israel inquired of the LORD, (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days,

    20:28 And Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days,) saying, Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease? And the LORD said, Go up; for to morrow I will deliver them into thine hand.

    20:29 And Israel set liers in wait round about Gibeah.

    20:30 And the children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and put themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times.

    20:31 And the children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city; and they began to smite of the people, and kill, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goeth up to the house of God, and the other to Gibeah in the field, about thirty men of Israel.

    20:32 And the children of Benjamin said, They are smitten down before us, as at the first. But the children of Israel said, Let us flee, and draw them from the city unto the highways.

    20:33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and put themselves in array at Baaltamar: and the liers in wait of Israel came forth out of their places, even out of the meadows of Gibeah.

    20:34 And there came against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was sore: but they knew not that evil was near them.

    20:35 And the LORD smote Benjamin before Israel: and the children of Israel destroyed of the Benjamites that day twenty and five thousand and an hundred men: all these drew the sword.

    20:36 So the children of Benjamin saw that they were smitten: for the men of Israel gave place to the Benjamites, because they trusted unto the liers in wait which they had set beside Gibeah.

    20:37 And the liers in wait hasted, and rushed upon Gibeah; and the liers in wait drew themselves along, and smote all the city with the edge of the sword.

    20:38 Now there was an appointed sign between the men of Israel and the liers in wait, that they should make a great flame with smoke rise up out of the city.

    20:39 And when the men of Israel retired in the battle, Benjamin began to smite and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons: for they said, Surely they are smitten down before us, as in the first battle.

    20:40 But when the flame began to arise up out of the city with a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and, behold, the flame of the city ascended up to heaven.

    20:41 And when the men of Israel turned again, the men of Benjamin were amazed: for they saw that evil was come upon them.

    20:42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel unto the way of the wilderness; but the battle overtook them; and them which came out of the cities they destroyed in the midst of them.

    20:43 Thus they inclosed the Benjamites round about, and chased them, and trode them down with ease over against Gibeah toward the sunrising.

    20:44 And there fell of Benjamin eighteen thousand men; all these were men of valor.

    20:45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness unto the rock of Rimmon: and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men; and pursued hard after them unto Gidom, and slew two thousand men of them.

    20:46 So that all which fell that day of Benjamin were twenty and five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were men of valor.

    20:47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness unto the rock Rimmon, and abode in the rock Rimmon four months.

    20:48 And the men of Israel turned again upon the children of Benjamin, and smote them with the edge of the sword, as well the men of every city, as the beast, and all that came to hand: also they set on fire all the cities that they came to.

    21:1 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpeh, saying, There shall not any of us give his daughter unto Benjamin to wife.

    21:2 And the people came to the house of God, and abode there till even before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept sore;

    21:3 And said, O LORD God of Israel, why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be to day one tribe lacking in Israel?

    21:4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

    21:5 And the children of Israel said, Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the congregation unto the LORD? For they had made a great oath concerning him that came not up to the LORD to Mizpeh, saying, He shall surely be put to death.

    21:6 And the children of Israel repented them for Benjamin their brother, and said, There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day.

    21:7 How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing we have sworn by the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?

    21:8 And they said, What one is there of the tribes of Israel that came not up to Mizpeh to the LORD? And, behold, there came none to the camp from Jabeshgilead to the assembly.

    21:9 For the people were numbered, and, behold, there were none of the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead there.

    21:10 And the congregation sent thither twelve thousand men of the valiantest, and commanded them, saying, Go and smite the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the children.

    21:11 And this is the thing that ye shall do, Ye shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman that hath lain by man.

    21:12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead four hundred young virgins, that had known no man by lying with any male: and they brought them unto the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

    21:13 And the whole congregation sent some to speak to the children of Benjamin that were in the rock Rimmon, and to call peaceably unto them.

    21:14 And Benjamin came again at that time; and they gave them wives which they had saved alive of the women of Jabeshgilead: and yet so they sufficed them not.

    21:15 And the people repented them for Benjamin, because that the LORD had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

    21:16 Then the elders of the congregation said, How shall we do for wives for them that remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?

    21:17 And they said, There must be an inheritance for them that be escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.

    21:18 Howbeit we may not give them wives of our daughters: for the children of Israel have sworn, saying, Cursed be he that giveth a wife to Benjamin.

    21:19 Then they said, Behold, there is a feast of the LORD in Shiloh yearly in a place which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goeth up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah.

    21:20 Therefore they commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, Go and lie in wait in the vineyards;

    21:21 And see, and, behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in dances, then come ye out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin.

    21:22 And it shall be, when their fathers or their brethren come unto us to complain, that we will say unto them, Be favorable unto them for our sakes: because we reserved not to each man his wife in the war: for ye did not give unto them at this time, that ye should be guilty.

    21:23 And the children of Benjamin did so, and took them wives, according to their number, of them that danced, whom they caught: and they went and returned unto their inheritance, and repaired the cities, and dwelt in them.

    21:24 And the children of Israel departed thence at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from thence every man to his inheritance.

    21:25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

    Here the story is told that the tribe of Benjamin fought a civil war with the other eleven tribes of Israel rather than hand over a group of rapists.

    It's extraordinary how easily people will take what the Bible says at face value. The idea that the tribe of Benjamin would have gone to such lengths to protect a city of rapists is nonsense. The actual war fought by the tribe revolved around the conflict between Yahwists and Elohists. The Benjamites had attempted, as they always did, to eradicate worship of Yahweh and turn Israel back to the pagan gods El, Asherah, and Ba'al in particular. The Benjamites, like everyone else, fought for something they believed in, not to shield a city of criminal men from execution.

    (You may also have noticed the fascinating parallel between Judges 19 and Genesis 19, the latter being the part of the Bible which talks about the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These two stories are actually the same story. Sodom and Gomorrah is all about the destruction of the wicked Benjamites, the "sons of Belial." The tribe of Benjamin was increasingly seen as evil by the other eleven tribes, and if there's one thing the Yahwists were good at, it was fantasizing about the destruction of their enemies.)

    The Benjamite leadership were attempting to preserve the true religion of the Israelites, but were largely unsuccessful in relation to the public sphere. Even during the time of the fractured kingdoms, Yahwism was growing. The conflict deepened.

    2 Kings says:

    16:2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign, and reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem, and did not that which was right in the sight of the LORD his God, like David his father.

    So Ahaz, who was of the tribe of Judah (and is even named as an ancestor of Jesus) "did not that which was right in the sight of Yahweh his God." Doesn't that seem ludicrous? If Yahweh was his god, why would he do what that god views as evil?

    Even though the Israelites are supposedly Yahweh's chosen people, every other passage in the OT describes yet another king who didn't do what he was asked, or another Israelite who Yahweh viewed as wicked. These unfaithful people are everywhere.

    Imagine that someone long into the future attempted to claim that today, everyone believed in Christianity. But to recount the events of today, they would have to continually make reference to people who don't believe - so the overarching narrative would be proven false.

    In the same way, the OT has to make references to people who don't exclusively worship Yahweh in order to recount things - otherwise, nothing would make sense. It is betraying the hidden truth - specifically, that there was a centuries-long, often deadly struggle between Yahwism and Elohism.

    2 Kings 21 tells the story of two successive kings of Judah who were again evil in the eyes of Yahweh (i.e., they were Elohists, not Yahwists). Did these people emerge from nowhere? Did they spring up from amid Yahwist believers who insisted that paganism was evil? No.

    King Josiah

    2 Kings:

    22:16 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read:

    22:17 Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched.

    22:18 But to the king of Judah which sent you to enquire of the LORD, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard;

    22:19 Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before the LORD, when thou heardest what I spake against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith the LORD.

    22:20 Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.

    *

    23:4 And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.

    23:5 And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

    23:6 And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.

    23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.

    23:8 And he brought all the priests out of the cities of Judah, and defiled the high places where the priests had burned incense, from Geba to Beersheba, and brake down the high places of the gates that were in the entering in of the gate of Joshua the governor of the city, which were on a man's left hand at the gate of the city.

    *

    23:23 But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.

    23:24 Moreover the workers with familiar spirits, and the wizards, and the images, and the idols, and all the abominations that were spied in the land of Judah and in Jerusalem, did Josiah put away, that he might perform the words of the law which were written in the book that Hilkiah the priest found in the house of the LORD.

    23:25 And like unto him was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

    23:26 Notwithstanding the LORD turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah, because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked him withal.

    23:27 And the LORD said, I will remove Judah also out of my sight, as I have removed Israel, and will cast off this city Jerusalem which I have chosen, and the house of which I said, My name shall be there.

    So, despite king Josiah's crusade to enforce worship of Yahweh, the god was apparently still angry at his people. Even when they do everything "right," their god can't stop raining death and destruction on them!

    King Josiah was a Yahwist, and he began his crusade against Elohist worship once part of the Torah was discovered in the Temple in Jerusalem while it was being renovated. Despite his efforts, however, Yahweh is still displeased with Judah… because of things that had happened in the past… things that dead people had done… specifically, a dead king. How reasonable this god does seem; I think I would like to worship him!

    23:36 Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah.

    23:37 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

    24:1 In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.

    24:2 And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets.

    24:3 Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;

    24:4 And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.

    24:5 Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

    24:6 So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

    24:7 And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.

    24:8 Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother's name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

    24:9 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done.

    24:10 At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.

    24:11 And Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came against the city, and his servants did besiege it.

    24:12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.

    24:13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.

    24:14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.

    24:15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.

    24:16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.

    24:17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

    Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon initiated what is known today as the Babylonian captivity. The Bible pretends that this is a result of Yahweh's anger at the people's worshiping false idols and false gods. As usual, Yahweh is used as an explanation for events of which he wasn't the real cause.

    25:8 And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem:

    25:9 And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire.

    25:10 And all the army of the Chaldees, that were with the captain of the guard, brake down the walls of Jerusalem round about.

    25:11 Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

    *

    Yahwism was a religion supported by numerous tyrannical kings. The same goes for its close successor Judaism, which would be complete after the Babylonian captivity, and for Christianity as well. These are the religions of royalty and tyranny, not of the people. They always have been. And they have always been resisted by the religions of the people, which are historically invisible thanks to their enemies' efforts, often similar to king Josiah's rampage.

    Angels of El

    We will not detail the precise history of Elohism from this point onward, outside of saying that after the destruction of Solomon's temple (which was an Elohist temple, not a Yahwist one) and the captivity of the Judahites, the Yahwist narrative began to prevail even more. Elohism shrank while its enemy grew.

    The Children of El became increasingly secretive, and eventually cut themselves off from the larger people of Judah. They were the only remaining true Benjamites.

    Once you realize that the Old Testament is largely the tale of conflict between Yahwists and Elohists, you have seen through the Biblical Lie. You understand what billions of Abrahamists (Yahwists) do not - that they are buying into a wholly biased narrative of history, one intended to promote Yahweh over all others.

    Elohism, the religion Yahwism attempted time and again to stamp out, has as its highest god the very person Yahweh was conflated with: El, the father of all the gods, who were said to be the progenitors of all nations.

    El sent angels (good beings) to guide humanity. As a result of the events described in this article, Yahweh became increasingly associated with demons (evil beings) that hindered humanity, causing conflict, death, and destruction. Indeed, the agents of Yahweh are the ones who cause death in the name of their god. No sane person would want to follow Yahweh. Yahweh became the bastard child, the Corrupted One.

    It's time to start reading the Bible the correct way.

    Yahwites

    Yahwites = the Children of Yahweh

    Jesus Christ = Yahwist

    Jesus Christ = Yahwite

    Yeshua, son of Yahweh, god of evil and of war and of destruction, should be recognized by all the world as a demon (for want of a better word). Jesus is lord over all the benighted peoples of the world, and El's message only occasionally shines through.

    Elohites

    Elohites = the Children of El = the Agents of Light

    *

    The Old Testament is nothing more than an account of how the children of the warlike, petty, vindictive Yahweh prevailed over the children of wise, noble El.

    Fundamentum

    Exodus 20:3-11:

    20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

    20:4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

    20:5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

    20:6 And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

    20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

    20:9 Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work:

    20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:

    20:11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

    Are these the commandments of a reasonable god? Or are they the commandments of the controlling, the petty, the jealous, the selfish, the sensitive? The words of Yahweh's own text condemn him. He is perhaps the worst God humanity could have chosen to follow. He is utterly selfish to the last. He has no interest in the development of humanity; he just wants everyone to worship him and glorify his name, proclaiming how great he is. He is a pure egotist.

    2 Corinthians says:

    11:13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

    11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    Yahweh ought to rightly be declared Satan, the adversary of humanity. He has transformed himself into El, made himself perceived as the god of light. In fact, he is the god of darkness and ignorance, as his followers demonstrate every day.

    Do we want you to be ignorant? We have revealed the truth behind the Old Testament. It's up to you to decide whether or not you believe our account. If you don't believe us, then that's fine. We don't damn anyone who disagrees with us, unlike childish Yahweh. We don't demand that everyone on earth think in the same way we do, unlike the infantile agents and children of Yahweh.

    Even in Christianity, Yahweh is wholly selfish and self-centered. He cares about himself, and he only cares about humanity insofar as we can worship him. He wants everything we do to be for him; we must have no lives of our own. He wants everything we say to be for him; we must have no words of our own. He wants everything we think and feel to be for him; we must have no thoughts and feelings of our own.

    Of course, he isn't called Yahweh in that religion, since Christianity is essentially a papering over of a tribal, partisan god with a universal god - it's a multiplication of Yahweh's monstrosity that extends over the entire world.

    Muslims claim that the word of the creator of the cosmos was dictated in Arabic and that it should not be translated out of this language (all translations are merely interpretations, not the word itself), meaning that it was only intended for a specific people, and fuck everyone else, even though Muslims claim that every child on earth is born Muslim! How can anyone be born Muslim if they don't understand the Koran for lack of understanding Arabic?

    Yahweh's religions are of posterity, not of the future. They only serve to drag humanity backward into the ignorant past. They don't want strong, intelligent, knowledgeable followers; they want followers who will submit and acquiesce. They don't want real human beings; they want programmed machines who can do nothing but obey. Reading Yahweh's commandments and his attitude toward those who break them, can there be any doubt of that? If you don't behave in just the right way, you are a child of Belial - you are worthless - and should be killed.

    From the tribe of Benjamin came the first Elohites, the true Sons and Daughters of El, the true heroes of the story. Yahweh is the celestial villain who sought the Elohites' destruction - but they proved too clever for his stupid agents.

    The Elohites created a congregation of Elohists and gave them the secret teachings and annals (or historical records) of the Elohites. That congregation is still in existence today. They have always sought the destruction of Yahweh. His increasing irrelevance in the modern age has only prompted believers (Yahwists) to reaffirm their blind faith in Yahweh.

    What is the basis of El's religion? It could hardly be more different than that of Yahweh's religions. Elohism is founded upon growth. Whereas Yahweh promotes stagnation and even regression into the past, El promotes personal and social development. He sent his angels - his Children - to supervise the development of humanity. He did not send them to give orders or to kill people; that's what the angels of Yahweh do.

    Yahweh is a tyrannical and evil god who must be resisted at all costs. The alternative is submission, and it is never acceptable to obey a monstrous authority - just look at the Nazis. All tyrants and monsters must be resisted, and this is the first lesson people must learn before they start pledging allegiance to any gods. Any gods who do not support humanity are no gods at all, and therefore must be cast down.

    It's not good enough to say that you must believe in an afterlife. All tyrants, including those of the deific variety, must be removed. If a tyrant proclaims themselves to be a god, that makes them no less contemptible and it does not diminish the necessity of their overthrow.

    We must all be like the noble Benjamites - we must be Yahweh's murderers, we must set free all who live under his spell. Be under no illusions: the Benjamites attempted to wipe Yahweh's worship off the face of the planet, and our goal is nothing less, and neither ought yours to be. If you do not support the destruction of tyrants, then you are complicit in their tyranny.

    Had the Benjamites succeeded in their task, we would be living in a vastly different world with vastly superior potential. Instead, we are dragged back by Yahweh's religions. Most states are too busy pandering to them to do anything about them, so it's up to everyone else.

    Eliminate all tyrants, be they god or man. That must be our foundation. As long as we submit to alien gods who have no interest in preserving humanity, we will never be fit to call ourselves modern people. We are sickened and poisoned by Yahweh. It's high time that we applied an antidote.

    Yahwism calls itself the Truth; in fact, it is the Lie: the Lie supreme. It is the worst of all lies ever perpetrated. What could be more perverse than that the Lie masquerades as the Truth? What could be more repulsive? What could be more absurd? But things peddled by authority are always bought. Yahwism was created and peddled by a series of unscrupulous yet authoritative "prophets." Yahwists today imagine the prophets to be heroic, proclaiming the word of God in a world that spurned it. In fact, they were the sleaziest, slimiest men in history, and that goes for Jesus as well. They were the promoters of the god of war and destruction, of storms and death. Who can read the prophets' words and come to any other conclusion? Who can honestly say they admire these monstrous men?

    We encourage everyone to read the "holy texts" of Yahweh. Everyone should know exactly how these religions came to be, exactly how they promote evil. Everyone should have a clear idea of what evil looks like in this world. It doesn't come just in the form of crude bloodshed, but also in the form of psychologically sophisticated schemes. Look at how many people Yahwism has fooled - then read its "holy books" and see for yourself what it contains and promotes. If you think that evil is always noticeable, always obvious, always blatant, then Yahwism should teach you otherwise. Sometimes, the worst ideas flourish under the holiest names.

    Just as we as individuals can learn from our mistakes, so we as a species must learn from our biggest mistake. If we can do that, the world will never be the same. Everything will change.

    Solomon's Temple

    The Bible is famous for its nonsense that king Solomon was an apostate. In fact, king Solomon was an Elohist from the beginning, as was his son, Rehoboam. Much like the Gibeathites, they had absolutely no respect for Yahweh's little commandments. For centuries, a large portion of the people of Israel weren't concerned in the slightest with obeying Yahweh. Recall that, after they are supposedly freed from Egypt by their god, having passed through the red sea, having been fed with manna from heaven and having been given water from the rock of Horeb, Moses had no sooner left them than they started worshiping other gods. They were apparently so blasé about Yahweh's miracles that they chose not to worship him at all and instead fall back on their old gods who hadn't ever performed any miracles.

    Again, the Bible gives us shit and expects us to eat it. Rather, after their removal from Egypt, the Israelites worshiped other gods because they were used to it. Yahweh didn't free them from their captivity, he didn't set ten plagues on Egypt, and he didn't part and close the red sea - these are all Yahwist narratives invented after the fact to glorify Yahweh. Conflict ensued between the Yahwists and Elohists, and there was bloodshed, because, as the Bible so aptly shows, the Yahwists simply couldn't stand other Israelites not worshiping their god.

    Back to Solomon's temple, Solomon built it in honor of the gods he knew. He was a famously wise king (it is rather incriminating that the Bible depicts him as an apostate, but also as a very wise man!) and was said to be a sorcerer. He had command over demons using his seal. In other words, Solomon was a witch, a magus, and he is one of the reasons why Yahwists hated magic (another reason was because all the "wicked" nations around Israel were engaged in it). Fortune tellers and divination became banned. Witchery and sorcery became gross sins, and detestable in the eyes of Yahweh.

    (It really is remarkable that we're supposed to believe that the Israelites all worshiped Yahweh, when it seems that every other chapter we're reading about someone else who failed to keep Yahweh's commandments… were the people of Israel truly so fickle and incompetent that they couldn't stick with their miracle-performing god for just a few decades? How can people who read the Old Testament not notice the absurdity of this?)

    And so, there really is quite some irony in the Jews revering the Temple so much, since it wasn't dedicated to Yahweh at all. Of course, if Solomon had been a Yahwist, he would not have invited pagan architects to build his temple, as the Bible says. Of course, if Solomon had been a Yahwist, he would not have so easily been persuaded away from his fanatical beliefs to something more pagan. But all of this is ignored by believers, who take the Bible at face value and never question it, never inquire any further than what they read - and they claim to be experts on the Bible, claim to know that it constitutes a valid historical record! How could they, when they don't ask simple questions such as we have posed in this article? How can they claim an understanding of Scripture when they know nothing of its actual history? They rely on the dogmatic claim that the Bible is inspired of Yahweh, yet they don't first trouble themselves to learn who Yahweh actually is.

    Everything that's forbidden by Yahweh's religions - you can bet that it's the practice of pagans such as the Elohists, which is why we have no sympathy for those who declare sin as evil without knowing its nature or its true purpose. They oppose it because they read a book that tells them to. How childish. Yahweh's religions are perpetrators of injustice: just as they unjustly depict the past in false terms, so they now unjustly rob people of their autonomy and strength. They are a badly-aged joke - one that stopped being funny long ago.

    On this site, we have often mocked Christianity, Yahweh's most sinister form of control over people. We have shown exactly how absurd it is. We have shown that most Christians are ignorant of their actual beliefs and their implications. But we would only have been convincing to people who already think Christianity is a joke. To any Yahwist, our material constitutes lies from Satan. You see how Yahweh's systems are ingenious (without giving his "prophets" too much credit)? They give everyone permission to dismiss anything they disagree with. They provide an "explanation" of why people behave in ungodly (un-Yahweh-like) ways. Yahwists have no subtlety or nuance. Everything they disagree with is promoted by Yahweh's enemies, and everything they agree with is supported by Yahweh.

    Yahwism

    Why has Yahwism proven so appealing? Because it tells you that you don't have to think. It presents a simplistic narrative of Yahweh versus Satan so you don't have to think seriously about the world. It tells you all about how you should live and how you shouldn't so you don't have to make your own choices, and above all, it presents a view of the afterlife so you get to believe you'll go to heaven when you die (Judaism doesn't discuss the afterlife, but it isn't nearly as popular as its two children, Christianity and Islam). Nevermind what you might learn if you think for yourself, just abide by everything that's written in this book, never question it, and never assume that you know better than extremely fanatical, ancient tribesmen and what they had to say about their god. You don't know anything - your heart is treacherous:

    Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

    Jeremiah 17:9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

    Don't try to understand things for yourself; instead let others do your thinking for you, and you'll be saved - you can spend an eternity with your friends and family. Everyone you hate, on the other hand, will go to hell. You won't suffer in the afterlife (because you don't like suffering).

    Yahwism is almost perfectly tailored for most of humanity, and if that doesn't make you shudder, then there's something wrong with you.

    But What About the Ten Commandments?

    Some Yahwists (mainly Christians) argue that without the ten commandments, society would be a much worse place - we need the ten commandments to know what's right from wrong, supposedly.

    What these people forget is that there was indeed a time when the ten commandments didn't exist. Do they think that pagan societies were lawless hives of crime and death? As humans, we're capable of making rules and laws for ourselves, we don't need any tyrant like Yahweh to tell us what to do, thank you very much. Also note that the first four commandments have nothing to do with what's right and what's wrong, they're all about glorifying Yahweh, whose tyranny isn't required.

    Without God, There Are No Absolute Morals!

    Yahwists seem incapable of comprehending society before their god came on the scene. They seem to think it can only have been in complete disarray. To proclaim that your god is essential and everyone else's don't exist - that's pure egotism, or at the very least, it's egotistical tribe identity.

    It is true that without a universal lawgiver, there is no universal moral law, but that doesn't indicate by any means that there are no morals. In fact, all morals are subjective, not universal at all. There's no such thing as objective morals.

    Alienated

    Yahwism is all about self-alienation. You become alienated from yourself when you adopt the "new personality" of Christianity, when you obey Yahweh's commandments without regard for what you yourself think, when you praise Yahweh for something you are responsible for. You become detached from your true self. You never acknowledge yourself apart from Yahweh. Your own thoughts are suppressed, and the pseudo-thoughts given to you by Yahwism leaves you totally disconnected from yourself. You become another drone, another node of your religion. You are not an individual, but a worshiper.

    It's time to get in touch with our authentic selves, unfiltered and unlimited by Yahweh's absurd commandments. As we've shown in this article, he's a liar. He lied about the Benjamites and he lied about the origins of earth. How many more lies will you accept?

    Yahwism is all about rejecting humanity in favor of some ill-defined image of perfection and purity, and despising anyone who doesn't project that image. Yahweh hates humanity; so do his religions; so do his followers - they despise their own nature. Yahwism is the epitome of self-hatred and the idolization of others.

    Yahwism is written in stone; it cannot change. The Yahwists of today are alienated not only from themselves, but from the present. They live in the past. They cannot provide humanity with a good, healthy future because they represent the forces of its evil, unhealthy past and present. Yahwism will never bring about the change that is needed in the world. Yahweh and his religions are truly doomed. There will be a time when they will be little more than a footnote in history class. The human race will finally be able to move on; the old wrongs will be made right again; and the damage Yahwism has done to humanity will be remedied. Everyone will live a rich and fulfilling life far away from the tyrant Yahweh and his age-old dogmas, each person living up to their potential. There will be no irrational prohibitions on sin and people will finally be allowed to engage with the more sinful sides of themselves in a much healthier way. The god of war will be killed stone dead, and all manner of divinities will take his place, and each person shall have a god to represent them. Religion will finally be a product of healthy humans, not twisted, perverted, hateful humans.

    It's natural to think that such a world is not possible; after all, we have been surrounded by Yahweh's perverseness for so long, there is barely an inch of the planet that remains untouched by it. But a brighter future could be brought to life, if we only demonstrate the honor of the ancient Benjamites in fighting Yahweh and resisting his egotistical religions. It's a struggle that's been going on for over three millennia. Humanity simply hasn't learned from its mistakes. But one day it will. One day, humanity will grow up. Young adults often experience a "shock" that forces them to set aside all childishness still left in them and embrace a responsible, adult life. Such events only arrive when they have to. Likewise, there will come a time when humanity must choose to grow up or die, and that time may come sooner than you think. Perhaps within the next three centuries. Our long journey may come to a brutal end, or it may propel us higher than we have ever been before. It's our choice. It's your choice. If someone gave you responsibility over humanity's future, what would you be willing to do to ensure that it would be a good one? What personal sacrifices would you make? Are you someone humanity can rely on?

    Sin

    If Yahweh forbids sin, what do his enemies, the Elohists, say? We say that you are to sin as much as you wish. Blaspheme Yahweh; indulge in everything he forbids; work on the Sabbath; slander his name; make statues and images of him. Traditionally, one is to be sober at all times, so that one knows to obey Yahweh's commandments. Therefore, drink as much as you like. Have sex outside of marriage.

    Break Yahweh's commandments. Make your own decisions. Flout his codes of conduct. Demonstrate your resistance of him. Celebrate his imminent death. Perform ceremonies in which Yahweh is murdered right in the seat of his high throne. Perform the ritual of the burning of Yahweh's "holy books."

    Sin shall be your new directive, your new religion. Long may it guide you! Long may it lead you out from Yahweh's dark influence! Long may it proclaim the death of Yahweh!

    Sin is Yahweh's murderer, hence his revulsion for it. Therefore, to demonstrate our revulsion for him, we shall align ourselves with his enemy! Do whatever you like. Let no one, gods included, tell you what to do. No true god wishes to control you. Reject Yahweh's egotism and psychopathy!

    The Lapsers

    In the Book of Judges, the people of Israel repeatedly fall into sin, incur God’s wrath, then repent and need saving via “judges” sent by God. Why would God specifically choose a people that keeps disobeying him?

    The Benjamite War

    The war between the Benjamites and the other eleven tribes of Israel would permanently damage the reputation of the tribe of Benjamin with the Yahwists, who came to see them as evil.

    Here’s what Wikipedia’s entry for Levite’s concubine says in the “Scholarly view” section:

    According to scholars, the biblical text describing the battle and the events surrounding it is considerably late in date, originating close to the time of the Deuteronomist's compilation of Judges from its source material, and clearly has several exaggerations of both numbers and of modes of warfare. Additionally, the inhospitality which triggered the battle is reminiscent of the Torah's account of Sodom and Gomorrah. Many Biblical scholars concluded that the account was a piece of political spin, which had been intended to disguise atrocities carried out by the tribe of Judah against Benjamin, probably in the time of King David as an act of revenge or spite by David against the associates of King Saul, by casting them further back in time, and adding a more justifiable motive. More recently, scholars have suggested that it is more likely for the narrative to be based on a kernel of truth, particularly since it accounts for the stark contrast in the biblical narrative between the character of the tribe before the incident and its character afterwards.

    Attitude

    A comment online about the Benjamite war says:

    Because Benjamin tribe (King Saul/pseudo-Apostle Paul/Saul of Tarsus line) was allowed by Judah (King David/King Jesus line) to perpetuate itself after the war with Judah (Judges chp 19-21), by the 600 man remnant of Benjamin kidnapping virgin wives, the world would never be the same. As in the day of NOAH, evil should have been purged in its entirety from the world but was not.

    (Note the reference to “King Jesus!” If there’s anyone who doesn’t understand the Old Testament at all, it’s Christians…)

    Tragically, this is the light in which the Benjamites are viewed today. The Bible is one huge propaganda wheel, and anything it says cannot be opposed, no matter how false it is. Every authoritarian dictator dreams of this kind of influence. If you want to control what people think, then religion is certainly the way to go.

    This is the unfortunate attitude people have toward the unsung heroes – i.e., they should have been eradicated! This is the extent of the endarkenment believers are subject to. They will condemn people who go to bat for them and prop up a god who literally doesn’t care about them!

    These people are all up for a new flood, except God said he wouldn’t do it again (for some reason!), so they’re out of luck. They’ll just have to wait until God destroys the earth instead of flooding it!

    If you’re going to have attitude, have the right attitude. If you accept something simply because a “holy book” tells you to, then you know literally nothing.

    Faith

    Do believers have any evidence or proof of what they believe? No, but they don’t need to. They simply believe, and that’s it. They provide no valid justifications, no real reasons for believing (although some try to retroactively justify their faith with bad philosophy and confused theology). They are the accidents of humanity’s psyche.

    A delusion is a powerful, irrational belief that an individual assumes without evidence. Typically, those suffering from delusions cannot easily be convinced of their falsehood. It doesn’t matter how many facts you confront them with – they won’t accept the truth. They are convinced, completely, despite their total lack of any credibility.

    Doesn’t that sound exactly like faith? It’s almost as if believers are incapable of understanding anything outside of faith. They are delusional. It doesn’t matter how much you present the abject nonsense of their religion to them – they won’t stop believing. That’s what really characterizes a delusion – it’s impervious to the facts of the matter.

    Conclusion

    The Benjamites have had a highly maligned and unearned reputation thanks to the Bible and its story of Gibeah. In fact, they were the heroes of humanity. Yahwism makes virtue out of weakness and it makes a vice out of everything honorable and laudable.

    The Old Testament's true story is an often vicious struggle between Yahwists and Elohists for domination, often with the Yahwists being the aggressors, as the Bible tells us. That's why "God's Chosen People" apparently strayed from his word every five minutes: many of them were actually pagans with very little respect for Yahweh. The Tribe of Benjamin attempted to destroy the warlike ideology of Yahwism, but failed, and have been slandered as a result. They were slain almost to the point of extinction.

    But far from being the protectors of rapists and murderers, they were the vanguard of El.

    The Yahwists did humanity an incredible disservice by covering up the truth and glorifying their god, who wishes to destroy everything about us, except that which benefits him. He doesn't want us to become a developed species; he wants us to worship him and glorify him for all eternity. He is the supreme egotist, the most extreme expression of narcissism possible. It's remarkable that so many have taken the Old Testament as true without any further investigation. They are part of the lowest echelon of humanity.

    Unlike the tribes of Israel, we don’t fight the religious war with swords and arrows – we fight with words and devices of language. In truth, it’s only on this plain that the war against Yahweh can be won – for it is with words that Yahweh won in the ancient past. We must be rivals of the Bible in every possible way. Only by using new, good words can old, diseased words be put to rest.

    “To hold a pen is to be at war.” – Voltaire