It is not surprising that disturbances rose in Judea. Helix, a trusted member of Hyrcanus' court, was left behind in Jerusalem when Hyrcanus was away, with an army, intending that he would defend Jerusalem should anyone threaten it. Unfortunately, Helix had other ideas, and decided that the time was ripe to seize power for himself. He took his army and marched against Phasael. Herod was on his way to visit Fabius, a new governor in Damascus, when he heard about it. Naturally he intended to turn back and go to his brother's aid, but he fell ill. Phasael, however, did quite well on his own, won the battle against Helix, and shut him up in a prison tower. The whole affair was temporary, since a truce was made between Helix and Phasael, and he let him out of prison. However, Phasael was most bitter against Hyrcanus, who was not only supportive of Helix, but allowed Malichus' brother to guard several fortresses, including Masada, which was considered the strongest of them all. Phasael felt that he could not trust Hyrcanus, and for good reason. So he contacted Herod, and as soon as Herod healed from his illness, he came to Judea and between the two of them they removed Malichus' brother's army from all the fortresses.
Names meant a lot in the ancient world. I have mentioned this subje before, but only as a footnote, and I think it is important enough to present it as a regular post. A person’s name and genealogy were of the utmost importance. The name represented the individual's spiritual identity, almost the alter ego of the person, and the genealogy was essential to prove his or her identity when it came to matters of property, inheritance, and other practical matters. These genealogical lists were kept for generations. When temporarily interrupted when a large number of people were exiled to Babylon, it caused turmoil similar to serious identity theft these days. They were carefully reconstructed and maintained. Since in those days surnames did not exist, an additional precaution was necessary and people were identified by their father’s name. Deborah bat Ehud means Deborah, daughter of Ehud. Aaron ben Menahem means Aaron, son of Menahem. The level of importance of names extended to the name of God – with a strong taboo
on pronouncing it. (See the post Yahweh, http://ililarbel.weebly.com/1/post/2011/09/yahweh.html)
I dislike the concept of Karma. Often it is the easy way out when a moral dilemma is presented. When a person commits a crime, be it against humanity or against an individual, often he or she manages to escape punishment. This is bad in itself, but I feel that people add insult to injury when they say, “Never mind that he/she escaped. Karma will get all criminals in the end.” To me, this is cheapening the trauma of the victims, trivializing their suffering.
I am not interested in punishment in another life. First of all, I am not at all persuaded that reincarnation exists. Perhaps it does, and then again, perhaps it doesn’t; there is no proof either way. Most of the believers in Karma don’t even consider such ambiguity with proper seriousness, and it becomes a catch word, a cliché. But supposing Karma does exist, what of it? I am not really interested in the punishment of someone who is no longer the criminal, who has clothed his soul in a totally innocent body.