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The Gospel of Matthew states explicitly that Jesus was of royal blood -- a genuine king, the lineal descendant of Solomon and David.  If this is true, Jesus would have enjoyed a legitimate claim to the throne of a united Palestine.  He would have truly been, in the language of the inscription affixed to the cross, "King of the Jews".  He may in fact have engendered the opposition he did precisely by virtue of his role -- the role of a priest-king who might possibly unify his country and the Jewish people, thereby posing a serious threat to both Herod and Rome. *

Herod's "Massacre of the Innocents", would not have found a secure place in tradition, had he not been an extremely insecure ruler, hated by his enslaved subjects and sustained in power by Roman cohorts.  It is unlikely Herod would have been seriously threatened by rumors of a mystical or spiritual savior.  But he would have been worried by a very real, concrete, political threat -- the threat posed by a man who possessed a more legitimate claim to the throne than his own, and who could muster substantial popular support.           

To suggest that Jesus enjoyed such a claim is, of course, to challenge the popular image of the "poor carpenter from Nazareth".  (A concept which probably needs challenging!)  In the first place, there is considerable doubt as to whether the town of Nazareth even existed in Jesus' time.  It does not, for example, occur in any Roman maps, documents, or records.  It is not mentioned in the Talmud.  It is not mentioned, still less associated with Jesus, in any of the writings of Saint Paul -- which were, after all, composed before the Gospels.  It appears that Nazareth did not appear as a town until sometime after the Jewish revolt of A.D. 68-74 (the period which included the defense of Masada), and that Jesus' name became associated with Nazareth by virtue of a semantic confusion -- accidental or deliberate -- which characterizes much of the New Testament.  In fact, Jesus of Nazareth is very likely a corruption of “Jesus the Nazorean”.  This would imply that Jesus belonged to a Jewish sect, the Nazoreans (as opposed to the Essenes, Pharisees, and/or Saducees).  As to being a "poor carpenter", Jesus seems to have been well educated, possibly undergoing training for the rabbinate, and to have consorted frequently with wealthy and influential people as well as the poor -- Joseph of Arimathea, for instance, and Nicodemus. 

The wedding at Cana would seen to bear further witness to Jesus' (and Mary’s) status and social position(s).  In fact the wedding bears all the marks of an extravagant aristocratic union, a "high society" affair, attended by at least several hundred guests. It is entirely plausible that the wedding was a dynastic alliance of some kind, with political implications and repercussions, implying that the Magdalen was of comparable social station.           

The Holy City and capital of Judaea had originally been the property of the Tribe of Benjamin.  (See how it all ties in?)  When the Benjamites were decimated in their war with the other tribes of Israel, many of them went into exile -- but "certain of them remained".  One descendant of this remnant, for example, was Saint Paul, who in Romans II:1 states that he is a Benjamite.  And despite their conflict with the other tribes of Israel, the Tribe of Benjamin appears to have enjoyed some special status, among which it provided Israel with her first king -- Saul, anointed by the prophet Samuel -- and with Israel's first royal house.  But Saul was eventually deposed by David, of the Tribe of Judah.  And David not only deprived the Benjamites of their claim to the throne, by establishing his capital at Jerusalem, David deprived them of their rightful inheritance as well.           

According to all New Testament accounts, Jesus was of the line of David, and thus also a member of the Tribe of Judah.  In Benjamite eyes this might have rendered him, at least in some sense, a usurper.  Any such objection might have been surmounted, however, if he were married to a Benjamite woman!  Such a marriage would have constituted an important dynastic alliance and one filled with political consequence.  It would not only have provided Israel with a powerful priest-king, it would also have performed the symbolic function of returning Jerusalem to its original and rightful owners.  Thus it would have served to encourage popular unity and support and consolidate whatever claim to the throne Jesus might have possessed.             

In the New Testament there is no indication of the Magdalen's tribal affiliation.  In subsequent legends, however, she is said to have been of royal lineage.  And there are other traditions that state specifically that she was of the Tribe of Benjamin.  Recall, for example, that the Magdalen was from the city of Magdala, the "city of doves", where sacrificial doves were raised for the worship of the Goddess.  The Benjamites, the "sons of Belial", of course, had been worshipers of the Goddess, and their dispute with the other Tribes of Israel may have been, in large part, an Goddess versus God war.           

Thus Jesus would have been a priest-king of the line of David, who possessed a legitimate claim to the throne.  He would have consolidated his position by a symbolically important dynastic marriage to a member of the royal line of the Tribe of Benjamin.  Jesus would then have been in a position to unify his country, mobilize the populace behind him, drive out the Roman oppressors, depose their abject puppet, and restore the glory of the monarchy as it was under Solomon.  Such a man would indeed have been "King of the Jews".  Recall Pilate's questioning of Jesus:  "Art thou the King of the Jews?"  And Jesus's answer, "Thou sayest it."  (Mark 15:2)  While this answer may sound ambivalent, in the original Greek, the correct interpretation is "Thou hast spoken correctly."  The phrase is interpreted in the latter sense whenever it appears elsewhere in the Bible.  


Wedding at Cana        History 009

Forward to:

Roman Crucifixion

*This very abbreviated historical perspective is taken from numerous sources, including specifically, the excellent book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln [Dell Publishing, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, 1983].   


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