GALLEY: Abraham’s twin grandsons, Jacob and Esau, were bitter enemies. Jacob ‘cheated’ his older brother, Esau, out of his birthright. As a result, Jacob’s descendants, the Judeans became God’s Chosen People and Esau’s descendants, the Idumeans became the peope that God’s hated and despised. God’s prophets, including Isaiah and Ezekiel, told the Judeans that it was permissible for them to rob and even kill Idumeans. For this reason, the Romans made that Idumean ‘dog’, Herod and his heirs, kings of Israel. Inexplicably, however, Josephus relates in his Jewish Wars that the insurrectionists against Rome called upon “the Idumeans” for support in order to prevent the Judean sect of Sadducees from turning Jerusalem over to the Romans. In addressing this enigma, The Idumean Covenant becomes a locomotive taking the intelligent reader on a historical adventure of cynical plots, unconventional alliances and impossible loves pitting the most powerful men of the Roman Empire against each other resulting in a dramatic transformation of the existing world order. Moreover, The Idumean Covenant establishes the missing link between the Temple of Jerusalem and the Priory of Scion, between the Temple Guards and the Order of Templars.
A leather pouch filled with scrolls is passed to a courier for Rome’s Christian community. The community’s bishop instructs the courier to deliver the scrolls to an Idumean in Alexandria. However, two wealthy Judeans bribe the courier to turn the scrolls over to them in return for a large pouch of gold.
ROBBAN, a household slave of the House of Mattathias, runs away accompanied by his good friend and fellow slave, LUPO. Unlike ROBBAN, LUPO does not live in the house, but in the fields where he shepherds sheep and goats. ROBBAN runs away because he is in love with AILIJAH, a slave girl. AILIJAH believes that the scion of the house, JOSEPHUS BEN MATTATHIAS, will marry her, if she allows him to have her.
ROBBAN and LUPO join the Judean army being raised and trained by Jewish nationalists to forcibly eject the Romans out of Israel. When the Romans demand that Jewish bandits raiding caravans on the Great Silk Trade route be turned over for punishment, an all out insurrection erupts. In its effort to subdue the insurrection, a Roman legion from Syria crushes Jewish opposition and demolishes all of lower Jerusalem. But NERO calls off the attack and orders his legionnaires to withdraw. This gives the Jewish insurrectionist the opportunity to annihilate the Romans. Less than a quarter of the legionnaires who invade Palestine, survive. ROBBAN and LUPO lead sicarii units against the Romans. In Jerusalem, a nationalist government of zealots under the command of the ELEAZAR, Captain of the Temple Guard, takes over the Temple and ousts the aristocratic ruling party, pitching the high priest to his death from the Temple heights.
ELEAZAR appoints JOSEPHUS governor of Galilee. JOSEPHUS raises an army of 60,000 men and directs them to attack HEROD AGRIPPA’s palace in Tiberias. NERO appoints VESPASIAN and his son, TITUS, to subdue the Jewish insurrection. VESPASIAN’s invasion of Galilee traps JOSEPHUS, AILIJAH, his mistress, as well as ROBBAN and LUPO in the walled fortress of Jotopata. JOSEPHUS surrenders to VESPASIAN, AILIJAH is captured and ROBBAN and LUPO escape.
ROBBAN and LUPO return to Masada where they are recruited to train SIMON BAR GORIAS army of 20,000 Jews. SIMON’S army attacks towns and villages throughout Idumea, slaughtering the inhabitants and looting their possessions. SIMON considers himself a devote Jew, holding to SHAMMAI’S teachings that the Law not only permits Judeans to steal from Idumeans, it permits their murder as well. As they prepare to lead SIMON’S army against Hebron, ROBBAN and LUPO meet up with AILIJAH. She has been freed from captivity only to become VESPASIAN’S mistress. VESPASIAN sends AILIJAH to find ROBBAN and LUPO. The Roman wants SIMON to invade Jerusalem. Though SIMON refuses, JOSEPHUS instructs AILIJAH to remain with ROBBAN until he convinces SIMON to invade.
JOSEPHUS arranges for his mentor YOCHANAN BEN ZAKKI to meet with VESPASIAN. The rabbi and Roman agree to a covenant that establishes a Sanhedrin for the conduct of Jewish affairs at the seacoast village of Jabne in return for a formal surrender of the Jewish government to Rome. This secret covenant will take effect only after VESPASIAN destroys Jerusalem. JOSEPHUS has the ‘Idumean’ Legion, a body of Roman legionnaires disguised as Idumeans, to kidnap SIMON’S wives. When ROBBAN and LUPO tells SIMON that ELEAZAR’s zealots did it, SIMON invades Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is in turmoil. The zealots control the Temple; bandits from all over Judea control the lower city. But when Simon invades, the violence escalates beyond control. Caught between SIMON’S sicarii and ELEAZAR’S zealots, JOHN OF GISCHALA hurls his bandits against the Temple Guard on a Sabbath. In the midst of the fighting, ROBBAN and LUPO attempt to rescue SIMON’S wives, one of whom is pregnant.
Unable to escape Jerusalem, ROBBAN and LUPO as well as SIMON’S wife and child are rescued by the family and friends of the messiah known as the Christ. These Desposyni, as Christ’s followers are called, are protected by the Temple Guard, also calledTemplars. Sheltered from the violent disturbances destroying Jerusalem, the Desposyni take refuge in the villa of the JOSEPH AB AREMATHEA, the Sadduceean aristocrat, who held a seat in the Sanhedrin and owns a fleet of ships. JOSEPH and the other leaders of Christ’s following, including SIMON PETER, plan to escape from Jerusalem and Israel, altogether, taking with them gold from the Temple treasury. With the assistance of LUPO and ROBBAN, the plan is successful. However, during the Desposyni escape, the Romans capture LUPO and crucify him.
Twenty years pass and JOSEPHUS ascends to the pinnacle of power having served both the EMPEROR VESPASIAN and his son, the EMPEROR TITUS. Now JOSEPHUS serves as Imperial Counselor to the EMPEROR DOMITIAN, VESPASIAN’S youngest son. However, the Imperial Scribe, EPAPHRODITUS, a wily political veteran, intends to remove JOSEPHUS from this position, permanently. JOSEPHUS appoints AILIJAH steward of his villa, vineyards and farmlands in Judea. ROBBAN becomes a successful vintner and, although blind, LUPO prospers as a successful wine merchant. The Imperial Scribe uses the Empress DOMITIA LONGINA to place JOSEPHUS at the mercy of those Templars and Sicarii who JOSEPHUS betrayed during the Jewish insurrection. Even though, LUPO owes his success and even his life to JOSEPHUS, LUPO has become a hero of the Templars and a leader in the plot to kill JOSEPHUS. The Empress DOMITIA LONGINA, DOMITIAN’s wife and JOSEPHUS are involved in a plot of their own. They intend to convert the empress’ lover to the Stoic/Judaic cult and put him on DOMITIAN’S throne.
The key to EPAPHRODITUS’ plan to eliminate his Jewish rival are the scrolls upon which JOSEPHUS has written his autobiography admitting that he had betrayed the insurrection and even claiming that he is really of Idumean descent. Knowing his life is at stake, JOSEPHUS sends AILIJAH and ROBBAN to intercept the scrolls that will give the Templars all the proof they need to put JOSEPHUS outside the Jewish law and beyond the protection of the Sanhedrin.
DOMITIA LONGINA is able to protect JOSEPHUS from EPAPHRODITUS, but it costs the life of her lover and his wife. In retaliation the empress causes DOMITIAN to be assassinated ending the brief reign of the Flavian dynasty as well as JOSEPHUS’ plan to take control of the Roman Empire.
In that long ago, Jahweh or Jehovah or Elohim, depending on whom you talk to, enters into a covenant with his chosen people. The terms of this covenant call for Jahweh-Jehovah-Elohim to entrust his people to the care of his priests.
To assist his priests with their sacred task, God sends messengers. Moses, one of God’s messengers, gives the chosen God’s covenant in five holy books, Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, and Leviticus. God commands Moses to build an Ark to keep God’s Law safe. The Ark of the Covenant is housed in a tabernacle that King David brings to Jerusalem. However, God considers David unworthy of building the permanent Temple for the Ark. He orders Solomon, David’s son, to build His Temple instead. Despite his reputation for great wisdom, Solomon commits a great blunder. This king of the Jews passes the responsibility for building God’s Temple to Hiram, King of Tyre. In a most terrible violation against God’s Law prohibiting the worship of “graven images,” Tyrian masons, using materials from outside Israel, build Solomon’s Temple in the image of a man!
Six hundred years later, when Josiah becomes king of the Jews, the chosen no longer enjoy a covenant with God. The priests have turned the Judean people away from Jahweh-Jehovah-Elohim to worship foreign gods. Within the precincts of Solomon’s Temple itself, priests conduct bloody sacrifices to Moloch, offering the blood of their own sons and daughters in diabolic rituals.
King Josiah wages a campaign to rid not only Jerusalem, but all of Israel of this abomination. By the eighteenth year of his rule, King Josiah purges Israel of all priests performing the rites of human sacrifice and drinking the blood of their victims. King Josiah then orders Solomon’s Temple purified, making it worthy of containing God’s covenant once more. But after the Temple’s purification, the priests confess to Josiah that the Ark of the Covenant is missing.
Unbeknownst to King Josiah, God tells his prophet Jeremiah that the chosen are unworthy of His covenant and directs him to take the Ark of the Covenant away from Jerusalem. Jeremiah hides the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and an altar of incense in an unidentified cave on Idumea’s Mount Seir and then seals up the cave’s entrance. To this day, the whereabouts of the Ark remain hidden.
Soon afterwards, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, marches his army into Jerusalem. Babylonian soldiers, aided by Idumeans, break up the Temple’s bronze pillars and take the ash containers, the scoops, the knives, the incense boats, and all the bronze furnishings used in worship. They take the censers and the sprinkling bowls and everything made of gold and silver. They burn down Solomon’s Temple and every other building in Jerusalem and march the Jews and their plunder back to Babylon. But Nebuchadnezzar does not take the Ark of the Covenant.
Once they have inherited God’s covenant, the Idumeans become his chosen people and the Hasmonaeans of Idumea reign as kings over the Jews. When the Jews return to Jerusalem after fifty years of Babylon captivity, they rebuild the Temple. Centuries later, King Herod, the Idumean, renovates the Temple in Jerusalem. Herod employs Jewish workmen and uses materials from Israel. Herod’s Temple symbolizes the Idumean Covenant and the bitter enmity between the Judean descendants of Jacob and the Idumean descendants of Esau continues in earnest