Here is the script and visual aids that accompany episode #3 of a Bee In Eden on the Storytellers Campfire radio network. Our Show Slogan is: “Anticipating our future by remembering our past.”
Audio file: Click to Play or Right-Click to download MP3 audio here. Or listen at StoryTellersCampfire.org.
Episode #3 – recorded August 31, 2016
The Murasu Family Part 1
Segment 1 (4 minutes)
Hello and welcome to the Bee in Eden Radio Show. This show is being broadcast as part of the Storytellers Campfire network. You can find their homepage along with archives of all of their shows at the web site StoryTellersCampfire.org. You can also find a link to my homepage blog from their web site. Just look for the show banner with the picture of the Queen Bee, and that’s me!
I am your host, the Queen Bee herself, SedonaDeb, coming to you from my humble beehive in the middle of Arizona. You can find my beehive on the internet by google searching the words “Sedona Deb Blog”. Or go directly to my web address of SedonaDeb.Wordpress.com.
I do post a blog for each of the episodes of this show. So you can always return later to the beehive and re-read the script, view the pictures, and hear the show again. Oh and do leave comments! If you have research material that can add to our topic, feel free to share at my blog page.
We spend time on this show connecting the dots between ancient history and today’s current events. I hope you will find my blog to be a valuable research tool.
When we last were buzzing along together, I promised to talk about a story I wrote almost exactly one year ago about a real family who lived during the Persian Empire about 500 years before Christ. So that is the topic of our show today, the Murasu Family who lived along the River Chebar in the city of Nippur, Babylonia during the days of King Nebuchadnezzar.
The story is a product of my own imagination but its premise is drawn from real history and real archaeological discoveries that were made 100 years ago. You might be wondering, What on earth does a family who lived 2500 years ago have to do with my life?
Well, if you are one of the billions of people whose daily routine has to touch money or credit at any point, it has everything to do with your life. Today there are world-shaking events going on right under our noses that are connected to those ancient business dealings as well. It is my feeling that this family and their business transactions mark the point in history when Banking & Finance left the ancient world and entered our modern world. I’ll explain why I say all of that as we get into our show.
Just google search the words “Silk Road” and you will see what I mean. The countries of central Asia, led by China and Russia, are right now embarking on a long term project, often referred to as the One Belt, One Road project, to resurrect the ancient overland trade routes that once connected China to all the major centers of commerce in the Mediterranean region.
Something that many people overlook is that the Silk Road of Marco Polo’s time grew out of a trade route that got established around the same time that this Murasu family lived. That road was called the Persian Royal Road. That road became an important vehicle for business at the time that the Persian empire conquered the Assyrian and Babylonian empires.
We’re going to take our first break here. Hold that picture in your mind. Imagine those old Agents of the Temple, those Traveling Merchants who lurk in the shadows of kings. As one old empire was making way for a new empire, those Money Magicians were busy launching new schemes to get rich and expand their power across the world. They did it back in Nebuchadnezzar’s day and they are still doing it now.
We’ll be back in just a couple of minutes.
Segment Two (8 min)
If you’ve ever seen movies about the explorer Marco Polo, you were watching a story about events that happened along the ancient Silk Road trade routes. If you remember, our Bee in Eden show #1 did mention the ancient caravan merchants and the important role they played as Agents of the Babylonian temples who were sent out to distant seaports, empowered by a giant temple-backed credit card, to obtain the vital supplies of gold and silver that they needed back home.
And that is a key point. These powerful Money Magicians had figured out sneaky ways of using math to promote the idea of credit as a substitute for real money. With time, these men used their financial power to build an illusion of wealth in a major city, even though that wealth was really sitting on a shaky foundation of debt. Eventually the debt marker came due. The neighboring creditors got tired of waiting for payment and would just walk in and conquer the city.
That same thing pretty much happened to the ancient Assyrian empire. They had the reputation of being a massively well-equipped military force. But hey, those war chariots and weapons don’t come cheap. Eventually the neighboring people led by Nebuchadnezzar muscled their way into the Assyrian’s business. The smaller nations who were paying protection money to Assyria then came under the influence of the new gang in town, the Babylonians.
One of those “smaller nations” was the Kingdom of Judah. The Bible has much to say about how the good times of King Solomon’s day had deteriorated badly as the people allowed themselves to fall under the spell of of their neighbors’ temples and religious practices. In fact, the more these Judeans abandoned their debt-free covenant with God, the worse the economic conditions in their land became.
And I do refer to the old Jewish covenant as a “debt-free” system of religion.I know there are some in the audience who are already thinking, “Wait, I thought this was a show about money and debt … why are we suddenly talking about religion?”
The answer to that is because, in ancient times, the people’s access to credit and money-lending was THROUGH THE TEMPLES. We laid this out in our first two episodes which I wholeheartedly encourage you to go back and review at the Sedona Deb Blog. (Show 01 linked here).
This is a key point for which I have had much difficulty in finding definitive history books that will come out and definitely make this statement. If you have seen a credible book that does make the statement, please leave a comment for me at this show’s blog page. But from what I can piece together, this is why the common people of Israel, and people of all nations, fell so easily into the sin of idol worship:
Making offerings to idols at particular temples was part of the daily routine of money-lending and credit issuance in ancient times. That is to say, if you needed a credit card, the only place to get it was through the Temples. If you sold your soul, so to speak, to this or that particular idol, then the Temple to whom that idol belonged would reciprocate by giving you the crop seed or whatever you needed to exist.
What I’m saying is that there were a variety of gods and systems of idol worship. People chose some idol with which to ally themselves in much the same way that people choose a bank or a credit card application today.
It is unfortunate that the people of Israel allowed themselves to fall into dependence on those foreign creditors, whoops, I mean idols. They failed to appreciate something very precious about the covenant that Moses had mediated between them and God. The subject of debt slavery is given attention in the strongest possible terms in that covenant. There was a unique provision called the Jubilee (or, Shmita. See Wikipedia here.) It wasn’t just a provision; it was a LAW. This law allowed for a constant cycle of debt forgiveness every 7 years. The people enjoyed complete restoration of their mortgaged land every 50 years.
If Israel had just kept observing the Jubilee law, they would have seen the benefit of living in a nation that never ever would fall under the spell of foreign debt slavery. In fact, they would never suffer long-term internal debt. That freedom would keep them from ever having to get tangled up in the debt schemes of foreign temples.
But alas! the people allowed their beautiful Temple of Jerusalem to become just another site of idol worship of foreign gods. The foreign kings imposed heavy taxes. Within their nation, widows and orphans were being defrauded left and right. Lawlessness reigned supreme.
Eventually King Nebuchadnezzar invaded the land of Judah and did a very clever thing. He carried away the king of Judah and the other royal family members whose job was to manage the government of Judea. This left the nation of Judea in a power vacuum that only this king of Babylon could fulfill.
That is where my fictional story about the Murasu family business opens up. We’re going to take a quick break here before we dive into the narrative. But to set the scene, imagine a warm summer desert night. It is near the end of August, just as it is for us today. You are sitting on the rooftop patio of your home in this bustling city of Nippur. The evening stars are just beginning to twinkle as the sun has finished setting. The river toads are croaking in the Chebar Canal. Palm trees are swaying the breeze. You are enjoying a glass of Shirazi wine with some choice dates and cheeses along with our two characters, Grandfather Herschel Murasu and his young adult grandson, Asher, who is eager to learn the family business.
And we’ll be right back.
Segment 3 (12 minutes)
Welcome back. Feel free to sit and imagine your scene on this rooftop patio as a I paraphrase my story. The full story will be linked at today’s show page for the Bee in Edent radio show at my homepage of Sedona Deb Blog. I’d like to give credit to the professor of Oriental Studies upon whose research I created my fictional tale. He is Professor Matthew W. Stolper. His book is :
ENTREPRENEURS AND EMPIRE – The Murasu Archive, the Murasu Firm, and Persian Rule in Babylonia. (PDF linked here.)
Our story begins.
(You can read Part One of this story here within this blog.)
We will pick up Part Two of our Murasu story on the next show.
Many thanks to the audience and the sponsors! Buzzing back to the hive now until our next venture.
The video below is a 3-hour seminar of six lectures about the period of history when the Jews were captive in Babylon. The information that proves that the Murasu Family came from Judah is within the first hour of this video. That detail is omitted in the above book written by Professor Stolper.