War Scrolls

The War Scrolls are, in the Milhamah franchise, the Holy Tongue Society's most prized possession. They are the remnants from the Dead Sea Scrolls, prophesying the apocalyptic battles against Beli Ya’al. They prescribe battle tactics that Ḥeleq should use if they wish to succeed.

War Scrolls in Milhamah comic

Em Qeriah is the guardian of the War Scrolls in the Arqah Archives.

The real-life War Scrolls

The War Scrolls are made up of several documents. The most most complete is the Wars of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness, known as 1QM, with “M” standing for “Milḥamah.” The scrolls’ contents may be summarized below:

  1. Belial, the Kittim and leaders from various nations plan to attack Israel as the “Sons of Darkness.” Even a group of Israelite traitors called the Violators of the Covenant try to assist them. But the Sons of Light are destined to prevail after seven “lots” of battles. The angels help.
  2. The “war of divisions” (milḥamat ha-maḥalqot) is explained, including the Sons of Light’s leaders, worship and conscripts.
  3. The Sons of Light prepare special inscribed trumpets for attacking and withdrawing.
  4. The congregation also has special banners (otot), as do the priests. Different stages of war get different banners, as well as their lengths.
  5. Infantry
  6. Cavalry
  7. ???
  8. Prayers

The 1QM document is divided into 19 columns:

  • Column 1: Declaring war against Kittim
  • Column 2: Temple worship and the 40-year war
  • Column 3: Trumpets and Standards
  • Column 4: More standards
  • Column 5: Front formations and weapons
  • Column 6: Infantry and cavalry attack tactics, fighter ages
  • Column 7: More fighter ages, the camp, priests and Levites
  • Column 8 and 9: More priests and Levites
  • Columns 10-12: Battle liturgy
  • Column 13: Victory prayer
  • Column 14: Thanksgiving liturgy
  • Columns 15-19: War against Kittim

In addition, there are smaller documents known as the Serekh Milḥamah (1QM, 4Q492, 4Q494, 4Q495) and the Sefer Milḥamah (4Q285, 11Q14). Other possible documents include 4Q491, 4Q493, 4Q496, 4Q497 and 4Q471.

Factoids

The villians

Beli Ya’al

Sons of darkness/army of Satan:

  • Edom
  • Moab
  • Ammon
  • The East
  • Peleshet
  • Kittim of Asshur (and King of the Kittim)
  • Violators of the Covenant
  • Mitzrayim
  • Sons of Yafet
  • Asshur

Extended war villains

  • Aram-Naarayim
  • Lud
  • Aram
  • Uz
  • Hul
  • Togar
  • Mesha
  • Beyond the Euphrates
  • Arphakshad
  • Asshur
  • Persia
  • The East as far as the Great Desert
  • Elam
  • Yishmael
  • Qeturah
  • am
  • Yafet

From other Dead Sea Scrolls:

Spouter of Lies
Wicked Priest
Lovers of Smooth Things

Places

  • Desert of the Peoples
  • Desert of Yerushalayim
  • Yerushalayim

The standards

Great Standard before the people: The People of God
Three tribe standards: ?
Tribe standard:
Banner of God
Standard of 10,000: ?
Standard of 1,000: ?
Standard of 100: ?
Standard of Merari: The Votive-Offering of God
Standard of 1,000: God’s wrath is kindled against Satan and his company’s men, leaving no remnant
Standard of 100: From God comes the Might of War against all sinful flesh
Standard of 50: God’s power ends the ungodly’s stand
Standard of 10: Praised be God on the 10-stringed harp
Marching out to battle: Truth of God, Justice of God, Glory of God, Judgement of God
Approach for battle: Right Hand of God, Appointed Time of God, Tumult of God, Slain of God
Return from battle: Honour of God, Majesty of God, Splendour of God, Glory of God

 

Set out for battle:
first standard: Congregation of God 
second standard: Camps of God 
third standard: Tribes of God
fourth standard: Clans of God
fifth standard: Divisions of God
sixth standard: Assembly of God
seventh standard: The Called of God
eighth standard: Hosts of God

 

approach for battle: War of God, Vengeance of God, Trial of God, Reward of God, Power of God, Retributions of God, Might of God, Extermination of God for all the Nations of Vanity

Return from battle: Salvation of God, Victory of God, Help of God, Support of God, Joy of God, Thanksgivings of God, Praise of God, Peace of God.

Length of standards:

  • Standard of the whole congregation: 14 cubits long
  • Standard of the three tribes: 13 cubits
  • Standard of the tribe: 12 cubits
  • Standard of 10,000: 11 cubits
  • Standard of 1,000: 10 cubits
  • Standard of 100: nine cubits
  • Standard of 50: eight cubits
  • Standard of 10: seven cubits

Formations

  • 1,000 men, seven lines deep, with bronze mirror shields (2 ½ x 1 ½ cubits) with gold, silver and jewels. The also have a 7-cubit spear with a ½ cubit ringed gold, silver, bronze and jeweled socket (embossed with ears of corn) and white iron spike with gold corn ears. They also have a 1 ½ cubit mirror iron sword with golf embossed corn ears and a horn hilt with gold, silver and jewels.
  • Three divisions of foot-soldiers shall advance to hurl javelins seven times:
    • First division’s seven war javelins: The Power of God’s shining javelin
    • Second division darts: The Wrath of God’s bloody spikes fell the slain
    • Third division javelins: The Judgment of God’s flaming blade devours the wicked.
  • Two foot soldier divisions of foot-soldiers shall advance:
    • First division: spear and shield
    • Second division: shield and sword, God’s judgment fells the slain and His power bends the enemy formation and pays the vain nations’ reward for wickedness.
  • Seven troops of horsemen, 700 on right flank and 700 on left flank
    • 200 horsemen shall advance with 1,000 foot soldiers. Altogether there shall be 4,600 men and 1,000 cavalrymen with army formations (50 to each). The horsemen and army cavalry will total 6,000 (500 to each tribe).
    • War stallions are swift, sensitive and used to sound, wind and sight. Horsemen wear breastplates, helmets, greaves, bucklers and 8-cubit spears. Foot-soldier horsemen have bows, arrows and javelins

Ages

Skilled horsemen: 30-45
Army horsemen: 40-50
Army men: 40-50
Camp inspectors: 50-60
Officers: 40-50
Despoilers of dead, loot plunderers, land cleansers, baggage keepers, provision furnishers: 25-30 

Camp rules

No boy or woman or lame, bling, crippled, blemished or bodily impure in camps, nor sexually impure, for angels will be with them. Latrine in 2,000-cubit space between camps prevents sight of nudity or indecency.

Trumpet uses

  • Summoning the Congregation
  • Summoning nobles
  • Summoning levies
  • Summoning renowned men
  • Summoning camps and directing journeys
  • Muster: Deployment
  • Alarm (Initiating Battle)
  • Ambush
  • Pursuit: Movement
  • Withdrawal/Return
  • Skirmishers/foot soldiers?
  • Battle arrays?

Priestly tactics

When the battle formations face the enemy, seven Aaronic priests shall go between the formations wearing battle clothes of white flax vestments, linen tunic and breeches, mitred turbans and flax girdles with blue, scarlet and purple.

The first priest will strengthen the warriors, and the other six will hold trumpets for summons, reminder, alarm/massacre, pursuit and withdrawal. Seven Levites will go with them with shofars, with three Levite officers walking ahead.

Two summoning trumpets: foot soldiers advance — 50 from one gate, and 50 from the other — along with Levite officers. Then two (more) foot soldier divisions will go forth. 

Trumpets will tell slingers to cast seven times before they go back to the flank when the withdrawal trumpets sound.

The priests will blow the summoning trumpets (sustained?) and three foot soldier divisions will go forth with horsemen flanking them. Then the priests will blow (softly?) the battle array trumpets to stand in three arrays. Then the priests will blow to signal an advance toward the enemy bearing weapons. Then the priests will blow the six massacre trumpets (staccato and shrill) while the Levites blow an alarm to terrorize the foe as javelins assault them. After seven times of this, the priests will blow the withdrawal trumpets a long, soft but shrill blast.  

The High Priest with the priests, Levites and army elders shall bless God and his works and curse Beli Ya’aland his spirits (angels of destruction).

When the army finishes slaying and returns to camp, they sing the Psalm of Return. In the morning, they wash their clothes and cleanse themselves in the wicked’s blood. Then they return to their formations and bless God. 

There is a time of distress for Israel, but they shall be delivered while the wicked nations are destroyed. The battle-ready math and pitch camp before Kittim’s king and Beli Ya’al’s army on the Day of Revenge by God’s Sword.

After, the high priest, the priests, Levite and army will pray the Prayer in Time of War plus hymns. A priest also gives a speech to encourage the fighters. 

Then the priests blow the reminder trumpets, and the soldiers will go forth. Then the priests give the Battle Array signal, and then every man is in place. The priests blow an advance signal, and then the fighters grab weapons when in throwing distance of the enemy.

For more information

Sefer Yetzer Ra’

In the “Milhamah” universe, the Sefer Yetzer Ra’ (Book of Evil Inclination) is a corrupted revision of writings about the nature of the 22 Otiyot and how to combine and scramble them. The Bavel Macrostructure has these cryptic writings in its possession, and they serve as its conquest strategy for defeating the ‘Ivrit Revival Movement.

Bavel plans to “make a name for ourselves” by using the Yetzer Ra’ to create its propaganda. They interpret ways to twist Ha-Shem’s name to suit its purposes, control the Zodiac figures, invade through 231 gates, build the Migdal and otherwise censor and scramble the world’s languages into nonsense.

The Holy Tongue Society rejects large portions of the Sefer Yetzer Ra’ as corrupt and a gateway to Bavel’s proscribed magic, which abuses the Otiyot and steers people into confusion and lies.

In real life

The Sefer Yetzer Ra’ is largely based on the Sefer Yetzirah, a cryptic book about the Hebrew letters that has been interpreted in various ways, from linguistic to mystical.

Historically, Hebrew grammarian Dunash ibn Tamim believed that the real-life Sefer Yetzirah became corrupted over time, adding that “we have already established that there could be in this book other passages that Abraham the patriarch [never said] coming from the comments in Hebrew, to which ignorant people have added to the end, and the verity was lost meanwhile.”*

* Marla Segol, “Word and Image in Medieval Kabbalah”