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Introduction


More than three thousand years ago, according to the Bible, an event happened that formed the basis of western civilization. Here’s how the King James translation of the Hebrew Bible describes it

And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.

And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly.

And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice. And the LORD came down upon mount Sinai, on the top of the mount: and the LORD called Moses up to the top of the mount; and Moses went up. And the LORD said unto Moses, Go down, charge the people, lest they break through unto the LORD to gaze, and many of them perish. And let the priests also, which come near to the LORD, sanctify themselves, lest the LORD break forth upon them. And Moses said unto the LORD, The people cannot come up to mount Sinai: for thou chargedst us, saying, Set bounds about the mount, and sanctify it. And the LORD said unto him, Away, get thee down, and thou shalt come up, thou, and Aaron with thee: but let not the priests and the people break through to come up unto the LORD, lest he break forth upon them. So Moses went down unto the people, and spake unto them.

What follows is the Ten Commandments.

This scene is the most dramatic story in the Bible and possibly the most dramatic and important story ever written.  On that fateful day, the Judeo/Christian/Moslem religion was born.

But sadly, historians, even those using the most advanced research techniques have not been able to find any conclusive evidence that this event actually occurred. We can only guess at the location of Mount Sinai, the route that the Hebrews took from the Sea of Reeds, the battles that they fought with Amalek and others. Sadly, although the Egyptians were very meticulous in preserving other historical records, there is no record that the Hebrews were ever slaves in Egypt.

Even the name Hebrews is vague in its origins. In the original Hebrew language the name is Ivri, the plural being Ivrim which means the people from over there, possibly, “The people from the other side of the Jordan”.

Although the location of the grave of Rachel has been identified by religious Jews, no skeletal remains have been found and there is no DNA evidence that verifies even the existence of Rachel or Abraham or Isaac or Jacob.

Today, with the popular acceptance of the theory of evolution, all but the most rigid creationists look upon the story of Adam and Eve as an allegory. And then there’s the story of Noah and the flood. The Bible tells us that the earth was destroyed but there is no evidence of there ever having been a flood of such magnitude anywhere on earth.

There is not one thing in the ancient Bible that can be authenticated through objective scientific means. There is no reliable evidence, either physical or historical to confirm that any of the events that are reported in the first books of the Bible ever actually happened. None of the Biblical stories on which the Judeo-Christian religions are based have been authenticated by any historically acceptable means.

So, if there is no historical trail; no undeniable evidence; if there’s no rational basis for the Judeo/Christian/Moslem religions then why is half the world’s population committed to it?

In the following chapters I will demonstrate that the validity of the stories is not important. The question of factual evidence is not relevant. The Bible is not a historical document. It is an allegory – a marketing tool that is so well crafted that we dare not apply the test of credibility. In the world of faith, factual reliability just doesn’t matter.

We believe in the existence of The Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We study the etymology of their every word and many of the basic tenets of our western religions are based on the events and actions and customs of that time.

The Bible is a book, for which dozens of wars have been fought, thousands, perhaps millions of people have been tortured or killed, nations have risen and fallen, all in the name of God and the Holy Book in which He first appears.

Nowhere is the power of marketing more effective than in the Bible. It does not matter if the events depicted in the Bible ever happened or not. What does matter is that we believe in them. We have suspended our powers of disbelief, and we accept the content of the Bible as if it were factual. This is called faith; and faith, as we well know, is not based on rational deductive reasoning but rather on rationalization.

In a meticulous manner, the Bible presents to us a story that is so compelling that it has been translated into every written language. Over one hundred million Bibles are sold every year. For more than four thousand years this story continues to have the same impact that it had with our ancestors.

What is it about the Bible that gives it this longevity and popularity? What is it that makes the Bible the most indispensable family possession? Why, in this time of instant communication and sensory overload, is the Bible still the centerpiece of our lives?

The answer is marketing. The Bible was so ingeniously crafted that every element moves the story toward its spectacular climax and even the most seemingly insignificant narrative plays a role in assuring the success of the marketing effort. We will examine the language and sources of the material and how each segment, no matter its source, no matter its authenticity, has been molded to join together to create the most powerful marketing document ever conceived.

In the following chapters we will explore the way the Bible has been crafted, and how perfectly the story evolves. We will measure the Bible against the instructions of today’s leading marking experts; and in the end we will affirm that the Bible is indeed the greatest and most effective marketing tool ever produced.

8

Making Choices

 
With the introduction of Jacob the Bible moves from natural events to human interaction. Up until now we have seen the power of God when it relates to the natural world. We saw God create a world out of nothingness, we saw God destroy that world and then rebuild it, and we saw God create the birth of a child where no such birth was possible, and we saw God demand the sacrifice of that same child. Lest we the listeners think that the Bible story is only about natural and supernatural phenomena, we are now introduced to Jacob and his sons and their litany of immorality and crimes against humanity and each other.

We have been convinced that the governor/God will take care of the physical world. We have also been led to believe that the governor/God can work miracles that affect such natural phenomena as childbirth and agriculture. But when it comes to dealing with our neighbors we still might think, like the discredited hunters, that it’s up to us to do whatever we need to do to survive. So now is the time for the storyteller/priest to instruct the new community on proper morality and interpersonal relationships. And the vehicle for that instruction is Jacob, who through trickery has gotten his father’s primary blessing.

Jacob is now told by his mother that she does not want him to marry a local girl. She would like Jacob to marry her brother’s daughter – his first cousin. We are somewhat sensitive to the questionable morality of this decision, but Rebecca makes her argument so strongly that we are willing to accept it. Here’s the way Rebecca maneuvers[i] it: First, after she has helped Jacob fool his blind father, she tells him that his brother Esau is planning to kill him. Now therefore, my son, obey my voice; and arise, flee thou to Laban my brother to Haran; And tarry with him a few days, until thy brother's fury turn away; Until thy brother's anger turn away from thee, and he forget that which thou hast done to him. And then, just to make sure that Jacob gets the message, this incredibly manipulative woman tells her husband Isaac I am weary of my life because of the daughters of Heth: if Jacob take a wife of the daughters of Heth, such as these which are of the daughters of the land, what good shall my life do me?

So Isaac instructs Jacob: Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother.

When Jacob starts off on the long and dangerous trip to the country of Aram to find a wife, the storyteller/priest introduces a new marketing message. Jacob, as we will soon see, is a new type of character. He is not passive like Isaac and he is not a visionary like Abraham. He is a realist, and the first thing he does is negotiate with God. He says: If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God. (The clear implication is that if the LORD does not take care of him, then he will find another god)

Essentially, Jacob is asking the question that challenges all salesmen and marketers: “What’s in it for me?” This is the eternal Cost/Benefit question. Every good commercial and every good marketing plan must face up to this question and answer it satisfactorily. When a consumer makes a purchase decision he, either consciously or unconsciously, evaluates the cost of his action in relation to the perceived benefit that he will receive. Packages list their benefits on the outside of the box and advertisers enumerate the benefits in their advertisements. The consumer constantly makes an evaluation in his head: “What are the benefits of this product? Do I really need it? Is the benefit worth the cost? Would I be better off using my money for something else?” 

 

Over 35 years ago, Peter Drucker observed that a company’s first task is “to create customers.” But today’s customers face a vast array of product and brand choices, prices, and suppliers. How do customers make their choices?

We believe that customers estimate which offer will deliver the most value. Customers are value-maximizers, within the bounds of search costs and limited knowledge, mobility and income. They form an expectation of value and act on it.  Whether or not the offer lives up to the value expectation affects both satisfaction and repurchase probability.[ii]

 

Sometimes the benefits are easily apparent, sometimes they are more subtle. Modern day marketers employ a process called Motivational Analysis in determining the optimal cost benefit ratio.

 

A motive is an internal force that stimulates you to behave in a particular manner. This driving force is produced by the state of tension that results from an unfulfilled need. People strive, both consciously and subconsciously, to reduce this tension through behavior they anticipate will fulfill their needs and thus relieve the stress they feel.

Needs are the basic forces that motivate you to do something.”[iii] 

 

The need that Jacob is seeking to fulfill is a safe journey, and he promises that YHWH will be his god if he returns home safely. In the case of the marketing effort by our storyteller/priest, the benefits are safety, security, and a smoothly running marketplace. But the costs are high: the listeners are being asked to give up their freedom and to accept the yoke and burden of civilization and the rule of the governor.  So they ask themselves, “Is it worth it? Am I getting enough benefits from this civilization to justify giving up my independence?”

This is a new question and it is crucial to the success of the Hebrews’ civilization. Until now, the Governor/God has ruled through fear of the unknown and his implied ability to manage it. But that is not the most efficient way for a fledgling government to get established. So, the storyteller/priest is telling his listeners that, just like Jacob, it’s OK to question the governor/god and it’s OK to expect something in return for your faith.

In this case the storyteller/priest is asking the question for his audience. They have been told in the story of the binding of Isaac that faith will be rewarded. This is an emotional appeal and it is well delivered. But eventually the listeners want greater assurance that if they agree to become subjects of the governor/God, there will be some definite benefits.

Whereas Isaac was passive, Jacob is a negotiator. As it relates to the political status of the community, Isaac represents the present; Jacob represents the promise of the future. His negotiation with God might be paraphrased from the governor’s point of view thus: “If you trust me, then I (the governor/God) will take care of you (the people) and make sure that you have sufficient clothing and food and shelter, but in return you must accept my dominance”.

The Bible: The Greatest Marketing Tool Ever Written.........$23.99 

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[i]. Rebecca is the stereotypical “Jewish mother.” She is manipulative in a way that has been emulated by Jewish mothers through the centuries. I can imagine the conversation: Rebecca tells Jacob to go to stay with her brother knowing that her brother has two beautiful daughters. Who knows, she is thinking …worse things could happen.

[ii]. Kotler, Marketing Management, p. 34

[iii]. Wells, Burnett, Moriarty, Advertising Principles and Practice pp. 106-7

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