Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Cannabis in The Bible

I've already mentioned how The Bible proclaims no Plant Life unclean.  Thing is the Cannabis plant is mentioned in The Hebrew Bible as a plant used in the Worship of Yahuah.

The common view is that the word Cannabis is Scythian in origin, but it seems the Scythians had a decent amount of contact with Ancient Israel and Judah, they are refereed to in The Bible as Magog after all, and a Hebrew artifact was once found in the grave of a Scythian warrior woman.

Cannabis comes from combing the Hebrew words Qaneh (Strong number 7070) three times rendered in the KJV Calamus, and Bosem (Strong number 1314).  Qaneh on it's own could also be a reference to the plant in question, but Bosem just means sweet smelling or fragrance.  The actual Calamus plant does not have the qualities The Bible describes this plant as having.  Two other KJV occurrences render it Cane.

The usually cited first appearance is Exodus 30:23.
Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels,
This is from the instructions for The Tabernacle given by Yahuah himself.  This is probably one of the incense refereed to in Exodus 30:8-10.

Then there is the Song of Solomon 4:14.
Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices:
Definitely not a negative reference.

Next is Isaiah 43:24
Thou hast bought me no sweet cane with money, neither hast thou filled me with the fat of thy sacrifices: but thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities.
Another clear reference to it being an incense offered to Yahuah.

After that is Jeremiah 6:20.
To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me.
A negative passage, but still clearly consistent with it being an incense used in The Worship of Yahuah.

Finally is Ezekial 27:19.
Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in thy fairs: bright iron, cassia, and calamus, were in thy market.
It's part of the Prophecy of Tyre's destruction, referring to it as a plant Tyre traded.  Remember much of what was used in Solomon's Temple was available via his trade partnership with Tyre.

And this is the Dan and Javan verse I so often refer to.  Perhaps Dan is a factor in how the Scythians came to use the same term for the plant.

Most others discussing this topic think these five are the only verses.  Basically directly correlating to when the KJV renders Qaneh either Calamus or Cane.  Now the Strongs does have a tendency to classify things as the same word when they're really different forms of the same root, so it can be complicated, clearly many uses of 7070 seemingly are not a plant or herb.  Like when it's used of the Branches of the Menorah in Exodus 25.

Only three of the five also use Bosem ("Sweet" in the KJV).

It's actual first occurrence is in Genesis 41 where it is twice translated "stalk", in reference to Corn Stalks.  The Canibus plant also grows on stalks.

There is also 7071, a river in Israel called Kanah.  Mentioned in Joshua 16:8, 17:9 and 19:28, in the land allotted to Ephraim.

Now a lot of religions out there want to use these Biblical references to the plant for their own agenda.  It's important to note none of these references seem to refer to recreational drug use.

The point is, don't let anyone convince you Cannabis is an evil plant.

There are also possibly references to Hemp.
(Cannabis sativa, Linn.)
“Thy raiment was of fine linen.”—EZEK. 16:13.

THE Hebrew word shesh or sheshi, translated “fine linen,” occurs, according to Royle, twenty-eight times in EXODUS, once in Genesis, once in Proverbs, and three times in Ezekiel. This fine linen was spun by women, as mentioned in Exodus 35:25, where it is said, “All the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen.” Ezekiel says of Tyrus, “Fine linen with broidered work from Egypt was that which thou spreadest forth to be thy sail” (Ezek. 27:7). The material of which this fine linen was wrought is considered by many to have been the produce of the hemp plant. This is rendered probable also by the similarity between shesh and the Arabic word haschesch, which is applied to hemp. Hemp consists of the fibres of Cannabis sativa, a plant belonging to the natural order Urticace√¶ or nettleworts. It is a native of Persia, and is now extensively cultivated in Europe as well as in India. The variety cultivated in India is sometimes called Cannabis indica, and is remarkable for its narcotic qualities. The dried flowering tops of the female plant from which the resin has been removed are used to form a medicinal extract and tincture. The resinous matter covering the leaves is called churrus; and the names bhang, gunjah, and haschesch, are given to the dried plant in different states. It seems likely that the hemp plant was cultivated in Egypt in ancient times as well as the flax plant; but accurate information on the subject is still wanting. The Hebrew word bad is also translated “linen.” Thus it occurs in Exodus 39:28, where it is said that they made for Aaron and his sons “a mitre of fine linen, and goodly bonnets of fine linen, and linen breeches of fine twined linen.” The Hebrew word butz or buz is also translated “fine linen” and “white linen,” as in 1 Chronicles 4:21; Esther 1:6; Ezekiel 27:16, etc. In the New Testament the Greek word byssus is translated “fine linen,” as in Luke 16:19; Rev. 18:12, 16, and 19:8, 14. (See also Flax.)

Balfour, John Hutton. The Plants of the Bible. London; Edinburgh; New York: T. Nelson and Sons, 1885. Print.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Is there a correlation between being Levitically Unclean and biologically Unhealthy?

The perception that there is is a popular argument of people who want to argue Christians are still required to follow the Dietary Laws.  And generally conceded by Christians who don't just so they can say "isn't the Bible's scientific knowledge awesome!".  And the latter fits my own personal bias.

And it's easy to make it seem that way when you single out Pigs/Swine/Pork among all Unclean animals.  And singling them out became popular during the Inter-testamental period.  But The Bible doesn't support it, neither Leviticus 11 or Deuteronomy 14 lists pigs first when giving examples of unclean land mammals.  And they're by definition not the most unclean since they do fit one of the two requirements, but failing to have either is enough to be unclean.  And the story about Antiochus Epiphanes offering a Pig on the Altar is not in 1st or 2nd Maccabees, it shows up by Josephus giving it more antiquity then the Menorah legend, but Josephus was not above referring to urban legends as if they were facts.

But the thing is the Hare is one of the unclean animals listed before Pigs.  And Rabbit meat is considered healthy to eat.  My searches on the subject found the only disparaging thing said about it being that it's to lean to live off only Rabbit meat for very long.

Now there is some dispute about if Arnebeth being translated Hare is accurate, but Rabbits and Hares definitely fit the definition of chewing the Cud but not being Cloven Hoofed, no matter what a skeptic may try to tell you.

I could see the logic in Chewing the Cud having a correlation to being healthy or not, but I don't see how having Cloven Hoofs could mean anything in that department.

Meanwhile there are NO restrictions on eating plant life.  It's not just that the Torah never takes the time to forbid any, Yahuah specifically said all plant life we are allowed to consume, (including the ones used to make illegal narcotics).  Yet some are poisonous, like poison ivy.

You know what's interesting, Humans fit neither requirement for being clean, I wonder if that might be significant?

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Song of Solomon, who's who?

Well the first thing I'll mention on the subject of potential imperfections of the KJV translation of the Song of Solomon is that I think "undefiled" is a bad translation in 5:2 and 6:9, those are the only verses that Hebrew word is translated that way, it's usually translated "perfect".

But what I mainly want to discus here is what I heard about recently of an alternate reading of the Song where Solomon and The Beloved are not the same person.  And with that usually making Solomon a villain, maybe even a type of the Antichrist (1 Kings 10:14 does link him to the number 666).

One discussion of that possibly is called Solomon as the Antichrist.  Another is one called The Shulamite Woman.  The former has Solomon as only a small presence in the narrative, the latter has Solomon not The Beloved as the male voice talking throughout it, and thus manages to use that to demonize much of the Sexuality in the Song.  The latter view is totally illogical, clearly the male voice of the song is the Beloved.  The former is an interesting theory.

Another site mentioning it is this one.

So I went over the Song with this in mind, trying to pay attention to things that might often be missed.

First I concluded that absolutely The Beloved isn't Solomon.  In chapter 3 our Heroine is looking for her Beloved in the city, if the Beloved is the King the idea that he'd be so difficult to find is odd.  Also in chapter 7 verse 5 the Beloved is talking and refers to the King as a clearly separate person.  Likewise chapter 1 verse 12 has the woman talking about her Beloved and refers to the King it seems as separate.

What I'm not so convinced of however is that Solomon is a villain in the story, or in any way an alternate love interest.  Chapter 1 verse 4 is what gives the impression that she was added to his harem, but it could mean something else, like a Princess becoming part of the court now that's she's of marriageable age.  And the books of Kings and Chronicles seem to say Solomon only married foreign wives and concubines, while this heroine is clearly an Israelite.

Overall I feel the references to the King/Solomon just tell us the woman is living in Solomon's house, and leaves at the end, seemingly receiving a dowry, the vineyards of Baalhamon.

It is often assumed the heroine of the Song has a humble background, often specifically a Shepherdess.  There are Shepherding references, but none that prove that's the protagonist's background.  It is equally likely the Beloved is the Shepherd.

In chapter 7 verse 1 the Beloved calls her a Prince's Daughter.

Chapter 6 verse 13 twice calls the heroine in the KJV "Shulamite".  This is a bad translation, the actual -ites in the Hehrew text have no T, this ends with a Hebrew letter for "th", the one that like Heh usually makes a word or name feminine when used at the end.  Don't be confused that "the" is used in the verse, in Hebrew and Greek the definite article is often used before personal names, it's just in English that it's considered grammatically incorrect to do that.  This translation issue has caused people to imagine a location named Shulam that appears no where else in Scripture.

Her name is Shulamith.  It's a feminine form of Solomon/Shlomo, which is why when assuming Solomon is the husband the name is sometimes taken as just poetically reflecting her as his wife.

Normally the feminine form of Solomon becomes in the KJV Shelomith (some males did have the name it seems, but it's first appearance in Leviticus 24 is clearly a Woman).  In the Hebrew the only difference between how Shulamith and Shelomith are spelled is Shulamith has a Vav between the shin and lamed.

Vav is a letter that in time came to often be used like a vowel, and so many scholars think after the captivity when the scribes became more concerned with representing vowel sounds that Vav and Yot started being used a lot more then they originally were.  So I feel confident in concluding that Shulamith and Shelomith were the same name.

In 2 Chronicles 11:20 a Shelomith is the daughter of Rehoboam son of Solomon and Maachah daughter of Absalom.  Rehoboam was 41 when Solomon's 40 year reign ended, and Solomon probably had Rehoboam at as young as 14 or 15.  So Rehoboam's daughter could easily not only have been born but reached adulthood while Solomon was still alive.

Maachah, wife of Rehoboam, is also called Michaiah daughter of Uriel of Gilead.  The Hebrew word for daughter can mean granddaughter, in all likelihood she was Absalom's granddaughter, since Absalom died before Reboboam was born.  And 2 Samuel 14:17 tells us Absalom had one daughter named Tamar (probably after his sister).  This Tamar may have been the wife of Uriel of Gilead, which seems to be what Josephus implies in Antiquities 8:10:1.  But we're also told Absalom had 3 sons but the sons aren't named.

Abijah also called Abijam, the full brother of Shelomith, died (seemingly of natural causes) after reigning only 3 years as King, and Rehoboam reigned only 17 years.  We're not told how old he was, but I think it's safe to say he could have been 20-25 when Solomon died.

Shulamith speaks of having brothers in the Song, Shelomith likewise had three brothers by the same mother, and numerous others.  She would seem to be her mother's only daughter though, but not her father's, Rehoboam we're told had 60 daughters.

So I think it's possible that the protagonist of the Song of Solomon was Solomon's granddaughter, the daughter of prince Rehoboam, Shelomith.

Update November 2016:  I've now done a follow up post on Typology and Symbolism.