The Christian Bible has been the topic of scholarly examine for hundreds of years. With a mixture of prose and poetry, historical past and metaphor, deciphering biblical verses could be an arduous endeavor. The story of Jacob in Genesis is one instance the place cautious studying could be revealing.
Translations Yield Clues about Jacob’s Pillow
Within the King James Bible , the usual translation for Genesis 28:18 is as follows:
And Jacob rose up early within the morning and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar and poured oil upon the highest of it. And he known as the title of that place Bethel that’s, the home of God. Gen 28:18
What does the E-book of Genesis imply by Jacob utilizing a stone pillow? The verse as given appears deliberately opaque. However incessantly, cryptic verses comprise probably the most attention-grabbing data.
Utilizing a stone as a pillow sounds moderately uncomfortable. It will appear seemingly that there was a mistranslation right here, however what did the verse initially state? The phrase getting used for pillow is merashah מראשה, that means ‘pillow’. Nonetheless, many phrases have twin meanings, and this phrase will also be translated as ‘excessive place’ or ‘hill’.
To proceed deciphering the verse, the phrase used for pillar is matstsebah מצבח, which is the equal of the Arabic and English mastaba, that means ‘pyramid’ (or maybe a really small pyramid, a pyramidion). The sacred pyramidion that we all know of from the historical past of the Israelites is the small conical omphalos-elagabal stone, which was intermittently owned by the Israelite-Jews, and was additionally situated at Edessa for some time. Moreover, the “bethel” talked about right here might be supposed as ‘a temple’, or a Home of God. Lastly, the phrase shum שום for ‘put’ and ’arrange’ can even imply ‘made’ or ‘positioned’.
Shut-up of paleo-Hebrew Leviticus scroll. It’s essential to interpret every phrase appropriately (Shai Halevi on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority / CC BY SA 4.0 )
Now that each one the constituent meanings for the phrases on this verse could be reviewed, what did it initially say? It’s extremely seemingly that it must be learn as:
And Jacob rose up early within the morning and took the stone that he had made for his altar, and positioned upon it an omphalos stone and poured oil upon the highest of it. And he proclaimed the monument at that place a Temple or Home of God. Gen 28:18
Maybe now this complicated verse is starting to make sense. It’s attainable, even seemingly, that the Latin and English translators didn’t need Christians to know that Jacob had positioned a sacred omphalos stone upon a stone altar and was basting it with oils every morning and worshipping it.
Illustration of Jacob pouring oil on a stone (Distant Shores Media / Candy Publishing / CC BY SA 3.0 )
Nonetheless, that is precisely what individuals do with sacred omphalos stones, simply because the veneration of the very related lingams in India amply demonstrates. Early within the morning, they baste these stones with oils and venerate them. The ceremony even has a reputation – it’s the Usha Kala Pooja . You possibly can read more in regards to the ritual dawn worship of the lingam by Hindus at present, just like the way in which Jacob did in Genesis 28:18.
A shiva lingam shrine in Rishikesh. The every day worship of the stone with oil parallels the story of Jacob in Genesis ( NilaNewsom / Adobe Inventory)
Nonetheless, biblical clergymen and scribes had an issue with this similarity. The Jewish and Christian priesthood didn’t need their followers to know that the Israelite-Jews had related beliefs and practices to the Hindus, so this verse needed to be intentionally mistranslated. Judaism couldn’t be tainted with overt hyperlinks to the ‘heathen’ Hindus.
Different Christian-Hindu Hyperlinks
In actuality, there are lots of such hyperlinks. As an illustration, the Malankhara Church in India maintains that their Church was established by Judas Thomas Didymas within the 1st century, and that Judas (the dual brother of Jesus) got here from Edessa. The origins of the Malankhara Church shall be explored in depth at one other time.
Nonetheless, maybe you may think about the massive downside this provides us. With a view to totally perceive the Previous and New Testaments, this deductive course of must be carried out on practically each verse within the Bible, to be able to make sense of its in any other case garbled and complicated texts. My books have begun that course of, however there’s a lengthy technique to go.
High Picture: Jacob’s ‘pillow’ upon its stone altar, cleaned with oils every morning. In actuality, that is the big Hampi-Shiva lingam (omphalos), and the omphalos itself is over a meter (3.2 toes) excessive. Temple lingams are typically giant, whereas private lingams could be very small. Supply: Alexeiy / Adobe Inventory
By Ralph Ellis