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Hebrew Urim and Thummim

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posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 04:53 PM
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Urim and Thummim are the Law of Moses as instructions of office for the High Priest in the tradition of Aaron.

en.wikipedia.org...


In the Hebrew Bible, the Urim and the Thummim (Hebrew: הָאוּרִים וְהַתֻּמִּים‎, Standard ha-Urim veha-Tummim Tiberian hāʾÛrîm wəhatTummîm; meaning uncertain, possibly "Lights and Perfections") are elements of the hoshen, the breastplate worn by the High Priest attached to the ephod. They are connected with divination in general, and cleromancy in particular. Most scholars suspect that the phrase refers to a set of two objects used by the high priest to answer a question or reveal the will of God.[1][2] The Urim and the Thummim first appear in Exodus 28:30, where they are named for inclusion on the breastplate to be worn by Aaron in the holy place. Other books, especially 1 Samuel, describe their use in divination.


The High Priest, as the Bible reveals, used them to determine many decisions as divining the will of Yahweh; in justice, in battle and other important decisions.

jaymack.net...


Here is a fifth example. One of the sons of Ahimelech, son of Ahitub, named Abiathar, escaped and fled to join David. King Saul had killed all the priests of God, and only he had escaped and brought the ephod, which contained the Urim and the Thummin with him. When David learned that Saul was plotting against him, he said to Abiathar the priest: Bring the ephod. David said: ADONAI, God of Isra'el, your servant has heard definitely that Saul plans to come to Keilah and destroy the town on account of me. Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? ADONAI, God of Isra'el, tell your servant. And God answered: He will. Again David asked: Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul? And God said: They will (First Samuel 22:20-21, 23:6, 10-12). By asking those yes and no questions to the Urim and the Thummin within the ephod, David was directed what to do by God.


I hope that gives you a speedy idea of what Urim and Thummim is in Judaism and its original central importance at determining answers to questions of the utmost importance and at the very heart of Hebrew society.

It seems that after David's reign as the Prophets gained in significance and importance Urim and Thummim fell out of use and the Prophets spoke the will of Yahweh to the people. By the time of the Babylonian Exile theywere nothing more than a memory. We do not know what they looked like specifically as no description of them other than they were kept in the Ephod (Breastplate) of the High Priest.

There is Biblical evidence that strongly suggests Abraham came out of Ur (what was to become Babylon). He came out of the region of the Sumer civilization, Ur modern Iraq:

en.wikipedia.org...


Ur (Sumerian: Urim;[1] Sumerian Cuneiform: 𒋀𒀕𒆠 URIM2KI or 𒋀𒀊𒆠 URIM5KI;[2] Akkadian: Uru;[3] Arabic: أور‎; Hebrew: אור‎) was an important Sumerian city-state in ancient Mesopotamia, located at the site of modern Tell el-Muqayyar (Arabic: تل المقير‎) in south Iraq's Dhi Qar Governorate.[4] Although Ur was once a coastal city near the mouth of the Euphrates on the Persian Gulf, the coastline has shifted and the city is now well inland, on the south bank of the Euphrates, 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) from Nasiriyah in modern-day Iraq.[5]



Genesis 15:7 And He said to him, "I am the LORD who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess it."


There are so many echoes of old Sumer in Hebrew civilization. Ur and Sumer are central themes of the ancestral oral tradition that evolved through Hebrew culture. The Epic of Gilgamesh and Noah's Flood are so connected in theme that it seems almost obvious that they are from the same single and original source. This is further hinted at by the Urim Thummim phenomenon which has a remarkable similarity to Assyrian/Babylonian practises:

www.jewishencyclopedia.com...


The ancient, and most of the modern, explanations of these mysterious instruments through which Yhwh communicated His will to His chosen people identify them with (a) stones in the high priest's breastplate, (b) sacred dice, and (c) little images of Truth and Justice such as are found round the neck of the mummy of an Egyptian priest (see Muss-Arnolt, "The Urim and Thummim," in "Am. Jour. Semit. Lang." July, 1900, pp. 199-204). The "Tablets of Destiny" which occur in the Assyro-Babylonian account of Creation and otherwise figure in Assyro-Babylonian conceptions suggest the correct explanation of the Hebrew Urim and Thummim. One of the functions ascribed to the Babylonian seer was to deliver oracles and to consult the god, whose answer was either "Yes" or "No." Quite often the god sends to his people an "urtu," a command to do, or not to do, something. "Urtu" belongs to the samestem from which is derived "ertu," the "terminus technicus" for "oracle." The gods speak ("tamu, utammu") to the priest the oracle which they reveal; and the oracle is called "the mysterious word, revelation." Since God "at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past," not only unto the fathers by the Prophets, but to all mankind in ways which it is now almost impossible to trace precisely, it is quite possible that the mythological account of the Tablets of Destiny and the Old Testament Urim and Thummim, both shaping the destiny of king and nation, revert to the same fountainhead and origin. Notwithstanding the fragmentary account of Babylonian literature and the scanty report of Old Testament writers, some points common to both may yet be gathered.


In short the Urim and Thummim were;


Answer "Yes" or "No."


answers from Yahweh that got more complex as the Hebrews wanted more specifics and details in the answers.

The Babylonian "Tablets of Destiny", as the article in the Jewish Encyclopedia states has a great many similarities to the Ephod with Urim and Thummim that even the Jewish Encyclopedia accepts an obvious link. When we see such stark similarities of tradition between the Hebrews and former Sumer, and are specifically informed in Genesis that Abraham came from there, it is pretty much an evidence based strong candidate for a fact.

Remember what Christ said:


Matthew 5:36-37; 36Nor should you swear by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. 37Simply let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ Anything more comes from the evil one.


I instantly recognized what Christ mean when He said that. It is a definite allusion to unadulterated Urim and Thummim. It is wise advice.

Urim and Thummim is the blessing and the curse, the yes and the no of do and don't. It is the simplest of decision making responses yet how often do we have the clarity of purpose to be one or the other? Christ said also that He does not want luke warm anything. He would prefer it to be cold or hot rather than tepid:


Revelation 3:16; So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.



*Moses brought the Ten Commandments on two "tablets" of stone to the Hebrews; "Tablets" of stone, "Tablets" of Destiny.




edit on 13-12-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)




posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 05:19 PM
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Nice thread mostly correct but to just fill in a little information. The urim ve tumim worked when a parchment containing the 72 letter hidden ineffable Name was put into the folds of the high priest's breastplate.
Questions were posed to the Urim and the gems of the breastplate would light up with the corresponding answers.
Additionally each gem had letters inscribed on it. it gave more than just yes or no answers Joshua consulted with them as did King David and other biblical figures.



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 05:26 PM
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originally posted by: dashen
Nice thread mostly correct but to just fill in a little information. The urim ve tumim worked when a parchment containing the 72 letter hidden ineffable Name was put into the folds of the high priest's breastplate.
Questions were posed to the Urim and the gems of the breastplate would light up with the corresponding answers.
Additionally each gem had letters inscribed on it. it gave more than just yes or no answers Joshua consulted with them as did King David and other biblical figures.


That is not fact. It is just opinion. We must be clear on that. There is no official Scriptural account. I have read the Bible twice. I know this is a fact. I am not picking arguments, but I must point you to the fact that what you have said is conjecture. No Jewish Rabbi would state what you have written as what it actually was.

I admit, that with all my years of research on the Bible, I don't have a clue how it worked or what they looked like because Scripture does not tell us. Even accounts as far back as Josephus have no clear idea of that. Just trying to keep it all honest.

Sorry, I have overstretched myself today. Absolutely drained now. I got to go.


edit on 13-12-2017 by Revolution9 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 05:33 PM
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a reply to: Revolution9


That is not fact. It is just opinion.


Like your OP?


I have read the Bible twice. I know this is a fact.


No, you do not!


Just trying to jeep it all honest.


Doing a terrible job so far!



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 06:17 PM
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Thank you for providing an interesting thread, hypothesis, and well written! Starred and flagged. I am not really able to share but am looking forward to more positive feedback from the ATS community.

It does seem that you have given some food for thought and I thank you for that. I am giving you a thumbs up for wanting to avoid conjecture and seeking debate on the actual word.


Edit add: I will only add that I do believe with the Sumerian and Hebrew connection. That is what caught my interest.

edit on 12 13 2017 by CynConcepts because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 06:31 PM
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originally posted by: Revolution9
"Answer "Yes" or "No."; answers from Yahweh that got more complex as the Hebrews wanted more specifics and details in the answers.

The most inconvenient case of complexity was when the technique was expected to identify a single individual out of the whole nation, in order pin down responsibility for something going wrong.
In the case of Achan (Joshua ch7), it was done by putting the question first about each tribe in turn, then about each family in the selected tribe, then about each household in the selected family, then about each man in the selected household.
The same process in the choice of Saul as king (1Samuel ch10), where it is described as "being taken by lot".
In 1 Samuel ch14, Saul took a short-cut. First "either me and Jonathan, or the rest of Israel", then "either me or Jonathan".
This episode shows the method most clearly; "If the guilt is in us, give Urim. If the guilt is in them, give Thurrim". Then, I suppose, the priest drew out one or the other.
Obviously this ritual predates the invention of money, so they could not do it by tossing a coin.

P.S. Like the F.A. cup draw, perhaps, with only two balls. Sorry, Americans, local reference there.

edit on 13-12-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 06:52 PM
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a reply to: Revolution9




By asking those yes and no questions to the Urim and the Thummin within the ephod, David was directed what to do by God.
Truth of the matter was that David knew what to do . He didn't ask God if he should split but that is what he did .Had God said that Saul was not heading his way or that the walled city would not have turned David over to Saul David might have chosen differently . just a thought

Jewish Magic Bibliography I intend the following bibliography to serve as an aid to the student of Jewish “magic,” however defined. It ranges from biblical to modern times and is organized both chronologically and by subject with many entries appearing in multiple locations to facilitate research. My former undergraduate student Alex Jassen (now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota) originally compiled the bibliography with the assistance of a Mary Gates Undergraduate Research Grant at the University of Washington. More recently, my graduate student Jacob Rennaker has helped to correct incomplete information and to reformat the bibliography. I now maintain and update the site. If you know of works that should be included please send me the complete citation at snoegel@u.washington.edu. Prof. Scott Noegel University of Washington
www.michaelsheiser.com...
edit on 13-12-2017 by the2ofusr1 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 07:05 PM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
Perhaps the statement could be re-phrased; "David was warned by God about where the danger lay".



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 07:20 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




Perhaps the statement could be re-phrased; "David was warned by God about where the danger lay".
David and his crew were a pretty able bunch . It says that he had heard that Saul was heading his way . I guess there are a few ways of looking at it . I am not a strong proponent to Hyper Calvinism so free will matters . In that story God knew 2 things that didn't happen . God is all knowing but we have free will to make our own decisions .David only needed 2 important answers to make his decision to split .



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 07:28 PM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
God does sometimes give people definite commands (see Abraham and Noah), but it's true that "warning of danger" need not be a command to avoid it. In fact in Acts ch21 Paul disregards a prophetic warning about danger in Jerusalem, as David could have done.



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 07:39 PM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

I had read somewhere outside the Bible that the Urim and Thummim were a black and a white stone . It was in Jewish writing relating to what had happened post Resurrection and it had to do with a standard function using the stones but it came up black every time and they seen it as a sign of doom . There was also the issue with the gate being wide open every morning despite someone locking it the night before .



posted on Dec, 13 2017 @ 08:23 PM
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the stones in the breastplate (ok lemme preface this with "speculated") were said to light up and the priest divined their message. the lamps in the inner temple would reflect off the stones as they flickered and so the message was said to be from the breath of God as he spoke.



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 02:41 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
That fits in with my own speculation, that the priest dropped them both into a pocket of some kind and then pulled one of them out, relying on the chance result as the will of God.
That would mean that the disciples were following this model in Acts ch1, when they "cast lots" to decide between Joseph Barsabbas and Matthias. Once again, note, the choice between two options.
It makes more sense to me than the gratuitous "lighting up" theory.



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 04:43 AM
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I hate to throw a monkey wrench, but the Mormons speak of these Urim and Thummim, and how Joseph Smith used them to translate the alleged Gold Plates. In his case it was done under a blanket of sorts I believe.

"When he was using the interpreters, there was a curtain drawn between Joseph and his scribe, but with the use of a stone in a hat, there was no curtain. Scribes could then witness that Joseph had no books from which to copy material, except for the plates. Everything was done in plain sight"

I do believe these are the same in both instances Ancient and modern times.

And in said modern times, the Mormons claim this. mormonhub.com...


edit on 14-12-2017 by Plotus because: Curious goings on's



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 05:18 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1

those weren't the urim and thummin


“And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat” (Lev.16:8 KJV).

There is much debate over exactly what kind of objects the lots were. However, the information found in the Babylonian Talmud and the Mishnah indicates that the lots were two stones—one white and one black. The white stone had the words “For the Lord” written on it, and the black stone had the words “For Azazal” (i.e., the goat that is sent away or banished) written on it.

These two stones were placed into a container and it was shaken; then, without looking into the container, the high priest would put his right hand into the container and draw out one of the lots.

The Babylonian Talmud shows that, for two hundred years before 30 A.D., the first stone to appear in the right hand of the high priest randomly fluctuated each year between the white and black stone. One would expect this type of randomness, because God selected the more perfect goat to be slain for the sins of the people. But, beginning with the Day of Atonement in 30 A.D. (the year of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), the black stone appeared in the right hand of the high priest for the next 39 years.

The chances of the black stone (For Azazal) appearing 40 consecutive times in the right hand of the high priest is over a trillion to one according to Pascal's table of numerical odds.

The continual appearance of the black stone in the right hand of the high priest was surely a sign of God's displeasure with the House of Judah and a warning for them to repent.

The fulfillment of the prophetic black stone came after forty years of continuous warning when the Temple and Jerusalem were destroyed in 70 A. D. by the Roman Empire.


www.bibleresearch.org...

This also has other miracles recorded by Josephus about the destruction of the temple



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 08:23 AM
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a reply to: zardust

Mike Heiser on his Naked Bible podcast # 72 on the Book of Leviticus www.nakedbiblepodcast.com... Also in Text www.nakedbiblepodcast.com... Spends a bit of time on the subject . It could be they were two flat stones with the inscription on both sides kind of a heads and tails . Saul uses them at one point but does not get a answer concerning Jonahan when he ate some honey on the battle field. Mike looks into the Septuagint version of the story and there are hints not in the Masoritic text . Well worth the read or listen to . Oh and that account your provided matches what I had remembered reading before ...thanks



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 08:40 AM
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originally posted by: the2ofusr1
Saul uses them at one point but does not get a answer concerning Jonahan when he ate some honey on the battle field.

I think you have misremembered that story.
Saul asks the question "Shall I follow the Philistines?", and that's where he doesn't get an answer.
Then he pursues the different question "Whose guilt is preventing God' from responding to us?" On that point, he does get an answer. The Urim and Thummim identify Jonathan, who admits his action. 1 Samuel ch14 vv37-42


edit on 14-12-2017 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 09:59 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI




Saul asks the question "Shall I follow the Philistines?", and that's where he doesn't get an answer.
In that case it would seem the possibility it was not just a yes or no . Mike Heiser also brings up the possibility of them being a kind of multi sided die with a Hebrew letter on them . That would explain some of the longer complex answers that you couldn't get with a simple yes or no device . There is a text link to the show I posted above . Although a subject that has been looked into a lot no one has a lock on it and its a speculation at best .



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 10:40 AM
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a reply to: the2ofusr1
Another possibility is that he kept getting "No". From the viewpoint of a frustrated commander, who would have gone straight into the pursuit if the priest had not insisted on making inquiry first (v36), any answer that was not "Yes" would count as no answer. Like the European Union, he would want to repeat the question until the answer came out right.



posted on Dec, 14 2017 @ 10:50 AM
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a reply to: DISRAELI

Maybe a lesson like Putting Out the Fleece. Judges 6:40 ...



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