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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. 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.
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.
Ur (Sumerian: Urim; Sumerian Cuneiform: 𒋀𒀕𒆠 URIM2KI or 𒋀𒀊𒆠 URIM5KI; Akkadian: Uru; 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. 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.
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."
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.
Answer "Yes" or "No."
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.
Revelation 3:16; So, because you are lukewarm--neither hot nor cold--I am about to spit you out of my mouth.
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.
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.
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
By asking those yes and no questions to the Urim and the Thummin within the ephod, David was directed what to do by God.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Prof. Scott Noegel University of Washington
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 .
Perhaps the statement could be re-phrased; "David was warned by God about where the danger lay".
“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.
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.
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 .
Saul asks the question "Shall I follow the Philistines?", and that's where he doesn't get an answer.