Monday, April 4, 2016

The Biblical Significance of The Ram, are Rams mentioned more often then we think?

Deuteronomy 14 is one of a couple of chapters of The Torah dealing with what animals are and aren't considered okay to eat.  In the KJV almost all animals cited elsewhere as animals offered in sacrifices to Yahuah are included here, Lambs, Goats, Bulls, Oxen, Pigeons and Doves.  And many additional animals too including multiple words taken as referring to Deer and similar animals, and multiple types of Poultry that leave me with little doubt a traditional Thanksgiving meal is Kosher.

But one of the known sacrificial animals seems absent, the Ram.  We know they would be okay to eat because of the broader instructions given here and in Leviticus 11 that tell how to tell the Levitical Cleanses even of Land Mammals the Bible never mentions at all.  But I still find it odd that as a clearly well known animal in The Bible, Rams are seemingly not mentioned.  In facts Rams seem to be mentioned only once in all of Deuteronomy, and that's in the Song of Moses in chapter 32.

The Hebrew word for Ram is Strongs number 352, Ayil.  The word first appears in Genesis 15:9, it's the word for Ram used in Genesis 22 of the one offered in place of Isaac, and in Exodus 29 which I'll bring up again later.  It's used throughout Leviticus where Rams are refereed to.  And in Numbers 28-29 where they are specified to be offered on most of the Leviticus 23 Holy Days.  And in Daniel 8 of the Ram that represents the Medo-Persian Empire.  And almost every time you see "ram" in the Old Testament of the KJV.

What's interesting is that according to the Strongs there are two Hebrew words spelled the exact same way as this word, AYL, but are pronounced differently thanks to the Aramaic derived vowel indicators that developed after the captivity.

One is Strongs number 353, Eyal.  Which is used only once, in Psalm 88 verse 4 where the KJV translates it "strength".  Not the only time "strength" is used to translate a rarely used and thus harder to define word.

The other is Strongs number 354, Ayal.  This is consistently translated by the KJV as "Hart" (or Harts when plural) and is in fact the word used every time you see "Hart".  It first occurs in Deuteronomy 12, but is also listed as an okay to eat Animal in Deuteronomy 14:5.  Indisputably the animal we call in English harts are Levitically clean, but plenty other animals listed here are basically the same kind, deer.

So what I'm thinking is maybe Ayal was not a separate word originally, but some confusion began probably during the captivity.  A Hart is a type of Dear, the idea of a Hebrew word for Ram becoming later misunderstood as a word for Dear could be relevant to my Japan and the Lost Tribes post.

Also strong number 355, Ayalah, is the feminine form of Ayal.  The KJV always translates this "Hind" or "Hinds".  It is used to describe Naphtali in Genesis 49:21 which I've argued could have significance for the Ram of Daniel 8.  That there is a lack of a feminine equivalent for Ayil I think could be further evidence it was meant to be the same word as Ayal.

Both "Hind" and "Hart" are used in the Song of Songs by Shulamith and the Beloved to refer to each other.  The Song also uses (sometimes in the same verses) "Roe" in both masculine and feminine form, a word elsewhere translated Roe, Buck and Roebuck, and also used in Deuteronomy 12&14.  I think they make sense as referring to different animals rather then two words for basically the same animal, but the other reading could work too.  Maybe these words for Ram and Deer being used together like this in the song is the origin of the confusion.  I think a lot of things about the Song of Solomon have confused people.

Now I shall move to The New Testament.

The KJV of the Book of Revelation uses the word "Lamb" 29 times, all but once of Jesus.  All of them are the same Greek word (Strongs number 721), but in 3 different forms.  Arnion/Arniou/ArniO.
This word however appears only once in the NT outside Revelation, in John 21:15.  There however it is a form distinct from any of the 3 used in Revelation, Arnia.  I'm not sure but I think that could qualify as a feminine form, while the 3 in Revelation clearly do not.  There it is used of Believers not of Jesus.  But unlike in English translations the Greek text doesn't seem plural there, like Jesus is calling The Church as a whole His Arnia.

The suggestion has been made before that "Lamb" is not an accurate translation of this word, and even been suggested before that it should be "Ram".  It's controversial because this word is rare even in Ancient Greek usage outside Revelation.  Other Greek words are known to have existed for both Lambs and Rams, the other words for Ram aren't used in the New Testament however (I give no credence to the Septuagint).  The main one would be Krios, the Greek name for the constellation Aries, The Ram.

When John, this same Author, in his Gospel quotes in Greek John The Baptist calling Jesus "The Lamb of God" in 1:29&36 he uses Amnos (Strongs number 286).  Likewise Acts 8:32 and 1 Peter 1:19 when alluding to Isaiah 53:7 and the Passover Lamb also use Amnos, though Peter spelled it Amnou.  In Hebrew also Isaiah 53:7's "Lamb to the Slaughter" uses the same word used of the Passover Lamb in Exodus 12, Strongs number 7716, Seh.

Aries, the name of the Ram constellation, is it's Latin rather then Greek name, but Latin and Greek have many similar words due to their common Indo-European origin.  That Aries and Arnios begin with the same sound is interesting.

If you are curious how Arnion is used in the Septuagint, it's iffy.  It's in 4 verses, none of which use Seh in the Hebrew.  Psalm 114 in verses 4 and 6, and in Jeremiah in 11:19 and 50:45.  In three of those you will see Lamb in the KJV but for the Psalms the Hebrew is using a word for flock, that is also used in Jeremiah 50:45 and translated "flock".  Tsone, Strongs number 6629, in the Septuagint that is the word rendered Arnia, it uses the John 21 version which fits the context.

In Jeremiah 11:19 it's Kebes which the KJV always renders Lamb or Sheep but the Strongs (where it's number is 3532) defines it as being a Ram of a certain age, and it's also used in Exodus 29 as possibly a synonym for Ayil, Seh isn't used in Exodus 29.  In the Septuagint of Jeremiah (It's chapter 29 there, some are numbered differently in the LXX) that is clearly the word translated Arnion.

Ayil is used in both Psalm 114 verses but not in the Jeremiah ones.  In the Septuagint it's Psalm 113 and Ayil is Krios while Tsone is Arnia in both verses.  I feel like all four of those examples together point to this word never being used for Ayil but for other words used as synonyms for Ayil.

Upon further study of the usage of Kebes it is used in many verses where Ayil or Ayal is used clearly as distinct, and in Deuteronomy 14 Seh is used as a prefix of both Kebes and Goat.  So interpreting Arnion as Ram not Lamb is still dependent on the Septuagint being wrong (as I feel it often is) in at least the Jeremiah 11 verse..

Replacing Lamb with Ram when you see it in Revelation arguably takes nothing away from the significance, both were sacrificial animals.  The most unique attribute of the Lamb was as the Passover Sacrifice, Revelation is more about the fulfillment of the Fall Feasts.  But it can potentially add a lot when you study the significance of the Ram.  A Lamb was mentioned in Genesis 22 but it was a Ram that was provided, both Isaac and the Ram represent Jesus, The Lamb of God.

One reason to support seeing the Arnion of Revelation as a Ram rather then a Lamb is that Lambs are usually gentile animals while Rams are more aggressive in nature, hence Aries is similar to Ares the name of the Greek god of War.  Revelation 6 refers to the Wrath of the Arnion.

The Arnion of Revelation can arguably be viewed as Jesus serving as The High Priest.  Exodus 29 specifies that Ram's Blood is to be shed to consecrate a new High Priest.

Revelation 5 tells us the Arnion has seven horns.  Revelation 13:11 tells us the Beast out of The Earth has 2 horns like an ArniO.  While lambs do have horns they're very small and not too noticeable, and so outside Revelation no Biblical references to Lambs mention that they have horns.

But their Horns are a big part of the Ram's Biblical significance.  Starting in Genesis 22 where it was the Ram's horns caught in the thicket.  And the Shofar (one of two Hebrew words translated Trumpet) was specifically a Trumpet made from a Ram's horn.  It's the Shofar sounded on the Yom Kippur proceeding the Jubilee Year in Leviticus 25:9.  And traditionally Rams horns are sounded on Yom Teruah, though the Biblicalness of that is debated by Kariates and others.

In the Book of Joshua chapter 6 at the fall of Jericho seven Shofars were sounded.  If Arnion means Ram then it would be natural to speculate a connection between the seven horns of the Arnion in Revelation 5, and the seven trumpets sounded by the seven angels later.  Other have argued those seven angels are also the seven spirits refereed to, though I've disagreed with that in the past, but I've now updated that post.  And Jesus is described as having a voice like a Trumpet.

I've talked before about the significance of the fact that the Second Beast/False Prophet has two "Horns like a Lamb".  My argument there is no less valid, it's still the same word and still an animal linked to Jesus right from The Torah.  What can be added to that is a potential connection to Daniel 8, we all know the first Beast is connected to the beasts of Daniel 7.  If ArniO means Ram then the second beast could be connected to Daniel 8.

But the Earth Beast isn't a real Ram, it has horns "like a Ram".  Alexander The Great, the notable Horn of the He-Goat, after he defeated Darius III started ruling like a Persian King.  Because of this there are coins depicting him as a two horned Ram.  And that imagery is why in the Arabic world he became known as Dhul-Qarnain, which means Two-Horned.  Maybe none of that is relevant, I certainly don't think Alexander is the False Prophet, but there could be a new Rabbit hole there to chase down.

I've also hear that some of the Herodian Monarchs like Herod Agirppa (of Acts 12) used a Ram as one of their Royal Symbols.  I've yet to actual verify this though so I'm reserving judgment on it.

Now what could my above Hart/Hind theory add to Arnion speculation?

This is why I considered their usage in the Song of Songs notable. Among other things the Song of Songs has a typological application about Christ and his Bride.  In Revelation 19:7-9 the Marriage Supper is of the Arniou, not any other title of Christ that Revelation uses.  And in 21:9 New Jerusalem is called the Arniou's Wife.  And I already suggested that in his Gospel this same author used the word's feminine form of The Bride, John 21.  What if Ayalah is what Jesus actually said in Hebrew?

The Song of Solomon calls The Beloved an Ayal in the very last verse.

The Mazaroth and the Gospel in The Stars

I've grown more skeptical of that theory then I used to be.  But I've talked about it in the past, and many people I converse with still hold to it.  And I already mentioned Aries in this study anyway.

The Book of Jubilies (17:15 and 18:3) and some other traditions imply that around Passover was when the offering of Isaac happened, the Samaritans also commemorate it during Unleavened Bread..  According to Stelarium on the day I believe Jesus was Crucified, April 6th 30 AD, the Sun was in Aries.  Josephus also linked the beginning of the Hebrew Year to the month the Greeks called Aries.

Over the last two thousand years the ecliptic have moved about a month.  So where the Sun was at Passover in the days of Christ it wold be at for Second Passover now.  Which could be interesting for theories of an eschatological significance for Second Passover.

The Greek myth affiliated with Aries does seem like a corruption of the story of Genesis 22, possibly another influence of Edomites and Danites who traveled to Greece/Javan (Ezekiel 27).
In Greek mythologyAthamas (/ˈæθəməs/Ancient GreekἈθάμας) was a Boeotian king.
 Phrixus and Helle (his twin son and daughter) were hated by their stepmother, Ino. Ino hatched a devious plot to get rid of the twins, roasting all the town's crop seeds so they would not grow. The local farmers, frightened of famine, asked a nearby oracle for assistance. Ino bribed the men sent to the oracle to lie and tell the others that the oracle required the sacrifice of Phrixus. Athamas reluctantly agreed. Before he was killed, though, Phrixus and Helle were rescued by a flying golden ram sent by Nephele, their natural mother. Helle fell off the ram into the Hellespont (which was named after her) and died, but Phrixus survived all the way to Colchis, where King Aeëtes took him in and treated him kindly, giving Phrixus his daughter Chalciope in marriage. In gratitude, Phrixus gave the king the golden fleece of the ram, which Aeëtes hung in a tree in his kingdom.
What could I say that isn't obvious?  The parallel possibly carries over into Genesis 24, with Chalcioe as Rebekah.

Adding a twin sister who dies is the darkest corruption of it.  But theologically what matters most is how the Monotheism is removed.

Traditions have speculated that the first two Shofars were the horns of the Genesis 22 Ram and continued to be used all the way down to the Temple of Solomon, so the idea of remains of this Ram becoming a sacred relic also maybe has a basis.

I should note that there is also speculation that some of the ancient inhabitants of Cholchis may have been descendants of Calcol son of Zerah son of Judah and Tamar.  According to some ancient secular pagan pre-christian Greek writers like Herodotus and Diodorus Sicilus they apparently practiced circumcision, and some even used that to speculate they had a common origin with the Jews and Dannus as descendants of foreigners kicked out of Egypt.

There were other Israelites named Calcol.  The British Israelites are in denial that the Chalcol son of Mahol who's Wisdom was compared to Solomon's can't be the same person.  So I don't doubt that the Cholchins were Danites.

Or maybe it's possible descends of Laban's son moved the Cholchis region at some point?  Since Aeetes is kind of taking the Laban role, Laban in Genesis 24 plays the role that is traditionally the role of the Father of the Bride, though he's actually Rebekah's brother.  And we're told gifts were given to Laban and to their mother.

[Update:  I may have to retract this, the Ayil part explained here and the Arnion part explained here.]

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