Of the historical material indicating the Hebraic use of cannabis, the strongest and most profound piece of evidence was established in 1936 by Sula Benet (a.k.a. Sara Benetowa), a Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw. Benet later stated that: "In the original Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense, which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant"(Benet 1975). Through comparative etymological study, Bennett documented that in the Old Testament and in its Aramaic translation, the Targum Onculos, hemp is referred to as kaneh bosm, which is also rendered in traditional Hebrew as kannabos or kannabus. The root "kan" in this construction means "reed" or "hemp", while "bosm" means "aromatic". This word appeared in Exodus 30:23, Song of Songs 4:14., Isaiah 43:24, Jeremiah 6:20, Ezekiel 27:19.
In 1980 the Hebrew University in Israel confirmed Benet's identification of Kaneh-Bosm as hemp, and the respected anthropologist Weston La Barre(1980) referred to the Biblical references in an essay on cannabis. In that same year respected British Journal New Scientist also ran a story that referred to the Hebrew Old Testament references, (Malyon & Henman 1980). A modern counterpart of the word is even listed in Ben Yehudas Pocket Dictionary and other Hebrew source books. Further, on line, the Internet's informative Navigating the Bible, used by countless theological students, even refers to the Exodus 30:23 reference as possibly designating cannabis. In 1995, with the publication of Green Gold, the biblical references to cannabis were given their most thorough examination up to that time, but unfortunately this information is still not widely known by most modern day Jews, Christians or religious scholars. Further, the news of the cannabis references is not always excepted with open minds. One Rabbi sent the following emotional response to an article Chris Bennett wrote discussing the references to hemp in the Old Testament;
"Incense (and smoke) are all important parts of what the Jewish people did in the Desert as part of serving G-d. In fact, I'll even agree that Cannabis was one of the constituent ingredients in the incense. But there is no proof whatsoever that people were getting high! Any objective Torah Scholar or Rabbi who was asked about the total number of times getting high is mentioned in the Bible, or in the Talmud or Midrash, would answer "none".
4 For so the LORD said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear ---heat--- upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.
5 For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall both cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks, and take away and cut down the branches.
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
The ---four and twenty--- elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne,saying,11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they
are and were created.
And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.
In 1936, a little known Polish Professor, Sara Benetowa (later Sula Benet), did extensive etymological research, showing that both the Aramaic and Hebrew versions of the Old Testament contain references to cannabis as a fiber for rope and cloth, as well as an incense. But most importantly, Benet found that hemp was the active ingredient in the Holy anointing oil of the ancient Hebrews, to be used only in the installation of priests and kings, and in the consecration of holy items, as described in Exodus (30: 22-33).
---->>>According to BenetÂ¹s research, cannabis appears in ancient Hebrew texts spelled with the Hebrew letters: â€œKuph, Nun, HÃ© Â Bet, Shin, Mem,â€� translated into western alphabetic forms as qÂ¹aneh-bosm, kaneh-bosm or kineboisin. The book of Exodus records the event of Moses receiving the instructions for making and distributing the hemp enriched holy oil, in the most auspicious tones.
Then the Lord said to Moses, "Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of qaneh-bosm, 500 shekels of cassia--all according to the sanctuary shekel--and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oilâ€� (Exodus 30: 22-33).
As one shekel equals approximately 16.37 grams, this means that the THC of over 9 pounds of flowering cannabis tops were extracted into a hind, about 6.5 litres of oil. The entheogenic effects of such a solution Â even when applied topically Âwould undoubtedly have been intense.
In 1980, a wave of interest in Benetâ€™s work prompted numerous etymologists to agree with BenetÂ¹s reinterpretation of the word qaneh-bosm in Exodus. That year, scholars at JerusalemÂ¹s Hebrew University confirmed her work, noting that the qÂ¹aneh-bosm was mistranslated in the King James version of Exodus 30:23 as Â³calamusÂ² (Latimer, 1988). That same year, Weston La Barre also confirmed Benetâ€™s work, noting further that "the term kaneh-bosm occurs as early as both the Aramaic and the Hebrew versions of the Old Testament, hemp being used for rope in Solomon's temple and in priestly robes, as well as carried in Biblical caravans" In 1980, the slightly cynical scholar Allegro also noted that this "volatile substance in the heat of an enclosed oracular chamber would contribute to the delusion of omniscience through their intoxicating effect" (Allegro 1980).
Allegro was commenting on the practice by which the ancient Levites literally drenched themselves, their utensils and the inner chamber of the tent with the highly entheogenic holy oil, as well as burning it alongside other incenses on the altar, as a means of receiving an oracular trance in which the voice of Yahweh was heard.
Indeed, the Hebrew title â€œMessiahâ€� means the anointed one, and refers to the psychoactive cannabis ointment mentioned in exodus. The 'anointed ones', acting as shamans for the ancient Israelites, were in a sense the consciousness of the group or tribe. The "ideas" that came to them while they were high were heard as the voice of God, and through this 'inner voice' they guided the tribe in both war and peace. The holy anointing oil and incense was strictly used on the high ranking members of the priestly Levites, "the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests" (Numbers 3:3).
"Anoint them just as you anointed their father, so that they may serve me as priests. Their anointing will be to a priesthood that will continue for generations to come"(Exodus 40:15).
"The high priest [is] the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil of his God"(Leviticus 21:10-12).
THE HOLY INCENSE
The Lord said to Moses, "I am going to come to you in a dense cloud "(Exodus 19:9).
In recent years scholars have expressed the opinion that, far from being a minor or occasional ingredient, hashish was the main ingredient of the incense burned in temples during the religious ceremonies of antiquity, and was also routinely used in Hebrew ceremonies until the reign of King Josiah in 621 BC, when its use was suddenly suppressed in the Hebrew tradition (Andrews 1997; Bennett 1995). In Die Flora Der Juden, Immanuel Low researched the ancient Hebrew technique for making Passover incense and concluded that it must have included cannabis as a prime ingredient (Low 1926/1967). Regardless of the ingredients of the incense, the burning of it would have released psychoactive cannabis compounds when lit upon the altar of incense, which was drenched in anointing oil, as directed in Exodus 30: 22-28, Â³useÅ [the anointing oil] to anoint the table and all its articles, the lamp stand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the alter of burnt offering and all its utensils.Â²
The clouded temple, pitched in a tent during the Exodus, was undoubtedly filled with the smoke of burning cannabis-oil, and was the meeting place of priest and God. In Exodus, 30:27, God gives clear instructions to place the altar of incense â€œbefore the veil that is by the ark of testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee.â€� It was from behind this veil of smoke that Moses interpreted the words of the Lord. According to the Lord's decrees, the incense was to burn perpetually.
In 1967, Hebrew Scholar Ralph Patai pointed out that Yahweh traveled in a cloud, which was produced from copious incense smoke: â€œThe epithet, "Rider in the clouds," refers to Yahweh in one of the Psalms In fact, the desert sanctuary was called the Tabernacle (Hebrew, mishkan; literally, dwelling placeâ€�) because of the divine cloud that abode (shakan) over it and in it. In Exodus 40 it is written that God's presence in the Tabernacle was indicated by a cloud, which both seemed to hover over the tent and to fill it, and which at night glowed like fire.â€�
â€�As Moses would enter the tent, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the entrance, while the Lord spoke with Moses. Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshipped, each at the entrance to his tent. The Lord would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friendâ€� (Exodus 33:7-11).
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you" (Exodus 3:14). Such were the words Moses first heard after his initiation into the Midianite priesthood, during his first encounter with the Burning Bush.
Exodus 24:15-18 and Numbers 7:89 also make reference to Moses â€œmeetings with God, who comes to speak with Moses in the cloud-drenched Â³Tent of Meeting.â€�
From the time of Moses, until that of the later prophet Samuel, the shaman-like Levite priesthood used the Holy Anointing Oil in order to receive the revelations of the Lord. At the dawn of the age of Kings, Samuel extended this use to the Hebraic monarchs, who, with the benefit of the entheogenic inspirations provided by the Holy oil, led their countrymen possessed by the "spirit of the Lord". As Doane noted in 1882, â€œ[anointing] was common among kings of Israel. It was the sign and symbol of royalty. The word 'Messiah' signifies the 'Anointed One', and none of the kings of Israel were styled the Messiah unless anointed". Matthew Henry noted in 1997 that â€œSolomon was anointed with it, and some of the other kings, and all the high priests, with such a quantity of it, as that it ran down to the skirts and garments.Â²
But, wrote Henry, the Holy Oil fell into disuse when it had become associated with aspects of pagan worship: "[A] l agree that in the second temple there was none of this holy oil, which was probably owing to a notion they had that it was not lawful to make it up." Members and Priests of Semite sects that likely used cannabis (like that of Ashera, Queen of Heaven) were viscously persecuted and slaughtered at the same time as the holy oil became prohibited (Jeremiah 6:20 and Jeremiah 44). Despite these prohibitions, certain underground sects retained the topical entheogen and continued to practice the older religion of the monarchic period, silently awaiting the return of a king in the line of David.
The ministry of Jesus marked the return of the Jewish Messiah-kings, and thus the re-emergence of the Holy Oil. If Jesus was not initiated in this fashion then he was not the Christ, and had no official claim to the title, as it was only given to those "having the crown of God's unction upon them" (Leviticus 21:12).
The leaves of the Tree are for the healing of nations
Another important factor, in the case of miracles and exorcisms, is that at the time of Christ, no differentiation was placed between medical treatment and exorcism or miracles, all three were interrelated. To cure somebody of a disease was paramount to exorcising the tormenting spirit. As to cure of disease was considered exorcism, so too was healing a personÂ¹s injury considered a miracle.
By the time Jesus began doing miracles on the road, he was a mature man, in his mid-thirties, and of some experience. The descriptions of JesusÂ¹ rituals and healings in the Gnostic gospels reveal that he was also likely an initiate of one or more of the Mystery Schools which existed in the ancient World (more on this to follow). Many of these Mystery Schools, (and most relevant for this study, the Gnostics, Essenes, and the Zoroastrian Magi who influenced them both so strongly), had an extensive knowledge of plants and healing techniques which parallels that of other aboriginal people. From such groups Jesus would likely have learned of the miraculous healing qualities of cannabis, the medicinal value of which is still extolled today.
The sacred anointing oil, rich with cannabis resins, was one of the miracle medicines in JesusÂ¹ Â³first-aid kit.Â² As it says in the Book of Mark: Â³And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed themÂ²(Mark 6:13). But in the case of cannabis-laced anointing oil, unlike the phoney "snake oils" of yesteryear, there is an abundance of medicinal properties that have been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments.
Amongst the more well known accounts of Jesus' miracles is his healing of the lepers that appears in the first three Gospel accounts (Matthew 8,10,11 Mark 1, Luke 5,7,17). Leprosy meant something slightly different in biblical times than it does now. What we call leprosy is caused by Mycobacterium leprae, a bacillus discovered in 1868 by the Norwegian physician Gerhard Henrik Armauer Hansen. Â³HansenÂ¹s diseaseÂ² was known in New Testament times as elephas or elephantiasis. Ancient sara'at or lepra, on the other hand, covered several diseases, all of which involved an acute flaking or scaly skin condition - including psoriasis, eczema, fungus infections of the skin, (Crossan 1994) or pruritis. Cannabis oil, applied topically, has been known to bring relief to sufferers of all of these ailments, and is being used today by cannabis compassion clubs for this very purpose. Pruritis, an atopical dermatitis, has even been known to be relieved by smoking the healing herb (Grinspoon & Bakalar 1993)! Perhaps part of the action of cannabis in relieving skin conditions can be attributed to its impressive antibacterial effects, as demonstrated by a Czech study done in 1960 (Mikuriya 1971).
We read again in the Acts of Thomas, that "Thou holy oil given unto us for sanctification thou art the straightener of the crooked limbs," which is another miracle Jesus performed for the crippled. Cannabis was used for swelling and Â³loss of control of the lower limbsÂ² in ancient Babylon (Encyclopedia of Islam 1979); it was long used as an effective home remedy for rheumatism in South America, and for the same by Dr WB OÂ¹Shaughnessy (circa 1850); it was used until 1937 in Â³virtually all muscle ointments and [cystic] fibrosis poulticesÂ²(Herer, 1995). The epilepsy-like symptoms suffered by the boy that Jesus heals in Matthew 17:14-20, Mark 9:14-29, and Luke 9:37-43 would also have been massively relieved by cannabis, as would have MS and other seizure-producing illnesses, for which doctors today still prescribe the healing herb. JesusÂ¹ healing of the woman with chronic menstruation (Luke 8:43-48) could also have been effected with cannabis, which the US Dispensatory of 1854 lists as a remedy for Â³uterine hemorrhage.Â² Pointing to a more ancient knowledge, Ancient Assyrian texts also listed cannabis as part of the recipe for treatments against Â³female ailments,Â² and as an Â³anodyne used in menorrhagia and dysmenorrhoeaÂ²(Thompson 1924), illnesses characterized by excessive and reduced menstruation respectively