THE HIDDEN STORY OF CANNABIS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
You have not brought any Kaneh (hex: cannabis/marijuana) for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences.
ISAIAH 43:23-24 - God reprimanding the Israelites
I really found this entire article on marijuana's usage in the bible to be excellent, aside from the overabundance of CAPS TEXT, sorry to be posting a couple chunks of it but unfortunately the author thought most quotes would look good in it. This article illustrates the usage of marijuana as both incense and a psychoactive substance, and some of the interplay between rival religions.
THEN GOD SAID, I GIVE YOU EVERY SEED-BEARING
PLANT ON THE FACE OF THE WHOLE
EARTH, AND EVERY TREE THAT
HAS FRUIT IN IT."
Those words seem straightforward enough, and yet cannabis and most other psychoactive medicine plants are outlawed in our society. Those who use these plant gat eways to other states of consciousness are jailed for doing so.
Ironically, the major force for continuing this plant prohibition is a group referred to as the Christian Right. They claim to believe in both the Bible and old Yahweh, yet Yahweh's opinion on the matter is stated quite clearly in the above quotation.
This article shows how the Old Testament Prophets were none other than ancient shamans, and that cannabis and other entheogens played a very prominent role in ancient Hebrew culture.
The world of the bible was much different from the stylized version that is often presented, the "Victor's History" so to speak. It was filled with many faiths, belief systems, and even different gods vying against each other in the village and town streets, and differences thru the countryside as well.
Of these five references to kaneh and kaneh-bosm, the first three have cannabis appear in Yahweh's favour, the fourth definitely in his disfavour, and the fifth on a list from a kingdom that had fallen from grace in the eyes of the Israelite God. One might wonder at the reason for these apparent contradictions, and the answer can be found within the story of the suppression of the cult of Ashera, or Astarte, the ancient Queen of Heaven.
In The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler explains this as follows:
There are of course some allusions to this in the Bible itself. The prophets Ezra, Hosea, Nehemiah, and Jeremiah constantly rail against the "abomination" of worshipping other gods. They are particularly outraged at those who still worship the "Queen of Heaven". And their greatest wrath is against the "unfaithfulness of the daughters of Jerusalem," who were understandably "backsliding" to beliefs in which all temporal and spiritual authority was not monopolized by men. But other than such occasional, and always pejorati ve, passages, there is no hint that there ever was - or could be - a deity that is not male.
The ties between cannabis and the Queen of Heaven are probably most apparent in Jeremiah 44, where the ancient patriarch seems to be concerned by the people's continuing worship of the Queen of Heaven, especially by the burning of incense in her honour.
Keep in mind the documented use of cannabis by the shamanistic Ashera priestesses of pre-reformation Jerusalem, who anointed their skins with cannabis mixtures as well as burning it as incense.
Some very interesting info tucked away in this article, especially on the Ark of the Covenant and The Book of the Law
Jeremiah's reference to the previous kings and princes that burned incense to the Queen of Heaven can be seen as referring to King Solomon, his son Rehoboam, and other Biblical kings and prophets.
Other key Biblical figures in the prohibition of cannabis use and the worship of the Queen of Heaven include King Hezekiah and his great-grandson Josiah.
II Kings 18:4 reports of Hezekiah that:
HE REMOVED THE HIGH PLACES, AND BRAKE THE IMAGES, AND CUT DOWN THE ASHERAS, AND BRAKE INTO PIECES THE BRAZEN SERPENT THAT MOSES HAD MADE; FOR UNTO THOSE DAYS THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID BURN INCENSE TO IT:
AND HE CALLED IT NEHUSHTAN.
BREAKING THE SERPENT
The interesting thing about this passage is that the Ark of the covenant does not contain the ten commandments of the law of Moses, rather it holds Nehushtan, a brass serpent. The serpent is a frequent component in early representations of the goddess.
The Bible reports that the kings before Hezekiah "set up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree; And there they burnt incense in all the high places..." (1Kings 17) So did the kings who reigned after Josiah, who was killed in battle in 609 BC. According to The Columbia History of the World, Josiah's defeat seems to have been taken as proof of the error of his ways... the later prophecies of Jeremiah and Ezekiel show polytheism back in practice."
A FORGED BOOK OF LAW
The Book of the Law, which makes up most of Deuteronomy and Leviticus, was used to prohibit the worship of the Goddess and instill the death penalty for the burning of incense. Although it was supposedly written by Moses, it was not discovered until some 600 years after Moses' death.
In Green Gold, Judy Osburn follows the suggestion that the Book of the Law may have been a forgery committed by the Hebrew priesthood with the hope of eradicating the competing temples and their deities, which were getting more sacrifices from the people than was the temple of Yahweh.
Osburn quotes Occidental Mythology by theologian Joseph Campbell, as stating that, before the discovery of the Book of the Law,
neither kings nor people had paid attention whatsoever to the law of Moses which, indeed, they had not even known. They had been devoted to the normal deities of the nuclear Near east, with all the usual cults...
Up until that time the Hebrew people worshiped in the old ways, practicing their cult in open places on peaks and hills and mountains, and even caves below.
The mysterious discovery of the Book of the Law took place during the reign of King Josiah. Once informed of the new regulations, Josiah's wrath against the incense burners was far harsher than that of his great-grandfather Hezekiah.
I hope you enjoyed my look at this subject, and that you can take the time to read the full article.