Urim and Thummim

About twenty years ago, in my forties, I read through the Bible. It made great sense—the history of the rise and fall of a great nation. The last part didn’t seem to belong at all; crossing from Old Testament to New Testament was a severe culture shock.

I was—am—fascinated by oddities, like the dress code for priests (linen drawers compulsory) and the forms for offering meat sacrifices: what is the difference between a wave offering and a heave offering?

One piece of priestly dress code was a pocket for the Urim and Thummim. Like most things, these were mentioned without explanation, but all I could read up suggested that they were stones used for divination. That makes religion simple enough to comprehend; the will of God is found by the properly chosen and anointed person throwing the holy dice. The Tibetan Buddhists have their equivalent if more colourful procedure: a chosen person interprets  another chosen person’s trance-induced ramblings.

Curiously, there is no certainty about the exact form of the Urim and Thummim. They seem to have been lost, or their use died out, during the captivity in Babylon, 2500 years ago.

Like everything else, religions, even the longest-lasting and apparently most monolithic,  change over time. Judaism itself appears in the Bible as the reformation of previous religious institutions, through several stages.

8 Responses to “Urim and Thummim”

  1. samwell Says:

    is a wave offering when you say goodbye to the meat and a heave offering when you say hello to it again?

  2. recumbentman Says:

    Sounds right!

  3. malo Says:

    do I feel a song coming on? (maybe I should roll the old Urim and Thummim to check) – or perhaps it’s a Limerick

  4. malo Says:

    no it was a song alright. well underway now, and according to F it’s “at least as good as Honey Pie…(!)”

  5. samwell Says:

    hey! it’s saturday…. where be blogs?

  6. samwell Says:

    oh it’s sunday, ahem, where be blogs?

  7. samwell Says:

    it’s still saturday here….

    i’ll leave it at that.

  8. recumbentman Says:

    Busy busy busy, and then couldn’t decide on a topic. Coming up soon to a screen near you, Walking Miss Lily

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