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Aaron's Rod.

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by John D. Brey, Apr 17, 2021.

  1. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    In multiple threads over the last halve-decade or so the miraculous nature and power of Moses' rod (aka Nehushtan) have been thoroughly exegeted. Furthermore, the last few threads started here, this year, have dealt mostly with Moses' rod, God's right hand (as it were) from one vantage point or in one guise or disguise or another. As has been pointed out, and supported with citations from Jewish authorities, the sages are aware that in many cases the rod of Moses, and Aaron's rod, are often juxtaposed in the text so that it's not perfectly clear if they share the same rod, or have rods of their own.

    Adding complexity to the question is the fact that a Hebrew word for "rod" שבט, is also used for "tribe," as in the tribes of Israel/Jacob. In one of the most seminal passages in the Pentateuch, Moses has the head of each tribe שבט, bring their ruler's rod שבט, (or מטה) to be placed in the tabernacle to see whom the Lord will chose as the priestly tribe? As the text subsequently reveals, it's Aaron's rod that produces a basal-shoot, that buds asexually, from dry ground, from a dead stump, to produce fruit in the priestly-shape of the Mandola, or vesica piscis (the almond shape). (Rabbi Hirsch notes ---Bemidbar 17:17 --- that the tribes of Israel are called מטות, literally "branches," so that both "branches" מטות, and or a "staff" שבט represent tribes or a tribe.)

    While in the process of exegeting Ezekiel 20:37 for another study I came to realize a substantial nuance of the question concerning Moses' and Aaron's rods as these two rods relate to primogeniture in Genesis. Since the rods represent the tribes, and Moses and Aaron are both of the tribe of Levi, therefore the tribe, and staff, that, because it produces fruit asexually, clonally, becomes the symbol of the priesthood, the rod associated with the priesthood, would seemingly be a single staff since Moses and Aaron are both from the tribe of Levi, and seemingly should share the same staff? In all the other studies of Moses' rod it was supposed that Moses and Aaron shared the same rod or staff.



    John
     
    #1 John D. Brey, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
  2. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Why should the tribe of Levi get two staffs when every other tribe gets only one? And what's the relationship between Moses' and Aaron's staffs, since they're both --- Moses and Aaron ---from the tribe of Levi? Do they both represent the tribe of Levi? Or do they share one staff?

    Answering that question requires a deep understanding of Jewish primogeniture as revealed in the thread (quoted below) on that topic. Furthermore, relating the staffs to the tribes, and the tribes to primogeniture, reveals startlingly important nuances that even the author of the book of Hebrews (Hebrews 7:13) wasn't able to point out to his audience because of the dearth of knowledge of such things in his day:

    Judah is fancied Jacob's firstborn since Reuben (the actual firstborn) and Simeon (the second born) and Levi (the third born) are all disqualified through sin. Judah inherits the primogeniture of the firstborn of Jacob such that the line of Jews would be Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Judah, all of whom, one way or another, are consider to have inherited the primogeniture of God's promise to Abraham in the Abrahamic covenant (which passes through the firstborn until the birth of Judah). . . In this sense, there are twelve tribes of Israel (another name of Jacob), through his twelve sons, but only the tribe of Judah passes on the spiritual promise inherent in the Abrahamic covenant. The tribe of Judah is the true priestly tribe.

    Nevertheless, the Torah is full of surprises, seeming compromises, and paradoxes. . .Which is to say that there are two distinctive firstborn distinguished by whether you're your father's firstborn or you mother's first born and in most cases both. In Jewish law, the father's firstborn בכור לנחלה inherits, through law, a double portion of his father's possessions; while a firstborn of the mother ב׳ לכהן, the "womb-opener," inherits the covenant.​

    In Jewish primogeniture, there are two kinds of firstborn: the firstborn of the father, and the firstborn of the mother (which are usually one and the same). The father's firstborn inherits a double portion of the father's possessions, while the mother's firstborn (which must be a פטר רחם) inherits the spiritual element of the covenant, the priesthood. Nevertheless, a giant fiasco takes place in the earliest part of the primogeniture of the tribes of Judah/Israel that, far from being just an oddity, or something to be ignored by the exegete, quite the contrary, reverberates throughout the scripture turning the seeming fiasco into a passages into the deepest streams of divine revelation imaginable.



    John
     
    #2 John D. Brey, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  3. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Although Judah is the ad hoc firstborn of Jacob because of the disqualification of his three older brothers, to include Levi, nevertheless, Judah isn't his mother's firstborn (Reuben is) such that Judah isn't the פטר רחם (womb opener) required to inherit the priesthood.

    Someone thoroughly versed in the Tanakh might pipe up that since Judah can't inherit the priesthood since he's not a mother's firstborn פטר רחם, nevertheless, neither could Levi since he's Leah's third son even as Judah is her fourth?

    And yet it gets worse; and more complicated, if not even bizarre, if that were possible, since even though Jewish primogeniture passes the spiritual element of the covenant (priesthood) through the mother's firstborn, the "peter rechem" פטר רחם, not only is neither Judah, nor Levi, a "peter rechem" פטר רחם (a mother's "womb opener"), but, get this, neither is Abraham, Isaac, nor Jacob. None of the patriarchs open the womb of their mother since Abraham isn't his father or mother's firstborn, and Sarah's womb was opened long before Isaac's birth, while Jacob wasn't Rebecca's firstborn (that would be Esau).

    Making sense of all of this, nay, the fact that it can be made sense of, i.e., brought into not only a perfectly logical, but also brilliantly balanced symmetry, proves beyond any shadow of doubt that the Pentateuch's author was not mortal even as it shows that the Jewish sages who guarded all these secrets till they could be made sense of are not the faithful servants of fallible fables cleverly devised by mere men.



    John
     
    #3 John D. Brey, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  4. lostwanderingsoul

    lostwanderingsoul Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like a lot of trouble to try to find out why two men both have rods.
     
    • Funny Funny x 2
  5. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    On the contrary, it's like putting together the greatest puzzle there has ever been. And it's extremely enjoyable when you have great minds like Rashi, Ibn Ezra, Nachmanides, and the likes, right there straining with all their pronounced intellectual might to help you out.

    For instance, in the narrative of the rods (Numbers chapter 17) the Hebrew reads peculiarly in a number of places such that the sages pick up on it and wonder about it out loud. In verse 21 (6 in the KJV) the Hebrew text says to place Aaron's rod betwixt the 12 other rods. The Hebrew implies there are already 12 rods before Aaron's is placed between them.

    The sages try to makes sense of the Hebrew wording in a manner that wouldn't require there to be 13 staffs, knowing full well that the way the text is written implies that there are 13 not just 12. Ibn Ezra figures out that if there were two staffs for Joseph, through Ephriam and Manasseh, then Aaron's would be the 13th staff, therein making sense of the language that implies Aaron's was placed among the preexisting 12. In the same context, Nachmanides points out a giant piece of the puzzle by claiming that Aaron's rod, or staff, was, "about the tribe of Levi being chosen to replace the firstborn, not [specifically] about Aaron being chosen for the priesthood."

    A giant mystery revolves around Aaron's staff. Which if it's also Moses' staff, becomes key to unlocking parts of the Pentatuech that have been calcifying and turning into petrified wood, a stony branch if you will, for so many millennia that there's just barely still a beating heart beneath the heart of stone where the perfection תמים and light אורי have been imprisoned.

    Let's us free it and see what it has to say?



    John
     
    #5 John D. Brey, Apr 17, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2021
  6. URAVIP2ME

    URAVIP2ME Veteran Member

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    Yes, the 'rod' of Aaron represented the house of Levi, and Aaron was designated by God to hold priesthood office or authority - Exodus 29:9.

    At Exodus 7:9-12, Exodus 7:15, Exodus 7:17 indicates Aaron takes Moses' rod.
    So, it seems Moses' rod was used by Aaron as Moses' spokesman.
     
  7. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    There's reason to suspect there are in fact two rods here. And the nuances found in the Hebrew text to prove that, are hidden so well that we wouldn't be unwise to suspect some gem of immense value is nestled beneath the secret concerning whether there are two, or only one rod?

    The proof that there are two rods is impossible to discern in the English translation since it translates two Hebrew words with one English word showing how translation can obliterate the very spirit of the signature text.

    When Aaron throws his rod down before Pharaoh (Exodus 7:9-12) the Hebrew text says it turns into a tannin תנין (translated "serpent"). But then, when in Exodus 7:15, the text says for Moses to take the rod that turned into the "serpent," it uses a different Hebrew word for "serpent" than the one used to describe what Aaron's rod turned into (i.e., תנין "tannin"); the word God uses to describe what the rod Moses is to take with him formerly turned into isn't "tannin" תנין but "nachash" נחש.

    As fate would have it, when Moses is first told (Exodus 4:3) to throw his shepherd's rod to the ground, whence it turns to a "serpent," the word for "serpent" is nachash נחש not tannin תנין.

    A person following this can thus see that the text of scripture appears to hide an important nuance in the very story so that only those who are serious enough to first appreciate the puzzle, and then try to solve it, get access to the deeper things of the word of God. The way the narrative is written seems to imply that God is telling Moses to take Aaron's rod (which turned into the serpent תנין "tannin" before Pharaoh) when in fact nothing of the sort is being commanded of Moses: Moses is being told to take with him the rod that turned into the "nachash" נחש on the mountain in Exodus chapter 4.

    There's a reason why the existence of these two rods is hidden in the text. And that reason is the crux of the topic in the cross hairs of this examination.



    John
     
    #7 John D. Brey, Apr 18, 2021
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2021
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  8. John D. Brey

    John D. Brey Well-Known Member

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    Since the author of these narratives isn't mortal, every jot and tittle is not only important, but segues into a perfect whole if the key to the puzzle is known such that once we know that there are two rods, Moses' and Aaron's, we're keyed in to the fact that there's a fundamental distinction between the two rods. And whereas Aaron's rod is associated with a sea creature, a living organism, Levi-a-tan, a giant serpent/dragon, ala the Hebrew name תנין, on the other hand, the right, Moses' rod is associated with a metal; in this case "brass" נחש. The very name for Moses' serpent rod is the name of "brass."

    In Hebrew symbolism metal represents heaven while organic material represents earth and living things. Furthermore, there's a gradation of heavenly holiness associated with the gradation of the value of the metal. Gold represents God, brass the heavenly angelic priesthood, the seraphim, while silver represents the mediator between the two, the heavenly high priest, Samael ("guardian" שמר of "God" אל).

    Aaron's tannin תנין symbolizes a living, organic, priesthood, the levi-tical priesthood; the priesthood come from the tribe of Levi: the Levi-i-tan לויתן. His rod is Leviathan such that it swallows the priestly rods of Pharaoh's priests כשפ since the Leviathan is the largest of the living serpents.

    But Moses' rod is different in that, as we learn latter in the narrative, it is a wooden rod, like Aaron's, but it represents a divine priesthood, such that it is eventually given a foreskene of brass; it's a dry branch whose outer skene is made up of heavenly priests, the seraphim (the burning angels): a burning bush if you will.

    When Moses protests to God on Horeb that Israel won't believe God has appeared to him (Exodus 3) God turns Moses' rod into a portable burning bush: a wooden rod whose foliage is made up of burning heavenly priests, seraphim. Moses' rod, latter revealed as "Nehushtan" (heavenly-priest, brass-serpent) is a portable Mount Sinai that follows the tribes on their path to the Holy Land. Moses brings the burning bush with him in his right hand as Nehush-tan.



    John
     
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