Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Star Shall Step Forth Out Of Jacob

Most researchers who are trying to solve the mystery of the origin of Magen David relate to the enigmatic verse in Numbers 24:17 "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel"` That’s why I thought it will be useful to collect a few sources which can shed light on this matter:

Shall step forth means rule, govern
Dr. Zvi Betzer says:
In Ugaritic the verb darakh appears in the sense of 'to rule, govern'.

Ayelet-Hashachar Hareuveni says :
the star is a shield in the shape of a star and the soldier stepped upon the part of the shield that was between two triangles and thus the shield had been stuck into the ground

Balaam is Laban the Aramean
Rabbi Shlomo Riskin says:
…the classic Targum (Aramaic interpretation) of Yonatan ben Uziel, identifies Balaam with none other than Laban the Aramean, uncle of Jacob-Israel

The star in the verse refer to King David
I see him but not now ((Num. 24:17), this refers to David; I behold him but not nigh (ibid.) this refers to King Messiah; A star shall step forth out of Jacob (ibid.) this refers to King David; A star shall step forth out of Jacob (ibid.), this refers to David; and a scepter shall rise out of Israel (ibid.) this refers to King Messiah…

Uri Ofir:
The first time in the Bible that reveals any connection between the word "star", the word "David" and the words "nation of Israel" is in Bilam's speech. When Bilam sees the nation of Israel he says:
"There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel" (Numbers 24:17). Rashi and Iben Ezra comment that Bilam's prediction is about King David. This is only a speculative connection that does not point on the shape of the Magen David (Star of David). The star in the verse refer to Bar Kochba
James Trimm says:
Bar Kosiba was renamed Bar Kochba (son of the star) and was declared the Messiah based on Num. 24:17.

The star in the verse refer to Jesus
Early Christians did believe Jesus was born under the Star because the prophecy of Balaam (Num. 24:17) said that the Messiah would be revealed by a regal Star.

An Emblem For All Peoples

Picture of Magen David among other religion's symbols  is courtesy of Eyal who has a cute Jewish Layout website

For each religion there is an emblem and when one wants to exhibit several such emblems on one picture what unites them is the picture, but actually, when you think about it deeply, the Star of David includes all these different emblems since it serves in the present Jews, Buddhists in India and in Nepal, and many cults and in the past it was also in the extensive use of Moslems and Christians. There is no other emblem that fits so much Isaiah’s vision in chapter 56:6-7

And the foreigners who join themselves to the LORD, ministering to him, Loving the name of the LORD, and becoming his servants-- All who keep the sabbath free from profanation and hold to my covenant,

Them I will bring to my holy mountain and make joyful in my house of prayer; Their holocausts and sacrifices will be acceptable on my altar, For my house shall be called A House Of Prayer For All Peoples.