- Oct 2023
Jacob took the stone (ʼben) and “set it up as a pillar (massebah) and poured oil on the top of it” (Genesis 28:18). This standing stone was dedicated to Yahweh, therefore the use of a stone as a massebah was not forbidden.
Jacob's use of a stone as a massebah wasn't forbidden because it was dedicated to Yahweh.
There are several occasions where the massebah is not associated with pagan worship. When the massebah is associated with the worship of Yahweh, the massebah is accepted as a valid expression of commitment to Yahweh.
Massebah for worship of Yahweh: - Genesis 28:18 Jacob's pillow (https://hypothes.is/a/NF5p8Gx6Ee65Rg_J4tfaMQ)<br /> - Genesis 31:44-45 Jacob and Laban's covenant - Exodus 24:4 - Joshua 24:25-27
Absalom set up a massebah for himself as a memorial for he said, “‘I have no son to keep my name in remembrance’; he called the massebah by his own name” (2 Samuel 18:18).
Use of massebah for remembrance of a name...
Potentially used for other factors? translation? context?
See also: https://hypothes.is/a/oqgH4mx9Ee68_dMgihgD0A (Rachel's massebah in Genesis 35:19-20)
When Rachel died, Jacob set up a massebah at her grave; “it is the massebah of Rachel’s tomb, which is there to this day” (Genesis 35:19–20).
Use of a standing stone or massebah (pillar) to mark a grave in Genesis 35:19-20.
Certainly could have been other than to simply mark a location and may have been used to mark and remember the knowledge of Rachel as well as the family's experiences with Rachel, a practice which is still commonplace when visiting burial locations.
The only place in the Hebrew Bible where nasab is translated as a pillar is the case of Lot’s wife: “Lot’s wife looked back, and she thereupon turned into a pillar of salt” (Genesis 19:26). The Hebrew word nasab indicates that Lot’s wife was standing in place like a pillar.
The pillars or sacred stones were stones set apart for religious use. The word massebah comes from the Hebrew word nasab, a word which means “to stand.”
connect this to:
The helps whereof by this art memorative, they would prove to be as effectual, by these conceived fictions in the eye of the mind,12 as those we remember by the visible eye of the body, for example whereof say they, concerning the latter we read in the holy Scriptures of 12 stones, that were erected in the river Jordan in memory of the wonderful transpassage of the Israelites, Josh. 24.27.—The Memory Arts in Renaissance England by William E. Engel, Rory Loughnane, and Grant Williams
When the people of Israel crossed the Jordan, Joshua commanded the people to set up twelve stones which were taken from the Jordan River as a memorial celebrating that defining moment in the life of Israel, the entrance of the people into the land God had promised to their ancestors (Joshua 4:20). The purpose of those memorial stones was to remind future generations of how the people “crossed the Jordan River on dry ground” (Joshua 4:22).
Description of the arrangement? Circle? Further or suggested usage?
Link to Genesis 28:18: https://hypothes.is/a/NF5p8Gx6Ee65Rg_J4tfaMQ
When Jacob had a vision of God, he used a stone as a pillow, but after he woke up from his sleep, “he took the stone (ʼben) that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar (massebah) and poured oil on the top of it” (Genesis 28:18). That stone became a memorial of Jacob’s encounter with God.
There are two words in Hebrew that are associated with standing stones: the word ʼben and the word massebah.
Mariottini, Claude. “Standing Stones in the Old Testament.” Dr. Claude Mariottini - Professor of Old Testament (blog), September 20, 2021. https://claudemariottini.com/2021/09/20/standing-stones-in-the-old-testament/.
Commonplaces: standing stones in the Old Testament!
- Claude Mariottini
- memorial stones
- Genesis 35
- Doron Ben-Ami
- standing stones
- Old Testament
- bible translation
- Joshua 24:25-27
- pillar of salt
- stone circles
- talking rocks
- biblical stones
- Genesis 19
- stone memorials
- grave markers
- sacred stones
- 2 Kings 18:4
- Genesis 28
- 2 Kings 23:14
- archaeology of orality
- Exodus 23:24
- Exodus 24:4
- Joshua 4:20
- Elizabeth Berne DeGear
- Hosea 10:1
- Genesis 28:18
- Joshua 4
- orality and memory
- Genesis 31:44-45
- Lot's wife
- 2 Samuel 18
- what's good for the goose is good for the gander
- Dec 2022
The cult objects included five standing stones, two basalt altars, two pottery libation vessels and two portable shrines.
- Sep 2022
- Mar 2022
"Josiah smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles and covered the sites with human bones" (2 Kings 23:14, New International Version)
2 Kings 23:14 indicates that King Josiah cut down the Asherah poles as a monotheistic reform in the second half of the 7th century BCE.
Could these have have been in circles? Could they have been used as mnemonic devices?
link this to the idea of the standing stone found at Khirbet Qeiyafa.
Link this to my Ark of Covenant example.
Link to Stonehenge and other henge examples as well as other timber circles.
- Dec 2021
Already tens of thousands of years ago, one can find evidence ofobjects – very often precious stones, shells or other items ofadornment – being moved around over enormous distances. Oftenthese were just the sort of objects that anthropologists would laterfind being used as ‘primitive currencies’ all over the world.
Is it also possible that these items may have served the purpose of mnemonic devices as a means of transporting (otherwise invisible) information from one area or culture to another?
Can we build evidence for this from the archaeological record?
Relate this to the idea of expanding the traditional "land, labor, capital" theory of economics to include "information" as a basic building block
- land labor capital
- standing stones
- talking rocks
- moveable information
- mnemonic devices
- Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies
Worth delving into more deeply for additional sources and archaeological evidence.
But the stelae were also symbols of power and status, and were used for ancestor worship and rituals.
This is a good example of the default "ancestor worship" and "rituals" label on archeological finds of ancient peoples
What is the actual basis for assigning these labels? Is there any real evidence or is it just become the default in the literature.
Personally I'm building evidence towards a more comprehensive thesis for what these practices may have been used for.
- Nov 2021
New megaliths found in Jordan in various stages of construction which helped archaeologists suggest a method for their construction by carving the stones from the ground and then supporting them with smaller ones.
Worth checking to see if standing stones may have been found at these sites as well.
- Sep 2021
Ancient peoples frequently engaged in offloading their mental contents and augmenting their brainpower with external resources, as evidenced by objects they left behind. Sumerians employed clay tokens to keep track of livestock and other goods when trading; Incas tied knots in long cords, called quipus, to memorialize events; administrators and merchants across a broad swath of the ancient world used abacuses and counting boards.
Interesting to see these examples of mnemonic devices referenced here.
One could certainly add standing stones, stone circles, etc. to the list.
- Apr 2021
In 2019, an unusually dry summer caused the waters of the Valdecañas Reservoir to recede, revealing a monument that has come to be referred to as the “Spanish Stonehenge.” NASA satellites captured images of the exposed stones known as the Dolmen of Guadalperal, which experts suspect may have been built sometime in the second or third millennium BCE.
Might be worth looking this up to see how it might or might not relate to pre-Celtic migration patterns as they relate to other standing stones in the Celtic and Celtic fringe areas.
Sad that the markings are wearing away in addition to making studying the area much more difficult.