Keneh bosem - Exodus 30:23

" The Holy Anointing Oil

In 1936, a little known Polish Professor, Sara Benetowa (later Sula Benet), did extensive etymological research, showing that both the Aramaic and Hebrew versions of the Old Testament contained references to cannabis as a fiber for rope and cloth, as well as an incense. But most pre-eminently, hemp was the active ingredient in the Holy anointing oil of the ancient Hebrews, a practice likely adopted alongside with their god, from the earlier cult of Dagon/Ea/Enki/Oannes. Referring to the Hebrew word Q'aneh-Bosm (also translated Kaneh-Bosm, and Kineboisin), Benet stated in a later essay;

"The sacred character or Hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22- 23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp. Anointing set sacred things apart from secular. The anointment of sacred objects was an ancient tradition in Israel; holy oil was not to be used for secular purposes... above all, the anointing oil was used for the installation rites of all Hebrew kings and priests." (Benet, 1975)

The book of Exodus records the event of Moses receiving the instructions for making and distributing the hemp enriched holy oil, in the most auspicious tones.

Then the Lord said to Moses, "Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of q'aneh-bosm, 500 shekels of cassia-- all according to the sanctuary shekel-- and a hind of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil. Then use it to anoint the Tent of the Meeting, the art of the Testimony, the table and all its articles, the lampstand [sic] and its accessories, the alter of incense, the alter of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. You shall consecrate them so that they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.
Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so they may serve me as priests. Say to the Israelites, "This is to be my sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. Do not pour it on men's bodies and do not make any oil with the same formula. It is sacred, and you are to consider it sacred. Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people." (Exodus 30: 22-23)

As one shekel equals approximately 16.37 grams, this means that the THC of over 9 pounds of flowering cannabis tops, were extracted into a hind, about 6.5 liters of oil. The entheogenic effects of such a solution, even when applied topically would undoubtedly have been intense. Only those who have been "dedicated by the anointing oil of God" (Leviticus 21:20) were permitted to act as priests...

"Around 1980, etymologists at Hebrew University in Jerusalem confirmed that cannabis is mentioned in the Bible by name, Kineboisin (also spelled Kannabosm) in a list of measured ingredients for 'an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of apothecary' to be smeared on the head. The word was mistranslated in King James version as 'calamus' " (Latimer, 1988)

This etymological research was confirmed again that same year by Weston La Barre, who noted that "the term kanebosm occurs as early as both the Aramaic and the Hebrew versions of the Old Testament, hemp being used for rope in Solomon's temple and in priestly robes, as well as ... carried in Biblical caravans". (La Barre, 1980)

- pp. 70 - 72, Sex, Drugs, Violence and the Bible by Chris Bennett and Neil McQueen (2007)

Related Reading:

Keneh bosem - Exodus 30:23
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