The Anointed Stone …
Fallout from Bethel?
NOTE: This blog is not in the usual vein that I write, but I am sharing this due to its connection to what we have been sharing the last number of blogs focussing on Jacob’s experience at Luz/Bethel. This blog contains conjecture and legend but is worthy of consideration due to its connection across the millennia to events in 2022. It also is significantly longer. I look forward to your comments.
“ So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it. He called the name of that place Bethel, but the name of the city was Luz at the first.…and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God's house. And of all that you give me I will give a full tenth to you.” (Genesis 28:18, 22)
This dedicatory action of Jacob appears to have a significance beyond a mere splash of olive oil on one of many rocks along the pathway he was travelling. This rock became a pillar by setting it upright to stand out from the surrounding terrain. It became a recognized marker for all who passed by.
Scripture has some allusions to pillars associated with royalty which cause one to wonder if there is some connection we miss.
Hidden within the intriguing battle between good and evil within the monarchy of Israel, we have the account of the attempt at eradication of the Godly line of kings by the Ba’al serving Queen Athaliah. (2 Kings 11, 1 Chronicles 24) She “is the only woman in the Hebrew Bible reported as having reigned as a monarch within Israel/Judah. After her son’s brief rule, she kills the remaining members of the dynasty and reigns for six years, when she is overthrown.”
Behind the scenes, the priests orchestrate the preservation of the Davidic line through Jehoash. (2 Kings 11) But included in that account there is an easily overlooked statement about his coronation which bears a similarity to Jacob’s action. “And when she [Athaliah] looked, there was the king [Jehoash] standing by the pillar, according to the custom, …”
Before we race on towards the conclusion of the story, what was “the pillar” which had become a customary association with the kings? Could it have been the oil-anointed pillar of Jacob?
In a second version of the same royal account, in 2 Chronicles 23:13 we read, “And when she looked, there was the king standing by his pillar at the entrance,…”. It seems that there is an intimate connection between the pillar, a king’s authority and the Temple where the pillar was located.
King Josiah is remembered for his reforms within the religious sphere in Judah. While he was king, some ancient documents were found which he read to the people, “And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book.” (2 Kings 23:3)
Did you catch that? Here, again, is that mention of a covenantal ceremony conducted by a King associated with the pillar.
But let’s digress for a moment and return to Jacob, two decades, 12 children later, flocks beyond number while in Paddan-Aram, and he is returning to The Land. He is instructed by God to leave where he has been for many years, and return to Bethel - “God said to Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there. Make an altar there to the God who appeared to you when you fled from your brother Esau.” (Genesis 35:1)
This was a place of interface with God in such a special way that Jacob had been motivated to anoint the pillow rock with oil. God had promised to be within him until he returned and now was that time.
Not only is this a re-naming ceremony from Jacob to Israel, a Godly blessing, but an additional dimension is added to the Godly promise -
“And God said to him,
“I am God Almighty (El Shaddai - the same title used in Jacob’s first encounter):
be fruitful and multiply. (Same command as in the first visit)
A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, (new insight)
and kings shall come from your own body. (New insight!)
The land that I gave to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.” (Previously implied) (Genesis 35:11, 12)
But we are not finished with the parallels just yet. The account continues:
“And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where he had spoken with him, a pillar of stone. He poured out a drink offering on it and poured oil on it.”
There is a literary technique referred to as an inclusio - like giant brackets around a portion of text signifying its being set apart from the rest of the larger account. The mention of the same type of event or use of text before and after appear like signposts to alert the reader to look at the entirety enclosed between the similar mentions.
When Jacob is leaving for Paddan-Aram the issue of anointing a pillar of stone is present and repeated here on his return from P-A. I would suggest that this is an added emphasis on this particular action and could be combined with the new revelation of nations and kings being part of his progeny.
Can we connect the dots? Could this be the time when Jacob took the first pillar with him to be a constant reminder of the covenant, vision and vows associated with Bethel?
Although not part of the biblical narrative, is it plausible “the pillar”, which we have seen associated with royalty could have been under the guardianship of Judah after Jacob’s death?
The next question we wish to address is where this Stone of Destiny, this Pillar of Jacob went after being used at the coronation of the Israelite kings. Here we get into some of the legend material and I admit this is not Scriptural, but worth some consideration due to what follows in its actual use centuries later.
There is a long history of the use of a special stone in association with coronations in Ireland, Scotland and England. It is suggested that this stone is none other than the pillar which Jacob anointed. Below are three links for further study since I do not want to include those details in this blog.
We can legitimately ask the question of how this pillar/stone made its way to the British Isles. Again, we add only a teaser for your thought:
“… about 1,100 years after Jacob originally had his dream in a cave near Bethel, the Stone had made its way through all of Israel's times of turmoil and Zedekiah was ruling upon it in Jerusalem. At that point, because of the obstinate ways of the Israelites and their refusal to keep The Covenant God sent the Babylonian forces to attack and destroy the House of Judah (Israel) and leave all of Jerusalem in ruins. During this siege and conquering, Jeremiah the Bible Prophet hid The Stone, along with The Ark of the Covenant and other Israelite relics until it was safe to whisk them away to safety. With these treasures in possession, Jeremiah also brought with him Zedekiah's daughters, the youngest of which was Teia Tephi who would be the continuation of the bloodline as God promised to king David centuries prior.
When escaping from Jerusalem, the royal party took The Stone and Ark and traveled to Tanis, Egypt where they stayed safely for a few years. Eventually, Jeremiah was warned by God that Tanis was no longer safe so he took Teia Tephi and the treasures towards Gibraltar, making brief stops along the way. After spending five months in Gibraltar, the group set off northward, stopping at Breogan in Spain and then eventually landing at Mara-Zion in Cornwall [England].
At that point, the ruler of Cornwall at the time was a man named Elatha who helped Jeremiah and Teia Tephi towards what would be their final destination - Ireland.” Source: https://mtrial.org/030409-stone-destiny-and-end-new-world-order
Further substantiating this perspective we have:
“Setting aside myth and legend, established Irish history indicates that Jeremiah visited Ireland several years after the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon. In his company were Tephi, heiress to the Davidic throne, and Baruch, the prophet’s personal assistant and scribe. He also brought several significant items to the Isles—including a stone the Irish Israelites subsequently named Lia-Fail or “Stone of Destiny.” According to E. Raymond Capt, this is all verified in the annals of Ireland. “Many of the ancient Irish records, when making reference to an ‘eastern king’s daughter,’ also mention an old man; ‘a patriarch, a saint, a prophet,’ called ‘Ollam Fodhla,’ and his scribe-companion called ‘Simon Brug, Brach, Breack, Barech, Berach,’ as it is variously spelled [in the accounts]. Reportedly, they carried with them many ancient relics. Among these were a harp, an ark or chest, and a stone called, in Gaelic, ‘Lia-Fail’ (pronounced Leeah-Fail), meaning ‘Stone of Fate’ or ‘Hoary of Destiny.’” Cited: https://www.cbcg.org/booklets/america-britain/appendix-5-jacob-s-pillow-stone-the-prophetic-stone-of-destiny.html
Adding to the mystery there is some scientific evidence which may be important.
“I am only aware of two scientific attempts to determine the origin of the stone. The first was by Professor Totten of Yale University. In response to suggestions that it had come from a local quarry, he issued the statement:, "The analysis of the stone shows that there are absolutely no quarries in Scone or Iona wherefrom a block so constituted could possibly have come, nor yet from Tara.
The second study was done by Professor Odlum, who was a geologist and professor of theology at Ontario University. He made microscopic examinations of the stone, comparing it to quarries in both Scotland and Ireland, and found it dissimilar to stones from those areas. He became intrigued with the idea of that it might really be the stone of Jacob. That hypothesis could be tested scientifically by searching to see if a similar type of rock is found near Bethel, where Jacob found his stone. After considerable searching he found some strata rather high near a cliff that had exactly the type of composition he was looking for. He chipped off a piece and later performed microscopic tests. He concluded that his sample "matched perfectly" with the coronation stone.” Source: https://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2003/throne.html
So we have the biblical evidence with Jacob’s double experience with pillars and anointing them, some “historical evidence” which may be plausible, and some scientific evidence which seems supportive.
We add only some practical evidence of coronations among British royalty.
“There is a strong tradition that the British royal line is the continuation of the throne of King David of the ancient "United Kingdom" of Israel and Judah. An examination of the genealogies of those kings clearly shows their descent from that royal line.” Source: https://www.johnpratt.com/items/docs/lds/meridian/2003/throne.html
As I stated at the beginning, this is not my usual form of writing but this possible biblical connection with current royalty is worth further study, if for no other reason, that to see if the conjecture is proven correct in some future context.
Enjoy your own research!
RESOURCES for further consideration: