BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Water from a Walking Rock

What does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 10:4?

“… For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
—1 Corinthians 10:4

walking-rock

A WALKING ROCK IN THE DESERT. A walking rock, sailing stone, moving rock or sliding rock are all names for a rock that moves along a smooth valley floor without the assistance of humans or animals. What does Paul mean in the Bible when he talks about the “spiritual rock that followed” the Israelites during their wanderings in the wilderness? Is he talking about a walking rock? No—the natural phenomenon of a walking rock is very different than the miraculous water-giving rock mentioned in 1 Corinthians 10:4. Photo: Lgcharlot’s is licensed under CC-by-SA-4.0

What does Paul mean in the Bible when he says that the Israelites drank “from the spiritual rock that followed them” during their wanderings in the wilderness?

Paul makes this claim—in 1 Corinthians 10:4—while recounting how the Israelites were sustained in the wilderness after their dramatic Exodus from Egypt before they entered the Promised Land. They “all ate the same spiritual food” and “drank the same spiritual drink” (1 Corinthians 10:3–4).

Those familiar with the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) might stop and wonder: What does Paul mean? In the Bible, it says that the Israelites miraculously received water from a rock two times (Exodus 17:1–7 and Numbers 20:1–14). Both times Moses hit the rock, which then produced water, but the text never claims that the Israelites were followed by a water-giving rock. Therefore, what does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 10:4?

John Byron examines this passage in his Biblical Views column “Paul, Jesus and the Rolling Stone” in the September/October 2015 issue of BAR.

Byron notes that, interestingly, Paul is not the only person to suggest that the Israelites were followed by a water source during their wilderness wanderings. A first-century C.E. source called Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities makes a similar claim: “But as for his own people, he led them forth into the wilderness: Forty years did he rain bread from heaven for them, and he brought them quails from the sea, and a well of water following them” (10.7).


In the free eBook Paul: Jewish Law and Early Christianity, learn about the cultural contexts for the theology of Paul and how Jewish traditions and law extended into early Christianity through Paul’s dual roles as a Christian missionary and a Pharisee.


 

sanzio-moses

MOSES HIT THE ROCK, and water gushed forth—as depicted in this fresco by Raphael Sanzio. Did a water-giving rock follow the Israelites through the wilderness? If not, what does Paul mean in 1 Corinthians 10:4?

Pseudo-Philo claims that a well of water followed the Israelites through the wilderness, whereas in 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul says that it was a rock that followed them. How did these two ancient interpreters come to their conclusions?

“What they seem to have concluded,” Byron explains, “is that since Moses named both the rock at Rephidim (Exodus 17:7) and the one at Kadesh (Numbers 20:13) ‘Meribah,’ the logical conclusion was that both were one and the same rock and that it, therefore, must have accompanied Israel on their journey.”

1 Corinthians 10:4 reflects a common ancient interpretation—that the Israelites were followed by a water source during their wilderness wanderings, which is demonstrated by Paul’s casual reference and supported by Pseudo-Philo.

In the passage, Paul makes a second unusual claim: The rock that followed the Israelites through the wilderness was Christ.

How should we respond to these two claims? Was Paul speaking literally or figuratively?

“At the end of the day it’s unclear whether Paul really thought the rock followed Israel in the desert,” Byron says. “Most ancient and modern commentators assume that Paul is reading Israel’s story typologically rather than suggesting that Jesus was present with Israel in the wilderness in the form of a movable water source.”

To see John Byron’s full explanation of 1 Corinthians 10:4, read his column “Paul, Jesus and the Rolling Stone” in the September/October 2015 issue of BAR.

——————

BAS Library Members: Read the full Biblical Views column “Paul, Jesus and the Rolling Stone” by John Byron in the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.

Not a BAS Library member yet? Join the BAS Library today.


This Bible History Daily feature was originally published on September 7, 2015.


 

More on the Exodus in Bible History Daily:

Exodus in the Bible and the Egyptian Plagues

Who Was Moses? Was He More than an Exodus Hero?

Out of Egypt: Israel’s Exodus Between Text and Memory, History and Imagination

Searching for Biblical Mt. Sinai


 


29 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    1 Cor 10: 4 says plainly that the rock was Christ and that it was spiritual. Jesus said that we live by every word that proceeds from the mouth Of the living God and his words are spirit and life. Could it be that Christ was with the Israelites speaking to them the words of life, the words of God and which include the Ten Commandments as well as the levitical laws?. Could it also be that he spoke many other things to them that are not recorded. Moses and his aide Joshua son of Nun Exodus 33: 11

  2. Paul says:

    Jesus is the only God that man has ever dealt with. I hope this edifies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGmDmPsvJ4U

  3. Paul Ballotta says:

    Hatshepsut was given a royal coronation no different than the male possessors of the title Pharaoh (Great House) and she also is purified in a ritual involving two gods. In this instance, Amon and Khonsu, each pouring water over the soon-to-be god incarnate king. In her temple at Deir el-Bahri these words were recited during the second purification ritual in which the queen is led away by the god Kheseti:
    “Leading the way to enter the ‘Great House’ (by) the ‘Pillar of his Mother’ (a priestly title) of the ‘Great House’ (for the) purification of ‘Great House.'”
    At the completion of the coronation the god Horus says “Thou hast established thy dignity as king, and appeared upon the Horus-Throne” (“Ancient Records of Egypt, vol.2, by James Henry Breasted, pp. 99-100).
    Thus does the pharaoh become the god-incarnate “Living Horus,” and thus was the meaning of the argument, “Its Jehovah in our midst or not?” (Exodus 17:7).

  4. Paul Ballotta says:

    That is, the star-studded night (?).

  5. Paul Ballotta says:

    The connection between the word “hokhmah” or wisdom and the title of “huk” which is a type of priest doesn’t pan out so good when you consider that ‘”hokhmah” is actually “chokhmah” with the letter ‘chet’ and not ‘heh,’ though the expositors of the book of Zohar tend to overlook such differences. The phrase “strike rock” in Psalm 78.20, or “hikkah tsur” is probably our best clue of the tradition of “hekau” found in this work that was written after the conquest of Northern Israel by the Assyrians in the late 8th century B.C.E.
    The word “tsur’ means ” rock, cliff wall” and the likliest candidate would be the Valley of the Kings where the pharaohs were interred. The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 17:6, “I will be standing before you there upon the rock (tsur) in Horeb.” This being in the western Sinai this is not to be confused with Mount Horeb in Midian (northern Arabia) and so the name could be derived from the god Horus, The Israelites were headed in the direction of the torquois mine at Serabit el-Khadim, where there was a sanctuary of the goddess Hathor whose name is comprised of the word for house (het) and the name of Horus (Heru) and this was very sncient, dating to a time when Horus was a sun god and the name Hathor originally referred to the portion of the sky in the east where Horus had domain.
    “Upon the rock in Horeb” could refer to the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Hatshepsut behind which is a cliff wall where the western sky rests upon (the Lord standing upon the rock) an her temple was dedicated to Hathor (House of Horus, hinted at in the name Horeb where the letter ‘bet’ also means house, in keeping with Zohatic interpretations) and the goddess represents the start stirred night sky as well.

  6. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction; Genesis 1:27

  7. Paul Ballotta says:

    As you can tell I’ve haven’t had any formal schooling in this field but it was ever since that nice lady at the little radical bookstore in a brownstone neighborhood of Brooklyn who let me browse and Budge’s “Egyptian Magic” revealed to me the concept of “hekau” or “words of power,” it has been an obsession of mine. This theory thst I borrowed from past thinkers has brought me to the concept from the Gnostics and Kabbalists concerning the eternal Father and Mother expressed as “Yahweh and his Asherah” in the 8th century B.C.E., who constitutef the first two letters of the tetragramaton; YHVH. I’m reminded of the “Matrix” films in which a computerized reality simulator was ultimately a creation of s man and a woman who were the original programmers of this Mega-computer like the inescapable truth of God being both male and female in Genesis 1:28.

  8. Paul Ballotta says:

    An alternative account of the water from the rock comes from Psalm 78:20 where it is God who performs the miracle, “Behold, (He) struck (the) rock.” Here the Hebrew is “hikkah tsur,” and again as I noted previously, this word ‘huk” has significance,, though I was incorrect about its meaning being “great medicine man,” the term “huk” is an unknown title bestowed on Hesy-Ra that designates a priestly office:
    “In the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus, every medicine man is a priest of Sekhmet, the lioness-goddess wife of Ptah, just as Hesy, here the great medicine man, is ” HK” (unknown title) of the lioness-goddess Mehyt, wife of Onuris” (Sacred Science, p.143).
    In the interpretations from the mystical book of Zohar, which vary at times, the water that issues forth derives ultimately from the source of God’s primordial attribute of “wisdom” (hokhmah) and the rock that was struck symbolized the physical universe which is as diversified as the galaxies expanding away from one another in the attribute of “understanding” (binah), thus alluded to in Proverbs 3:19; “Jehovah founded the earth by wisdom; He established the heavens by understanding,”
    Wisdom/hokhmah is identified with the past and understanding/binah is the future and referred to as “the world to come,” making the tombs of the Egyptian royal elite decorated with scenes of the afterlife a likely symbol for “the world to come.”
    In a tomb from the early dynastic period at Hieraconopolis, we have what is known as the painted tomb (#100), which has the first known wall mural depicting a scene with boats on the Nile (Moses is instructed to take in his hand the staff used to strike the Nile and strike the rock in Exodus 17:5-6, a subtle connection to the past) and the artists who were commissioned to decorate the tombs were formerly pottery painters:
    “From this point on, pottery decoration declined rapidly as the professional craftsmen of the day turned their attention to decorating the palaces an tombs of an emerging aristocracy,. Artistic energies that had once been devoted to producing fancy containers that would capture local trade markets in the Early Gerzean period, now came to be dominated by the interests of the same local magnates who would soon unite Egypt by force of arms” (‘Egypt Before the Pharaohs” by Michael A. Hoffman, p.133).

  9. Paul Ballotta says:

    For centuries prior to the unification of Egypt the merchantile city of Maadi in Lower Egypt had the monopoly on copper while Upper Egypt was mostly without copper, though the elites left in their tombs tokens of affection the likes of which could be compared to owning the pearl-handled pistol of General Patton. Then under the unifier Narmer and his sucessors at Hieraconopolis the priveledged class from the south usurped the position of this commercial hub with ties to the Negev and Sinai desert that facilitated trade in copper and mineral and the route that went east to Arad and on to Susa and beyond.
    Beersheba (home of the Patriarchs) was also a commercial hub with three satellite cities nearby producing copper, jewel and ivory goodd for the marketplace and they preserved food products in cellars under the houses and the same storage rooms were found at Maadi (whose name is similar to the concept of the “Ma’ad” in Islamic eschatology that means “return,” not to be confused with the ‘Maadi,” the reincarnation of the 12th Imam whose face will be covered with moles, or “Mad T.V.; Steven Seagal Voting”).

  10. Paul Ballotta says:

    Along with the iconic image of the symbols of the intertwined branches of the papyrus and the water lily, representing lower and upper Egypt respectively, we have an account brought to light from the restored Old Kingdom text known as “The Theology of Memphis’ and restored by Pharaoh Shabaka in the late 8th century B.C.E. (and whose brother that he was succeeded by, Shabacto, listed as the fifth son of Cush in Genesis 10:7) and in this earlier account the symbols of upper and lower Egypt are the reed and the papyrus, perhaps suggesting that since these plants were used as materials for scribes, that there were formal diplomatic relations between the newer pyramid-builders of Lower Egypt and the older Upper Egypt which before unification included northern Nubia.
    The word ” nesw.t” in Egyptian meant “king of upper Egypt” and it is akin to the title of prince, “nesu,” in Hebrew (Genesis 23:6), and the Sumerian “ensi,” which was a ruler whose authority derived from the city’s local temple deity.
    “The title ‘nesu-bit’ has often been translated as ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’, but it actually has a much more complex and significant meaning. ‘Nesu’ seems to be intended to refer to the unchanging divine king (almost the kingship itself), while the word ‘bit’ describes the current ephemeral holder of the kingship; the one individual king in power at a specific time. Each king was, therefore, a combination of the divine and the mortal, the ‘nesu’ and the ‘bit’, in the same way that the living king was linked with Horus, and the dead kings, the royal ancestors, were associated with Horus’ father Osiris. It was primarily because of the Egyptian’s sense of each of their kings as incarnations of Horus and Osiris that the tradition of the worship of divine royal ancestors developed.” (“The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt” by Ian Shaw, p.9)

  11. Paul Ballotta says:

    Yes, the quiet little bearded gnome with the pointy hat stands in starlk contrast with the mighty hunter types portrayed on a prehistoric palette from Hieraconopolis who are shirtless and wearing kilts, engaged in hunting various animals including lions. They look like the actor Steven Seagal in his tough-guy roles:
    “The personages wear the ritual (pony) tail, a characteristic of the Pharaoh.” (“Sacred Science” p.112)

  12. Paul Ballotta says:

    I should have used the word “Nome” which is the designation of an established cult center such as the seat of the god Horus being in Hieraconopolis and is therefore not a “gnome,” the inconspicuous lawn ornament staring out from under a bush.

  13. Paul Ballotta says:

    Good observance, Brent, abour the reference to Exodus 14:19-20, and so the pursuing Egyptian forces are left in the dark, thus symbolizing the vanguard of the god of darkness, Set. The Israelites being liberated as a nation are the forces of the god of light, Horus, known from the Pharaoh’s first of a five-fold title as the Livivg Horus. Since prehistoric times the city of Hierakonopolis which the first pharaoh Narmer used as a springboard to expand his power into Lower Egypt and eastward into Negev and Sinai desert, along with the god Horus as his battle standard (thus giving him divine approval ‘like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Jehovah,” Genesis 10:9) and who benefitted from the gnome of the city of Horus’s position in Upper Egypt along the desert routes to mineral-rich areas. The reference to “the way of the land of the Philistines” in Exodus 14:17 was known as “the way of Horus” probably named so by Pharaoh Narmer and “the followers of Horus” who established s presence in what became known to us as ‘the way of the wilderness of the Sea of Reeds” in the western wilderness of Sinai,(Exodus 13:18).

  14. Brent Dawes says:

    The Bible shouldn’t be taken literally in this case. There wasn’t an actual moving water source following the Israelites. The Bible specifically tells us when and where they received water during the Exodus and it actually tells us what and who the spiritual rock was. The Israelites were guided by the Lord on their journey. Exodus 13:20-22 “So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” The spiritual rock was and is Christ in the form of the Angel of the Lord. Exodus 14:19-20 “And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Thus the spiritual Rock is the Rock of Ages which was present during the Exodus and will be again in the final days.

  15. Paul Ballotta says:

    As for commentator Ronald #11’s reference to Moses stealing the Ark of the Covenant is not so farfetched as it sounds when you consider the site of Tel el-Arad which had a sanctuary in King David’s time and like the Jerusalem sculpted guardian cherub figures adorning the Ark in the Holy of Holies are the 2 standing stones that are thought to be representative of Yahweh and his consort, the goddess Asherah.
    At an earlier time, when the unification of upper and lower Egypt under Narmer @ 3100 B.C.E. began along with their state-run monopoly on the copper and turqoise mines in the Sinai desert, the site of Arad was apparently under Egyptian control as we have the “serek” (the king’s name written within the shape of a falcon, the god Horus) of the first pharaoh, Narmer, whose name is an ideogram of a fish snd a chisel.
    Then you have this story about Moses in the Koran where he and an traveling aid journey in search of the conjunction of the two seas and they are ultimately led to a mysterious sage by a fish “which took its course through the sea as in a tunnel” (Koran 18:61).

  16. Paul Ballotta says:

    The Pharaoh Pepi or Phipps was from the 6th dynasty, not the 3rd.
    The theory of a medicine man’s “waters” is not so farfetchd after all, considering that the figure of the 12th century author Moses Maimonides is similar to the status of the “great medicine man” Hesy-Ra. While working long days as KIng Saladin’s personal physician in Egypt he wrote “The Guide for the Perplexed” in which he states in the introduction:
    “Having spoken of similes, I proceed to make the following remark: – The key to the understanding and to the full comprehension of all that the Prophets have said is found in the knowledge of the figures, their general ideas, and the meaning of each word they contain. You know the verse: –
    ‘I have also spoken in similes by Prophets’ (Hosea xii 10); and also that verse, ‘Put forth a riddle and speak a parable’ (Ezekiel xvii. 2). And because the Prophets continually employ figures, Ezekiel said, ‘Does He not speak in parables?’ (xxi. 5). Again, Solomon begins his book of Proverbs with the words, ‘To understand a proverb and figurative speech, the words of the wise and their dark sayings’ (Prov. I 6); and we read in Midrash, ‘Shir-ha-shirim Rabba, I 1); ‘To what were the words of the Law to be compared before the time of Solomon? To a well the waters of which are at a great depth, and though cool and fresh, yet no man could drink of them. A clever man joined cord with cord, rope with rope, and drew up and drank. So Solomon went from figure to figure, and from subject to subject, till he obtained the true sense of the Law’ So far go the words of our sages” (“Moses Maimonides; The Guide for the Perplexed” by M. Friedlander, PH.D., Dover Books, p.5-6).

  17. Paul Ballotta says:

    I should clarify my previous comment by pointing out the Egyptian word for magic was “hekau,” which means “words of power,” and was invoked when harnessing the power of a god (s). The Egyptian word for medicine man was ‘huk,” that is similar to the Hebrew word “hoq,’ meaning, ” to carve,” and it is from this which yhe Hebrew word for wisdom is derived.
    As for the word “hokhmayim,” or “wise men,” it seems to me that it is composed of 2 words with the 1st being the Egyptian, “huk’ (medicine man) and the Semitic ” mayim” (water), just as the word for “Memphis'” is composed of two words, the word for water, “mem” and ,”Phiops,” the name used for the 3rd dynasty king Pepi.
    Among the accounts of magical acts set in the time of the 4th dynasty is a sage who can re-attach severed heads, something that had yet only been achieved in fictional works like “Frankenstein.”

  18. Paul Ballotta says:

    I erred when stating that Hesy’s stela was found iin Djoser’s pyramid. However, the symbol for carpenter, the axe appears over Hesy which affiliates him with the masons who built the pyramids.
    Hesy’s title of medicine man is “hk,” which is also the the term for magic, “huk,” from which the Hebrew “hokhmah,” or wisdom is derived. Thus the presence of “hokhmayim” or wise men in Pharaoh’s court in Exodus 7:11.

  19. ronald patrick marriott says:

    Moses stole the Ark of the covenant which had a staff used with it. He struck the ground and produced water. The Ark of the covenant had God’s energy stored in it from the Pyramid. This quote is relatively simple. I don’t believe that the Egyptian society would have slaves unless they were captured during attacks.

  20. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Hesy, whose name (written with the dual form of the purification-vase ‘hs’) means ‘twice blessed,’ represents ‘he who has recieved the double benediction.'” (“Sacred Science,” p.143)
    Hesy-Ra is shown with a scribal kit in his left hand and in his right hand is a staff:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hesy_Ra_physician.jpg

  21. Paul Ballotta says:

    The song that is attributed to King David in 2 Samuel 22 with its parallel in Psalm 18 may have affinities with an Egyptian royal ritual of assuming the role of priest in a purification rite. In the book “Sacred Science; The King of Pharaonic Theocracy” by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (p.145), there was an official of the royal court of the 3rd dynasty king Djoser who was the chief of dentists and physicians named Hesy-Ra, whose wooden stela was found in Djoser’s pyramid. The hieiroglyph of the name Hesy signified 2 vases of a type used in ritual purifications:
    “This elegant oblong vase is used, for example, in the purificcation of the king when he officiates as priest before entering the sanctuary. In the most typical of these rituals, (lunar) Thoth and (solar) Horus, with each one of these vases, pour ‘benediction’ in two streams crisscrossing above the king’s head. This purification is to be made four times, once toward each of tfe four cardinal points, and this ritual gesture is performed while declaring:
    ‘Thy purification is my purification and my purification is thy purification…'”

  22. Paul Ballotta says:

    2 Samuel 22:2

  23. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Jehovah is my crag (“tzur” in Exodus 17:6) and my stronghold and the provider of escape for me.
    My God is my rock (“sela” in Number 20:8)…”..

  24. Tony says:

    There are two different words in Hebrew for ‘rock’.
    The first ‘tsur’ (Ex 17) is a hard massive basalt rock which typifies Christ during His life on earth, this rock must be slain.
    The second ‘tsela’ (Num 20) is a high rock formation with sediment layers (jult like the Rocky Mountains), this typifies Christ glorified in heaven. This rock should not be slain, but you have to speak to this rock (prayer).

  25. Aharon Varady says:

    This appears to be related to the legend of well which followed the Israelites through the wilderness according to rabbinic Jewish midrash in the merit of Moshe’s sister, Miriam (cf. T Sukkah 3:11, M Avot 5:6) and which disappeared following her death (in Numbers 20).

  26. Johanes Saragih says:

    Good morning from Indonesia. Let me copy a footnote from The New American Bible related to 1 Cor 10:4 : “A spiritual rock that followed them: the Torah speaks only about a rock from which water issued, but rabbinic legend amplified this into a spring that followed the Israelites throughout their migration. Paul uses this legend as a literary type: he makes the rock itself accompany the Israelites, and he gives it a spiritual sense. The rock was the Christ: in the Old Testament, Yahweh is the Rock of his people (cf Deut 32, Moses’ song to Yahweh the Rock). Paul now applies this image to the Christ, the source of the living water, the true Rock that accompanied Israel, guiding their experiences in the desert.”

  27. Paul Ballotta says:

    Commentator Kurt just hit the nail on the head with the reference to John chapter 7 which is set against the backdrop of the Festival of Booths that is celebrated as a continuation of the wilderness traditions and were still in use among the Dead Sea sect as we see in the scrolls a reference to the font of wisdom, the spiritual source which is emanated from God’s hidden attribute of infinite wisdom that is revealed through the words of scripture:
    “But you, God, placed morning rain in my mouth,
    for all seasons,
    and living waters which will not fail.
    When they burst open, they never go dry
    but rise like a torrent over its banks.”
    (Thanksgiving Psalm 14, “The Other Bible,” by Willis Barnstone, p.263)
    This tradition continues in “The Odes of Solomon,” a Jewish Pseudepigrapha and Jewish Christian work from the 2nd century and five of Solomon’s odes were found in the Gnostic work, “Pistis Sophia,” found among the texts at Nag Hammadi:
    “Actually, the odes are as poetic, profound, and astonishing as the most compelling psalms of the Old Testament. So we read ‘The dew of the Lord rinsed me with silence/ and a cloud of peace rose over my head’ (Ode 35); or, with typical chariot imagery of Jewish mysticism: ‘I went up to the light of truth as into a chariot/ and the truth took me/ across canyons and ravines’ (Ode 38). The words are graceful in ‘My heart was cloven and there appeared a flower/ and grace sprang up (Ode 11), and the thought of three prevailing traditions, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, is suggested in Ode 7:
    The father of knowledge
    is the word of knowledge.
    He who created wisdom
    is wiser than his works.”
    (“The Other Bible,” p.267)

  28. Kurt says:

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003753
    Sorry.
    similarly, the apostle Paul wrote: “For they [the Israelites] used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.” (1Co 10:4)

  29. Kurt says:

    On at least two occasions and in two different locations the Israelites received a miraculous provision of water from a rock-mass. (Ex 17:5-7; Nu 20:1-11) Therefore, the rock-mass as a source of water, in effect, followed them. The rock-mass itself was evidently a pictorial, or symbolic, type of Christ Jesus, who said to the Jews: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”—Joh 7:37.
    hthttp://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003753

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29 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    1 Cor 10: 4 says plainly that the rock was Christ and that it was spiritual. Jesus said that we live by every word that proceeds from the mouth Of the living God and his words are spirit and life. Could it be that Christ was with the Israelites speaking to them the words of life, the words of God and which include the Ten Commandments as well as the levitical laws?. Could it also be that he spoke many other things to them that are not recorded. Moses and his aide Joshua son of Nun Exodus 33: 11

  2. Paul says:

    Jesus is the only God that man has ever dealt with. I hope this edifies.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGmDmPsvJ4U

  3. Paul Ballotta says:

    Hatshepsut was given a royal coronation no different than the male possessors of the title Pharaoh (Great House) and she also is purified in a ritual involving two gods. In this instance, Amon and Khonsu, each pouring water over the soon-to-be god incarnate king. In her temple at Deir el-Bahri these words were recited during the second purification ritual in which the queen is led away by the god Kheseti:
    “Leading the way to enter the ‘Great House’ (by) the ‘Pillar of his Mother’ (a priestly title) of the ‘Great House’ (for the) purification of ‘Great House.'”
    At the completion of the coronation the god Horus says “Thou hast established thy dignity as king, and appeared upon the Horus-Throne” (“Ancient Records of Egypt, vol.2, by James Henry Breasted, pp. 99-100).
    Thus does the pharaoh become the god-incarnate “Living Horus,” and thus was the meaning of the argument, “Its Jehovah in our midst or not?” (Exodus 17:7).

  4. Paul Ballotta says:

    That is, the star-studded night (?).

  5. Paul Ballotta says:

    The connection between the word “hokhmah” or wisdom and the title of “huk” which is a type of priest doesn’t pan out so good when you consider that ‘”hokhmah” is actually “chokhmah” with the letter ‘chet’ and not ‘heh,’ though the expositors of the book of Zohar tend to overlook such differences. The phrase “strike rock” in Psalm 78.20, or “hikkah tsur” is probably our best clue of the tradition of “hekau” found in this work that was written after the conquest of Northern Israel by the Assyrians in the late 8th century B.C.E.
    The word “tsur’ means ” rock, cliff wall” and the likliest candidate would be the Valley of the Kings where the pharaohs were interred. The Lord said to Moses in Exodus 17:6, “I will be standing before you there upon the rock (tsur) in Horeb.” This being in the western Sinai this is not to be confused with Mount Horeb in Midian (northern Arabia) and so the name could be derived from the god Horus, The Israelites were headed in the direction of the torquois mine at Serabit el-Khadim, where there was a sanctuary of the goddess Hathor whose name is comprised of the word for house (het) and the name of Horus (Heru) and this was very sncient, dating to a time when Horus was a sun god and the name Hathor originally referred to the portion of the sky in the east where Horus had domain.
    “Upon the rock in Horeb” could refer to the mortuary temple of Pharaoh Hatshepsut behind which is a cliff wall where the western sky rests upon (the Lord standing upon the rock) an her temple was dedicated to Hathor (House of Horus, hinted at in the name Horeb where the letter ‘bet’ also means house, in keeping with Zohatic interpretations) and the goddess represents the start stirred night sky as well.

  6. Paul Ballotta says:

    Correction; Genesis 1:27

  7. Paul Ballotta says:

    As you can tell I’ve haven’t had any formal schooling in this field but it was ever since that nice lady at the little radical bookstore in a brownstone neighborhood of Brooklyn who let me browse and Budge’s “Egyptian Magic” revealed to me the concept of “hekau” or “words of power,” it has been an obsession of mine. This theory thst I borrowed from past thinkers has brought me to the concept from the Gnostics and Kabbalists concerning the eternal Father and Mother expressed as “Yahweh and his Asherah” in the 8th century B.C.E., who constitutef the first two letters of the tetragramaton; YHVH. I’m reminded of the “Matrix” films in which a computerized reality simulator was ultimately a creation of s man and a woman who were the original programmers of this Mega-computer like the inescapable truth of God being both male and female in Genesis 1:28.

  8. Paul Ballotta says:

    An alternative account of the water from the rock comes from Psalm 78:20 where it is God who performs the miracle, “Behold, (He) struck (the) rock.” Here the Hebrew is “hikkah tsur,” and again as I noted previously, this word ‘huk” has significance,, though I was incorrect about its meaning being “great medicine man,” the term “huk” is an unknown title bestowed on Hesy-Ra that designates a priestly office:
    “In the Edwin Smith surgical papyrus, every medicine man is a priest of Sekhmet, the lioness-goddess wife of Ptah, just as Hesy, here the great medicine man, is ” HK” (unknown title) of the lioness-goddess Mehyt, wife of Onuris” (Sacred Science, p.143).
    In the interpretations from the mystical book of Zohar, which vary at times, the water that issues forth derives ultimately from the source of God’s primordial attribute of “wisdom” (hokhmah) and the rock that was struck symbolized the physical universe which is as diversified as the galaxies expanding away from one another in the attribute of “understanding” (binah), thus alluded to in Proverbs 3:19; “Jehovah founded the earth by wisdom; He established the heavens by understanding,”
    Wisdom/hokhmah is identified with the past and understanding/binah is the future and referred to as “the world to come,” making the tombs of the Egyptian royal elite decorated with scenes of the afterlife a likely symbol for “the world to come.”
    In a tomb from the early dynastic period at Hieraconopolis, we have what is known as the painted tomb (#100), which has the first known wall mural depicting a scene with boats on the Nile (Moses is instructed to take in his hand the staff used to strike the Nile and strike the rock in Exodus 17:5-6, a subtle connection to the past) and the artists who were commissioned to decorate the tombs were formerly pottery painters:
    “From this point on, pottery decoration declined rapidly as the professional craftsmen of the day turned their attention to decorating the palaces an tombs of an emerging aristocracy,. Artistic energies that had once been devoted to producing fancy containers that would capture local trade markets in the Early Gerzean period, now came to be dominated by the interests of the same local magnates who would soon unite Egypt by force of arms” (‘Egypt Before the Pharaohs” by Michael A. Hoffman, p.133).

  9. Paul Ballotta says:

    For centuries prior to the unification of Egypt the merchantile city of Maadi in Lower Egypt had the monopoly on copper while Upper Egypt was mostly without copper, though the elites left in their tombs tokens of affection the likes of which could be compared to owning the pearl-handled pistol of General Patton. Then under the unifier Narmer and his sucessors at Hieraconopolis the priveledged class from the south usurped the position of this commercial hub with ties to the Negev and Sinai desert that facilitated trade in copper and mineral and the route that went east to Arad and on to Susa and beyond.
    Beersheba (home of the Patriarchs) was also a commercial hub with three satellite cities nearby producing copper, jewel and ivory goodd for the marketplace and they preserved food products in cellars under the houses and the same storage rooms were found at Maadi (whose name is similar to the concept of the “Ma’ad” in Islamic eschatology that means “return,” not to be confused with the ‘Maadi,” the reincarnation of the 12th Imam whose face will be covered with moles, or “Mad T.V.; Steven Seagal Voting”).

  10. Paul Ballotta says:

    Along with the iconic image of the symbols of the intertwined branches of the papyrus and the water lily, representing lower and upper Egypt respectively, we have an account brought to light from the restored Old Kingdom text known as “The Theology of Memphis’ and restored by Pharaoh Shabaka in the late 8th century B.C.E. (and whose brother that he was succeeded by, Shabacto, listed as the fifth son of Cush in Genesis 10:7) and in this earlier account the symbols of upper and lower Egypt are the reed and the papyrus, perhaps suggesting that since these plants were used as materials for scribes, that there were formal diplomatic relations between the newer pyramid-builders of Lower Egypt and the older Upper Egypt which before unification included northern Nubia.
    The word ” nesw.t” in Egyptian meant “king of upper Egypt” and it is akin to the title of prince, “nesu,” in Hebrew (Genesis 23:6), and the Sumerian “ensi,” which was a ruler whose authority derived from the city’s local temple deity.
    “The title ‘nesu-bit’ has often been translated as ‘King of Upper and Lower Egypt’, but it actually has a much more complex and significant meaning. ‘Nesu’ seems to be intended to refer to the unchanging divine king (almost the kingship itself), while the word ‘bit’ describes the current ephemeral holder of the kingship; the one individual king in power at a specific time. Each king was, therefore, a combination of the divine and the mortal, the ‘nesu’ and the ‘bit’, in the same way that the living king was linked with Horus, and the dead kings, the royal ancestors, were associated with Horus’ father Osiris. It was primarily because of the Egyptian’s sense of each of their kings as incarnations of Horus and Osiris that the tradition of the worship of divine royal ancestors developed.” (“The Oxford History of Ancient Egypt” by Ian Shaw, p.9)

  11. Paul Ballotta says:

    Yes, the quiet little bearded gnome with the pointy hat stands in starlk contrast with the mighty hunter types portrayed on a prehistoric palette from Hieraconopolis who are shirtless and wearing kilts, engaged in hunting various animals including lions. They look like the actor Steven Seagal in his tough-guy roles:
    “The personages wear the ritual (pony) tail, a characteristic of the Pharaoh.” (“Sacred Science” p.112)

  12. Paul Ballotta says:

    I should have used the word “Nome” which is the designation of an established cult center such as the seat of the god Horus being in Hieraconopolis and is therefore not a “gnome,” the inconspicuous lawn ornament staring out from under a bush.

  13. Paul Ballotta says:

    Good observance, Brent, abour the reference to Exodus 14:19-20, and so the pursuing Egyptian forces are left in the dark, thus symbolizing the vanguard of the god of darkness, Set. The Israelites being liberated as a nation are the forces of the god of light, Horus, known from the Pharaoh’s first of a five-fold title as the Livivg Horus. Since prehistoric times the city of Hierakonopolis which the first pharaoh Narmer used as a springboard to expand his power into Lower Egypt and eastward into Negev and Sinai desert, along with the god Horus as his battle standard (thus giving him divine approval ‘like Nimrod a mighty hunter before Jehovah,” Genesis 10:9) and who benefitted from the gnome of the city of Horus’s position in Upper Egypt along the desert routes to mineral-rich areas. The reference to “the way of the land of the Philistines” in Exodus 14:17 was known as “the way of Horus” probably named so by Pharaoh Narmer and “the followers of Horus” who established s presence in what became known to us as ‘the way of the wilderness of the Sea of Reeds” in the western wilderness of Sinai,(Exodus 13:18).

  14. Brent Dawes says:

    The Bible shouldn’t be taken literally in this case. There wasn’t an actual moving water source following the Israelites. The Bible specifically tells us when and where they received water during the Exodus and it actually tells us what and who the spiritual rock was. The Israelites were guided by the Lord on their journey. Exodus 13:20-22 “So they took their journey from Succoth and camped in Etham at the edge of the wilderness. And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people.” The spiritual rock was and is Christ in the form of the Angel of the Lord. Exodus 14:19-20 “And the Angel of God, who went before the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them; and the pillar of cloud went from before them and stood behind them. So it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel. Thus it was a cloud and darkness to the one, and it gave light by night to the other, so that the one did not come near the other all that night. Thus the spiritual Rock is the Rock of Ages which was present during the Exodus and will be again in the final days.

  15. Paul Ballotta says:

    As for commentator Ronald #11’s reference to Moses stealing the Ark of the Covenant is not so farfetched as it sounds when you consider the site of Tel el-Arad which had a sanctuary in King David’s time and like the Jerusalem sculpted guardian cherub figures adorning the Ark in the Holy of Holies are the 2 standing stones that are thought to be representative of Yahweh and his consort, the goddess Asherah.
    At an earlier time, when the unification of upper and lower Egypt under Narmer @ 3100 B.C.E. began along with their state-run monopoly on the copper and turqoise mines in the Sinai desert, the site of Arad was apparently under Egyptian control as we have the “serek” (the king’s name written within the shape of a falcon, the god Horus) of the first pharaoh, Narmer, whose name is an ideogram of a fish snd a chisel.
    Then you have this story about Moses in the Koran where he and an traveling aid journey in search of the conjunction of the two seas and they are ultimately led to a mysterious sage by a fish “which took its course through the sea as in a tunnel” (Koran 18:61).

  16. Paul Ballotta says:

    The Pharaoh Pepi or Phipps was from the 6th dynasty, not the 3rd.
    The theory of a medicine man’s “waters” is not so farfetchd after all, considering that the figure of the 12th century author Moses Maimonides is similar to the status of the “great medicine man” Hesy-Ra. While working long days as KIng Saladin’s personal physician in Egypt he wrote “The Guide for the Perplexed” in which he states in the introduction:
    “Having spoken of similes, I proceed to make the following remark: – The key to the understanding and to the full comprehension of all that the Prophets have said is found in the knowledge of the figures, their general ideas, and the meaning of each word they contain. You know the verse: –
    ‘I have also spoken in similes by Prophets’ (Hosea xii 10); and also that verse, ‘Put forth a riddle and speak a parable’ (Ezekiel xvii. 2). And because the Prophets continually employ figures, Ezekiel said, ‘Does He not speak in parables?’ (xxi. 5). Again, Solomon begins his book of Proverbs with the words, ‘To understand a proverb and figurative speech, the words of the wise and their dark sayings’ (Prov. I 6); and we read in Midrash, ‘Shir-ha-shirim Rabba, I 1); ‘To what were the words of the Law to be compared before the time of Solomon? To a well the waters of which are at a great depth, and though cool and fresh, yet no man could drink of them. A clever man joined cord with cord, rope with rope, and drew up and drank. So Solomon went from figure to figure, and from subject to subject, till he obtained the true sense of the Law’ So far go the words of our sages” (“Moses Maimonides; The Guide for the Perplexed” by M. Friedlander, PH.D., Dover Books, p.5-6).

  17. Paul Ballotta says:

    I should clarify my previous comment by pointing out the Egyptian word for magic was “hekau,” which means “words of power,” and was invoked when harnessing the power of a god (s). The Egyptian word for medicine man was ‘huk,” that is similar to the Hebrew word “hoq,’ meaning, ” to carve,” and it is from this which yhe Hebrew word for wisdom is derived.
    As for the word “hokhmayim,” or “wise men,” it seems to me that it is composed of 2 words with the 1st being the Egyptian, “huk’ (medicine man) and the Semitic ” mayim” (water), just as the word for “Memphis'” is composed of two words, the word for water, “mem” and ,”Phiops,” the name used for the 3rd dynasty king Pepi.
    Among the accounts of magical acts set in the time of the 4th dynasty is a sage who can re-attach severed heads, something that had yet only been achieved in fictional works like “Frankenstein.”

  18. Paul Ballotta says:

    I erred when stating that Hesy’s stela was found iin Djoser’s pyramid. However, the symbol for carpenter, the axe appears over Hesy which affiliates him with the masons who built the pyramids.
    Hesy’s title of medicine man is “hk,” which is also the the term for magic, “huk,” from which the Hebrew “hokhmah,” or wisdom is derived. Thus the presence of “hokhmayim” or wise men in Pharaoh’s court in Exodus 7:11.

  19. ronald patrick marriott says:

    Moses stole the Ark of the covenant which had a staff used with it. He struck the ground and produced water. The Ark of the covenant had God’s energy stored in it from the Pyramid. This quote is relatively simple. I don’t believe that the Egyptian society would have slaves unless they were captured during attacks.

  20. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Hesy, whose name (written with the dual form of the purification-vase ‘hs’) means ‘twice blessed,’ represents ‘he who has recieved the double benediction.'” (“Sacred Science,” p.143)
    Hesy-Ra is shown with a scribal kit in his left hand and in his right hand is a staff:
    https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Hesy_Ra_physician.jpg

  21. Paul Ballotta says:

    The song that is attributed to King David in 2 Samuel 22 with its parallel in Psalm 18 may have affinities with an Egyptian royal ritual of assuming the role of priest in a purification rite. In the book “Sacred Science; The King of Pharaonic Theocracy” by R. A. Schwaller de Lubicz (p.145), there was an official of the royal court of the 3rd dynasty king Djoser who was the chief of dentists and physicians named Hesy-Ra, whose wooden stela was found in Djoser’s pyramid. The hieiroglyph of the name Hesy signified 2 vases of a type used in ritual purifications:
    “This elegant oblong vase is used, for example, in the purificcation of the king when he officiates as priest before entering the sanctuary. In the most typical of these rituals, (lunar) Thoth and (solar) Horus, with each one of these vases, pour ‘benediction’ in two streams crisscrossing above the king’s head. This purification is to be made four times, once toward each of tfe four cardinal points, and this ritual gesture is performed while declaring:
    ‘Thy purification is my purification and my purification is thy purification…'”

  22. Paul Ballotta says:

    2 Samuel 22:2

  23. Paul Ballotta says:

    “Jehovah is my crag (“tzur” in Exodus 17:6) and my stronghold and the provider of escape for me.
    My God is my rock (“sela” in Number 20:8)…”..

  24. Tony says:

    There are two different words in Hebrew for ‘rock’.
    The first ‘tsur’ (Ex 17) is a hard massive basalt rock which typifies Christ during His life on earth, this rock must be slain.
    The second ‘tsela’ (Num 20) is a high rock formation with sediment layers (jult like the Rocky Mountains), this typifies Christ glorified in heaven. This rock should not be slain, but you have to speak to this rock (prayer).

  25. Aharon Varady says:

    This appears to be related to the legend of well which followed the Israelites through the wilderness according to rabbinic Jewish midrash in the merit of Moshe’s sister, Miriam (cf. T Sukkah 3:11, M Avot 5:6) and which disappeared following her death (in Numbers 20).

  26. Johanes Saragih says:

    Good morning from Indonesia. Let me copy a footnote from The New American Bible related to 1 Cor 10:4 : “A spiritual rock that followed them: the Torah speaks only about a rock from which water issued, but rabbinic legend amplified this into a spring that followed the Israelites throughout their migration. Paul uses this legend as a literary type: he makes the rock itself accompany the Israelites, and he gives it a spiritual sense. The rock was the Christ: in the Old Testament, Yahweh is the Rock of his people (cf Deut 32, Moses’ song to Yahweh the Rock). Paul now applies this image to the Christ, the source of the living water, the true Rock that accompanied Israel, guiding their experiences in the desert.”

  27. Paul Ballotta says:

    Commentator Kurt just hit the nail on the head with the reference to John chapter 7 which is set against the backdrop of the Festival of Booths that is celebrated as a continuation of the wilderness traditions and were still in use among the Dead Sea sect as we see in the scrolls a reference to the font of wisdom, the spiritual source which is emanated from God’s hidden attribute of infinite wisdom that is revealed through the words of scripture:
    “But you, God, placed morning rain in my mouth,
    for all seasons,
    and living waters which will not fail.
    When they burst open, they never go dry
    but rise like a torrent over its banks.”
    (Thanksgiving Psalm 14, “The Other Bible,” by Willis Barnstone, p.263)
    This tradition continues in “The Odes of Solomon,” a Jewish Pseudepigrapha and Jewish Christian work from the 2nd century and five of Solomon’s odes were found in the Gnostic work, “Pistis Sophia,” found among the texts at Nag Hammadi:
    “Actually, the odes are as poetic, profound, and astonishing as the most compelling psalms of the Old Testament. So we read ‘The dew of the Lord rinsed me with silence/ and a cloud of peace rose over my head’ (Ode 35); or, with typical chariot imagery of Jewish mysticism: ‘I went up to the light of truth as into a chariot/ and the truth took me/ across canyons and ravines’ (Ode 38). The words are graceful in ‘My heart was cloven and there appeared a flower/ and grace sprang up (Ode 11), and the thought of three prevailing traditions, Jewish, Christian, Gnostic, is suggested in Ode 7:
    The father of knowledge
    is the word of knowledge.
    He who created wisdom
    is wiser than his works.”
    (“The Other Bible,” p.267)

  28. Kurt says:

    http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003753
    Sorry.
    similarly, the apostle Paul wrote: “For they [the Israelites] used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.” (1Co 10:4)

  29. Kurt says:

    On at least two occasions and in two different locations the Israelites received a miraculous provision of water from a rock-mass. (Ex 17:5-7; Nu 20:1-11) Therefore, the rock-mass as a source of water, in effect, followed them. The rock-mass itself was evidently a pictorial, or symbolic, type of Christ Jesus, who said to the Jews: “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”—Joh 7:37.
    hthttp://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200003753

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