Cannabis in The Old Testament

The first solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis was established in 1936 by Sula Benet, a little known Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw.’

The word cannabis was generally thought to be of Scythian origin, but Benet showed that it has a much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew, and that it appears
several times throughout the Old Testament.  Benet explained that “in the original
Hebrew text of the Old Testament there are references to hemp, both as incense,
which was an integral part of religious celebration, and as an intoxicant.

The first instance of Kaneh Bosum in the Bible is,

“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 kannabosm, 500 shekels of cassia – all according to the sanctuary shekel – and a hind of olive oil. make these into make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. it will be the sacred anointing oil.”  Exodus 30:22-33

It goes on to suggest it be burned…

“then use it to anoint the tent of the meeting, the ark of the testimony, the table and all its articles, the lampstand and its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. you shall consecrate them so they will be most holy, and whatever touches them will be holy.”

The next direct reference to kaneh-bosm appears in Isaiah, where God is reprimanding the Israelites for, among other things, not supplying him with his due of Cannabis.

“you have not brought any kaneh for me, or lavished on me the fat of your sacrifices. but you have burdened me with your sins and wearied me with your offences” . – Isaiah 43:23-24

The next Biblical account of cannabis comes under the name kaneh and appears inrelation to King Solomon. In Solomon‘s Song of Songs, one of the most beautifully written pieces in the Old Testament, Solomon mentions kaneh in describing his bride.

“Come with me from Lebanon, my bride, come with me from Lebanon.
descend from the crest of Amana, from the top of Senir, the summit of Hermon. . .
how delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! how much more pleasing
is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your ointment than any spice!. . .
the fragrance of your garments is like that of Lebanon. . .your plants are an orchard of pomegranates with choice fruits, with henna and nard, nard and saffron, kaneh and cinnamon, with every kind of incense tree.”  Song of Songs 4:8-14

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *