THE BIBLE and CALAMUS vs. CANNABIS

                                          THE BIBLE and CALAMUS vs. CANNABIS:

With the Hebrew words for “calamus” and “cannabis” so similar, and the fact that calamus is of lesser value and also toxic, we must question the validity of the term “calamus” in English versions of Scripture. 

The word calamus is found in the KJV three times:
Exodus 30:23 God telling Moses the formula for the anointing oil (250 shekels worth.)
KJV-sweet calamus
NKJV-sweet-smelling cane
ESV-aromatic cane
NASB-fragrant cane
Song of Solomon 4:14, speaking of it in a refreshing garden
Ezekiel 27:19 speaking of cane as merchandise.

The KJV translates the Hebrew word “qaneh” (pronounced kaw-naw’) into “calamus.”  Per Strong’s Concordance, “qaneh” means “a reed (as erect); by resemblance a rod (especially for measuring) shaft, tube, stem, (the radius of the arm) beam (of a steelyard): – balance, bone, branch, calamus, cane, reed, spearman, stalk.”

The Hebrew word for “calamus” is “kanah bosm,” which is plural.  The singular for this is “kaneh bos,” which sounds remarkably close the modern word “cannabis.”

According to Webster’s New Hebrew dictionary, the current Hebrew word for cannabis is “kanabos.”
Thus, contentions that the KJV possibly interpreted the Hebrew word incorrectly as “calamus” warrant consideration.

If Exodus 30:23 is referring to a monetary value of calamus or cannabis, the “250 shekels” is approximately $125.00 worth (which is 2.5 cents/gerah X 20 gerahs/shekel X 250 shekels in Ex30:23) which is a considerable amount.
* Per the ATS Bible Dictionary (and others), a shekel is a term for either weight or currency (a coin.)  A shekel is worth 20 gerahs.  A gerah is the smallest weight or coin among the Jews, and worth about two and a half cents.

If the 250 shekels is referring to weight, instead of coinage, it is a considerable amount of whatever it is the KJV is referring to as “calamus.”

While cannabis is non-toxic (not a single death has ever been directly attributed to it, despite much effort being given to document such a fatality), calamus is most definitely a toxin. The FDA banned calamus from uses in food and medicines in 1968 as calamus contains more than 75% asarone.  Asarone is a poison which has been shown to cause cancer, and has ill effects on heart, liver and kidney functions.  This toxin in callamus is used for pest control.  Why would God specify a large quantity of a poison be used in holy anointing oil?

In 1936, Sula Benet, a Polish etymologist from the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw revealed solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis.  The word “cannabis had previously been thought to be of Scythian origin as Scythians first brought the plant to Europe, but Benet showed it has much earlier origin in Semitic languages like Hebrew.  “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.”  Benet demonstrated that the word for cannabis is “kaneh-bosm”, and in traditional Hebrew “kaneh” or “kannabus.”  The root “kan” here means “reed” or “hemp”, while “bosm” means “aromatic.”  This word appears five times in the Old Testament (Exodus, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel) and has been mistranslated as “calamus”, a common marsh plant with little monetary value that does not have the qualities or value ascribed to “kaneh-bosm.”  The error occurred in the oldest Greek translation of the Hebrew bible, the Septuagint in the 3rd century BC, and was repeated in translations that followed.

It is illogical to assume that a plant as important as cannabis, which is such an incredibly useful source of fiber for textiles, loaded with nutritive oils and medicinal properties while also being non-toxic and ridiculously easy to grow, would have gone unnoticed and would have been ignored by the Judaic religion.

With as many benefits (medicinal and utilitarian) that cannabis has to offer humanity, I contend humanity needs to expedite the end of prohibition of this non-toxic plant.

Bible-believers, specifically, need to thoroughly examine this issue in light of the etymology (the origin of a word and the historical development of its meaning), and the likelihood of mis-translation of “qenah” in the King James Version. WHAT IF God intended cannabis (as opposed to calamus) to be part of the anointing oil?

It’s time we talk about this.

 

 

About lkempen

Not one to be easily categorized, I'm here to try to spread the truth in a world where evil is now deemed to be good, and good is deemed evil. I am a Christian, wife, mother, and patriot. It has been said that the only thing necessary for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing, so rather than "sitting and taking it," I am "standing up" to spread the truth. My Christian beliefs are Biblical, not denominational. I'm married to an absolutely amazing man, who happens to be a severely disabled US Army veteran, and is the love of my life. My children, are a joy, and great blessing; never ceasing to amaze me with their wit, intellect, and talents. As a patriot, I am exceedingly disheartened to witness what has happened to this great nation that our founding fathers worked so hard to protect from the ever impending threat of tyranny. While all that is happening is Biblically prophetic, we are not called to passively watch evil increase its hold; but instead to spread the truth, which is good news. So I am writing this blog to do just that, stand up for truth. Please join me, in the fight for truth, and freedom.
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37 Responses to THE BIBLE and CALAMUS vs. CANNABIS

  1. Frank Gainey says:

    I help people by making cannibas oil to help people.
    And to the Christian,Yahuah made the plant for people who are sick.
    He made all things..

  2. deb tharp says:

    Cannabis saved my husband’s life. All thanks to you for this very cogent explanation.

  3. lkempen says:

    Praise be to the Almighty!

  4. mike says:

    I’m definitely sympathetic to the cannabis possibility, but just to even the field I wanted to share some facts surrounding the toxicity of calamus and its reception by ancient cultures.

    The scientists that initially established the toxicity founded this on a study in which they fed titanic doses of beta-asarone in isolate to rats over a prolonged time-frame. It is precisely because of the absurdity of these doses that the restrictions were ultimately lifted on calamus and it was declared healthy. In fact, wherever this herb is revered in the world, it is regarded as a healer.

    “Even with the activation of these metabolites, the carcinogenic potency is very low because of the rapid breakdown of epoxide residues with hydrolase which leaves these compounds inert.”

    [Hasheminejad, G., and J. Caldwell. “Genotoxicity of the alkenylbenzenes α− and β-asarone, myristicin and elemicin as determined by the UDS assay in cultured rat hepatocytes.” Food and chemical toxicology 32.3 (1994): 223-231.] ..via Wikipedia

    Lastly, I just wanted to mention the ayurvedic stance on each of these herbs, since I find the perspective interesting. Whereas the ancient Indian herbal/dietary classification system regards cannabis as tamasic—meaning it will ultimately lead to inertia, sedentariness and sluggishness after the initial effects wear off, it classifies calamus as sattvic, promoting balance and lightness in the body.

    http://www.somamatha.org/ayurvedic-view-of-marijuana.html

    I am a fan of cannabis, but I respect calamus too and actually use the root to counteract the tamasic effects of cannabis. I don’t know what was intended in the old Hebrew texts, and the linguistic question is interesting, but I wanted to offer some extra perspective before readers assume Calamus is nothing but “a common marsh plant with little monetary value.” It is, after all, quite possibly the herb that was intended by the text.

    Best

    • lkempen says:

      I maintain that the quantity of calamus described in Exodus, be it weight or monetary, would be toxic in the holy anointing oil.

      • Ari (@ucandrinkbleach) says:

        Then you’re a real idiot and want to rationalize that the bible promotes cannabis. It does not, it’s b.s. I have nothing against cannabis, if people want to smoke it to get high, do it. If they need it for pain, or for help during cancer treatment, fine. Many good things can come from this plant, CBD oil being one of the best. BUT it’s absurd to twist what the Bible says to justify getting high. Like hell God would of promoted the smoking of marijuana or using it in anointing oil for ceremonial purposes. The Israelites had enough problems staying on the straight and narrow where God was concerned, I’m pretty sure adding marijuana to the mix would have screwed them up worse than they already were and really make them turn to “other gods”. Only a moron with a low I.Q. and low morals would think this way about God and twist what the Bible is telling us.

        • Droge Anon says:

          What a triggered little hateful animal you are lol. Jesus MADE WINE, genius, and if you know even the first thing about reality you will KNOW that alcohol is literally a poison and bad for our society in general. The person with the tiny IQ and totallic illogic is YOU. So what do you think you know about God? God hated Esau and loved Jacob, contrary to how man would see it so go take your arrogant self-righteous posturing and idiotic belief that you KNOW God to the exclusion of everyone else and read your damn Bible.

  5. Pat says:

    Reblogged this on COMMON SENSE.

  6. Ann says:

    Such a shame that we sometimes will put our FLESHLY DESIRES BEFORE THE TRUTH OF YAHWAYS WORD. NO WAY WOULD HE ASK OF COMMAND WE USE ANYTHING HARMFUL TO YOUR BODY. HE MADE IT HD SHOULD KNOW! CANNIBUS IS MADE NOT GROWN. RESEARCH IT. YOU MUST KILL THE MALE AND USE THE FEMALE. PART OF THE PLANT. CULTIVATED BY MAN!!!RESEARCH FIRST PLEASE.

    • crimsonsoldier says:

      Ann, My father had cancer and took opiods (oxy) for pain. At the time I didn’t really understand what opiods where. But there made by man and millions of people are addicted to them. But because its approved by the FDA its legal. Man decided to demonize Cannibus and legalize opiods, So your argument is completely full of propaganda for the simple fact that you left out how harmful man made prescription drugs are. You left that out completely and im ashamed of people that cant tell the entire truth as if they have something to gain by demonizing what keeps proving to by beneficial.. So beneficial the drug industry spends millions of dollars to put out disinformation about the affects of cannibus. While doing exactly what the cigarette industry did to conceal the death sentence associated with there product. Unless you are a very well paid executive for big pharma I would ask you, what is your point to literally splitting hairs about cannibus being grown by man. Its a plant..its not manufactured. its not synthetic, its not artificial, Its actually grown.

    • Shae says:

      Cultivation, grafting, selective harvesting….these are observational (experience & perception) tools used and passed along as knowledge. These are things we as humans do with a specific intent or set of intentions. Animals and insects do it out of instinct, pavlovian life conditionings, or as a result of the natural patterns that occur in the natural interactions between self-animated beings and their environmental surroundings.

      Intentional misinformation is manipulation, unintentional misinformation is ignorance.

      We are talking about a collection of information, experiences, and moral evolution meant to help us navigate the earth, navigate our emotional and intectual responses to outside influences, navigate the waters and navigate human interaction.
      We have been given an business cards worth of information and people are besides themselves with ‘truth’ ‘reality’ ‘gods word’ ‘certainty’ …

      Hemp is more textile in utilization.
      Cannabis is more physiological in application.

      Two ways to experience life:
      Sights,sounds,smells,touch,taste ( the senses, environmental surroundings )
      Sensory deprivation ( the mind, solitary cognition )

      Bottom line is that manipulation of the senses will result in a different situational experience , alteration in perception and responses or reactions, and it can be the catalyst for dynamic change.

      Thanks for the Dank Buds, God !

    • SARAH says:

      Have you had cancer? I have. Whether they actually used cannibas in the Bible or not does not take away from the fact that cannibas is in fact one of the most useful plants God has put on this planet. The powers that be would rather I take medicantions that have worse side effects that the reasons I am taking them for. Cannibas DOES NOT. I AM A NON-JUDGING CHRISTIAN, ARE YOU? OR ARE YOU A SALES REP FOR BIG PHARM?

      • Sarah says:

        SERIOUSLY if you are sitting there judging any of us who have had a need for it medically, by all means please be the one who throws that first stone.

      • lkempen says:

        I do not need to to have cancer to have understanding; just as I don’t need to be male to fight for the importance of fathers.

        “The powers that be” you cite, are motivated by greed, which remains the root of all evil. Big pharma has no interest in healing you. Chemotherapy is a euphemism for intentional chemical poisoning. We don’t heal ourselves by consuming poison.

        Scripture warns us that pharmaceuticals are sorcery, and something we are to avoid. Cannabis, on the other hand, is a seed bearing plant, which the Creator provided us for numerous purposes, and told us it was good. Government has no valid reason to keep this non-toxic plant from anyone; their motivation in doing so is greed, which is the root of all evil. This miraculous plant is possibly the most useful plant on Earth, therefore holding tremendous profitability — THAT is why cannabis is prohibited.

        Government gets its authority from the consent of the governed; I for one, do not consent to cannabis prohibition, nor do I believe government has just dominion to keep this miraculous plant from anyone. Our 1st, 2nd and 5th amendments attest to our God-given right to cannabis, as does our natural right to life, as affirmed in the Declaration of Independence. Frankly, cannabis prohibition itself is a chargeable offense, as racketeering as well as a crime against humanity.

    • Droge Anon says:

      Jesus MADE WINE, fool. Alcohol is LITERALLY POISON. Go read your Bible and increase your IQ while you’re at it.

  7. lkempen says:

    I do not understand the points you are attempting to articulate here.
    You acknowledge Yahweh created cannabis, but what do you mean by it is “made not grown”?

    Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.

    I never suggested we are “commanded to use” cannabis, (and use of holy anointing oil is not a command), but you seem to be suggesting cannabis is harmful, when truthfully it is a super-food that is utterly non-toxic. Please research the properties of this miraculous plant before making such false claims. In contrast, Scripture warns us about pharmaceuticals, wisely referring to them as “sorcery”.

    What are you suggesting is wrong with cultivation?

  8. Bryan Skidmore says:

    The new world dictionary is of the new world order of the illuminati. An order of evil and deception. The 1611 kjv got it right. Calamus isn’t toxic. Nearly every county uses it except the USA. The FDA found out how much demand there is for cannabis (a plant that is offered to idols and has 2 pagan gods named for it.) I used to be part of the MPP and knew about their plan to convince people that cannabis is hemp and in the bible. When it’s not.

    • Lynda Middleton-Mackie says:

      If Calamus isn’t toxic and Kaneh-bosn is really Cannabis (which apparently is not Marijuana) they are both plants created by God for our purposes. As usual, what God has made good, Satan takes and uses it for corruption and destruction. The only advice in the Bible that I am aware of regarding things of this nature is “…..be not drunk with wine”. In other words, do not overindulge to the point of not being in control of your faculties …… it’s good for your stomach in moderation, and gives a merry heart etc. Since nothing is said about Calamus/Cannabis/Kaneh-bos (the “n” makes it plural) I would assume that it is good when used for purposes to better the body rather than to get high and not be in control of our senses, values, morals and obligations. When nothing is said about a topic or not forbidden in God’s word and if we REALLY DESIRE God’s will in our lives, the Holy Spirit will direct us in the path we should go ….. the Apostle Paul said let no man judge you concerning, what you eat, what you drink, what day you worship and what holidays you observe etc. Medical professionals in the know have always said that there are pain receptacles in the body that if you are in pain …. the Cannabis will latch on to them and there is no chance of addiction … whereas if Cannabis is used recreationally, the Cannabis is not attaching to those pain receptors and therefore addiction can occur. I am a 75 year old born again Christian (of 60 years) who has never smoked Marijuana in my life and was not a drinker ….. I am in excruciating pain, have tried CBD Oil in the past 2 years, found it worked but the amount it took to work was un-affordable…..so this past summer I grew some and am making my own concoctions. Praise God for His mercies!

  9. crimsonsoldier says:

    My father died of prostate cancer in 2010 he did radiaton and chemo therapy and for the pain he was prescribed oxycodone or otherwise known as an opiod. I look back and wish so much that I would have offered him cannabis for the simple affect of side affects and appetite, he stopped eating and eventually like all patients became addicted to opiods and had never done any drugs his entire life. Im a blood washed believer and im tired of this world making pharma drugs acceptable and cannibus is demonized. Opiods kill people and destroy them over time, Its time that we tell the truth. God’s word does not speak against marijuana and if used appropriately can be a good thing

    • lkempen says:

      I’m sorry to hear about your father’s passing.
      Chemo and radiation are brutal; frankly, I don’t understand how they are legal.
      I last my Dad to Alzheimers the same year you lost yours, and feel the same, that cannabis should have been used to help him.

      Anything can be abused. Cannabis prohibition is not about “safety”. It is literally safer to consume than water. It’s about greed, aka the love of money. Cannabis prohibition is easily proven to be based on ridiculous lies, and it renders the Controlled Substances Act incredible. Government has no valid reason to keep this miraculous God granted, non-toxic, plant from anyone. Their only jurisdiction over it is commerce.

  10. Michael Hill says:

    Those who practice pharmakeia will not inherit the kingdom of Heaven.

    • Reid says:

      I think there are really three questions here: one about translation, one about the practice of medicine , and one about interpretation for today.

      First, translation: The word pharmakeia is very much like our word for ‘drugs’: that is, it can refer to many things. When I use the word “drugs” I can be referring to Tylenol (which can be purchased over the counter) or to prescription drugs (which require the oversight of a physician), but I can also be referring to illegal drugs (such as meth). Which I am referring to will depend entirely on context; generally, when someone uses the word ‘drugs’ they have a specific meaning in mind rather than all three. The word pharmakeia is much the same. It has a range of meanings. It can refer to magic, but it very often refers to the practice of medicine or what might be called healing arts (see Liddell and Scott, a Greek-English Lexicon). It does not refer to both of these things at the same time. It depends on context. In the New Testament the word pharmekeia occurs three times (Gal 5:19-21; Rev 9:21; 18:23). Each time, it is translated as ‘sorcery’ or ‘magic’ and it is something that is spoken of in negative terms. The translators have chosen this definition because of the context. This does not mean that every possible definition of the word phramekeia is condemned. It depends on context.

      Second, you ask if the practice of medicine is condemned in the New Testament. By no means. There are two verses that point to a positive view of the practice of medicine: “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matt 9:12; Mark 2:7; Luke 5:31). Why say that the sick have need of a physician if medicine is condemned? And Colossians 4:14 brings greetings from “Luke, the physician.” Why would Luke’s profession as a physician be mentioned if it were viewed as inappropriate or tantamount to sorcery? The New Testament certainly recognizes that healing can occur in other ways besides through the care of a physician: Jesus is presented as the quintessential healer. Both Mark and Luke tell a story about a woman who had been ill for many years and who had seen many physicians, none of whom were able to help here (Mark 5:26; Luke 8:43). This does not condemn the medical profession; rather it describes the desperate state of the woman.

      Third: interpretation for today. Healing is a complex process. Most any physician today would agree with this and I believe such a view is present also in the New Testament. It involves individuals such as family or friends who support us (think of the four friends who carry the paralytic to Jesus); it involves treatment by physicians and licensed mental health care specialists and may include the appropriate use of specific drugs; it involves faith – that is, trust in God; it also involves our own willingness to engage in actions and activities that promote health.

  11. Friddy says:

    In new (not in old) Swedish translation of Philippians 4:18, Paul says that he is thankful for the gift, a smoke-producing incense, that Epaphroditus brought to him (in English translation it says it was not a physical gift, instead the love that Epaphroditus showed to Paul was like a mellow fragrance that is pleasant to God (which could be a mistranslation considering that they probably used kanabos in the old temples; but it might be a correct translation because kanabis doesn’t smell nice, it smells skunk). So what do you people think is that fragrance Paul mentions?

  12. lkempen says:

    It is interesting to consider different translations, and I’d like to learn more of where the Swedish translation derived its content, but I don’t look to newer translations for clarity; I try to revert back to the most original source, being Greek, Hebrew, and/or Aramaic, for the most thorough understanding. Newer translations can stray dramatically from the original intent, some even eliminate the diety of the Most High (all change or genericize His name)!

    Historical documents also substantiate the notion that cannabis was used as incense for religious purposes, including in tiny prayer tents. The “an odour of a sweet smell, ” referenced in Phillippians 4:18 certainly has a likelihood of being cannabis. Though I differ with your opinion on the “niceness” of the smell of cannabis; I think it is wonderfully fragrant, in the raw as well as when ignited. Perhaps what beauty is to the eye of the beholder, the fragrance of cannabis can be to the nose.

  13. K.B. Davis says:

    People the phrases an fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God are in the genitive case in the original Greek, which means that they are describing the qualities of their gifts as sacrificial offerings to the Lord. Paul was referring to the fact that when Christians give it is a sacrifice to God and he was alluding to that fact by using exactly the same words used in the sacrificial law passages of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. I understand your frustration with government dictated health care practices, but it would be wise to ensure that you have a sound understanding of the source material you use. It empowers your credibility.
    Dr. Davis

    • Laramie Hirsch says:

      Dr. Davis, I am struggling to get a handle on this etymological argument. Can you flesh out more of what you’re stating here? I want to make sure I can follow you.

      The claim that the Bible refers to cannabis and not calamus seems very bogus to me. It seems more likely to be a fringe idea popularized by Vice. There is nothing sweet smelling about cannabis. It is a nasty, smelling plant–skunky, like another commenter said.

      Plus, why defer to the King James version? What about St. Jerome’s translation? The Latin Vulgate?

      Additionally, we have to ask: what did Sula Benet have to gain from suggesting this notion?

      I do not deny the use of cannabis in history. I approve of medical marijuana and hemp use. But I think this play with biblical terms is just a cheap trick of recreational marijuana pushers.

  14. Ted says:

    Great article. Yaweh created cannibas and with many things gave to us to benefit from. We still have to be responsible in our behavior and keep Him first.
    Have you considered the Scythians being Israel is dispersea? Israel disappears from the land of Palestine around 721 BC and the Scythians appear on the other side of the caucus mountains out of nowhere during the same time period.
    Bringing cannibas with them on their track to Europe.

  15. Warren says:

    The problem with this is using man’s logic to try to explain something God told man to do. We have no idea of why God says do this or that when He does, and we don’t have to. If God said use this Calamus root, using it would be perfectly fine no matter what it’s toxicity normally is. That is what would make perfect sense. It didn’t make sense to try to cross the Red Sea. It didn’t make sense to tell a king to bathe in the Jordan River, the dirtiest of them all, to get healed from leprosy. Sometime God tells us to do things that don’t make sense TO US, but our obedience produces something great! To act like God could have asked us to use something harmful to us normally and try to apply our human understanding to say that He wouldn’t do that is to limit God to our understanding, which means God would never be God if what He did or told us to do had to make sense to us. Besides that, IF a person wanted to interpret that and change the calamus to cannabis, the oil still wasn’t for man to use the way cannabis is used now. There were specific instructions for a specific purpose. Of course cannabis has some great properties, but don’t try to tie it into what God did then or does now. When Jesus healed people He just spoke it. God made all things, but that doesn’t mean we should take all things and use them all kinds of ways. He made poison ivy, but I do t see anyone recommending people to eat that. There are natural remedies all over the world. They don’t have to be tied into scripture to make them sound like God wants us to use them.

  16. james burkhart says:

    If weed isn’t good medicine, why are so many people getting well? I haven’t heard a bunch of horror stories coming out of the states that have approved it. Congress, stop dragging your feet! Or are all of you busy making money off your drug company stock!

  17. J says:

    It would appear that you wanted to believe it so badly, wrong things are associated together.

    In Exodus, the oil is not for ingestion but for anointing, and made according to a perfumer’s way. The oil were to made for many, therefore the large amount.

  18. Shaun says:

    No offense. But concerning Cannabis, it really doesn’t make a darn bit of difference what you “feel, think or would like to be the true” concerning the ingredients of the Lord’s anointing oil. The ONLY thing that matters is what exactly is the Truth. I have read many essays and comments concerning whether Cannabis is truly one of the ingredients of the Anointing Oil of the bible. i can honestly tell you that I am not yet convinced, one way or the other at this point. I believe if I had contacts with a few high up, Godly Rabbis in Israel that they could lead me to the real truth in this matter. Unfortunately, I do not have such contacts. May the Lord, (Yeshua Hamashiach) lead all Christians to the Truth as He intended…..and may God bless y’all.

  19. whoneedlesthis says:

    It would be much more easy to understand all of the above arguments if you would all learn to spell correctly!

  20. Pingback: An etymologist revealed solid evidence of the Hebrew use of cannabis. booksandmocha.com

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