Just when you think you’ve heard it all, a pastor calls your radio show asking how to respond to a congregant who claims that cannabis was sanctioned by God in the Torah. That’s right, sanctioned by the Lord Himself, not to be smoked but to be burned in large quantities by the priests of Israel. Far out!
To be sure, there was a time in my life when I would have readily believed something like this, since I spent 1969-1971 as a heavy drug-using, hippie rock drummer, consuming everything from pot to LSD and from speed to heroin. Not surprisingly, when my two best friends starting reading the Bible, telling me about the more esoteric passages in the Scriptures – all kinds of visions and dreams and revelations – I asked them in jest, “What were they smoking?”
That, in fact, is what I asked the pastor (again, in jest) who called the show: What is this congregant smoking?
It turns out that there is an alleged scholarly basis for this bogus belief, namely, that the Hebrew words qaneh-bosem in Exod 30:23 refer to marijuana, or, more specifically, hemp. And note the apparent similarity in the words: qaneh-bosem and cannabis. That proves it, right?
According to the Herb Museum website, it was in 1936 that a little-known Polish professor named Sara Benetowa (later Sula Benet) wrote, “The sacred character or Hemp in biblical times is evident from Exodus 30:22- 23, where Moses was instructed by God to anoint the meeting tent and all its furnishings with specially prepared oil, containing hemp.”
This was allegedly confirmed by other Hebrew scholars. And obviously, with the rising popularity of marijuana in today’s culture, arguments like this have great appeal for Christians who want to get high. Not only did their state pass a pro-pot law, but God’s into it too!
As one website proclaims in bold, red letters: “The fact is that the Holy Oil contained 6 Pounds of (Marijuana) with other spices boiled…