The Bible And Marijuana?

Edited and compiled by David J. Stewart

Which is correct: Calamus or Cannabis?

One of the favorite attacks which Bible-corrupters like to hurl at King James totin' believers is that the King James mistranslates the word "calamus" in Exodus 30:23.  According to Nave's Bible Dictionary, calamus is "A sweet cane of Palestine - Song of Solomon 4:14; Ezekiel 27:19; "An ingredient of the holy ointment - Exodus 30:23; Isaiah 43:24."  The 48 King James translators were educated men and knew what they were doing.  They were extremely proficient in the Hebrew and Greek Languages.  The calamus was mixed with cinnamon and myrrh to form an oil for anointing purposes.  It is ridiculous to twist the Word of God in order to justify smoking pot!

Some modern "scholars" have claimed that the King James translators mistranslated the Hebrew word "qaneh" (pronounced "Kaw-neh").  They did not.  It amazes me how ignorant many of today's self-professed "scholars" are.  You don't have to be a scholar to understand the truth, all you need is the Holy Spirit of God (John 16:13).  These "scholars" claim that in Exodus 30:23, "calamus" was actually "kineboisin" --which is the Hebrew word for cannabis (hemp, or marijuana).  Where did this "scholarly" information come from?   Suspiciously, there are only a couple sources of this NEW information. 

There are a few different claims, but the most recent and weighty was allegedly from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980.  Even more suspicious is the ridiculous claim that a few people have found a NEW truth that theologians and translators have missed for thousands of years.  Do you really believe that?  If you do, I have some swamp land in Siberia I'd like to sell you. 

Allegedly, in 1903, the British physician Dr. Creighton was the first to determine that several references to cannabis can be found in the Old Testament.  Interestingly, no one can seem to document this claim.  Then again in 1936, etymologist Sara Benetowa (of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw) allegedly discovered the connection between kaneh-bosem in the Old Testament, and the original Semitic Hebrew origins of the word cannabis.  Again, where's the proof of these allegations?  Anyone can say anything; but without proof, it is only conjecture at best.

I have a big problem with a few things here.  First, are you going to believe a doctor and an etymologist over tens-of thousands of theologians and translators throughout history?  Second, there are NO proofs of these claims.  Third, there is absolutely nothing in the Bible which permits substance abuse.  And fourthly...

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem is pro-homosexual.

They even have the Hebrew University "Gay and Lesbian Student Union."  Please read, Gays in Israel Demand Equal Rights.  Are you going to trust the Biblical scholarship of a university that allows, condones, trains, graduates, and honors HOMOSEXUALS!  In 1999, Rabbi Steven Greenberg challenged Orthodox Jewish tradition when he became the first Orthodox rabbi ever to openly declare his homosexuality.  He wrote a book titled, "Wrestling With God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish TraditionDr. Tova Hartman, a Jewish scholar and a lecturer at Hebrew University's School of Education in Jerusalem, who teachers gender studies and sex differences, said concerning Rabbi Greenberg...

"Through his deep love and respect of the Jewish tradition he challenges us all to reread our canonical texts in order to create room for an alternative vision of the religious community."

Homosexuality is a horrible sin Miss Hartman.  Mr. Greenberg may love Jewish tradition, but he certainly doesn't love the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is NO room (compromise) for an "alternative vision."  Homosexuality is disgraceful and something to be ashamed of.  Dr. Tova Hartman is also featured at JOFA (Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance) and is the co-author of such works as "How to Raise Feminist Children."  I would never consider a theological source as credible that openly accepts and condones homosexuality and feminism.

The Torah is NOT the Word of God!

Some people claim that the Torah (Targum Onkelos) corrects the Word of God in this matter; it does NOT!

It was thought until recently that cannabis was not mentioned in the Bible.  Scholars have argued about the etymology of kinebosm (or, kannabosm) and related words, such as "qineh," which means hemp.  Previously the word was translated as sugarcane (or calamus).  All of a sudden, someone has found a new doctrine.  This is a classic case of how uneducated, unthinking groups create their own mythology on the internet, by simply repeating each other's errors over and over again, until everyone in the group believes it to be true, because they see it everywhere they look. 

The trouble is, since they refuse to look OUTSIDE of their own little community, they never learn the truth, and just continue repeating the lies.  This is exactly what happened here, without any doubt.  Clearly, some pot-head nut saw a word in some article somewhere, misinterpreting it grossly to mean that Jesus anointed people by dunking them in cannabis oil.

In any event: Who cares what a low quality Aramaic paraphrase says about the original Hebrew text?  It isn't even a translation that we are talking about, just a written version of an oral paraphrase passed down from generation to generation, so it carries little weight.  So who cares WHAT it says?  It carries no authority at all.

If that is the very best source that you have for supporting the idea that Jesus anointed people with cannabis oil, then you really don't have any case at all.

Junk Scholarship, Jesus, Cannabis, and Preaching

by Tim Bednar

The Guardian cites a recent article in High Times, Was Jesus A Stoner?, where author Chris Bennett makes the case that Jesus 'healed using cannabis'. The claim is that the, "...anointing oil used by Jesus and his disciples contained an ingredient called kaneh-bosem which has since been identified as cannabis extract."

The connection between cannabis and Jesus is tenuous at best. It stems from the ingredients listed in Exodus 30:23 for Anointing Oil. (The NIV translation chooses the word 'fragrant cane'. The KJV calamus.)

Etymologist Sara Benetowa of the Institute of Anthropological Sciences in Warsaw discovered in 1936, the connection between kaneh-bosem in the Old Testament as the original Semitic Hebrew origins of the word cannabis. Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1980 confirmed this information as correct.

Several sources I read began connecting this supposed hallucinogenic with Jesus being the 'Christ' or 'Anointed' and finishing with Shamanism. This is a great example of junk scholarship based on etymological gymnastics enabled by moving from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English (and often back again.) It is a case of someone with an agenda reading imposing their will on the text.

Rabbi Diana Villa easily debunks this: "Yehudah Felix has written three books in Hebrew that relate to your questions: Biblical Vegetation published in 1957, Nature in the Biblical land, published in 1992, and Spice, Forest and Ornament Plants, published in 1997. 'Kinamon' or 'kinman bosem' is definitely cinnamon."

Now, before we throw stones, preachers (watch TBN for examples) are just as guilty of junk scholarship. I have sat through numerous, convoluted 'word studies' where preachers and teachers lead me through a labyrinth of tenuous linguistic and logical linkages all in support of some daft 'revelation'. (At times, these revelations are plainly stated in the Scriptures or are just basic theology. However, most often they are dubious.)

In my experience, most preachers know just enough about Hebrew and Greek to be dangerous. I am not a big fan of the current trend in 'practical' preaching where sermons sound like an afternoon on Dr. Phil's talk-show. But, I have been disappointed with most of my encounters with exegetical preaching.


Calamus was Used to Make Holy Anointing Oil

Some Bible-corrupters even go so far as to claim that Jesus Christ used marijuana, that He and those He anointed were "stoners" who got "high" from it.  To no surprise, the people who make these outrageous claims are "pot heads" themselves, who smoke marijuana.  Jesus Christ was not a "dope head"!  It is sinful for anyone to abuse themselves with any substance.  The Bible states in 2nd Corinthians 10:5...

"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."

Even if the Bible was referring to "cannabis," rather than "calamus" (which it is NOT), it still doesn't justify illegal drug use?   The calamus was used as an added ingredient, not as a product by itself.  Exodus 30:22-25 states...

"Moreover The Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil."

As plainly described, the Biblical refers to "calamus" as a mere ingredient in the holy anointing oil, used only for anointing articles of the tabernacle and the priests.  Holy oil was not to be used for anything, or anyone, else -- anyone who did was cut off from Israel.  The Bible-corrupters carefully leave out this bit of information!

The Word "drunk" in the Bible literally means "stupefied" (i.e., to make stupid) by a chemical substance," whether from dope, or from excessive alcohol consumption?  Substance abuse is a sin!  Here is further witness from the Word of God against the evils of alcohol and drug abuse...

"Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder." -Proverbs 23:29-32

"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."  -Proverbs 20:1

"Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness" -Romans 13:13

The Word "Calamus" in the King James Bible is Correct!

Calamus, Acorus calamus

"This ancient herb is mentioned in the Bible and is chewed by the Natives of Northeastern Canada on a daily basis. It is also used in ayurvedic medicine for canceling out the negative effects of consistent marijuana smoking. This makes it an especially good smoke for those who are quitting long term marijuana use. In small doses it is a stimulant. In large internal doses it is hallucinogenic. It's main ingredient (TMA) is more psychoactive by weight than mescaline. However, smoking it will not cause psychic pyrotechnics. It appears to provide a relaxed, pleasant, mild psychotropic effect very different from Marijuana. It is very unlike calming herbs used to quit Marijuana because it will make your head cloudy." -SOURCE

The English word "calamus," was derived from the Latin word for "cane," and is used to translate the Hebrew word "qaneh" (pronounced "Kaw-neh").  Calamus is mentioned in the Scriptures as one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil used by the Levite priests in the Old Testament.  Calamus is also often translated as "sweet cane," "sweet flag," or "fragrant cane."  Probably indigenous to India, Acorus calamus is now found across Europe, in southern Russia, northern Asia Minor, southern Siberia, China, Japan, Burma, Sri Lanka, and northern USA.  It refers to a plant originally found in India which was dried and used in precious perfumes.  It was traded in markets widely through the Middle East, as the Lord even mentions Himself...

"Moreover the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil." -Exodus 30:22-25

Carefully notice that God is giving Moses a formula for making holy anointing oil and; NOT, a herbal formula for Moses to get high on.  It is ludicrous for anyone to claim that the Bible endorses Marijuana usage.  Even the word "sweet" indicates that the Bible is referring to calamus (often called "sweet cane") and; NOT, cannabis, which is not sweet.

The Hypocrisy of America's Laws: Hemp is Good!

There are over 25,000 known uses for industrial hemp.  The Declaration of Independence was signed on paper made out of hemp.  The first pair of Levi Strauss blue jeans were made out of hemp.  Hemp seed oil is one of the best Diesel engine fuels known to mankind--and it's easily replenished!  The first Diesel engine ran an peanut oil in 1900.  Hemp produces TWICE as much fiber per acre as does cotton.  Hemp is a great source of nutrition.  Hemp can be used to make building materials, etc.  It is a wonderful product.  So why is it illegal?  1st Timothy 6:10 gives us the answer...greed!  At the time Dupont was coming out with synthetic materials, Hemp was a major threat that needed to be eliminated. 

The Oil companies as well stood to gain handsomely from petroleum synthetic products.  In the 1930's, industrial hemp was outlawed in a government campaign to outlaw the demonic marijuana (as they portrayed it).  Posters were even distributed with a picture of Frankenstein, trying to demonize the once great product hemp.  For 168 years of American history, hemp was a grand commodity.  Today, everything is made of plastic (oil). 

Now I'm not endorsing marijuana, but when did it become the government's responsibility to tell us what we could grow (or smoke) as free U.S. citizens?   The irony of the matter is that there are many websites available where you can LEGALLY but herbal products to "get high."  I mean, you can grow any number of LEGAL plants to smoke and get high.  Some addicts sniff model glue, gasoline, and spray-paint from a bag to get high.  These are horrible practices and I'm not endorsing anything that would harm the body.  I don't think anyone should ever smoke marijuana!  BUT, who is the government to tell us what we can or cannot grow, or what we can or cannot do with our crops? 

I believe in freedom!  It's not our government's job to educate our children.  It's not our government's job to police the world.  It's not our government's job to give us food-stamps, medical, or housing.  It's not our government's job to give our money to Planned Parenthood to murder more babies.  The government's responsibility is threefold: to protect our person, our property, and our freedom.  It's not the government's job to drug our children.  Property taxes are evil, pure Communism.  No one in America outright owns their property.  Stop paying your property taxes and you'll find out real fast who truly owns your property!!!  This is wicked!

Do I think marijuana should be legalized?  I don't think it ever should have been outlawed.  Freedom brings with it an equal amount of responsibility.  Irresponsible people need to be punished.  There are over 40,000 gun laws in America; but, few of them are enforced.  Every time someone gets shot to death, politicians demand MORE LAWS.   The problem is not a lack of laws, but the enforcement of existing laws (Ecclesiastes 8:11).  Increased government laws, rules and regulations can only lead to further constriction of it's citizens freedoms and rights.  This is a sure road to government tyranny.  There are literally MILLIONS of laws in the United States!!!  One thing is certain--We don't need any more laws.  In other nations, where laws are enforced, the crime rate is very low.  There would be no need to outlaw so many things if people were simply held accountable for their actions.  As Americans continue to abuse "their rights," they are simultaneously losing them!

Also, may I say that marijuana and hemp are the SAME plant; but, marijuana is derived by killing off the males.  This allows the female plants to mature to form marijuana.  Industrial hemp is fibrous and horrible to smoke.  You would not want to smoke industrial hemp.   Marijuana does not grow naturally, you have to cultivate it.  I just don't see Moses cultivating marijuana for the purpose of making holy anointing oil.  It doesn't surprise me that a pot-smoking, rock idol worshipping, rebellious generation would seek to twist the Bible around to justify homosexuality, feminism, rock music, and substance abuse. 

Smoking is a sin against our own bodies!

It doesn't come as a surprise in this apostate generation that people would try to justify substance abuse with the Word of God.  I am against smoking anything!  If God wanted us to smoke something, He would have put a chimney on top of our heads.  I believe that smoking is a sin because it harms the body which God has provided to us.  Any honest doctor will readily admit that smoking is detrimental to a person's health.  In fact, smoking is so unhealthy that even breathing the second-hand smoke has been linked to many health problems; thus, causing many health officials in the U.S. to ban smoking in restaurants and other public places.  I watched my own mother smoke herself to death. 

She had a stroke at age 53 and rotted in a wheel chair for the next 12 years, having both her legs amputated due to poor circulation, still smoking over a pack a day of Kool cigarettes.  There was nothing "Kool" about the suffering I saw her endure until her death.  The FACT that cigarette smoking is destructive to one's health is irrefutable.

Cigarette smoking is a sin against one's own body.  1st Corinthians 6:18 states, "Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body."  The Apostle Paul warned of the dangers of venereal disease.  Fornication has often led to the annihilation of entire colonies due to the quick spread of syphilis (STD).  Today, many people falsely feel that it's ok to fornicate because of the availability of condemns; but fornication is still a horrible sin in God's eyes.  

The point I want you to understand here is that anything which harms our own body is a sin "against" our own body.  Smoking is a sin against our own health and is; therefore, sinful.  For anyone to claim that there is no Scriptural command not to smoke, is to say that God doesn't mind if we harm ourselves.  That would be absurd.  To inhale anything is to suck in carbon monoxide.  If you place a standard cigarette by the testing probe of an automobile Emissions Exhaust Analyzer unit, you will actually be able to obtain carbon monoxide readings from the cigarette.  And remember, people don't smoke...the cigarette smokes, the person is only the sucker!