King David used the Star of David
Debate Rounds (3)
King David is a fascinating figure and an ancient prophet and king. Ancient Israel is also legendary, inspiring, and colorful.
Did King David associate himself with the famous design known as the Star of David?
If not, was it an important symbol used in the official Judaism of his era?
Several authors write that this was indeed the case, and give educated reasons. Why do they think this? When or how did it develop in society?
Regardless of the outcome, it should be an interesting discussion about religion and history.
1. The contender who accepts the debate will support at least one of the underlined propositions in the affirmative.
2. I am to take the position that such was not the case.
3. Please be nice.
The two triangular shaped Hebrew letters became the Greek letter Delta, giving the name to the shape of a river "delta", based originally on the shape of the letter, rather than the other way around.
The two triangular letters became the seal of the king, and can be found on ancient pottery and coins. It represents the name of the king, Daud. His name means "beloved". Symbol like this, including the serpent/pole (Nehushtan), and the pentagram (a ratio device of Pythagoras) were adopted by occultists. Their interest in them was a pursuit of secret powers thought to reside in them, as they relied on chants/spells to invoke the "energies" (really fallen malakim, devils).
The seal of king Daud is not in any way a symbol of religion, it is only an identification mark of the king. The line of king Daud used it as well, as it is often referred to as Shalomoh's seal. Shalomoh is the true name for king "Solomon". It means "peaceful".
If we take texts of Scripture out of their context, we see how Acts 7:32 has been used to make it appear Stephanos was referring to the "star" Kiyyun to have been this seal of Daud. The truth is another matter entirely. The Yahudim of Stephanos' day, and as far back as Yekezquel's (Ezekiel) were putting use to the signs of the mazzaroth (zodiac, zoo-animals) in decorating the mosaics of floors (see Ez. 8). The constellations (stella = star) were the objects Stephanos was referring to, not the seal of king Daud. Confusing the mazzaroth with the seal of Daud is a simple misinterpretation, but it factors in well with anti-Semitic attitudes as were held by the Assyrians, Egyptians, Romans (i.e., Constantine), and the Nicene fathers of early Christianity. These attitudes are alive and well today. To use "proof" that heathens used the seal of Daud at the same time period as Daud, or even conceived it in the first place and Daud adopted it, is an anachronistic error. Magi (magicians) constantly sought for more and more "knowledge" of the occult from outside sources, and still do so. To them, symbols play an important role in all they do (i.e., Masonic / Jesuit / Illuminati).
I appreciate Lew White of the Messianic Christian website Torah Zone for joining the discussion and warmly welcome him! The discussion brings us to delve into the puzzles of ancient Judaism.
My position must be that the Star of David, or hexagram, is a nice design used in some instances in ancient Jewish and Byzantine Christian artifacts. David was a primary Israelite ruler, and we have many beautiful Biblical stories and Psalms about him. However, written associations between David and the design come up so much later that the association between the two was most likely thought up centuries afterwards. As to the second proposition, that it was an important symbol in the religion, I cannot here dispute White's statement that “The seal of king Daud is not in any way a symbol of religion”.
When entering this discussion one first comes up against the Second Commandment:
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above" (Ex. 20). I doubt whether the Star of David is a violation of the rule, because one of the passage's chief concerns was to prevent idol worship, and because God did order or allow images like the cherubim on the Ark of the Covenant. Nonetheless, the Second Commandment must have had the effect of discouraging images of things in the heavens, especially stars.
White mentions that Ezekiel (Ez. 8) and St. Stephen (Act.7) did object to a constellation mosaic, but that this was not mosaic of the star. However, objecting to constellations suggests that one would also likely object to a star, since they are made of stars. This in turn would apply to the hexagram, if one actually perceives it as a star design.
Next, one must consider how much later the first such such star artifacts originated. David, and his son Solomon, ruled in the early-mid 10th century BC. Gershom Sholem, a famous archeologist, announced that he found the oldest one we know. It was on a seal of Joshua ben Assayahu in Sidon, Phoenicia, and dated from 600 B.C., about 350 years after Solomon. Some other hexagrams have been found dating a few centuries later, but they are still unusual. Due to the rarity of the symbol in archeological finds, it is hard to consider it an important symbol in the Israel of David's time.
The first known written source from the Rabbinical community clearly referring to a sign of King David's "Star" or "Shield"(another name for the sign) was in the 11th century AD, about 2000 years after David. So although hexagrams were found from ancient times centuries after David, we have difficulty knowing whether those designs were associated with David by their artists. The uncertainty is due to the fact that written associations between the person and the sign date much later than both the person and those artifacts.
There are Christian and Jewish writers who say that the association between the two began after David's era. Fr. Afanasiy Gumerov explains:
One Orthodox Messianic writer cites Professor Gerbern Oegema as saying "Although the legend is well known that in Biblical times king David in his wars had adorned his shield with a six-pointed star, it is without historical proof." They claim that when the famous rabbi Maimonides disagreed with putting magical signs on the Mezuzah he had in mind the star. A Jewish Theological Seminary publication takes the view that it was not an ancient Jewish religious or national symbol. Perhaps this is too strong a statement, but one should still consider such opinions.
Lew White points out a neat aspect of the star design: in David's time, Hebrew was written in a different alphabet, Paleo-Hebrew, and the letters D and U, which made up King David's name, can fit into the design. It's true that the Paleo-Hebrew D looked like the Greek letter Delta, a triangle. But why should the first triangle be face up and the last one be face down if we are just spelling a name? Perhaps it is just a way to fit the pieces together.
Besides the Delta, White sees the letter U in the middle of the hexagram. The letter U is the second letter of David's name, spelled DUD, because the V at that time in "David" was pronounced like a U.
Unfortunately I better point out that White made a mistake, because he said that the Paleo-Hebrew U looked like an English "V". In reality, the U looked like the capitol Greek Ypsilon. In Paleo-Hebrew, this looked like j3; or Y, as you can see in the charts in footnote 8.
The result is that it is harder to see a Y in a hexagram, because the Y's "prongs" would have to look small and high up. Besides that, the "Y" would be on either side of the design, meaning that you could see two of them: one on the left and the other on the right. So just as you can see two "Deltas" unfortunately you can also see two "Y"s, making DYYD.
Perhaps this aphabetical criticism sounds too complicated. But one may note that the hexagram is a complicated symbol too, with lots of lines. In fact, multiple Paleo-Hebrew letters (like its versions of A, G, I) can be bent into a hexagram without one interpretation being right or wrong. Even if the letters can be fit into the design, David might not have realized it, because it's not the only way triangles and a Y can be fit together. Besides, how do we know that he tried to make any seal out of any combination of his letters in the first place?
In conclusion, David most likely did not use the hexagram, because Moses' law served to discourage making star images, the hexagrams we found and their association with David date many centuries later, and he might not have paid much attention to the letters DYD in it.
8. www.ancient-hebrew.org/28_chart.html , http://en.wikipedia.org...
Hal mentioned the Latin "V" shape that operated as our letter "U". In my second sentence I stated the Hebrew letter UAU looked like our capital letter "Y", not a "V" shape. The Greek Upsilon (in appearance the shape Y) in its uncial form looks like our capital letter "Y", adopted its shape from the original palaeo-Hebrew letter. The Greek Upsilon (Y) went into Latin and lost its lower stem, rendering its appearance the shape "V". GLADIVS is the Latin word for sword, so the shape "V" operated exactly like our letter "U". An "alphabet" and a "language" are two distinctly different things. At this moment, we are writing the English language, yet using Latin letters. French, Italian, and Spanish also use the Latin alphabet, yet the LANGUAGES will often use the Latin alphabet to convey the ideas very differently. Green is how we write the color green, but VERDE means the same in Italian.
The armies of the ancient world would engage one another using "banners". They displayed symbols of their rulers, or in the case of Rome, their solar deity. The eagle represented RA to the Egyptians, as it did to the Persians, and many others kingdoms. Beasts of various kinds depict the national persona of ancient and modern kingdoms, and even rival sports teams. The banner of Yisharal would have been quite different from their rival kingdoms. A banner (Hebrew, nisi) is a flag or signal. If the armies of Yisharal went into battle, it is most likely they carried a banner with either the Name of Yahuah on it, or the seal of the king, perhaps written as we see it today, two inverted triangles. Archaeology is slowly catching-up to the historical record found in the Word of Yahuah (Sefer, or Scripture).
There is a prophetic utterance from a man commonly known as "Isaiah" that describes a banner:
"And in that day there shall be a Root of Aishai, standing as a banner to the people.
Unto Him the gentiles shall seek, and His rest shall be esteem."
Isaiah / YashaYahu 11:10
It is interesting the man "Aishai" (mis-transliterated as Jesse) was the father of Daud, the 2nd king of Yisharal. The Mashiak, Yahusha of Natsarith, is to reign at His second coming upon the throne of Daud. The seal of Daud may yet be proven to have been used by Daud, as the tendency for archaeologists is to find older and older discoveries. It is more likely than not to turn up eventually, which is why in my opinion we should keep our options open. The prophetic Word remains secure in any case. Archaeology is mostly guesswork, and interpreting its finds is highly dependent upon the predisposed views of the observer. Some "historians" and revisionist scholars have cast doubt on the existence of anyone named Daud, or that there was ever a kingdom over which he ruled as described in Scripture. Bullae, coins, pottery, and reliefs are hard physical evidence found in the Earth that cry out the names of many of the kings and characters found described in the TaNaK, so there can be no doubt king Daud was a real person. It also helps to give credibility to his existence that Yahusha mentioned him. Having walked on water, and raised Himself from the dead, Yahusha is a more credible witness than a modern scholar who thinks the "Phoenicians" somehow gave the Yisharalites the Hebrew script. Herodotus invented the word "Phoenician", meaning "date-palm", as he referred to the population residing in the area we call the land of Yisharal. Yisharal was a "sea empire" having colonies all along the coasts of the Mediterranean, the British Isles, and even the Americas. Herodotus wrote that they "claimed" to have sailed outside the "pillars of Hercules" (Gibralter) and entered the outer sea, sailed south around Africa, and reached India. He thought such a claim was ridiculous, being a flat-earther. Yisharal knew the Earth is round over 1000 years before Greece and Rome became land empires. Yisharal was the sea empire which Herodotus referred to as "Phoenicians".
Archaeology is an attempt to interpret the people, culture, and architecture of past civilizations. As a discipline within history, we should approach it with an open mind. A proverb comes to mind:
"He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him." Proverbs 18:13
I want to thank Lew White for replying and mentioning interesting facts, like how "Phoenicia" meant "date palm", a Jewish symbol.
In his reply he correctly explained that the "u" sound in Paleo-Hebrew was drawn to look like "Y." I previously misunderstood him to mean the opposite - that the shape for the "Y" sound looks like our "U", based on his statement: “The Y shape is the same as our letter U."
Rather than justify my misunderstanding, which he clarified, I wish to draw attention to the fact that his overall view relies on there being a "Y" in the hexagram. Since David ruled about 1000 BC, the Y would look like the two letters on the far left below, both of which I have seen associated with David's era:
Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how either fits inside a hexagram. Although one might can see a distorted, tiny-forked y on the right end of the star, a y is not a symmetrical Y.
The next major issue is that the association between David and the sign unfortunately relies so much on chance. Thus White says: "it is most likely they carried... the seal", and "Archaeology is mostly guesswork". I agree with the Proverb on approaching problems with an open mind. However, an open-minded approach would consider the possibilities and thus notice the unlikelihood.
The approximately 2000 years between David and the rabbinical writing's association with him and the star makes the story very uncertain. It would have to be passed through so many generations that, as in a game of telephone, the final message loses reliability. Lacking a serious basis in tradition, one is left to consider the many possibilities of the symbol David used for himself. The Bible notes his use of a harp and shepherd's staff, and anointing from a horn. (1 Sam 16:13) It associates Judah with a lion (Gen 49:9), a date palm, and an olive tree (Jer. 11:16). If David chose a star symbol despite any discouraging tendencies from Ex. 20:4, a hexagram would be one of many possibilities, eg. lines radiating from a point: *
Some claim that the Star represents a constellation from an important time in David's life, like his birth or anointing. While astronomers may even be able to identify constellations from those periods, the exact way those stars should be connected, like tracing dots on a page, belongs to chance. Further, unfortunately it does not seem to be known whether there was a specific constellation that the ancients traced in this pattern. Thus, when one considers all the patterns David with which could have associated, any one by itself appears random and unlikely when lacking direct support in ancient traditions.
If one is forced to associate a star with David, it would be the morning star, Venus, whose sign apparently is not a hexagram. David's Psalm 22 says it is to be played on the "Morning Star", perhaps referring to a melody or instrument. Rev. 22:16 portrays Jesus, the Messianic son of David, as being the "morning star." Some websites conclude that the morning star's sign was a hexagram, but this appears based on a pre-existing assumption that David's star was a hexagon.
In fact, in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Venus' sign is an ankh. This is noteworthy, because the ankh slightly resembles a cross. Among ancient Middle Easterners, Venus was associated with the pagan deity Astarte, whose star sign resembled an octagram. Thus, based on the Bible's references to the morning star, it is not apparently the most likely sign.
Some propose that the hexagram came from pagan cultures. This is possible as people used it across Asia centuries before David's time. Hinduism calls it the anahata or shatkona. White considers it anachronistic to associate it with paganism. In fact, the sign does include a nonpagan meaning, as Fr. Gumerov considers it purely decorative. However, a warning about "anachronisms" cuts both ways: One might consider it anachronistic to associate the sign with David, and instead propose that the association developed much later.
In his opening essay, White mentioned the apostle Stephen's opposition to Israelites using the star image of Kiyun, which in turn refers to a complaint about this by Amos (Am. 5). I am doubtful whether this star image referred to the hexagram, and White denies it. Those who make the association often propose that it was Saturn's sign, but I was unable to confirm that this was the case. There are modern photos of a hexagon on Saturn, but that does not mean the ancients were aware of this or made that its sign.
I sympathize with White's opposition to intolerance. He relates one of the objections to the hexagram to anti-Semitism, which he says those like Egyptians and Church fathers held. In fact, they had a mix of attitudes: Pharoah's daughter married David's son Solomon and the Church fathers loved the prophets. On the other hand, ancient Israel and Egypt occasionally battled, and the writings of Church fathers and Rabbis echoed polemics in the Bible. What is remarkable for our debate is that the Church fathers did not reject the sign, and the Church actually used it as a decoration.
The desire to understand the star's meaning comes from an appreciation of ancient Israel, and its approval as a decoration is not harmful. At most, one could advocate that people only approve of its correct meanings. This in turn could only be a benefit to those who use it. The view that it is not David's star is no more intolerant than White's position that it is not "a symbol of religion." That some think the design came from paganism does not mean they do so out of intolerance, as they may instead have concluded this based on shared elements and contacts across cultures.
In conclusion, the Star of David is an ancient decoration used in occasional, valuable artifacts in the Holy Land. However, the epic King David most likely did not associate himself with it, and as White notes, this has "yet [to] be proven." Nor was it an important symbol of his inspiring religion in his time, as White notes that it "is not in any way a symbol of religion". The second commandment, against images of things in the heavens, was likely not absolute, but it served to discourage making star images. The first Israelite hexagrams found date about 400 years or more after David's time, and the earliest known writing associating him with it dates about 2000 years after his era, creating much doubt about it. Numerous Christian and Jewish scholars highly doubt a connection.
While the two Deltas of David's name interestingly fit inside the sign, the second letter Y does not without severe alteration (a tiny-forked y). Without a direct association minimally close in time with David, it is left to chance. And considering the many objects and variations that David might identify with, the chance this great, epic king chose this one becomes unlikely.
LewWhite forfeited this round.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by CynicalDiogenes 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: ff by lew, also con made better arguments
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