Monday, June 15, 2015

The twelve stones and lots of gold

Temple Mount Activists Find Billions of Dollars in Gold on Mount Eilat [VIDEO].
A treasure-trove of raw gold worth billions of dollars is believed to be sitting under Mount Eilat in southern Israel, Breaking Israel News has learned.

In an exclusive interview, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the Executive Director of The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation in Jerusalem, revealed the news, which had been kept under wraps for the last several years.

Actually, in the video Rabbi Glick says "more than a billion," not "billions." But anyway, that would still be a lot of gold. But even if there is that much gold there, one still has to weigh the cost of getting it out, and he says it's a hundred meters down, which sounds pretty expensive. The point is raised, but not really addressed in the article:
Explaining the discovery, Glick said that everything began with Friedman, a researcher for The Temple Institute, who had been studying each of the 12 unique stones set on the breastplate of the High Priest as described in the Bible. Each stone represents one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

During his studies, Friedman realized that without a geology background he could not properly appreciate the depths and meanings behind each of these stones. This led to his discovery that in 2007 gold had been found in the mountains of Eilat by an Australian research team, who later abandoned the dig because the value of gold at the time was not worth their efforts.
The real value of the gold is based on how much it is worth intrinsically, minus the cost of excavating it.

Be that as it may, what really caught my eye was the business of the twelve stones of the high priest's breastplate being associated with a vast treasure of gold. Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, The Treatise of the Vessels:
(XI) And the treasuries of gold and silver from the days of David and until Zedekiah and until when Israel were exiled to Babylon: a myriad myriads of shields of gold and of silver beyond measure and at Tel Baruq underneath the great willow that is in Babylon on whose (branches) they used to hang their lyres (cf. Ps 137:2); and from the House of the Forest of Lebanon they took gold to the measure of 1,009 thousand kors. And all the prophets and the sages and the scribes could not calculate the wealth and the glory that used to be in Jerusalem.

(XII) And in addition twelve fine stones were transmitted by the hand of Heleq son of Shimmur the Levite, by his hand to preserve them and to return them to the tribes, those on which the names of the tribes were engraved, which used to shine over the heads of the tribes, increasingly outstanding and precious in their value, vying with one another. And no king or prophet or man knew in which place these were hidden, except Heleq son of Shimmur the Levite.
In this case the gold is from the Jerusalem Temple and is hidden in Babylon, but the juxtaposition with the twelve stones is still noteworthy and it makes me wonder if Rabbi Glick is acquainted with other similar legends about ancient treasures connected to the temple artifacts.

One more comment: both the article and Rabbi Glick in the video quote Genesis 2:12 in support of their project: “The gold of that land is good; the bdellium and the onyx stone are there.” But the quotation refers to "the land of Havila" around which the river Pishon flows. It's not very clear where this is, if it is a place and not another legendary El Dorado. South Arabia has been suggested, but the southern Negev does not seem to be a promising candidate.

As for the gold, we'll see. Watch this space.

The Treatise of the Vessels also came up recently with reference to the televisions series Dig: see here and here. And also cf. here.