Monday, January 23, 2017

Balaam's star again

CANDIDA MOSS: Is the New Star Really a Sign of a Messiah for Israel? Humans across the world will get to see a star born in 2022, and one rabbi says it’s a sign from the Bible of a new military leader for Israel (The Daily Beast). Excerpt:
With respect to the arrival of this new star in 2022, there is no doubt that it is a significant moment for astronomers and physicists. As far as Berger’s prediction’s go, other scholars are unconvinced. Joel Baden, a professor of Hebrew Bible at Yale Divinity School, told me that this interpretation of the prophecy from Numbers is problematic because, grammatically speaking, the star doesn’t “rise”—it literally “treads,” as one would when crushing grapes. Furthermore, while Berger is in good company, it’s unclear why he thinks that the star in this verse is a literal star while the scepter is a symbol for a ruler. The two images are parallel to one another, Baden told The Daily Beast, so why not read them in the same way?
Balaam's prophecy doesn't really have any obvious connection to the forecasted 2022 event. It doesn't say "The collapsing mutual orbit of a binary star pair will cause a red nova and then the Messiah will come." I might be impressed if it did, but it doesn't. In comparison, "A star will come out of Jacob" is pretty ambiguous.

Background here.