A [UFO?] mystery to conjure with between Christmas and the New Year
The September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review has a piece by John Byron (Professor of New Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary): “Paul, Jesus, and the Rolling Stone” – no, not the Mick Jagger group!
The article deals with an aside by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 10:4 about Israel’s exodus from Egypt: “For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.”
Professor Byron wonders what that “spiritual rock” was as it is referenced in a first century C.E. document known as Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical antiquities:
“But as for his own people, he led them forth into the wilderness: Forty years did he rain bread from heaven for them, and he brought quails from the sea, and a well of water following them” (10.7). [Page 28, BAR]
Professor Byron notes the difference: a rock vs. a well but indicates “Both authors believed a movable water source followed Israel in the desert during their wanderings.” [ibid]
Professor Byron also notes that God twice provided water from a rock, miraculously, to Israel during that trek. (Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-14)
And Moses named both rocks as “Meribah” signifying that it was the same rock and was accompanying Israel on their journey. [Page 28]
And Professor cites a passage in Psalms (105:41) “He opened the rock and water gushed out; it went through the desert like a river” and the Professor writes, “The “it” here is ambiguous. Did the rock travel through the desert or the water?”
Professor Byron provides a “humorous version” of the water delivery: “And because it (the well) was given to them as a gift, it turned to ascend the high mountains with them and from the high mountains it descended with them to the valleys, going around the entire camp of Israel and giving them drink, each and everyone of them at the door of his tent.” (Targum Pseudo-Jonathan Numbers 21:19) [ibid]
To get back to the “rock” idea, Professor Byron adds [Page 66]:
“ … Exodus, Numbers and Psalm 105 all indicate that it was a rock, not a well, by which the Lord gave Israel water.”
Professor Byron offers other interpretations but it’s the rock interpretation that concerns me here…
What would a rock” be doing following Moses and the Israelites through the desert for forty years, providing “water” all that time?
Was the rock a UFO of some kind, an alien entity (as the AA crowd might have it), a procedure of God on Earth, or was it an AI artifact that sustained the Hebrews?