Og, King of Bashan

The Gilgal is the Israeli Stonehenge. The structure is composed of over 40,000 stones that are arranged in 4 circles. It is quite big – the diameter of the outer circle is about 150 meters/490 feet. The site is estimated to be 5,000 years old.

Og, according to the Holy Bible, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei.

Og is mentioned in Jewish folklore as being alive from the time of Noah up until the time of his death in battle with the Israelites. It is also written in the Midrash that he had a special compartment in Noah’s Ark just for him. Aggadah suggests an alternative to this; that he sat upon the top of the ark, riding out the flood for the duration of the storm from this location.

I reject that Og survived the flood by any means due to the following passage of Scripture:

  • Then the LORD said to Noah, “Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and his mate, and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and his mate, and seven pairs of the birds of the heavens also, male and female, to keep their offspring alive on the face of all the earth. For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground.”
    (Genesis 7:1-4 ESV)

God clearly stated, “For in seven days I will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights, and every living thing that I have made I will blot out from the face of the ground” (Genesis 7:4).

When studying  the Sons of God and the Nephilim, it is apparent that “Nephilim were on the earth before the flood, and also afterward. (Genesis 6:4).

  • When man began to multiply on the face of the land and daughters were born to them, the sons of God saw that the daughters of man were attractive. And they took as their wives any they chose. Then the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not abide in man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.” The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
    (Genesis 6:1-4 ESV)

The Holy Bible is silent on how the Sons of God were established after the flood. Many apocryphal books and commentaries deal with this question, I will not however, as I do not believe speculation should be included in any serious Bible study.

Og is introduced in the Book of Numbers. Like his neighbor Sihon of Heshbon, whom Moses had previously conquered at the battle of Jahaz he was an Amorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth where there still exists a 70-foot mound.

Th Book of Deuteronomy says, “Then we turned and went up the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against us, he and all his people, to battle at Edrei. But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not fear him, for I have given him and all his people and his land into your hand. And you shall do to him as you did to Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon.’ So the LORD our God gave into our hand Og also, the king of Bashan, and all his people, and we struck him down until he had no survivor left. And we took all his cities at that time–there was not a city that we did not take from them–sixty cities, the whole region of Argob, the kingdom of Og in Bashan. All these were cities fortified with high walls, gates, and bars, besides very many unwalled villages. And we devoted them to destruction, as we did to Sihon the king of Heshbon, devoting to destruction every city, men, women, and children. But all the livestock and the spoil of the cities we took as our plunder” (Deuteronomy 3:1-7 ESV).

Og’s destruction is told in Psalms 135:8-12 and 136:2-22 as one of many great victories for the nation of Israel, and the Book of Amos 2:9-10 may refer to Og as “the Amorite” whose height was like the height of the cedars and whose strength was like the oaks.

  • He it was who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, both of man and of beast; who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants; who struck down many nations and killed mighty kings, Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan, and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.
    (Psalms 135:8-12 ESV)
  • Give thanks to the God of gods, for his steadfast love endures forever. Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who alone does great wonders, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who by understanding made the heavens, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who spread out the earth above the waters, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who made the great lights, for his steadfast love endures forever; the sun to rule over the day, for his steadfast love endures forever; the moon and stars to rule over the night, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt, for his steadfast love endures forever; and brought Israel out from among them, for his steadfast love endures forever; with a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who divided the Red Sea in two, for his steadfast love endures forever; and made Israel pass through the midst of it, for his steadfast love endures forever; but overthrew Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who led his people through the wilderness, for his steadfast love endures forever; to him who struck down great kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; and killed mighty kings, for his steadfast love endures forever; Sihon, king of the Amorites, for his steadfast love endures forever; and Og, king of Bashan, for his steadfast love endures forever; and gave their land as a heritage, for his steadfast love endures forever; a heritage to Israel his servant, for his steadfast love endures forever.
    (Psalms 136:2-22 ESV)
  • “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath. Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.
    (Amos 2:9-10 ESV)

In Deuteronomy 3:11 and later in the Book of Numbers and Book of Joshua, Og is pronounced as the last of the Rephaim. Deuteronomy 3:11 declares that his “bedstead” (translated in some texts as “sarcophagus”) of iron is “nine cubits in length and four cubits in width” (13.5 ft x 6 ft) according to the standard cubit of a man. It goes on to say that at the royal city of Rabbah of the Ammonites, his giant bedstead could still be seen as a novelty at the time the narrative was written. If the giant king’s bedstead was built in proportion to his size as most beds are, he may have been between 9 to 13 feet in height. However, later Rabbinic tradition has it, that the length of his bedstead was measured with the cubits of Og himself. The Talmud further embellishes in fantastic detail that Og was so large that he sought the destruction of the Israelites by uprooting a mountain so large, that it would have crushed the entire Israelite encampment. Moses, fulfilling the LORD’s injunction not to fear him, seized a spear of ten cubits length, and jumped a similar vertical distance, succeeding in stabbing Og in the ankle. The LORD then caused Og’s teeth to lengthen until they grew into the mountain he held aloft; millions of ants then swarmed into his mouth, killing him. It is noteworthy that the region north of the River Jabbok, or Bashan, “the land of Rephaim”, contains hundreds of megalithic stone tombs (dolmen) dating from the 5th to 3rd millennia BC. In 1918, Gustav Dalman discovered in the neighborhood of Amman Jordan (Amman is built on the ancient city of Rabbah of Ammon) a noteworthy dolmen which matched the approximate dimensions of Og’s bed as described in the Holy Bible. Such ancient rock burials are seldom seen west of the Jordan river, and the only other concentration of these megaliths are to be found in the hills of Judah in the vicinity of Hebron, where the giant sons of Anak were said to have lived (Numbers 13:33)

  • (For only Og the king of Bashan was left of the remnant of the Rephaim. Behold, his bed was a bed of iron. Is it not in Rabbah of the Ammonites? Nine cubits was its length, and four cubits its breadth, according to the common cubit.)
    (Deuteronomy 3:11 ESV)
  • And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim), and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.”
    (Numbers 13:33 ESV)
  • Now these are the kings of the land whom the people of Israel defeated and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward: Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is, half of Gilead, and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth, to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; and Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon king of Heshbon.
    (Joshua 12:1-5 ESV)
  • Now Joshua was old and advanced in years, and the LORD said to him, “You are old and advanced in years, and there remains yet very much land to possess. This is the land that yet remains: all the regions of the Philistines, and all those of the Geshurites (from the Shihor, which is east of Egypt, northward to the boundary of Ekron, it is counted as Canaanite; there are five rulers of the Philistines, those of Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron), and those of the Avvim, in the south, all the land of the Canaanites, and Mearah that belongs to the Sidonians, to Aphek, to the boundary of the Amorites, and the land of the Gebalites, and all Lebanon, toward the sunrise, from Baal-gad below Mount Hermon to Lebo-hamath, all the inhabitants of the hill country from Lebanon to Misrephoth-maim, even all the Sidonians. I myself will drive them out from before the people of Israel. Only allot the land to Israel for an inheritance, as I have commanded you. Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.” With the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them: from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland of Medeba as far as Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); these Moses had struck and driven out.
    (Joshua 13:1-12 ESV)

A reference to “Og” appears in a Phoenician inscription from Byblos (Byblos 13) published in 1974 by Wolfgang Rölling in “Eine new phoenizische Inschrift aus Byblos,” (Neue Ephemeris für Semitische Epigraphik, vol 2, 1-15 and plate 1). It appears in a damaged 7-line funerary inscription that Rölling dates to around 500 BC, and appears to say that if someone disturbs the bones of the occupant, “the mighty Og will avenge me.”

A possible connection can also be made with the much older Ugaritic text KTU 1.108, which uses the term “king” in association with the root /rp/ or “Rapah” (the Rephaim of the Bible) and geographic place names that probably correspond to the cities of Ashtaroth and Edrei in the Holy Bible, and with which king Og is clearly associated (Deuteronomy 1:4; Joshua 9:10; 12:4; 13:12, 31).

  • In the fortieth year, on the first day of the eleventh month, Moses spoke to the people of Israel according to all that the LORD had given him in commandment to them, after he had defeated Sihon the king of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon, and Og the king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth and in Edrei.
    (Deuteronomy 1:3-4 ESV)
  • They said to Joshua, “We are your servants.” And Joshua said to them, “Who are you? And where do you come from?” They said to him, “From a very distant country your servants have come, because of the name of the LORD your God. For we have heard a report of him, and all that he did in Egypt, and all that he did to the two kings of the Amorites who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon the king of Heshbon, and to Og king of Bashan, who lived in Ashtaroth.
    (Joshua 9:8-10 ESV)
  • Now these are the kings of the land whom the people of Israel defeated and took possession of their land beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise, from the Valley of the Arnon to Mount Hermon, with all the Arabah eastward: Sihon king of the Amorites who lived at Heshbon and ruled from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and from the middle of the valley as far as the river Jabbok, the boundary of the Ammonites, that is, half of Gilead, and the Arabah to the Sea of Chinneroth eastward, and in the direction of Beth-jeshimoth, to the Sea of the Arabah, the Salt Sea, southward to the foot of the slopes of Pisgah; and Og king of Bashan, one of the remnant of the Rephaim, who lived at Ashtaroth and at Edrei and ruled over Mount Hermon and Salecah and all Bashan to the boundary of the Geshurites and the Maacathites, and over half of Gilead to the boundary of Sihon king of Heshbon. (Joshua 12:1-5 ESV)
  • Now therefore divide this land for an inheritance to the nine tribes and half the tribe of Manasseh.” With the other half of the tribe of Manasseh the Reubenites and the Gadites received their inheritance, which Moses gave them, beyond the Jordan eastward, as Moses the servant of the LORD gave them: from Aroer, which is on the edge of the Valley of the Arnon, and the city that is in the middle of the valley, and all the tableland of Medeba as far as Dibon; and all the cities of Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon, as far as the boundary of the Ammonites; and Gilead, and the region of the Geshurites and Maacathites, and all Mount Hermon, and all Bashan to Salecah; all the kingdom of Og in Bashan, who reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei (he alone was left of the remnant of the Rephaim); these Moses had struck and driven out.
    (Joshua 13:7-12 ESV)
  • Their region extended from Mahanaim, through all Bashan, the whole kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities, and half Gilead, and Ashtaroth, and Edrei, the cities of the kingdom of Og in Bashan. These were allotted to the people of Machir the son of Manasseh for the half of the people of Machir according to their clans.
    (Joshua 13:30-31 ESV)

The 2nd century BC apocryphal book “Ogias the Giant” or “The Book of Giants” depicts the adventures of a giant named Ogias who fought a great dragon, and who was supposedly either identical with the Biblical Og or was Og’s father.

The book enjoyed considerable currency for several centuries, especially due to having been taken up by the Manichaean religion.

The Author of Confusion

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
(1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV)

The Sacred Name Movement (SNM) is a movement within certain sects of Corpus Christendom that claims to seek to conform Christianity to its “Hebrew Roots” in practice, belief and worship. The best known distinction of the SNM is its advocacy of the use of the “sacred name” Yahweh, and the use of the original Hebrew name of Jesus, often transcribed as Yahshua.

The Sacred Name Movement arose in the early 20th century out of the Adventist movement. Clarence Orvil Dodd, a member of the Church of God (Seventh Day), began keeping the Jewish festivals (including Passover) in 1928 and adopted sacred name doctrines in the late 1930s.

The Movement started with the formation of the Assembly of Yahweh in Holt, Michigan (USA) in the early 1930s. The leaders of this group claim that a founding member was visited by two angels who explained that The Messiah’s Name is properly Yahshua.

Visited by an angel that reveals a truth? That seems to be a basis in most cults throughout America and the world in general..

The Apostle Paul said, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9 KJV).

The use of the sacred names has led to the production of Sacred Name Bible translations. Most of these Bibles use modern translations like the KJV with the common titles “God and Lord” replaced with the Sacred Names. These translations include The Word of Yahweh, The Scriptures, The Restoration of Original Sacred Name Bible, Angelo Traina’s Holy Name Bible, The Sacred Name King James Bible, The Sacred Scriptures (Family of Yah Edition), The Sacred Scriptures (Bethel Edition), The Hebraic Roots Bible, The Aramaic English New Testament, The Restoration Study Bible (RSB) and many other translations, some still in progress of being translated and published.

Some of the favorite passages of Scripture by Sacred Name Movement adherents are Psalms 9:10, Joel 2:32, Acts 2:21 and Acts 4:12.

And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
(Psalms 9:10 KJV)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
(Joel 2:32 KJV)

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
(Acts 2:21 KJV)

Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
(Acts 4:12 KJV)

Thus, according to their interpretations, one cannot call out to God through Jesus Christ and be saved without the knowledge of His true “sacred name.”

Yahshua is an argued transliteration of the original Hebrew or Aramaic name of Jesus commonly used by individuals in the Sacred Name Movement. The spelling Yahshua and Yahshuah are not found in Hebrew texts. The Hebrew Bible uses Yehoshuah and Yeshua, which means “YHWH is Salvation.” Christians, historians, and linguists outside the Sacred Name Movement for the most part reject the term Yahshua in favor of Yeshua as the original pronunciation.

Sacred Name Movement adherents teach that since the Messiah will “come in his Father’s Name” (John 5:43) then he must have the name of YHWH (Yahweh), or at least the abbreviated form (YAH) in his spoken name.

Critics say that in their labor to get the pronunciation Yahshua out of Yehoshuah, SNM adherents are ignoring Hebrew linguistics that do not allow the “waw” to be silent, so Yahshua is a questioned translation. Furthermore, it is argued by some that this pronunciation is not attested in antiquity, unlike the pronunciation Yehoshuah or Yehoshua.

Yeshua was a common alternative form of the name Joshua (Yehoshuah) in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple Period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which comes the English spelling Jesus. In English the name Yeshua is extensively used by followers of Messianic Judaism as well as other Christian denominations who wish to use what they consider to be Jesus’ Hebrew or Aramaic name.

Yahshuah is a form of the Hebrew name of Jesus produced by mystical speculation at various periods of history, but which is rejected by mainstream linguistics and textual scholarship in the field of ancient languages. The first ones to use a name of Jesus something like Yahshuah were Renaissance occultists. In the second half of the 16th century, when knowledge of Biblical Hebrew first began to spread among a significant number of Christians, certain esoterically-minded or occultistic circles came up with the idea of deriving the Hebrew name of Jesus by adding the Hebrew letter shin ש into the middle of the Tetragrammaton divine name yod-he-waw-he (יהוה or YHWH) to produce the form yod-he-shin-waw-he (יהשוה).

Those who call the Messiah Yeshua or Jesus  are accused of perpetuating a Jewish conspiracy and “denying His name” or “degrading Him” by their use of Yeshua or Jesus. I have heard some claim that the use of Yeshua or Jesus is blasphemy, taking the name of the Lord in vain, and even that the use of these names is the worship of the Antichrist. If you have never read or heard these outlandish accusations, you probably will eventually.

A person does not need to know Hebrew and Greek linguistics in order to be spiritual. However, if a person is going to take it upon himself to instruct others about subjects of a linguistic and Hebraic nature, he should know the Hebrew language and he should know some basics about linguistics. This is especially true if he is going to use his Hebrew-based linguistic teachings to accuse his brethren of being part of a “Jewish conspiracy” to “deny the true name of the Messiah.”

In Nehemiah 8:17, Joshua’s name is 100% identical to the name which today’s Messianic Jews use for the Messiah, Yeshua. Strong’s confirms this pronunciation, and tells us that there were ten Israelites in the Bible who bore this name (http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=H3442). Therefore the shortening of Yehoshua to Yeshua predates the Christian era by at least 500 years, and cannot be the result of a Jewish conspiracy to hide the Messiah’s true name. To claim that the shortened form Yeshua is the result of a Jewish conspiracy is to ignore the facts of history and the facts of the Hebrew Scriptures. The form Yeshua existed for several hundred years before the Messiah was even born. Even in the pre-Christian Septuagint, we see the Greek form IHSOUS (Yesous) in the title of the Book of Joshua. (This is also proof that Yesous has no connection to the pagan god Zeus.)

Why is the Yahshua form used by no one but Sacred Name Movement adherents and people who have been influenced by Sacred Name Movement adherents? Probably because no such name exists in the Hebrew Bible and, to my knowledge, no such name exists in any extra-Biblical Hebrew literature (other than SNM literature). It appears that Dr. Ben-Gigi is correct when he said, “People invented the name Yahshua to fit within their theology”.

The Apostle Paul warned Timothy about “doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising” (1 Timothy 6:4). Unfortunately, this is an accurate description of what goes on among many people in the Sacred Name Movement. Personally, I would rather fellowship with non-contentious people who call the Messiah Jesus than with contentious people who insist that everyone call Him Yahshua, an errant and false name and docytrine (Acts. 4:12).

If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.
(1 Timothy 6:3-5 KJV)

Also consider that those associated with the Sacred Name Movement like to refer to the Apostle Paul as Sha’ul. It is interesting to note that his name was Shau’l in the ninth chapter of Acts. Thereafter, Peter referred to him as Paul beginning in thirteenth chapter of Acts, which states, “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him” (Acts 13:9 KJV). Sha’ul is never referred to as anything but Paul again. This is obviously another story, but bears influence on this article.

This article was not written and compiled to persuade people to quit saying Yahshua. If people want to continue using a mistransliteration that was erroneously contrived by early Sacred Name Movement pioneers who didn’t know Hebrew, it really doesn’t matter to me. I doubt that their mistransliteration matters much to the Lord, either. What does matter, though, is the spreading of false accusations against Messianic Jews and Christians who call the Messiah Yeshua or Jesus Christ.

It is far past time that we as believers place stumblingblock in our brother and sisters paths, and the time to pass judgement on them (outside of Scripture) was never ours in the first place. It is written, “For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way” (Romans 14:8-13 KJV).