Drug Abuse in the Greek and Hebrew Scriptures and Other extra-Biblical Writings
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‘[L]est there be among you a root bearing [a] poisonous and bitter fruit’ (Moses to the Hebrews of the Exodus) Deuteronomy 29:18 RSV KJV (3) / RV (1) marginal reference ‘poisonful herb’ the Hebrew ראש Rô’sh See Lexicon (iii)
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Many believe that the Bible has no direct mandate concerning
drug abuse. At least one major Bible Encyclopedia informs us: "‘DRUG ABUSE’. Not mentioned in the Bible, but the principles derived from alcohol abuse would apply to drugs" and although it is true that the King James Authorized Version of 1611 does still carry a marginal reference at Deuteronomy 29:18 (mg. 3 Rôsh ‘poisonful herb’ see Lex. (iii) ראש) as above, that, at least in the majority English versions* (still basically, at least concerning our subject, a medieval translation) is as far as the Bible would appear to go; (Try an English Bible Search!) and yet, from the Bible Lexicons we find:
Photo: Ergot of Rye The Biblical ‘Tare’ (Ζιζάνια Zizania) a natural source of Lysergic Acid
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THE GREEK φαρμακεία pharmakeia (Sometimes φαρμακία)
IN THE GREEK OLD (LXX) AND NEW TESTAMENTS STANDING GENERALLY FOR THE HEBREW כּשׁף kasháph THE MAGICAL PLANT ‘OFF CUTTINGS’, A WORD USED TO DESCRIBE THE ‘SORCERY’ OF THE OLD TESTAMENT QUEEN JEZEBEL, THE APOCALYPTIC BABYLON THE
MOTHER OF HARLOTS (THE N.T. GK. πορν -ων porn -o)
AND ANCIENT NINEVEH AS THE ‘DESTROYER (ESV ‘BETRAYER’) OF FAMILIES’ THAT ‘SOLD, OR, AS THE NLT ‘ENTICED’ (NIV ‘ENSLAVED’) THE NATIONS’
2 (LXX iv) Kings 9:22 = Nahum 3:4, = Rev. 17:5 / 18:23 KJV
recorded in Scripture
AS EVENTUALLY TO EFFECT THE WHOLE OF MANKIND
‘FOR BY THY SORCERIES - φαρμακεία pharmakeia - ‘ENCHANTMENT OR MAGIC WITH DRUGS’ - WERE ALL NATIONS DECEIVED’
From the literal Greek ‘caused to err, led astray, a philter of deception’
Although scholars have agreed that a literal interpretation of the Apocalyptic vision as outlined above is viable (see page BABYLON with LEXICON) this does not mean that every single individual of the Apocalyptic age is seen as given to drink of the Harlot’s philter, but rather, as with the Egyptians of the Exodus period
‘[That] would not believe anything by reason of the φαρμακείας pharmakeias’ the ‘drug enchantments)’ (Wisdom 18:13)
that the nations are deceived as much by the enchantment or ‘charm’ of pro-drug abuse propaganda (sublimation*) and the collate ‘false religious teaching’ of the age than as much to any national (endemic) or individual drug-bondage itself
* Sublimation (psychology) modifying the natural expression of an impulse or instinct (especially a sexual one) to one that is socially acceptable’
with Revelation 17:5 / 18:23 KJV Nahum 3:4 KJV
Online Scripture links courtesy Blue Letter Bible
Apart from the Apocalypse in the Greek New Testament the word appears at Galatians 5:20
‘The acts of a sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, (πορνεία porn -eia ‘harlotry/pornography’) impurity and debauchery, Idolatry and witchcraft (NKJV ‘sorcery’ from the Greek φαρμακία pharmakia ‘enchantment with drugs’)...hatred...jealousy...envy...orgies and the like’.
Galatians 5:19-21 (abridged) see NIV / KJV / Greek NT
and with with no fewer than 30 further occurrences (including the Apocryphal references) in the Greek Old Testament (LXX) this ancient word φάρμακία, ‘drug enchantment’, generally translated ‘sorcery’ in the English versions, is further reciprocated in many of the Early Christian Writings.
In the Greek Apocalypse (Revelation) the word occurs at:
Rev. 9:21 Greek N.T English KJV, Rev. 18:23 Greek N.T. English KJV, Rev. 21:8 Greek N.T English KJV, Rev. 22:15 (φαρακοι) Greek N.T English NIV.
Reproduced from the Cambridge Greek Testament 1914 p.124 ‘Notes to Galatians’ (5:20) by A. Lukyn Williams D.D. (1853-1943) courtesy Cambridge University Press 2008. This work entered the Public domain in 2014. / Compton’s Interactive courtesy Riverdeep Inc. LLC 2006
Also, from the above, under ‘Witch, Witchcraft’ in the same Bible Encyclopedia:
For the use of drugs as medicine in Scripture see Ecclesiasticus (Apoc.) 38:1-4
From the Greek and Hebrew of the original text it is therefore immediately clear, that beneath the surface of the English Bible and other extra-Biblical literature, there is a great wealth of teaching concerning drugs and drug abuse seemingly forgotten since Old Testament Times and the teachings of the Early Church.
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FREE eBOOK Drug Abuse in Scripture.
Some of the more modern English Bible translations, including the recently published NET Bible (2005) do now carry specific drug reference from the Hebrew כשן kasháph and Greek φαρμακίεα pharmakiea etc. See Bible Search for free download of this new and informative version. Other modern translation is referenced eBook text (‘Intro’) etc.
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