Ancient Beersheba is the largest city in the Negev desert of southern Israel. Findings unearthed at Be’er Sheva, archaeological site east of modern day Beersheba, suggest the region has been inhabited since the 4th millennium BC and many scriptures mention its name:
Be’er Sheva archaeological site located
40 km from modern day Beersheba
1. Beersheba is mentioned in the Book of Genesis of the Hebrew Bible in connection with Abraham the Patriarch and his pact with a Philistine king by the name Abimelech.
2. Isaac, the son of Abraham, built an altar in Beersheba (Genesis 26:23–33).
3. Issac’s son Jacob had his dream about a ‘stairway to heaven’ after leaving Beersheba. (Genesis 28:10–15 and 46:1–7).
There are several popular etymologies for the origin of the name ‘Beersheba’. ‘Be’er’ is the Hebrew word for ‘well’; ‘sheva’ either means ‘seven’ (from the Hebrew word ‘shiva’) or ‘oath’ (from the Hebrew word shvu’a). But what are the sources of the words ‘sheva’ and ‘shiva’?
Bible Study Tools states that the most probable meaning of Beersheba is the ‘well of seven.’ Genesis 21:31 states Abraham took an oath of witness that he had dug the well and seven lambs were offered in sacrifice.
After the death of Abraham, the Phillistines closed off all the wells. But later his son Issac re-opens the wells and also restores the names Abraham had given them. In Genesis 26:18, it is written that, “Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham, his father. For the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham. He called their names after the names by which his father had called them”.
Nahmanides (1194-1270 AD), also known by his acronym Ramban,was a leading medieval Jewish scholar, philosopher, physician, kabbalist, and biblical commentator. He wrote in his commentaries, “…these wells were not only wells, they were temples…”
In Genesis 26:23-33, we find that Isaac, takes an oath after building an altar at the site which he names Beersheba. His servants dig around the altar and come and tell Isaac that they had found water. Issac calls the well and the water ‘Shibah‘ – a name that Abraham must have given the well earlier.
Isaac called the area ‘Shibah’ says the Genesis, but the actual Hebrew pronunciation is ‘Sheva‘. What is known as Beersheba today is actually Be’er Sheva – meaning ‘the well of Sheva’. Or Shiva!
In India, the Shivalinga often placed on an altar and surrounded by a ‘yoni’ over which the Hindus pour water, is a familiar site even today as it was thousands of years ago.
|A 5000 year old Shivalinga
So is there any trace of a Shivalinga in the Genesis? There indeed is. In his book ‘Shiva: A Rediscovery of the Holy Spirit’, author G. Ananda describes the story of Abraham’s grandson, Jacob and his encounter with the ‘Stairway to Heaven’ which he says is nothing else but the ‘Shivalinga‘.
Ananda states,”This stone like structure or the linga is found in the story of Jacob, the grandson of Abraham,when he encountered the Stairway to Heaven. This is also known as the story of ‘Jacob’s ladder’.
In Genesis 28 we find that Jacob leaves Beersheba and when he reaches a certain place, he stops for the night. Taking one of the stones there, he puts it under his head and lays down to sleep. He has a dream in which he sees a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching heaven and angels traversing up and down, with God standing above it…. Early the next morning Jacob takes the stone that he had placed under his head and sets it up as a pillar and pours oil on top of it….he calls the place Bethel – , meaning “this is God’s house…’
|Jacob’s Stone that he had used as a pillow.|
In his commentaries John Rittenberg writes, “Not that God is in heaven, but that Jacob’s God was right there—that was His house” – on Earth. Consequently, Bethel became a shrine. In Sanskrit, a cognate of ‘bethel’ is ‘bhutala’ (भूतल) and means ‘earth’. Perhaps the Skanda Purana describes it the best: “The endless sky (that great void which contains the entire universe) is the Linga, the Earth is its base”.
|Ancient Moon God ‘Yarikh’ of Israel and his insignia
Motice the Shivalinga like pillars.
Ananda adds, “In this story (of Jacob), all the elements of the Shiva and Linga Purana are present including the stairway that reached from earth to heaven. Clearly this stone correlates to the Shivalinga, especially since Jacob just previously had left the well of Shiva at his father’s city of Be’er Sheva….”.* The Linga Purana interprets the lingam as a cosmic pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus takes the story of Jacob’s ladder and applies the metaphysical ladder to himself and he says “you shall see heavens open and the angels of God ascending and descending on the stone of man”.
All throughout the Bible, God and Jesus are identified as a stone, for the Bible says: “Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone”.**
|Avdat Spring, Beer Sheva
The spring was sacred to Nabateans.