URIM AND THUMMIM , in theBible . "These descriptive terms are applied to one of the methods of divination employed by the
See also:Hebrews, which, it is now generally agreed, consisted in a
See also:species of sacred lot . Together with " dreams" and the prophetic
See also:oracle it formed the recognized channel by which divine communications were given (cf . 1 Sam.
See also:xxviii . 6) . That some method of casting lots is denoted by the terms is evident from 1 Sam. xiv . 41 f . The
See also:Hebrew text in this passage, as emended by the LXX and in this
See also:form generally accepted, runs as follows: " And
See also:Saul said: ` O
See also:God of
See also:Israel, why dost Thou not answer Thy servant to-
See also:day ? If this
See also:fault be in me or in Jonathan my son, give Urim, and if it be in Thy
See also:people Israel, give Thummim.' And the lot fell upon Saul and Jonathan, and the people escaped . And Saul said: `
See also:Cast (the lot) between me and Jonathan my son, and on whomsoever Jehovah shall cause the lot to fall let him die.' So they cast (the lot) between him and Jonathan his son, and Jonathan was taken." From this
See also:illuminating passage it is clear (a) that by means of the Urim and Thummim the
See also:guilt or innocence of the suspected parties was determined; (b) that this was effected by a series of categorical questions implying the
See also:simple alternative of " yes " or " no," or something
See also:positive or negative . A further inference (c) from a comparison of r Sam. xiv . 41 f. with ver .
36 (Greek text) is that this method of casting the sacred lot was closely connected with divination by the
See also:ephod (q.v.), and was the
See also:prerogative of the priests . This last point appears explicitly in the " Blessing of Moses " (Deut. xxxiii.), where the opening words of the Benediction on Levi run thug (text as emended by
See also:Ball, following LXX; P.S.B.A . 1896, 118 f.) : " Give to Levi Thy Thummim, And Thy Urim to the man of Thy favour." Similar modes of divination were practised, it would seem, among the pre-Islamic
See also:Arabs . The following
See also:custom is cited by
See also:Professor G . F .
See also:Moore,' on the testimony of Moslem writers, as having been in vogue: " Two arrow shafts (without heads or feathers), on one of which was written ' Command,' on the other `Prohibition,' or words of similar purport, were placed in a receptacle, and according as one or the other of them was
See also:drawn out it was known whether the proposed enterprise was in accordance with the will of the god and destined to succeed or not " (cf . Prov xvi, 33; Acts i . 26) . Regarding the form and material of the Urim and Thummim 1 Encycl . Biblica, iv . (col . 5236), where further details are given .
no details are given in the Old Testament . They seem to have fallen into desuetude at a comparativelyearly
See also:period . No mention is made of their use in the
See also:historical books after the
See also:time of
See also:David and Solomon, though it is probable that such use is implied in passages where the ephod is mentioned (e.g .
See also:Hosea iii . 4) . In the
See also:post-exilic Priestly
See also:Code (i.e. the bulk of the Levitical legislation of the
See also:Pentateuch), however, the Urim and Thummim figure as
See also:part of the equipment of the high
See also:priest (cf . Ex. xxviii . 30; Lev. viii . 8; Num.
See also:xxvii . 21) . Here it is stated that they are kept in a square pouch which is worn upon the high priest's
See also:breast (" the breastplate of
See also:judgment "), and attached to the ephod . Thus the association of the Urim and Thummim with the ephod, which appears in the
See also:oldest narratives, is retained in the Priestly Code (P) .
It is doubtful, however, whether P had any clear notion as to what exactly the Urim and Thummim were . The priestly writer gives no directions as to how they were to be made . They were retained in his ideal legislation, apparently, because their use was already invested with themystery of a long-vanished past, and they were regarded as having formed one of the most
See also:venerable adjuncts of the priesthood . That this method of divination was not in actual use after the
See also:Exile is shown by Neh. vii . 65 (
See also:Ezra ii . 63; 1 Esdras v . 40) where an important point affecting the priestly families is reserved " till there stood up a priest with Urim and Thummim." Later references (Ecclus. xlv . 1o; in
See also:Josephus and the
See also:Talmud) prove that no real tradition survived on the subject . The
See also:identification of them with the jewels of the breastplate and on the shoulders of the high priest (which apparently has the authority of Josephus) is unwarranted; other ancient guesses are equally baseless . Nor has any satisfactory explanation of the names Urim and Thummim been proposed . As vocalized in the Massoretic Hebrew text the names = "
See also:Lights and perfection." But the Greek translators read the former 'orim and connected it with torah, " decision "; it would thus="
See also:doctrine "; so
See also:Symmachus, cf . 1 Esd. v .
40, where " a high priest wearing Urim and Thummim " (R.V.) is given as " a high priest clothed in doctrine and truth " in A.V . Nor can theattempt of the
See also:scholar Muss-Arnolt to explain them as cognate with the Babylonian Tablets of Destiny be pronounced successful . Perhaps the conjecture least open to objection is that which regards the terms Urim and Thummim as the. names of two lots2 (perhaps actually written on them) of opposite import . In this case the former of the two names might be derived from the
See also:root 'arar, " to curse "; the other from a root meaning " to be without fault." The one would thus signify " that a proposed
See also:action was satisfactory to God, the other that it provoked His wrath " (Professor G . F . Moore) . But all such explanations are highly
See also:precarious .
URICONIUM (more correctly Viroconium)
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