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Biblical Gematria was a system of formal mathematics.

# #3. Letters of the Lord: The letter Gimel.

Copyright Lady Frieda Harris. Fair Use policy at WikiArt.org.

In this special series of blog articles at the Times of Israel we are analyzing the gematria of Bereshith (Genesis) 1-2. I have published all the calculations for the first two chapters on Shematria (click here), but in these articles we’re going to go through them letter by letter and we’re going to look more deeply at how the math was constructed with the ancient system.

If this is the first time you’ve read this blog, you may be surprised to learn that Gematria, as it was practiced in the Bible, was a formal system of math. That means it had strict rules and conventions about how calculations were composed and read, just as our formal system of math does today. That shouldn’t be too surprising because it’s general knowledge that the practice of numeracy is acquired before literacy in most societies, often by a significant margin. Before letters were corresponded to phonetic sounds that could be recorded, they were numbers, and some special numerical values (from a set) were assigned to specific yet broad themes which corresponded to how the ancients perceived the ancient world. These themes were composed of matters that were thought to be in the experience of all human beings (day, night, the sky, birth, death, etc), and after compiling a list of these certainties they were corresponded to a letter or a group of letters (a gate), a number, and a place on a map of creation they called alternatively the Seven Palaces or the Merkabah. This means that when the ancients were writing the original scrolls of the Bible, by adding calculations to their verses they could clarify details or make allusions in the stories they were writing.

The first two chapters of Brashith (Genesis), are a story about God creating everything, and “everything” is chopped up into 22 interlocking parts of the merkabah that corresponded to the 22 letters. The creation story in some respects resembles a modern table of contents, but instead of page numbers, you have letter/number correspondences. Also, in each of the verses there are math calculations. That’s what this special blog series is about; the itty gritty of the rules and conventions of the calculations of Brashith 1-2 so that if you want to, you can learn to read ancient Hebrew biblical math and be better informed on the writers perspective.

Today we’re going to look at the theme of the ג – G – Gimel, which is corresponded to the creation of the שמים (shamayim), which is often translated as “the heavens” or “the sky”, but I have heard it translated literally as: the fiery waters because the ancients thought space was filled with water. The letter ש shin represented fire, and מים means water. Because both the letter Gimel and the letter Shin had a numerical value of 3, the description of the Shin (which dries out the land) immediately follows the creation of the Sky.

The description of the Gimel runs from Brashith 1:6-8, and the first thing to note about the calculations is that רָקִ֖יעַ (firmament/expanse) has the set value of 3 by the conventions of the system. Where-ever you see this word in the Bible, if its in a gematria calculation then it’s value is 3, not 380.
The second thing to note is that בתוך (in the middle) always indicates division by 2, exactly the same as מבדיל (divide) and בין (between). About the only difference between them is that בתוך indicates that something is added to something else before the resulting something is divided by 2, whereas בין is a word that indicates division by 2. In the following example, the set value of רָקִ֖יעַ is the gimel (3) and is added to המים (the waters) before being divided. It’s a simple enough sum:

Brashith 1:6:
ויאמר אלהים יהי רקיע בתוך המים ויהי מבדיל בין מים למים׃
And said Elohim “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it divide between waters to waters.”
אלהים + ((ג + המים) / ב) + (מים / ב) + למים = 300

The second line for the gimel is a bit more complex. It has addition and subtraction as well as division. Note that when something is מתחת (under) something else then it indicates subtraction, while if something is מעל (above) something else it indicates addition:

ויעש אלהים את־הרקיע ויבדל בין המים אשר מתחת לרקיע ובין המים אשר מעל לרקיע ויהי־כן׃
And made Elohim the expanse and he divided between the waters that were under the expanse and between the waters that were above to the expanse, and it was so.
אלהים + ג + (המים /2) – ג + (המים /2) + ג = 184

The verses for the gimel finish simply enough:

ויקרא אלהים לרקיע שמים
And called Elohim to the expanse heavens.
אלהים + ג + שמים = 182 (b.g)

And when we calculate the total of all 3 sums we have:
300 + 184 + 182 = 666.

And of course, the number 666 at this time had none of the fearful connotations with it that were attributed to it centuries later by the Christians, but was as holy a number as 777.

On the Seven Palaces, the letter Gimel appears on a path accompanied by the letter Heh and the letter Zayin, so this path has a sum of 15. Above this path is the Palace of the Beth (2) and below it is the Palace of the Resh (200). The letter Heh represented the stars and the Zayin represented cattle and may allude to the Bull of Heaven (Hadad) when on the Palaces. Consider that when we sum the letters around the Gimel by multiplication and add it to the 15:

(2 × 3) + (3 × 3) + (3 × 5) + (3 × 7) + (3 × 200) + 15 = 666.

Esoteric and magical organizations tend to be concerned with ancient mysteries that concern light, and obviously Kabbalah and the roots of the Kabbalah (the Merkabah) are central to most Western Mystery Traditions. This means that the study of the Hebrew letters is a significant part of their curriculums, but students are often given (or settle for) old and outdated charts with Victorian era guesses about the likely pictographic origin of the letters. Knowledge of the old and mistaken attributions are needed to decipher the symbolism of some works (for instance, the works of Aleister Crowley), but the more accurate we are at unearthing the genuine correspondences of the ancients, the better we can understand ancient and biblical works.

Freemasons often display a prominent G in their iconography, which most people assume is for Gimel, or for the word “God” or “Geometry”, but another explanations suggests it was originally inspired by the Hebrew letter י Yod which can resemble a curly blob reminiscent of the G [1].

In the Tarot, the letter Gimel is attributed to the Trump called “The High Priestess”. The card illustrates the sky as veiled and hidden by light.

Copyright Lady Frieda Harris. Fair Use policy at WikiArt.org.

The card represents the most spiritual form of Isis the Eternal Virgin; the
Artemis of the Greeks. She is clothed only in the luminous veil of light. It is
important for high initiation to regard Light not as the perfect manifestation of
the Eternal Spirit, but rather as the veil which hides that Spirit. It does so all
the more effectively because of its incomparably dazzling brilliance.”
– Aleister Crowley, ‘The Book of Thoth’, (1944).

That’s it for now. Next time we’ll be covering the letter Shin, and the drying out of the Earth, so stay tuned for more numerical honey.

[1] https://masonicshop.com/encyclopedia/topics/entry/?i=3654

About the Author
Bethsheba Ashe is a fifty three year old tea-drinking cryptographer who broke the gematria ciphers to the Bible and the Book of the Law. She is the author of two books on Biblical Hermeneutics; "Behold: The Art and Practice of Gematria" and "Chariot: An Essay on Bereshit and the Merkabah." She is the creator of the popular ‘Shematria’ online calculator, and inventor of the Galay writing script. Currently she lives in Pennsylvania and is creating an open-world VR Island adventure game with her boyfriend, two cats and a cockatoo, but she says she owes all her success to Tetley.
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