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Bethsheba Ashe
Biblical Gematria was a system of formal mathematics.

Exodus: Myth, Symbolism, and Reality

By Edward Poynter - Art Renewal Center, Public Domain.
By Edward Poynter - Art Renewal Center, Public Domain.
The story of the Exodus never explicitly reveals the identity of the Egyptian Pharaoh confronted by Moses and YHWH, and for good reason. In biblical rhetoric mathematics, the word “Pharaoh” has a value of 200, corresponding to the letter Resh. Resh, derived from a head with a clearly defined face, is associated with the Sun and marriage. In Exodus, Pharaoh symbolizes the Sun God Ra, who, according to Egyptian legend, was the first Pharaoh of Egypt.
Fragments from the “Marriage Stela” of King Rameses II from Abu Simbel describe the marriage of Rameses and the Princess of the Hittites. On a dull winter’s day, when the Pharaoh appeared, the sun pierced the clouds, leading to the princess being named “She who sees Horus, the life force of the Sun God.”
In Genesis 2:25, this part of the creation story corresponds with the Resh and also celebrates a marriage—of Adam and Eve:
ויהיו שניהם ערומים האדם ואשתו ולא יתבששו׃
“And the two of them were naked, the man and his wife, not were they pale.
Those who interpret Exodus as a historical account try to identify the Pharaoh Moses confronted, but since this is symbolic, it is ultimately irrelevant. Moses and YHWH symbolically defeat Ra (embodied by Pharaoh), preventing him from rising out of the Duat and being reborn from the Nile for a new day.[1] This is the true function of Pharaoh in the story. Exodus doesn’t recount the life of a real person.
The inclusion of Egyptian mythological elements and the use of YHW in calculations—a name used exclusively in the Bronze Age—suggest that, although the story is symbolic, the chief storyteller was likely a Hebrew from Egypt. While the precise date of their migration from Egypt to Canaan remains unknown, it must have been after the invention of the alphabet and the formalization of their rhetorical mathematics. Beyond this, little can be definitively said, as the spans of 40 years wandering in the desert and 480 years between the Exodus and the building of the first temple are also symbolic. The 40 years correspond to the 40 weeks of a pregnancy. The calculations surrounding the passage through the Red Sea confirm this to be a birth metaphor for the new nation. The 480 years corresponds to the Waw of the Holy Name on the Merkabah. It is an undetermined cycle of 8 (as there as 480 minutes in 8 hours).
The core of the Exodus story is the people’s quest to find God, traveling through mythic regions of the Seven Palaces. Reaching Israel is a secondary goal. Twice during their journey, they are brought to the House of God. Once, they wander within the House of God and are attacked by their own sins (the Amalek), illustrating that the impure cannot intrude into the House of God without consequence.[2] Exodus is a profound spiritual adventure story about the birth of a nation. They venture into the desert, a land perceived as closer to God, because it is the first land dried out by God with the letter Shin. While solitary hermits had likely been seeking God in the desert for centuries, Exodus tells the story of an entire people undertaking this journey, which is truly inspirational.
[1] See my book “Chariot: An Essay on Bereshit and the Merkabah,” which separates the Bronze Age elements of the story from later interpolations.
[2] See my latest edition: “Seht Her: Die Kunst und Praxis der Gematria” (German Edition).
About the Author
Bethsheba Ashe is a fifty two 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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