Bethsheba Ashe
Biblical Gematria was a system of formal mathematics.

Settler Gematria

Copyright Bethsheba Ashe.
Copyright Bethsheba Ashe.

Years ago I watched a TV program which interviewed an Israeli settler, and he carefully explained why he believed living on the land was his duty to God. He explained that he’d moved to his kibbutz because of gematria in Genesis 15:1.

Genesis 15:1 is the famous verse where God comes to Abram/Abraham in a vision and tells him he is his shield and is going to greatly reward him. In this chapter God will also tell Abram that he’s going to have lots of descendants and the land (of Canaan) is going to be his too:

אחר הדברים האלה היה דבר יהוה אל אברם במחזה לאמר אל תירא אברם אנכי מגן לך שכרך הרבה מאד

There is a gematria calculation in this verse, and it is also written with notariqon, which is a method by which we take the first (or sometimes the last) letters of each word and add them together. It is frequently used as a checksum (a type of confirmation).

In the formal system of gematria that biblical authors used there were many attendant rules for using it. Only the nouns were counted. Some verbs were also used to indicate the method of calculation, and some nouns are “middot” and by convention are not counted (like the word “word”). This sum is straight addition:

יהוה אברם במחזה אברם מגן שכרך = 910
YHWH + Abram + in a vision + Abram + shield + reward

And the notariqon is with the last letters:
ר ם ה ה ר ה ל ם ה ר ל א ם י ן ך ך ה ד = 910

The significance of 910 to this verse is that it is the amount of years that Canaan lived. Further on in the story Abram asks for confirmation from God that the land is his, and he arranges three pieces of meat on a stone, cuts it in half, and spends the night beating off vultures, and has another dream vision. This too is gematria which provides the confirmation he was looking for.

But the question is – because gematria was written by men, and not by God, and it is also post hoc ergo hoc, is it a valid reason to up sticks and go and settled on disputed territory?

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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