The Almeh or Alamot in the Harem

Harem Dancers by Fabio Fabbi

Appendix Note A, from the book Song of Songs: Life in the Harem of God

We have been looking at the Song of Songs, but there are other passages throughout the Bible that are the same song, and the same tune.  A wondrous love Song hidden in the Bible.  Only those who are truly His beloved, can perceive and truly appreciate that it is even there.  Even then, sometimes we only catch a whisper of the building crescendo.  Other times it can be so overwhelming, that we are engulfed by its overpowering waves, and swamped in a deluge of emotions, that overflow our senses and engulf our minds.  Often it is hidden like a precious gift, prepared by a loved one and tucked away, a tiny jewel or gem, concealed where only the lover would think to look.  Having found just one, the diligent and attentive lover will search carefully till ALL have been found.  Then they will carefully clutch them close to their hearts as tokens of their Lover’s commitment.

So it should be our life’s quest to listen for the tune, and search out all the hidden jewels.  If we look back through history we find small groups of God’s people doing just that, searching for the hidden nuggets of truth and obeying to the best of their knowledge and ability.  In obedience, in study, and in prayer we become part of that group of people who walk as close as they can to God and listens to hear His voice.  They strain to hear His Love Song and partake of His love and His affection.  How well we can hear that Song is directly related to how obedient we are.

Which brings us to the Almeh or Alamot (pl.)  They not only heard the song but they sang the song and danced the dance.  Their desire and love for the coming Messiah was their only motivation.  They sought Him, in order to help and/or aid Him.  These women are referred to seven times in the Bible [Gen. 24:43; Ex. 2:8; Psa 68:25; Prov. 30:19; Songs 1:3, 6:8; Is. 7:14 (cf. Matt. 1:23)].  Anytime anything in the Bible is mentioned seven times, we need to sit up and take note.  These women were not extraordinary in and of themselves.  They were, in fact, quite ordinary.  They were, however, recognized as a special class of women who were part of the royal court, and the temple.  They sang, danced, and taught the young brides about sex.  But their ultimate purpose was to look for – and help discover  – the seed of woman [Gen. 3:15], which explains the dancing, (what we now rudely call belly dancing).  This dance was developed to help strengthen the abdominal muscles in preparation for child birth.  These women are always there to further God’s plans and purposes, to support the coming Redeemer.

Seven Little Jewels

1. The first use is Abraham servant praying for guidance in finding a wife for Isaac

Rebekah and Abraham's Servant at the Well.  1867“behold, I am standing by the spring of water; let the young woman (Almeh) who comes out to draw, to whom I shall say,  “Pray give me a little water from your jar to drink,” and who will say to me,  “Drink, and I will draw for your camels also,” let her be the woman whom the LORD has appointed for my master’s son.’ Gen. 24:43-44

The servant didn’t want just any woman for his master’s son he wanted an almeh.  A skilled woman, who knew what she was looking for.  What better place for an almeh to be than in the house and lineage of the Messiah.  Where her brother Laban saw the rings and jewels, Rebekah (Who’s name means to bind or tie) saw a way to help God.  There is no question that Rebekah knew, this was the line of Messiah.  She even knew which of her sons was the son of promise [Gen. 25:23].  She was a descendant after all of Abraham’s father.  She would have known that Abraham left family and friends in the valley between the rivers, i.e. Mesopotamia to follow the one true God.  She wanted nothing less than to bind herself to the family of God and the line of Messiah.

Many others have followed in her brave footsteps over the millennia, leaving paganism, family and comfort to find their way to join with other people of God.  To become the Great Nations that God promised Abraham his descendants would be.  His children, made from every peoples, nations, and tongues.

2. When Moses wrote down the circumstances of his coming to be an Egyptian prince, he calls his sister Miriam an almeh.

And Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Go.” So the girl (Almeh) went and called the child’s mother. Ex. 2:8.

Miriam was with Moses from the beginning.  She is the one who led the women in a song and victory dance after Pharaoh’s armies were drown in the sea.  The Text calls her a prophetess.

Then Miriam, the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and dancing. And Miriam sang to them:  “Sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.” Ex. 15:20-21

FYI:  Timbrels are either those little finger cymbals that belly dancers play or tambourines.

3. In The Temple Procession in Psalms 68, they are in the procession

the singers in front, the minstrels last, between them maidens playing timbrels Psa 68:25

Émile Charles Hippolyte Lecomte-Vernet(1821-1900) Girl tying timbrelsHere we have Alamot dancing on the way to the temple, clinking their little finger cymbals.  This also indicates one of the activities of an Alamot; they do the dance of the Dase du Ventre, Raks Sharqi or as Westerners and Hollywood call it belly dancing.  This is part of a solemn procession to the temple.  It is hard for the western mind to think of belly dancing as solemn, but here it is.  In the verse before, God is being addressed in the familial or intimate form “Eli Melki”, my God my King, this is not the formal way one addresses deity, it is only used by those who are truly intimate with Him.  These women are celebrating the Messiah, who was born of a woman, so they dance in a way that women understand.  To often the people of God have for some reason treated the ways of women as less worthy than that of men.  Women have a roll to play, and it is a feminine one.  Just as light was taken from the world by the rebellious act of one woman,  so light was given back to world through the submissive act of one woman.

4. Among the four things that the writer of Proverbs does not understand.

the way of an eagle in the sky, 

the way of a serpent on a rock, 

the way of a ship on the high seas, 

and the way of a man with a maiden (Almeh). Prov. 30:19 

And apparently neither did Tinkerbell because Capt. Hook used this verse to temp her away from her loyalty to Peter Pan; at least in the Disney version.

Seriously, the way an eagles or rather vultures (the word translated as eagle in the Bible is always a vulture in the Hebrew) moves in the sky seems effortless.  They soar along the heat thermals without moving their wings all day long.  It is amazing to observe.  The same is true of snakes and the way they seeming glide across even smooth surfaces without legs.  One must get down on the ground very close to see the muscle ripple along the ground, and sailing ship of old moved by the power of the unseen wind.  Who every first thought of stretching a sheet in the unseen wind to move a ship must have been some kind of genius.  All three of these move as if by magic.  Slipping, sliding, gliding along with no visible means of propulsion or effort on their part.

So it is with the Almeh, men have no idea how they move that way.  But they like it.  How they seem to glide across the room with little effort.  But they like it.  All the veils and sparkly things only add to their confusion.  But they like it.  And there in lies the danger.  When an almeh left the true worship of the one true God, and her mind became corrupted, her skills were corrupted as well.  In the service of the pagan gods these skills were perverted into the dishonorable office of a temple priestess.  These priestesses served the fertility deities, becoming cult temple prostitutes.  The idea was that the god they were worshiping was the seed of woman or the woman who bore the seed, and the act of impregnation needed to be reenacted, by those in service to the god or goddess.

The act of love can be easily corrupted.  Just like eating fruit in the garden, the serpent brought corruption.

Now the serpent was more subtle than any other wild creature that the LORD God had made. He said to the woman,  “Did God say,  ‘You shall not eat of any tree of the garden’?”Gen. 3:1  

The Serpent deceived Eve into being disloyal to the One True God, with the horrible consequence of the Light of the World being withdrawn.  

Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. 1 Pet. 5:8 

Satan does not only devours by bold out right attacks, but often, he is as he was in the beginning very subtle.  It is far easier for him to present false lights.  They are so attractive, so bright and warming, that many do not see the deception.

This is why both Judaism and Christianity have discouraged these women.  They have not taught the truth of these women, fearing the deception that it might bring.  But the Almeh are here in the Text.  What God has given should not be hidden.  Singing and dancing is a natural way for women to worship.

5. The women, who love Solomon.

 . . . your anointing oils are fragrant, your name is oil poured out; therefore the maidens love you. Song of Songs 1:3. Solomon, in this passage, is a type of the Beloved, the Messiah.  His name being poured out is a type for Him who poured out Himself for our salvation.  The Messiah was the pinnacle of all the almaot expectations.  The suspense of all the ages was over as He stood there risen from the dead.  In doing this He truly had been bruised on the heel by the serpent, but had returned a final destroying blow to the serpents head.  The serpent may appear to be untouched,  but it was in fact a death blow.  That ole serpent, the enemy of all mankind is doomed.  His fate is sealed.  The battle is lost.  The victory has been handed to us by our Savior.

6. The number of his women

 There are sixty queens and eighty concubines, and maidens without number.  Song 6:8 

Here they are part of the king’s court.  They were experts in all the arts including poetry, literature, dancing, music and the art of making love.  They taught these arts to the younger women, in order to please the king.  Which is only job any of us truly has, to please the King, is the ultimate goal of all who believe.

Now we are back to our dilemma of these women, are they teaching truth or error?  Is their faith pure or corrupted?  Are they teaching Bible or tradition?  The song and the dance are almost exactly the same, but one leads to God with clean hands and pure hearts.  And the other leads to destruction.  We fear hearing, Depart from me, I never knew you.  The Messiah was not born on the 25th of December, nor did He rise from the grave on Easter.  These both originate in the paganism of looking for the seed of woman in the wrong places.

7. Now we come to the most interesting type and antitype prophecy in all Scripture.

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman (Almeh) shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Is. 7:14

On the one hand ( the type) it refers to Isaiah’s wife, but it is also a Messianic prophecy (the antitype) and refers to Mary the mother of Jesus/Yeshua.  Both of these women are called Almeh.  This is why preachers go to great lengths to say that the young women here means virgins.  This is because of that corruption.  The word almeh in Aramaic as well as modern Arabic means prostitutes.  Though the pagan temples are gone the corruption remains.  The word for virgin in Hebrew is vetula.  Isaiah’s wife was obviously not a vetula.  But that Messiah would be born of a virgin was clear in that He would be the seed of a woman, [Gen. 3:15]  When the Septuagint was translated Alamot was translated to be parthenos [Gk.] or virgins.  Because the translators of the Septuagint all ready knew that the Messiah would be born of a virgin, and that is the point they wanted to get across.  They wanted no hint of the corruption.

That Messiah would in fact be born outside the normal physical way, but come from a virgin was all important.

Although she is not called an Almeh in the New Testament, Mary clearly fulfilled the Isaiah prophecy.  Mary is the ultimate Almeh, she is the woman who bore the seed.  And even though it exposed her to being denounced as a prostitute she humbly accepted God’s plan.

“And Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:38

The Four

These four women Rebekah, Miriam, Mrs. Isaiah, and Mary and all who follow in their footsteps are truly special in that they had this in common; they understood.  They knew and understood the Love Song.  It is a truly wise person who understands God’s will.  It is only the truly submissive ones that will act on such faith and move God’s plan forward.  These four women all played their role in pointing the way to the Messiah.

Paul admonishes the women of his day to be doing the same thing.

. . . and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, Titus 2:4.

This job was given to the women in the church, however far too often it has been usurped by the men.  Women are not given teaching positions.  Those that do teach are often untrained, volunteers who know little more than those they are supposed to be teaching.

Soon it will be time to sing the song and dance the dance, to take up the cymbals and play the tune for our King.  The time for the precession to start is growing closer.  But many don’t know the tune.  Our post modern churches have neglected the real tune and substituted false ones i.e. pagan holidays such as Christmas and Easter, reading only the New Testament, and making up traditions that have no real substance or reason.  It is now essential that we return to school and learn what has been neglected.

Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. Gal. 3:24

Go back to the truth of the Biblical Holy Days.  Search out the history of God’s people and see where others have failed to keep the faith.  How they adopted Christmas [Jer 10]  Lent, and Easter [Ezek. 8] and spent 70 years in Babylon for doing so.

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures we might have hope. Rom. 15:4

Remember that those who conquer are those who sing BOTH the song of Moses and the song of the Lamb.

And I saw what appeared to be a sea of glass mingled with fire, and those who had conquered the beast and its image and the number of its name, standing beside the sea of glass with harps of God in their hands. And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, Rev. 15:2-3

The song of Moses is quite simply, the Law, and the best way to learn the Law is not by reading alone.

Start keeping the Cycle of the Levitical or Biblical Feasts.  To sing the song of Moses it is best to eat the food, sing the songs and dance the dances.  Then and only then will you meet the true Lamb.  He was not born on Dec. 25th, but rather at the Feast of Tabernacles.  He was not crucified on Good Friday, but rather on Passover.  He did not raise from the dead on Easter, for it was the wondrous feast of First Fruits.

Come to the Banquet and meet the real Jewish Rabbi, The Son of God, and dance the dance of the Alamot.

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4 thoughts on “The Almeh or Alamot in the Harem

  1. Pingback: The Ten Virgins, Matt. 25: 1-13 | The Song of Songs

  2. Pingback: Psalms 46, According to the Alamoth | The Song of Songs

  3. Pingback: An Introduction to the Sexual Deviant in the Bible | The Song of Songs

  4. Pingback: Judges 19 Gang rape and murder in the Bible | The Song of Songs

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