Roots of Antisemitism in The Bible

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The word Antisemitism is a modern word that literally means “Hostility to the Semite people”. But from its origin in the 19 century in Germany, the real meaning was “Hate and prejudice against the Jews”.

Although the word is modern, its roots are very old.

Wars and prejudice against people is not something special. In fact, this is something that is common to all the human race in all history and pre-history.

But with the Jews there is something unique, and the fact that there is a special word, that is known internationally, shows that there is something different about hating the Jews.

What is so special? Historically, we can say that in the last 2000 thousand years, Jews were persecuted everywhere they lived, while not having a land of their own (until 1948). This is a very ancient nation that suffers prejudice in every place it is found.

Is there a reason for that?

Let’s open our Bible and check what it has to say about it.

The suffering of the Jews was permitted by the Lord

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2)

This prophecy was given by Zechariah, according to the Bible scholars, around the year 520 BC (more than 2500 years ago).

Note that the Lord rebukes Satan and explains that He chose Jerusalem. Why does he need to rebuke?

We know that Satan cannot do anything without direct permission from the Lord. (See Job 1:12). So the Lord rebukes Satan for what he does to the Jews, but it was done with the Lord’s permission.

Prophecies about antisemitism

And it shall come to pass
That just as you were a curse among the nations,
O house of Judah and house of Israel... (Zechariah 8:13)

Zechariah says that Jews are  “a curse among the nations”.

therefore prophesy, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Because they made you desolate and swallowed you up on every side, so that you became the possession of the rest of the nations, and you are taken up by the lips of talkers and slandered by the people”

‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I have spoken in My jealousy and My fury, because you have borne the shame of the nations.”

(Ezekiel 36:3, 6)

Judea and Israel are “the possession of the nations” and are “taken up by the lips and slanders” of those nations. They become “the shame of the nations“.

Those prophecies predict what we know today: Jews became scattered among all nations, and suffer from mocking, slander and persecutions.

Until when?

If the Lord chose Israel as his people, why does the nation need to suffer so much and until when?

For the first question: why – all the Biblical prophets gave the answer: for neglecting the Lord and following the idolatry of the nations.

For the second question – until when – the Bible is very clear:

22 “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name’s sake, which you have profaned among the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes. 24 For I will take you from among the nations, gather you out of all countries, and bring you into your own land. 25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. 28 Then you shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; you shall be My people, and I will be your God. (Ezekiel 36:22-28)

Ezekiel wrote more than 2500 years ago exactly what is going to happen:

After the people of Judea and Israel “profaned the name of the Lord” among the nations, The lord will restore them and will bring them back to their land. After that He will clean them from their filthiness. He then will give them a new heart and a new spirit within them.

We can see the restoration of the people of Judea in the land of Israel.

Could this be the beginning of the fulfillment of the prophecy?

Author: Ran Silberman

I am a tour guide in Israel with a passion for the Bible. For many years I work in the software industry as a software consultant. I blog in http://ransilberman.blog

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