Hur: Supporting the Vision
Most people in the modern church have never heard the name Hur, outside of his namesake “Ben-Hur” (meaning Son of Hur in Hebrew), the titular character of the Lew Wallace novel and the cinematic epic starting Charleston Hesston. The 1880 book, whose full title is “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ”, is considered to be the most influential Christian book of the nineteenth century, and the movie adaption, critically praised as one of the greatest movies ever made, which won a record 11 prizes in the 1960 Academy Awards, both pale in comparison to the seemingly forgotten legend of Hur, Bezalel’s grandfather.
Hur’s saga opens on the scene of a massive battlefield, with the clamoring of shields and swords, and the shouts of warriors engaged in blood brawls.
The Israelites are fighting the Amalekites, who ambushed the Israelites while they were encamped at Rephidim, the site where the miracle of water flowing from the struck stone occurred.
Amongst all the chaos and calamity, we fail to find our hero, Hur.
He, along with the aged Moses and Aaron, are watching the battle from a nearby hill.
Hur’s grandfather, Jephunneh, the Kenizzite, had a long standing hunting heritage, and Hur’s father, Caleb, would later serve as one of the scouts in the Promised Land. They were both mighty men of action, and Hur undoubtedly felt he should have been in the frenzy and fray.
The humiliation and embarrassment of missing out on the glory of the battlefield as a young man (in his late teens or early twenties as his father Caleb was forty), and having to sit on the sidelines with two old men must have been crushing.
But, God had a greater role for Hur.
While watching the battle of Rephidim, Moses realized that the Israelites had the upper hand when his arms were raised and the Israelites began to lose when Moses dropped his arms. When Moses is overcome by exhaustion from holding the Staff of God above his head, Aaron and Hur sit Moses upon a stone to rest and they stood for hours supporting Moses’ arms till the sun set when the Israelites are able to repel the Amalekite attack (ref. Exodus 17:11-13).
After the battle, Moses built an altar at the site of the hill he watched the battle from. This monument was consecrated Yahweh-Nissi, which translates “The Lord is my Banner” (ref. Exodus 17:15).
The consequences of a raised or fallen flag, standard, or banner in warfare are so universal that its symbolic significance can be translated outside the battle’s boundaries. Stephen Crane’s classic war novel The Red Badge of Courage poetically details the valor required to keep the colors raised, especially while under fire, and the great sacrifices required to maintain it. America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner” is based on Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defense of Fort M’Henry” describing the bombardment of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, with the momentous closing victoriously declaring “O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave”. The 1945 Pulitzer Prize winner for Photography, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, depicting the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima, is arguably the most iconic photograph taken during World War II.
While Hur may have desired to be part of the military force defending against the Amalekite attack, he sagely recognized the significance of sustaining the Staff of God. Not only did this “banner” inspire the Israelite troops in battle, but it served as the most recognizable reminder of God’s Power in Israel’s Exodus from Egypt and embodied the hope of an Israelite nation that would look first to God for guidance and direction.
It had to be supported at all costs.
After Hur’s role in the Battle of Rephidim, Hur is so trusted by Moses, that three months later, Hur is given authority, along with Moses’s brother Aaron, over the Israelite encampment while Moses goes up to Mount Sinai to receive the first set of Commandments (ref. Exodus 24:14).
Hur is never mentioned again.
Rabbinical commentary has several speculations as to why such an important and key character disappeared so suddenly. The most likely and popular theory is that Hur is murdered by the Israelites, trying to prevent the creation of the Golden Calf, which also explains why Aaron was compelled to create it.
This explanation perfectly fits Hur’s character as he understood more intensely than anyone else the importance of ensuring that God’s banner was the raised symbol of Israel.
Hur’s dedication to supporting this vision was not a single event seen from the relative safety of a hill outside the reach of enemy weaponry. Hur was willing to die, at the hands of his own people no less, defending and supporting the hope that Israel would be a nation wholly committed to the Invisible God.
History books are bursting with the bravery of people willing to give the ultimate sacrifice for their nation and its ideals and Hur rightly should be counted amongst these.
Not to be overshadowed by his courageous confrontation against the idolatrous Israelites, was Hur’s decision to support Moses, God’s Vision Bearer, during the Battle of Rephidim. While Hur could have sought personal glory on the battlefield, he understood that he could have a larger impact maintaining God’s Banner.
God’s Eyes do not overlook the supportive roles in His Army.
Hur, like his father Caleb before him, has an unflattering, if not out rightly insulting, name meaning “hole”, specifically a craggy crevice where vipers tend to hide. But, when we consider that the Staff of God was the very rod that was turned into a cobra and consumed the Egyptian magicians’ snakes during Moses’ confrontation with the Egyptian Pharaoh, we begin to get a more complete and complex picture of Hur’s name’s meaning. Rather than a dark pit filled with snakes, Hur’s heart serves as a deep secure cleft, where God’s banner can be confidently braced to be proudly displayed for all to see.
It was Moses’ sacred obligation to serve as God’s Standard-bearer, but this position’s responsibility was too great for him to carry alone, which is why God blessed Moses with Aaron and Hur to help raise The Staff of God. Had Aaron and Hur allowed Moses to drop The Staff of God, the Israelites would have been slaughtered by the Amelekites just days after they had crossed the Red Sea.
Like Moses thousands of year ago, we recognize that The Vision of the Tabernacle is not capable of being sustained by a single person. We need heroic men and women to step forward to help support the hope of the PMT Campus. God’s Army has many positions to be occupied and everyone has a role to realize in this Vision.
Will you do your part to see that the Vision of the Tabernacle is fulfilled?
Prepared by, Kent Simpson, Apostolic Prophet & Eric Sepulveda, PMT Administrator
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