To the untrained eye, these sequences may not look impressive, but XSETI is convinced, on scientific grounds, that they are a signal, or beacon, created by extraterrestrials to get our attention, and that they are a decoding mechanism that unlocks a deeper message.
We are open to being proven wrong and we are open to being proven right. The fact that the sequences constitute empirical evidence that can be tested in a variety of ways gives us great confidence that a resolution by scientific consensus can be reached.
The above list has been greatly modified for recognition purposes. Had the sequences been presented as they appear in the Bible they would have been, in total, almost invisible, which explains why they remained undetected for thousands of years. What has not been manipulated is the sequential order. In these 46 sequences (out of 54 total, or 85%) the grain word is first, the wine word second and the oil word third.
Critics need to explain how 46 out of 54 literary triads are symmetrical when there are six different ways to sequence three factors:
What force compelled the creators of these sequences to favor one sequence 85% of the time? A casual observation would lead a skeptic to surmise that there has to be some simple and logical explanation, perhaps a speech idiom, or a by-product of history, culture, language or religion. But all of these “low hanging fruit” explanations have been extensively explored by credible scholars and dismissed.
This symmetry has baffled the experts. The Z signal hypothesis, although admittedly radical, is currently the most logical explanation. Of course, that could change with further research.
But this barely scratches the surface of the enigma. The 46 sequences were created under conditions that work against symmetry, not for it.
The extraordinary symmetry of the sequences is hard to explain given the fact that they are recorded in 18 different books written by dozens, possibly hundreds, of individuals who lived over a thousand year span of time. Skeptics need to come up with a viable explanation that takes these three factors into account.
But there is more. There are two “over-the-top” qualities about the sequences that move them from the realm of the humanly improbable to the humanly impossible. They are the variant sequences and the skip sequences.
The Variant Sequences
In the original Hebrew language, only 18 of the 46 sequences are of the simple grain, wine and oil variety. The rest include different words from the grain genre, the wine genre and the oil genre that still appear in the correct order. For example, instead of “grain, wine and oil,” the sequence in Judges 15:5 is “grain, vineyards and olive groves.” Two of the three words change, but both are still connected to the correct genre and they are in the correct order, preserving and extending the symmetry. Ordinarily, when individual words in literary sequences are changed, any existing symmetry is destroyed, but in these instances it isn’t. Why not?
There are a dozen sequences where other commodities appear between grain and wine, or between wine and oil, without disturbing the order. For example, Ezra 6:9 lists “wheat, salt, wine and oil.” “Salt” is an intrusive factor, but it doesn’t destroy the symmetry. Haggai 2:19 lists “seed, vine, fig tree, pomegranates and olive tree.” “Fig tree and pomegranates” alter the sequence, but they don’t affect the basic symmetry.
Besides these variant forms, there are dozens of sequences where commodities are added before and after the grain, wine and oil sequence. In fact, only 6 of the 46 sequences are of the free standing grain, wine and oil variety. The rest all have features that would ordinarily work against symmetry, not extend it.
One of the first things that needs to happen is to subject the Z signal to a professional cryptanalysis to determine if the sequences are a non-random event. If it is, skeptics intent on debunking it will need to account for all the variables without resorting to alien intervention. To date, no one has come even remotely close to creating an explicatory model that doesn’t involve visitors from outer space. XSETI is convinced that extraterrestrials somehow compelled ancient Hebrew authors to encrypt a signal into the Old Testament without their knowledge, one that would be strong enough to be confirmed once humans entered the Scientific Age.
24. Ezra 3:7.....................................grain/wine/oil
25. Ezra 6:9.....................................grain/wine/oil
26. Ezra 7:22....................................grain/wine/oil
27. Neh. 5:11..................fields/vineyards/olive groves
28. Neh. 5:11....................................grain/wine/oil
29. Neh. 10:37..................................dough/wine/oil
30. Neh. 10:39...................................grain/wine/oil
31. Neh. 13:5....................................grain/wine/oil
32. Neh. 13:12...................................grain/wine/oil
33. Ps. 104:14&15.............................. food/wine/oil
34. Ps. 128:2&3..................field labor/vine/olive plants
35. Ecc. 9:7&8...................................bread/wine/oil
36. Isa. 17:5&6...................grain/wild grapes/olive tree
37. Jer. 31:12......................................grain/wine/oil
38. Dan. 10:3.....................................bread/wine/oil
39. Hosea 2:8......................................grain/wine/oil
40. Hosea 2:22....................................grain/wine/oil
41. Joel 1:10.......................................grain/wine/oil
42. Joel 2:19.......................................grain/wine/oil
43. Joel 2:24.......................................grain/wine/oil
44. Hag. 1:11.......................................grain/wine/oil
45. Hag. 2:12.......................................bread/wine/oil
46. Hag. 2:19.......................................bread/wine/oil
2. Deut. 6:11...grain (storehouses)/vineyard/olive trees
3. Deut. 7:13..................................grain/wine/oil
4. Deut. 8:8....................................grain/wine/oil
5. Deut. 11:14.................................grain/wine/oil
6. Deut. 12:17.................................grain/wine/oil
7. Deut. 14:23.................................grain/wine/oil
8. Deut. 18:4..................................grain/wine/oil
9. Deut. 28:38-40...............seed/vineyards/olive trees
10. Deut. 28:38-40.............................field/wine/oil
11. Deut. 28:38-40...................harvest/grapes/olives
12. Josh. 24:13........................land/vineyards/olives
13. Judg. 15:5.......................grain/vineyards/groves
14. 1 Sam. 8:14..............fields/vineyards/olive groves
15. 2 Kings 18:32.........grain-bread/wine-vineyards/oil
16. 1 Chron. 9:29..............................flour/wine/oil
17. 1 Chron. 12:40.............................flour/wine/oil
18. 1 Chron. 27:26-28...field work/vineyards/olive trees
19. 1 Chron. 27:26-28....tilled soil/wine cellars/oil cellars
20. 2 Chron. 2:10..............................grain/wine/oil
21. 2 Chron. 28:15.................fed/gave drink/anointed
22. 2 Chron. 31:5................................grain/wine/oil
23. 2 Chron. 32:28.............................grain/wine/oil
(New American Standard Bible)
SHOW ME THE PROOF!
The appearance of symmetry in unexpected places has always been fertile grounds for scientific discovery. The Bible is one of those unexpected places.
Note what celebrity scholar Richard Dawkins says about it, and then check out the spectacular symmetry that has been discovered in the book that isn’t supposed to contain this level of organization:
“To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries.” Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion
Every week, throughout this year, one of the sequences will be featured on this page for deeper analysis, beginning with the first one recorded in the Old Testament, in Exodus 23:10&11.
Sequence #1: Exodus 23:10&11
“You shall sow your land for six years and gather in its yield, but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and olive grove.”
The Three Factors:
The word “land” is “saday” in Hebrew. It means “spread out” as in a flat field in the country. Also: the ground, the soil. Saday hints of the wilderness.
The word “vineyard” is “kerem.” It refers to a garden of vines, or vineyard, to vines and vintage. Also: “the house of the vineyard,” and “the increase of the vineyard.”
The word “olive grove” is “zayith.” It refers to the olive, specifically the oil, but also to the tree and the branch. Kerem is a derivative from “Ziv,” which means “to be prominent,” and “bright.”
This is the first of the 46 sequences, recorded by Moses approximately 1300 B.C. This particular commandment was given as part of a larger body of ordinances associated with the Ten Commandments that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai.
This verse, commonly known as “the law of the land,” is closely related to the law of the Sabbath that instructed Jews who owned land to labor six days and rest on the seventh. In a larger context, they were commanded to work their land, their vineyards and their olive yards for six years, and then let them lie fallow on the seventh year.
The idea was that landowners would lay up extra grain, wine and olive oil on the sixth year of harvest to carry them through the seventh year. This was an act of trust on their part, as well as an act of great kindness to the poor, who were allowed free access to harvest whatever grew naturally. It was also an act of kindness to the beasts of labor that were allowed to graze on whatever was left behind by the gleaners. Modern agricultural experts know that, without adding chemical fertilizers, allowing land to lie fallow every so often is critical to maintaining its natural fertility and productivity. It’s a sound farming practice.
Because the landowners didn’t work the land on Sabbath years, it was also a type of vacation for them. How did they use the extra time? Presumably to draw closer to God as individuals, families and communities, and as a nation.
A good explanation for why the fields appear first in all the sequences is that grain was more critical to survival than wine or olive oil. Bread was not only the staff of life, in many respects it was life itself. People back then literally lived off their land. There were no corner grocery stores. No grain meant starvation.
One can also argue that the reason why the vineyard is listed second, before the olive grove, is that it is natural to follow food with drink, just as one “eats and drinks” and bread is sometimes followed by water. Eating and drinking being primary, this would naturally leave the third and last position for oil.
This is a perfectly acceptable explanation that doesn’t require extraterrestrial intervention, and if all, or even most, of the sequences were like this one, the Z signal theory would be debunked and XSETI would shut down. But as we will see as we work our way through the Z signal, it isn’t that simple. The variant sequences and the skip sequences effectively ruin what would otherwise be a perfectly acceptable explanation.
The problem is high entropy. The immense variety found in the sequences in the words and in their contexts is evidence of randomness rather than organization. If there was an overarching linguistic principle that the writers knew about, that “forced” them to create this particular sequential order even when using a huge variety of words in a variety of contexts, one would think that somewhere in the Old Testament that principle would be spelled out – and it simply isn’t there.
This particular sequence appears in two other places: in 1 Samuel 8:14 and in Nehemiah 5:11, neither of which makes reference to the law of the land.
An observation that skeptics might make is: Could the fact that this is the first sequence, and that it was given directly from God to Moses at Mt. Sinai, make it a template that all writers of the Old Testament that followed would know to honor? If so, that would explain the sequential order without having to resort to extraterrestrial intervention.
This argument has been carefully examined and it simply doesn’t hold up to critical scrutiny – for too many reasons to list in this brief treatise. Nevertheless, I personally think it has enough merit that it would be worthwhile for skeptics to try and salvage. In my own role as a skeptic I consider it one of the more credible alternative explanations.
As a side-note, when Moses recorded this sequence the Hebrews had just come out of Egypt, a huge grain producing region that was far more celebrated for its beer than its wine. The primary ingredient for beer is barley, which is a first factor commodity. But in the literary and symbolic sense, fields and beer would have been synonymous terms and would not have worked in the sequences unless it was “beer, wine and oil,” a construct not found in Scripture
Fields, vineyards and olive groves were not representative of where the Jews were at the time this sequence was recorded. They were out in the desert. For the next forty years the Jews wandered in the wilderness, living off whatever they could gather or barter. It wasn’t until they reached Canaan that they settled down onto small family farms that typically had a field, a vineyard and an olive grove. This sequence, therefore, has a predictive element to it.
*SEQUENCE # 2: Deuteronomy 6:10-12
“Then it shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land which He swore to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, to give you, great and splendid cities which you did not build, and houses full of all good things which you did not fill, and hewn cisterns which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant, and you eat and are satisfied, then watch yourself, that you do not forget the Lord who brought you from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”
The Three Factors in Hebrew:
Houses: bayith – primarily refers to “family,” as in “the house of Jacob.” But, obviously, Moses was not suggesting that the Israelites would be taking over the families of their enemies in the Promised Land, which is why most experts think bayith refers to grain storage bins. It is from the primary root “banah,” which means “to build,” “obtain children,” “repair,” “set up.” Bayith is used in verse 12 in “house of slavery,” as a figure of speech. The three verbal words “fill,” “dig,” and “plant” don’t qualify as a sequence because the word “dig” is from the water genre while the word “plant” includes both the vineyards and the olive trees.
Vineyards: kerem – see Sequence #1
Olive trees: zayith – see Sequence #1
This exhortation from Moses was given as part of the teachings associated with the Ten Commandments. It predicts the eventual entry of the Jews into Canaan and their subsequent victory over the existing inhabitants.
Note the triadic sequence: “Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” - a common idiom that was knowingly and intentionally written by Moses and by many other biblical writers – in stark contrast to the Z signal sequence where the author shows no awareness or intent of creating a sequence.
The “filled houses” is most likely a reference to grain bins or silos where ancients stored the grain and flour which they used to make bread. This is the only sequence in the Z signal where “bayith” is found.
All three words are variant, meaning they all belong in the grain, wine and oil genres – but are not grain, wine and oil.
This is also a skip sequence. Immediately in front of the sequence is “splendid cities,” and after “storage houses” but before “vineyards” is “hewn cisterns” used for water storage. These interjections do not destroy the basic grain/wine/oil sequence.
SEQUENCE #3: Deuteronomy 7:12 & 13
“Then it shall come about, because you listen to these judgments and keep and do them, that the Lord your God will keep with you His covenant and His lovingkindness which He swore to your forefathers. He will love you and bless you and multiply you; He will also bless the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground, your grain and your new wine and your oil, the increase of your herd and the young of your flock, in the land which He swore to your forefathers to give you.”
The Three Factors in Hebrew
Grain = dagan: To increase. From dagah: to move rapidly; to spawn
New Wine = tiyrosh: expulsion, just squeezed out, fresh grape juice, not fermented
From yaresh: to occupy by driving out tenants and possessing their place
Oil = yitshar: producing light, anointing
From tsahar: to glisten; to press out oil
This is the first of eighteen sequences in the Z signal that feature the same three Hebrew words. The next most common sequence occurs only three times, so it’s easy to understand why Bible scholars have known about these eighteen triads for centuries, while the remainder of the Z signal, 60%, remained undiscovered. Dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar stick out like a sore thumb.
In all but one of these triads there are other factors that appear in front of and after these three commodities. Nevertheless, it can safely be said that without the other 26 sequences that are not dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar, there would be no Z signal theory.
This verse is one of a series of verses that promise a long list of divine blessings on Israel after they entered and conquered Canaan, conditioned, of course, on their obedience.
The grain word, dagan, appears 18 times in the Z signal, the wine word, tiyrosh, 20 times, and the oil word, yitshar, 19 times. All three are, by far, the most numerous within their respective genres.
If the sequences were a common language idiom, it would be based on these three words, much like the color sequence red, white and blue is a common American idiom that represents the colors of the flag and patriotism.
What is problematic with the idiom explanation is that this sequence is located within a series of other blessings. It is preceded by divine blessings of human fertility, promising that Israeli women would bear many children. It is followed by divine blessings on livestock - that the cattle and sheep would bear many offspring. It would be like “red, white and blue” preceded and followed by other colors. The characteristics that qualify it as an idiom are fatally compromised.
In this sequence we have a triple blessing of the fruit of the womb, the fruit of the land, and the increase of the herd and flock, with the blessings on the land subdivided into grain, wine and oil.
The dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequence clearly appears to be a pattern rather than a random coincidence. The big question is: were the authors aware that they were creating this pattern when they recorded these three commodities in this order? Was there a cultural reason for him to sequence dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar this way rather than one of the other five ways possible? If they were conforming to a literary principle based on culture or religion, this sequence should be common in other ancient Jewish writings, and it isn’t.
Significantly, in all but one instance there are no commodities interjected in-between grain, wine and oil. This level of literary purity is evidence of an idiom but, again, the Bible offers no explanation and there is no evidence that any of the numerous authors of this particular sequence were knowingly aware that they conforming to some custom, religious law, or literary principle.
My gut feeling is that the Z signal theory will never be debunked based solely on the symmetry of these eighteen sequences, which, like crown jewels, are bound together in sequence in the midst of incredible variety and randomness. The challenge of skeptics is to account for the mysterious extension the symmetry in the other twenty-eight sequences that are not dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar.
At the very least, skeptics need to find examples of this simple sequence in other ancient manuscripts that will hopefully identify a literary principle that compelled the authors to record these three commodities in this order. That would be a good start at coming up with an explanation for the Z signal that doesn’t involve extraterrestrial intervention. It would still not account for the 28 sequences that are not of this kind, but it would go a long way towards debunking the Z signal theory. I was unable to find significant replications of the dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar sequence in ancient non-biblical writings, and I could find no literary principle based on history, culture, language or religion. Perhaps others can.
SEQUENCE # 4: Deuteronomy 8:7-9
“For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, flowing forth in valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land where you will not lack anything; a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills you can dig copper.”
The Three Factors in Hebrew
Wheat: Chittah - the grain or the plant
Barley: Se’owrah - roughness
Vines: Gephen - feminine, to bend, twining, a vine
Olive oil: Shemen – grease, richness, anointing, ointment, perfumed, from the root Shaman – to shine, to make oily
List of items in these two verses:
1. Brooks (seasonal streams)
2. Fountains (springs)
3. Springs (subterranean aquifers)
7. Fig trees
9. Olive oil
These two verses are a divine description of the Promised Land.
This particular sequence is a prime example of why it is extremely unlikely that the grain, wine and oil triad was a common Hebrew idiom, for the following reasons:
It is constructed with four factors, the first two, wheat and barley, representing the grain genre. The Hebrew word for wheat is used only one other time in a sequence and the Hebrew word for barley only in this instance. The wine word in Hebrew is used on only one other occasion in a sequence, and the oil word only eight other times.
This sequence is located within a list of twelve items, ranging from water supplies to mineral supplies.
There are two non-sequence factors: fig trees and pomegranates, located in-between vines and olive oil.
Thus far in the book of Deuteronomy I have introduced three sequences: One in Chapter 6, one in Chapter 7, and, this one, in Chapter 8. Following are the respective Hebrew words:
Chapter 6: Bayith Kerem Zayith
Chapter 7: Dagan Tiyrosh Yitshar
Chapter 8: Chittah/Se’owrah Gephen Shemen
As you can see, not a single Hebrew word is repeated. If the author was knowingly citing a common idiom, why did he use different words? On the other hand, if these sequences are random, what are the odds of these nine words appearing in symmetry?
This is a variant and a skip sequence that is so complex that there is no ready or apparent explanation other than extraterrestrial intervention. There is no historical, cultural, linguistic or religious rationale that makes it possible to attribute this symmetry to human intent.
The odds of this grain, wine and oil sequence being a random coincidence, when it shares a common symmetry with 45 other similar sequences is astronomically small, to the point of being mathematically close to zero. This is why all probability analyses support the Z signal theory as the best and most logical explanation. In fact, no other explanation comes even remotely close to accounting for this phenomenon.
The extraterrestrials who encrypted the Z signal into the Old Testament were clearly determined to avoid any doubt or confusion about its origin when it was discovered. They designed a unique and sophisticated signal and put it within a book that took one thousand years to compose. It is no wonder that skeptics are having a hard time coming up with a competing explicatory model. There isn’t one!
Sequence # 5: Deuteronomy 11:13-15
“It shall come about, if you listen obediently to my commandments which I am commanding you today, to love the Lord your God and to serve Him with all your heart and all your soul, that he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early and the late rain, that you may gather in your grain and your new wine and your oil. He will give grass in your fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.”
Grain: Dagan – to move rapidly, to spawn
New Wine: Tiyrosh – just squeezed out, fresh grape juice
Oil: Yitshar – light, anointing, to glisten
This is a basic repetition of the divine promise of blessing for obedience when the Jews took possession of Canaan, the Promised Land. This sequence is the most common, although this particular triad is preceded and followed by its own unique set of collateral factors.
Note how this sequence, like all the others in the Z signal, is intrinsically linked to an agriculture based society. It is not about cities and politics. It’s about a farmer and his family surviving and thriving on land that depended on the early rain and the latter rain. Without the rain arriving in its due season, the crops would whither and the livestock wouldn’t have enough forage. Farmers can relate to this. City dwellers: not so much.
The phrase “early and latter rain” is common in Scripture and applies particularly to grain rather than to wine or oil. The early rain softened the soil in the field, making it easier to till, and it provided the necessary moisture for the seed to germinate. The latter rain was needed to bring the stalks of wheat and barley to full maturity. It was bread, more than wine or oil that made the difference between survival and starvation.
Palestine was not blessed with irrigation systems like Egypt or Mesopotamia, which were situated alongside large rivers. The early and late rains produced strong harvests and were signs of divine blessing.
Sequence #6: Deuteronomy 12:15-17
“However, you may slaughter and eat meat within any of your gates, whatever you desire, according to the blessings of the Lord your God which He has given you; the clean and the unclean may eat of it, as of the gazelle and the deer. Only you shall not eat the blood; you are to pour it out on the ground like water. You are not allowed to eat within your gates the tithe of your grain or new wine or oil, or the firstborn of your herd or flock, or any of the votive offerings which you vow, or your freewill offerings, or the contributions of your hand.”
Grain: Dagan – to move rapidly, to spawn
Wine: Tiyrosh – just squeezed out, fresh grape juice
Oil: Yitshar – light, anointing, to glisten
This is one of the 18 common types of sequences in the Z signal. Five out of the ten sequences located in the book of Deuteronomy are of this type, so it is tempting to see a pattern and ask the question: Is this particular sequence a literary template that Moses started and subsequent biblical writers honored?
The dagan/tiyrosh/yitshar sequence definitely appears to be a literary pattern, because, unlike the other sequences, when this particular sequence occurs there is only a single instance, in 2 Kings 18:32, where it is internally broken up by skips and variants.
This specific sequence forms the backbone of the Z signal. I readily acknowledge that it appears to be a language idiom that was either consciously or subconsciously honored by biblical writers.
But if one goes with this explanation, there are two significant problems that need to be addressed: One is that if this was a common literary formula, it should be found in other ancient Jewish texts – and it isn’t. The second problem is that this sequence represents only 40% of the total triads that comprise the Z signal. How do scholars explain the symmetry of the 28 sequences that aren’t of this type?
Any competitive explanation has to account for these two realities: Why is this particular sequence found only in the Old Testament, and, why are there so many variations to this sequence in the Old Testament?
The alien encryption theory makes sense because it posits that extraterrestrials built on a familiar sequence and extended it in ways that conceal the structure but retains the symmetry. They took the known, which clearly appears to be the result of human intelligence, and expanded it into the unknown, which clearly reflects an intelligence of a higher order.
The challenge of debunkers is to account for the symmetry of all 46 sequences, not just the 18 dagan/tiyrosh/yitshar triads. It is this remarkable extension of triadic symmetry that prompted leading theologians at Western Seminary to assess the Z signal as a new hermeneutic that was supernaturally encrypted into Scripture by God. But a supernatural explanation didn’t hold up under critical scrutiny, and a natural, human explanation was dismissed as a physical impossibility.
This begs the question: What is there between human intelligence and divine intelligence? How about extraterrestrial intelligence? Quite understandably, the theologians were not willing to consider that possibility.
Sequence #7: Deuteronomy 14:23
“You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where he chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always.”
Grain: Dagan – To move rapidly, to spawn
Wine: Tiyrosh – Just squeezed out, fresh grape juice
Oil: Yitshar – Light, anointing, to glisten
This is yet another one of the 18 most common sequences. It is buried within a chapter filled with strict dietary laws that the Jews were commanded to follow. The tithe (10%) of these three agricultural products was matched by the giving of the firstborn of the ewes and cows.
There are ten sequences located in the book of Deuteronomy, almost one fourth of the total. Of these ten, five are of the dagan/tiyrosh/yitshar variety.
The book of Deuteronomy represents the Z signal in microcosm. In many ways it encapsulates the problem that skeptics have with attributing the sequences to random coincidence. No rational person would argue that five dagan/tiyrosh/yitshar sequences located within a fairly small book, with no exceptions, is a random coincidence. It is clearly the result of intelligent design.
But if these five sequences are the result of intelligent design, the other five sequences in Deuteronomy that are not of this type must also be the result of intelligent design. And, once that concession is made, one is left with no alternative but to attribute all 46 sequences in the Old Testament to intelligence design. That would answer the first question: Was the Z signal intentionally encrypted into the Old Testament. If the answer is “Yes,” the next step is to determine who that intelligence is.
The context these sequences appear in seems random. There is no consistency or detectable pattern. Grain, wine and oil are associated with different laws and rituals, with different items, and with different groups. The sequences are examples of low entropy in a book notorious for its high entropy.
All of this complex organization is evidence of extremely high intelligence and capability. The would-be debunker is essentially checkmated. Denying intelligent design for the five dagan/tiyrosh/yitshar sequences in Deuteronomy is unrealistic. At the same time, conceding that they are the product of intelligent design means that the other five sequences in Deuteronomy not of this type must also be attributed to ID. Once that concession is made, one goes from what is humanly possible to that which is humanly impossible, or at least that which is extremely unlikely – which leaves extraterrestrial intervention as the next most logical explanation.
If skeptics can somehow explain the symmetry of the ten sequences within the single book of Deuteronomy without resorting to extraterrestrial intervention, I think that they may have a fighting chance of debunking the Z signal theory. If they can’t, then I think the Z signal theory will survive as the best explicatory model.
If the Z signal theory survives the falsification process, then we can say with confidence that scientific proof of extraterrestrial existence has been discovered and that Jesus was an alien who did what the Bible records him doing.
SEQUENCE # 8 Deuteronomy 18:3&4
“Now this shall be the priests’ due from the people, from those who offer a sacrifice, either an ox or a sheep, of which they shall give to the priest the shoulder and the two cheeks and the stomach. You shall give him the firstfruits of your grain, your new wine, and your oil, and the first shearing of your sheep.”
The priests of the tribe of Levi were not awarded an inheritance of land for them to grow their own food. They were dependent of the offerings of the members of the other eleven tribes. These two verses exemplify the strict commandments and regulations that were associated with these offerings.
This is the fifth and final dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequence in the book of Deuteronomy. It is the only one associated with the shearing of the sheep, which is added to grain, wine and oil as a fourth factor.
In comparing these five sequences, we notice a developing pattern of what appears before and after. Everything has some connection to the fundamental concepts of fertility and sacrifice. Before the sequences there is human, animal and crop fertility and sacrifice. Afterwards there is herd and flock fertility and sacrifice. The pattern, however, is not robust and there are a lot of variations.
Before Grain/wine/oil After
Fruit of womb Deut 7:13 herd and flock
Early & latter rain Deut. 11:14 cattle
Blood Deut. 12:17 herd and flock
Goat Deut. 14:23 herd and flock
Ox and sheep Deut, 18:3&4 sheep
This suggests that the grain, wine and oil sequence may have been part of fertility and sacrifice rituals involving divine blessings (or cursings) on the Hebrew people and their land that were recited regularly and routinely by the priests and prophets. If this is the case, one would logically assume that this sequence would be found in other Jewish cultic literature of the same time period.
In my opinion, the greatest obstacle to this explanation is that there is not a single grain, wine, oil sequence of any type in Leviticus, the one book of the Old Testament that is devoted exclusively to Jewish religious laws and rituals. There is only one instance where these three commodities appear together in Leviticus, and the sequence is flour, oil and wine (Lev. 23:13). It is one of the eight asymmetrical sequences. The flour and oil were mixed together to make a dough and then baked into a cake which was consumed with wine.
All efforts to find the dagan.tiyrosh/yitshar sequence in other ancient manuscripts outside the Old Testament have been unsuccessful. I am hoping that Jewish scholars who are investigating the Z signal can be of some help. If there is any hope of an alternative model being developed that can compete with the Z signal theory, I think it has to begin with proving that the dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequence was a Jewish idiom, but, as of the moment, there is no evidence to support this view.
SEQUENCES 9-11: Deuteronomy 28:38-40
“You shall bring out much seed to the field but you will gather little in, for the locust shall consume it. You shall plant and cultivate vineyards, but you will neither drink of the wine nor gather the grapes, for the worm will devour them. You shall have olive trees throughout your territory but you will not anoint yourself with the oil, for your olives will drop off.”
First triad: Seed: zera – plant, sowing time
Field: saday – to spread out
Gather little in: acaph – to harvest, + meh-awt – little, few
Second triad: Vineyard: kerem – vines, vineyard
Wine: yayin – effervesce, fermented wine
Grapes: enab – bear fruit, ripe grape
Third triad: Olive trees: saday – spread out, field, + ates – a tree, firmness
Oil: shemen – grease, liquid, richness, anointing
Olive: zayith – an olive, the tree, the branch or the berry
These sequences are located in the middle of fifty verses where God itemizes a list of extraordinarily harsh consequences for disobedience. They are among dozens of explicit warnings to the Jews to be faithful, a frightening litany of dire things that will befall them if they turn against Yahweh. It begins with the following introduction in verse 15:
“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you.”
Like the grand finale in a fireworks show, this last series of sequences in the book of Deuteronomy combines three triadic sets of factors, the first three involving grain, the middle three, wine, and the last three, oil. This 3X3 sequence is such a spectacular display of symmetry that if the Z signal is an extraterrestrial beacon to get our attention, these two verses are a rotating searchlight on top of that beacon.
Just as we have gotten used to the dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequence, thinking that we may have detected a pattern, these three sequences blow that premise completely out of the water. Not only is the construction radically different, but not a single one of the three Hebrew words we have grown comfortable with in previous sequences are used. Everything is different except the raw symmetry. The three words from the grain genre appear first, the wine words second and the oil words third.
These verses present the grain, wine and oil factors in three capsules. If we rearrange them by sequencing the words of each capsule in order, we get:
Seed, vineyard, olive trees
Field, wine, oil
Harvest, grapes, olive
This literary deluge of Hebrew words, all in symmetry, is not replicated anywhere else in Scripture, making it clear that the writer wasn’t following a known template.
I wish I had some encouraging words to share with my friends who are trying to debunk the Z signal theory, but I don’t. The complexity and sophistication of these three sequences are clear evidence of purposeful forethought and intelligent design, but they do nothing to add to the argument that the Z signal is a 1000 year collaborative effort between an inner circle of Jewish authors who, for some unknown reason, conspired to encrypt a secret code into their writings.
Explaining the 18 dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequences, if that was all there were, would be a piece of cake. It’s when sequences like these are added to the total when the challenge to explain the Z signal becomes overwhelming - unless one resorts to extraterrestrial intervention.
SEQUENCE #12: Joshua 24:13
“I gave you a land for which you had not labored, and cities which you had not built, and you have lived in them; you are eating of vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.”
Land: ehrets – field, ground, earth
Vineyards: kerem – vines, increase of the vineyard, vintage
Olive Groves: zayith – an olive, illuminating oil, the tree, the branch, the berry
God, speaking through the great military general and prophet, Joshua, reminded the Jews that the Promised Land they were living in was a divine gift, and for that reason they should: “fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth.” (vrs. 14).
This is the only sequence in the Book of Joshua, and the word selection and construction style is unique. It is both variant and skip, with the interjection of “cities” between land and vineyards.
Note that it refers to “eating” of the vineyard, rather than drinking wine. The word “eat” is “awkal” in Hebrew and it means to eat solid food. Just like today, people of antiquity didn’t grow grapes exclusively to make wine. They ate them as well. They also ate olives, rather than converting all of them into oil.
Most scholars believe that the Book of Joshua was written by a number of authors and editors, which, of course, challenges the theory that Joshua was the sole author who was knowingly adhering to a cultural and grammatical rule that dictated that grain, wine and oil factors be recorded in sequence. Nothing about this sequence or its context stands out as extraordinary. Only when it is added to 45 other sequences does the Z signal’s common symmetry come to light – a literary phenomenon that really is extraordinary.
Sequence # 13: Judges 15:4&5
“Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned the foxes tail to tail and put one torch in the middle between two tails. When he had set fire to the torches, he released the foxes into the standing grain of the Philistines, thus burning up both the shocks and the standing grain, along with the vineyards and groves.”
Grain: qamah – something that rises, a stalk of grain
Vineyards: kerem – vineyards, vintage
Groves: zayith – an olive, illuminating oil, the tree, the branch, the berry
This is a story about Samson punishing the Philistines and his father-in-law for giving his wife to another man.
Before I address the sequences, I have to say something about the story. Have you ever tried to catch a fox? There is a reason why the old adage “I was outfoxed” has endured over time. Foxes are intelligent and resorceful animals. But somehow, Samson was able to catch, not one, not thirty, not a hundred – but three hundred live foxes!
Not really. This story is a good example of a literary motif widely practiced in the Ancient Near East that encouraged writers to dramatically embellish a story in order to make it more impressive and enduring. The Bible, like many other ancient manuscripts, is filled with such examples.
This is the only Z signal sequence in the book of Judges and, like the sequence in the book of Joshua, it has several unique features that distinguish it from all the others. There is no literary pattern or template with which this sequence can be identified.
This verse has nothing to do with God, the priesthood, tithes, the Promised Land or curses or blessings. The grain, wine and oil factors seem to just randomly roll off the pen of the writer without any forethought of conforming to some established cultural or literary principle. If Samson turned foxes on fire loose to set fires, those foxes wouldn’t have knowingly gone to the fields first, the vineyards second and the olive groves last. That would have been harder than trying to herd cats.
So why are these factors in sequence with 47 other sequences? Just a coincidence? Or is it evidence of intelligent design?
Sequence # 14: 1 Samuel 8:14
“He will take the best of your fields and your vineyards and your olive groves and give them to his servants.”
Fields: sedeh – to spread out, field, ground, soil
Vineyards: kerem – garden, vineyard, vines, vintage
Olive groves: zayith – an olive, the tree, branch or berry
Chapter 8 is extremely significant because it records Israel’s transition from being a nation ruled by judges, with God as their king, to a nation that, like the nations around them, had an earthly king to rule over them.
The problem, in the eyes of the people, was that Samuel, who had been the judge, was old and retired, and his sons who inherited his position were corrupt. Yet, God wasn’t in favor of an earthly king, so he instructed Samuel to inform the people of all the negative consequences that would result if they insisted on having one.
One of these consequences would be that he would demand the best of their grain, vineyards and olive groves for himself in the way of taxes, and then use those products to create a political culture where his personal servants were rewarded with a rich lifestyle in exchange for their loyalty.
The verse after this sequence, verse 15, is interesting because it basically repeats verse 14 but leaves out the oil:
“He will take a tenth of your seed and of your vineyards and give to his officers and to his servants.”
This is extraordinary, because if “fields, vineyards and olive groves” had been a common idiom in the Hebrew language, why would the writer leave “olive groves” out of a reiteration of that idiom in his next sentence? It would be like an American referring to the “red, white and blue” of the American flag and then, in his next breath, again referring to the flag, saying “red and white.” It makes absolutely no sense.
The fact that the oil factor does not appear in verse 15 is compelling evidence that the sequence was not a common phrase that was embedded in the everyday language and culture of the Jewish people. This explains why they do not appear in other writings from the same time period, either Jewish or non-Jewish. This all but eliminates one of the more promising alternative explanations for the symmetry of the Z signal.
Sequence # 15: 2 Kings 18:32
“Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey, that you may live and not die.”
Grain: dagan – increase, wheat
Wine: tiyrosh – expulsion, just squeezed out, unfermented wine
Bread: lechem – bread, or grain for making bread
Vineyards: kerem – vines, vintage
Olive Trees: yitshar – oil producing light, anointing oil
This passage is part of a speech given by Rab-shakeh, a representative of Sennacherib, king of the great empire of Assyria, to the Jews who were under siege in Jerusalem. Rab-shakeh was attempting to strike a deal where, in exchange for the Jews surrender, the Assyrians would deport them to a foreign land that he promised would be as verdant and productive as Canaan. The Jews didn’t buy it.
The first thing to note is that this sequence was uttered by an Assyrian who spoke to them in Hebrew. Rab-shakeh was an Assyrian, not a Jew. If the sequences were a Jewish language idiom, then Rab-shakeh knew about it and used it to try and curry favor with his audience.
Secondly, though this sequence is in symmetry with the other sequences, it is a unique construction. Instead of 1,2.3, grain, wine and oil, it is 1,2,1,2,3: grain and wine, then bread and vineyards, and, last, olive trees and honey.
This is an example of the rich variety found in the construction of the sequences. It is another way that extraterrestrials managed to encrypt a signal into the Old Testament without it being easily detected. This literary creativity is direct evidence of super-human intelligence and super-natural abilities.
The Z signal theory is that the sequences are an extraterrestrial encryption. If, indeed, this spectacular claim is true then every alternative explanation for the symmetry of the sequences that don’t involve aliens is going to come up short, and that is what is happening. To this point, scholars and skeptics have not challenged the Z signal theory by formally advancing an alternative explanation. The unique characteristics of this sequence are certainly some of the reasons why debunking experts are having such a hard time. Explanations other than extraterrestrial intervention fall apart under critical scrutiny.
Sequence # 16: 1 Chronicles 9:29
“Some of them were also appointed over the furniture and over all the utensils of the sanctuary and over the fine flour and the wine and the oil and the frankincense and the spices.”
Fine Flour: soleth – to strip, flour, meal
Wine: yayin – to effervesce, fermented wine, intoxicant, banqueting
Oil: shemen – grease, liquid from the olive, richness, perfumed, anointing
This verse is part of a long passage describing the duties of the four gatekeepers over the temple in Jerusalem, who not only opened and closed the four gates, but guarded and attended to everything within the temple. They were Levite priests who had their own staffs that were comprised mainly of their sons. They lived on the site, guarding it day and night.
They watched over the treasury, the sacred chambers, the utensils, furniture – and some of them were selected to watch over the stores of flour, wine and oil, all of which were of the highest quality.
With no break in the sequence, two other commodities, frankincense and spices, are listed alongside flour, wine and oil as part of what chosen priests monitored and guarded in the temple. Other than flour, wine and oil being the three items that appear first on the list, there is no detectable literary favoritism. There is no basis for distinguishing flour, wine, and oil as a separate triad within a large construct. In other words, flour, wine and oil are not bracketed.
If grain, wine and oil had been a religious idiom, one would think that this would have been an ideal place to cite it as such. Instead, flour, wine and oil, rather than being accentuated, meld seamlessly into a longer list of commodities.
Sequence # 17: 1 Chronicles 12:40
“Moreover those who were near to them, even as far as Issachar and Zebunlun and Naphtali, brought food on donkeys, camels, mules and on oxen, great quantities of flour cakes, fig cakes, and bunches of raisins, wine, oil, oxen and sheep. There was joy indeed in Israel.”
Flour cakes: lechem – food for man or beasts, especially bread or grain
Wine: yayin – to effervesce, fermented wine, intoxicate
Oil: shemen – liquid from the olive, perfumed, ointment
One of the first acts of David, the new king of Israel, was to create an impressive standing army. To celebrate this accomplishment he threw a huge party, with provisions coming in from all parts of the country, including donations from the three tribes located on the east side of the Jordan River.
This is both a variant and a skip sequence. The only recognizable feature of the sequence is that, among a list of different foods, grain (flour cakes) appears before wine, which appears before oil. There is nothing in this verse that is even remotely suggestive of a language idiom. One gets the impression that the list could have been reconstructed in any number of ways and it would not have made any difference to the human author.
So why is the grain factor listed first, before wine and oil? Why does wine appear before oil? Is this just another in an accumulating number of coincidences? Or, is it further evidence that the grain, wine and oil sequences are an alien encryption?
Randomly generated, the grain, wine and oil sequence should appear only about 16% of the time. But when the three factors are listed in close proximity, this sequence appears 85% of the time. By any measure, this is statistically significant and begs for an explanation. I maintain that complex sequences like this one make the symmetry of the Z signal impossible to explain without resorting to extraterrestrial intervention.
Sequences #18 & 19
NOTE: These two sequences are so unusual that I’ve taken the liberty to post the larger context in which they are located. Following is that text. Can you locate them?
“Now Azmaveth the son of Adiel had charge of the king’s storehouses. And Jonathan the son of Uzziah had charge of the storehouses in the country, in the cities, in the villages and in the towers. Ezri the son of Chelub had charge of the field workers who tilled the soil. Shimei the Ramathite had charge of the vineyards; and Zabdi the Shiphmite had charge of the produce of the vineyards stored in wine cellars. Baal-hanan the Gederite had charge of the olive and sycamore trees in the lowlands; and Joash had charge of the stores of oil. Shitrai the Sharonite had charge of the cattle which were grazing in Sharon; and Shaphat the son of Adlai had charge of the cattle in the valleys. Obil the Ishmaelite had charge of the camels; and Jehdeiah the Meronothite had charge of the donkeys. Jaziz the Hagrite had charge of the flocks. All these were overseers of the property which belonged to King David.” 1 Chronicles 27:25-31
If you look carefully, you will see three couplets, with the grain couplet first, the wine couplet second, and the oil couplet third.
The grain couplet: field workers/tilled soil
The wine couplet: vineyards/wine
The oil couplet: olive trees/oil
The Hebrew words:
Field: saday – to spread out, country, land, soil
Tilled Soil: abowdah – labor, work + admah – reddish earth
Vineyards: kerem – a garden, vineyard, vintage
Wine: yayin – to effervesce, fermented wine, intoxicate
Olive trees: zayith – an olive, the tree, the branch, the berry
Oil: shemen – liquid from the olive, richness, ointment
The fact that these three couplets appear in the one order that makes them consistent with Z signal symmetry is either another in a long list of “coincidences,” or further evidence of intelligent design. If anyone is still thinking that this and all the other grain, wine and oil sequences are only a coincidence, I would ask them what, in their mind, would it take to convince them otherwise? Remember, an extraterrestrial signal encrypted into the Old Testament would have to be designed in such a way that it could not be known to the human authors. The other requirement is that future scholars and skeptics would not be able to attribute it to random coincidence or human intent.
We need to ask ourselves: Who would be offended or what literary or cultural principle would be broken if, in the above text, the wine factors appeared before the grain factors, or the oil factors appeared in the middle? Who would notice? Who would care?
Yet, out of a grand total of 54 instances where these three factors appear in close proximity in the Old Testament, 46 times (85%) the grain factor appears first, the wine factor second, and the oil factor last.
The factors in these two sequences might have been recorded differently, and no one would have noticed or cared. But if that had happened, it would have taken two sequences away from the Z signal and added them to the non-symmetrical sequences. This would have strengthened the argument that the sequences are the product of random coincidence. Had that happened, the credibility of Z signal theory would be reduced proportionately.
But it didn’t happen. Out of 54 total sequences where grain, wine and oil factors appear in close proximity, only eight times are they not grain first, wine second and oil third. Significantly, seven of the eight exceptions are grain, oil and wine, reflecting the tradition of mixing flour and oil to make cakes that were then eaten with wine.
This means that in the entire Bible there is only one rogue sequence, and that is in Numbers 18:12:
“All the best of the fresh oil and all the best of the fresh wine and of the grain.”
This verse, with the factors in the exact opposite order, is not only a stunning violation of Z signal symmetry, it is the exception that proves the rule.
Sequence # 20: 2 Chronicles 2:8-10
Portion of a letter from King Solomon to Hiram, king of Tyre:
“Send me also cedar, cypress and algum timber from Lebanon, for I know that your servants know how to cut timber of Lebanon; and indeed my servants will work with your servants, to prepare timber in abundance for me, for the house which I am about to build will be great and wonderful. Now behold, I will give to your servants, the woodsmen who cut the timber, 20,000 kors of crushed wheat and 20,000 kors of barley, and 20,000 baths of wine and 20,000 baths of oil.”
Wheat: chittah – wheat
Barley: sehore – barley
Wine: yayin – fermented wine
Oil: shemen – olive oil for anointing
This sequence features a slight twist in construction. Wheat and barley, the two primary grains grown in the Ancient Near East, are listed together before wine and oil. This may not seem like much of a variation, but it challenges the language idiom explanation where repetitions tend to be identical.
We wonder: In recording King Solomon’s instructions for posterity, was the author cognizant of the fact that he was putting wheat and barley before wine, and wine before oil? Or was it something he did subliminally because it was so deeply embedded in the culture? Or was he under the influence of an invisible impulse generated by extraterrestrials who were using him to contribute to the building of a signal?
Finding this sequence in other ancient writings would be extremely helpful in debunking the Z signal theory. I have searched for years and continue to search, and I haven’t found anything. Others are looking, without any success. How is it that the Old Testament is the only book in the world that contains grain, wine and oil sequences?
This is an academically legitimate question. Language scholars look for repetitions, connections and linkages in literature from a given region in a given era. Sequence repetition in writing generates a pattern indicative of authorial intent or cultural influence. Neither of these explanations can account for the Z signal.
The extraterrestrial signal theory is radical because it is nonconformist. But, let’s face it: if extraterrestrials were on Earth in the Ancient Near East, any evidence they may have left behind, be it literary or technological, would severely challenge the orthodox view of history. In such an eventuality we can be sure that historians, anthropologists, archeologists, theologians and other traditional scholars would resist, countering with explanations that preserve the status quo. However, as of this moment, no competing explanation for the sequences has materialized.
Sequence #21: 2 Chronicles 28:15
“Then the men who were designated by name arose, took the captives, and they clothed all their naked ones from the spoil; and they gave them clothes and sandals, fed them and gave them drink, anointed them with oil, led all their feeble ones on donkeys, and brought them to Jericho, the city of palm trees, to their brothers; then they returned to Samaria.”
Akal – to consume, dine
Shaqah – to irrigate, moisten, to drink
Mashach – to rub with oil, anoint
Israel and Judah were engaged in a civil way, and Israel won a great battle. The victors took the prisoners, intending to make them slaves, and confiscated all their possessions as spoils of war. But the prophet Obed warned them not do such a thing against their own brothers. Israel, fearing God, changed its mind and released their captives, after providing them with clothing, food, and drink and anointing them with oil.
This sequence is admittedly questionable. Rather than specifically mentioning “grain and wine” it says “food and drink.” In actuality, the food may have been meat rather than bread, and the drink may have been water rather than wine. The main reason I decided to include it is because of the presence of anointing of oil in the appropriate third slot. Normally, oil was massaged onto the skin before eating and drinking. The fact that it appears here after food and drink is unusual, which, at least in my mind, qualifies this sequence as part of the Z signal.
This is a skip and a variant sequence. Various kindnesses were shown to their vanquished kindred before and after they were given food and drink and anointed with oil. Although in a starkly different context, it is somewhat reminiscent of a famous saying uttered by King Solomon:
“Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry” Ecclesiastes 8:15
“Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you shall die” is a common idiom in the English language. But, when used, it is always isolated and bracketed. It’s is a free-standing phrase. Adding other good deeds before and/or after would effectively destroy its idiomatic value, as it would presumably have in biblical times.
Still, I’ve given serious consideration to the possibility that this sequence might in some sense be culturally and linguistically related to “eat, drink, and be merry.” If that connection could be established it would be a significant development. I wasn’t able to link the two. Perhaps others can.
Sequence # 22: 2 Chronicles 31:4&5
“Also he (Hezekiah) commanded the people who lived in Jerusalem to give the portion due to the priests and the Levites, that they might devote themselves to the law of the Lord. As soon as the order spread, the sons of Israel provided in abundance the first fruits of grain, new wine, oil, honey and all of the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of all.”
Grain: dagan – increase, wheat
New Wine: tiyrosh – just squeezed out, expulsion
Oil: yitshar – producing light, anointing
After his father died, Hezekiah became king and launched a series of reforms designed to bring the people of Judah back into line with the teachings of Moses as recorded the Torah. This included Mosaic tithing laws, which involved donating ten per cent of the harvest.
Dagan, tiyrosh and yitshar is the core sequence in the Z signal, appearing in 18 out of the 46 total. This is a skip sequence because “honey” and the inclusive phrase “all the produce of the field” are included in the list. Skip sequences, remember, are those that have commodities or items listed immediately before, after, or in-between the grain, wine and oil factors.
As far as I can tell, there is no apparent intent on the part of the writer to separate grain, wine and oil from honey, or to identify grain, wine and oil as a language idiom or a phrase that was somehow unique in Hebrew speech or literature.
Sequence #24: 2 Chronicles 32:27-29
“Now Hezekiah had immense riches and honor; and he made for himself treasuries for silver, gold, precious stones, spices, shields and all kinds of valuable articles, storehouses also for the produce of grain, wine and oil, pens for all kinds of cattle and sheepfolds for the flocks. He made cities for himself and acquired flocks and herds in abundance, for God had given him very great wealth.”
Grain: Dagan – increase, wheat
Wine: Tiyrosh – just squeezed out, expulsion
Oil: Yitshar – producing light, anointing
The author is bragging about King Hezekiah’s possessions. One aspect of his wealth was large storehouses filled with grain, wine and oil - agricultural resources that could be used in trade, or to physically sustain the king and his inner circle through times of warfare, or natural disasters such as drought.
This sequence is another of the most common variety, but it appears in the middle of a long list of royal assets that qualify it as a skip sequence. Notice that “spices,” an agricultural commodity, is listed between precious metals and gems, and shields, rather than with where one might think it should go, with grain, wine and oil.
The 18 dagan, tiyrosh, yitshar sequences are enigmatic. One would think, by their sheer number, that this particular sequence would be found in other Ancient Near Eastern literature – but it isn’t. The absence of this triadic sequence in other ancient manuscripts, even of Jewish origin, defies any rational explanation.