Urim and Thummim

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Biblical Hebrew אוּרִים (ʾūrīm) and תומים \ תֻּמִּים (tummīm).

Noun[edit]

Urim and Thummim pl (plural only)

  1. Certain sacred objects (whose precise form and nature is unknown) that were worn on the breastplate of the Jewish high priest, as described in the Bible, and used in divination or casting lots. [from 16th c.]
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Third”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey at the Mitre in Fleetstreet, near Temple-Bar, OCLC 228732398, lines 12–16, page 55:
      Should Kings and Nations from thy mouth conſult, / Thy Counſel would be as the Oracle / Urim and Thummim, those oraculous gems / On Aaron’s breaſt: or tongue of Seers old / Infallible; []
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 230:
      With the aid of ‘George’, the disembodied spirit of an executed felon, Wharton and Wildman looked for treasure at Somerset House, exorcised four devils (Wildman heard one of them ‘hiss’), and embarked on a quest for the Urim and Thummim from the breastplate of the high priest of the Temple (Wildman calculated that the jewels alone would be worth £25,000).
  2. (Mormonism) A set of seer stones bound by silver bows into a set of spectacles, that founder Joseph Smith, Jr. said he found on the hill Cumorah (which is actually a drumlin) and used to interpret the golden plates.

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