Bible Question:

Please let me know if the word obelisk is mentioned in the Bible. If so, where does it appear?

Bible Answer:

An obelisk is a sacred stone or pillar. The word “obelisk” does not occur in the King James or in many other translations, but it does occur in the Jewish Tanakh and the New American Standard Bible (NASB).


The word “obelisks” occurs only in Jeremiah 43:13.

But Johanan the son of Kareah and all the commanders of the forces took the entire remnant of Judah . . . and they entered the land of Egypt (for they did not obey the voice of the LORD) and went in as far as Tahpanhes. Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah . . . saying, “Take some large stones in your hands and hide them in the mortar in the brick terrace which is at the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes, in the sight of some of the Jews; and say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I am going to send . . . Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones . . . and he will . . . come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity, and those for the sword to the sword. And I shall set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he will burn them and take them captive. So he will wrap himself with the land of Egypt as a shepherd wraps himself with his garment, and he will depart from there safely. He will also shatter the obelisks of Heliopolis, which is in the land of Egypt; and the temples of the gods of Egypt he will burn with fire.”‘” (NASB) Jeremiah 43:5-13

The Israelites went down to Egypt. This was not what God had told them to do. Consequently, God sent the Babylonian army down to Egypt to remove the Israelites and defeat the Egyptians. God destroyed the gods of Egypt and the religious obelisks of the city of Heliopolis.

City of On

Heliopolis, or the city of On, was a major religious site with a great sanctuary and two very large obelisks.

From the IIIrd to the VIth Dynasty the seat of the government of Egypt was shifted from On to Memphis, and in the XIIth Dynasty to Diospolis. Throughout these changes On retained its religious importance. It had been the great sanctuary in the time of the Pyramid Texts, the oldest religious texts of Egypt . .. It contained a temple of the sun under the name Ra, the sun, and also Atum, the setting sun, or the sun of the Underworld . . . Usertsen I (Senwesret) of that Dynasty erected a great obelisk at On in front of the entrance to the temple. The situation of this obelisk in the temple area indicates that the great temple was already more than a half-mile in length as early as the XIIth Dynasty. The mate of this obelisk on the opposite side . . . Its foundations were discovered in 1912 by Petrie.

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God embarrassed and humiliated Egypt when He destroyed the very thing they trusted.


God will allow Christians to worship their own gods of pleasure, work, church, or riches for awhile. That is what the Israelites did. They ignored God for many years and God finally took action. God does the same with Christians and non-Christians. He causes pain and suffering to remind us that there is a real God and gives Christians time to repent and to stop sinning. Pain and suffering make men and women feel helpless and remind us that we are helpless. Strong pain and suffering cause most people to seek God. When God does this, others are sometimes impacted. That is what happened to the Egyptians, who suffered as God reminded the Israelites that He, the true God, existed. We forget and then God must remind us, “I am here!”