Jachin and Boaz. What are they? Who were they? What do they mean? Heck, how do you even pronounce Jachin?
First, WHAT are they?
It seems that everyone agrees that Jachin and Boaz are the:
… two large cast-bronze pillars that stood on either side of the entrance to the Temple in Jerusalem which was built by King Solomon according to God’s instructions. They were large, eighteen cubits (about 27 feet) high and twelve cubits (about 18 feet) around and highly ornate…
No one disputes this. While there is some confusion as to which pillar is which, the debate seems to have settled on the fact that Jachin is the pillar facing South while Boaz faces North.
As to who they were, there seems to be confusion:
Jachin has been described as:
in the original Hebrew of the Old Testament, Jachin means he will establish
While Boaz is the name of King David’s great-great grandfather who had a son by Ruth.
However, there is evidence that Jachin was the name of a priest during the time:
Head of the twenty-first course of priests in the time of David. (1 Chronicles 9:10; 24:17; Nehemiah 11:10)
Yet other sources claim that Jachin has another meaning:
In all the languages of the Semitic stock the letters J and Y are interchangeable, as we see in the modern Arabic “Yakub” for “Jacob” and the old Hebrew “Yaveh” for “Jehovah.” This gives us the form “Yachin,” which at once reveals the enigma. The word Yak signifies “one”; and the termination “hi,” or “hin,” is an insensitive which may be rendered in English by “only.” Thus the word “Jachin” resolves itself into the words “one only,” the all-embracing Unity.
While also giving a new meaning to Boaz:
The meaning of Boaz is clearly seen in the book of Ruth. There Boaz appears as the kinsman exercising the right of pre-emption so familiar to those versed in Oriental law–a right which has for its purpose the maintenance of the Family as the social unit. According to this widely-spread custom, the purchaser, who is not a member of the family, buys the property subject to the right of kinsmen within certain degrees to purchase it back, and so bring it once more into the family to which it originally belonged. Whatever may be our personal opinions regarding the vexed questions of dogmatic theology, we can all agree as to the general principle indicated in the role acted by Boaz. He brings back the alienated estate into the family–that is to say, he “redeems” it in the legal sense of the word. As a matter of law his power to do this results from his membership in the family; but his motive for doing it is love, his affection for Ruth. Without pushing the analogy too far we may say, then, that Boaz represents the principle of redemption in the widest sense of reclaiming an estate by right of relationship, while the innermost moving power in its recovery is Love.
This is what Boaz stands for in the beautiful story of Ruth, and there is no reason why we should not let the same name stand for the same thing when we seek the meaning of the mysterious pillar. Thus the two pillars typify Unity and the redeeming power of Love, with the significant suggestion that the redemption results from the Unity. They correspond with the two “bonds,” or uniting principles spoken of by St. Paul, “the Unity of the Spirit which is the Bond of Peace,” and “Love, which is the Bond of Perfectness.”
The former is Unity of Being; the latter, Unity of Intention
Whatever the exact meaning, it is very clear that many different people have assigned many different meanings to these two pillars.
In conclusion; how do you pronounce Jachin? We have these for candidates:
- (in the Hebrew pronounced yaw-keen)
- Yakin, Yah-kin
- Jay-kin, not Jah-kin or Jaw-kin
If you have thoughts or comments, please, wade in.