Heroes of the Bible by Ephraim Kalish | CONTINUE to the PART 2 >
Jewish patriarchs, judges, kings and prophets were all extraordinary men. But they were just as much real people as you and me. What made them great was the power and glory of God. When the spirit of God came upon them, they performed miraculous deeds.
I try to show them according to the Scriptures – no embellishment and no make-up, not as people “made” them during many years. I find their features and characters in the Jewish Scriptures. Proportions of sculptures do give them a child-like quality. All these heroes were just children of God who wanted to trust their Father and do His will.
Gospel, Worship and Messianic Jewish Art
Portrets of our ancestors
Walking in the streets of the old Haifa, in it’s bazaars, I like to peer into different faces. I love Jewish faces, their large beautiful noses, large eyes and ears, their black curled and fiery ginger hair… It doesn’t mean that I don’t like other faces. But when I am looking into typical Jewish faces, and it doesn’t matter if it is a seller of spices at the bazaar, or a clerk in a bank (or a seller of olives), they all make alive some pictures in my imagination, which I had never seen, but my genetic memory draws them very exactly. I see (recognize, identify) the Queen Esther in a woman who sells olives. I see the sly Jacob in an enterprising owner of a crockery shop, I see Deborah the prophet in my friend’s Grandmother, and in the owner of the apartment that we rent I see the king Ahav. This feeling is very interesting. All my ancestors, I mean Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all their descendants, were all ordinary people. In their outward appearance they rather didn’t look like Scandinavians or American cowboys, but certainly they and our neighbor Eheskeil or Rachel who lives in the next building, were like two peas in a pod. (continue to view >)*
King David – a Warrior
A lady, who was looking at the sculpture of king David, said in surprise, ”But David was a young shepherd. Here I see a shaggy, severe warrior of mature age. His face, pardon me, is like a lion’s muzzle.” – This is exactly what I intended to achieve. A lion gives birth to a lion. David had to give birth to the Messiah, who is, as it’s written, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.
“…This is what the Lord Almighty says (to David) I took you from the pasture and from following the flock to be ruler over my people Israel. I have been with you wherever you have gone, and I have cut off all your enemies from before you. Now I will make your name great, like the names of the great men of the earth. And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people will not oppress them anymore, as they did at the beginning.” “ And who is like your people Israel the one nation on the earth that God went out to redeem as a people for himself, and to perform great and awesome wonders by driving out nations and their gods from before your people, whom you redeemed from Egypt You have established your people Israel as your very own forever, and you, O Lord, have become their God.” (The Second Book of Samuel ch.5 v. 7,9,10,20, ch.7 v.23,24.).
King Solomon the Preacher (Ecclesiastes)
The year was 2760, according to the Jewish calendar. So Solomon sat on the throne of his father David, and his rule was firmly established. (The First Book of Kings, ch.2; v.12.) So God said to him, “I will give you wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for – both riches and honor – so that in you lifetime you will have no equal among kings.” (The First book of Kings, ch.3, v.12-13.) Not only was the Preacher a wise, but he also imparted knowledge to the people. He pondered and searched out and set in order many proverbs. The Preacher searched to find just the right words, and what he wrote was upright and true. (The book of Ecclesiastes, ch.12, v.9-10.)
Jeremiah the Prophet
The year was 3172 according to the Jewish calendar. This sculpture shows Jeremiah the prophet in difficult circumstances for Israel, and for the prophet. “Jeremiah… stood in the court of the Lord’s temple and said to all the people, “This is what the Lord Almighty; the Lord of Israel says: “Listen! I am going to bring on this city and the villages around it every disaster I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked and would not listen to my words.” “When the priest Pashhur son of Immer, the chief officer in the temple of the Lord, heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and put in stocks at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the Lord’s temple.” (The book of the prophet Jeremiah, chapter 19 verses 14,15, chapter 20 verses 1,2.).*
Samson Led Israel for Twenty Years in the Days of the Philistines
(Judges ch.15, v.20.) The year was 2617 according to the Jewish calendar. Samson led Israel for twenty years in the days of the Philistines. As he approached Lehi, the Philistines came toward him shouting. The spirit of the Lord came upon him in power…, and the binding dropped from his hands. Finding a fresh jawbone of a donkey, he grabbed it and struck down a thousand men . Then Samson said, “With a donkey’s jawbone I have made donkeys of them. With a donkey’s jawbone I have killed a thousand men.” When he finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone; and the place was called Ramath Lehi. (Judges ch.15, v.14-17.) Samson’s chief characteristic is his hair, and it’s seven long braids. He was a Nazerite, a man dedicated to God, and no razor had been used on his head since birth. According to the will of God, there was very strong power in his hair. Samson is holding the jawbone of an ass in his right hand. And one of his braids is in his left hand as if he is holding on the power of God.
Joshua the Son of Nun
Joshua the Son of Nun is the One Who Brought the People of Israel into the Promised Land. God brought the people of Israel out of Egypt. Joshua the son of Nun was among them. He has an Egyptian collar on him as a sign. Because before the exodus, the Israelites did as Moses instructed and asked the Egyptians for articles of silver and gold and for clothing. A short sword is in his left hand and the scrolls of Torah are in his right hand. That was his life. He was a great warrior, who brought the people of Israel into the Promised Land. And at the same time he was a very humble man who never turned away from the Law given by God. The year was 2310 according to the Jewish calendar.
Queen Esther Making a Hard Choice
The year was 3278 according to the Jewish calendar. “…Haman looked for a way to destroy all Mordecai’s people, the Jews, throughout the whole kingdom of Xerxes.”
Then Mordecai said to Esther: ”Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”
Then Ester sent a reply to Mordecai: ”…I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.” (The book of Esther chapter 3 verse 6, chapter 4 verses 13-16.) Some materials of archeological finds were used for this sculpture: heads of women from Nimrud as motifs for the hairdo. The decoration and style of the clothes is similar to the Babylonian fashion of that period.
Ezekiel the Prophet Prophesying Unto the Dry Bones
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, and caused me to pass by them round about and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live And I answered, O Lord God, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy unto these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the Lord.” (The book of the prophet Ezekiel chapter 37 verses 1-6.)
Some motifs of archeological finds were used in this sculpture. The hair design of Ezekiel is similar to that of Sargon the king of Ackad in Mesopotamia. The year was 3190 according to the Jewish calendar.
Sculptor Ephraim Kalish
DONATE to TORAH-ART PROJECT through Return to Zion Community