Yahweh and the God of the Patriarchs

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    Yahweh and the God of the PatriarchsAuthor(s): Frank Moore Cross, Jr.Reviewed work(s):Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp. 225-259Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity SchoolStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1508722 .Accessed: 09/10/2012 22:13

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    THE modern discussion of Patriarchal religion may be said to be- gin with the brilliant essay of Albrecht Alt, Der Gott der V~iter, published in 1929.1 Alt proposed to use new means to penetrate into the pre-history of Israel's traditions of the old time. He re- pudiated the methods of such earlier scholars as Robertson Smith and Julius Wellhausen, who attempted to reconstruct the pre- Yahwistic stage of the tribal forebears of Israel by sifting Israel's early but fully Yahwistic sources for primitive features, primitive in terms of an apriori typology of religious ideas derived largely from nineteenth century idealism. Such procedures, Alt recog- nized, yielded merely the superstitious dregs of Israelite religion at any of its stages. As early as 1929, it was obvious to him that the archaeological data bearing on the second millennium gave a very different picture from that painted by the older historians. At least it was clear that the religion of Israel's neighbors was on a very much more sophisticated level than that being predicated for the pre-Mosaic tribes.

    Alt was no less aware than his predecessors of the formidable barriers obstructing the historian's approach to the Patriarchal Age. Even the earliest epic traditions of Israel did not reflect di- rectly the religious milieu of the time of their origin. Rather, by oral transmission over gulfs of time, more or less uncontrolled by written sources, they were shaped even before precipitation into literary form, by the events which created the union of the tribes, and the Yahwistic cult which was the primary ground of their unity. Nevertheless the tools for the analysis of the pre- literary history of tradition had been forged by Hermann Gun- kel's programmatic work in the legends of Genesis, as well as on other complexes of Old Testament tradition,2 and by this path,

    1 Beitrige zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament III, 12 (1929). Republished in A. Alt, Kleine Schriften zur Geschichte des Volkes Israel I (Miinchen, 1953), pp. 1-78.

    2See especially H. Gunkel's introduction to his Genesis [HzAT1 2nd ed. (G5ttingen, 1902), "Die Sagen der Genesis," pp. XI-XCII.


    especially by freeing ancient cult names and divine epithets from their secondary (Yahwistic) complex, Alt saw the possibility of progress.

    One group of epithets in the patriarchal legends is characterized by the element 'el. Following Gunkel and especially Gressmann, Alt attributed the 'el appellations to local numina, local deities tied to Palestinian shrines or localities, encountered by elements of Israel when they entered the land of Canaan.3 He gives rela- tively little time to an examination of the " 'el religion," as he calls it, and this part of his monograph now appears wholly unsatis- factory.

    Alt is much more interested in isolating another group of epi- thets and analyzing its typology: epithets in which the god is identified by the name of a patriarch. He calls these "the gods of the fathers," theoi patrdoi, originally distinct deities, but all be- longing to a special religious type which in the development of Israel's traditions were coalesced into a single family god by the artificial genealogical linkage of the Fathers, and at the same time assimilated to Yahweh. These were the God of Abraham, the Fear (better Kinsman 4) of Isaac, and the "Mighty One" ('abir) of Jacob, later the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

    Elohistic tradition in Exodus 3: 13-15 is crucial to Alt's anal- ysis: "When I come to the people Israel and say to them, 'the god of your fathers sent me to you,' they will say to me, 'What is his name?' What shall I say to them? And God said to Moses, "ehye 'aser 'ehye.' Thus you shall say to the people Israel, "ehye sent me to you'. Again God said to Moses, 'Thus you will say to the people Israel, Yahweh the god of your fathers, the god of Abra- ham, the god of Isaac, and the god of Jacob sent me to you; this is my name forever, and by this (name) I shall be remembered always'."

    S For Alt these contacts were not so much in the Patriarchal, pre-Mosaic period, as in the era of the entry into Canaan in "Israelite" times. In our view this is a fundamental weakness in Alt's point of view, a position increasingly un- tenable in view of our present knowledge of the movements in Palestine in the second millennium B.C. There is not space to debate the matter here. However, by "Patriarchal" we shall mean regularly the elements of Israel's forebears who moved about in Palestine before the Mosaic age.

    'Cf. W. F. Albright, From the Stone Age to Christianity2, pp. 188 f.; n. 71, p. 327; Alt, p. 26, n. 2.

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 227 In this text there is a clear claim for the continuity between the

    religion of the Fathers and the Yahwistic faith of later Israel. At the same time the text, precisely in its insistence that Yahweh is to be identified with the god of the Fathers, discloses to the historian that the old religion and the Mosaic religion were his- torically distinct, or in any case, belonged to two stages in an his- torical development.5

    The Priestly tradition in Exodus 6:2-3 points in part in a simi- lar direction: "God said to Moses, 'I am Yahweh. I revealed my- self to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as 'El Sadday, but was not known to them by my name Yahweh'." In this stratum of tradi- tion there is also the recognition of a cleavage between the an- cient time and the Yahwistic era, though again there is the theo- logical affirmation of the ultimate identity of the god of the Pa- triarchs and Yahweh. The choice of an 'El appellation is disturb- ing to Alt. He admits the authenticity of the title, but argues that this stream of tradition has merely chosen the name of the numen of a local shrine, broken it loose from its moorings and substituted the name for "the god of the Fathers." More fully assimilated to later Yahwistic institutions is the tradition of the Yahwist, who simply assumes the use of the name Yahweh in pre-Mosaic times and reshapes his tradition in this light.

    Alt turns next to a detailed analysis of the patriarchal traditions of the epic sources.6 In them he finds evidence of the religious type, "the god of the Father," and provides clues as to the essen- tial traits of this religion. It differs radically from the cults of the Canaanite 'elim, the numina of particular holy places. The god of the Father is not attached to a shrine, but is designated by the name of the Patriarch with whom he has a special relation, or rather, according to Alt, by the name of the founder of his cult.

    5 Alt, p. Io:. "Dagegen ist die Identitit Jahwes mit dem Gott der Viter nicht

    einfach vorausgesetzt, sondern wird sozusagen vor dem Auge des Lesers erst im Verlauf der Erzihlung feierlich vollzogen, indem der erscheinende Gott auf Moses Fragen hin seinen Namen Jahwe mit eigenem Munde ausspricht (V. 14). Eben darin besteht die spezifische Funktion dieser Erzdhlung im Gesamtaufbau des elohistischen Werkes, dass sie dem Leser einerseits den ganzen Abstand zwischen Vdterzeit und Mosezeit sub specie Dei zum Bewusstsein bringt und andererseits den Unterschied dann doch wieder in einer h6heren Einheit ausgleicht, indem sie ein und denselben Gott als Triger der alten und der neuen Gottesbezeichnung er- scheinen Ilsst."

    SSo-called JE.

  • 228 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW He is not a local deity, but the patron of the clan, the social group. He may be described as an "historical" god, i.e., one who enters into a kinship or covenantal relationship with a clan,7 and who guides the social group in its peregrinations, its wars, in short through historical vicissitudes to its destiny. The election motif running through the Patriarchal histories is native to the religion of the Fathers, and though nuanced by later Yahwistic features, is not a theme simply read back into primitive tradition on the basis of theological theory.

    Alt finds support for his hypothesis on general historical grounds. The special traits of the religion of the Patriarchal gods anticipate at a number of points the characteristics of the cult of Yahweh, the lord of covenant and community. This provides a continuity between the old religious forms and the new, an his- torically credible background for emergent Yahwism, and for the development of a religious unity of apparently disparate clans which came together in the Yahwistic league. The gods of the Fathers were paidagigoi to the great god Yahweh who later took their place.

    Alt also seeks support for his historical construction by a com- parison of the Israelite "god of the Father" with analogous divine types, drawn from late Nabataean and related sources. Here there is abundant evidence of appellations of the form, "god of N."

    Julius Lewy attacked Alt's position 8 on the basis of parallels from the Cappadocian (Old Assyrian) texts of the early second millennium. Here in a series of formulae, Lewy could show that the expressions il abika, "the god of your father," Ilabrat il abini, "Ilabrat, the god of our father," and Ilabrat (simply), were inter- changeable elements. He concluded that the Amorites attached to the Assyrian commercial colonies, while adopting the high god Assur of Assyria, call as well on the ancestral god, "the god of your father," or "the god of our fathers," or without further specification, Ilabrat,' the proper name of their god. To Lewy this

    'It is in this context that we are to understand the kinship elements particu- larly common in the Amorite names of second millennium B.C., and in the earliest onomastic material of Israel.

    8 "Les textes palbo-assyriens et l'Ancien Testament," Revue de l'histoire des religions iio (1934), PP. 29-65; cf. A. Alt, op. cit., p. 3I, n. I.

    9llabrat corresponds to Sum. Nin'ubur, messenger and grand vizir of Anu; cf. Lewy, p. 52, n. 57. Note also iu ebbaritum, "the god of the collegium," and ili um-


    appeared to be clear evidence that patriarchal deities were not anonymous, at least in his archaic texts, and suggested that the Old Testament God of the Fathers was a family god as tradition had it, and that his proper name was 'jl adday quite as the Priestly tradition claimed. For example, in the old poem in Gene- sis 49:25 there is the bicolon: m'l 'byk wy'zrk, w'10 dy ybrkk, "from the god of your father who supports you, 'El-kadday who blesses you." Certainly in this tradition they are identified. In effect the patriarchs brought Sadday into Palestine with them, and there met the "national" Canaanite deity, 'El 'Elyon, and as the Amorites served Assur, says Lewy, so Abram served the new god along with his tutelary deity Sadday.11 12

    Alt protests that the people of Lewy's texts were already inte- grated into the Kulturland, and that in any case the formula, god of N does not appear, and we may add, why the variety of titles: 'abir ya'qob, etc.?

    It must be argued further, however, that even the Nabataean and Palmyrene evidence which furnished Alt's principal analogy with the religion of the Patriarchs supports his interpretation less clearly than originally suggested, especially in light of new data.

    meiniya, "god of my principal" [Lewy, p. 53, n. 59; ,CAD VII, p. 971

    which re- place Ilabrat. On Ningubur, see most recently, D. O. Edzard, WSrterbuch der Mythologie, ed. H. W. Haussig, p. I13.

    [Thorkild Jacobsen suggests that "Il(i)-abrat (is) most likely a shortened ap- pellative form of il(i)abritim, 'El/god of the people/folks'" (private communica- tion). Cf. W. von Soden, Orientalia 26 (1957), p. 314.]

    1 Correcting the usual text slightly on the basis of the Hebrew MSS, Sam., Syr.; cf. LXX.

    n Lewy is far less convincing in his attempt to identify 'El 'Elyon with Salem. See below in the first section for an alternate analysis.

    "1Compare also the phrases in the Bir-Rikib texts: wrkb'l b'l byt (Panammu II, 22); and 'lhy byt 'by, "the gods of my father's house." (line 3 of the text pub- lished by H. Donner, "Ein Orthostatenfragment des K6nigs Barrakab von Sam'al," Mitteilungen des Instituts fiir Orientforschung III [I9551, PP. 73-98). Cf. the Nabataean text [Jaussen I, 59 = Alt6] 61 Imr byt' 'lh t[ymw?], "to the lord of the family, the god of T ..."

    On the divine name rkb'l, see now the names (in cuneiform texts from Ugarit): bin ili-ma-rakub and bin rakub-ba'l. In Canaan, rkb seems to have been used in epithets of Ba'l-Haddu, e.g., rkb 'rpt (68:io, etc.), "the Cloud-rider." At Zin- cirli rkb'l seems to have had lunar characteristics: he is called ba'l harran, is listed alongside Sams in a series which includes Hadad and 'El (Panammu I, 2-3, 11, 18; II, 22), and in the "Scribe's Orthostat" is represented by what appears to be a lunar symbol.

    On the pronunciation of Bir-Rikib see J. Friedrich, "Das bildhethitische Siegel des Br-Rkb von Sam'al," Orientalia, 26 (1957), PP. 345-47.

  • 230 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW In his analysis Alt posits a simple evolutionary scheme for the

    divine epithets of the inscriptions. As nomadic clans entered civilized country, they brought anonymous gods of the type, "god of N," and after acculturation, slowly began identifying "god of N" with Dfi-Sard, the national god, or Ba'l amen, the "Landes- gott," or ZevT 'AvLKrTOs.13

    One may ask seriously if Dz~-$ard is not native to the Nabataean tribes; he is unknown earlier in the Transjordanian country; one must also ask if the great gods of the Arabian as well as the Ara- maean peoples were unknown to the Nabataeans, or to newly settled people. Alt attributes a strange primitivism to the Naba- taeans (and mutatis mutandis to Israel) in view of what we now know of their forebears' religion, even in North Arabia. It is quite true that an invading people identify old gods with new. Near Eastern polytheism is most syncretistic in every period. Canaan- ite and Babylonian deities were, of course, systematically identi- fied, as were the Canaanite and Egyptian pantheons, and so on."4

    In the Nabataean inscriptions we have a number of overt iden- tifications: '1h (mr'n') rb'l with dw3'r' ("r' dy bbsr') (Alt Nos. 5-II); 1 b'limn with '1h mtnw (Alt No. 12), b'limn with 'lh S'ydw (Alt No. I5), OEb AiCov, with OE0

    'AAVLKrOgo and AL~

    'AVLKrjv HXlov; 16 and perhaps '1h qSyw with b'l 'mn. 7 The first mentioned, since it is the god of Rab'el, presumably Rab'el II,1s king of the Nabataeans, may properly be called a special case. But Alt is too facile, perhaps, in describing the formula OEE9 AV/ov as primitive, since it occurs, in the earliest (second century of the Christian era) inscriptions of the series, ALO '"AVLKro70V cHXOV Oeo0) Ai4ov the late form (third-fourth centuries), while Oe6B Aiwov in the latest of the series, is described as a survival of the archaic form."9 We now know that the oldest of the formal

    " Alt, op. cit. pp. 68-77. "See further below. The Nabataean-Arab goddess, 'El-Kutb&' presents an in-

    teresting study in syncretism. See John Strugnell, "The Nabataean Goddess Al- Kutbd' and Her Sanctuaries," BASOR 156 (1959), pp. 29-37.

    "1 To this series add Milik 2, "Nouvelles inscriptions nabat6ennes," Syria XXXV (1958), p. 231. The new inscription reads . .. Idwsr' 'lk rb'l.

    :lAlt, Nos. 33-45. '7Alt, Nos. 13, 14. The latter reads '1 qsyw l'lhhm b'llmn], "the clan of qsyw

    to their god, Ba'lsamen, the former: l'lh qsyw. 1 On the date of the 'lh rb'l series (Rab'el II), see Milik, op. cit., pp. 233 f. '9Alt, No. 45. On the identity of Nabataean Zets 'HXiov and Ba'l Samern, see

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 231 Nabataean inscriptions,20 that of AslaIh (Alt, No. 3) from ca. 95 B.C. is to be read . .. Idwfr' 'lh mlktw (written mnktw) . . .2 The

    "Dfi-Sara', god of Malikat6" of this inscription then must be identified presumably with the OEET MalXEaXrOV of Alt's inscrip- tions No. 51 and 52, from A.D. io6 and 175. This is to reverse Alt's line of evolution, unless we persist in arguing that the earliest inscription is late typologically and vice versa.

    Finally, we must ask concerning the legitimacy of the analogy between the Nabataean Arabs and ancient Israel. The time span is, of course, formidable. Much more serious is Alt's tacit as- sumption that Israel, like the Nabataeans, infiltrated Palestine from the desert as simple nomads, untainted by the civilzation of the settled country. One may question the validity of this con- ception of Northern Arabs in the Hellenistic age. Certainly it is an untenable view of Israel. The era of the Patriarchs must be placed in the Middle and Late Bronze Age, the era of the Amorite movements from North Mesopotamia, not at the end of the Late Bronze Age in the time of the conquest of Canaan by Yahwistic clans. The patriarchs belonged to an age of donkey-nomadism, moving through settled lands, and to an age when a cultural con- tinuity stretched from Canaan, during much of the period an Egyptian dependency, into the Delta, especially in the area of the Wddi Tumil~t.22

    Our examination of Alt's analysis of Patriarchal religion has raised a number of questions. We have not dealt with the Gunkel- Alt notion of local numina which will occupy us in the following section. We should not deny that Alt performed an extremely significant work in distinguishing a special type of deity among the conflate deity Adad-and-gamag in the new "pantheon list" from Ugarit (refer- ences in n. 35). The solar character of Ba'l Iamem is underlined already by Philo Byblius, Eusebius, Praep. evan. I. 0o.

    ' On the chronology of the early Nabataean inscriptions, see F. M. Cross, "The Development of the Jewish Scripts," The Bible and the Ancient Near East, ed. G. Ernest Wright (New York, 1961), p. 161, and notes o103-1os; J. Starcky, "In- scriptions archaique de Palmyre," Studi Orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi della Vida II (Roma, 1956), pp. 520-527.

    . On this reading, see Starcky, op. cit., p. 523, n. 3, and on the interchange mlkw/mnkw, mlktw/mnktw, see also Milik, op. cit., pp. 228, 234; and "Nouvelles inscriptions semitiques et grecques du pays de Moab," Studii Biblici Franciscani, Liber Annuus IX (1958-59), PP. 354 f.

    ' Cf. W. F. Albright, "Abram the Hebrew," BASOR 163 (October, 196i), pp. 36-54.

  • 232 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW the multitude of tutelary gods of nations, dynasties, classes, and persons represented, in Near Eastern texts. We doubt that the Patriarchal god was typically nameless, except for designation by the eponym of the clan and/or his cult founder. Insofar as these Patriarchal deities belong to a pastoral or migrant folk, no doubt they were "foreign" or imported, ancestral gods rather than the gods of popular sanctuaries in the lands of Patriarchal sojourn- ings. However, there seems to be no reason to doubt, in view of our evidence that these clan or "social" gods were high gods, and were quickly identified by common traits with the gods worshipped under various liturgical titles in sanctuaries in the new land; in the case of Israel, with a Canaanite high god or gods. In the case of the Nabataeans, the "gods of the Fathers" seem to have been connected with the old Arab god, later national god of the cara- van state, Dii-Sarra, and identified with Aramaean gods of the Kulturland, notably Ba'l Samen.23 Sometimes these gods of Pa- triarchal type seem to have been minor, "mediator" gods, some- times the great figures of the pantheon. In either case, the move- ment is from an old culture to a new, an old pantheon to a new, not from anonymous gods to named gods, nor from a cultural blank into first contacts with civilization.


    In the Patriarchal narratives of Genesis, there is a series of names or appellations of deity beginning with the element 'jl combined with a substantive, among them 'l '61ddm,24 'jl 'ely*n,25 '71 adday,26 '7l 'e8lh yiSrd'l,27 and 'lW bit-'e1.28 In the case of

    SAs a matter of fact, Ba'l lamen may have penetrated into Arabia long before Nabataean times, as did Nabi (= han-'aktab / al-kutbd'). Cf. W. F. Albright, BASOR 1956 (December, 1959), PP. 37 f. a Genesis 21:33. As generally recognized yhwh is secondary here.

    * Genesis 14:18 ff. In v. 22, omit Yahweh with LXX and S, as well as for traditio-historical reasons.

    * Genesis 17:1, and passim. ' Genesis 33:20, "El, god of (the Patriarch) Israel." Cf. [ ]'jl 'e'lh 'abikd,

    Genesis 46:3, "El, god of your father." The article is to be omitted in the latter epithet, since in any case, it developed after the loss of inflectional endings in Canaanite including Hebrew, probably at the beginning of the Iron Age. The first examples of the true article fall in the tenth century, and even in inscriptions of this period it is not used systematically, and is quite late in invading poetic and/or liturgical language. In Ugaritic prose, hnd and hnk may contain a demonstrative


    '0l 'dlam, ' l 'elydn, and '71 adday, the epithet is capable philo- logically of two or more interpretations. We may read the ele- ment 'el as the generic term "god" in apposition with a divine name or with a substantive in a genitive relationship; alternatively we may read the first element as the proper name 'El, the second ele- ment as an appellation of the deity 'El arising out of a liturgical or mythological cliche. Thus 'jl 'dlam, for example, is capable of being interpreted as "the god 'Oldm," or as the "God of Eternity" in the one instance, or as "'El, the Eternal One," 29 in the second instance.

    The choice of one of these alternate interpretations has been determined by general views of the history of Canaanite and Pa- triarchal religion. Usually the choice in one instance has de- termined the choice in all or most of the others. Thus under the influence of the theory that the gods of Canaan were local genii, one school has consistently read the element 'el as an appella- tive.30 On the other hand scholars with different views of Canaan- ite religion have arrived at much the same conclusion as to the correct philological analysis of the epithets. Perhaps the most powerful argument for reading "the god N" lies in the fact that each of the three names listed above appears in the Old Testa- ment 31 and in the extrabiblical sources 32 without the element particle which specialized later as the article. Cf. M. Dahood, "The Linguistic Position of Ugaritic in the Light of Recent Discoveries," Sacra Pagina, ed. J. Coppens et al. (Paris, 1959), pp. 271 f. and references; and W. F. Albright, "Speci- mens of Ugaritic Prose," BASOR 150 (April, 1958), pp. 37 f., n. ii.

    - Gen. 31:13; 35:7. The epithet raises special problems in view of the later hypostatization of Bethel which we cannot deal with fully here. The material has been collected and discussed by O. Eissfeldt, "Der Gott Bethel," Archiv fiir Reli- gionswissenschaft 28 (1930), pp. 1-3o; A. Vincent, La religion des judeo-arambens d'Tl6phantine (Paris, 1937), esp. pp. 562-592. Other, parallel appellations are '7l ro'i (Gen. 16:13) and 'el b6rit (Judg. 9:46) both of which also raise special problems requiring discussion on another occasion.

    ~ I.e., 'El with a genitive adjunct (Eissfeldt) or as El with an appellation in apposition. Cf. tr 'i,'il, mlk, Itpn 'il d-p'id, etc.; b'l zbl, zbl ym; 'al'iyn b'l, etc., etc. The appositional construction is awkward with '61dm unless we suppose that an expression 'il di 'dlami, or the like, stands behind it. On the other hand the ap- positional construction is quite suitable, e.g., with '1 'lywn qnh . . ."'El, the most high, creator ... ."

    o The classical, critical statement of this view is that of A. Alt; U. Cassuto de- fends with modern tools a modified form of the traditional view (La questione della Genesi [Firenze, 1934,1 60-82).

    r On

    'Sadm as a divine name in the Old Testament, see F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, "The Blessing of Moses," JBL 67 (1948), 209, n. 85. In addition to Dt. 33:27, cf. Isa. 40:28, Jer. io:Io.


    'Al, so that it seems that the formula with prefixed 'il has been leveled through the material in the later development of tradi- tion.33

    The view that these names are epithets of the god 'El has been given new life by the appearance of the Canaanite mythological tablets from Ugarit as well as the general expansion of our knowl- edge of Amorite and Canaanite religion. We know now that 'il in Canaanite texts is regularly, or rather in a majority of cases, the proper name of the cosmic deity 'El,34 father of the gods ('abu bani 'ilima), head of the pantheon.35 Yet despite some attempts to find a tendency toward an 'El monotheism or pantheism in Ugaritic religion," it seems clear that no later than the fourteenth cen- tury B.C. in north Syria, the cult of 'El was declining, making room for the virile young god Ba'l-Haddu.37 At all events, Canaanite 'El has emerged from our texts as a central figure of the pantheon, and there is evidence that in south Canaan his cult was especially popular in the second millennium B.C.38 In this light it has become tempting to see the epithets 'El 'Olm, etc., as titles of Canaanite 'El, epithets drawn from liturgical names of the king of the gods as he was worshipped in the chief Palestinian sanctuaries.39 When we read such a title as 'il '1'lljh yisrd'rl, "'El, the god of (the Patriarch Jacob-) Israel," it seems necessary to suppose that the older god of the Fathers, the tribal or clan deity

    Father Mitchell Dahood has called my attention to Psalm 75:10o, where he reads, no doubt correctly, w'ny 'gf-dl-1 'lm/'zmr l'lhy y'qb, "I shall magnify the Eternal one/Sing to the god of Jacob."

    32The extrabiblical occurrences will be discussed below. ' See most recently M. Pope, El in the Ugaritic Texts (Leiden, 1955), 14 f. 34Pope, op. cit., 6; Eissfeldt, El im ugaritischen Pantheon (Berlin, 1951), 29-

    53. As the reader will note, these volumes, especially that of Pope, have done much to shape the present essay.

    3 On the special problems of the "pantheon lists," one published, one unpub- lished, see the report of J. Nougayrol and comments of E. Dhorme, CRAIBL 1957, 77-85. For a third text of this type, see C. Virolleaud, Le palais royal d'Ugarit II, 4 (13 f.), and C. F. A. Schaeffer, xiii-xiv. Until there is full publication of the syllabic text, RS 20.24, it is perhaps not judicious to discuss the epithet il-abi (?).

    36 Cf. R. Dussaud, Les decouvertes de Ras Shamra (Ugarit) et l'ancien Testa- ment, 2nd. ed. (Paris, 1941); and especially O. Eissfeldt, El im ugaritischen Pan- theon; and "El and Yahweh," JSS I (1956), 25-37.

    7 Pope op. cit., 82-I04. However, 'El is not yet a deus quiescens. 3 See further below. 3 This position has been most eloquently defended by O. Eissfeldt in the work

    cited above, n. 36.


    or deities of the Patriarchal stock was early identified with the Canaanite

    'El.40 The epithet "[ ]'El ' h"lh abikd, "'El, the god of your father, similarly seems to be a transparent reference to 'El.41 Does it not follow then that '7l 'o61m, ' l 'adday, etc., are variant cult forms of 'El?

    On methodological grounds, I do not believe that the interpreta- tion of the several divine names can be solved by general religio- historical constructions. To be sure we can no longer speak of the 'elim of Canaan as "local numina." The great gods of the Ca- naanite pantheon were cosmic deities. There is to be sure, a double movement clearly discernible in Syro-Palestinian religion. A great god such as 'El or 'Asherah appears in local manifesta- tions in the cult places, and gains special titles, attributes, hypos- tases. In the process, one cult or title may split apart and a new god emerge to take his place beside 'El or 'Asherah in the pan- theon. On the other hand there is a basic syncretistic impulse in Near Eastern polytheism which tends to merge gods with similar traits and functions. A minor deity, worshipped by a small group of adherents, may become popular and merge with a great deity; major deities in a single culture's pantheon may fuse; or deities holding similar positions in separate pantheons may be identified.42

    It must be maintained, after all, that the formula 'Wl '1Odm is ambiguous, capable of being read "the god 'dlaim" or "'El the an- cient one." For example, from the Ugaritic texts we have the fol- lowing formulae: 'il milk, rasp milk, and 'il haddu. The first ap- pellation is always used of 'El, and we may suitably translate, "'El the King." Similarly rasp milk must be translated "Ra'p the King." But the third name, a title of Ba'l-Haddu as its context certifies, is "the god Haddu." It may be noted, however, that the latter construction is less frequent among the divine epithets which proliferated in Ugaritic myths and liturgies. At all events, if we are to identify ' l '1ldm with the head of the Canaanite pan-

    'o Cf. Pope, op. cit., 15. " Gen. 46:3; on the omission of the article, see n. 27. * See A. Bertholet's essay, Gitterspaltung und Gittervereinigung (Tiibingen,

    1933), now somewhat antiquated. An extraordinary example of cross-cultural assimilation is found in Kumarbi myths published by H. G. Giiterboch, Kumarbi (Istanbul, 1946). Another old but still interesting collection of bizarre instances of both hypostatization and fusion can be found in W. F. Albright, "The Evolution of the West-Semitic Divinity 'an-'anat-'att&," AJSL 41 (1925), 73-IOI.


    theon, 'El, we must do so on the basis of evidence that 'la^m is a characteristic appellation of 'El. And the same holds true for each of the epithets under consideration; we must establish the iden- tity of the god on the basis of evidence other than that of the biblical formula itself.

    I. 'el '61,dm The data bearing on the meaning of the epithet '0l '3l1m in-

    clude several biblical passages. In Deuteronomy 33:27 we read me'ond 4 'lohn qe'dem/ mittahtdw zero'ot ' l5m, "His (Jeshu- run's) refuge is the God of Old/ Under him are the arms of the Ancient One ('01dm)." A divine name is expected after ze'r'6t, to parallel 'llhe qddem. On the other hand it may be argued that zero' is often the hypostasis of the divine power and hence may make an adequate parallel.4 But "ancient arms" is a grotesque expression, and the former interpretation is preferable. In Jere- miah i o: i o, Yahweh is given a series of epithets including melek '61m,45 "the ancient or eternal king," which reminds one imme- diately of 'El's epithet milk 'abi ianima, "king, father of years." 46 One suspects that an old 'Wl epithet is used here in Jeremiah, but the question must remain open.

    Outside the Old Testament the divine name '61dm appears,

    probably in the place-name bt 'rm(m) (i.e., bet '61dm) in the Shishak List 47 of towns allegedly conquered in his famous cam- paign in the late tenth century B.C. It also appears in the Phoeni- cian cosmogony of Mochus reported by Damascius, in the late Phoenician form OvXWoI(og),48 but this late, muddy tradition tells us little more than that

    'l1dm was an important Canaanite appellation of deity. We may note also that in the Karatepe in-

    44 m'nh is, of course, the early orthography for mJ' n6 as well as mer'nd. "4Cf. the song of the "Arm of Yahweh," Isaiah 51:9 ff. 5 The expression mlk 'Im is used as a title for Amenophis III in an unpublished

    Ugaritic text. See provisionally, C. Virolleaud, CRAIBL 1955, 74 f. See below on Pharoah's title, Jamal ddritum, "the eternal sun," n. 51. 4 This rendering has often been disputed, but no good alternate can be sug- gested. The term 'nm is not the normal plural of tnt, "year" at Ugarit, but in view of double plural formations of this and other similar terms in Canaanite, it is not a serious objection in the case of a "frozen cliche." Cf. 'attiq y6^mn, "Ancient of Days," probably in origin an 'El title (Daniel 7:9). Cf. Isa. 40:28; 26:4.

    47No. 36. 4 Damascius, De primis principiis (ed. J. Kopp), 125.


    scription of the late eighth century B.C., the following curse is found: 49 "and may Ba'l amem and 'El, creator of the earth ('1 qn 'rs) and 'am' '61am (w-Smi 'im, "the eternal sun") and all the gods of the pantheon (ddr

    'lrm) destroy that king. . ." We shall return below to 'El's epithet. The designation sam 'llam is significant. That it is used here as an appellative following the proper name of a deity is a warning that 'l1am need not be a di- vine name in Canaan. Hence the fact that

    '61am appears alone is not sufficient evidence that

    'jl '1dm must be read "the god '51dm." Actually, the Ugaritic texts provide ample evidence that descriptive epithets may be used alone or with the name of deity.

    In an unpublished text from Ugarit there is a much earlier se- quence of divine names including 'aphu 'dlami, "the eternal sun." 50 The Akkadian appellation of Pharaoh found in Amarna texts of the fourteenth century B.C., daamal ddritum,51 reflects the same Canaanite cliche to judge from the fact that gama', "sun," is con- strued to be feminine, thus showing more respect for Canaanite grammar than for Pharaoh.52

    The incantation text from Arslan Tash (seventh century B.C.) contains what appears to be an epithet quite parallel to '0l '6lam; unfortunately the reading and context is not wholly certain. Fol- lowing Albright 3 and Jenni,54 I should read: krt. In. 'it 'lm 'r krt In., "Elat the Eternal One has made a covenant with us, Asherah has made a covenant with us." Elat is an alternate name (the goddess kat' exochin) of Asherah, and the title, paral-

    " B III,I8-IV (margo). See most recently on the passage, S. Gevirtz, "West Semitic Curses and the Problem of the Origin of Hebrew Law," VT XI (1961), 142-143; cf. F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Early Hebrew Orthography (New Haven, 1952), 12, n. 5, and Ernst Jenni, Das Wort 'Oldm im Alten Testament (Berlin, 1953) for bibliographical references.

    " See C. Virolleaud, op. cit. (n. 45), 74. 51Knudtzon, Die El-Amarna Tafeln, 146; 6,7; 155:6, etc. Cf. S. Gevirtz, op.

    cit., 143, n. 5. 52Arthur Darby Nock has called my attention to CEMECIAAM, probably for

    CEMCOAAM Hebrew 'emem '61cdm in the magical papyri: K. Preizendanz, Papyri graecae magicae (Leipzig, 1928), II 169/70; IV, 591, 18o5; V 351, 366, etc. These papyri are full of archaic elements, e.g., EPECXII'AA, presumably Sumerian Ere'kigal II, 34; nevertheless it is interesting to find a Canaanite epithet in Egyp- tian documents of the fourteenth century B.C. and of the fourth century A.D.

    ~ "An Aramaean Magical Text in Hebrew from the Seventh Century B.C.," BASOR 76 (1939), 5-11. 1 Op. cit., (n. 49), 13 f. Professor Jenni kindly reminded me of this reading when my paper was read at the Old Testament Congress in Oxford in 1959.

  • 238 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW lel to that of 'El, would be appropriate. In view of difficulty of the reading, however, no great weight can be placed on the parallel.

    Fresh and decisive evidence of the proper interpretation of the name' '3l 'Odm has come from Proto-Canaanite inscriptions of the fifteenth century B.C. In 1947, W. F. Albright during his cam- paign at Serabit el-Ihdem, recognized that the miners of Sinai in their proto-Canaanite texts used appellations of the Canaanite deities identified with the Egyptian gods Ptah, creator god of Memphis, and Sehmet, his consort, as well as HIathor, called ba'lat(u) gubli, "Lady of Byblus," as Alan Gardiner pointed out in 1915.55 In his decipherment of the texts, published in 1948,56 Albright read dt btn, "the Serpent Lady," an epithet of Qudiu- Asherah, the great goddess of Canaan, consort of 'El.57 In 1957, in an unpublished study, he recognized a parallel title d tb, "the Merciful One," an epithet almost identical with the Ugaritic ap- pellation of 'El, dzi pa'idi, "the Compassionate One." Since the Egyptian texts and representations at Serabit carry the name and iconography of Ptah, and it is well known that Ptah and 'El were identified and fused in the Egypto-Canaanite syncretism of this period, it seemed clear that the cult of the Canaanites of Sinai centered around the figures of 'El and his consort(s).58

    In 1958 the writer recognized that a mine inscription, owing to a faulty facsimile, had been misread and hence had remained in- decipherable.59 From the photograph, it was obvious that the inscription read 'I d 'im. . . , 'il dzi 'l1ami, "'El, the ancient (or Eternal) One." 60 This phrase is incapable of being misconstrued.

    5 "The Egyptian Origin of the Semitic Alphabet," JEA (i916), 1-16. W "The Early Alphabetic Inscriptions from Sinai and Their Decipherment,"

    BASOR 110 (1948), 6-22. 7 On Asherah-'Ilat's cultus in thirteenth century Lachish, see F. M. Cross, "The

    Evolution of the Proto-Canaanite Alphabet," BASOR 134 (1954), 20 f. 'On the temple of Ptah (-'El) at Ascalon in the Late Bronze Age, see John

    Wilson in The Megiddo Ivories by Gordon Loud (Chicago, 1939), 11-13. 9 The Mine M inscription (No. 358) was published by Romain F. Butin, S. M.,

    in "The Serabit Expedition of 1930," Harvard Theological Review 25 (1932), 184- 185, and P1. XXVII. Monsignor Patrick W. Skehan has kindly written to me reporting that Butin's squeeze, in the collection of the Catholic University of America, conforms to my reading.

    ~ See Figure I. The bottom stroke of the 'alef (ox-head) is broadly cut, as are the two horizontals of the d. Between is an ordinary lamed (ox goad), with the loop downward as in the second lamed, and the final letter of column 2 (most of which has split off). This first lamed of column I was read as the fish sign (Butin's samek, Albright's dalet). It is like no other fish sign in the inscriptions. Compare


    It is necessarily the appellation of the god 'El, and would naturally pass into later Hebrew when the force of dz as a demonstrative particle was lost, as 'El '6lam.6l

    It is also noteworthy that Ptah has the epithet, nb dt or nb nhh, both meaning "the lord (or one) of eternity." 62

    Confirmation of the reading 'jl di 'lami in Proto-Canaanite came more quickly than expected. In the latest volume of the Lachish excavations,63 a prism is published bearing on one face the name of Amenophis II (c. 1435-I420 B.C.), on another face a representation of Ptah, and an inscription beside Ptah in proto- Canaanite letters identical in date with the Sinai script.64 On re- ceipt of the volume, Albright immediately recognized the epithet dzf gitti, "lord of the Vintage (wine-press)," an appellation he had already discovered at Serabit,'6 and reconstructs "r'El,7 Lord of the Vintage." Aside from the confirmation of the dating of the Sinaitic inscriptions, and the identification of Ptah with Canaanite 'El,66 the inscription shows that in south Canaan, the cult of 'El for example, the sequence did . . . beginning the right column, and the 'l ... sequence of the sphinx inscription, No. 346 (top).

    ' In the Old Testament the usage survives, with a noun, in ze sinay, older zf [

  • 240 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW was widespread, and that liturgical epithets of the type 'il dii 'l1ami, 'il dfi pa'idi, were characteristic of the period.

    In this new light the interpretation of the biblical epithet 'jl '1ldm as a liturgical title of 'El becomes highly likely if not certain. We must understand it (however it was reinterpreted in Israelite tradition) as meaning originally "'El, lord of Eternity," or perhaps more properly, "'El, the Ancient One." 67 The mythological tablets of Ugarit portray 'El as a greybeard, father of the gods ('ab bn 'ilm) and father of man ('ab 'adm).6" His appellation 'abfi sanima "Father of years," is reminiscent of Ptah's "lord of years," and can be scarcely separated from attiq ydmin, "ancient of Days (Daniel 7:9) and may be compared with 'jl gibbbr 'dbi 'ad, "El the Warrior, Eternal Father," a phrase from a "liturgical" sentence name or protocol of a king (Isaiah 9:5). Finally we must com- pare a difficult passage of Text 76: III 5-7 of the Ugaritic corpus.

    Im k qnyn '1[m] k dr(dr) dyknn [] 69

    ". ... our creator 70 is eter [nal] Indeed from age to age he who formed us"

    The phrase, qdniyunf 'dla [mi], "our creator is eternal" is reminiscent of the standard appellation of 'El as baniyu bnwt,/' "Creator of (all) creatures," and of qdniyatu 'ilima,72 "Procrea- tress of the gods," an epithet of El's consort Asherah-'Ilat. In turn these bring to mind the epithet of 'El:

    see Pope, p. 35 and references; on the Mandaean genii, see Albright, AJSL 53 (1936), 12 and references.

    ' Reading [yhwh] '1 d(z) 'im or the like as the phrase underlying the tradi- tional yhwh 'I 'wlm. -

    ' Cf. Pope's discussion of 'El's "seniority and senility," 32-35. 69 This follows the reconstruction of H. L. Ginsberg, Orientalia 7 (1938), I-II.

    Cf. Eissfeldt, El im ugaritischen Pantheon, 55; Pope, 5I. 70 There is no longer the slightest reason to doubt this meaning of the root qny

    in Canaanite. To be sure it may stand closer in meaning in this and other contexts to "procreating" than "creating" in a medieval or modern sense. See most recently S. Gevirtz, op. cit., 143, n. 4; W. A. Irwin, "Where Shall Wisdom Be Found," JBL 80 (I96I), 133-142; Pope, 51-52; K. Galling, "The Scepter of Wisdom," BASOR 119 (1950), 17.

    ' Texts 49: III, 5, II; 51: II, II; sI: III, 32; 2 Aqhat I, 25. 72 Texts 51: I, 23; III, 26, 30, 35; IV, 32.

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 241 t6ru 'ilu 'abfihfi 'ilu milku dfi yakdninuhi 73

    "Bull 'El his father King 'El who created him (Ba'l)"

    The appellations "eternal" and "creator," and "eternal or ancient creator" are thus characteristic designations of the great god 'El in Canaanite myths and liturgies.74

    2. 'el 'ely6n 'El as the ancient creator brings us to our second biblical

    epithet: 'Wl 'elyon q6ne ~dmdyim wa'dreq, "'El 'Ely6n, creator of heaven and earth," in Genesis 14: 8, and in its shortened form ' yl 'elydn in Genesis 14: 18. The title may be construed as mean- ing "the god 'Ely6n, creator. . . ," or "'El the Most High, crea- tor. .. ," or "'El-'Ely6n, creator. . ." (i.e., a double divine name of a familiar type in the Canaanite pantheon). In the last-named instance, the divine name 'Ely8n may be taken as secondary in the formula, the result of a fusion of originally separate deities, or it may be taken as an alternate name of 'El deriving from certain Canaanite circles where 'Elyon was not distinguished as a separate deity.

    In Sakkunyaton's theogony cited by Philo Byblius,75 'Elyon (')XLovv) is treated as belonging to one of the "cosmogonic pairs," specifically as father of Heaven and his consort-sister Earth, the parents of 'El, as well as Dagon and other "effective" deities. This complicates the problem of identifying 'Ely8n. Whether in Philo, in Hesiod, in the Babylonian god lists which enumerate the cos- mogonic pairs, or in the Creation account in Enlima elig, and so on, we regularly find that the gods before the generation of 'El in Canaanite mythology, Kronos in Greek, Anu (sometimes Enlil) in Babylonian, stand in a series of abstract or natural pairs, often with rhyming names, and do not appear outside cosmogonic myths.76 The gods with living cults, who figure significantly in the hierarchy of the divine council, and who appear in personal names,

    " Texts 51: IV, 48; 'nt V, 43, 44. " On F-'- ilu dfi yaqniyu t/dadi-mi, I Aqhat 219-220, see below. 5 apud Eusebius, Praep. evan. I, Io. " On the divine generations and god lists, see D. O. Edzard, op. cit., 74 f.; and

    H. G. Gilterboch, Kumarbi, 1oo-115, and references.


    begin with Kronos, El, Anu, Kumarbi, and so on. The lists of gods having cults from Ugarit, for example, begin each one with 'El as we have seen. Sometimes, of course, the theoretical head of the pantheon recedes to become a deus otiosus: Anu, Kronos, and to a lesser degree 'El. But in any case, the more remote cosmo- gonic pairs are typologically separate from the gods of the cults. Moreover, to complicate matters, on occasion Philo in reporting Sakkunyaton, mixes gods of living cults (e.g., ba'l Jamem) into the cosmogonic series, sometimes he splits a deity originally single: e.g., samem-rzlm ( =

    vovpdvwoq), and o;pavo'r. 'Elyon, or Phoenician

    'Ilyfin, as well as Ba'l-?amem may have been in- troduced secondarily either by Philo or his sources. In short, the epithet 'Ely6n, which appears in the Old Testament and in the inscriptions applied to a "cult deity," cannot in likelihood be identical originally with El's cosmogonic forebear.76a

    The mention of 'ElyOn in the Sefire I inscription 77 is more pertinent to our discussion. There is a long series of gods called upon to witness the treaty recorded in the inscription, listed for the most part in pairs, usually a god and his consort. The pattern then shifts slightly, and we read ". .. [and before Hadad of H1a]lab (Aleppo) and before Sibit and before 'El and 'ElySn and before Heav[en and Earth and before the Ab]yss and Springs and before Day and Night. . . ." The pair 'El and 'Elyin comes after the main tutelary gods, immediately before the great natural pairs summarizing the powers of the cosmos. What are we to make of the pair? One may argue that since the pairs of gods and their consorts feature separate deities, 'El and 'Elyon are here distinguished. On the other hand their association in a pair in such a series, and followed by natural pairs, suggests that they must be intimately associated. It is possible to interpret the pair as a double name of a single god as often at Ugarit,78 using the biblical references for support: 'El-'Elybn. The chances are, how-

    76a [See now the excellent article of Remi Lack, "Les origines de Elyon, le Trbs- Haut, dans le tradition cultuelle d'Israil," CBQ 24 (1962), pp. 44-64. Unfortu- nately it came into my hands after my essay was in proof.]

    77A: 10--I2. See most recently A. Dupont-Sommer and Jean Starcky, Les inscriptions arameennes de Sfire (Paris, 1958); J. A. Fitzmyer, "The Aramaic In- scriptions of Sefire I and II," JAOS 81 (1961), 178-222; M. Noth, "Der his- torische Hintergrund der Inschriften von Sefire," ZDPV 77 (1961), 118-172.

    7 Cf. Fitzmyer, op. cit., 192-193.


    ever, that 'Ely6n, early an epithet of 'El,79 has split apart into a separate cult, and hence 'El and 'Ely6n may be paired as separate deities.80 This would support the view that 'Ely6n is correctly used as an appellation of 'El in Genesis, and later, interchangeably with 'El as an epithet of Yahweh.

    Since there is at least an element of ambiguity about the term 'Elyon in the biblical 'El 'Ely6n, we must determine the identity of the god of the Jerusalem cultus from the liturgical formula "creator of heaven and earth." Fortunately there are ample data.

    That 'El was the creator god par excellence of Ugarit and Canaan is patent from the texts already cited. There is more di- rect evidence, however, from later Canaanite inscriptions. At Karatepe in the eighth century B.C., we find the title 'Nl qjnj 'ar?, "'El, creator of the earth," and the same formula crops up again in a Neo-Punic inscription of Leptis Magna, and in a Palmyrene bilingual.81 Levi della Vida, followed by Pope, has insisted that this is the original appellation, with omission of "heaven," and that 'El here and elsewhere is to be regarded as a chthonic deity. We shall touch on this point later; it is sufficient to say here that 'El's occasional chthonic associations by no means disqualify him from the full title, "creator of heaven and earth," and that to judge from parallels, the longer title has every claim of being origi- nal. In a seventh century Aramaic papyrus,82 unfortunately dam- aged, there is the phrase, ending "[ ] of heaven and earth, and Ba'liamayn. . ." where we may tentatively read " ['El/ or 'El 'Elyon/ creator] of heaven and earth, etc." 83 We may compare also Akkadian epithets: bdni Samg u ergeti,84 "creator of heaven

    Cf. the South Arabic epithet, '1 t'ly, "El, Most High," G. Ryckmans, Les noms propres sud-simitiques, I (Paris, 1934), 2.

    80This would also account for Philo's alleged confusion. atSee L. della Vida, "El 'Ely8n in Genesis 14: 18-20," JBL 63 (I944), I-9. On

    the Hittite Ilkunirsa, consort of AMertu (Asherah), see Otten, "Ein kanaan~iischer Mythus aus Bogazkiy," Mitteilungen des Instituts fiir Orientforschung, (1953), 125-150; and the discussion of M. Pope, 52-54. To his discussion we should add only that the god kinner now appears in the god list from Ugarit (RS 20.24; cf. Text 17, I. io where knr is to be read; Nougayrol, CRAIBL [19571, 83.).

    'Published by A. Dupont-Sommer, Semitica I (1948), 43-68; Cf. H. L. Ginsberg, "An Aramaic Contemporary of the Lachish Letters," BASOR iii (Oct., 1948), 24-27.

    3 Ginsberg, ibid., 26, n. 8. ' Knut Tallquist, Akkadische GStterepitheta (Helsinki, 1938), 69, 366.

  • 244 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW and earth" (Marduk); bil Jamj u erseti,s8 "lord of heaven and earth" (Anu, Enlil, Marduk, Samas); abu samj u erseti,s6 "father of heaven and earth" (Enlil); bdndt ame~ u erseti,s7 "creatress of heaven and earth" (Mah), bilit "amj u erseti,ss "mistress of heaven and earth" (chthonic Damkina, Inanna, IStar), etc.8s

    In summary, we must take the formula q6ne amdyim wa-'dres, "creator of heaven and earth" as a liturgical sobriquet, originating in the cult of Canaanite 'El.

    We are enabled to establish, therefore, on the basis of extra- biblical evidence, that at least three liturgical epithets in the Pa- triarchal narratives connect the Patriarchs with the cult of Ca- naanite 'El: 'El god of Israel-Jacob (Shechem), 'El 'Olm (Beer- sheba), and 'El ['ElyOn], Creator of Heaven and Earth (Jeru- salem). 3. el adday.

    The most frequent, and unfortunately the most enigmatic of the epithets of the god of the Patriarchs is 'el Jadday. This is the favorite designation of the Patriarchal deity in Priestly circles. In Exodus 6:2, the Priestly source explicitly identifies the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as 'El Sadday, and notes in agreement with one stream of Epic tradition, that the name Yahweh was introduced first in the Mosaic era.

    It is no longer possible to doubt that the Priestly tradition rests ultimately on historical memories preserved in conservative cultic materials. Genesis 49:25, belonging to extremely early tradition,90 utilizes the epithet in full form 'l "adday, according to the best textual tradition, and the element 'adday appears in Priestly lists of personal names attributed to the Mosaic Age, which, whatever their history, actually reflect characteristic formations of the onomasticon of the second millennium.Y1 One extrabiblical oc-

    5 Tallquist, p. 54. sTallquist, p. 2. 87 Tallquist, p. 71. s Tallquist, p. 64. ~ Compare also Ugaritic ba'l 'arsi (of Ba'l Haddu) Text 49: I, 14-15; etc. " The Joseph blessing occurring in widely variant, but ultimately identical form

    in Gen. 49, and Deuteronomy 33: 13-17, must be dated in the era of the Judges, probably in the eleventh century B.C. See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, "The Blessing of Moses," JBL 67 (1948), 205, n. 41.

    1 See the lists of the neif'im in Num. 1: 5-15; 2: 3-29; etc.

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 245 currence is certain, one possible, both from the fourteenth century B.C.: sad(d)8-'am(m)i or sad(d)ay-'am(m)i,92 and Ugaritic tdy.93

    The element 'adday appears to derive from a root tdw/tdy, as shown most persuasively by W. F. Albright in 1935."4 This etymology alone fits the West Semitic evidence." Probably also,

    " See M. Burchardt, Die altkanaan~iischen Fremdwiirte und Eigennamen im Aegyptischen II, No. 826: sa-di-'-mi (following Albright's system for Egyptian syllabic orthography); cf. W. F. Albright, The Biblical Period (Pittsburgh, 1950), 7, 56, n. 20.

    8C. Virolleaud, Le palais royal d'Ugarit II (Paris, 1957), No. 58. I. I8 tdy; cf. J. Nougayrol, Le palais royal d'Ugarit III (Paris, 1955), I5. 42, i. 15 f ia-da-ya.

    ' "The Names Shaddai and Abram," JBL 54 (1935), I73-193. The latest study, and in most ways a superb one, is that of Manfred Weippert, "Erwligungen zur Etymologie des Gottesnamens 'El Saddaj," ZDMG NF 36 (1961), 42-62.

    ' Control of the sibilants in Canaanite depends primarily on the evidence of the Egyptian transcriptions. Fortunately the Egyptian equations are remarkably consistent. The following equivalences hold throughout the material. Proto- Amarna Jerusalem

    Canaanite Egyptian Canaanite Canaanite Amorite Ugaritic t s g B s (t) s

    s s s S s s

    It will be noted that Canaanite in the Amarna letters is listed in two columns, one for the main series of Canaanite letters, one for anomolous transcriptions from the Jerusalem Amarna letters. The Jerusalem transcriptions, as is generally rec- ognized, probably do not reflect a different dialect, unique in the Canaanite group, but rather a peculiarity in the scribe's use of the syllabary: see Goetze, "Is Ugaritic a Canaanite Dialect," Language 17 (1941), 128, n. 15; W. L. Moran, op. cit., 59 n. 42. It may be noted also that the Proto-Canaanite inscriptions from Sinai also reflect the distinction between 9 and 9, following the pattern of Egyptian and Amarna data: W. F. Albright, BASOR iio (1948), 15, n. 42. Thus, the writ- ing ga-de4-e in Jerusalem Letter 287, 56 probably was pronounced 'adi; in any case there is a consistent distinction between 9 and 9 in the Egyptian transcriptions, in the Akkadian transcriptions including even the anomolous Jerusalem group, where the values are reversed. There can be no doubt, therefore that in South Canaanite, as well as later Hebrew, the sibilants 9 and ' had not fallen together in the Amarna Age. In Phoenician the shift 9>9 took place before the development of the conventional alphabet, probably in the thirteenth century (when Ugaritic t shifted to '; see C. Virolleaud, GLECS VIII [I96o], 72-73) or in the twelfth cen- tury B.C. At all events it must be insisted that the failure of the Phoenician alpha- bet to distinguish t, 9, and 9, has no bearing on the shift of the sibilants in other dialects. In both Hebrew and Old Aramaic, notation of the sibilants is incomplete, because scribes adopted, under influence of Phoenician scribal tradition an alphabet not devised for their phonemic system. In no case can it be held that the Proto- Canaanite alphabet developed independently in Palestine, Phoenicia and Aram; the palaeographical data will not tolerate such a view.

    It must be argued on the basis of the Egyptian evidence (sa-di-'-mi), that the name sadday has as its sibilant, Canaanite t or 9. Since Hebrew gadday requires either t or 9, an etymology with t is required if we follow normal equivalences, as methodologically we must. Moreover, since both Hebrew Sade "steppe," and

  • 246 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW we should combine West Semitic tdw/tdy with East Semitic 'adfz/
  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 247 names is now established in cuneiform transcription."9 It is no doubt the West Semitic adjectival suffix found in Amorite gen- tilics as well as in hypocoristic formations. The pattern, "the one of. . ." and an element of nature, mist, dew, earth, or mountain, is wholly suitable. 'Arsay, "the one of the earth" must be taken to mean "the one of the Underworld." 100oo Similarly, we should assume that the epithet 'ad(d)ay refers to the cosmic mountain, the Weltberg.

    The question may now be asked, is the appellation 'El ?adday a cult name of the Canaanite 'El? The earliest poetry of Israel uses Sadday in parallelism with 'El, and with 'Ely6n.lo0 But the identification of these Patriarchal epithets with Yahweh has no doubt already taken place. I am not sure that there is yet sufficient evidence to demonstrate the thesis that 'adday is an appellation of 'El. For one thing, we are embarrassed with the plenitude of deities associated with mountains in the Canaanite and Amorite pantheons. The dominant figure in Canaanite mythology, at least in Ugaritic traditions, is Ba'l Sap6n, Haddu of Mount Cassius. Moreover, the elements har, "mountain," and sur, "crag or moun- tain" are frequent in Amorite names of the second millennium. It is not impossible that 'adday is, after all, an epithet of Ba'l-Hadad. In this case, however, it is difficult to explain, as Eissfeldt has argued,'02 how in Israelite tradition, 'El Sadday or Sadday could be used blandly as an orthodox epithet of Yahweh. It is somewhat easier to suppose that Sadday was the designation of an old Amor- ite deity, one of the gods, perhaps identical with Har, introduced into Palestine by Patriarchal peoples. In this case ?adday would be an appellation of an old clan or covenant deity, secondarily identified with 'El.

    There is, however, some evidence which lends plausibility to the notion that Sadday, whether Canaanite or Amorite in origin, was a cult name of 'El.

    Eissfeldt and especially Pope have greatly advanced our under- gSee J. T. Milik, "Giobbe 38, 28 in siro-palestinese e la dea ugaritica Pdry bt

    ar," Rivista biblica 3 (1958), 252-254. To his evidence we should add the reading d pi-id-ra-i (Nougayrol d bi-it-ra-i) in 17.116, 3: PRU IV, 132.

    'o This is confirmed in the pantheon list by her identification with Allatum. 'o In the Balaam Oracles: Numbers 24:4, i6. On the antiquity of this piece,

    see W. F. Albright, "The Oracles of Balaam," JBL 63 (1944), 207-233. "o "El and Yahweh," JSS I (1956), 25-37.


    standing of the abode of 'El, by their analysis of two passages which repeat in Ugaritic texts.'0 The crucial lines are the fol- lowing, roughly vocalized:

    'idaka la-tattina panima 'im 'ili mabbika naharemi qirba 'apiqi tihdm (a) temi tagliyu tadi 104 'ili wa-tibd'u qarsa malki 'abi anima lo Then she set (her) face Toward 'El at the source of the Rivers, In the midst of the Double-deep, She penetrated (to) the mount of 'El and entered The shrine of King, Father of Years. 'idaka layatti [na panima 'im lutp]ini 'ili di-pa'idi t6k hurga [ni yagliyu tadi 'i[li wa-yibd'u qarsa malki] 'abi anima lo5a Then he set (his) face Toward Lutpan, 'El the Compassionate. To the midst of the cosmic mount . . . He penetrated (to) the mount of 'El and entered The shrine of King ('El), Father of Years.

    El's abode here is designated by two terms, hurian, "Weltberg" and d/tad 'El, which we have translated "mount." The location of the mountain is at the source of the Double-deep, the cosmic source of waters. This is the Elysium of Canaanite mythology. Pope locates both the cosmic source, and the mountain of El in the Underworld. Perhaps it would be better to say that the cosmic mount is the locus where heaven and hell merge, where the cosmos comes to focus.'06 It seems likely also that the biblical expressions

    108 Eissfeldt, 30, n. 4; Pope, 61-72. 0 On d/tadf, see below. 06 2 Aqhat VI, 46-49; 49: 1, 4-8; 51: IV, 20-24; 129, 4-5; 'nt pl. vi:V, 13-16. "a 'nt pl. IX: III, 21-24; cf. 'nt pl. ix: II, 23. 'O We may compare the mythological motives in Enoch and in the Aramaic

    Testament of Levi which localize the gates to heaven and to hell, at the pinnacle of Mt. Hermon and at the springs of Banias. See J. T. Milik, RB 62 (1955), 398- 406; esp. 404-5 and n. 2.

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 249 'adat ' l 107 and har m 26'd,l0s the "council of El," and the "moun- tain of the (divine) assembly" refer to the same locale. We may compare also 'idk pnm lytn/ tk gr 1/110 Towards the meeting of the (divine) council."

    From these data, it is abundantly clear that 'El is associated with the cosmic mountain, the seat of the divine council, and that an appellation "the One of the (cosmic) mountain," would not be inappropriate.

    With some risk, we may proceed one more step. In parallelism with hursan, and alternating with guru


    /d/, its original value, but also /t/ is immediately apparent. It has been long recognized that etymological t at Ugarit, normally indicated by the sign "t", actually has already shifted in pro- nunciation, probably to something like /s/ by the time of our texts, and that the shift will continue until in the latest texts, probably of the thirteenth century B.C., t as well as S has fallen together with .114 The change from the sound t to s or the like, can be shown by transcriptional materials, Hittite, Egyptian, and Ugaritic.115 Therefore, to express the spirant /t/, in archaic or archaizing or dialectal words, the scribe used the sign for the nearest available spirant, namely the voiced equivalent d, itself a sound all but lost in normal usage.

    By this line of analysis we are led to read tadli 'il, "mount of 'El," and to recognize an etymological relationship between Ugarit- ic td/tdy and the divine epithet of the god of the fathers 'El Sad- day, "'El, the Mountain One."

    We are not yet able to establish certainly whether (i) adday was an old Amorite deity who was early identified by the Fathers with Canaanite 'El, or (2) adday was another epithet of Ca- naanite 'El in its original cultic setting. On the one hand the tie with Ugaritic td 'il suggests perhaps that 'El ?adday like the other cult names we have examined belonged to Canaan. On the other hand, 'El kadday is not attached in biblical lore to a sanc- tuary. It may even be that kadday is an epithet of Amorite 'El, in which case our alternates tend to dissolve.


    The discussion of the meaning and origin of the name Yahweh constitutes a monumental witness to the industry and ingenuity

    'U Provisionally see C. Virolleaud, GLECS VIII (I96O), 72-73 for remarks on a new retrograde text, and references to the older ones. In these texts several phonemes have merged, including etymological t and '. The script is highly de-

    veloped (or degenerate) typologically from that of the normal texts. Both the de- veloped phonemic structure and script suggest an advanced date.

    115 Egyptian s and Hittite cuneiform '

    were pronounced /s/, as is well established. Cf. W. F. Albright, The Vocalization of the Egyptian Syllabic Orthography (New Haven, 1934), 13, n. 51, and references. For example, Egyptian sutat appears in Hittite as sutak; Tes'up appears in Egyptian transcription as Ti-su-pi, and in Ugaritic as Ttb. In Ugaritic we find 'alty, in cuneiform mat a-la-'i-ya, in Egyptian transcription 'A-ra-sa. Cf. Ugaritic tpllm, Suppiluliuma (Hittite cuneiform 9up- piluliuma); Egyptian Mu-ra-si-ra, 1Iursilis, Ha-tu-si-ra, Hattusilis, etc., etc.


    of biblical scholars. Fortunately, there is no space to review it here."" Several new lines of evidence have emerged from epi- graphic materials, however, which promise to advance the dis- cussion.

    In the first place, the form Yahweh has been established as primitive by its appearance in epigraphic sources. In extrabiblical materials which date before the Exile, it is the invariable inde- pendent form. This is not to say that the jussive form yahik is not early; in fact it is surprising that yahkf as an independent name does not appear before the fifth century B.C.117 At all events there seems no valid reason to doubt that Yahweh is a primi- tive divine name, or at least an element in a liturgical epithet or sentence name. It appears as yhwh in the seventh century Lachish letters. It appears also in an unpublished seal from the eighth century B.C. recently acquired by the Harvard Semitic Museum. The seal reads interestingly enough lmqnyw/ 'bd . yhwh,"8 "Be- longing to Miqneiah, the slave of Yahweh." In non-biblical sources of the early first and late second millennia, the independent divine name appears certainly in the MeSa' Stone (ninth century B.C.), and very probably in an unpublished list of South Palestinian place-names from thirteenth century Egypt. The name is spelled y-h-w3.119 No other suggested occurrences seem to withstand close linguistic scrutiny.

    " A review of recent research until 1957 can be found in R. Mayer, "Der Gottesname Jahwe im Lichte der neuesten Forschung," Biblische Zeitschrift NF 2 (1958), 26-53. To this we should add the following selected items of recent date not to be found in Mayer's paper: A. Murtonen, A Philological and Literary Treatise on the Old Testament Divine Names '1, 'lwh, 'lhym, and yhwh (Hel- sinki, 1952); M. H. Segal, "El, Elohim, and YHWH in the Bible," JQR 46 (1955), 89-115; M. Reisel, The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H. (Assen, 1957); David Noel Freedman, "The Name of the God of Moses," JBL 79 (1960), 151-156; R. Abba, "The Divine Name Yahweh," JBL 8o (1961), 320-328; S. Mowinckel, "The Name of the God of Moses," HUCA XXXII (1961), 121-133.

    n7 yahfl apparently was selected as the combinatory form, yahweh as the inde- pendent form quite early in wide circles.

    " The seal, shortly to be published along with the Museum's fairly extensive collection, is exquisitely designed and engraved, on one side in the positive, on the other side in the negative. No doubt it belonged to a Temple official of Judah. The element -yaw < -yahfi is expected in early Judah as well as Samaria. After about 700 B.C., despite a continuing general tendency to syncope of inter- vocalic h, spellings reverted to the historic -yhw, only to shift again to -yw by the fifth century.

    .n.The reference is reported by W. F. Albright in JBL 67 (1948), 380. The list is to be published by H. W. Fairman of Liverpool in the near future.

  • 252 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW We must begin in any analysis of the name, therefore, with the

    form yahweh (as well as the form yahki). This should have been recognized earlier by historical linguists on the basis of parallels in related Near Eastern material. West Semitic names normally begin in transparent appellations or sentence names, and shorten or disintegrate. They do not begin in numinous grunts or shouts and build up into liturgical sentences or appellations.

    Again new evidence for the morphological analysis of the name Yahweh has appeared in Amorite personal names, notably in the Mari texts. There are now at least a score of names which follow the pattern: ya-wi-DINGIR /Yahwi-'I1l/, ya-wi-i-la /Yahwi- 'IJd/, ya-wi-dIM /Yahwi-Haddu/. A much more restricted group is represented by the following: Ya-ah-wI-DINGIR / yahwi-'I1l/, or /Yahwi-'I1l/; la-ah-wi-ba-lu /Lahwi-Ba'lu/ from /*La-yahwi-Ba'lu/ or Lahwi-Ba'lu/ from /*La-yahwi-Ba'lu/, la-ah-wi-DINGIR /Lahwi-'I1/ or /Lahwi- I1/, la-ah-wi-ma-li-ku /Lahwi-Maliku/ or Lahwi-Maliku/. Fi- nally there are two interesting names: ya-lhi-DINGIR /yahi-'Il/ and ya-u-i-li /yahii-'Ili/.

    These several formations document a series of characteristic verb forms used in Amorite. Since h is represented by h in these transcriptions in a very high percentage of its occurrences, and conversely, h is represented in a low percentage (but is occasion- ally represented by h), it seems certain that Yahwi-N is usually to be read in the first, largest group. In the small second group, prob- ably Yahwi-N or Lahwi-N is the dominant form, but we cannot be sure of the laryngeal. The final two forms are interesting as shortened or better apocopated jussives: yahi-z120 and yahk-.

    The forms represented here yahwi- and yahkf are transparently causative (Hif'il) imperfects, the latter the apocopated jussive. The G-stem (Qal) in the imperfect, stative-intransitive, would be *yihway,121 Heb. yihye . The meaning of the names is also trans-

    a2Again, without more forms, we cannot be certain of the laryngeal. On the analysis of these forms, see I. J. Gelb, "La Lingua degli amoriti," ad. loc.

    121This is posited by the Barth-Ginsberg law (so-called), which operated throughout the Canaanite dialects including Ugaritic, and widely in Amorite, al- though there are some unsolved problems in the pattern of qal imperfect forms among the Amorite dialects.


    parent, "The god N creates (or produces)," or "may the god N create." 122

    This material strongly supports the view that the name Yahweh is a causative imperfect of the Amorite-Proto-Hebrew verb kwy, "to be." 123 124 Moreover, the evidence suggests that yakwe is a

    ~ In his article cited in note 116, S. Mowinckel asks how one explains the form yahki if yahwe is taken to be a finite, imperfect verb form. As a matter of fact the necessity of explaining both forms on the basis of documented historical changes is one of the reasons why yahwe must be analyzed as an imperfect of the causative stem. In the early Canaanite dialects, the imperfect of the causative is yaqtilu (indicative), yaqtil (jussive). In tert. -yod verbs the forms appear as yaqliyu and yaqli; in verbs both med. waw and tert. yod, the forms are *yahwiyu > yahwi (indic.) and yahwi > yahi~ (jussive). These forms are not theoretical projections, but are based on patterns in Canaanite and Amorite verb forms which actually appear in vocalized scripts (cuneiform, Egyptian syllabic orthography, and roots in 'alef in Ugaritic). Hebrew reflects late stages of the parallel development of imperfects and jussives in other stems: yihy1/yjhi, yizhye/yehi. The 't-stem (causative-reflexive) of hwy in Hebrew (and Ugaritic) also supplies an analogy: yiktahdwe (imperfect indicative); yistadhf4 (jussive, 3. m. sing.).

    Mowinckel also argues that Neo-Babylonian transcriptions of Jewish names ending in -ya-a-ma indicate a pronunciation yahwa (sic!) of the divine name in these combinations. Since this notion seems to survive among Hebraists in spite of all advances in our knowledge of Neo-Babylonian orthography, a comment is in order. Final short vowels were lost in Babylonian well before the Late Babylonian era, but the syllabary designed to show these vowels continued in use. ma in the final position in transcriptions represents w (only); ya-a-ma is the normal way in Late Babylonian to represent -yaw. This -yaw is the same as that of fifth-fourth century alphabetic texts -yw for -yaw < yahii. See the fundamental work of J. P. Hyatt, The Treatment of Final Vowels in Early Neo-Babylonian (New Haven, 1941). For a new series of names in -yw, see Y. Aharoni, Excava- tions at Ramat Rahel (Roma, 1962), passim.

    mOccasionally one hears a protest even from a distinguished scholar, that a verb meaning "to cause to be" is too abstract or philosophic a concept to be predicated of an ancient Proto-Israelite deity. The problem may be semantic, and solved by translating "create, procreate, form, make." Certainly I can see no ground for supposing that causatives of verbs "to be" imply ontological specula- tion on the part of the mythopoeic peoples of the Near East. In any case causatives of verbs meaning "to be" in the sense "create," as well as other terms most easily translated "create," predicated of deity, are ubiquitous in Near Eastern onomastica: Akk. usabsii, Canaanite and/or Amorite yahwi > yahwe, yakin, ya- kdnin (ye`k6non), yaqni (qal), yabni (qal), etc. As a matter of fact this is to be expected. In Canaan and Mesopotamia, the epithets of the gods describe them, male and female, as creators of heaven and earth (see above), father or creatress of all creatures, gods and men, formers or progenitors of the world. As a matter of fact, fertility, order, and creation are bound together in the old myths; the cosmogonic myth was at the heart of Canaanite and Near Eastern religion, and the drama of creation central to its cultic life. Indeed, the radical novelty of Israel's early faith was its attempt to shift this center from creation to historical redemption in the cultic life of the nation. But the new forms of "historical" religion were in full continuity with Israel's past and contemporary environment, including pre-Mosaic Yahweh. This is evident in the recrudescence of creation

  • 254 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW shortened form of a sentence name taken from a cultic formula. An ample number of parallels is to be found in which West Semitic divine names are the first element, frequently a verbal element, of a sentence from a litany or cultic cliche. These names evolve just as hypocoristic personal names develop from sentence names,125 often leaving only the initial verbal element, with or without a hypocoristic ending. From Canaanite sources we may list 'al'iyu qarrddmac, "I prevail over the heroes," 126 and the typical hypocoristicon, 'al'iydnu, once 'al'iyu ba'l.127 Other examples are Yagarri', "He drives out," and 'Ay-yamarri, "Ho, he routs," names given to the divine clubs fashioned for Ba'l's combat, 'atirat ('atirat> 'dierd), a stative verbal element from the fuller name 'atirat yammi, and the appelation Rdkib, shortened from rakub 'arapdti 128 or rdkib 'arapdti. 29 From Mari comes the interesting name of a patriarchal deity of the Amorites, dyakrub-

    themes in the royal cultus, and, of course, in the apocalyptic, where the typology between creation and salvation, Urzeit and Endzeit is full blown.

    1UC. Virolleaud has recently signaled the appearance of the verb hwy in Ugaritic (GLECS VIII (1959), 66). He writes that in a quadrilingual (so!) lexicographical text from Ras Shamra, "on lit a-wi en face des mots sumbrien, akkadien et hourite qui signifient 'etre.' "

    Unfortunately, I cannot accept Virolleaud's identification. The spelling i does not represent h, but hu. See Cross and Lambdin, "A Ugaritic Abecedary and the Origins of the Proto-Canaanite Alphabet," BASOR i6o (I960), 21-26; esp. 24 f. Of course the PI sign can be read in a variety of ways. I think the most likely reading is u-wa /huwa/, to be understood as the pronoun huwa, "he." The use of the pronoun as a copula in Canaanite is well known. For example, in the name hw'il/ huwa-'il/, the element huwa means in effect "He is," and the full name, "He is god (or 'El);" cf. Hiya-abna (PRU II: 104,7; 104, 20).

    'For example, in Amorite names, note the following yatub'll (ya-SW-ub- DINGIR), hypocor. yatubum (=Heb. yds'Wb), or *yatubdnu (cf. yapburdnu); yahwi-'il, hypocor. yahwiyum (ya-wi-um).

    mSee already W. F. Albright, BASOR 70o (1938), 19; and Archaeology and the Religion of Israel (Baltimore, 1942), 195, n. ii; Goetze, BASOR 93 (1944), 18 has queried the longer sentence name proposed by Albright: 'al'iyu qurddima qdriyeya ba'arsi mallzamati. In 51: VIII: 34, 67: II: io, 18 the short form 'al'iyu qarrddima is used; in 'nt III, ii; IV, 51 the long formula occurs. The matter need not be decided for our purposes here. The short form 'al'iyu qarrddima is in- disputably a sentence name.

    1 67, V, 17. This is probably not an error for the usual 'al'iydnu ba'l, but the hypocoristicon without termination: "I Ba'l prevail . . ." Cf. Hebrew 'ehye in Exodus 3:14 and Hosea 1:9. I Cf. the earlier discussion of the vocalization of the name: rakub(a). A stative perfect is quite possibly original.

    12Cf. Mdkin urpdti, and rdkib iimi, epithets of Adad. Probably the epithet originally belonged to Hadad. However, rkb'l, named alongside 'El and Hadad at Zindirli, has split apart, perhaps originally as an hypostasis, from Ba'l-Hadad and/or 'El.


    ')l, "El blesses." Fortunately there can be no doubt that Yakrub- 'El is a divine name, both from its context in Mari texts, and from the use of the DINGIR sign as determinative.'30 The names of appellatives of two South Arabic deities which exhibit a similar formation may be cited; yagiut,'3' literally "He brings aid," and dfi yahriq, 32 "He (the star) who sets," i.e., the god 'Attar as the evening star.

    Two archaic liturgical formulae require re-examination in view of the data collected above on the cult-names of 'El and the origin of the name Yahweh. One is the famous crux in Exodus 3:14 'ehye 'aser 'ehy8, the other is the liturgical name yahwe s.eb'o^t stemming from the Shiloh cultus, as argued persuasively by O. Eissf eldt.133

    The first formula is probably original in the third person as pointed out first, I believe, by Paul Haupt,'3 and despite the Massoretic pointing, must be read in view of our present knowl- edge of the pronunciation of the divine name, yahw^ 'aser yahwe. Further, we know that the element 'a'er began to replace the rela- tive particle dai (> za) toward the end of the Late Bronze Age in Ugaritic, probably later in Hebrew to judge from its scant use in early Yahwistic poetry. All this yields the reconstructed form- ula *yahwi du yahwi.

    It will be noted immediately that the phrase dai yahwi, is pre- cisely parallel to 'El's appellations in Ugaritic literature, namely daz yakaninu [1, "He who creates. . ," r'.17l dfi yaqniyu, "r'Eil who creates . . ." 35 and 'il milk dai yakdninuhli, "King 'El who creates. . ." One may compare the verse of Deuteronomy 32:6 which speaks of Yahweh:

    0 This name is interesting in view of the suggestion of David Noel Freedman, on wholly different grounds, that the curious combination Yahwe '8~lhim in the primordial stories of Genesis goes back to an earlier sentence name of the god of Israel, namely, Yahwe^-'El, in which the element yahwe still preserved verbal force.

    1a G. Ryckmans I, 16. 1 Ryckmans I, 28. 18

    "Jahwe Zebaoth," Miscellanea Academica Berolinensia (Berlin, I95o), 127- I50. As Eissfeldt shows, the key passages are I Samuel I:3, 11; 4:4 ('rwn bryt yhwh sb'wt y'b Jhkrbym) 15:2, 17:45 (yhwhl b'wt 'lhy m'rkwt ysr'l); II Samuel 6:2, 18; 7:8, 26,27; Psalm 24: 7-IO. The original formula was associated with the ark, the cherubim iconography, and the wars of Yahweh.

    '""Der Name Jahweh," OLZ 1909, cols. 211-214. 1 I Aqht 219-2o. The context is broken and difficult. It appears to say

    "F'Ell who formed the mountain(s)."

  • 256 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW hl' hw' 'byk qnyk hw' 'Sk wyknnk "Was he not thy father, who created thee, Who made thee and brought thee into being?"

    Normally in the longer forms of these formulae, the verbal element "to create" takes an object: a god, the divine council, heaven and earth. We expect such a concrete object in the original cultic cliches. Probably se'bd'6t, from the alternate formula, yahw^ se'bd'St supplies at least one of these objects. On the basis of mythological parallels, Se'bd'ot in this context probably means "the hosts of heaven," the be'ne 'eli^m, "sons of god," or "holy ones." In this case Yahweh is described as dfi yahwi saba'6t, "He who creates the (heavenly) armies," a title of the divine warrior and creator. It is thus not greatly different from El's epithets, "Father of the gods," "creator of creatures." Moreover, such an epithet lent itself to use, not merely as a creation formula, but as an ap- propriate name of the god who led Israel in her historical wars, as an element in the so-called holy war ideology (herem) of the early league.

    As a matter of fact, we must ask if the phrase dfi yahwi is not originally an epithet of 'El, and if the primitive formula is not better constructed in the pattern 'il dfi yahwi (saba'&t) in parallel with the Ugaritic phrases, 'il milk dfi yakdninu . .. ," 'il dfi yaq- niyu, and more remotely, 'il dfi '5lami, 'il dfi pa'idi, etc. The substitution of yahwe for 'il in the first position would be natural, when Yahweh became the principal cult name.

    If the construction appears radical, it may be observed that after all, both Elohistic 136 and Priestly tradition have anticipated this proposal in recording the revelation of the name yahwm, and, of course, identifying him with the god of the Patriarchs, in Priestly tradition, precisely with 'El ?adday.'37

    Finally we must note that there are a number of circumstances which are best explained if Yahweh is recognized as originally a cultic name of 'El, and if we suppose that the god Yahweh split off from 'El in the radical differentiation of his cultus, ultimately

    16 Or if one prefers, one strand of the Epic tradition. 137 If the biblical authorities are not sufficient, we can enlist the aid of Julius

    Wellhausen: "Jehovah was only a special name of El . . ." Prolegomena to the History of Israel, trans. Black and Menzies (Edinburgh, 1885) 433, n. I.


    ousting El from his place in the divine council, and condemning the ancient powers to death (Psalm 82). There is space only to sketch some of these elements.

    i. 'El, 'Elyon, ?adday, and 'Olam continued throughout Israel's history to be suitable names for Yahweh despite fierce animosity to Ba'l, the chief god of Syria in the first millennium, B.C. As has been eloquently stated by Eissfeldt,'38 no recon- struction of the origins of Yahwism can be successful which has no adequate explanation of these contrasting phenomena.

    2. The popularity of the cult of 'El in the Semitic community in Sinai, Egypt, and Seir, gives some plausibility to the notion that Yahweh was an 'El figure. Moreover, to reformulate one of Alt's arguments, we contend that some prior cultic unity binding Palestinian people of Patriarchal stock, and the disparate ele- ments invading Canaan from the desert, must be posited to ex- plain the rapid cultic unification of the diverse peoples who were bound into the twelve tribe league around a central Yahweh shrine.

    3. If 'El and Yahweh were related as we have suggested, many of the puzzling features of the cult of Jeroboam 139 would have immediate explanation. On the one hand, the "sin of Jeroboam" was claimed to be the chief sin of Israel by Deuteronomic sources, themselves rooted ultimately in Northern circles. Moreover, the traditions of Aaron's sin in the matter of the bull 4o stemmed from the North, and transparently reveal shaping by the polemic against the Bethel cultus. However, one notes that the slogan "Behold your god/gods who brought you up out of the land of Egypt," is a characteristic Yahwistic confession, and that further scrutiny reveals that the singular "god" must have been original.141

    1~"El and Yahweh," JSS I (1956), 25-37. 1 See most recently on the cult of Jeroboam, R. deVaux, Ancient Israel (New

    York, 1961), 332-336, and the literature cited, 54o-543. `A The young bull was no doubt conceived as a pedestal for the god. How-

    ever, there were, we suspect, grounds for the accusation in Exodus 32: 4 // I Kings I2:38 that the bulls of Dan and Bethel were worshipped. A god and his animal "participated in each other," and while the god might be conceived as enthroned or standing on the bull, in Canaanite mythology, he also easily trans- formed himself into his animal and vice versa.

    141 Obviously the term 'eldhim, capable, whether singular or plural, of taking a plural verb, lent itself to retouching (in Ex. 32:4). However, the effect is weird. Aaron only made one calf. "These gods" belong to Dan and Bethel.


    Further, it is impossible to believe that opponents of the Bethel establishment from the Northern Kingdom invented a tradition crediting venerable Aaron with manufacture of the double of Bethel's bull, and recited a classic Yahwistic cult cry over it, unless in fact the old sanctuary of Bethel possessed a cult legend claiming Aaronic authority for the iconography of its shrine. In short, it appears that Jeroboam did not invent a new cultus, but choosing the famous sanctuary of El, attempted to archaize even more radically than the astute David had when he brought tent and ark to Jerusalem, transferring the nimbus of the old league sanctuary at Shiloh to Zion.142 He attempted to go back to the tradition of the Fathers choosing for the iconography of his Patriarchal shrine the bull, animal of Tdr 'II 'abika,'43 "Bull 'El your father." 144 But if Jeroboam was reintroducing an 'El cultus, we must ask why there seems to have been no awareness on the part of those who preserved the Elijah-Elisha traditions, or upon the part of Amos, of the radical idolatry of the shrine and its bull. Apparently, Jeroboam's real sin was his establishing a rival to the central sanctuary in Jerusalem, not in the introduction of a foreign god or pagan idol. As a matter of fact it is wholly im- plausible that an insecure usurper, in the attempt to secure his throne and to woo those loyal to the cultus of Yahweh in Jeru- salem, flout fierce Yahwists by installing a foreign or novel god in his national shrine. The only real solution for these several problems, so far as I can see, is to recognize in Yahweh an 'El figure.

    4. Many of the traits and functions of 'El appear as traits and functions of Yahweh in the earliest traditions of Israel: Yah- weh's r61le as judge in the court of 'El (Psalm 82); Yahweh's kingship (Exodus 15);145 Yahweh's wisdom, age, and compassion (yahw 'il

    rah.im wdhannfin); 146 and above all, Yahweh as

    creator and father (Genesis 49: 25; Deuteronomy 32:6)."47 142 Cf. O. Eissfeldt, "Silo and Jerusalem," Supplement to Vetus Testamentum

    IV (Leiden, i957), 138-147. "1 Ugaritic texts: 49, IV, 34; VI, 26-27, etc. 1"'The bull was associated, of course, with other gods, not least Ba'l-Haddu.

    Jeroboam did not attempt to introduce Ba'l; if he had, tradition should have pre- served the fact in vivid invective.

    '5 Pope, 24-32. " See Pope, 44-45.

    7 Pope, 47-54.

  • YAHWEH AND THE GOD OF THE PATRIARCHS 259 Our interests have been directed toward the continuities be-

    tween the god of the Fathers and Yahweh, god of Israel. We have agreed with Alt to this extent, that Patriarchal religion had special features: the tutelary deity or deities entered into an intimate relationship with a social group, established its justice, led its battles, guided its destiny.'48 This strain entered Yahwism. Yah- weh was sovereign of the historical community. He revealed him- self to the Patriarch Moses. He was leader of Israel in the holy wars of conquest, the god who brought Israel up from the land of Egypt, her saviour. There is also the second strain which entered Israel's primitive religion, that of the high and eternal one, 'El the creator of heaven and earth.

    ooe lk



    FIGURE I. - Serdbit Inscription No. 358 (cf. n. 59). 48 Professor Jacobsen (who has kindly read this paper, and aided me in more

    than one difficulty in dealing with Mesopotamian lore) comments on the "his- torical" character of the Patriarchal god as follows: "I have the impression that a great deal of what is seen as true in Alt's view can be very greatly deepened by going into the Mesopotamian concept of the 'personal' god . . . The elements of 'power to effective decision and acting' inherent in the concept of the 'personal god,' and the development in Mesopotamia around the time of the First Dynasty of Babylon which has the 'personal' god turn away from his prot6g6 in anger at cultic and moral offences leaving him open to attack by evil, all seems to me to have relevance here."

    Article Contentsp. [225]p. 226p. 227p. 228p. 229p. 230p. 231p. 232p. 233p. 234p. 235p. 236p. 237p. 238p. 239p. 240p. 241p. 242p. 243p. 244p. 245p. 246p. 247p. 248p. 249p. 250p. 251p. 252p. 253p. 254p. 255p. 256p. 257p. 258p. 259

    Issue Table of ContentsThe Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 55, No. 4 (Oct., 1962), pp. 211-366Volume InformationFront MatterA Monument of the Lares Augusti in the Forum of Ostia [pp. 211-223]Yahweh and the God of the Patriarchs [pp. 225-259]Reitzenstein and Qumrn Revisited by an Iranian [pp. 261-268]Pre-Islamic Monotheism in Arabia [pp. 269-280]Cynics and Pupatas: The Seeking of Dishonor [pp. 281-298]"Outside the Camp": Hebrews 13.9-14 [pp. 299-315]Facientibus quod in se est Deus non denegat Gratiam: Robert Holcot, O.P. and the Beginnings of Luther's Theology [pp. 317-342]Hate, Non-Retaliation, and Love 1 QS x, 17-20 and Rom. 12:19-21 [pp. 343-355]The Samaritans at Shechem [pp. 357-366]Back Matter


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