Re: [ANE-2] Shasu of Yahweh
----- Original Message -----
From: "Doug Weller" <dweller@...>
Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 3:43 PM
Subject: [ANE-2] Shasu of Yahweh
> I've just found this statement:
> Shasu of Yahweh is a term that appears in Egyptian inscriptions of
> the 18th and 19th Dynasties (c. 1540-1190 B.C.). One, found at Amarah
> or Amrah in Upper Nubia, dates to the reign of Seti I (c. 1300 B.C.).
> An earlier inscription, probably from the reign of Amenhotep III (c.
> 1400 B.C.) was found at the Temple of Amun in Soleb, Sudan. Early
> identifications of this name were cautious, as Siegfried H. Horn
> stated, "Whether one of the Edomite tribal names bearing the name
> Yahweh (t3 š3sw yhw) implies that Edomites were followers of the god
> Yahweh or whether the name of the tribe has only a curious coincidence
> with the name of the Israelite god is still undecided."  With time,
> however, it has generally become recognized for what it is. Redford
> states that "For half a century it has been generally admitted that we
> have here the tetragrammaton, the name of the Israelite god, 'Yahweh';
> and if this be the case, as it undoubtedly is, the passage constitutes
> a most precious indication of the whereabouts during the late
> fifteenth century B.C. of an enclave revering this god."  Redford
> even goes so far as to call this group "nascent Israel." 
> Redford, Donald B. (1992). Egypt, Canaan and Israel In Ancient Times
> # ^ Redford (1992), p. 272-3
> # ^ Redford (1992), p. 279
> This is generally recognised as the tetragrammaton now?
I believe Yahweh is the earliest usage going back to 1400 BCE Syria
(probably Ugaritic origins) and Egyptian accounts (Amenhotep II, Raamses) of
the Shasu who may have been nomadic "pre-Israelites." The next extant use
in epigraphy that comes to mind is line 18 of the Mesha stele
. Yah and Yahu are, IMO, terminal theophorics of names that
are contractions of Yahweh, hence Yahweh is the oldest. The earliest use of
the terminal theophoric that comes to my mind as I type is the Pithos A from
Samaria of "Egeliah" which means "Bull calf of YAH/YHWH."
. There appears to have been some form of
orthographic rule for the use of theophorics in NW Semitic names where the
leading theophoric is "Yeho" as in Yehoichim, Yehosaphat, Yehoshua, etc and
the terminal theophoric as YAH or YAHU as in Yeshayahu (Isaiah), Yirimyahu
(Jeremiah), etc. In the very earliest use of theophorics they may have been
attached to royal names. Perhaps a leading or terminal theophoric was
exclusive to class...that's just a conjecture. This is an area (the use of
theophorics in Semitic naming practices) that I have been meaning to
research and document but I am sure its been done before and perhaps there
is a literature base on it which some here may have on the use
of YHWH and its contractions.
The inscription on one of the Ugaritic tablets (The Epic of Ba'al) is (El
talking to his adopted son YAW, the god of the primordial chaos) "Your name
is beloved of EL, YAM"..he changes the name from YAW to YAM. YAHU, YAM and
YAW are all mentioned in Eblaite 2250 BCE. I am of the opinion that the
trajectory was from the Negev desert to Canaan where YAH was used. This
includes the region of the Midianites which is preserved in the Moses story.
There are many Old Negev inscriptions found at Har Karkom=Mt. Gerizim (Mt.
Sinai?) and Nahal Avidat dating from the late bronze age. Some refer to EL
and others to YAH, YAHU and YAHH and IMO one inscription comes from a time
(around 1600 BCE) when EL and YAH were being merged. It is written in Old
Negev and in Hebrew it is l)( lh )l yh (dt "For him in the time of evil, El
Yah. OK...stay with me on this because I am thinking on my
feet..er..butt..while typing. If we think of a hypocoristicon from a title
easily seen in the Ugaritic inscription "El causes YAM to come into being"
and we focus on the proto-Canaanite in the Negev as "El causes YAH to come
into being" then we would have a YAH HAWAH which, over the centuries, would
shift to a Qal YHAWAH and later, in folk etymology to the Hip'hil. The Old
Negev HAWAH (heh-waw-heh) "To be" is also found in Aramaic but is HYH in
Hebrew. YHWH, therefore, comes from a very archaic proto-Canaanite and
where the inscription of YAHH may be shortened from YHHAWAH, eventually lost
I think I even lost myself on this one.
San Antonio, TX