72397Re: ABH YHWH & Leviathan Twin Serpents?
- Feb 1, 2014LM:
Yes, their are many renditions of this name which include Y, Yh, Yhw, Yw and Yhwh. The pronunciation depended on the dialect of the particular worshipers. So, I suppose one could argue that it was not a question of which name came first, but which ethnic group worshiped this god under which name. The Hebrews pronounced the name Yhwh, but from the appearance of some form of all of the above names in the Biblical, esp. as theophoric names, we can surmise that they accepted all of these names as representing the same god.
Many scholars have equated the name Yhw/Yh to the Egyptian moon god Iah who dates to the Old Kingdom. From the Semitic inscriptions in the Pharaoh Unas' pyramid, it is obvious that the Semitic people were interacting with the local Egyptians from the time of the Old Kingdom, and most likely before that as incense merchants; so it is equally likely that it was the Semites who introduced Yah as Iah to the Egyptians. In the end, it is difficult to say which culture was the originator of this cult. However, the association of this god with the Genesis (2:9/3:23,24) 'tree of life' and its guardian nehushtan (the nehushtan is coiled around a pole/tree) seem to point to a South Arabian origin as the tree of life was the frankincense tree and the nehushtan was an image of the Genus Chyrsopelea that inhabited this tree in ancient times.
Frankincense resin is psychoactive so it was burned with other psychoactive materials & inhaled to induce a trance like state from which the priests would communicate with the gods. In the Bible the appearance of this smoky cloud of incense would signal the presence of the deity. Frankincense is also an antibiotic and was used as a treatment for disease, esp. eye diseases as trachoma, This resin also has a pleasant odor which was critical to being able to interact with one's fellows, esp. after riding a beast of burden. Animals sweat and that odor is transferred to anyone who rides or accompanies the animal.So, my vote is that Y, Yh, Yhw, Yw, Yhwh originated on the southern of coast of the Arabian Peninsula, specifically Yemen (Ophir/Havilah in the Bible) and was brought north by incense merchants who were transporting this commodity into the Levant, Mesopotamia and Egypt from Chalcolithic times; at least according to the dating of the Al Rajajil pillars located in the Tabuk region of Saudi Arabia. In addition to frankincense, these merchants from Yemen also transported myrrh which the Egyptians used in their mummification process. So, again, from the history of the spice trade, Yemen is the most likely origin of this god.
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