Today, I want to share some scriptures I have come across in my research which show the link between Yahweh and the Canaanite god El. El and other variations such as Elyon, El Shaddai and Elohim appear many times in the bible. These are usually translated as God, Most High, God Almighty and so on. El was the Father god or "Most High" Canaanite god. (All scriptures taken from the New Living Translation.)
1) Exodus 6:2,3 - And God said to Moses, "I am Yahweh--'the LORD.' I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El-Shaddai--'God Almighty'--but I did not reveal my name, Yahweh, to them.
The above shows that originally, the name 'Yahweh' was never used. It states that he appeared to them as El Shaddai.
2) Genesis 14:18-22 - And Melchizedek, the king of Salem and a priest of God Most High, brought Abram some bread and wine. Melchizedek blessed Abram with this blessing: "Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who has defeated your enemies for you." Then Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of all the goods he had recovered. The king of Sodom said to Abram, "Give back my people who were captured. But you may keep for yourself all the goods you have recovered."Abram replied to the king of Sodom, "I solemnly swear to the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth,...
As mentioned before, Elyon or simply El was the "Most High" Canaanite god. Sodom and Gomoroh as well as Salem were located in the land of Canaan. Therefore, the priest mentioned above was a priest of El, the Canaanite god. He wasn't a priest of Yahweh. Eventually, the Israelites would begin to refer to El as Yahweh and Yahweh as El.
It is interesting to note that Abraham had no objection to being blessed in the name of the Canaanite god El. He also responded to the priest using the same name.
3) Deuteronomy 6:7,8,9 - Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father, and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you. When the Most High assigned lands to the nations, when he divided up the human race, he established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number in his heavenly court. "For the people of Israel belong to the LORD; Jacob is his special possession.
The scripture above states that the Most High (Elyon) portioned the land and that the Lord's (Yahweh's) possession or portion was his people. It does not seem to refer to Yahweh as El, but rather it seems to refer to Yahweh as one of the lesser gods; one of those in the heavenly court of El. In Canaan, many lesser gods where worshipped in different places. The scripture seems to state that Yahweh inherited rights over Israel from El.
4) Psalm 82:1 - A psalm of Asaph. God presides over heaven's court; he pronounces judgment on the heavenly beings.
In Canaan El was the highest god and there were lesser gods (heavenly beings) in the great assembly (heaven's court). The scripture above seems to refer to the same.
Some Christians have mentioned that although the same words were used for God that the Israelites were never refering to the Canaanite god El. This I find hard to believe in the face of so much evidence which point to the opposite.
Consider the following scripture:
Exodus 23:13 - "Pay close attention to all my instructions. You must not call on the name of any other gods. Do not even speak their names.
Why would the Israelites refer to their god as El if they were not to even mention the name of a false god? Interestingly, El is never mentioned negatively in the bible. In fact, he is only mentioned positively. Baal was frequently mentioned negatively but never El.
Tell me what you think and share any additional information you may have below.
Btw, names like Israel (He who triumphs with God (El)), Bethel (House of El) etc. are based on the name El and not Yahweh. Jacob called one of his sons Gad and another one Asher. Gad was the god of luck in Canaan and Ashera was the consort of El.
Material for further reading: