Scriptures which link Yahweh to the Canaanite god El.

by evilApostate 14 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • evilApostate

    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:

  • schnell

    This post is so fascinating that I clipped it to Evernote. Thank you!

  • schnell

    Is there a book specifically about the evolution of Yahweh? Like from his origins in Canaanite religion and mythology to God and Jesus? That's the clear picture I get from composite reading of multiple books, but one definitive book on the subject, I am not aware of.

  • evilApostate
    Is there a book specifically about the evolution of Yahweh? Like from his origins in Canaanite religion and mythology to God and Jesus? That's the clear picture I get from composite reading of multiple books, but one definitive book on the subject, I am not aware of.

    I came across this one while researching:

    I haven't read it myself but I have previewed parts of it on google books. It contains some information on Yahweh and his relationship to El.

    There are many other books on Canaanite and Hebrew religion in the references section in the links I gave and also in the references section of topics like Yahweh and El on Wikipedia.

  • A Believer
    A Believer

    Exodus 6 2 3

    This isn't saying he was known by another name. If you remember he told Moses to tell pharaoh that his name was i am that i am. The exodus scripture really means that he hadn't told them his name, just that he was God almighty.

  • schnell

    Oh the naivety...

    No, @A Believer. You are essentially splitting hairs by saying that they just knew him as God Almighty. God Almighty is a translation of El Shaddai.

    It is enough to say that there is no god after all, but the Judeo-Christian god in particular is derived from neighboring beliefs around the Middle East. The roots of the concept might go back to Amun-Ra, or even further, and also resulted in such gods as Zeus in Greek myth (and you are then to be reminded that the "Greeks" were a broad spectrum of people in the Mediterranean and Asia Minor with heavy Egyptian and Phoenician influence).

    Honestly, we in Western civilization owe a lot to the Canaanites. They gave us our God and even our alphabet.

  • Finkelstein

    I think the Israelites were descendants from the Canaanite civilization (polytheism), perhaps they were once indeed enslaved in Egypt and upon returning to their homeland they reestablished into a distinct religious practice of monotheism with the most high EL, hence Israel was formed.

    Back in ancient times there was a social awareness of whose god was the most powerful among all other gods, as a intentional means to create security within those civilizations and stories were told of their power and greatness such as Noah's flood

  • schnell

    It's a complicated story which I'm sure David_Jay could more thoroughly comment on, but based on what I've read, yes, the Israelites were a group of roaming, pastoral Canaanites. Canaan was also a vassal of Egypt for many years, which is another reason why the conquest of Canaan in the book of Joshua is rather myth.

    The Exodus from Egypt is also suspect, because (for ONE thing) it's not like the escaping slaves could just walk across the sea and be out of Egypt's grasp. No, Egypt had men all around there.

    And then there's also the fun bit about the first statement of monotheism being found in... Isaiah? Up till then, Yahweh was a god amongst other gods. It was not until Isaiah 44:6, which was not even written until long after Isaiah's death, that this was the ONLY god. And then you had the Shema Yisrael statement in Deuteronomy 6:4, etc. It's all very fascinating to see how this developed.

    A Believer, please, please do yourself an academic favor and explore this topic.

  • Crazyguy

    Have you look at all the scriptures that link Baal to Yahweh as well. He Yahweh totally morphed from el to Baal took on atributes of Marduk and Ra. He truly is the god of many names.

  • Crazyguy

    The biggest Defence Christians and Jews used against this El is saying that the word is just a title meaning god or deity. Then in 1929 they found the city of Ugarit. In that city they found writings about the top god of he pantheon of the Canaanites and his name was El. This changed everything, also many of the descriptions concerning this god are the same as Yahweh.

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