With self-righteous indignation, the Watchtower Society (WTS) points to its restoration of the Hebrew Tetragram (HWHY = “Yahweh” = = = > “Jehovah”) wherever the English translator renders it as “LORD”.
The WTS complains that the use of “LORD” hides the fact that the Name (“Jehovah” for the WTS) is intended. However, with its call of “look over here, look over here”, the WTS diverts attention, probably unintentionally, from related information that it, in turn, does not reveal.
Not only does “LORD” hide “Yahweh” from open view, but the same happens with the word “GOD”. In this instance, the Name of this god is – in English – “EL”.
This god named EL was the chief god of the Canaanites. His goddess wife was named Asherah (or variants thereof). They had 70 sons, all gods, including Baal. Together, these gods were known as the “Elohim”.
EL (“God”) and his ELOHIM (“let us make”) are encountered in the first chapter of Genesis. At the time that chapter was written, the Israelites were dominantly polytheists.
Yahweh was not a member of the Elohim. While the Elohim came to the Israelites (hill-dwelling Canaanites) from the north, Yahweh came to the Israelites from the south – likely from the region of Moses’ father-in-law. Yahweh came as a warrior-god who controlled nature. Baal and Yahweh shared these characteristics.
The Israelites adopted Yahweh as their main and national god. They practised monolatry, meaning that they treated Yahweh as their dominant god while not denying the existence of other gods. They were aware of and worshiped other gods.
“In the Judges period, Israelite divinities may have included Yahweh, El, Baal, and perhaps Asherah as well as the sun, moon, and stars. During the monarchy, Yahweh, Baal, Astarte, and the sun, moon, and stars were considered deities in Israel. … The Queen of Heaven (Jer. 7:18; 44:18-19, 25) was the title of a goddess, perhaps Astarte, Ishtar (or, a syncretized Astarte-Ishtar) or, less likely, Anat.” (“The Early History of God: Yahweh and Other Deities in Ancient Israel”, page 182, Mark Smith.)
The Ten Commandments simply ordered them to ensure that they did not put any of these other gods “before” the god who was speaking to Moses.
Over time, the Israelites assimilated characteristics of other gods and goddesses into Yahweh. Some reassigned Asherah to Yahweh as his consort.
The disaster of the Babylonian Captivity and Exile provided the opportunity for the minority group that was intent on making Yahweh the one and only god. See, for example, “Second” Isaiah (from chapter 40 on). They moved from monolatry to monotheism.
The nation that emerged from the Exile is different to the nation that existed before. They transitioned from Israelites and Hebrews to Jews, with parties such as the Pharisees being created.
Next time you encounter the WTS’s cry of “look over here at what we have uncovered with ‘LORD’”, remember the facts about “GOD” (EL) that the WTS fails to uncover – facts that would be too uncomfortable for it.
Very interesting and precious information--I have saved on to my computer.
For everything you have said here there is proof in Exodus 20:2-6 where He identifies himself as "the one who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."
Then He goes on to say 'If you worship any other god or their images, I will punish you for 3-4 generation.'
Here God is depicted as though a human passionate romantic lover threatening his love. It doesn't befit the Supreme Ruler of the universe. The Supreme Father would not seek validation from his children because there is no need of it, and He knows what He is. True God would always speak in dispassion and disinterest because he would always give freedom to His children, and would want to see His children behaving like Him. Jesus correctly discerned this aspect of God in Mathew 5:44-48. Between the lines we can see God as though telling us: “Don’t worship me, but become worship-worthy by imitating sun which is a giver (of light and warmth) and never receives anything from any body [having no expectation from others]—a quality that has its source in God Himself. When you imitate qualities of sun, you become like your heavenly father.”
The spirit draws people, but they hear what they want, or what their flesh needs to hear, and in the process create many gods, even from objects. Thus I AM THAT I AM became Jehovah or Yahweh, because the people wanted them, a almighty god of war that could save. They wanted the same when the anointed one came, but he showed people could not 'make god' who they wanted him to be, and he was rejected.
Flesh is darkness, and spirit is light; we seem to love the darkness and its chaos.
Yep..I've mentioned this before on here. God's name is HWHY........hughee
Many thanks Doug,
It has long annoyed me that JW's are so ignorant on this issue, not alone the academic knowledge that you have concisely Posted, but they think they are the only ones who use the Name.
This is ridiculous, many Christian sects and Churches have used the name for centuries, admittedly not Ad Nauseum as JW's do, but quite often in Hymns and Sermons.
And there are some small sects that actually carry the Name in what they have decided to call their Church. And often in a form more accurate than "Jehovah" which has an embarrassing etymology.
JW Org keeps its followers in a bubble of ignorance.
Many thanks again for your work, and for Posting here.
Have JWs ever given an explanation as to why they use Jehovah and not a more ancient or accurate translation of the tetra?
Also, wasn't I am that I am a fraudulent definition, invented in the post-exilic period?
Not to disagree with you Doug Mason, but I thought that the origins of Yahweh were from the Sumerian god Enki?
There are many bible stories which have direct correlations with Enki's mythology, (And with the Sumerians predating the Israelites and the Canaanites and being a major power in the region their religion is likely to have had an influence on both) for example:
Enki is the creator of man.
He is a flood god.
He confused the tongues of men, creating all the different languages.
Also, reading the Wiki entry on him just now, I noticed that Enki is depicted with two streams of water flowing into each of his shoulders: one the Tigris, the other the Euphrates. Alongside him are two trees, symbolizing the male and female aspects of nature.
I might be reaching too far here, but that sounds a lot like major elements from the garden of Eden story to me.
I've just read this bit in the Influence section of that Wiki page:
So, yes, it looks like Enki became Ea and then became El. So... we're both right? :)
Enki = Yahweh is a fringe hypothesis with little backing, as far as I'm aware.
Um, I wasn't saying that Enki = Yahweh, but that Enki is the origin of some of the elements that go to make up Yahweh. A proto-Yaweh if you like.
That's not to say that other gods were also included in the mass copy and paste job that went into creating Yahweh.
I know, but there's no evidence of any connection at all.