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jebusite to theophory


According to the Hebrew Bible, the Jebusites (Hebrew: ????????, Standard Y?vusi Tiberian Y?b_ûsî) were a Canaanite tribe who inhabited the region around Jerusalem prior to its capture by King David; the Books of Kings state that Jerusalem was known as Jebus prior to this event. According to some Biblical chronologies, the event would have happened around 1004 BC, which is why the modern state of Israel issued a medal to commemorate it in 1996[1] (2999[2] years after 1004 BC).



* 1 Ethnic origin

* 2 Jebusites named in the Bible

* 3 Jebusite activities in the Bible

* 4 Classical Rabbinical perspectives

* 5 Notes and Citations

* 6 External links

* 7 See also

- Ethnic origin

The Tanakh portion of the Bible contains the only face surviving ancient text known to use the term Jebusite to describe the pre-Israelite inhabitants of Jerusalem; according to the Table of Nations at Genesis 10, the Jebusites are identified as a Canaanite tribe, which is listed in third place among the Canaanite groups, between the Hittites and the Amorites (both of which are now known by scholars to be large ethnic groups, spread throughout Mesopotamia, the Hittites having a large empire[3]). Prior to modern archaeological studies, most Biblical scholars held the opinion that the Jebusites were identical to the Hittites, which continues to be the case, though less so[4]. However, an increasingly popular view, first put forward by Edward Lipinski, professor of Oriental and Slavonic studies at the Catholic University of Leuven, is that the Jebusites were most likely an Amorite tribe; Lipinski identified them with the group referred to as Yabusi'um in a cuneiform letter found in the archive of Mari, Syria[5].

As Lipinski noted, however, it is entirely possible that more than one clan or tribe bore similar names, and thus that the Jebusites and Yabusi'um may have been separate people altogether[6]. In the Amarna letters, mention is made of the contemporaneous king of Jerusalem was named Abdi-Heba, which is a theophoric name invoking a Hurrian goddess named Hebat; unless a different ethnic group occupied Jerusalem in this period, this implies that the Jebusites were Hurrians themselves, were heavily influenced by Hurrian culture, or were dominated by a Hurrian maryannu class.

- Jebusites named in the Bible

According to Genesis, the ruler of Jerusalem in the time of Abraham was Melchizedek, and that as well as being a ruler, he was also a priest; later, Joshua is described as defeating a Jebusite king named Adonizedek. The first parts of their names mean king and lord, respectively, but though the zedek part can be translated as righteous (making the names my king is righteous and my lord is righteous), most Biblical scholars believe that it is a reference to a deity named Zedek, who was the main deity worshipped by the Jebusites (making the names my king is Zedek and my lord is Zedek)[7]. Scholars are uncertain, however, whether Melchizedek was himself intended by the redactors of Genesis to be understood as a Jebusite, rather than a member of another group in charge of Jerusalem prior to the Jebusites - Jerusalem is referred to as Salem rather than Jebus in the passages of Genesis describing Melchizedek[8].

Another Jebusite, Araunah (referred to as Ornan by the Book of Chronicles) is described by the Books of Kings as having sold his threshing floor to King David, which David then constructed an altar on, the implication being that the altar became the core of the Temple of Solomon. Araunah means the lord in Hittite, and so most scholars, since they consider the Jebusites to have been Hittite, have argued that Araunah may have been another king of Jerusalem[9]; some scholars additionally believe that Adonijah is actually a disguised reference to Araunah, the ? (r) having been corrupted to ? (d)[10]. The narrative itself is considered by scholars to be aetiological and of dubious historicity[11]; Melchizedek, as a priest as well as king, was likely to have been associated with a sanctuary, probably dedicated to Zedek, and scholars suspect that the Temple of Solomon was simply a natural evolution of this sanctuary[12][13].

- Jebusite activities in the Bible

The Bible describes the Jebusites as dwelling in the mountains, besides Jerusalem[14][15]. According to the Book of Joshua, Adonizedek led a confederation of Jebusites, and the tribes from the neighbouring cities of Jarmut, Lachish, Eglon and Hebron against Joshua, but was soundly defeated, and killed. Despite this defeat, the Book of Judges portrays the Jebusites as continuing to dwell at Jerusalem, within the territory otherwise occupied by the Tribe of Judah and Tribe of Benjamin. Textual scholars believe that rather than portraying consecutive eras, the Book of Judges and Book of Joshua parallel each other in the periods of history they recount, and thus that here they simply contradict one another in regards to whether or not the Jebusites were completely vanquished[16][17].

Certain modern archaeologists now believe that the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites under Joshua simply didn't happen, and that the Israelites actually originated as a subculture in Canaanite society[18]; some biblical scholars believe that the accounts in the Book of Joshua are cobbled together from folk memory of disconnected battles, with numerous different aggressors, which occurred over a time period of over 200 years[19][20][21]. Nevertheless, this is no reason to conclude that the battle itself didn't happen; these scholars simply argue that if it did, then it had different protagonists, and for different reasons[22].

According to the Books of Samuel, the Jebusites still had control of Jerusalem at the time of King David, but David wished to take control of the city; understandably the Jebusites contested his attempt to do this, and since Jebus was the strongest fortress in Canaan they gloated that even the blind and lame could defeat David's army; an alternative, equally valid, translation of the Jebusite's statement is that they said David would have to defeat the blind and lame before anyone else[23]. According to the version of the story in the masoretic text, David managed to conquer the city by a surprise attack, lead by Joab, through the water supply tunnels (Jerusalem has no natural water supply except for the Gihon spring). Upon its discovery in the 19th century, Warren's shaft, part of a system which connects the spring to the city, has been cited as evidence for the plausibility of such a line of attack; however, the discovery, at the turn of the 21st century, of a set of heavy fortifications, including towers, around the base of the Warren's shaft system and the spring, has made archaeologists now regard this line of attack as implausible, as it would be an attack against one of the most heavily fortified parts, and hardly a surprise[24]. According to many textual scholars the claim in the masoretic text could simply be a scribal error; the Septuagint version of the passage states that the Israelites had to attack the Jebusites with their dagger[s] rather than through the water shaft.

The Books of Kings state that once Jerusalem had become an Israelite city, the surviving Jebusites were forced by Solomon to become serfs[25]; though since some archaeologists believe that the Israelites were simply an emergent subculture in Canaanite society, it is possible that this is an aetiological explanation for serfs than a historically accurate one[26]. It is unknown what ultimately became of these Jebusites, but it seems logical that they were assimilated by the Israelites.

- Classical Rabbinical perspectives

According to classical rabbinical literature, the Jebusites derived their name from the city of Jebus, the ancient Jerusalem, which they inhabited[27]. These rabbinical sources also argued that as part of the price of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of Machpelah, which lay in the territory of the Jebusites, the Jebusites made Abraham grant them a covenant that his descendants would not take control of Jebus against the will of the Jebusites, and then the Jebusites engraved the covenant into bronze[28]; the sources state that the presence of the bronze statues are why the Israelites were not able to conquer the city during Joshua's campaign[29].

The classical era rabbis go on to state that King David was prevented from entering the city of Jebus for the same reason, and so he promised the reward of captaincy to anyone who destroyed the bronzes - Joab performing the task and so gaining the prize[30]. The covenant is dismissed by the rabbis as having been invalidated due to the (defensive) war the Jebusites fought against Joshua, but nevertheless David (according to the rabbis) paid the Jebusites the full value of the city, collecting the money from among all the Israelite tribes, so that the city became their common property[31]

In reference to a passage[32] in the Books of Samuel which refers to a saying about the blind and the lame, Rashi quotes a midrash which argues that the Jebusites had two statues in their city, with their mouths containing the words of the covenant between Abraham and the Jebusites; one figure, depicting a blind person, represented Isaac, and the other, depicting a lame person, representing Jacob[33].


~Name and titles

Melchizedek's name can be translated (from Hebrew) either as Zedek is my king or as My king is righteous. The former, which treats Zedek as a proper noun, is the translation favoured by most biblical scholars,[citation needed] and refers to a Canaanite deity with that name. In Genesis, Melchizedek is also referred to as king of Salem (generally believed to be ancient Jerusalem), and priest of El Elyon. Though traditionally El-Elyon is translated as most high God, and interpreted as a reference to Yahweh (by tradition) or El (by some scholars), other scholars believe that it refers to Zedek - regarding El Elyon as referring to the most high god, and using Melchizedek's name as the indicator of who the deity was. [1]

If the majority of scholars are right in taking the name as a reference to Zedek, then it would imply that Zedek was the main deity worshipped at Salem at that time. Jerusalem is plausibly referred to as city of Zedek (ir ha-zedek) in the Book of Isaiah[2], as well as home of Zedek (neweh zedek) in the Book of Jeremiah[3] and as gates of Zedek (sha'are zedek) in the Book of Psalms[4], though it is also true that in each of these cases zedek is traditionally translated as righteous (as in city of righteousness).[5]

- Biblical Narrative

The name Melchizedek occurs just twice in the Tanakh, at (Genesis 14:18) and at (Psalms 110:4). In the first of these references, Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham (then called Abram) after Abraham's victory over the four kings (led by Chedorlaomer) who had besieged Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Abraham's nephew Lot prisoner. Melchizedek is also described as blessing Abraham in the name of El Elyon (see name and titles section for identification of El Elyon), and in return for these favours, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe, from the spoils gained in the battle.[6]

Proponents of the Documentary hypothesis view the Melchizedek narrative (Genesis 14:18-20) as a fragment from a once independent tradition concerning Jerusalem, that the Yahwist inserted awkwardly into the surrounding narrative concerning the battle. They believe that it would be more historically realistic for Melchizedek himself, as the king of Jerusalem, to have been involved in the battle, and to have had a legitimate right to the portion of the spoils by virtue of this, rather than just by virtue of the favours given to Abraham as the Genesis narrative would have it. They also believe that the Yahwist inserted Abraham into this tradition to symbolically portray the king of Jerusalem as being inferior to Abraham, by it being Abraham who gives a portion of spoils to the king rather than the other way round. [7]

- Classical Rabbinical interpretation

In the Midrash, the Rabbis identified Melchizedek with Shem son of Noah. (E.g., Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 32b; Genesis Rabbah 46:7; Genesis Rabbah 56:10; Leviticus Rabbah 25:6; Numbers Rabbah 4:8.) Rabbi Isaac the Babylonian said that Melchizedek was born circumcised. (Genesis Rabbah 43:6.) Melchizedek called Jerusalem “Salem.” (Genesis Rabbah 56:10.) The Rabbis said that Melchizedek instructed Abraham in the Torah. (Genesis Rabbah 43:6.) Rabbi Eleazar said that Melchizedek’s school was one of three places where the Holy Spirit manifested itself. (Babylonian Talmud Makkot 23b.) The Rabbis taught that Melchizedek acted as a priest and handed down Adam’s robes to Abraham. (Numbers Rabbah 4:8.) Rabbi Zechariah said on Rabbi Ishmael’s authority that God intended to bring forth the priesthood through Melchizedek’s descendants, but because Melchizedek blessed Abraham before he blessed God (in Gen. 14:19-20), God brought the priesthood forth from Abraham’s descendants. (Babylonian Talmud Nedarim 32b; see also Leviticus Rabbah 25:6 (crediting Rabbi Ishamel).)

Rabbi Judah said in Rabbi Nehorai's name that Melchizedek’s blessing yielded prosperity for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. (Genesis Rabbah 43:8.) Ephraim Miksha'ah the disciple of Rabbi Meir said in the latter's name that Tamar descended from Melchizedek. (Genesis Rabbah 85:10.)

Rabbi Hana bar Bizna citing Rabbi Simeon Hasida identified Melchizedek as one of the four craftsmen of whom Zechariah wrote in Zechariah 2:3. (Babylonian Talmud Sukkah 52b; see also Song of Songs Rabbah 2:33 (crediting Rabbi Berekiah in the name of Rabbi Isaac).) The Talmud teaches that David wrote the Book of Psalms, including in it the work of the elders, including Melchizedek (in Psalm 110). (Babylonian Talmud Baba Batra 14b-15a.)

The Zohar finds in “Melchizedek king of Salem” a reference to “the King Who rules with complete sovereignty,” or according to another explanation, that “Melchizedek” alludes to the lower world and “king of Salem” to the upper world. (Zohar 1:86b-87a.)

- The Melchizedek Priesthood and Christianity

Main article: Melchizedek Priesthood (Christianity)

In the New Testament, references to Melchizedek appear only in the Epistle to the Hebrews. Jesus the Christ is there identified as "a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek" (Hebrews 5:6), quoting from (Ps. 110:4), and so Jesus plays the role of High Priest once and for all. Jesus is considered a priest in the order of Melchizedek because, like Melchizedek, Jesus was not a Levite, and thus would not qualify for the Levitical priesthood (Hebrews 7:13–17). Abraham's transfer of goods to Melchizedek is seen to imply that Melchizedek is superior to Abraham, in that Abraham is tithing to him. Thus, Melchizedek's (Jesus') priesthood is superior to the Aaronic priesthood, and the Jerusalem temple is unnecessary.

- Latter-day Saint Beliefs Concerning Melchizedek

The Book of Mormon of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints describes the work of Melchizedek in Salem in Alma 13:17-18. According to Alma, Melchizedek was King over the wicked people of Salem, but because of his righteousness, his people repented of their wickedness and became a peaceful city.

Also, in Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible, Melchizedek is described as "a man of faith, who wrought righteousness; and when a child he feared God, and stopped the mouths of lions." Because of his fear of God, Melchizedek was "ordained an high priest." The Translation also describes Melchizedek as establishing peace in his city and being called "the king of heaven" and "the King of peace" (JST Bible Gen 14:25-40).

Other Latter-day Saint views on Melchizedek closely match the King James Bible. They focus heavily on Melchizedek as having the Melchizedek Priesthood named after him.

- Shem and Melchizedek

Shem lived five hundred years after fathering Arkpasad, and then died at the age of six hundred (Gen. 11:10, 11). Therefore, his death took place thirteen years after the death of Sarah (1881 B.C.) and ten years after Rebecca and Isaac married (1878 B.C.) In that light, it has been opined that it is possible that Shem might have been Melchizedek (which does translate to King of Righteousness), the priest-king to whom Abraham paid tithes (Gen 14: 18-20). This interpretation was supported by Jewish midrashim.

- Gnostic Revelations

A collection of early Gnostic scripts found in 1945, known as the Nag Hammadi Library, contains a tractate pertaining to Melchizedek. Here it is revealed that Melchizedek is Jesus Christ[8]. Melchizedek, as Jesus Christ, lives, preaches, dies and is resurrected.

- Confusion over Melchizedek's lineage

See also: List of people who have claimed to be immortal

Hebrews 7:3 creates some confusion between denominations regarding Melchizedek's nature and background. This is how it stands in the KJV, describing Melchizedek as:

"Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually."

Different denominations interpret this in vastly different ways. Some say that Melchizedek is literally like the Son of God (or even is the Son of God) in that he has no father or mother. Others say that he has been adopted into Christ's lineage through the Lord's suffering, [9] still others claim that the verse has been mistranslated, and that the Priesthood Melchizedek held is what is without lineage, not Melchizedek. [10] Others claim that the verse merely represents Melchizedek's not being a priesthood holder because of lineage (i.e. "without descent" meaning not a descendent of Levi as required by Mosaic Law.)[11]

The Book of the Bee, a Syriac text, also offers insights contrary to Melchizedek's purported immortal nature:

"NEITHER the fathers nor mother of this Melchizedek were written down in the genealogies; not that he had no natural parents5, but that p. 34 they were not written down. The greater number of the doctors say that he was of the seed of Canaan, whom Noah cursed. In the book of Chronography, however, (the author) affirms and says that he was of the seed of Shem the son of Noah. Shem begat Arphaxar, Arphaxar begat Cainan, and Cainan begat Shâlâh and Mâlâh, Shâlâh was written down in the genealogies; but Mâlâh was not, because his affairs were not sufficiently important to be written down in the genealogies. When p. 35 Noah died, he commanded Shem concerning the bones of Adam, for they were with them in the ark, and were removed from the land of Eden to this earth. Then Shem entered the ark, and sealed it with his father's seal, and said to his brethren, 'My father commanded me to go and see the sources of the rivers and the seas and the structure of the earth, and to return.' And he said to Mâlâh the father of Melchizedek, and to Yôzâdâk his mother...."[12]

- Representative of the priestly line

In some translations, Psalms names Melchizedek as representative of the priestly line through which a future king of Israel's Davidic line was ordained. Alternatively, it may be more accurate to treat this term as an agglutinated improper noun, to be translated as rightful king rather than left as Melchizedek; this interpretation is taken by some modern translations, such as the New JPS Tanakh.

- See also

* Amraphel

* Adonizedek

* Arioch

* Chedorlaomer

* Jesus

* Zadok

* Zedek

* The Melchizedek priesthood is a prominent feature of "Mormonism" - that is, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

* Melchizedek is a character in The Alchemist.

* Melchizedek is the main brain of Zalem in the Battle Angel Alita (GUNNM) graphic novel series.

* Melchizedek is a Persona in the videogame Persona 3 for the Sony PlayStation 2 developed and published by Atlus.

* The Urantia Book describes, among other things, the origin and purpose of a vast array of spiritual beings, including an order of beings called the "Melchizedeks". And this order includes an individual who supposedly once incarnated on earth, by the name of "Machiventa Melchizedek".

* The Dominion of Melchizedek, a micronation known for bank fraud, purports to be based on a "Melchizedek Bible" [13] inspired by the Biblical Melchizedek.



~Zedek or Tzedek, West Semitic for "Justice", was probably the name of the chief god of the Jebusites, and possibly of other Canaanite people. He is mentioned in the Tanakh and in other Middle Eastern writings in conjunction with such Jebusite names as Melchizedek ("My king is Zedek") and Adonizedek (My Lord is Zedek). Zedek has been associated with the planet Jupiter at least since the Talmudic era. Jupiter is called by that name in Hebrew astronomy, while the malakh of the planet is often named Zedekiel.

Zedek, as worshipped by the Jebusites, may have been identical with El (??). In such a case Zedek would likely just be a prominent epithet.

There is some speculation that Zadok, the priest, may be a humanisation of Zedek rather than a historical figure.[citation needed]~

~E-l (??) is a Northwest Semitic word and name translated into English as either 'god' or 'God' or left untranslated as El, depending on the context.

In the Levant as a whole, El or Il was the supreme god, the father of humankind and all creatures and the husband of the Goddess Asherah as attested in the tablets of Ugarit.

The word El was found at the top of a list of gods as the Ancient of Gods or the Father of all Gods, in the ruins of the Royal Library of the Ebla civilization, in the archaeological site of Tell Mardikh in Syria dated to 2300 BC. He may have been a desert god at some point, as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. El had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, Yam and Mot, each of whom has similar attributes to the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon or Ophion and Hades or Thanatos respectively. Ancient Greek mythographers identified El with Cronus (not Chronos).~

~Linguistic forms and meanings

Cognate forms are found throughout the Semitic languages with the exception of the ancient Ge'ez language of Ethiopia. Forms include Ugaritic ’il, pl. ’lm; Phoenician ’l pl. ’lm, Hebrew ’e-l, pl. ’?lîm; Aramaic ’l, Arabic ?ila-h; Akkadian ilu, pl. ila-ti. The original meaning may have been 'strength, power'. In northwest Semitic usage ’l was both a generic word of any 'god' and the special name or title of a particular god who was distinguished from other gods as being the god, or even in the monotheistic sense, God. E-l is listed at the head of many pantheons. El was the father god among the Canaanites. However, because the word sometimes refers to a god other than the great god E-l, it is often difficult to be certain whether E-l followed by another name means the great god E-l with a particular epithet applied or refers to another god entirely. For example, in the Ugaritic texts ’il mlk is understood to mean 'E-l the King' but ’il hd as 'the god Hadad'.

In Ugaritic an alternate plural form meaning 'gods' is ’ilhm, equivalent to Hebrew ’elo-hîm 'gods'. But in Hebrew this word is also used for singular 'God' or 'god', is indeed by the most normal word for 'god' or 'God' in the singular (as well as for 'gods').

The stem ’l is found prominently in the earliest strata of east Semitic, northwest Semitic and south Semitic groups. Personal names including the stem ’l are found with similar patterns both in Amorite and South Arabic which indicates that probably already in Proto-Semitic ’l was both a generic term for 'god' and the common name or title of a single particular 'god' or 'God'.~

~E-l in Proto-Sinaitic, Phoenician, Aramaic, and Hittite texts

A proto-Sinaitic mine inscription from Mount Sinai reads ’ld‘lm understood to be vocalized as ’il du- ‘ôlmi, 'E-l Eternal' or 'God Eternal'.

The Egyptian god Ptah is given the title du- gitti 'Lord of Gath' in a prism from Lachish which has on its opposite face the name of Amenhotep II (c. 1435–1420 BCE) The title du- gitti is also found in Sera-bitt. text 353. Cross (1973, p. 19) points out that Ptah is often called the lord (or one) of eternity and thinks it may be this identification of E-l with Ptah that lead to the epithet ’olam 'eternal' being applied to E-l so early and so consistently. (However in the Ugaritic texts Ptah is seemingly identified instead with the craftsman god Kothar-wa-Khasis.)[citation needed]

A Phoenician inscribed amulet of the 7th century BCE from Arslan Tash may refer to E-l. Rosenthal (1969, p. 658) translated the text:

An eternal bond has been established for us. Ashshur has established (it) for us, and all the divine beings and the majority of the group of all the holy ones, through the bond of heaven and earth for ever, ...

However the text is translated by Cross (1973, p. 17):

The Eternal One (‘Olam) has made a covenant oath with us,

Asherah has made (a pact) with us.

And all the sons of El,

And the great council of all the Holy Ones.

With oaths of Heaven and Ancient Earth.

In some inscriptions the name ’E-l qo-ne ’ars. meaning "'E-l creator of Earth" appears, even including a late inscription at Leptis Magna in Tripolitania dating to 2nd century (KAI. 129). In Hittite texts the expression becomes the single name Ilkunirsa, this Ilkunirsa appearing as the husband of Asherdu (Asherah) and father of 77 or 88 sons[citation needed].

In an Hurrian hymn to E-l (published in Ugaritica V, text RS 24.278) he is called ’il brt and ’il dn which Cross (p. 39) takes as 'E-l of the covenant' and 'E-l the judge' respectively.

See Ba‘al Hammon for the possibility that E-l was identical with Ba‘al Hammon who was worshipped as the supreme god in Carthage.~

~E-l among the Amorites

Amorite inscriptions from Zinc(irli refer to numerous gods, sometimes by name, sometimes by title, especially by such titles as ilabrat 'god of the people'(?), il abi-ka 'god of your father', il abi-ni 'god of our father' and so forth. Various family gods are recorded, divine names listed as belong to a particular family or clan, sometimes by title and sometimes by name, including the name Il 'god'. In Amorite personal names the most common divine elements are Il ('God'), Hadad/Adad, and Dagan. It is likely that Il is also very often the god called in Akkadian texts Amurru or Il Amurru.~

~E-l in Ugarit

For the Canaanites, El or Il was the supreme god, the father of mankind and all creatures. He may have been a desert god at some point as the myths say that he had two wives and built a sanctuary with them and his new children in the desert. El had fathered many gods, but most important were Hadad, Yam and Mot, each share similar attributes to the Roman-Greco gods: Zeus, Poseidon and Hades respectively.

Three pantheon lists found at Ugarit begin with the four gods ’il-’ib (which according to Cross [1973; p. 14] is the name of a generic kind of deity, perhaps the divine ancestor of the people), E-l, Dagnu (that is Dagon), and Ba’l S.apa-n (that is the god Haddu or Hadad). Though Ugarit had a large temple dedicated to Dagon and another to Hadad, there was no temple dedicated to E-l.

E-l is called again and again Tôru ‘E-l 'Bull E-l' or 'the bull god'. He is ba-tnyu binwa-ti 'Creator of creatures', ’abu- bani- ’ili 'father of the gods', and ‘abu- ‘adami 'father of man'. He is qa-niyunu ‘ôlam 'creator eternal' (the epithet ‘ôlam appearing in Hebrew form in the Hebrew name of God ’e-l ‘ôlam 'God Eternal' in Genesis 21.23). He is h.a-tikuka 'your patriarch'. E-l is the grey-bearded ancient one, full of wisdom, malku 'king', ’abu- šami-ma 'father of years', ’e-l gibbo-r 'E-l the warrior'. He is also named of unknown meaning, variously rendered as Latpan, Latipan, or Lutpani.

The mysterious Ugaritic text "Shachar and Shalim" tells how (perhaps near the beginning of all things) E-l came to shores of the sea and saw two women who bobbed up and down. E-l was sexually aroused and took the two with him, killed a bird by throwing a staff at it, and roasted it over a fire. He asked the women to tell him when the bird was fully cooked, and to then address him either as husband or as father, for he would thenceforward behave to them as they call him. They saluted him as husband. He then lies with them, and they gave birth to Shachar 'Dawn' and Shalim 'Dusk'. Again E-l lies with his wives and the wives give birth to the gracious gods, cleavers of the sea, children of the sea. The names of these wives are not explicitly provided, but some confusing rubrics at the beginning of the account mention the goddess Athirat who is otherwise E-l's chief wife and the goddess Rahmay 'Merciful', otherwise unknown.

In the Ugaritic Ba‘al cycle E-l is introduced dwelling on (or in) Mount Lel (Lel possibly meaning 'Night') at the fountains of the two rivers at the spring of the two deeps. He dwells in a tent according to some interpretations of the text which may explain why he had no temple in Ugarit. As to the rivers and the spring of the two deeps, these might refer real streams, or to the mythological sources of the salt water ocean and the fresh water sources under the earth, or to the waters above the heavens and the waters beneath the earth.

In the episode of the "Palace of Ba‘al", the god Ba‘al/Hadad invites the "70 sons of Athirat" to a feast in his new palace. Presumably these sons have been fathered on Athirat by E-l in following passages they seem be the gods (’ilm) in general or at least a large portion of them. The only sons of E-l named individually in the Ugaritic texts are Yamm 'Sea', Mot 'Death', and ‘Ashtar, who may be the chief and leader of most of the sons of E-l. Ba‘al/Hadad is a few times called E-l's son rather than the son of Dagan as he is normally called, probably because E-l is in the position of a clan-father to all the gods.

The fragmentary text RS 24.258 describes a banquet to which E-l invites the other gods and then disgraces himself by becoming outrageously drunk and passing out after confronting an otherwise unknown Hubbay, "he with the horns and tail". The text ends with an incantation for the cure of some disease, possibly hangover.~

~E-l in the greater Levant

A proto-Sinaitic mine inscription from Mount Sinai reads ’ld‘lm understood to be vocalized as ’il du- ‘ôlmi, 'E-l Eternal' or 'God Eternal'.

The Egyptian god Ptah is given the title du- gitti 'Lord of Gath' in a prism from Lachish which has on its opposite face the name of Amenhotep II (c. 1435–1420 BCE) The title du- gitti is also found in Sera-bitt. text 353. Cross (1973, p. 19) points out that Ptah is often called the lord (or one) of eternity and thinks it may be this identification of E-l with Ptah that lead to the epithet ’olam 'eternal' being applied to E-l so early and so consistently. (However in the Ugaritic texts Ptah is seemingly identified instead with the craftsman god Kothar-wa-Khasis.)

A Phoenician inscribed amulet of the 7th century BCE from Arslan Tash may refer to E-l. Rosenthal (1969, p. 658) translated the text:

An eternal bond has been established for us. Ashshur has established (it) for us, and all the divine beings and the majority of the group of all the holy ones, through the bond of heaven and earth for ever, ...

However the text is translated by Cross (1973, p. 17):

The Eternal One (‘Olam) has made a covenant oath with us,

Asherah has made (a pact) with us.

And all the sons of El,

And the great council of all the Holy Ones.

With oaths of Heaven and Ancient Earth.

In some inscriptions the name ’E-l qo-ne ’ars. 'E-l creator of Earth' appears, even including a late inscription at Leptis Magna in Tripolitania dating to 100s (KAI. 129). In Hittite texts the expression becomes the single name Ilkunirsa, this Ilkunirsa appearing as the husband of Asherdu (Asherah) and father of 77 or 88 sons.

In an Hurrian hymn to E-l (published in Ugaritica V, text RS 24.278) he is called ’il brt and ’il dn which Cross (p. 39) takes as 'E-l of the covenant' and 'E-l the judge' respectively.

See Ba‘al Hammon for the possibility that E-l was identical with Ba‘al Hammon who was worshipped as the supreme god in Carthage.


~E-l in the Tanakh

The Hebrew form (??) appears in Latin letters in Standard Hebrew transcription as El and in Tiberian Hebrew transcription as ?E-l.

In the Tanakh ’elo-hîm is the normal word for a god or the great god (or gods). But the form ’e-l also appears, mostly in poetic passages and in the patriarchal narratives attributed to the P source according to the documentary hypothesis. It occurs 217 times in the Masoretic text: 73 times in the Psalms and 55 times in the Book of Job, and otherwise mostly in poetic passages or passages written in elevated prose. It occasionally appears with the definite article as ha-’E-l 'the God' (for example in 2 Samuel 22.31,33–48).

There are also places where ’e-l specifically refers to a foreign god as in Psalms 44.20;81.9 (Hebrew 44.21;81.10), in Deuteronomy 32.12 and in Malachi 2.11.

The theological position of the Tanakh is that the names E-l, ’E(lo-hîm when used in the singular to mean the supreme and active 'God' refers to the same being as does Yahweh. All three refer to the one supreme god who is also the God of Israel, beside whom other supposed gods are either non-existent or insignificant. Whether this was a longstanding belief or a relatively new one has long been the subject of inconclusive scholarly debate about the prehistory of the sources of the Tanakh and about the prehistory of Israelite religion. In the P strand Yahweh claims in Exodus 6.2–3:

I revealed myself to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as E-l Shadda-i, but was not known to them by my name Yahweh.

This affirms the identity of Yahweh with either E-l in his aspect Shadda-i or with a god called Shadda-i. Also affirmed is that the name Yahweh is a more recent revelation. One scholarly position is that the identification of Yahweh with E-l is late, that Yahweh was earlier thought of as only one of many gods and not normally identified with E-l. In some places, especially in Psalm 29, Yahweh is clearly envisioned as a storm god, something not true of E-l so far as we know. (Noted Parallel: El is derived from Sumerian Enlil, God of Wind[citation needed]) It is Yahweh who fights Leviathan in Isaiah 27.1; Psalm 74.14; Job 3.8 & 40.25/41.1, a deed attributed both to Ba’al/Hadad and ‘Anat in the Ugaritic texts, but not to E-l. Such mythological motifs are variously seen as late survivals from a period when Yahweh held a place in theology comparable to that of Hadad at Ugarit; or as late henotheistic/monotheistic applications to Yahweh of deeds more commonly attributed to Hadad; or simply as examples of eclectic application of the same motifs and imagery to various different gods. Similarly it is argued inconclusively whether E-l Shadda-i, E-l ‘Ôla-m, E-l ‘Elyôn and so forth were originally understood as separate divinities. Albrecht Alt presented his theories on the original differences of such gods in Der Gott der Väter in 1929. But others have argued that from patriarchal times these different names were indeed generally understood to refer to the same single great god E-l. This is the position of Frank Moore Cross (1973). What is certain is that the form ’e-l does appear in Israelite names from every period including the name Yis'ra-’e-l 'Israel', meaning 'e-l strives' or 'struggled with él'.

According to The Oxford Companion To World Mythology (David Leeming, Oxford University Press, 2005, page 118), "It seems almost certain that the God of the Jews evolved gradually from the Canaanite El, who was in all likelihood the 'God of Abraham'...If El was the high god of Abraham - Elohim, the prototype of Yahveh - Asherah was his wife, and there are archeological indications that she was perceived as such before she was in effect 'divorced' in the context of emerging Judaism of the seventh century B.C.E. (See 2 Kings 23:15)"

The more traditional Orthodox Jewish opinion explains the depictions of Yahweh as performing these deeds attributed to other gods in the Ugaritic, etc. traditions as making the theological point that there is but one God and He is responsible for all natural forces and everything divine. This would cast Him in the roles that previously other gods had, as god of the weather and he who conquers deep sea creatures, etc.

The apparent plural form ’E-lîm or ’E-lim 'gods' occurs only four times in the Tanakh. Psalm 29, understood as an enthronement psalm, begins:

A Psalm of David.

Ascribe to Yahweh, sons of gods (bênê ’E-lîm),

Ascribe to Yahweh, glory and strength

Psalm 89:6 (verse 7 in Hebrew) has:

For who in the skies compares to Yahweh,

who can be likened to Yahweh among the sons of gods (bênê ’E-lîm).

Traditionally bênê ’e-lîm has been interpreted as 'sons of the mighty', 'mighty ones', for, indeed ’e-l can mean 'mighty', though such use may be metaphorical (compare the English expression God-awful). It is possible also that the expression ’e-lîm in both places descends from an archaic stock phrase in which ’lm was a singular form with the m-enclitic and therefore to be translated as 'sons of E-l'. The m-enclitic appears elsewhere in the Tanakh and in other Semitic languages. Its meaning is unknown, possibly simply emphasis. It appears in similar contexts in Ugaritic texts where the expression bn ’il alternates with bn ’ilm, but both must mean 'sons of E-l'. That phrase with m-enclictic also appears in Phoenician inscriptions as late as the 5th century BCE.

One of the other two occurrences in the Tanakh is in the "Song of Moses", Exodus 15.11a:

Who is like you among the gods (’e-lim), Yahweh?

The final occurrence is in Daniel 11.35:

And the king will do according to his pleasure; and he will exalt himself and magnify himself over every god (’e-l), and against the God of gods (’e-l ’e-lîm) he will speak outrageous things, and will prosper until the indignation is accomplished: for that which is decided will be done.

There are a few cases in the Tanakh where some think ’e-l referring to the great god E-l is not equated with Yahweh. One is in Ezekiel 28.2 in the oracle against Tyre:

Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre: "Thus says the Lord Yahweh: 'Because your heart is proud and you have said: "I am ’e-l, in the seat of ’elo-hîm (God or gods), I am enthroned in the middle of the seas." Yet you are man and not ’e-l even though you have made your heart like the heart of ’elo-hîm ('God' or 'gods').'"

Here ’e-l might refer to a generic god, not necessarily the high god E-l and if it does so refer, the King of Tyre is certainly not thinking specifically of Yahweh.

In Judges 9.46 we find ’E-l Bêrît 'God of the Covenant', seemingly the same as the Ba‘al Bêrît 'Lord of the Covenant' whose worship has been condemned a few verses earlier. See Baal for a discussion of this passage.

Psalm 82.1 says:

’elo-hîm ('God') stands in the council of ’e-l

he judges among the gods (elohim).

This could mean that God, that is Yahweh, judges along with many other gods as one of the council of the high god E-l. However it can also mean that God, that is Yahweh, stands in the divine council (generally known as the Council of E-l), as E-l judging among the other members of the Council. The following verses in which God condemns those to whom he say were he had previously named gods (elohim) and sons of the Most High suggest God is here indeed E-l judging the lesser gods.

An archaic phrase appears in Isaiah 14.13, kôkkêbê ’e-l 'stars of God', referring to the circumpolar stars that never set, possibly especially to the seven stars of Ursa Major. The phrase also occurs in the Pyrgi Inscription as hkkbm ’l (preceded by the definite article h and followed by the m-enclitic). Two other apparent fossilized expressions are arzê-’e-l 'cedars of God' (generally translated something like 'mighty cedars', 'goodly cedars') in Psalm 80.10 (in Hebrew verse 11) and kêharrê-’e-l 'mountains of God' (generally translated something like 'great mountains', 'mighty mountains') in Psalm 36.7 (in Hebrew verse 6).

For the reference in some texts of Deuteronomy 32.8 to 70 sons of God corresponding to the 70 sons of E-l in the Ugaritic texts see ’Elyôn.~

~E-l in Christian theology

According to patristic tradition, El was the first Hebrew name of God. Dante Alighieri in his De vulgari eloquentia suggests that the name was the first sound emitted by Adam: While the first utterance of humans after birth is a cry of pain, Dante assumed that Adam could only have made an exclamation of joy, which at the same time was addressing his creator. In the Divina commedia, however, Dante contradicts this by saying that God was called I in the language of Adam, and only named El in later Hebrew, but before the confusion of tongues (Paradiso, 26.134).~

~E-l according to Sanchuniathon

In the euhemeristic account of Sanchuniathon E-l (rendered Elus or called by his standard Greek counterpart Cronus) is not the creator god or first god. E-l is rather the son of Sky and Earth. Sky and Earth are themselves children of ‘Elyôn 'Most High'. E-l is brother to the god Bethel, to Dagon, and to an unknown god equated with the Greek Atlas, and to the goddesses Aphrodite/’Ashtart, Rhea (presumably Asherah), and Dione (equated with Ba’alat Gebal). E-l is father of Persephone who dies (presumably an otherwise unknown Semitic goddess of the dead) and of Athene (presumably the goddess ‘Anat). Sky and Earth have separated from one another in hostility, but Sky insists on continuing to force himself on Earth and attempts to destroy the children born of such unions until at last E-l, son of Sky and Earth, with the advice of the god Thoth and E-l's daughter Athene attacks his father Sky with a sickle and spear of iron and drives him off for ever. So he and his allies the Eloim gain Sky's kingdom. In a later passage it is explained that E-l castrated Sky. But one of Sky's concubines who was given to E-l's brother Dagon was already pregnant by Sky and the son who is born of this union, called by Sanchuniathon Demarûs or Zeus, but once called by him Adodus, is obviously Hadad, the Ba‘al of the Ugaritic texts who now becomes an ally of his grandfather Sky and begins to make war on E-l.

E-l has three wives, his sisters or half-sisters Aphrodite/Astarte (‘Ashtart), Rhea (presumably Asherah), and Dione (identified by Sanchuniathon with Ba‘alat Gebal the tutelary goddess of Byblos, a city which Sanchuniathon says that E-l founded).

Unfortunately Eusebius of Caesarea, through whom Sanchuniathon is preserved, is not interested in setting the work forth completely or in order. But we are told that E-l slew his own son Sadidus (a name that some commentators think might be a corruption of Shaddai, one of the epithets of the Biblical E-l) and that E-l also beheaded one of his daughters. Later, perhaps referring to this same death of Sadidus we are told:

But on the occurrence of a pestilence and mortality Cronus offers his only begotten son as a whole burnt-offering to his father Sky and circumcises himself, compelling his allies also to do the same.

A fuller account of the sacrifice appears later:

It was a custom of the ancients in great crises of danger for the rulers of a city or nation, in order to avert the common ruin, to give up the most beloved of their children for sacrifice as a ransom to the avenging daemons; and those who were thus given up were sacrificed with mystic rites. Cronus then, whom the Phoenicians call Elus, who was king of the country and subsequently, after his decease, was deified as the star Saturn, had by a nymph of the country named Anobret an only begotten son, whom they on this account called Iedud, the only begotten being still so called among the Phoenicians; and when very great dangers from war had beset the country, he arrayed his son in royal apparel, and prepared an altar, and sacrificed him.

The account also relates that Thoth:

... also devised for Cronus as insignia of royalty four eyes in front and behind ... but two of them quietly closed, and upon his shoulders four wings, two as spread for flying, and two as folded. And the symbol meant that Cronus could see when asleep, and sleep while waking: and similarly in the case of the wings, that he flew while at rest, and was at rest when flying. But to each of the other gods he gave two wings upon the shoulders, as meaning that they accompanied Cronus in his flight. And to Cronus himself again he gave two wings upon his head, one representing the all-ruling mind, and one sensation.

This is the form under which E-l/Cronus appears on coins from Byblos from the reign of Antiochus IV (175–164 BCE) four spread wings and two folded wings, leaning on a staff. Such images continued to appear on coins until after the time of Augustus.~

~E-l and Poseidon

A bilingual inscription from Palmyra (KAI. 11, p. 43) dated to the first century equates E-l-Creator-of-the-Earth with the Greek god Poseidon. Going back to the eighth century BCE the bilingual inscription at Karatepe in the Taurus Mountains equates E-l-Creator-of-the-Earth to Luwian hieroglyphs read as da-a-s', this being the Luwian form of the name of the Babylonian water god Ea, lord of the abyss of water under the earth. (This inscription lists E-l in second place in the local pantheon, following Ba`al Shamîm and preceding the Eternal Sun.)

Poseidon is known to have been worshipped in Beirut, his image appearing on coins from that city. Poseidon of Beirut was also worshipped at Delos where there was an association of merchants, shipmasters and warehousemen called the Poseidoniastae of Berytus founded in 110 or 109 BCE. Three of the four chapels at its headquarters on the hill northwest of the Sacred Lake were dedicated to Poseidon, the Tyche of the city equated with Astarte (that is ‘Ashtart), and to Eshmun.

Also at Delos that association of Tyrians, though mostly devoted to Heracles-Melqart, elected a member to bear a crown every year when sacrifices to Poseidon took place. A banker named Philostratus donated two altars, one to Palaistine Aphrodite Urania (‘Ashtart) and one to Poseidon "of Ascalon".

Though Sanchuniathon distinguishes Poseidon from his Elus/Cronus, this might be a splitting off of a particular aspect of E-l in an euhemeristic account. Identification of an aspect of E-l with Poseidon rather than with Cronus might have been felt to better fit with Hellenistic religious practice, if indeed this Phoenician Poseidon really is E-l who dwells at the source of the two deeps in Ugaritic texts. More information is needed to be certain.

- See also

* The names of God in Judaism

* List of names referring to El

* Ilah



~The following is an alphabetical list of names referring to El and their meanings in Hebrew:

Abdiel – Servant of God

Abiel – God my Father

Abimael – A Father sent from God

Adbeel – Disciplined of God[1]

Adiel – Witness of God

Adriel – Flock of God

Advachiel – Happiness of God

Ambriel – Energy of God

Ammiel – People of God

Arael – Lion of God

Ariel, Auriel – Light of God or Vision of God

Armisael – Mountain of Judgment of God

Asmodel – Greatness of God

Azael – Whom God Strengthens

Azazel – God Strengthens

Azrael – Help of God

Barakiel, Baraquiel – Lightning of God

Barbiel – Illumination of God

Barchiel – Kindness of God or Ray of God

Bardiel – Humilliated Son of God

Bethel – House of God

Betzalel – Shadow/Path of God

Boel – God is in Him

Camael – He who Sees God

Chakel – Wisdom of God

Chamuel – He who Seeks God

Daniel – Judged by God or Judgement of God

Elad – God Forever

Eli – a variant on the name of God, or "my God"

Eliana – My God Answers

Elias, Elijah – Whose God is the Lord, God the Lord, The Strong Lord, God of the Lord, My God is the Lord My God is Jehovah, or My God is Jah. Reference to the meaning of both (Eli)-(Jah)

Elisha – Salvation of God

Elishama – My God Hears

Elishua – God is my salvation

Eliezer – My God Helps

Elimelech – My God is King

Elizabeth – My God is Oath

Elkanah – God has Possessed, or God has Created

Emmanuel – God is with us

Ezekiel – God will Strengthen

Ezequeel – Strength of God

Ezrael – Help of God

Gabriel, Gavriel – Man of God, God has shown Himself Mighty, Hero of God or Strong one of God

Gaghiel – Roaring Beast of God

Gamaliel – Reward of God

Hamaliel – Grace of God

Hanael – Glory of God

Immanuel – With God

Iruel – Fear of God

Ishmael, Ishamael – Heard by God, Named by God, or God Hearkens

Israel – Struggles with God

Joel – Jah is God

Lee-El, Lee-el, Leeel – For God

Leliel – Jaws of God

Mahalalel – The blessed God, The shining light of God, or The glory of God

Malahidael – King of God

Matarael – Premonition of God

Michael – Who is like God? a question

Muriel – Fragrance of God

Nathanael, Nathaniel – Given by God or God has Given or "Gift of God"

Othniel – Hour of God

Peniel, Penuel, Phanuel – Face of God

Priel – Fruit of God

Ramiel – Thunder of God

Raphael – God is Healing or Healing one of God

Raziel – Secret of God

Reuel – Friend of God

Sachiel – Price of God or Covering of God

Salatheel – I have asked God

Sahaquiel – Ingenuity of God

Samael – Venom of God

Samiel – Blind God, epithet for Baal or the Demiurge

Samuel – Name/Heard of God

Sariel – Moon of God

Satanael – Adversary of God

Shamshel – Lonely Conqueror of God

Suriel – Command of God

Tamiel – Perfection of God

Tarfiel – God Nourishes

Tzaphquiel – Contemplation of God

Uriel – Sun of God or Fire of God

Ussiel or Uzziel Light from God

Verchiel – Shining of God

Yael – Delivered from God

Za'afiel – Wrath of God

Zadkiel – Righteousness of God

Zagzagel – Splendor of God

Zaphkiel – Knowledge of God

Zeruel – Arm of God

Zophiel – Beauty of God

- False El theophory

The name Abel, which appears to refer to El, in fact is not an instance of theophory. Abel can be translated as "breath", "temporary" or "meaninglessness".

- Yah theophory

The following is an alphabetical list of names referring to Yah/Yahweh and their meanings in Hebrew:

Abiah – Yahweh is my father

Abijah – Yahweh is my father

Abijam – Yam is my father (Yam is another name for Yah)

Adaiah – witness of Yahweh/Jehovah's witness

Adalia – Yahweh is just

Adonijah – my lord is Yahweh

Ahaziah – vision of Yahweh

Ahiah – brother of Yahweh

Ahijah – brother of Yahweh

Amariah – Yahweh says; integrity of Yahweh

Amaziah – strength of Yahweh

Athaliah – Yahweh is exalted

Hezekiah – Yahweh has strengthened

Jael – Yahweh is El/God

Jabin – Son of Yahweh/Yahweh is a son

Jeremiah – (uncertain) Yahweh exalts or establishes or throws

Joab – Yahweh is father

Jonathan – gift of Yahweh

Josiah – supported of Yahweh

Matityahu – Gift from Yah

Obadiah – Yahweh's servant or worshipper

Pelatiah – Yah has delievered

Pelaiah – Yah has distinguished

Pelaliah – Yah has judged

Pekahiah – Yah has observed

Yehoshua (Joshua, Jesus) – Yah saves

Zebadiah, Zabdi – Gift of Yahweh

Zedekiah – justice of or righteous is Yahweh

Zephaniah – Yahweh hides or protects

Zechariah – Yahweh remembers

This literature-related list is incomplete; you can help by expanding it.

- Baal theophory

The following is an alphabetical list of names referring to Hadad/Baal/Bosheth and their meanings in Hebrew:

Baal, master; lord

Baalah, her idol; she that is governed or subdued; a spouse

Baalath, a rejoicing; our proud lord

Baalath-Beer, subjected pit

Baal-berith, idol of the covenant

Baale, same as Baalath

Baal-gad, idol of fortune or felicity

Baal-hamon, who rules a crowd

Baal-hanan, Baal is gracious

Baal-hermon, possessor of destruction or of a thing cursed

Baali, my idol; lord over me

Baalim, idols; masters; false gods

Baalis, a rejoicing; a proud lord

Baal-meon, idol or master of the house

Baal-peor, master of the opening

Baal-perazim, god of divisions

Baal-shalisha, the god that presides over three; the third idol

Baal-tamar, master of the palm-tree

Baal-zebub, god of the fly (Origin of the book title "Lord of the Flies")

Baal-zephon, the idol or possession of the north; hidden; secret ~

~There are 8 subcategories in this category, which are shown below. More may be shown on subsequent pages.



[+] Angelic apparitions


[+] Angels in Christianity

A cont.


[+] Angels in Islam



[+] Enochian magic



[+] Fallen angels

F cont.


[+] Fictional angels



[+] Individual angels



[+] Angels in Judaism

Pages in category "Angels"

There are 32 pages in this section of this category.

* Angel


* List of angels


* Amesha Spenta

* Angel Wars

* Angel of the Lord

* Angel remedies

* Angelici (sect)

* Angels in art


* Belial


* Cms (angel)


* De Coelesti Hierarchia


* Enochian angels


* Fallen angel


* Grigori

* Guardian angel (spirit)


* Heavenly host

* Holy Guardian Angel

* How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?


* Matarel

* Moroni (prophet)

* Angel Moroni


* Putto


* Recording angel


* Sepher Ha-Razim

* Seven Archangels

* Sopo Archangels

* Suriel


* Tartaruchi

* Temeluchus

* Tennin

* Theophory in the Bible


* Za'afiel


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