Saturday, April 17, 2010
Yahweh’s Secret Identity
The meaning of the name Yahweh (sometimes pronounced Jehovah) has puzzled theologians for thousands of years – so much so that the Jewish Publication Society now leaves the name untranslated, with the footnote “meaning of the Hebrew uncertain”. This is not a true statement, however, because the meaning of the Hebrew “ehyeh ashar ehyeh” is actually quite clear – it literally means “I am who I am”.
As Karen Armstrong has suggested, in common parlance it equates to mind your own business! Why was Yahweh so evasive about his identity, and what were his motives in leading the Israelites out of captivity into the Sinai desert! A review of Near East politics at 1433 BC can answer both of these questions. Shortly after the destruction of Crete, severe over-crowding afflicted the Levant coast, following the immigration of Phoenicians and Philistines. Archaeological excavations at Byblos have confirmed a massive destruction of that city c. 1450 BC (NC), followed by severe over-population.
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