Israel’s Serpent/Moon God Yahweh (YHWH), the Jewish Snake God

Israel’s Serpent-Moon God Yahweh (YHWH), the Jewish Snake God

H. Abdul Al-Dahir

It has often been asserted that the god of Israel, YHWH, was aniconic or imageless. However, recent discoveries, as the Hebrew altar at Beersheba and the Migdal Synagogue stone found in ancient Galilee, prove that YHWH was depicted as a serpent throughout ancient Israel (later known as Samaria) and Judea. The myths surrounding the Israelite snake god, YHWH, are found throughout the Bible. Below are references to these Biblical myths which must be understood before interpreting the images on the Beersheba altar and the Migdal Synagogue stone.

In order to understand the mindset of the ancient Hebrews, one must comprehend their universe which consisted of the macrocosmic heavens where dwelt the gods as constellations and the earthly microcosmic world which reflected the macrocosmic heavens and where dwelt the Hebrews. Astral worship was an ancient form of worship in the Middle East. In Ugaritic literature, the astral gods or ‘phr kkbm’ (council of the stars) were a part of the council of the chief god, El or El Elyon. This Ugaritic god was also worshiped in Israel as El, El Elyon and Elohim.  The god of the TaNaKh (Old Testament), El Elyon, presided over a similar council of astral gods according to Psalm 82. The native inhabitants of Ugarit, Israel and Judea were all Canaanites. Also, the Sumerians, one of the oldest Middle Eastern civilizations, designated their gods with a star sign or dingir. This sign meant god, goddess and heaven.

The Sumerians greatly influenced the cultures that followed them which included the Akkadians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians and the Canaanites. The Hebrews borrowed their religion from these cultures with whom they were associated. Like the empires which surrounded them,  the Hebrews were star worshipers whose deities were astral gods (Deut 4:19, 17:3, 2Kings 17:16, 21:2,5, 23:4 etc). These astral gods are referred to in the Bible as the ‘host of heaven.’ YHWH was depicted as an astral god surrounded by his fellow astral gods or host of heaven in 1 Kings 22:19:  “And Micaiah said: Therefore, hear the word of YHWH. I saw YHWH sitting on his throne and all the host of heaven standing beside him on his right hand and his left.” It was this astral deity populated macrocosm or heaven which influenced the people populated microcosm or earth.

The geography and political division of Canaan were also critical factors in the development of the Judean religion. Israel was a northern kingdom located in Canaan which was allied with her northern Canaanite neighbors, Tyre and Sidon. Israelites were a racial and cultural mixture of Semitic Canaanites, Arameans, Aegean Islanders and Egyptians. Israel was a foe of Judah, a Canaanite city-state located in the south.The Judeans were a racial and cultural mixture of Egyptians, Semitic Canaanites, Midianites, Kenites and Mineans. These last three tribal confederations originated on the southern coast of Arabia where they traded and intermarried with the African peoples of Abyssinia and Nubia.

The Assyrian Empire invaded the northern kingdom of Israel between 740-723 BCE; at which time many Israelites fled to the southern state of Judah. Judah came under Assyrian domination in 701 BCE. Babylonia defeated Assyria and captured Jerusalem circa 605 BCE at which time many Judeans were deported to Babylon. The Judeans were freed by the Persians and a remanent of the population returned to Judah between 520-515 BCE. Because the Kingdom of Israel was utterly destroyed by the Assyrians and the Judeans were able to survive foreign capture and domination, they retained control of the myths, history, culture and religion which they wrote in their religious texts. So, these texts favored the Judean view of the culture and history of Canaan even though they were interwoven with the cultural history and myths of their northern neighbor, Israel.

The following list contains numerous references to the Arabic language.  Archaic or Biblical Hebrew flourished as a spoken language in the kingdoms of Israel and Judah during the 11th to 7th centuries BCE.  The archaic form of the language ceased to be a spoken language during and after the Babylonian exile at which time Aramaic became the day to day language of the Judeans. The bulk of the Biblical texts are written in classical Hebrew while a few texts are written in Aramaic. Classical Hebrew further evolved into the Mishnaic form which became extinct as a spoken language between 200 & 400 CE.  The Hebrews translated their scriptures into Koine Greek in Alexandria, Egypt around the 2nd to 1st Centuries BCE. At that time, Egypt was dominated by the Macedonian Ptolemaic Dynasty. There were several Greek translations of the Judean texts, but the translation most often used was the Septuagint.  Greek became the language of scholarship and was used by the authors of the New Testament, which includes the Gospels.

The Romans defeated the Judeans in 135 AD and they remained suppressed in Palestine under various regional powers until the area fell under the rule of the Arab Caliphates, beginning with the conquest of Jerusalem by Umar Ibn Al Khattab in 637 CE.  Jews were finally allowed to re-enter the city of Jerusalem from which they were banned by the Christian Byzantines. Around this time, Hebrew scholars, called the Masoretes, began to reconstruct their confusion of Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew scriptures (of which no original copy survives) from the 7th Century to the 11th Century, in areas controlled by the successive Arab Caliphates of the Rashideen, the Umayyads and the Abbasids. By the time the Masoretes began work on their texts, archaic Hebrew had fallen out use for more than 1000 years and Mishnaic Hebrew had ceased to be spoken for at least 200 years. So, Masoretic scholars relied on the Arabic language and scholarship to understand and reconstruct their Hebrew texts.

Masoretes worked to reconstruct their variant scriptures in Tiberias and Jerusalem in Palestine and in Babylonia in southern Iraq; regions controlled by the Arab Caliphs.  Because the Masoretes were immersed in the Arabic language and culture during the time of the compilation of their texts, Arabic language and scholarship greatly influenced their efforts to establish uniformity in their scriptures.  According to research entitled ‘An Arabic Hebrew Comparative Study of Genesis 1-3‘,  there is evidence that the Masoretes used transliterations of Classical Arabic vocabulary when they back-translated the Old Testament from Koine Greek into Classical Hebrew. Furthermore, the Palestinian Masoretes borrowed the Arabic system of diacritical marks to vocalize and punctuate their Hebrew and Aramaic texts, imitating the Arab Muslim scholars of the Quran. (The Masoretes used diacritics to establish the grammar and thus the meaning of their biblical Masoretic texts). Consequently, Arabic should always be considered when the translation of a word makes little or no sense in Hebrew.

In addition, according to the Wikipedia article entitled Proto-Semitic Language:

“The reconstruction of Proto-Semitic (PS) was originally based primarily on the Arabic language,whose phonology and morphology (particularly in Classical Arabic is extremely conservative, and which preserves as contrastive 28 out of the evident 29 consonantal phonemes. Thus, the phonemic inventory of reconstructed Proto-Semitic is very similar to that of Arabic, with only one phoneme fewer in Arabic than in reconstructed Proto-Semitic….”

Classical Arabic, unlike Classical Hebrew, retains the characteristics of the parent Proto-Semitic language. According to the Old Testament, all of the Biblical characters preceding the Babylonian exile, lived before the advent of Classical Hebrew. So, in order to reconstruct the meaning of their names, one must rely on Classical Arabic for the correct interpretation and etymology of the names of the characters that preceded the Babylonian exile.

An Explanatory List of Biblical Terms:

The Bible: A compilation of Near Eastern literature that can be briefly summed up as an account of a people who were attempting to establish hegemony over the very lucrative incense trade routes that ran through Canaan later known as Palestine. These trade routes originated in the incense growing regions on the southern coast of Arabia and extended into Canaan, the Levant, Egypt, Mesopotamia and the horn of Africa. These tribal confederations fought for control of these trade routes with regional rivals as Egypt, Assyria, Aram, Babylonia and various tribal federations from the Arabian Peninsula as the Midianites and the Ishmaelites etc. They also fought with local rivals (Jebusties, Edomites, Moabites, local Hittites, Philistines etc.) some of whom were settled in Canaan before the advent of the Hebrews. Many of these pre-Hebraic tribes (with the exception of the Philistines), also originated in the Arabian Peninsula. (The Nephilim and Raphaim are Biblical references to these ancient non Hebraic Semitic tribes who occupied the land before the advent of the Hebrews). The authors of the Biblical mythology presented their particular deity, whom they believed was their sire who ‘begat’ them (Deut 32:18), as the source of their ‘right’ to control the land and the lucrative trade routes that ran through it. This hugely mythologized ‘history’ has influenced modern politics and commerce in the same region.

Reasons for the modern disputes have little to do with incense trade routes and everything to do with strategic location, oil and oil trade routes (pipelines, sea routes etc.). The Western gods of commerce and military might have replaced the ancient local tribal, fertility-storm deities who appointed their particular devotees as beneficiaries of this land of milk, honey and trade routes. Modern merchants of war and commerce use this ancient account of the conflicts of a long extinct culture, whose history centred on now long obsolete trade routes, to establish their own hegemony over the area. Except for a Western religious subscription to this mythologised history, there seems to be little real connection of  modern conflicts to the Biblical accounts of this extinct Hebrew culture.

Microcosm/Macrocosm: A philosophical representation of the earth (microcosm) as the mirror of heavenly events (macrocosm) represented by the constellations. The constellations represented the gods and their myths.

Garden of Eden: (Genesis 2:15) Biblical earthly paradise which was most likely a reference to Aden, the land from whence came gold, frankincense and myrrh that were traded by the Hebrews from the caravan tribes (Midianites/Minaeans) in the Negev desert. The name ‘aden’ means ‘to mine ore’. Ancient Yemen, especially under the Sabeans, was renowned for its gold and gemstone mines which, along with frankincense, myrrh and lucrative trade routes, made this land famous for its wealth. The Hebrews established trade relations with the Sabeans (1 Kings 10) and traded these goods from the caravan merchants in the Negev from whence they transported these goods to Egypt according to Isaiah 30:6,7. This Biblical garden was inhabited by 3 serpent gods; Ningizzida  (Sumerian snake god often portrayed as a caduceus and as a man with 2 snake heads protruding from his shoulders) , YHWH and Hwh. Adam was the only human residing in this garden.

Ya/Yhh/Yhhwh/YHWH (Hebrew)/YHWY (Arabic equivalent) are all names for the Biblical god who sired the Judeans (Deut 32:18). The 4 letter name (tetragrammaton) for the Hebrew god is YHWH or YHWY in Arabic. The Hebrew suffix ‘h’ becomes a ‘y’ in Arabic and vice versa, which is the reason that the Arabic equivalent of YHWH would be spelled YHWY. YHWH is one of 3 gods whose names are spelled with a similar tetragrammaton. The other 2 gods are YGhWTh (‘gh’ & ‘th’  are the English transliteration for 2 Arabic letters) and YAWQ.

One must also understand that the name YHWH is a compound name which contains the theophoric (deity’s name) prefix, Y(a) or Yh, which is followed by the attribute ‘hwh’ which means both living and snake. This name construction, a theophoric prefix followed by an attribute, is common throughout the Bible. The following list of Biblical names illustrates this point:

Yaalam=Ya hides, Yaanai=Ya answers, Yaasau=Ya makes, Yabin= Ya discerns, Yaazah=Ya helps, Yehoahaz=Yh posseses, Yehoash=Yh fired or Yh gave, Yehohanan=Yh gave, Yehoiachin=Yh has strength, Yehoiada=Yh has knowledge, Yehoiakim=Yh avenges, Yehoiarib=Yh fights or multiplies,  Yehonathan= Yh grants gifts, Yehoram=Yh exalts, Yehoshaphat=Yh is judge, Yehosheba=Yh’s oath, Jehoshua=Yh saves, Yehozabad=Yh’s dowry, Yehozadak=Yh’s justice, Yehu=Ya is He etc .

Semitic gods often had compound names. Among these names is the Aramean god mentioned in the Tayma Stele found in the Arabian city of the same name. Among the gods mentioned is the Aramean god Singl which means ‘the god Sin is great’.  Another Semitic god with a compound name is the Tyrean god Melkart whose name means ‘king of the city’. The god of Carthage was known as Balhamon or ‘the Lord of Hamon’ and the Phoenician god of the Baaqa Valley was known as Balbek or ‘the Lord of the Baaqa Valley’. The Sumerian gods also had compound names as is indicated by Enki (Lord of the Earth), Ninlil (Lady of the Open Fields), Enlil (Lord of the Winds), Ningizzida (Lord of the Good Tree) etc.

As for the compound name, YHWH, it appears that early Yahwists created a double entendre by appending ‘hwh’ to their god Ya/Yhh who became YHWH. ‘Hwh’ meant the living but the word also included YHWH’s sacred animal, the nehushtan or snake. YHWH was worshiped in the form a snake according to 2 Kings 18:4. Hebrew grammarians have attempted to give a grammatical explanation for the name by claiming that it is a ‘hiphil form of the root ‘hw’. However, the name YHWH, as well as similar compounded deity names, predate any formalized explanation by millennium. Hebrew grammar did not become formalized until the Masoretes who lived under the Arab Caliphates between the 7th & 11th Centuries CE. So, YHWH’s name follows an ancient Near East pattern of appending an attribute to the name of a deity.

Yah – snake guardian of the tree of life
Yh/Yhh (Yah) is spelled with a double ‘h’ (the letter ‘h’ or ‘hey’ accented with a mappiq) in the Hebrew scriptures just at is often spelled in the Negev inscriptions. Yhh is one of the earliest forms of the name YHWH which the Hebrews originally pronounced as Yhhwh (YahHuwa). The double ‘h’ became a dividing point so that Yhhwh, originally 2 words; Yh ( the name of the deity) and hwh (the ancient Semitic word for serpent) was merged into a single word YHWH. However, the Hebrew god is addressed repeatedly by his most ancient name, Yhh. He is specifically named Yhh in Psalm 68:4:

“Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name Yhh, And rejoice before Him.”

Psalm 68 is one the pre-exilic Psalms in the TaNaKh (Old Testament).

The name Yhh is repeated in Exodus 15:2:

“Yhh is my strength and my defense,he has become my salvation. He is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”

Indeed, Yhh, appears over 50 times in the Tanakh, and is used not only in Psalm 68:4 and Exodus 15:2 but also in Exodus 17:16; Psalm 77:12; 89:8; 94:7, 12; 102:18; 105:45; 106:1, Isa. 12:2; 26:4; 38:11, etc..

Yhh’s name is written in the Negev inscriptions as a snake’s head with a protruding forked tongue. (Old Negev script Y + H, which is written: >—–O). According to Dr. James R. Harris, the Hebrews carved YHWH’s full image as a ‘radiant serpent’ among these inscriptions.  Harris’ conclusion that the early Hebrews were responsible for these inscriptions is supported by the many carvings among these inscriptions of what later became known as the Jewish menorah. These inscriptions date to circa 1200 BCE.

“Place names found in the compositions are appropriate for the time, location, and context in which they are used. The persona of Yah is associated with radiance, as from the sun and the head of the radiant Serpent. The glory of the radiant serpent was to be extended to his people so that their countenances would shine as they become a holy nation (a sanctified people). It is possible that the serpent (as an icon of Yahweh) would have survived in greater numbers had it not been for the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah. The serpent symbolizes Yah as the healer, and God of the storms, rain, sun, and Prince of Life. Yah was the disciplinarian, judge, protector, deliverer, teacher, purifier, and Father of his covenant people.”

YHW: Yhh/Yhhwh/Yhwh was recorded as Yhw in the Soleb Temple by the ancient Egyptians as the god of the Shasu (Bedouin in southern Canaan or the Midianites). Current scholars pronounce the hieroglyphics as ‘Yahoo’ although they could also be pronounced as ‘YaHooWehHoo’. Yhw was adopted by the Hebrews through the Midianites where he became known  as Yhh.  ‘Yh’ or ‘Yhh’ is thought to be the Sayhadic (Old South Arabic) word for an ancient Semitic word for life or ‘hy’. In Sayhadic ‘hy’ would be written as ‘yh’. The ‘h’ in Sayhadic was the definite article ‘the’ written as a suffix to the word ‘y’.  In Hebrew, the definite article ‘h’ is written as a prefix. Thus, the word YHWH is written as the word Yh + the word ‘hwh’; both words mean life and snake. ‘Hawa’ is the ancient West Semitic word for snake, which in Arabic is ‘hyh’ (haya). Hwy in Arabic means to coil. (The ‘w’ and the ‘y’ are interchangeable in Semitic languages). So, Yhhwh/YHWH means ‘the living snake god’ or ‘Yhh’, the coiling one’. This god originated as a serpent cult . His ophic (snake) image was carved by the Hebrews on their Beersheba altar (800 BCE) and on the Galilean Migdal synagogue stone, which existed as part of that synagogue during the time of Jesus.

Shasu of Yhw: (meaning ‘The Bedouin who worship Yhw’) Egyptian designation for the Midianites/Kenites who mined copper ore in the Negev desert. These copper mines were under Egyptian control from the 14th to the 12th Century BCE. The Midianites and other Bedouin worked the mines for the Egyptians during this time. Shasu of Yhw can be found in the Soleb Temple inscription in Egypt.

Midianites: (Exodus 3:1) The tribe into which Moses married who were also known as Qynites/Kenites (Judges 1:6). They settled in Edom, Moab and the Northwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula. They have been identified through their Qurayyah ware. They were miners mining copper in this area as the Shasu of Yhw. The Midianites were also merchants who controlled the trade routes which ran through Midian or modern day Tabuk Province in northwest Saudi Arabia.

Macrocosmic YHWH as the Heavenly Snake: This snake constellation is known as Draco in the West and AtTinneen or the Dragon in the Middle East. The word ‘tinneen’, which means snake/dragon, can be found in Isaiah 27:1 and Exodus 7:10. In Isaiah, the word ‘tinneen’ describes the sea monster, Leviathan, while the same word in Exodus describes Aaron’s staff which transmuted into the snake that defeated Pharaoh’s magicians. The snake constellation, AtTinneen, was the location of the pole star, AthThuban (meaning the snake). The ancient Semitic peoples believed that the pole star was a deity or a central pole around which all of the constellations revolved. The pole star, now known as Polaris, was later moved to the constellation Ursa Minor making it appear that Draco was wrapped around Polaris, a pole star, which the Hebrews thought of as the celestial tree of life. The symbolism can be seen in the nehushtan (brazen serpent coiled around a pole) and in the references to YHWH seated on his throne surrounded by the host of heaven (1 Kings 22:19) as well as the Biblical portrayal of YHWH as a storm god whose image was a flying, fire breathing dragon in 2 Samuel 22:4-16:  These verses state that as YHWH descended from his starry throne to the earth: “There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it (vs 22:9)… He mounted the cherubim and flew; he soared on the wings of the wind.This image is repeated in Psalm 18:6-15:

  “In my distress I called to the Lord (Yhwh);I cried to my God for help. From his temple he heard my voice;my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,and the foundations of the mountains shook; they trembled because he was angry. 8 Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth,burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down;dark clouds were under his feet. 10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;he soared on the wings of the wind. 11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—the dark rain clouds of the sky. 12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,with hailstones and bolts of lightning. 13 The Lord thundered from heaven;the voice of the Most High resounded. 14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy, with great bolts of lightning he routed them. 15 The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at your rebuke, Lord (Yhwh),at the blast of breath from your nostrils.”

In 2 Samuel 22:9 & Psalm 18:6-15, YHWH’s portrait is almost identical to the description of the evil sea monster, Leviathan, in the Biblical Book of Job, Chapter 41:

12 “I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs,its strength and its graceful form.13 Who can strip off its outer coat?Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?14 Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth?15 Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together;16 each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.17 They are joined fast to one another;they cling together and cannot be parted.18 Its snorting throws out flashes of light;its eyes are like the rays of dawn.19 Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out.20 Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.21 Its breath sets coals ablaze,and flames dart from its mouth.”

Ancient creator gods, whose images were snakes, were very common in the ancient Near East. Enki was the ancient patron god of Eridu in Sumer, who begat the gods of the Sumerian pantheon. His image was the double helix snake, or caduceus. His cult spread throughout Mesopotamia and to the Canaanites, Hittites and Hurians. He became Ea in Akkadian mythology. Ea is thought by many scholars to be the origin of the name Ya/Yah which became the Hebrew god YHWH. Ea may be a corruption of the Semitic word ‘hy’ (life) or ‘hyh’ (snake). Ea’s constellation was Asiku, the field, which is currently the square of Pegasus.

It is also interesting that the Assyrian god, Ashur, was portrayed on cylindrical seals riding on the snake whom the Assyrians named Usumgallu, which means ‘prime venomous snake’ or dragon. The name Ashur is thought to be an Assyrian form of the Akkadian word, anshur which means sky pivot/sky axle or pole star. It appears that the Assyrians thought of the pole star as their chief deity. The pole star was guarded by the snake constellation, Draco or the snake. The reverse was true for the Hebrews who viewed the pole star as the tree of life and the snake constellation, Draco/YHWH, as their chief deity (2 Sam 22:4-16).

Microcosmic YHWH: The Hebrew god of Judah,  the divine sire who ‘begat’ the Judeans (Deut 32:18) and guardian of the tree of life; a combination of Yh & Hwh (‘Hawa’ is the West Semitic word for snake. ‘Hwy’ means to coil in Arabic.) making YHWH, which means both ‘Yah the living and Yah the snake god’. This god came from 3 different locations according to Deuteronomy 33:2 & Habakkuk 3:3. These directions were the Sinai, Seir and Paran where was located Teman. The Sinai was the desert through which the Hyksos and the Hebrews travelled upon their expulsions from Egypt. Seir was located in Edom, the land of the copper mines that produced the snake images and Paran, located in northwest Saudi Arabia, was the home of the Midianites, aka the Shasu of Yhw to the Egyptians. They are accredited for passing YHWH onto the Hebrews through Moses.

Snakes were often worshiped as gods of fertility, protection, healing, wisdom and immortality. Snakes were common phallic symbols, which often became the sacred animal of fertility gods like Wadd and YHWH.  According to Gen 9:1, Gen 9:7, Gen 16:10, Gen 17:2, Gen 17:20, Gen 22:17 etc., YHWH’s chief mission was to multiply the sons of Noah through his son Shem; especially through Shem’s descendant, Abraham. Abundance of descendants, fertile herds and crops would ensure their prosperity and ascendancy in the land. YHWH’s guarantee of fertility and protection for Shem’s descendants was predicated upon the exclusivity of their devotion to this god and obedience to his laws.

While YHWH’s role as a fertility god who begat the Judeans (Deut 32:18) was represented by the phallic symbol, the nehushtan or snake, other fertility gods as the Canaanite gods El and Baal wore their fertility symbols as crowns. These conical crowns are clear representations of the male member (penis). Fertility goddesses as El’s wife, Asherah, are often portrayed bare-breasted and clutching a snake.

Iah/Khonsu: An ancient Egyptian moon god who protected travelers and became associated with YHWH.  Khonsu’s name means ‘traveler’ in the ancient Egyptian language. According to the Wikipedia article, Iah:  “Iah ( Egyptian: J’h, transliterated as Yah, Jah, Jah(w), Joh or Aah ) is a god of the moon in the ancient Egyptian religion. His name simply means moon.” Yhw seems to be a variation of Jah(w), which would indicate that the Shasu of Yhw were a Semitic people who worshiped the Egyptian moon god Iah under the name Yah and Yhw. The conflation of the snake god with the moon god took place during their enslavement as miners and smiths under the Egyptians between the 14th & 12th Centuries BCE. The Shasu adopted Iah, who was assoicated with Khonsu, because of Khonsu’s role as a protector of travelers who traveled by night.The Shasu were not only miners, they were also caravaneers, who often traveled at night to avoid the intense heat of the summer sun.

Iah/Khonsu can be traced to the Old Kingdom where he became associated with Osiris, the Egyptian god of the underworld.  However, since this god was not popular until the Middle Kingdom when the Hyksos ruled Egypt, it is unclear whether the Iah of the Middle Kingdom was imported into Egypt by the Semitic Hyksos or was adopted into their religion from an Egyptian source. The name Iah and Yhw are spelled differently in hieroglyphics. This difference in spelling is due to the variations in pronunciation. The word ‘Yhw’, then, is likely an Egyptian transliteration of the Semitic pronunciation of this word. The name of the Egyptian moon god, Iah, is pronounced similarly to the ancient Semitic word ‘yah’ which many scholars have translated as both snake and life. Iah (Yah) meant moon in Egyptian but the word meant ‘snake’ and ‘life in the Proto-Semitc language found in the Negev inscriptions where the word is written as a snake’s head with a protruding forked tongue (>——O).  Perhaps, this is how the moon god became conflated with the snake god in the Semitic religion. This conflation of the moon and snake deities would also explain why Yhwh was worshiped in the form of a serpent or nehushtan (2 Kings 18:4 & Ezekiel 8:10-12). YHWH was especially associated with the moon as he appeared to Moses on Har Sinai or Moon Mountain (Ex 33:23). The sacred animal of the Semitic moon gods was the snake. The Hebrews worshiped YHWH in the form of the nehushtan or snake coiled around a pole or tree (2 King 18:4).

Nehushtan: (Number 21:8) The copper snake or viper idol coiled around a pole that cured the fleeing Israelites of snake bites. Because Moses was a Cainite/Kenite and master copper smith, Yhwh ordered Moses to forge this idol and carry it before the fleeing Hebrews. The idol symbolized the constellation Draco/YHWH guarding the pole star known to the Hebrews as the tree of life. The nehushtan was destroyed by Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:4) because it was worshiped as an idol of YHWH. This incident compares to Moses destroying the golden calf forged by his fellow master smith and brother, Aaron. The idol was more than likely an image of El as a bull (Ex 32:20) just as Moses’ nehushtan was an image of YHWH as a snake.

Nachash: The Biblical word for snake. This word is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘naga’ (meaning snake), and was most likely borrowed from the Vedic language of the Indo-Aryan rulers of the Mitanni kingdom. The ancient Semitic word for snake is ‘hyh’ or ‘hwh’. It is the Semitic word for snake from which the name YHWH is derived.

The Galilean Migdal Synagogue Stone which dates from 100 BCE to 50 AD:

On the Stone face:

2 trees of life: These are stylized images of the frankincense tree or the almond tree. Around the trunks of the trees, one can see a coiling snake.

Center of Stone: The flower of life, often referred to as the tree of life by the Hebrews. The flower contains 6 petals and may be a stylized depiction of the 5 petaled flowers on the branches of the frankincense tree. However, the almond tree can have up to 20% of its flowers as 6 petaled.

The ouroboros: the snake consuming its own tail surrounds the flower of life, also known as the tree of life to the Hebrews. The eye and the mouth of the snake are clearly visible on the right side of the flower. The ouroboros is ancient Egyptian in origin and is contained in “The Book of the Netherworld”. The ouroboros is a symbol of the cyclical nature of creation. Here, the ouroboros represents YHWH as the guardian of the tree of life.

The leaves: The 4 stylized leaves of the frankincense tree can be seen as heart shapes. These heart shapes can also represent the flared hoods of spitting cobras.

Geometric Designs: Cross inside diamond inside square: Stylized ankhs or the Egyptian key of life.

Menorah: stylized tree of life or frankincense tree. Also, a depiction of the Epigraphic South Arabic ‘H’ which is the same ‘H’ used to write the name YH in the Negev glyphs. The ‘Y’ is written as a stylized snake’s head and the ‘H’ is written as the forked tongue.  This image appears throughout the page cited below (>—–0). A good example is the third image under Section III, 2nd line, last image reading right to left, which is a snake head with protruding forked tongue.

Amphorae: Offering vessels, possibly wine offerings

Israel’s Horned Altars: (Exodus 29:12, 30:2, 38:2) According to the above Biblical chapters, the altars were designed and commissioned by YHWH. However, the altars resemble the horned Philistine altars and the horned Egyptian altars. Both the Philistines and the Egyptians were devoted to the worship of serpents.

Beersheba Altar which dates to the 8th Century BCE.

Israelite Horned Altar

Horns: The vertical protrusions on these altars are referred to as horns in the Old Testament:
“Altars with horns at each of their four corners are mentioned frequently in the Bible (Lev. 4:7, 18, 25; Ex. 29:12, 30:2; 38:2; 1 Kings 1:50; 2:28,..” For this reason, these protrusions are still described as horns. However, these ‘horns’ closely resemble the flaring hood of a spitting cobra or an Egyptian uraeus. (The uraeus or figure of an upright spitting cobra, was used as a symbol of sovereignty by the ancient Egyptians. Ref: Egyptian crown). Given the depiction of the snake on this altar, there is reason to conclude that the depiction of this viper’s hood on the altar’s 4 corners was the intent of the altar design.

According to this article: “Indeed the horns are the holiest part of the altar. The expiatory blood of the sacrifice was sprinkled seven times on the horns. A fugitive who managed to catch hold of the horns of the altar would obtain asylum (1 Kings 1:50).”  It is clear that the ancient Hebrews modeled altars similar to that of the ancient Egyptians who viewed the spitting cobra, Wadjet, as a protective deity. The Hebrews viewed YHWH similarly as the Egyptians viewed Wadjet. Grasping the image of this protective deity would be interpreted as demanding protection or asylum. Because of the snake image, or uraeus, on this altar, a few archaeologists have been reluctant to designate it as an Hebrew artifact. However, given the image of the ouroboros on the Migdal Synagogue stone, the Beersheba altar is definitely related to the cult of YHWH too.

Levite: Lwy (Ex 4:4 etc.) (Hebrew & Arabic): From the Hebrew root ‘lawah’ which means to twine, to coil. The word, levites, means ‘the coiling ones’. The name is a reference to the priestly caste of the snake god YHWH. The lawiat (Levites) are mentioned in the Minaean inscriptions as the priestly caste of Yah.

Nazarites: (Numbers 6) This was a cult of those especially devoted to the snake god, YHWH. The hair style for devotees of this sect can still be seen on the temples of the Hasidic Jews. There were many prohibitions a devotee had to adopt, among them the laws regarding his hair style: Lev 19:27: “ You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.”

This prohibition against cutting the sideburns allowed the hair to coil on either side of the face, thus advertising that the person’s hair, which was so styled, was a Yahwist. Semitic people have curly hair. Allowing it to grow causes it to coil, something like dreadlocks. In ancient times, when YHWH was a snake cult, such a hair style would indicate that the person so coifed was a follower of the great serpent. Nazarite rules are as follows:

“Num 6:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Num 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man
or woman shall separate [themselves] to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate [themselves] unto the LORD: Num 6:3 He shall separate [himself] from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink anyliquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. Num 6:4 All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. Num 6:5 All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth [himself] unto the LORD, he shall be holy, [and] shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. Num 6:6 All the days that he separateth [himself] unto the LORD he shall come at no dead body…Num 6:9 And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it.”

The prohibition against intoxicating liquors had to do with being in one’s right mind when before God. However, this does not explain the prohibition against vinegar, grapes and raisins. The non-intoxicating fruit of the vine prohibitions may have to do with the vine which twines and coils like a snake. Eating from the plant that imitates one’s god may have been seen as blasphemous.

The second prohibition was the cutting of the hair. As I mentioned before, the hair of Semites tends to be curly and as it grows, it coils like the snake god. Growing the dreadlocks would be an indication that the Nazarite had dedicated himself to the snake god because his hair imitated the coils of a snake. And since the snake was associated with healing (poisonous snakes in the frankincense tree which was an healing herbal), the hair would become a source of health and strength while the person was totally dedicated to the snake god.

The third prohibition was that the Nazarite should not associate himself in anyway with death. The reason for this is obvious. The snake god was a god of life and healing. Associating oneself with death would abrogate the healing and other powers imparted by the snake god to his devotee. This is why, when a Nazarite comes into contact with death, he must shave his head because his days as a Nazarite are over.

Samson: (Judges:13-16) was a Judge of Israel and a Nazarite who lost his strength when Delilah, a temptress, had the symbol of his dedication to the snake god YHWH shaved from his head: Jdg 16:19 : ”She made him sleep upon her knees; and she called a man, and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to torment him, and his strength left him.” His strength returned when his hair began to grow and coil again. The epic of Samson and his great powers is definitely a survivor of the snake cult of YHWH.

Seraphim: (Isaiah 6:2,6) Biblical angels. The name derives from the root seraph which means a poisonous serpent.

Flying serpent: (Isaiah 14:29): Genus Chrysopelea, are native to India, southern China, Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. These gliding vipers seem to have been at home on the southern coast of Arabia as stories of flying vipers abound in Yemenese and Omani folklore. Herodotus describes these flying serpents in (iii 107):. These flying serpents are depicted in hieroglyphic reliefs. Yhwh is depicted as such a flying viper in Psalm 18 where he is described as soaring ‘on the wings of the wind’. According to Ezekiel 8:10, ‘remes’, the Hebrew word for reptiles, were depicted on the temple walls.

Macrocosmic Leviathan: Sea monster which swam in the heavenly waters as the Egyptian constellation Sobek. The microcosmic Leviathan swam in the great sea that the Hebrews believed surrounded the circle of land upon which they and others dwelt. A description of Leviathan as a fire breathing sea monster can be found in Job 41:9-19. A comparable description of YHWH as a fire breathing astral dragon can be found in 2 Sam 22:9 & Psalm 18:6-15.

Sobek: Egyptian creator and crocodile god who crawled out of the pre-creation watery chaos (Nu or Nun) to create creation. Sobek was linked to the Egyptian composite goddess Taweret who was often depicted as a hippopotamus/crocodile goddess whose spine and tail were the crocodile god, Sobek. According to the constellations depicted in the tomb of Seti I, Sobek is depicted, not as a part of the goddess Taweret, but as a separate constellation hugging the back of the goddess. The Egyptians located the Sobek constellation in the ‘handle’ of the Big Dipper (Ursa Major). The Hebrews thought that the Sobek constellation threatened to encroach on YHWH’s constellation (Draco) in which case, Sobek was seen as threatening the macrocosmic tree of life (Constellation Ursa Minor). YHWH is described in Genesis:1 as also appearing from the watery chaos to create creation. YHWH split the waters into two parts; the waters that covered the earth and the waters that covered the heavens: Gen 1:6: “Then God said: “Let there be a space between the water, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth. (Gen 1:7) And that is what happened. God made this space to separate the water of the earth from the waters of the heavens.”

Microcosmic Leviathan: Job: 41, Psalms 74:14 & 104:26, Isaiah 27:1 – The sea monster and enemy of YHWH that is variously described as a crocodile (esp. in Job), serpent and dragon in the above verses. According to Isaiah 27:1, an end-times conflict will take place between the viper YHWH and the sea monster Leviathan:In that day, YHWH will punish with his sword-his fierce, great and powerful sword-Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.”

Ningizzida: (aka Ningishzida): The Sumerian divine snake guardian of the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:9) who is often portrayed as a man with 2 snakes protruding from his shoulders as well as a caduceus (double helix snake wound around a pole or tree). His name means ‘guardian of the good tree’ in Sumerian. The Sumerians worshipped him as a god of both healing and magic. In the Bible, Ningizzida’s tree of knowledge represented the knowledge of good and evil magic. Because of his human alter ego, this serpent was able to speak to his fellow garden residents. He attempted to share with them knowledge of healing and magic which would have made them immortal (Gen 3:4). This knowledge would have made these inhabitants divine equals of both Ningizzida and his fellow resident divinity, YHWH (Gen 3:5 & 22).  YHWH opposed this scheme, crippled Ningizzida and expelled Adam & Eve from the garden (Gen 3:14 & 23).

Mushussu: The Babylonian mythical dragon snake with legs who was depicted on the 6th Century BCE Ishtar gate at Babylon. Mushussu was portrayed guarding the snake god Ningizzida as early as the 21st Century BCE. He seems to have become syncretized with the god Ningizzida in the Genesis tale. In Genesis 3:14 this serpent guardian of the tree of knowledge is implied as possessing limbs which YHWH amputated causing the serpent to forever crawl on its belly and eat dust. This syncretized serpent resembled the Egyptian creator, crocodile god, Sobek.

Macrocosmic Tree of Life: Constellation Ursa Minor (Little Dipper) which is surrounded by the serpent constellation Draco who was known to the Hebrews as YHWH.

Microcosmic Tree of Life: (Genesis 2:9) The frankincense tree which is grown on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. These trees were reported by Herodotus to be difficult to harvest because they were infested with flying poisonous snakes. The resin of this tree was very expensive and highly prized for its psychoactive or trance inducing qualities, antibiotic properties and its sweet scent. The product of the myrrh tree, grown in the same area was also highly sought after for its healing properties.  Myrrh was used in the mummification process in Egypt. Frankincense and myrrh are mildly psychoactive. Incense was burned by the priests to induce trances in which they communicated with their gods. The cloud of incense hovering about the tabernacle or holy of holies was a sign that the god was present (Ex 40:34 & 35). The trance state was enhanced by cannabis (qanehbesem-Ex 30:23) and such Biblical musical instruments as  drums, flutes, harps, bells etc.  (see Dan  3:5 & 7). Cannabis was introduced into ancient Canaan by the conquering Assyrians who imported the plant and seeds from the Scythians who were known to the Biblical authors as Gomer (Gen 10:2) and Ashkenaz (Gen 10:3). According to Biblical texts, Gomer was the grandson of Noah thru his son Japheth and Ashkenaz was Noah’s great grandson thru Gomer.  Japheth was the Biblical progenitor of the Aryans (Indo-Europeans aka Biblical Javin) and Scythians (grass nomads of Central Asia or Biblical Ashkenaz).

Menorah: Hebrew meaning ‘lampstand’. The menorah is an ancient symbol for the ‘tree of life’ which originated as the frankincense tree. The menorah can be found in the Old Negev inscriptions.

Beth Shan: There are numerous Bronze and Iron Age sites which indicate a widespread serpent cult. Beth Shan is the best example where one can find the artifacts associated with these serpent cults. Other serpent worship sites in Israel are Beth Shemesh, Gezer, Megiddo, Jericho, Hazor and Gideon.

Macrocosmic Adam:  The constellation Bootes known to the Sumerians as the constellation Enlil. Enlil was the patron of farmers. This constellation is located above the constellations Virgo and Serpens. In Genesis 3:7, YHWH curses Adam to toil in the cursed soil from which he will eat; meaning Adam will live the life of a farmer.

Microcosmic Adam: (Gen 2:19) Hwh’s (Eve’s) human mate who, according to the Bible, was created from ‘adamah’ which is Hebrew for red dirt. According to Isaiah 51:1 and Deuteronomy 32:18, Adam and his descendants were sired by ‘the Rock’ (tsur in Hebrew), another name for  YHWH. The Hebrews paired Adam with 2 goddesses associated with snakes; Eve or Hwh in the Bible and Lilith in the Babylonian Talmud. Lilith also appears in the Biblical Book Isaiah: 34:13-15.

Macrocosmic Hwh (Eve) (Gen 3:14,15): In these verses, YHWH threatens both Eve and the serpent that tricked her into eating the forbidden fruit: “YHWH said to the serpent because you have done this, cursed are you above all the cattle and all of the wild animals; you shall crawl on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you (the serpent) and the woman (Eve), between her offspring and your offspring, he (her male offspring) will bruise you in your head and you shall bruise him in his heel.” The reference in these verses is to the constellation Virgo whose feet are pointed toward the constellation Serpens (the Serpent). Above both constellations is the constellation Bootes. This constellation was known as Enlil to the Sumerians. Enlil was the patron of farmers, the profession of Adam and his offspring.

Asherah/Athirat as Eve/Hwh: Asherah is the goddess mentioned throughout the Old Testament. She began her reign as an Aegean goddess of the seas which explains why her name means ‘sea treader’ in the Canaanite language of Ugarit. This goddess was merged with the Egyptian goddess, Hathor, during the Egyptian occupation of the Negev and Edom. The Egyptians named this merged goddess, Qetesh; the Egyptian pronunciation of the Hebrew word ‘qodesh’ which means holy. As a goddess adopted by the Semites who traded with the Aegean Islanders and were occupied by the Egyptians, she became the consort of El, the Queen of Heaven and the Creatrix of the gods. Asherah was also incorporated into the character of Eve/Hwh. Her name, Asherah, is often translated as ‘groves’ in the King James Bible (See Ex 34:13, Deut 7:5, 12:3, Jdg 3:7, 1 K 14:15 etc., etc.). The sycamore tree was sacred to Hathor/Qetesh which explains the presence of ‘poles’ or ‘groves’ next to the Hebrew altars. The tree of knowledge of good and evil (tree of wisdom or knowledge of magic and the healing arts), the serpent and Hwh (meaning serpent) also represented the goddess Athirat/Asherah, wife of El/Baal/YHWH/Wadd.

Hawa or Chawa (Eve) was an alternate name for Athirat/Asherah/Ilat, who was represented by the sacred sycamore tree or Asherah pole beside the altars of both Baal and El. In Serabit El Hadem she was known as Dat Bathani or Lady of the Serpent. In Phoenicia she was known as ‘rbt chawa ‘lt’ or Lady Snake Goddess. She was identified with the Egyptian goddess Hathor by the Kenite/Midianite miners at Timna. Asherah/Athirat as the goddess of Wisdom and consort of El/YHWH is described in Proverbs 8:22-31 and 9:1-6.

Athirat/Asherah, as a co-creator or demiurge, would have been equal to El/YHWH since she was uncreated and with him in the beginning (see Proverbs 8). As Hwh, she shared the same name as YHWH (het & chet are interchangeable in Semitic languages) which was a confirmation of her equal status. The epithet assigned to YHWH, ahyah asher ahyah, which is often translated as ‘I am that I am’, may be a formula praising Asherah. The middle word, ashr, may be a truncated form of her name which is spelled Ashrh in Hebrew. The ‘h’ suffix may have been chopped off by the Masoretes or the original Hebrew authors who then co-opted a phrase of praise to Asherah and applied it to YHWH.  The Bible contains numerous verses which were originally written in praise of the Canaanite gods and applied them to YHWH. Psalm 82 is an excellent example of this use of Canaanite mythology in the Bible.

YHWH, like Asherah, was also represented by a serpent (nehushtan) which indicated that both gods began as serpent cults associated with trees.  So, there was rivalry between the patriarchal serpent cult of YHWH and the corresponding matriarchal serpent cult of Athirat/Hwh. Yahwists were rigid proponents of ‘patriarchism’. Hwh/Athirat had to go, so the authors of Genesis had YHWH cripple her ophic icon and expel her from the Garden of Eden to live in pain and die a mortal death. That left YHWH, the patriarchal serpent creator god, who still shared her name, in control of both her icon snake and her tree. Asherah/Athirat had her own priestly cult called the Qadeshot meaning the ‘holy ones’. YHWH’s priestly cult was the Lawiat (Levites) meaning the ‘coiling ones’.

During the reign of the Judean King, Manasseh (687-642 BCE), the goddess shared the Jerusalem temple with her husband, YHWH  (2 Kings 21:7). The Judean King, Josiah (641-609 BCE) later expelled the goddess’ icon pole from the temple (2 Kings 23:6) just as King Hezekiah (715-686 BCE) had earlier ejected YHWH’s icon pole, the nehushtan, from the Jerusalem temple (2 Kings 18:4).

Microcosmic Hwh (Eve) (Gen 3:20): Snake goddess married to Adam in the Garden of Eden. The name ‘chwh’ is referred to in the snake spells written by Western Semites and located in the Pharaoh Unas’ pyramid. The Pharaoh Unas ruled from 2375 to 2345 BCE. The snake spells were translated and transliterated by Prof. Richard Steiner a Semitist and a scholar of Northwest Semitic languages, Jewish Studies and Near Eastern texts. His work has focused on texts from as early as the Egyptian Pyramid texts to as late as medieval biblical interpretation. He is a professor of Semitics at the Bernard Revel Graduate School of Yeshiva University in New York City. Professor Steiner transliterated and translated these hieroglyphics as im im xw (xw is the phonetic spelling of Hawa) or mother, mother snake. Hwy (pronounced Hawa) is an Arabic word which means to coil.

YGhWTh & YAWQ: Another form of the name, Ya,which can be found in the ancient gods of Yemen. Yaghowth (YGhWTh) and Ya’uq (YAWQ) were worshiped respectively in the form of a lion and of a horse. Gods were often worshiped in the forms of the animals sacred to them. According to Ibn Al Kalbi in his Book of Idols, Yaghowth was worshiped by the tribes in Madhij, Yemen and the tribes in Jurash located in the Saudi Arabian Asir province bordering Yemen.  Yaghowth is a theophoric name comprised of Ya/Yh, the name of the god, and ‘ghowth’ which means to aid, succor. Yaghowth means ‘the god Ya helps or aids.’ Ibn Al Kalbi further states that Ya’uq was worshiped by the tribes in Khaywan, which is located about 100 miles north of the capital of Yemen, Sanaa.  Ya’uq is a similar theophoric name comprised of the god Ya or Yh (the ‘h’ was pronounced as vowel in the ancient South Arabian languages) and the word ‘uq’ which means to prevent (harm). Ya’uq means Ya/Yh prevents (harm). According to J.A. Montgomery in his book, Arabia & the Bible, Ya/Yh was also worshiped by the Mineans or Ma’in, who also worshiped the moon god, Wadd. Montgomery further states that Ya/Yh was the 2nd name of Wadd.  Wadd is associated with Yah in the old Negev inscriptions, one of which reads: Wdd, flta, ilyt, aby, Yah or Wadd, seducer, buttock, my father, Yh. Both Wadd and YHWH are associated with the ‘buttock’ description. YHWH’s hinder parts (buttocks) were shown to Moses on Mount Sinai according to Exodus 33:23.  Wadd’s sacred animal was the snake.

Minaeans: (Gen 10:7) Known as Dedan in the Bible, the Minaeans were a caravan tribe of incense traders that originated in Hadhramaut and settled along the Western trade route. Their language is known as Madhabic or Minaic.  According to the American Journal of Archaeology, Vol XI, 1896, p. 113,  Madhabic inscriptions left by the Minaeans date this confederation to 1500 BCE. However, current scholars as Andrey Korotayev, PhD, Manchester University, date the early Madhabic inscriptions to between the 12th & 8th Century BCE. According to Dr. J.A. Montgomery, the Minaean gods were referred to as Elohim, one of the Biblical names of the Hebrew god. The Minaeans also worshiped Yah, a shortened form of YHWH, and their priests were called levites (lawiat). The Minaeans also shared with the Hebrews  the sacrificial cart (mekonah), the cauldron (mabsal), a feast (haj), the tithe (ma’ser), the congregation (kahal), the sin-offering (hattath),  etc.. Minaean trade routes overlapped that of the Midianites, who shared many of the same beliefs.  According to Minaean inscriptions, prior to the collapse of the Minaean kingdom circa 690 BCE, they possessed a colony at Musran located in Midianite territory. Most Biblical historians cite the Midianites as the people who transferred YHWH to the Hebrews.

El & Wadd: Closely associated with the Egyptian god, Iah and the Semitic god, YHWH were the Semitic moon gods, El  and Wadd. El, the Creator God of the Canaanites and the Israelites, was associated with the bull whose horns resembled the crescent moon. El was known to the Canaanites as Toru Ilu or El the Bull.  In the Old Negev inscriptions,  El’s written name is depicted as a bull’s head (aleph) accompanied by an ox goad (lamed) just as Yh’s name  resembled a snake’s head with a protruding forked tongue in these same inscriptions. Both names were written depictions of the animal forms in which these 2 gods were worshiped; El as a bull and Yh as a snake.

There is not much known about Wadd, the Minaean god of love and lust, except for his moon and snake associations. Wadd’s icon was the snake and there is an indication in the Negev inscriptions that Wadd’s icon snake was Yhwh. In the Old Negev inscription, Wdd flta, ilyt, aby, yh, Wadd was addressed as both aby (father) and Yh or Yhwh. YHWH was addressed as both El and Father.   Isaiah 63:16 says of YHWH,  “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Yahweh, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.”   Isaiah 45:3 says, “And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, Yahweh, which call thee by thy name, am the Elohim (El/god) of Israel.” According to Isa 63:16, Yhwh was the patriarchal creator god of the Judeans.

The Minaeans also worshiped El. There is a strong indication that El was perceived by these Semites as the crescent moon and Wadd as the full moon. In Arabic, the crescent moon is known as al hilal and the full moon is known as al badr. The word hilal (meaning crescent) derives from the root ‘hl’ (halla) which, among its many meanings, is to sacrifice (an animal to a god). ‘Hl’ also means to begin, rejoice, shine, to intone. The word, badr (full moon), means to rush, hurry, impulse, stirring. Wadd as a fertility god was most likely associated with the full moon which was thought to promote impetuousness and strong feelings; in other words, lust. El may have been associated with the crescent moon. As the creator, he would be responsible for the new beginnings and for sacrifices as well as rejoicing and incantations. So, it seems that some ancient Semitic peoples as the Minaeans and the Canaanites worshiped both gods as different phases of the moon. All three of the gods, El, YHWH and Wadd were coupled with the fertility goddess Asherah, who was known as Ilat to the Arabs.

Ancient Mesopotamian cultures associated moon gods with control of fresh and salt water and rain. These ancient cultures connected the interaction between the moon and water when they observed that the phases of the moon were accountable for the ebb and flow of the tides. The foam or spume on the waves became equated with foamy ejaculate. The ancients surmised that since the moon god controlled the ebb and flow of spume, he must also control the ebb and flow of human spume or ejaculate.  Ancient cultures viewed fertility as a male dominated role. Because ova were unknown,  women were regarded as vessels which held the ejaculate or seed until it matured. Because, these cultures believed that the moon god controlled human spume, he was worshiped as a fertility god.

The Hebrew God & the Phases of the Moon: The Hebrew god who ‘begat’ the Judeans (Deut 32:18) was worshiped under 2 names: El/Elohiym and Ya/Yh/Yhwh. El was also known as Sin, or the crescent moon and Yh, also known as Wadd, was the god of the full moon.  El was known to the Canaanites as Toru Ilu or Bull El. According to the Canaanite myth, El dwelt on Mount Layl or Night Mountain. El acquired his sacred animal, the bull, because of the resemblance of the bull’s horns to the crescent or sickle shaped moon. This lunar phase begins after the dark phase when the crescent first becomes visible. During this waxing phase, the lunar orb is sometimes lit by a phenomena known as earth shine. During this event, the crescent is brightly illuminated by the sun while the remaining moon face is dimly lit by the earth’s reflective light making it appear that the moon’s face is veiled.  During this lunar phase, the citizens of Ugarit referred to El as ‘ltpn’ or ‘lutpani’ in Hebrew which means veiled face. A version of the name Ltpn appears in the Bible as Lwtn (Gen 36:20) which means veiled. To the Semites, it would appear that El was displaying his weapons of power and protection, i.e. his horns, while veiling his face. An ancient, massive, crescent shaped monument dating to 3000BCE has been unearthed in Israel. Israeli archaeologists have assigned this monument of the crescent shaped moon to the Assyrian moon god, Sin. However, the monument most probably represents the Israelite god of the crescent moon, Toru ilu (Bull El) whose Biblical name is Elohim.

The fully waxed moon, or the full moon was associated with fertility and with genitalia. For this reason, Wadd’s sacred symbol was the snake aka Yah according to the Negev inscriptions. One of Yhwh’s alternate names was Yah according to Psalm 68:4. The serpent is a universal phallic symbol for fertility. This phase of the moon was worshiped as Wadd who was known to the Hebrews as Yhwh.

The above lunar image was imagined as a dragon by the Chinese and as a viper by the Semites. The lunar image displays YHWH as a viper spewing venom while his serpent body coils around the tree of life. His tail terminates above his head.

The Judeans always began their feasts when the moon was full. In the Negev inscriptions, Wadd is referred to as ‘ilyt’ meaning backside or buttock and in Exodus 33:23, Yhwh displays his ‘achowr’ or backside to Moses. Moses is only allowed to see Yhwh’s backside because the moon’s face is either too dark to be perceived or only dimly lit. The above interpretation explains the necessity for the communication between Moses and Yhwh-Elohiym to take place on Har Sinai (aka Mount Horeb) or Moon Mountain; a mountain sacred to the moon god. It also explains why Moses was only allowed to see Yhwh-Elohiym’s backside (Ex 33:23) and was forbidden to see his face (Ex 33:20).

So, Toru Ilu or Bull El/El’s face can only be faintly seen when the earth’s reflective light dimly illuminates the surface. Therefore, his sacred face can never be fully viewed. During this phase, El was referred to as ‘Lutpani’ or Veiled Face. However, the moon’s backside is brightly illuminated during the full moon phase.  During this phase of the moon, Wadd/Yhwh’s procreative powers would illuminate the earth.  These procreative powers were greatly enhanced when Wadd/Yhwh as the full moon (wrapped with light) was seen as riding upon storm clouds which are described as his chariots in Psalm 104:1-3: “Praise the Lord, my soul. Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty./ The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;  he stretches out the heavens like a tent and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters./ He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind. He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.”

It appears from the above research, that the Hebrews viewed the different phases of the moon as the result of the moon rotating from front to back or head to rear and then back again. In other words, Bull El would be confronting the Hebrews but hiding his face during the dark and the waxing stages. As Yhwh, his rear parts would become fully visible during the full moon phase and then gradually disappear as he turned back around during the waning and dark phases of the moon.  Thus, the 2 gods, the Canaanite god El and the Hebrew/Midianite god, Yhwh, were fused to become the Biblical god Yhwh Elohim which represented the moon in its waxing and waning stages. Also, Yhwh Elohim’s role as a fertility god seems to become enhanced when he rides the storm clouds, scatters his semen (rain) and blesses the barren land and its inhabitants with fecundity, which was symbolized by both the bull and the snake.

Official Merger of El & YHWH: The northern Samaritans began their lunar year with the crescent moon, but the southern Judeans began their lunar year with the full moon.  The Samaritans (the designation for the Assyrian defeated Israelites) considered themselves to be the descendants of the northern Israelites whose chief god was Toru Ilu or Bull El who was depicted wearing the horned crown representing the crescent moon. (Refer to the Wikipedia image) . El was worshipped in the form of his sacred animal the bull calf which represented the new born/new crescent moon. This bull calf image was anathema to the Judeans whose god had become Yh/YHWH. According to Hosea 8:5-6: “Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocence? For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.”

On the other hand, before the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah, the Judeans  worshipped the full moon Wadd, whose icon was Yhwh, the nehusthan or snake.  After Wadd’s role was eclipsed by Yhwh, Yhwh was worshiped as both the god of the full moon and as the snake; that is until Hezekiah, king of Judah, destroyed the copper image or nehushtan. According to 2Ki 18:4: “He (King Hezekiah) removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.” However, as is indicated by the presence in Israel and Judea of theophoric names containing the names of both gods El and Yah, it is evident that both gods were honored in Israel and Judea. The task of merging the two gods became somewhat easier when both iconic images, the bull calf and the snake, were condemned and destroyed. Because Israel had been defeated and destroyed by the Assyrians, the Judeans were able to favor their god, YHWH, over their northern neighbor’s god, El.

According to Dr. James Montgomery in his book, Arabia & the Bible, as well as the old Negev inscriptions, Yh was another name for Wadd, the god of the full moon. His image appears as a snake on both the Beersheba altar and the Migdal Synagogue stone as well in various cultic artifacts found throughout Israel.  The 10th Century King Jeroboam of Israel marked Israel’s southern boundaries with idols of the golden calf.  300 years later Josiah (649-609 BCE) destroyed these images of Toru Ilu (Bull El).  Earlier (c. 720 BCE), Assyria had defeated the northern kingdom of Israel and caused a massive emigration of Israelites into Judea.  Hezekiah (715-686 BCE), king of Judea, sensing impending civil unrest between the Bull El worshiping Israelites and the nehustan devotees of YHWH attempted to merge these 2 populations by ejecting the nehushtan from the Jerusalem temple and banning the fashioning of idols.  (Although, according to the Book of Ezekiel (622-570 BCE) 8:10-12, images of the nehushtan as well as other idols were still being worshiped during his tenure as a prophet.). Sometime, during the reigns of  Hezekiah and Josiah, the gods’ names must have been officially merged so that Toru Ilu or Bull El and Yh/Wadd became YHWH Elohiym or a single lunar deity, whose merged name indicated 2 phases of the moon. (All forms of astral worship were later banished as is indicated by Deut 17:2-5. This prohibition followed the Persian occupation and was interpolated into older Biblical verses. The Persian deity, Ahura Mazda, was aniconic. The Persian religion and Persian negative attitudes regarding images of deities greatly influenced the Hebrews.). Also, the myth of the united kingdom of Israel was likely forged at this time as well, and became the official history of the Assyrian exiled Israelites (now called Samaritans) and the Judeans.

The official merging of the 2 gods and the 2 people, the Canaanite descended Israelites and the Cainite/Kenite descended Judeans, whose ancestors can be traced to the southern Kenite clans (Gen 5:9, Ex 2:21) became the very confused official genealogy of Biblical Canaan. Also, at this time, Hilkiah, a priest who served Josiah, mysteriously ‘discovered’ in the Jerusalem temple the long lost Torah scroll revealed to Moses (2K 22:8). The united kingdom myth, that Judea and Israel were once united under David & Solomon, the united god myth, and the ‘discovery’ of Moses’ scroll ploy all seem to have been political efforts to merge the 2 religions and 2 populations into a cohesive political entity. The merger was superficial. The Samaritans considered themselves to be the true descendants of the tribes of Jacob and the Judeans as interlopers from Persia. Conversely, the Judeans considered themselves to be the true Hebrews and accused the Samaritans of being cutheans or of Assyrian origin.  This controversy continues today.

Sin: Sumerian, Akkadian and Babylonian moon god whose sacred animal was the Bull. Also, it is the name of the area where was located Mount Sinai. Sin means moon in Akkadian. According to Strong’s Hebrew Bible Dictionary, the Hebrew meaning of the word ‘sin’ is of uncertain derivation and meaning. However, the Arabic word ‘sn’ derives from the root ‘sn’ and means to sharpen, to hone, as well as to introduce, enact and/or establish a law. The noun ‘sn’ means introduction, enactment and issuance of a law. The Arabic meaning of the word ‘sn/sin’ from which derives the word ‘Sinai’ does not appear in the Bible, so one cannot apply the Arabic meaning of this word to the biblical word ‘Sinai’ or any of its Hebrew derivatives. However, the Arabic meaning of Mount Sinai, i.e., the Mountain of Issuance of the Law, can be applied to the two verses in the Quran (23:20 & 95:2) which specifically mention Mount Sinai.

Har Sinai: Moon Mountain (Hebrew thru the Akkadian loan word, ‘sin’ )/Mountain of Issuance of the Law (Arabic)- the mountain where Moses received the Law or Torah from YHWH.

In the Bible, the gods, El, YHWH, Sin and Wadd are conflated into YHWH-Elohim. According to Exd 16:1:” Then they set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the sons of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, …Exd 19:11:   And be ready against the third day: for the third day  YHWH will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai…Exd 19:17:  And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with Elohiym; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”

In the above verses, the sacred mountain for Elohim-YHWH is Moon Mountain or Mount Sinai.  Yh and Wadd are conflated in the Old Negev inscriptions. Wadd/Yh is the full moon and El/Sin is the crescent moon. According to Exodus, the conflated god, El/Sin-YHWH/Wadd, met the Hebrews in the Wilderness of the Moon on Moon Mountain or Mount Sinai from whence he issued the Law.

Israel/Ysrael (Hebrew):  Israel is derived from the Hebrew word ‘srh’ and the word ‘el’. ‘Srh’ means to have power and ‘el’ means god. The name means El rules or El has power. A similar name, Ysrabaal, was inscribed by the Minaeans (ancient Arabian tribal confederation) at Madain Saleh in Arabia.  Israel was the name of the northern kingdom, whose most prominent dynasty was the Omride Kings. It was conquered by the Assyrian King Shulman Asharid III (Shalmanesser in the Bible) in 846 BCE  as well as the Assyrian kings Tiglath Pileser and his son, Shulman Asharid V, in 724 BCE.

Israel may be the composite name of a god in which the name of the god is appended to an attribute: Ysr + el or El rules or El has power. A similar construction can be seen in the name of the Minaean god, Yasrabaal, which is a combination of Ysr + baal. This type of composite name can also be seen in the names of the ancient Yemenese gods, Yaghowth (YGhWTh) and Yauq (YAWQ). Both names contain 4 letters as does the name YHWH. YGhWTh means Ya succors and YAWQ means Ya prevents (harm). YHWH (YHWY in Arabic-the Hebrew ‘h’suffix often becomes a ‘y’ in Arabic), when translated in this manner in Arabic, means Ya embraces, Ya encompasses or Ya coils up. The animals sacred to YGhWth and YAWQ were respectively the lion and the horse. The animal sacred to YHWH was the serpent as evidenced by the nehushtan (copper snake coiling around a pole).

Yasrabel:  The name Yasrabel/Ysrabaal was inscribed by the Minaeans (Arab confederation) at Madain Saleh in the northwest of the Arabian Peninsula.  Qarnaw in northwest Yemen was the second capital of the Minaean Kingdom founded in the 6th Century BCE. The original capital was Yathil (modern Beraqish), which was also located in Yemen. However, according to inscriptions, the tribal confederation dates to before 1000 BCE. Yasra means to rule, to have power. Baal (Bel) means lord and in early Hebrew history, El was also referred to as Baal. Yasrabal means the Lord rules or the Lord has power. According to the 1912 edition of the American Journal of Archaeology, Vol XVI, p.566:  A Minaean inscription: “In R Sem XX 1912, pp 79-80, J. Schiffer publishes a Minaean inscription from Madain Saleh, now in the museum of Cinquantinaire at Brussels. It contains an account of a sacrifice offered in the honor of the god Yasrabel of Garbat.” Garbat is a transliteration of the word ‘qrb’ which means near or approximate. Garbat refers to a group of Minaean dominated villages located in an 8 mile stretch in Wadi El Qura or the valley of the villages. These villages are located in the Hejaz region of NW Arabia in the region of present day Al Ula. Wadi El Qura was dominated by the Minaeans (Biblical Dedan). The Minaean trade with Tyre is mentioned in Ezekiel 27:15,20 & in Isaiah 21:13. Tyre was connected with the northern kingdom of Israel through a marriage alliance between the Israelite king, Ahab, and the Tyrian princess, Jezebel (1 K 16:31).  According to 2 Sam 5:11 & 1 K 5-7, Tyre also established trade relations with the Hebrew tribe of Judah whose capital was Jerusalem, where the Bible locates King Solomon’s legendary temple-palace complex; a construction that lacks archaeological validity.

Judah/Yhwdh  & the Origin of the Levites: The name of the Biblical era southern state in Canaan and of the 2nd son of Jacob & Leah. The name appears to be a theophoric combination of the gods Yh & Wdd or Wd in Hebrew, which means Yah (YHWH) is Wadd. (The Biblical name Joel is a similar double theophoric name, which means Ya is El. According to Dr. J.A. Montgomery in his book, Arabia & the Bible, the Minaeans worshiped Yah under the name Wdd, which was considered to be Yah’s 2nd name. Yah may have began as Wadd’s icon snake before he eclipsed him to become the sole deity. The Negev inscription which reads: ‘Wdd flta, ilyt, aby, yah’, also confirms that the early Hebrews, who carved this inscription in 1200 BCE, worshiped Wadd as Yah.).  This interpretation is confirmed in the names of Judah’s 2 most famous monarchs; Dwd (David) and his son, Ydydyh (Jedidiah aka Solomon/Shlomo). Both Dwd’s and Ydydyh’s names contain the name of Wadd or ‘wd’/’yd’ in Hebrew. It appears that ‘wd’ is also contained in the name Yhwdh, which in Hebrew is translated as ‘praised’. However, Yhwdh is obviously a double theophoric name containing both gods, Yh & Wd. The final ‘h’ is a noun suffix.  Yhwd, another city of the same name located in the territory of the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:45), is a variation on the name of Yhwdh. In the case of the city of Yhwd, the ‘h’ suffix is not included in the spelling of the name. This alternate spelling affirms that the original meaning of Yhwdh/Yhwd was Yah is Wadd.  Dan’s tribal icon was the viper. According to Genesis 49:17: “Dan shall be a serpent in the way, a viper by the path that bites the horse’s heel so that the rider falls backward.” So, it is little wonder that Dan’s tribal territory included a city named after the god, Yah/Wadd, whose icon was the nehushtan or serpent coiled around a pole.

The meaning is clear.  Yhwdh does not mean praised, but Yah is Wadd. In other words, they are two names for the same god; Yh/Wd.  Yhwdh was dedicated to Yh, who was Wadd, which explains 2 Sam 8:18 which says that Dwd’s sons were priests. Judah was the center of worship for Yh/Wd; and Dwd (D’Wd or devoted to Wadd) was the king/chief priest, as was his son, Ydydyh, and as such, was a Levite. The name ‘Wd/Wdd’ was obviously eliminated as an alternative name for Yah. The substitution of the alternate name for Wadd, Yh, was most likely caused by the numerous trade route wars the Hebrews engaged in with their fellow Semites to the south (Jeremiah 25 & Ezekiel 25). However, both gods, Yh and Wadd (Yhwh may have begun as Wadd’s icon snake), have snake associations, so, just like the Minaeans, the priesthood retained its ophic associations in the name lwy/Levite meaning the coiling ones. Dwd’s name retained the alternate name of the divinity when he, Yh, was also worshiped as Wadd. It is obvious that the Judeans were the origin of the Hebrew priestly caste or Levites, which seems to have been borrowed from the Minaeans or Dedan in Genesis.

Macrocosmic Jacob, who wins a wrestling match with YHWH according to Gen 32. The Biblical wrestling match is a reference to the constellation Ophiuchus in which this god wrestles with the snake constellation, Serpens. Jacob was injured in his “thigh” (a euphemism for penis) and was able to sire only one more child after his injury.

Microcosmic Jacob: (Genesis chapters 25-50) Arabic meaning ‘Ya established succession’ or ‘Ya granted many sons’- Hebrew meaning: ‘heel catcher meaning oath thief’. His name in Hebrew refers to a Biblical episode (Gen 25) in which Jacob is born holding the heel of his twin, Esau. Jacob later tricks his twin into giving him his inheritance. Heel is a euphemism for testicle, which is a reference to the oath of the giving of the hand where the parties involved grab each other’s testicles and swear an oath.

Esau: (Gen 25 etc.) Esau is a personification of the land of Edom.  Esau , also known as Edom (Gen 25:30), is portrayed as the elder twin of Jacob and eponymous ancestor of the Edomites (inhabitants of Edom or the land of the Shasu of Yhw). The name Esau in Hebrew derives from the root ‘sh’ar’ which means ‘hair’ or ‘rough’ in Hebrew according to Strongs. The word also means hair in Arabic. However, the name Esau may not derive from this word. It may derive from the word ‘asha’ in Arabic. ‘Asha’ means to settle, become established. Esau’s alternative name was Edom, which was a city state. The Judeans and the Edomites (aka the Shasu of Yahw) originated in the same copper mines located in Edom. According to Wikipedia: “The Edomites may have been connected with the Shasu and Sutu, nomadic raisers mentioned in Egyptian sources. Indeed, a letter from an Egyptian scribe at a border fortress in the Wadi Tumilat during the reign of Merneptah reports movement of nomadic “shasu-tribes of Edom” to watering holes in Egyptian territory. The earliest Iron Age settlement–possibly copper mining camps–date to the 9th century BC. Settlement intensified by the late 8th century BC and the main sites so far excavated have been date between the 8th and 6th centuries BC.”

So the Edomites settled down from their nomadic life. According to the Biblical story of Esau and Jacob, the Hebrews thought that the Edomites preceded them in settlement, i.e., Esau was born before Jacob. This idea is bolstered by the Edomite king’s list in Genesis 36 which list 5 Edomite kings before Saul. Saul was the first king of Israel according to 1 Samuel 9 and the 6th king of Edom according to Genesis 36. The Saul listed in Genesis is the same Saul that is listed in 1 Sam 9. This conclusion is derived from 1 Samuel 9:1 which states that the father of Saul, the first king of Israel, was Qysh or the Edomite god, Qwsh. Qysh is a dialectical pronunciation of the name Qwsh. ‘Y’ and ‘W’ are interchangeable in Semitic languages as are the letters ‘sh’ and ‘s’. So, Esau is a Semitic name which means both ‘hairy’ and ‘settled’.

Saul:  According to Gen 36:37, Saul was an Edomite king who lived prior to the establishment of the Israelite monarchy (Gen 36:31). According to I Sam 9, this king of Edom was incorporated into the Israelite king list as Israel’s first monarch who hailed from the tribe of Benjamin.  As a Benjamite,  he became a ‘son of the south’; a phrase that replaced ‘Edom’ which was located to the south of Judea. The authors of this episode in I Sam 9, made Qwsh (Qysh in Hebrew-both words, Qosh and Qysh, mean bow; the weapon of the Edomite storm god) Saul’s father. Qwsh or Qws was the national god of the Edomites and the name of this deity appears in the names of the Edomite kings Qws-gabri (Qws the mighty) and Qws-malaka (Qws the king). The author(s) of I Samuel portrayed Saul as a melancholic murderer who was intent on murdering his protégée, David, when David defeated Goliath and became the champion of the Israelites to the detriment of Saul’s popularity and leadership abilities.

David: Dwd (l Samuel) (Hebrew meaning beloved):  A  monarch who, according to Biblical accounts, betrayed his king, Saul, murdered countless innocents (10’s of thousand according to I Sam 18:8), turned on those who sheltered him (the Philistines of Gath), murdered his chief lieutenant after he, David, committed adultery with his wife, and wantonly killed 2/3 of the population of Moab, the people of his great, great grandmother, Ruth. In addition to this unfortunate portrayal of David, the  Biblical authors of this account appear to have derived some of the tales concerning Dwd from the fertility rites of the moon god, Wadd. In 2 Samuel 11, David sees a married woman bathing in the moonlight and seduces her. Such scenes of pagan gods and or demi gods seducing women are common in all mythology. Priests would imitate the behavior of their fertility god by seducing a priestess in a rite they thought would insure the fertility of their land and their people. Thus, Biblical Dwd becomes a priestly devotee of Wadd (D’Wd meaning devoted to Wadd), the Minean moon god associated with Yah in the Negev inscriptions. (Ref: Wdd flta, ilyt, aby, yah or Wadd , seducer, buttock, my father, Yah). Wadd was especially associated with snakes. Yhwh may have begun as Wadd’s icon snake like the bull calf was El’s zoological icon. According to 2 Sam 8:18, David was the father of priests, which would also indicate that the Hebrews thought he was a priest even though Exodus makes it clear that a priest must be descended from Aaron, a Levite from the tribe of Levi. David was from the tribe of Judah. However, there may have been an ancient Judean priestly caste modeled on the Minaean priestly order which was devoted to the moon god, Wadd and Wadd’s icon, the snake. The Minaeans referred to their priests and priestesses as lawi and lawiat or Levites, which became the Hebraic tribe of priests and temple devotees (Deut 18:2). J.A. Montgomery in his book,  Arabia & the Bible, cites the Minaeans as devotees of the cult of  Wadd & Yah.

Wilderness of Paran: (Numbers 10:12) a reference to the great desert located in the Arabian Peninsula, specifically the Tabuk region located in Northwest Saudi Arabia. During the Exodus, Moses and the clans wandered here after leaving the Sinai Peninsula.

Paran:  Hebrew meaning lush with foliage; a reference to the desert oasis of Teman (Habakkuk 3:3) or modern day Tayma.Tayma is a large oasis with a long history of settlement, located in northwestern Saudi Arabia at the point where the trade route between Yathrib (Medina) and Dumah (al-Jawf) begins to cross the Nefud desert. Tayma is located 264 km southeast of the city of Tabouk, and about 400 km north of Medina.  Recent archaeological discoveries show that Tayma has been inhabited since the Bronze Age. In 2010, the Saudi Commission for Tourism & Antiquities announced the discovery of a rock near Tayma bearing an inscription of Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses III. This was the first confirmed find of a hieroglyphic inscription on Saudi soil. Based on this discovery, researchers have hypothesized that Tayma was part of an important land route between the Red Sea coast of the Arabian Peninsula and the Nile Valley.  According to Arab tradition, Tayma was inhabited by a Jewish community during the late classical period.

Mount Paran: (Deu 33:2 & Habakkuk 3:3)  The location of Mount Paran is still disputed. The mountain may be reference to a mountain located in ancient Edom or a  a reference to modern day Al Hadiqah Mound.  This ancient mound is located in the city center of modern Tayma. It is as yet not fully excavated. It is attributed to second millennium BC on the basis of the objects located from the excavations. The presence of a large amount of ceramics suggests that it was a densely populated area and there was a well developed local ceramic industry. Al-Hadiqah means garden in Arabic, so Al-Hadiqah mound is equivalent in meaning to Mount Paran.

Nephilim: (Gen 6:4) This word is often translated as ‘giants’, but actually means the fallen ones or the deceased ones; an Hebraic designation for the ancient tribes and tribal gods that no longer existed. These ‘giants’ or extinct ancient tribes and their gods were thought to be the offspring of patriarchal gods like the Aramaean god Nephila; a constellation associated with Orion and Osiris. Also,  The antediluvian Cainites who worshiped Cain or Qyn/Qynn, the smith god, were another deceased tribe that perished in the great flood.

Raphaim: (Deut 2:11) This word is often translated as giants, but means in Hebrew both ‘to be deceased’ and ‘to heal’. These ‘giants’ or extinct tribes were the offspring of the god Ophiuchus (Ophion in Greek) aka Herakles, Asclepius, Eshmun and Melkart: the various names of the constellation associated with all 5 of these gods. Asclepius  and Eshmun were gods of healing associated with snakes and with the word ‘raphaim’ from ‘rapha’ which means to heal in Hebrew.

Cain/Cainan (Gen 4:1 & Gen 5:9) (Spelled Qyn/Qynn in Hebrew): Semitic god of miners and metal smiths who was the eponymous ancestor of the Biblical Qynites/Kenites and Hebrews (Gen 5:9). According to Exodus 2:21, Qyn was also the ancestor of the Hebrews through a marriage alliance between the Kenite (Qynite) or mining clans and the Hebrews. According to Gen 5:9, Cainan (Qynn in Hebrew) was also the ancestor of the Israelites and Judeans through their descent from Cainan’s grandfather, Seth, Adam’s designated heir. When Egypt controlled the copper mining operations in Edom from the 14th to the 12th Centuries BCE, they enslaved the Qynites/Kenites & Hebrews as miners and smiths according to Deut 4:20. These miners fashioned the copper snake idols of YHWH, one of which was found at the mines in Timna. The image is also referred to as the nehushtan in the Bible. Qyn/Cain, who was abid adamah (slave of the red earth where was mined copper), offered one of these idols to YHWH and it was rejected in favor of Abel’s offering of sheep (Gen 4). In this conflict, Cain represented the mining interests and Abel represented the Bedouin. The conflict was initiated when the miners denuded the area of brushwood which they used to smelt the copper. This left the Bedouin bereft of the fodder they needed to feed their goats and camels. A conflict ensued in which the Bedouin were favored over the miners (Gen 4:1-24). The favoritism was a result of a ban against molten idols which were produced at the mines (Ex 34:17, Lev 19:4 etc.).

Horite: (Gen 36:20): The Hebrew word khry, or Horite in the Bible, is a transliteration of the Egyptian word ‘Hry-Sy and means ‘resident of the sand’ or Bedouin. This word is equivalent to the Egyptian word Shasu which means ‘one who moves on foot’ or Bedouin.

Nod: (Gen 4:16) The Biblical land to which Cain fled after he slew Abel. Nwd in Arabic means to sway back and forth. Nod was the land of the miners, who were lowered on swaying ropes into the copper mines. See Job 28:4, RSV version: “They open shafts in a valley far from where men live. They are forgotten by travelers, they hang afar from men, they swing to and fro.”

Nimrod: (Gen 10:8) Nmrd/Nmrwd (Hebrew)/Nmrwd (Arabic): Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary says that this name is a foreign word; however, ‘rwd’ in Hebrew means ‘to rule’. Nam is most likely Nammu. Nimrwd appears to mean ‘the ruler Nammu’ and is most likely a reference to Ur Nammu who founded the Sumerian 3rd dynasty of Ur. He is remembered for his legal code, the Code of Ur Nammu, the oldest known surviving example in the world. He ruled Ur, Eridu and Uruk. He constructed buildings at Nippur, Larsa, Kish, Adab and Umma. He built roads and restored order after the Gutian period. He also built a number of ziggurats, including the Great Ziggurat of Ur. The latter building explains the Tower of Babel. His conquests and empire explain the empire attributed to him in Gen 10.

Ophir: (Gen 10:29 & 1Kings 9:28) Awphiyr (Hebrew)/Awfr (Arabic). According to Strong’s, this word is of uncertain derivation. However, in Arabic, awfr is derived from the root wfr which means to abound, be abundant, be ample, be plentiful. Awfr is the intensive form of wfr and means superabundance. Since Ophir is connected with Joktan (Ophir is Joktan’s 11th son) and Joktan is the Hebrew version of Qahtan, then Ophir is located on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula in what is now Yemen and Oman; the land of Frankincense, Myrrh, Gold, Copper and the ancient Qahtan Arabs.

Havilah or Khawylah (Hebrew)/Kahwlah (Arabic): Havilah means circle in Hebrew, which makes no sense in the context in which it is used. However, Khawylah seem to be a transliteration of the word Kahlan? or kHlan, which, according to Wiki: was one of the main tribal federations of Saba’ in Yemen. The name seems to be a cognate of the Arabic word Kahwlah which means ‘to be at the peak of (manly) maturity’, a very nice name for a tribal ancestor. Khawylah would mean those from the tribe of Kahwlah (name of ancestor) or, collectively, Kahlan. So, it appears that Ophir, meaning superabundance, was the name of the region aka Yemen and Khawylah or Kahlan was the name of the Sabean tribe which comprised a major part of the Sabean tribal confederation. 

Mount Ararat: (Gen 8:4) The mountain where Noah is supposed to have landed. This name is most likely a corruption of the Arabic word ‘srwat’ which means hill. The Sarawat mountain chain runs parallel to the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula. It starts from the border of Jordan in the north to the Gulf of Aden in the south, running thru Saudi Arabia and Yemen. It is in the southern part of this mountain range, Sarat Yemen, that a twice yearly 6 week monsoon occurs. The region is also susceptible to tsunamis triggered in the Makran subduction zone.

40 days & nights of rain/great flood: (Gen 7,8, & 9) A reference to a torrential Yemense monsoon most likely coupled with a tsunami.

Terah: Abram’s father according to Gen 11:26. The meaning of Terah is uncertain in Hebrew, but it means ‘repudiated’ in Arabic. Terah was repudiated in the Biblical Book of Joshua 24:2 and in the Midrash Book Genesis Rabbah 38:13 as a worshipper of other gods and  for his profession as a fashioner of idols.

Abram: (Gen 11:26) According to the Bible, Abram was Abraham’s original name, which, according to the majority scholarly opinion means “Exhalted Father.” However, Abram, derived from the word ‘abram’ whose root is ‘brm’ (pronounced barama), may also mean ‘the one who ratified the covenant’. Abram ratified the covenant with Yhwh by circumcising the males in his clan (Gen 17:9-27). 

Abram’s name is ‘abrhm’ (pronounced abram) in Old South Arabic and Abarama in Eblaite, which confirms that Abram’s name was derived from the ratification of the covenant with Yhwh.  According to the New World Encyclopedia article, Ebla: “Many Old Testament personal names that have not been found in other Near Eastern languages have similar forms in Eblaite, including a-da-mu/Adam, h’à-wa /Eve, Abarama/Abraham, Bilhah, Ishmael, Isûra-el, Esau, Mika-el/Michael, Mikaya/Michaiah, Saul, and David). Also mentioned in the Ebla tablets are many biblical locations: For example, Ashtaroth, Sinai, Jerusalem (Ye-ru-sa-lu-um), Hazor, Lachish, Gezer, Dor, Megiddo, Joppa, and so on.”

Ebla is an ancient Canaanite site in northern Syria, where was found a library of cuneiform tablets. This Semitic city dates between 2500 to 2250 BCE. Among the tablets were mentioned the above names, whose counterparts are found in the Bible.The Eblaite version of  Abraham, Abarama, is consistent with the interpretation that ‘abrhm’ in Old South Arabic and Abram in Hebrew may mean both ab aram or ‘The Father is Exalted’ and ‘the one who ratified the covenant’. In addition, the name may also mean ‘Father of the Aramaeans’. This is confirmed again in Deut 26:5: “And you shall make response before the LORD your God, ‘A wandering Aramean was my father; and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number; and there he became a nation, great, mighty, and populous.”

Ab means father in Hebrew, Arabic and Eblaite. Aram in Hebrew means highland and in Arabic means to pile high or heap up; thus the interpretation of his name is ‘The Exalted Father.’ It also appears that the name Abram, meaning ‘the one who ratified the covenant’ is an equal contender for the meaning of Abram’s name. So, four Semitic languages, Old South Arabic, Arabic, Hebrew and Eblaite all have the same name and point to a common origin, which is an ancient Semitic language.

Abraham & The South Arabic Connection: According to Genesis 14:13, Abraham was an ‘ebry’ (Hebrew in English) or ‘from Eber’.  According to the Table of Nations listed in Genesis 10, Eber was the patriarch of the tribes and nations on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, i.e., Joktan (Qahtan in Arabic), Ophir and Havilah (Yemen and Oman). So, by labeling Abraham as an ‘ebry’ or from Eber,  the Biblical authors indicated that Abraham’s tribe originated on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. “It may well be that the story of Abraham’s wanderings out of northeastern Mesopotamia was taken into the Bible from the South Arabic language of those Bedouin-like peoples who maintained the wandering Hebrew lifestyle even after the Israelites had settled down as farmers in Palestine. The evidence that suggests this possibility is the fact that in South Arabic, the name Abraham is spelled ‘brhm (where the letter h indicates a vowel). The South Arabic pronunciation of the name is Abram, the name by which Abraham was originally called, but which later Hebrew readers mistakenly interpreted as Abraham, thinking the ‘h’ to have been a consonant. Similarly, the South Arabic spelling of Sarah is Sarai, the name by which she is first called in the biblical story …[the] South Arabic -ai is simply the spelling of the feminine suffix that is pronounced the same as the Hebrew feminine suffix -ah. If South Arabic is the source of the Abraham tradition, then we have both an explanation for the supposed change of the names Abram and Sarai to Abraham and Sarah and an explanation of why the etymologies of the names given in the Bible seem to be incorrect. In Western Semitic languages such as Hebrew, the name Abram (or Abi- ram) means ‘the (divine) Father is high’, but the name Abraham does not mean, as the Bible asserts, ‘father of a multitude of nations’, which would be rendered as Ab-hamon, not Abraham. The etymologies, in other words, are simply folk interpretations of an earlier non-Hebrew name taken over into the Bible from the South Arabic language.”

Sarai: (Gen 17:15) Sry (Hebrew)/Sryh or Shara’ (Arabic). (The Arabic rendering of Sarai’s name, ‘Shara’, was proposed by the Brown-Drivers Briggs Hebrew & English Lexicon). Her name, Sarai, means ‘my princess’ in Hebrew and both ‘a purchased female/slave’ and ‘concubine’ in Arabic. The Hebrew meaning is untenable as the Israelites bore no royal titles until Samuel made Saul a king. Saul established the first Israelite monarchy around 1000 BCE. According to Hebrew scholars, Sarai would have lived around 2000 BCE or 1000 years before  Israel had a monarch and royal titles. The  Arabic meanings, a purchased female and/or concubine, are consistent with the Biblical narratives. The Hebrew word for concubine is ‘pelegesh’; a loanword from the Greek word ‘pillakis’ while ‘syrh’ and ‘shara’ are ancient Semitic words meaning concubine and purchased female. According to Genesis, Chapters 12 & 20, Sarai was traded to 2 royals (Pharaoh & Abimelech) as a guarantee of security for Abraham. This trade could only happen with a concubine, but never with a wife. A wife would have incurred the death penalty for adultery, while a concubine was excused from punishment for having sexual relations with males other than her master. Sarai probably gained the status of a wife after producing Isaac. Her name was later changed to Sarah (Gen 17:15).

Sara is also an alternative name for the Sumerian goddess Inanna whose counterpart was Ishtar, the Assyrian & Babylonian goddess of love, war, fertiltiy and sex.  Inanna, was also known as Nin Me Sara or Lady (Nin) cosmic powers (Me) countless (Sara). Her cult involved sacred prostitution. Her holy city Uruk was called the “town of the sacred courtesans”; and she herself was the “courtesan of the gods”. Ishtar’s sacred animals were the dragon and the lion. Her symbol was the double helix snake or the caduceus, which she carried as a scepter. Ishtar was also known by her Greek name, Astarte and by her Biblical name, Ashtoreth.

Hagar: (Gen 16:1) Abraham’s wife who was made a concubine by Biblical scribes despite the fact that, besides Moses, she was the only Biblical character to be personally addressed by God and to be granted the privilege of physically beholding his presence (Gen 16:13). Also, Hebrew scribes, who compiled the Jerusalem Targum, write that Hagar was a princess who had royal status as a daughter of a Pharaoh and as a granddaughter of a Sumerian king.

Hagar or Hajar  means ’flight’ in Hebrew. However, the original meaning in Sayhadic (Old South Arabian) was town/city. The name Hagar refers to a wealthy province in ancient Eastern Arabia which included Bahrain.  Bahrain  was known to the Western Semites by its Sayhadic name, Hagar, by the name Hajar in the Arabian Peninsula and in Greek as Gerrha.  The city, Hagar, was personified in the Bible as Abraham’s wife and mother of his first son, Ishmael. The Biblical authors described her descendants, who were named as both Ishmaelites (Judges 8:24) and Hagarites (I Chronicles 5), as hailing from the east of Gilead or East of the East Bank of the Jordan River and from Havilah or Ophir. Havilah and Ophir both mean superabundance in Arabic and refer to the incense producing regions of Yemen and Oman. This area is connected to the descendants of Ishmael in Gen 25:12-18. According  to Gen 10:29 the Qahtan (Biblical Joktan) Arabs occupied this region; a statement which directly connects the Ishmaelites to the Qahtan Arabs whose trade routes extended from Yemen through Mecca to Egypt in the West and from Oman through Hagar to the Assyrian Empire in the East. So, the Biblical authors describe the Ishmaelites as Arabs originating from Hagar, which was located on the Eastern trade route while the Arabian tradition places them as originating from Mecca, a town on the Western trade route. Hagar is described as Sarah’s slave in Genesis 16:1.  Hagar (Hajar in Arabic) as an historical person is not attested to before the 5th Century BCE. However, the names Abraham and Ishmael are mentioned in the Eblaite tablets which date as early as 2500 BCE.

Keturah/Qtwrh: (Gen 25:1) Abraham’s third wife. Her name derives from the root ‘qtr’ which means ‘to perfume’ in Hebrew and ‘to distil’ and ‘camel train (caravan)’ in Arabic.  The authors of Genesis invented the character, Keturah, to represent the incense trade. As such, Keturah is a personification of the incense trade who is portrayed as the matriarch of the Arabian caravan tribes.

Caravaneers/Origin of the Hebrews:  Caravaneers were incense merchants trading in myrrh and frankincense which were grown on the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula as well as in ancient Abyssinia.  There were two prominent trade routes; the Western trade route which ran from Yemen (Ophir/Havilah in the Bible) along the inner coast of the Red Sea  through Bekka (Psalm 84:6 & Quran 3:96) or modern day Mecca and into Canaan. The Eastern trade route ran from Oman along the coast of the Arabian Gulf through Dilmun/Hagar (modern Bahrain) into Mesopotamia. This trade can be traced to at least 4000 BCE. These caravaneers settled along these trade routes which included all of the Levant, Mesopotamia and Egypt. The caravaneers transported their goods by camels, asses and ships. According to Genesis, Abraham and his offspring from his 3 wives were owners of herds of these pack  animals. (Gen 12, 24, 31, 32, 37, 42, 43 etc.)

Another method of transportation of these goods was by ship. 2 of the sons of Jacob were associated with ships, Zebulun (Gen 49:13) and Dan (Jdgs 5:17). Genesis has Abraham wandering in Egypt and Paran (ancient Arabian Peninsula) and Jacob’s sons trading with the Egyptians (Gen 42 & 43). Isaiah 30:6  especially mentions this trade with Egypt.  Ezekiel 27 enumerates the various nations with whom the Hebrews traded, including Egypt, Persia, Lybia, Aram, Tyre, Sidon and various tribes from the Arabian Peninsula as the Minaeans. In addition, DNA tests of modern Cohanim (Jewish priests) has resulted in the identification of the origin of the Hebrews.

DNA haplotypes, CMH J1m267 and J1C3, have identified Yemen as the original homeland of the Hebrews.  76% of Yemenese bear the J1m267 hapolotype and 67% bear the J1C3 haplotype. It is evident the Hebrew origins began with the  incense caravaneers from the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Also of interest is haplogroup J1C3d, which accounts for the majority of the J1 in Yemen,  Cohen Jews (Jewish priestsly lineage), Ethiopia, the Quraysh (the tribe of the Prophet Mohammed), and Sayyid. Sayyid  is an honorific title, that denotes males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet, Mohammed, through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Hussain ibn Ali, sons of the prophet’s daughter Fatima Zahara and his son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib. Currently the J1c3d haplotype has also been labeled as J-L147.1, but the links to Yemen, Sephardi Cohen Jews, Ethiopia, the Quraysh and the descendants of Mohammed remain in tact. According to genetic researchers Sergio Tofanelli and A. Nebel, this haplotype most likely arose at least 4500 years ago and maybe as early as 8600 years ago. For references on the age and origin of this haplotype, please refer to the following publications:

Nebel, A (2002). “Genetic Evidence for the Expansion of Arabian Tribes into the Southern Levant and North Africa”, The American Journal of Human Genetics 70(6): 1594-6. Doi:10.1086/340669.PMC379148.PMID11992266

Tofanelli, Sergio; Ferri, Gianmarco; Bulayeva, Kazima; Caciagli, Laura; Onofri, Valerio; Taglioli, Luca; Bulayey, Oleg; Boschi, Ilaria et al. (2009). “J1-M267 Y lineage marks climate-driven pre-historical human displacements”. European Journal of Human Genetics 17(11):1520-4. Doi:101038/ejhg.2009.58.PMC 2986692,PMID 19367321

Laban: (Gen 24:29) His name is Luban in Arabic and means frankincense. He is the brother-in-law of Isaac and the father-in-law of Jacob. His name indicates that he was a caravaneer trading in incense.

Joseph: (Gen 30-50) Joseph was the 11th son of Jacob who was sold into Egyptian slavery by his brothers. Joseph’s existence under an Egyptian king has long been the object of archaeological research . The only Egyptian king, who is associated with a seven year famine and a dream associated with that famine, is Djoser (2630-2611 BCE), a king of the 3rd dynasty. The famine and the dream associated with it are recorded on the Famine Stele on the Island of  Sehel in Aswan, Egypt. The record carved on the Famine Stele was attributed to Ptolemy V (205-180 BCE) who lived much later, but obviously had access to ancient Egyptian records. The legend is Egyptianized to bring it in line with the Egyptian religion. Khnum, the ram’s headed god who fashioned men from clay, was credited for ending the famine.

However, the men that Djoser consulted are also mentioned. One is Imhotep, who was the master builder and designer of the step pyramid. The other is Medir, the governor of certain territories in Upper Egypt. The name Medir is instantly recognizable to Arabic speakers. Medir in Arabic means administrator or director and may refer to Joseph whom Djoser appointed as administrator of his storehouses (Gen41:56). Also, the name Imhotep, may be a reference to Joseph as Imhotep means ‘he comes in peace’ in ancient Egyptian. The name may indicate that Joseph was a foreigner from a group that was considered as a threat to the native Egyptians. The Semites, who settled the delta region of Lower Egypt were viewed as unwelcome interlopers by native Egyptians. However, because Joseph was in Egypt, he was given an Egyptian name indicating, that, although he was of foreign origin, he and his fellow Semites were accepted as peaceful guest in the land of Egypt.

In Genesis, Joseph’s Egyptian name is  Tsaphenath-Paneah (tsphnth-panh in Hebrew) which  is a transliteration of the Arabic phrase, tasafeenah ba’nah and it means ‘a dowry settlement’. The Pharaoh Djoser gave Joseph a dowry settlement for his marriage to Asenath, the daughter of his priest, Poti-Phera.  This conclusion was reached after a review of the circumstances under which the Masoretic texts were translated/edited/standardized in Tiberias, Jerusalem, and Babylon between the 7th and 11th Centuries. Hebrew had not been spoken for centuries at that time when the Masorete’s language became the language of those who ruled this area; the Arab Caliphates of the Rashideen, the Ummayyads and the Abbassids. The Masoretes or Jewish scholars who standardized the TaNaKh or Old Testament, relied heavily upon the Arabic language and grammar in order to reconstruct their texts. However, these Masoretes did not hesitate to make this Arabic phrase a Hebrew phrase by transliterating the Arabic letters into Hebrew equivalents. According to the Greek Biblical texts (Septuagint) available to the Masoretes, the original phrase was ‘psonthomphanech’, which made no sense in any language. So, the Masoretes equated the Septuagint phrase to the Arabic phrase ‘tasafeenah ba’nah’ which means a dowry settlement. However, the circumstances surrounding the phrase,’ Tsaphenath-Paneah’ or ‘tasafeenah ba’nah’, is proof that this interpretation is correct. According to Gen 41:41-45:

 ”So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I hereby put you in charge of the whole land of Egypt.” Then Pharaoh took his signet ring from his finger and put it on Joseph’s finger. He dressed him in robes of fine linen and put a gold chain around his neck. He had him ride in a chariot as his second-in-command, and people shouted before him, “Make way, Thus he put him in charge of the whole land of Egypt. The Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I am Pharaoh, but without your word no one will lift hand or foot in all Egypt.” Pharaoh gave Joseph the name Tsaphenath-Paneah and gave him Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On, to be his wife. And Joseph went throughout the land of Egypt.”

So, the phrase, tsaphenath paneah (tsfeenah banah) means that Djoser bestowed a dowry settlement upon Joseph which included the tokens of Pharaoh’s ring and a chain of office indicating Joseph’s new position when he married an Egyptian wife who was the daughter of the priest of On. By the way, the chief vizier of Djoser was Imhotep whose Egyptian name means ‘he comes in peace.’ The name Imhotep may have been chosen for a foreigner from a group that was not regarded favorably by the Egyptian population. The Egyptians were not fond of the Semitic people. They periodically drove them from their land or enslaved them.

Joseph’s position as a governor or wazir under Djoser prompted his brothers and their relatives to migrate from the famine stricken areas of Sham (Syria, Palestine) into the Egyptian controlled areas of the Nile delta and the Sinai. Joseph’s brothers were caravaneers, who brought with them camels loaded with the goods they traded from other caravan tribes to exchange for grain. Because of Joseph, Joseph’s family was treated generously by Djoser. However, later pharaohs took advantage of the Semitic tribes, who entered their domain and treated them cruelly. It was a situation in which Allah (swt) sent Moses to intervene on behalf of the sons of Jacob and their tribal federation, which included the Midianites (Midian)

Moses: (Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy) He was the Hebrew leader and founder of the religion of Yahwism according to Exodus 3:14. Moses and his brother, Aaron, were also Cainites and master smiths who forged two idols. Moses’ idol was the copper snake or nehushtan (Num 21:8) and Aaron’s idol was the golden calf (Ex 32:4). Moses’ name has many different meanings in the languages of the people with whom the Hebrews were associated; namely the Egyptians, the Aramaeans, the Babylonians, and the caravan tribes from the southern coast of the Arabian Peninsula. Here are several different interpretations of the Hebrew origin of Moses’ name. His name is Mshh (Moshe) in Hebrew, Mosis in Egyptian, and Msh (Mush) in Babylonian.  The Hebrew version of Moses’ name, Mshh, currently means ‘to draw out’ in Hebrew.  Mosis means ‘born of’ in Egyptian. Mush means ‘snake’ and ‘shine’ (Moses’ nehushtan in Num 21:8 & shining face in Exodus 34:29) in Babylonian.

According to Gen 5:9, Moses was a descendant of the Semitic god of metal smiths, Cainan, who was the ancestor of the Hebrews.  According to Deut. 26:5 Moses’ ancestors were also Arameans, which makes Msh (Gen 10:23), son of Aram, Moses’ ancestor. Moses’ ancestor’s name, Mash (msh) has no meaning in Hebrew but ‘msh’ may be an ancient Semitic word for walker or ‘mashy’ in Arabic which is identical to the meaning of the word ‘shasu’ in Egyptian. Moses’ Hebrew name ‘Mshh’ would be written as ‘Mashy’ in Arabic as the ‘h’ suffix in Hebrew becomes the ‘y’ suffix in Arabic. Moshh means ‘to draw out’ in Hebrew, but the Arabic equivalent would be ‘Mashy’ or walker. The Hebrews and the Midianites with whom the Hebrews formed an alliance, were both known to the Egyptians as ‘Shasu’ or walkers.  It is interesting that the Hebrews considered Msha (Gen 10:30) to be the geographical origin of the Qahtan Arabs (Joktan in the Genesis). The Arabs and the Hebrews were caravaneers, so the name ‘Mshh/Mashy’ (walker) might well describe their profession as caravaneers.  ‘Shasu’ may well have been the Egyptian translation of  the Semitic word for walker, an apt description of a caravaneer.  Mshh (Mashy) may have been the Hebrew title for the Shasu chief  who led the Hebrews during the exodus from Egypt.

Microcosmic Leah: (Lah/Hebrew & Lah/Lwh/Arabic) Wife of Jacob and mother of the tribes of Judah & Levi. Her name means weary in Hebrew, which makes no sense considering that she is designated as the matriarch of the Hebrew tribes of kings (Judah) and priests (Levi).  In Arabic, her name has astral associations and means to appear, come in sight, to become visible, to begin to show (dawn), to shine, gleam, glimmer, shimmer, to wither etc.

Macrocosmic Leah: Leah or Lah as ‘the shimmering one’ may have been a descriptive title for Asherah, who is confused as the Queen of heaven with Ashtart (Ashtoreth in the Bible) in Jeremiah. One of Ashtart’s and Asherah’s sacred animals was the snake. Ashtart became Tanit or Snake Lady in Carthage. Tanit means snake in Phoenician. Ashtart and Asherah are both associated with the morning star, the planet Venus, which is symbolished by a dot inside a circle. In Arabia, Ashtart was known as Ilat.

The Egyptian moon god, Iah, was known as Yareah to the Jebus or Jebusites who founded Jerusalem. The name Jebus means ‘Ya tramples (underfoot)’. The Jebus were a Semitic tribe in Canaan who named their city, Jericho (Yrchw), after the moon god. The moon god is also associated with Wadd, a moon god whose name, according to Dr. J.A. Montgomery, is associated with Yah/YHWH. Yah is listed as another name for Wadd in the Negev inscriptions. The moon also comes in sight, shines and appears to wither as its appearance decreases until it disappears. The Quran describes this ‘withering’ as like an old shriveled palm leaf (Q 36:39). Wadd’s sacred animal was also the snake. So, Leah could have both Venus and moon associations. Her name in Arabic could be spelled as both ‘Lah’ or ‘Lwh’. ‘Lwh’ is an alternate spelling of the root word, ‘lah’. ‘Lwh’ in Hebrew means to coil, to twine. The name is associated with the priestly tribe of Levi of whom Leah was the matriarch; and with leviathan or ‘lwythn’, the serpentine sea monster and enemy of YHWH. The word to coil in Arabic is ‘lwy’, but in Hebrew it is spelled ‘lwh’ , which is identical to the Arabic word ‘lwh’, which means to shine, wither etc.. It appears that Leah could very well have been originally an historical high priestess to some kind of astral deity, either Venus or the moon.

Hyksos: Western Semites who inhabited the Nile delta. The Hyksos first appeared in Egypt during the eleventh dynasty, began their climb to power in the thirteenth dynasty, and came out of the second intermediate period in control of Avaris and the Delta. By the fifteenth dynasty, they ruled Lower Egypt, and at the end of the seventeenth dynasty, they were expelled. Many of these Hyksos settled in Caanan (Palestine), bringing with them their Egyptian snake cults, especially the cult of Apep, and the Egyptian cult of Seth.

Seth: (Gen 4:25) Egyptian god sacred to the Hyksos; god of desert storms and foreigners and the ancestor of the Hebrews. According to Gen 4:26, Seth’s son was Enos or Enosh. Enosh means mankind in Hebrew. So, the Hebrew authors of Genesis drew upon ancient Hyksos mythology which portrayed the Egyptian god Seth as the father of mankind.

Mikal: Caananite god who is Lord of Beth Shan. This god is associated with Nergal, the Babylonian chthonic god associated with snakes.

The Wilderness Tabernacle: (Exodus 26,27): According to Exodus, this tabernacle or tent shrine surrounded by a cloth-lined enclosure, was commissioned by YHWH. However, the wilderness tabernacle described in Exodus 26,27 is also of Egyptian design. Such tent shrines can be seen engraved on ancient Egyptian ivory labels dating to the First Dynasty of Egypt (3200-3000 BCE). It is very likely that the so called “Temple of Solomon” was also a tent shrine. Such tent shrines were employed by the worshippers of Elohim. No known permanent structures devoted to the worship of Elohim have ever been found in Palestine. However, the temples and other places of worship devoted to the snake god are found throughout Palestine.

Hezekiah: (2 Kings 18:4): A king of Judah who attempted to stamp out the snake cult. However, the image of the ouroboros on the Migdal Synagogue stone indicates that even during the time of Jesus, the Judeans were still using the snake image in their houses of worship.

Cyrus the Great: (2 Chronicles 36:22,23 & Ezra: 1-6): The King of Persia who freed the Hebrews from Babylonian rule and financed their temple in Jerusalem. Cyrus appeared to be a devotee of the Creator whom he named Ahura Mazda or Wise Lord. The Hebrews adopted Ahura Mazda into the personality of YHWH, so YHWH became the aniconic, universal Creator. It was this post Babylonian exile god that became the god of the Hebrews. Cyrus’ agent, Ezra, imposed this strict monotheism on the returning Israelites. However, the snake images persisted in their synagogues. It is also interesting that the name of God revealed to Moses was not YHWH according Exodus 3:14. The ‘name’ was ahyah asher ahyah which is often translated I am that I am; a senseless phrase. Ahyah asher ahyah can be translated from the Arabic as ‘ahyah athr ahyah’ ‘(he) endowed with life, (he) brought about,  (he) called into being’.  This ‘name’ is not a name at all, but a description of the process of creation. However,  the Hebrews continued to use the name of their old snake god, YHWH, instead of the name revealed to Moses.


Leave a Reply

Search The Site

Can't find what are you looking for?