”All Things Under the Sun Are One, Are One”. Understanding Yahweh Monolatry in the Hebrew Bible

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My starting-point is a relevant assumption that the so-called Sefer Jasharwas an early Israelite document the excerpts of which have been quoted in threedifferent places of the Deuteronomistic History (Josh 10:12-13; 2 Sam 1:18; 3Kgdms 8:53). Two of these excerpts, Josh 10:12-13 and the Septuagint version of1 Kings 8:12-13 (i.e. 3 Kgdms 8:53), are related to the Israelite belief inYahweh, but also to the sun or the Sun-deity.

In the Sefer Jashar it is presupposedthat the Sun and Moon were deities because they were worshipped. They could not,however, resist Yahweh’s power to subjugate the land of Canaan under the feetof Israel. Josh 10:12-13 and 3 Kgdms 8:53 express that Yahweh has shown hismighty power over other deities and subjugated them as his servants. Therefore,Israel should revere Yahweh and only Yahweh. The poetic texts in the Sefer Jasharindicate that Yahweh takes over the Land of Canaan, and its older deities areincapable of opposing the conquest of the Divine Warrior of Israel. The conceptof the divine council indicates the hierarchic structure of deities and itseems that in the Jerusalemite version of the divine council Yahweh was regardedas the leader of the council. In a corresponding way the Sefer Jasharcontains an idea that other deities are subjugated under the power of Yahweh. TheSun is, therefore, one example of a “deity” who was under total control ofYahweh, and we may assume that in many theological constructions, especially inthose which originate or have been reworked in the exilic and postexilic times,the sun totally missed its divinity being only a great light in the firmament(Gen 1:14-19). The Sefer Jashar was an early Israelite document whichemphasized greatly the sovereignty of Yahweh and the monolatric understandingof the Israelite religion. The Deuteronomist could use it, but he reformulatedJosh 10:12-13 and 3 Kgdms 8:53 so that they promoted his intolerant monolatry inan even clearer way. 

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Title of host publicationGod and Humans in the Hebrew Bible and Beyond: A Festschrift for Lennart Boström on his 67th Birthday
EditorsDavid Willgren
PublisherSheffield phoenix press
ISBN (Print)9781910928622
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

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