Cult of the Dead in the Bible Food/ tithe sacrifice Gen 28:17-18: food offered to dead at burial marker Gen 31:53-54: food offered to dead on hilltop Deut. 26:14: “I have not deposited any of it with the dead.” I Sam. 1:21, 2:19, 20:29: food offered to dead at shrines I Chron. 16:14, 32:33: food offered to dead in tombs Isaiah 53:9: food offered to dead at bamot
Cult of the Dead in the Bible Paqidum or “pqd” ritual Mesopotamian ritual where one offered food and drink to a deceased relation. 2 Kings. 9:34: Jezebel’s remains were piqdu.
What Can the Dead Do? Tell future events Bring people to life Benefit you or wreak vengeance on you. The dead are also seen as a source of knowledge. The dead are also seen as a source of knowledge. Biblical laws regulated the cult of the dead, they did not abolish it.
God of the Fathers Gen 46:3, 29:25 God of Abraham Genesis 31:51-53 God of Abraham and Isaac Genesis 32:10: God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob Exodus 6:3
Origins of Monotheism Baal: Storm God Rider on the Clouds Warrior I Sam. 7:3-4 I Kings 18 Names: Jerubaal (Jud 6-7) Ishboshet (2 Sam. 2)
Origins of Monotheism The Goddess Ashera (2 Kings 23) Queen of Heaven (Jeremiah 44)
Origins of Monotheism Centralization 1) national deity 2) Centralized cult: Jerusalem/ Dan and Bethel 3) Centralized Government 4) Role of writing
Origins of Monotheism 1 st Isaiah: “ YHWH is the patron deity of the monarchy” (Smith, The Early History of God, 187).
Origins of Monotheism YHWH has a lady friend "Blessed be Uriyahu by Yahweh and by his Asherah; from his enemies he saved him!“ Yahweh (Khirbet el-Kom near Hebron) בירכתי אתכם ליהוה שומרון ולאשרתו “Blessed are you by YHWH of Samaria and his asherah” (Kuntillet Ajrud)
Origins of Monotheism Stage Two (Monolatry) YHWH of Samaria and YHWH of Teman Is YHWH schizophrenic? brktk.lyhwh tmn wl’šrth. I bless you to/by YHWH of Teman and his ashera. ‘mr X ‘mr wlyw’sh w[l-z] brky ‘tkm lyhwh shmrn wlshrth X says: Say to Y and Yau’asah and [to Z]: I bless you to YHWH of Samaia, and to his asherah
Origins of Monotheism Stage Two (Monolatry) YHWH is not alone... The Divine Council (Isaiah 6) Hos 12:1, Zech 14:5, Ps 29:1, 82:1, 89:7 Isa.14:13, Jer 23:18, 22, Zech 3, I Kg 22:19 Gen 1:26-28, Gen 3:22, 11:7
Origins of Monotheism Stage Three Monotheism God and God Alone Deutro-Isaiah
Let’s Start at the very beginning, the very best place to start...
A. The Canaanite/ Ugaritic Pattern 1. Father/ Mother head of the pantheon 2. Royal Children 3. Servants of the royal house 4. Messengers
Moving towards Monotheism In the bible we see a tri-part collapse of the Ugaritic pantheon
A. Polytheism Tier One: ‘El/ Elyon (god of the fathers and the Exodus) Tier Two: his sons, including YHWH (Psalm 82 and Deut. 32:8-9) Tier Three: ? Tier Four: Angels 1. Father/ Mother head of the pantheon 2. Royal Children 3. Servants of the royal house 4. Messengers
B. Monalatry Tier One: YWHW (ousts ‘El the head of the council) and Asherah as his consort Tier Two: A heavenly host surrounding him (I Kgs 22:19, Isa 6, Dan 7, Ex. 15:11) Tier Three: Reshep/ Deber/ other gods? Tier Four: Angels 1. Father/ Mother head of the pantheon 2. Royal Children 3. Servants of the royal house 4. Messengers
C. Move to Monotheism. Everything is demythologized Tier One: YWHW stands alone. (“edited” version of Deut. 32 and Deuteronomy and Deutro-Isaiah) Tier Four: angels would not be seen as divine, but as celestial beings of an “ungodly” nature. nature. 1. Father/ Mother head of the pantheon 2. Royal Children 3. Servants of the royal house 4. Messengers