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Bible Studies/The claim that Yahweh comes from Canaanite pagan god!


QUESTION: I recently got a message from some anonymous young(er) person who apparently decided to ask me a question with bad intentions.
The problem is that in my studies I'm not very familiar with it.
This is the question he arrogantly asked me,
" Explain the fact of how a Canaanite God was named YHWH before Moses existed?"

I looked this up(took me about a minute of keying key words) before a link to Wikipedia showed this link below.
In which the second link listed in Wikipedia turned up a second result.

Please be very specific with an answer if you've got one concerning this.
Can you give me an internet link or archaeology answer or external historical writings outside of the TORAH/Tanakh/Bible to denounce this claim?

ANSWER: I am consulting a couple friends, who may be able to add relevant info on your question.

Please allow me a few days to hear from them.  I'll answer then.

In short, our faith is secure!

Thanks for your understanding.

Best wishes, Steve.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Still patiently waiting for a reply to my last question.
In the meantime I've received some replies from various people but they don't seem to be very enlightening answers to the very same question I asked them to help me answer.

I asked a Rabbi @ his reply was below.

Shalom --

Thank you for your note.

I do not have any reason to seek any refutation outside of the Torah; especially when it comes to archeology which is rife with speculation masquerading as fact.

But I do direct you to Exodus 6:3 and the commentaries there that the four letter Name was known but not manifest. According to Rashi, in that God had not yet fulfilled His promises to the patriarchs, according to Seforno because that name reflects a mastery over the cosmos and God had not yet demonstrated clear miracles.

With blessings from the Holyland,

Rabbi M. Younger

I asked another person here on this website besides you and his reply is below.

Yeshua is the Hebrew/Aramaic form of the name of Jesus.  In Greek Jesus is indistinguishable from Joshua, a name based on the same root verb ("to save").  Other names based on this verb include Isaiah and Hosea.  Jesus was much later than Moses.
  First question, what was the time period of Moses?  According to 1 Kings 6, Solomon began building the Temple 480 years after Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt.  This places the Exodus in the mid 15th century BCE, which places it just prior to the earliest date for the divine name, according to the first wikipedia reference you gave me.  It would be no surprise, if we give credence to the Biblical story, that in Egypt we would find this name associated with the hated Asiatics a generation or two later.
  As to the Israelites and Canaanites, the Biblical texts are full of interactions between the two groups, mourning and reviling the many Israelites who assimilated Canaanite practices.  Who would be surprised that it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the two archaeologically, or that the divine name is sometimes associated with a Canaanite goddess / symbol?
I hope this is helpful,
Jim Miller

As you can see, nobody seems to be explaining this question in detail.

Your question, Steve, is the tip of the mountain.  To give a comprehensive answer, one would need to go very deep.  The answer would be worthy of a graduate-course report.  Although I have found a number of books which address your topic, I do not have the time or the resources to complete such a task.
I hope that you will allow me to provide a summary of my thoughts with the hope of putting your important concern into its wider context.
As always, I appreciate your interest and am willing to respond to your reaction to my answer.
Best wishes for God's special graces to you in the new year.


“Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”  That vintage saying would seem applicable to me.

The biblical written word contains the condensed literary expression of millennia of religious experiences. Often discovering the actual historical event behind the bible’s complex religious, literary traditions presents a very difficult challenge.  

Archeology may point to use of a word suggesting YHWH  before Moses [e.g., Midian use of YHW].   One biblical tradition refers to the use of YHWH after the flood [Gen 4:26].

However, what really matters most is the revelation in Ex 3 of knowing the meaning of God’s sacred name to Moses, the most important prophet of Israel.  

YHWH derives from the Hebrew verb “to be.”  It means "I am who I am"[ i.e., I am consistent and hence am a trustworthy God of covenants], “He who causes to be,” or “He who is present to you.” [see Ex 3:13-15].  This concept of God as professed in the Mosaic tradition does not resemble the god of a Midian nomadic tribe.  The Mosaic profession of faith is unique among ancient religions.

In short, whether or not a word resembles another usage, the word in the Mosaic tradition bears a unique MEANING.

The truthfulness of the Mosaic understanding of the one and benevolent creator God receives its authentication and validation from the risen Jesus Christ.

“Brevity is a sign of wit.”  Hopefully, these thoughts are more than a half.  

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Edward Bode


A scholar of Jewish and Christian scripture (biblical studies), I hold graduate degrees from three universities in Rome [Italy]: Pontifical Gregorian University, Pontifical Biblical Institute, and the University of St. Thomas. I also have a master's degree in English. My special interests are the gospels of the New Testament and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.


I have taught at three universities and two colleges. My published works include one book, several articles in scholarly journals, and numerous book reviews.

I hold a doctorate in sacred theology from the University of St. Thomas in Rome, Italy; a license in sacred scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome; a license in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.Additionally, I earned a master's degree in English from the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo., and a bachelor of journalism from the same university.

I have been a member of the Catholic Biblical Association of America for 40 years. I am a former member of Society of Biblical Literature.I have spoken on academic topics to local, national, and international groups.

I hold graduate degrees from three universities in Rome [Italy]: Pontifical Gregorian University, Pontifical Biblical Institute, and the University of St. Thomas. I also have a master's degree in English.

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