II  2  Yahweh and the donkey cult

The traditional master narrative about Yahweh states:
Yahweh was the God of the Jews from ancient times; he was worshipped

Assur, arched gateway, reconstruction
Assur, arched gateway, reconstruction

as the one God in pre-Hellenistic Israel. Echoes of polytheistic ideas can be explained by the fact that the Jews came into contact with heathen gods in the world around them. Heathen ideas of God influenced the story of Balaam and the donkey (Num. 22:33ff).

My theses about Yahweh:
The Jewish idea of God in pre-Hellenistic times is very similar to that of their ancient eastern environment. The Jews honoured Yahweh (also Yahu or Yao) as their main God, and other gods alongside him.

The Jews in Elephantine in Egypt worshipped a trio of gods, Yahu, Anath-Bethel and ‘shm-Bethel. That was not a sign of the decline of former monotheism; it was the typical form of the Jewish religion.

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