The identity of the emissary of YHWH

Nissim Amzallag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

The emissary of YHWH is such an enigmatic figure that even his theological reality has been questioned. However, comparative mythol-ogy reveals his affinity with the Ugaritic Koshar, the Tyrian Melqart, and the Greek figures of Heracles and Melikertes. All these deities display an essen-tial link to copper metallurgy, a feature revealing that their interrelation with the emissary of YHWH is not incidental. Rather, such a common linkage, to-gether with few Biblical indications, enables to identify him as the smith-god. It is concluded that the emissary of YHWH is an independent divine figure of the Israelite theology, who was not officially worshipped though he inter-vened frequently towards the Israelites. This discovery enables us to recon-sider the singularity of the Israelite religion. While the neighbor peoples wor-shipped the divine emissary, it appears here that the Israelites elaborated a theological utopia in which the people as a whole, and not only a small elite of kings, priests and smelters, were assumed to turn directly to the supreme deity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-144
Number of pages22
JournalScandinavian Journal of the Old Testament
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ancient Near East religions
  • comparative mythology
  • cult of supreme deity
  • emissary of YHWH
  • smith god

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory

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