From a corpus of over one hundred Yahweh inscriptions, thirteen have been selected for the viewer to study. Observation of the way that the ancient scribes wrote the name of their God has led to a theory as to why so many archaic forms are retained in Old Negev. It was observed that often when the name of Yahweh was written (in any of the respectful abbreviated forms) archaic letters were used. And since most of the inscriptions of these ancient dwellers of the Negev were religious, their language was viewed as a carrier of sacred knowledge and such a language has a conservative preference for archaic forms. That is, God's name should be written in the forms used in the beginning, such as the forms carried down from the mountain of God by Moses.
A search of Proto-Sinaitic inscriptions by I. Beit-Arieh, and B. Sass, has uncovered several inscriptions of the pan Canaanite name of God (El) in the Sinai dating between the 17th century BCE to the 15th century BCE.
Mine L, inscriptions, Sinai No. 377 and 378, also #'s 350, and 363, have been identified to have the name El in reasonable clarity. Pictures and sketches of two of the inscription are presented below from the collection of Prof. Benjamin Sass, in his 1988 publication fully cited in the Bibliography.
Short inscriptions are very valuable in that they leave critics with little or nothing to argue about.
El was the widely recognized God of all the Canaanite people and his name is coupled with Yah in some Proto-Canaanite inscriptions. But the name of Yah has not yet been found in the Sinai, or has it just gone unrecognized?
|The earliest El Yah inscription (late Late Bronze Age) was found
on a beautiful Ewer, discovered in a rubbish heap of a temple at Lachish
in 1934. A more recent article on the subject was a BAR, Sept/Oct. 1991,
p. 50. work of Ruth Hestrin, titled "Understanding Asherah--Exploring
Semitic Iconography." Hestrin viewed the seven branched tree as an
icon that favored the translation of "Elath" , as a female
consort of El "Asherah." We have numerous examples of the seven
branched tree used as an icon for Yah (Yahweh) and sometimes in an El/Yah
combination with such a tree and/or a ram. Also the "Taw" after
the El was an archaic ending for El. The "Yah of Gat" ligatures
were recognized and translated by Harris and Hone |
The Lachish Ewer,; (1220 BCE):
|Old Negev, L-1 |
Old Negev, L-2
Translation: Beloved, escape to my God my Father, Jah.
(Sun and rain) (Sun and rain and Yah)
(as a human like figure with his arms out- stretched.)
Transliteration: l-t-t () = to give (a gift from the heavens) [a prefix followed by Kal infinite construct of n-t-n (]; y-h ()= Yah (abbreviation of Yahweh); r-b-l-t-h ()= fertility (with a paragogic ending); m-tz, ()= sufficient [imperfect of m-tz-`, () the silent ending "aleph" being dropped.] Translation (of symbols and phonetic signs): The gift of Yah from heavens [sun and rain, bringing sufficient fertility].
Translation: "Bamah (place of worship), spoil bring up by the door of the house of Yah." Or, "Bring thou up spoil by the door of the house of Yah." Also the word "bamah" and the phrase, House of Yahweh are precisely appropriate element of this composition. "Bamah (place of worship), spoil bring up by the door of the house of Yah." Or, "Bring thou up spoil by the door of the house of Yah." Also the word "bamah" and the phrase, House of Yahweh are precisely appropriate element of this composition.
Transliteration: l y-h,= For Yah; n-m,= flee away; b-n,= son; `-r-t, = of lights.
Translation: Flee away for Yah son of lights (revelations). Flee from the enemies of the Ram (of God)? Also regarding the appearance of a sword at the side of the figure on the right above the inscription, we saw a steel sword on exhibit in the Israel Museum (April 1997) dated to the time of king Hezekiah.
The inscription shown above and the inscriptions shown below are among those we regarded as of special importance and that contained unclear script that required an on site examination from which our own sketches and photos could be made, interpreted, and translated.
Old Negev: L-1,
1. l-`,= not, no; r-',= evil; l-h,= for him.
2. `-l,= El (God); y-h,= Yah; '-d-t,= time, season, a long time.
Old Negev: L-3,
|Old Negev, L-4|
Hebrew: = watchful for Yah.
Old Negev, L-5
Old Negev, L-6
Translation: (L-5 & L-6) To dream of great Yah lament (those) bold in speaking, (of the) Lord.
Halloun published the above panel in the 1990 Israel Survey, Volume 2, but he had obviously not given the site a personal visit nor did he examine the panel carefully because he depicted what he called 22.4 up side down and called it line 4, when it is line 5 and he also left out the real line 4 and line 6. Examine our photo carefully (taken in April of 1997) and you will see grass in the lower right hand corner and open space in the upper right hand corner, indicating the correct orientation of the lines of the composition.
|Old Negev;=Hebrew: Yah & the Burning Bush [also the Tree of Life & Light - a very unconventional minorah.|
Translation: Yahh [one of three approved abbreviation for Yahweh.
An Ancient Script and Language of the Negev:
Perceptions of Yah in the Ancient Negev:
|Place names found in the compositions are appropriate for the time, location, and context in which they are used. The persona of Yah is associated with radiance, as from the sun and the head of the radiant Serpent. The glory of the radiant serpent was to be extended to his people so that their countenances would shine as they become a holy nation (a sanctified people). It is possible that the serpent (as an icon of Yahweh) would have survived in greater numbers had it not been for the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah. The serpent symbolizes Yah as the healer, and God of the storms, rain, sun, and Prince of Life. Yah was the disciplinarian, judge, protector, deliverer, teacher, purifier, and Father of his covenant people.|
|The Shield of David represents Yah as the protector of the Twelve Tribes (represented by the twelve points of the star). In addition to the "Shield of David" inscription shown above, we have an enlarged photo of a geoglyph Shield of David on top of one of the Har Karkom platforms.|
|The Tree of Life icon projects the conception of Yah as the life and|
light of the world and the simple but powerful representation on
Har Karkom is hard to discount as a commemoration of the bush
that burned but was not consumed before the eyes of Moses