Main Anat-Yahu, Some Other Deities, and the Jews of Elephantine

Anat-Yahu, Some Other Deities, and the Jews of Elephantine

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This contribution discusses the problem of the origin of the goddess Anat-Yahu
and the related issue of the cultural background of the Jewish colony at Elephantine. It is argued that Anat-Yahu has been modeled after Anat-Bethel. Contrary
to a current opinion, neither Bethel nor Anat-Bethel can be regarded as Phoenician gods. They are late Aramaean gods whose cult is confined to North Syria.
Anat-Yahu must be regarded as an Aramaean creation, elicited by the identification of Yahu with Bethel. The latter identification was one of the results of the
Aramaean migration to Samaria, either enforced or voluntary, at the end of the
8th century. The theory here proposed assumes that the Jews and Aramaeans of
the colonies at Elephantine and Syene originated predominantly from Northern
Israel. The ultimate origins of the Aramaean settlers go back to North Syria. The
Jewish character of the Elephantine colony is secondary. It can be accounted for
by the Judaean transit of Israelite colonists on their way to Egypt and the secondary influx of actual Judaeans. Yet, despite the common designation of the
Elephantine colony as "Jewish", its religion is in fact Israelite.

In recent years, the epigraphical discoveries from Kuntillet
'Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom have significantly influenced the current views on the history of Israelite religion. Not only do they provide evidence for topographically distinct manifestations of Yahweh
("Yahweh of Teman", "Yahweh of Samaria"), but they also refer
several times to Yahweh and his Asherah". Many scholars believe
this expression demonstrates that, in biblical times, Asherah was
worshipped as the female consort of Yahweh. Speculations about
the role of the "Hebrew Goddess"-the
title of a monograph by R.
Patai in 1967-seemed to be confirmed by extra-biblical texts. As
a matter of consequence, biblical references and allusions to god; desses, if need be obtained by textual emendation, have again
become a subject of great interest.
It is not the first time that extra-biblical texts refer to a named
goddess as consort of Yahweh. At the beginning of this century, the
publication of Aramaic texts from Elephantine elicited considerable
interest for similar motives. One of the papyri recorded an oath by

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


Anat-Yahu.' This name is most likely interpreted as a genitival
construction, meaning "Anat of Yahu". Despite a few unconvincing attempts to interpret Anat here as a noun instead of a proper
name,2 the opinion of the first editor must be regarded as final. In
a commentary to the editio princeps, E. Sachau wrote that, since
'ntbyt'l refers to the Anat of the god Bethel, 'ntyhw must refer to
"the 'Anat of Jaho, that is: a female deity who was thought of as
the rtape6poSof Jaho".3 The evidence is unequivocal: the Jews of
Elephantine knew a goddess Anat consort of Yahu.
The origins of the goddess Anat-Yahu are the main issue of the
present contribution. Before the epigraphical finds of Khirbet elQom and Kuntillet 'Ajrud, the beliefs and practices at Elephantine
might have been dismissed as a type of syncretism which could only
develop outside Israel or Judah. Now, however, there are cogent
reasons to reconsider the origin of Anat-Yahu. Is there evidence
that Anat was ever honoured as Yahweh's consort in Israel itself?
Since the question about the background of Anat-Yahu-both
a number of colhistorical, cultural and topographical-entails
lateral issues, various other deities, such as Bethel and Anat-Bethel,
will also be dealt with. A suggestion about the genesis of the
colonies at Elephantine and Syene will conclude this paper.
I Anat in the Bible
For a convenient discussion of the data concerning Anat worship
in Israel the reader may be referred to the relevant pages in Mark
S. Smith, The Early History of God. Yahwehand the OtherDeities in
AncientIsrael (1990).4 The available evidence is scant. According to
Smith, "except for personal names, Anat does not appear in the
Bible" (p. 61). If toponyms are included and the Masoretic text is
followed without emendation, this assessment is correct. For the
purpose of the present inquiry, however, the occurrences of Anat
based on textual emendation cannot be ignored. Three suggestions
will be considered.
In 1892, Julius Wellhausen proposed a slight change in the
Hebrew text of Hos 14,9a [ET 8a] to obtain the following translation: "What has Ephraim still to do with idols? I am his Anat and
his Asherah".5
The suggestion met with a mixed, though


Karel van der Toorn

predominantly critical, reception.6 After the publication of the
Kuntillet 'Ajrud inscriptions, Wellhausen's reading won new supporters.7 Though admittedly ingenious, however, the emendation
cannot be accepted. The transmitted text as it stands makes sense:
criticizing the cult of the local Baals, described elsewhere in the
book, the prophecy points to Yahweh as the one who responds to
('nh, cf. Hos 2,17.22.23) and looks after (swr, cf. Hos 13,7) his
The second proposal concerns Ex 32,18. Reading 'anatinstead of
'annot, R. Edelmann maintains that "the voice of Anat" is contrasted with "the sound of victory" and "the sound of defeat".9 A
modified version of the emendation has been proposed by M.
Delcor, who inserted the word Pltnn to obtain the expression
nVMI In3n 5ip; he translates "J'entends le bruit d'un hourrah en
l'honneur de 'Anath".10 Though this or a nearly identical interpretation is also defended by others,"1 it hardly carries conviction.
Despite the slightly different vocalization of nMYin 32c, the word
is likely to have had the same meaning as n1Y in 32a and 32b. The
text is apparently incomplete. The Septuagint insertion of yyn
(o'Lvou)makes sense in the light of Exod 32,6. According to the context a boisterous party is going on; nothing implies that the goddess
Anat was involved in one way or another.12
Perhaps the most fanciful emendation comes from W. F.
Albright. By means of a different division of the letters and the
insertion of a taw, he read Ps 68,24 as "Why, O Anat, dost thou
wash thy feet in blood?", presumably the opening line of a lost
poem. The proposal is mentioned merely for the sake of curiosity;
Albright himself judged his introduction of Anat "probably more
ingenious than convincing". 3 Both his general interpretation of Ps
68 and his observations on details have indeed generally been
received with skepticism.
The brief examination of the alleged biblical evidence based on
emendation does not lead to a different conclusion than the one formulated by Smith: the lack of either inscriptional or biblical
evidence for Anat suggests the absence of a cult devoted to her.14
A survey of the pantheon distribution in first millennium SyroPalestine indicates that such an absence is hardly surprising. Anat
occurs frequently in mythological and liturgical texts from Ugarit,

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


but she seems to have had little importance in first millennium
Phoenicia.'5 In view of the virtual absence of Anat worship in
Palestine and Phoenicia, it is unlikely that the association of Anat
with Yahweh (Yahu) has ancient roots in Israel. The presence of
Anat-Yahu in Elephantine, then, cannot be used to prove that, in
early Israelite religion, Anat was the consort of Yahweh.
The obvious conclusion would seem to be that Anat-Yahu is the
creation of Egyptian Jews living in a syncretistic milieu. This solution is not attractive, however. Why would aJewish minority group
that was otherwise keen to preserve its native religious culture
create an entirely new goddess? And if Anat-Yahu is their creation,
why would they select the goddess Anat as a prototype, Anat being
herself a foreign deity in Egypt? Such questions require that other
possibilities be explored before the Jewish origin of Anat-Yahu is
accepted. There is in fact another possible explanation of the
origins of Anat-Yahu. The goddess has a parallel in Anat-Bethel,
a parallel that is so close that the enigmatic origins of the former
may be solved by those of the latter. In other words: if the origins
of Anat-Bethel can be established, they may shed some light upon
the origins of Anat-Yahu.
II Anat-Bethel
Anat-Yahu is not mentioned outside the Elphantine papyri;
Anat-Bethel, on the other hand, occurs twice in Neo-Assyrian
treaties. Esarhaddon's Treaty with Baal, King of Tyre, probably
concluded after the conquest and destruction of Sidon in 676
B.C.E., mentions dBa-a-a-ti-dingir.mes and dA-na-ti-Ba-a-[a-tidingi]r.mes,16 probably pronounced Bayt-'el and Anat-Bayt-'el.17
The same pair occurs in the list of divine witnesses invoked in the
Succession Treaty of Esarhaddon (672 B.C.E.). Though the tablet
is damaged, the parallel with the Baal Treaty leaves no room for
doubts about the restoration.18 These two references to Anat-Bethel
precede the Elephantine documents by more than two centuries. It
follows that the cult of Anat-Bethel did not originate in Egypt, but
was introduced by West-Semitic immigrants who brought their
native gods along. But where did the goddess come from?
In a survey of the deities of Israel's neighbours, Mark Smith


Karel van der Toorn

writes that the treaty of Esarhaddon with Baal II of Tyre "lists in
order the deities of Tyre as Bethel, Anat-Bethel, Baal Shamem,
Baal-Malaga, Baal-Saphon, Melqart, Eshmun and Astarte. The
initial position of Bethel would point to his status as the primary
god of the Tyrian pantheon."'9 Here, Smith adopts the position of
Michael L. Barre. In an appendix to a study of the treaty between
Hannibal and Philip V of Macedonia, Barre tries to demonstrate
that, according to Esarhaddon's treaty with Baal, Bethel and AnatBethel were the supreme deities of Tyre.20 It is his contention that
in Neo-Assyrian treaties the Sebetti (i.e., the Pleiades) conclude the
list of Assyrian gods. Since Bethel and Anat-Bethel immediately
follow the Sebetti, they must be regarded as the first pair of foreign
To this it may be objected that (1) the phrase "May the great
gods of heaven and earth, the gods of Assyria, the gods of Akkad
and the gods of Eber-nari curse you with an indissoluble curse" in
the god-list of the Baal II treaty obviously serves as a summary of
the preceding list, which includes, at the end, Bethel and AnatBethel; (2) Esarhaddon's Succession Treaty, concluded four years
before the treaty with Baal of Tyre, also mentions Bethel and AnatBethel; there were no vassal relations with Tyre at that point; (3)
the writing dBa-a-a-ti-dingir.mes can be explained only on the basis
of Aramaic, which suggests that the god and his consort were at
home in Aramaic-speaking territory; (4) Bethel and Anat-Bethel do
not occur in texts from Tyre or its vicinity, unlike Baal, Astarte,
Melqart and Eshmun. The fact is surprising, if they were indeed
the supreme deities of Tyre.
If Bethel and Anat-Bethel are not at home in Tyre, where do they
belong? Esarhaddon's treaty with Baal of Tyre gives a clue when
it summarizes the witnessing gods on the Assyrian side as "the gods
of Assyria, the gods of Akkad ( = Babylonia), and the gods of EberNari" (iv 8'-9'). Bethel and Anat-Bethel clearly belong to the third
category. Though Aramaean rather than Assyrian, they are listed
because they were worshipped on Assyrian territory, perhaps at
state expense. Other gods of Eber-Nari (e-bir-id) are Aramish and
Kubaba, mentioned in Esarhaddon's succession treaty (?? 54-55,
lines 466-71), and possibly the Sebetti.21 Aramish, erroneously read
[dGa]r-ga-mis by a previous editor of the text,22 occurs in Ugaritic

Anat- Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


plenilunium rituals under the form rms (KTU 1.46:13; 109:7).23
The scanty evidence available indicates that his cult was practised
in North Syria.24 Kubaba is the well-known goddess of Carchemish. Since Bethel and Anat-Bethel are mentioned just after
Aramish and before Kubaba (Esarhaddon's Succession Treaty, line
467), their cult must be located in North Syria as well.
A specific topographical location of the cult of Anat-Bethel can
only be proposed in connection with the god Bethel. This god
makes a relatively late appearance in Syrian religion; he is not mentioned in any second millennium text, and his name does not begin
to occur as an element in theophorous names until ca. 600 B.C.E.
The oldest attestations of Bethel are in the Esarhaddon treaties,
which corroborates the idea that he is an Aramaean god, not a
Phoenician deity in Aramaean guise.25 His name presumably
derives from the place-name Bethel, "House-of-El": perhaps the
Bethel mentioned in the treaty of Barga'ya with Mati'el (Sfire IA
34).26 This town has tentatively been identified with modern Bet
Laha, some 30 km west of Aleppo.27 An Aramaic record of debt
from 570 B.C.E., in which creditor, debtor and witnesses all have
names compounded with Bethel, was found in Sfire, ca. 25 km
south-west of Aleppo (KAI 227). It supports the topographical location of Bethel's worship here proposed. So does a Greek inscription
from Kafr Nebo near Aleppo, mentioning 2uip4iuXoS (= EshemBethel).28 In the absence of conclusive evidence, however, it would
be rash to press for a narrowly defined area of Bethel's worship. A
third century C.E. inscription from Dura-Europos calls Zeus
Betylos "the ancestral god of those who dwell along the Orontes",
which is a late indication of the North Syrian location of Bethel's
III Aramaean Gods at Elephantineand Syene
If Bethel and Anat-Bethel are late Aramaean gods whose cult is
confined to North Syria, their presence in Egypt in the 5th century
B.C.E. would imply that they were brought there by North Syrian
Aramaeans. Since the documents show that the Jewish community
at Elephantine recognized other gods as well, the question must be
asked whether they, too, are originary from North Syria. Because


Karel van der Toorn

of the close ties between the Jews of Elephantine and the
Aramaeans of Syene, the gods of the latter group will be included
in this discussion as well.
Of the two other gods connected with Bethel, Ashim-Bethel and
Herem-Bethel, only the former can be qualified as a distinct deity;
Herem-Bethel is not a compound divine name, but refers to "the
sacred property of Bethel".30 In Aramaic anthroponyms from
Egypt, the god Ashim occurs as an independent theophorous element.31 He is presumably identical with the god Ashima' mentioned in Aramaic inscriptions from Tema.32 According to 2 Kgs
17,30, Ashima' was the god of the people from Hamath. The
reference to Ashim-Bethel in the Kafr Nebo inscription supports
the conclusion that Ashima' is indeed a North Syrian deity.33
Alongside Bethel, Anat-Bethel and Ashim-Bethel, the pantheon
of the Aramaean community at Syene included the pair Nabu34 and
Banit.35 Evidently, these gods have no Syrian origins. Nabu is a
Babylonian god and his main temple is in Borsippa; though he was
increasingly popular throughout the Mesopotamian area. Banit is
still a riddle. Her name is originally an epithet (meaning either
"Beautiful One" or "Creatrix"), providing no clue for her identification. It has been suggested that she is the consort of Ninurta,
but the connection cannot be satisfactorily proven.36 In view of the
Aramaic evidence from Egypt, a connection with Nabu would be
more likely. The only hint at their relationship in other texts, however, is the likeness between the decriptions of the ritual marriage
of Nabu and his consort Tashmetu (TIM 9 no. 54), on the one
hand, and that of Banit with her anonymous male companion (STT
366), on the other.37 Yet whether Banit was originally the consort
of Ninurta or Nabu, in either case she is a Babylonian goddess.
There is no compelling reason, then, to contest the topographical
link between Banit and Babylon made in 2 Kgs 17,30.38 Although
both onomastic and inscriptional evidence indicate that Nabu and
Banit were known and, to some extent, worshipped in Late Iron
Age Syria, they can by no means be regarded as typically Syrian
The situation is different for Baal-shamayin and El. Though
these gods apparently did not receive a cult in Syene, they occur a
number of times in papyrus Amherst 63. Thus, in the Aramaic ver-

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


sion of Psalm 20, both are mentioned.39 Vleeming and Wesselius
have cogently argued that the papyrus originated in an Aramaean
group which was "basically identical with the Aramaean community
of Syene as encountered in the documents from the Jewish comIt
munity of Elephantine and the Hermopolis correspondence."40
is likely, therefore, that El and Baal-shamayin were at least known
to the colonists of Syene. El is a common Northwest Semitic god
to whom the devotion is largely rhethoric in the first millennium
B.C.E. Having turned into a deus otiosus, his place was gradually
taken by Baal-shamem or Baal-shamayin. Although Baal-shamayin
is well attested in Phoenician inscriptions, he occurs as the foremost
deity in the Aramaic inscription of Zakkur, king of Lu'ash and
Hamath (KAI 202).
On balance, it must be concluded that not all the gods worshipped by the Aramaean community in Egypt came directly from
North Syria. Nabu and Banit are primarily at home in Babylonia:
and so are Bel, Shamash and Nergal, once mentioned in the
salutatory formula at the beginning of a letter from Elephantine.41
The fact does not preclude the possibility, of course, that by 750
B.C.E. these gods were accepted and assimilated in certain Syrian
quarters. At any rate they were all imported into Egypt; none of
them was actually conceived in Egypt. For the sake of expedience,
the inquiry into the routes by which these gods reached Egypt must
momentarily by postponed. Suffice it to state, without further demonstration, that there is hardly any evidence for the involvement of
other groups, besides Aramaeans and Jews, in the introduction of
these deities into Egypt.
IV Yahwehand the Gods of the Aramaeans
Attention must again be given to the question of the origins of
Anat-Yahu. As argued before, it is unlikely that she is an Israelite
creation. Since all the other gods of the Aramaeans and Jews in
Egypt were conceived outside Egypt, however, it is difficult to
belief that Anat-Yahu would be the sole exception. A third
possibility must therefore be reckoned with, viz. that she was
created by the same North Syrian Aramaeans who brought Bethel
and Anat-Bethel to Egypt. The solution presupposes, evidently,


Karel van der Toorn

that there were contacts between North Syrian Aramaeans and
Israelites prior to the settlement of the colonies in Egypt. These
contacts, moreover, must have been intensive: since they
presumably led to Aramaean acceptance of Yahu and the subsequent creation of Anat-Yahu as his appropriate consort. At this
point it is necessary, therefore, to ascertain whether there are traces
of such contacts.
The quest for traces of influence of Israelite religion on
Aramaean concepts and practices may conveniently take as its
starting-point a recent article by Stephanie Dalley.42 Dalley seeks
to demonstrate that Yahweh was a major god in North Syria by the
8th century B.C.E. The hard core of the evidence is onomastic: the
Annals of Tiglath-pileser record the annexation, in 738 B.C.E., of
the nineteen districts of Hamath which had defected to a king
named Azri-Yahu (Iaz-ri-ya-a-ud).43 His home is unknown. It is
most likely Hatarikka (biblical Hadrach, Zech 9,1), a small state
between Aleppo and Hamath. Other Assyrian records mention
Yau-bi'di king of Hamath who, in 720 B.C.E., organised an antiAssyrian revolt of the subjugated cities Arpad, Simirra, Damascus
and Samaria.44 A third instance of a North-Syrian "Yahwistic"
name is found in the Bible. According to 2 Sam 8,9-10, Toi king
of Hamath had a son by the name of Yoram, a contemporary of
Although three personal names constitute a remarkably small
body of evidence, Dalley argues that they indicate that "in the late
8th century both before and after the fall of Samaria, Yahweh was
worshipped as a major god in Hamath and its vicinity" (p. 28). She
observes that Azri-Yau and Yau-bi'di were probably indigenous
rulers rather than usurpators of Israelite descent; since, in the
onomastic tradition of the time, royal names use only a major god
as theophorous element, Yahweh must have been a major god in
Hatarikka and Hamath. Dalley also adduces biblical evidence in
support of her view. The address of Sennacherib's Rabshakeh to
the people of Jerusalem refers to the defeat of Hamath and Arpad
in order to dissuade them from trusting in Yahweh: "Has any of
the gods of the nations ever delivered his land out of the hand of
the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad?"
(2 Kgs 18,33-4; Isa 36,18-9). This rhetorical question, Dalley

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


urges, implies that Hamath and Arpad depended on Yahweh for
their deliverance; and that he had failed them.
These are conclusions that go well beyond what the evidence can
sustain. It is difficult to believe that Yahweh became all of a sudden
a major god in Hamath around 720 B.C.E.; if he was a major god
then, he must have been one of the more important deities before.
Yet the only gods mentioned in the native inscriptions are the chief
goddess Ba'alat, and the gods Baalshamayin, Elwer, Shamash and
Shahar.45 Yahweh (or Yahu) goes unmentioned. The argument
which is based on the address by Sennacherib's Rabshakeh is
flawed by tendentious citation and a failure to grasp the point of
comparison. The passage in which the Rabshakeh asks his audience
"Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad?" continues: "Where
are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena and Ivvah?" (2 Kgs 18,34; cf.
Isa 36,19).46 According to the logic of Dalley's demonstration, this
would imply that Yahweh was also their main god, which is
obviously false since one chapter earlier in the Second Book of the
Kings, Nibhaz and Tartak are mentioned as the gods of Ivvah, and
Adrammelech and Anammelech as the gods of Sepharvaim (2 Kgs
17,31). In fact, the editor of the Rabshakeh's demoralizing speech
believed that the chief deity of Hamath was Ashima (2 Kgs 17,30).
The Rabshakeh is not concerned with the identity of the gods of the
nations; he merely observes that, if the gods of other nations were
unable to deliver their people from the menace of Assur, the
national god of Judah would do no better.
If Dalley's usage of the biblical material is questionable, her
handling of the cuneiform data is anything but cautious. Yahwistic
names are rarely found outside Israel; before positing one, therefore, all other possibilities of interpretation must be exhausted.
Dalley rather lightly dismisses Lipinski's interpretation of the name
Yau-bi'di as 'Iluyahu-bi-'Idl, "God-will-appear-as-my-witness" .47
Yet Lipiniski draws attention to an important difficulty of the
"Yahwistic" interpretation. The name Yau-bi'di, as it is conventionally referred to, occurs in six different spellings: (1) Iya-u-bi-'di; (2) dya-i-bi-'-di; (3) Iya-bi-'-di; (4) dya-bi-'-di; (5) ii-lu-u-bi-'-di;
and (6) Idingir-bi-'-di.48 Dalley concludes from this evidence that
the Assyrians give El-bi'di as a variant of Yau-bi'di, because they
"thought of Yahweh as El" (p. 31). However, the reading El-bi'di


Karel van der Toorn

is unlikely, in view of the spelling Ii-lu-u-bi-'-di. The latter suggests
that the name was pronounced Ilu-bi'di or Iluyu-bi'di. Since the
sign -ya- can also be read as -yu-, it is possible that the name was
never pronounced Yau-bi'di but Iluyu-bi'di or, in its shortened
form, Yu-bi'di.49 Though it would be unwise to exclude the
possibility that Yau-bi'di is in fact a Hebrew theophoric name, the
evidence is surely not unequivocal. In view of such uncertainties,
Yau-bi'di cannot be used as evidence for Yahweh-worship in North
Also to be excluded from the evidence is the name Yoram, mentioned as the son of Toi, king of Hamath, in 2 Sam 8,10. The
Yahwistic element of Yoram is replaced by "Hado" in 1 Chr
18,10, which agrees with LXX Ie8oupav in 2 Sam 8,10. Though
both the Chronicler and the LXX tradition could be suspected of
cleaning up their source, it is difficult to see why they would emendate a Yahwistic name into a non-Yahwistic one, unless the latter
is historically correct. Like Yau-bi'di, Yoram is a very dubious
instance of a North Syrian Yahwistic name. All things considered,
then, the only remaining piece left of hard evidence is the name
Azri-Yau. Though there can be little doubt that this is indeed a
Yahwistic name, its significance for the relations between Israel and
North Syria is not clear. Cogan and Tadmor urge that the name
is Israelite; because the Aramaic form would be Idri-Yau.50
Dalley's dismissal notwithstanding (p. 28), they have a sound argument. All that the evidence allows by way of conclusion, therefore,
is that the state of Hatarikka probably had a ruler of Israelite descent around 740 B.C.E.
Neither the onomastic nor the biblical evidence indicates that the
Aramaeans in North Syria had more than occasional contacts with
Israel. The matter takes on a different aspect, however, when the
possibility of Aramaean influences on Israelite beliefs and customs
is explored. According to Jer 48,13, "the house of Israel" put its
trust in Bethel, as Moab did in Chemosh. The parallelism with
Chemosh makes it plausible that Bethel refers here to the god of
that name. The fact is surprising because Bethel is a North Syrian
deity, otherwise unconnected with Israel. Yet it must be assumed
date of the prophecy
that some time before 600 B.C.E.(?)-the
being the terminusante quem-the cult of Bethel was introduced into

Anat- Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


Israel. Another North Syrian god who is perhaps mentioned as
being worshipped in Israel is Ashim. In the Book of Amos there is
a reference, probably not by the prophet himself, to "the guilt of
Samaria" ('asmat Somron, Am 8,14). The expression has all
appearances of a theological correction of a divine name, similar to
siqqus mesomem,"the abomination which makes desolate", for Baalshamem (Dan 11,31; 12,11).51 What deity is referred to? The RSV
translates "Ashimah of Samaria": apparently a reference to the
Ashim known from onomastics and the compound Ashim-Bethel.
It is also possible, however, that the original text referred to the
Asherah of Samaria (cf. HALAT 93a); though the correction of
Asherah into 'asima,"guilt", would be unique in the Hebrew Bible.
The most striking evidence so far of Aramaean influence on
Israelite religion has come to light in Papyrus Amherst 63 xii 11-19,
the Aramaic version of Psalm 20. In a recent study of this text, Ingo
Kottsieper concludes that the Hebrew poem is an adaptation of an
Aramaic text closely resembling Papyrus Amherst 63 xii 11-19, if
not identical with it.52 Since the religious universe of the papyrus
is very similar to that of the Aramaean community in Syene, it may
be assumed that the Aramaic psalm has North Syrian origins (N.B.
the reference to the god Bethel in line 18). Kottsieper argues that
the Israelite adaptation took place in the Hasmonaean Era; because
of its references to the king and the sacrificial cult. Though such
references might fit in pre-exilic times, the strict avoidance of
heathen divine names would require, so Kottsieper maintains, a
post-exilic date (p. 244). This return to the dating of Duhm is not
self-evident, however. It could be that the adaptation occurred in
two (or more than two) phases: the one involving, amongst other
things, a reference to the king; the other a correction of certain
divine names. Even the hypothesis of a single adaption would not
necessarily lead to a post-exilic date, since the Deuteronomic
theology with its mono-Yahwistic emphasis is also pre-exilic.
The reference to Bethel as the confidence of Israel (Jer 48,13),
on the one hand, and Psalm 20, on the other, are two examples of
North Syrian influence on Israelite religion. The period of such
influence cannot be firmly established on the basis of these two
biblical texts. On the hypothesis that this period falls before the
establishment of the Aramaean colonies in Egypt (ca. 600 B.C.E)


Karel van der Toorn

and after the defeat of North Syria by the Assyrian kings (ca. 730700 B.C.E.), it must be situated, grosso modo, in the 7th century
B.C.E. The principal argument in support of this solution is provided by the Bible. According to 2 Kgs 17,24, the Assyrian
authorities settled people from Avva, Hamath and Sepharvaim in
the cities of Samaria. This report on the population of Northern
Israel in the 7th century deserves to be examined in some detail.

V NorthernIsrael in the 7th CenturyB.C.E.
Judging by the account in 2 Kgs 17,24-41, the deportees who
came to live in Israel came originally from two regions: viz.
Northern Babylonia and North Syria. Babylon and Cuthah (Tell
Ibrahim)53 lie at the heart of the former Babylonian kingdom.
Avvah (or Ivvah), Hamath, and Sepharvaim are likely to be
situated in North Syria. Although it has been proposed to identify
Hamath with a town called Ama in Babylonia,54 the traditional
identification with Hamath on the Orontes is more plausible. A
variant list of North Syrian cities, in 2 Kgs 18,34 (cf. 2 Kgs 19,13;
Isa 37,13), refers to Hamath, Arpad, Sepharvaim, Hena, and
Ivvah. Since Arpad is doubtlessly to be identified with the capital
of the Aramaean kingdom of Arpad (modern Tell Rif'at), Hamath
can hardly be any other city than Hamath on the Orontes. Avvah
(Ivvah) and Hena cannot be firmly located as yet; whilst Sepharvaim is frequently identified with Sibraim, which Ezek 47,16
locates on the border between Damascus and Hamath.
The broad topographical identification of the origins of the
deportees here proposed is corroborated by the biblical details
about the gods which they worshipped. Saccuth-Benoth is most
plausibly interpreted as "an image of Banit" (cf. LXX BatvtO),55
Banit being an epithet used as the proper name of a Babylonian
goddess, perhaps Tashmetu. Nergal had indeed his centre of worship in Cuthah, the city 25 km north of Kish. If Ashimah is identical with Ashim and Ashim-Bethel, his North Syrian origins agree
with the available data on Bethel and Anat-Bethel. Nibhaz and
Tartak, gods of the Avvites, are not documented elsewhere. Their
names are presumably corruptions.

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of the Sepharvites,
have been connected with Hadad and Anat on the assumption that
the former is a corruption of Adadmelech and the latter a contraction of Anatmelech. John Day now rejects the reading Adadmelech
and maintains that Adrammelech may well be correct. It could be
the name of a Phoenician god of child sacrifice, though the evidence
for this deity is scarce.56 The interpretation of Anammelech as a
form of Anat is a distinct possibility. Alternatively, it might be suggested that 1"5L3 should be read 71513, to be vocalized as Ogmelech. Og, the Rephaite king "who dwelt at Ashtaroth and at
Edrei" (Josh 12,4), occurs as a chthonic deity in a sarcophagus
inscription form Byblos.57 He is to be identified with the Ugaritic
god Milku, also called Rapi'u, who "dwells in Ashtartu and reigns
in Hidra'yu" (KTU 1.100:41; 1.108:3; cf. also the name
The new inhabitants of Israel maintained the religious traditions
of their homeland: yet they also adopted Yahweh into their pantheon, since he was the god of the land. This partial religious
acculturation may indeed have been stimulated by the Assyrian
authorities, as the biblical record suggests.58 The Deuteronomic
historiographer characterizes the ensuing syncretism by saying that
"they feared Yahweh but also served their own gods" (2 Kgs
17,33). It is not unreasonable to suppose that the introduction of
Bethel into Israel occurred precisely in this time of religious crossfertilization. Evidently, the implication is that the reference to
Israel's trust in Bethel inJer 48,13 is an anachronism, since the text
sees in this confidence a cause of Israel's defeat, presumably in 722.
It is not unusual in prophetic historiography, however, that lacunae
in the knowledge of the past are filled out with data from the contemporary situation.
The cultural melting-pot which Israel became in the 7th century
B.C.E. included in fact a fourth population group, besides Babylonians, North Syrians and Israelites. Although not mentioned in the
biblical records, the Annals of Sargon II report that the Assyrian
king deported groups of Arabs to Samaria. In his monograph on
The Ancient Arabs, Israel Eph'al doubts whether these Arabs were
forced to dwell in Samaria. It is possible that they went there willingly, and that their migration was merely condoned by the


Karel van der Toorn

Assyrian authorities.59 Something similar may be true, incidentally, of the North Syrian settlers in Israel. Although the biblical
records present their migration as a deportation, the possibility cannot be excluded that many of them came as refugees, more or less
of their own accord. The Assyrian annals refer to the deportation
of Babylonians and Cuthaeans, but no measures of deportation are
mentioned for the population of Hamath after its defeat. Hamath
and Israel were allies at the end of the 8th century B.C.E.; it would
hardly be a sign of political wisdom to bring former conspirators
together. It is conceivable, however, that as the circumstances at
home deteriorated, Aramaeans from Hamath and vicinity looked
upon Israel as a haven and fled to the south.
Irrespective of the causes of the ethnic and cultural mixture in
Israel, it must have produced a very variegated religious life. The
gods mentioned in 2 Kgs 17 can hardly have been the only ones to
have received worship. It is unlikely that people from Babylon and
Cuthah should not have continued to worship Bel, Nabu, and
Shamash: three major Babylonian deities. Nor can it be expected
that North Syrian Aramaeans would have abandoned the cult of
Bethel and Anat-Bethel. The Arab population would have brought
their gods: such as the heaven-goddess Allat.
The adoption of Yahweh, in this syncretistic climate, may well
have resulted in his being identified with other major gods. An
administrative text from Elephantine recording money contributions for the temple of Yahu indicates that, having been collected,
the money was allotted to Yahu, Ashim-Bethel and Anat-Bethel.60
The occurrence of the latter two deities is surprising in the context.
In a Yahwistic temple the expected goddess-if any there waswould be Anat-Yahu. The most plausible solution to the problem,
it seems, consists in supposing that Yahu and Bethel were practically identified at Elephantine.61 Which means, incidentally, that
the population made no clear distinction between Anat-Yahu and
Anat-Bethel either. If Yahu and Bethel were identified at Elephantine, might not the same have occurred in Israel? Continuing this
train of thought, it is conceivable that Anat-Yahu was created by
the Aramaean deportees in Israel on the model of Anat-Bethel. In
fact, it is easier to suppose that worship of Anat-Yahu originated
among Aramaeans who recently adopted Yahu into their cult,

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


rather than to assume that the goddess was created by Elephantine
Jews. The solution implies that the concept of Anat-Yahu came into
existence on Israelite soil: yet that it was primarily at home in the
Aramaean community there.
VI TheJews of Elephantine
In more than one respect, the situation in 7th century Israel contains the seeds of the religious pluralism to which the Aramaic
documents from Elephantine bear witness. The population of
Northern Israel was diversified; consisting primarily of Israelites
and Aramaeans, it also included Babylonian and Arab elements.
Aramaic was their common language. Worship was directed to a
whole host of deities: including Bethel, Anat-Bethel, Ashim-Bethel,
Banit, Nabu, Yahweh or Yahu, and-presumably-Anat-Yahu.
Other deities, such as Bel, Nergal and Shamash, were certainly not
unknown. To what precise extent the different population groups
mingled and intermarried is, however, largely a matter of speculation. They would have lived neither in splendid isolation from each
other nor in perfect familiarity. Though each group may have
maintained many of its native traditions, few will have been impervious to influences from their near surroundings.
The situation just described for Northern Israel after 700 B.C.E.
contains many elements which recur at 5th century B.C.E.
Elephantine and Syene. The colonies are populated by Jews and
Aramaeans who use Aramaic for their written communications:
worship is directed to precisely those gods which were worshipped
in Israel two centuries before. Dupont-Sommer judiciously
observes that it is unlikely that it is in Egypt that the Elephantine
colonists began to include Anat and Bethel, Bel and Nabu in their
religious universe; it is probably from Palestine that they brought
these gods.62 In his study of the Elephantine archives, B. Porten
writes that "the Arameans of Syene and Memphis ... may have
been descendants ... of deportees from Arpad, Hamath, and other
cities who were settled in Samaria and at some other time migrated
to Egypt."63 The two suggestions are complementary; they provide
an attractive explanation of the many points of contact between the
colonies at Elephantine and Syene. Though their respective popula-


Karel van der Toorn

tion was ethnically distinct, the one consisting of Jews and the other
of Aramaeans, they share a common cultural heritage.
The parallels between the Egyptian Jews and Aramaeans are
such, that it is questionable whether the two groups can be as
clearly distinguished as is often done. On the basis of an onomastic
study, Michael Silverman concludes that there were "racial Arameans" not only at Syene, but also at Elephantine.64 Although it
cannot be denied that Hebrew names predominate at Elephantine,
and Aramaic ones at Syene, a rigorous division runs into difficulties. At least three people are called "Aramaeans of Syene" in
some places, and "Jews of Elephantine" in other places.65 It is
possible to explain this phenomenon by taking "Aramaean" as a
military designation and "Jewish" as an ethnic designation; the
fact still confirms the close ties between the two communities. Bel,
Nabu, Shamash and Nergal are mentioned in a letter written by
one Jew addressing another66; the religious "syncretism" is certainly not a strictly Aramaean phenomenon.
The history of the Jewish migration into Egypt is likely to have
been complex; any modern reconstruction can hardly be more than
an informed guess. The obscurity of the historical evidence, however, should not be a reason to refrain from general hypotheses.
Both the background of Anat-Yahu and the entire picture of the
religious life at Elephantine and Syene strongly suggest that the
historical core of the communities came from Northern Israel. The
immigrants thus came from a religious culture they largely had in
common. For two or three generations the population groups had
lived in symbiosis, which led to a cultural pluralism which will have
affected both Aramaeans and Israelites.
The fact that the religious practices in the Elephantine colony
have a Northern Israelite background means that the Jewish segment of the population is chronologically secondary. The Jewish
character of the Elephantine colony is probably based on an important influx of Judahites who joined the Israelite settlers. It must be
kept in mind, moreover, that the emigrants from Northern Israel
would have entered Egypt by way of Judah. It may be surmised
that many of them had not intended to prolong their wandering all
the way into Egypt. At any event, some of them stayed in Judah
for a significant length of time. One reason to suppose that this is

Anat-Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


so is the presence in Judah, around 600 B.C.E., of the cult of the
Queen of Heaven (Jer 7,18; 44,15-30). The Queen of Heaven is
none other than Anat, who is called the Lady-of-Heaven (b 'It smm)
in Ugaritic texts.67 At Syene, the names Anat-Bethel and Queen-ofHeaven are used as variant designations of the same deity. Since
Anat was not traditionally worshipped inJudah, her cult must have
come from elsewhere. Isaiah does not know her yet. The most probable suggestion would be that Israelites-or Israelite Aramaeans
the cult of the goddess
originally from North Syria-introduced
when they had found refuge in Judah sometime after 700 B.C.E.
Little is known of the history of Israel after the fall of Samaria
in 722 B.C.E. There is at least some evidence, however, for continued relations with Judah. Thus the Book of Jeremiah has a
reference to a pilgrimage by eighty men from Shechem, Shiloh and
Samaria to bring offerings to Jerusalem (Jer 41,5). If the
Deuteronomic School does indeed have Northern Israelite origins,
as many scholars believe, it could be taken as evidence for the
transfer of Israelite theology to Judaean soil. Here, the Book of
Hosea might be quoted as another instance. In both cases, the
transfer of ideas and writings will have involved a transfer of people
as well. Though only obliquely attested, such movements may have
affected more than a few inhabitants of Northern Israel.
In short, the theory here proposed assumes that the Jews and
Aramaeans of the colonies at Elephantine and Syene originated
predominantly from Northern Israel. The ultimate origins of the
Aramaean settlers go back to North Syria. The Jewish character of
the Elephantine colony is secondary. It can be accounted for by the
Judaean transit of Israelite colonists on their way to Egypt and the
secondary influx of actual Judaeans. Yet, despite the common
designation of the Elephantine colony as "Jewish", its religion is
in fact Israelite. Also, the ethnic differences between the colonies of
Elephantine and Syene do not necessarily imply that there were
great cultural differences.68
The concept of Anat-Yahu is an illustration of the cultural symbiosis which has marked the Israelites and the Aramaeans living in
Egypt. The goddess must be regarded as an Aramaean creation,
elicited by the identification of Yahu with Bethel. The latter identification was one of the results of the Aramaean migration to

Karel van der Toorn


Samaria, either enforced or voluntary, at the end of the 8th century. Though it is therefore correct, after all, to call Anat-Yahu an
Israelite goddess, it must be remembered that her origins do not go
beyond ca. 700 B.C.E.: and that her theological paternity is


Rijksuniversiteit Leiden
Faculteit der Godgeleerdheid
Matthias de Vrieshof 1
NL-2300 RA Leiden


A. E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth CenturyB.C., 1923, no. 44:3.
Thus, e.g., W. F. Albright, The Evolution of the West-Semitic Divinity 'An'Anat-'Atta, AJSL 42 (1924-25), 94-96; J. T. Milik, Les papyrus arameens d'Hermoupolis et les cultes syro-pheniciens en Egypte perse, Bib 48 (1967), 567; B.
Porten, Archivesfrom Elephantine, 1968, 170-71; Saul M. Olyan, Some Observations Concerning the Identity of the Queen of Heaven, UF 19 (1987), 170.
3 E. Sachau,
Aramiische Papyrus und Ostraka aus einerjiidischen Militar-Kolonie zu
Elephantine, 1911, xxv.
4 Smith, The Early
History of God, 61-64.
J. Wellhausen, Die Kleinen Propheten, Skizzen und Vorarbeiten5, 1892, 21.131.
6 It is
accepted by such scholars as E. Jacob, Osee, Commentairede l'Ancien Testament XI/a, 1965,95; 0. Eissfeldt, Review of Hosea commentary by Van Leeuwen,
BiOr 27 (1970), 243. Others either reject or ignore the emendation, e.g., K. Marti,
Das Dodekapropheton,HAT 13, 1904, 108 ("gesucht"); W. R. Harper, Amos and
Hosea, ICC, 1905, 415 ("a freak of the imagination"); W. Nowack, Die kleinenPropheten, GHAT III/4, 1922, 81; H. W. Wolff, Dodekapropheton1: Hosea, BK XIV/1,

1965 2. Auflage, 302 ("allzu kuhn"); W. Rudolph, Hosea, KAT XIII/1, 1966,

249 ("schwer denkbar"); J. L. Mays, Hosea, 1969, 184; F. I. Andersen and D.
N. Freedman, Hosea, AB 24, 1980, 642; J. Jeremias, Der Prophet Hosea, ATD
24/1, 1983, 173.
7 M. Weinfeld, Kuntillet 'Ajrud Inscriptions and their Significance, SEL 1
(1984), 122-23; Silvia Schroer, In Israel gab es Bilder, OBO 74, 1987, 44; 0. Loretz,
'Anat-Aschera (Hos 14,9) und die Inschriften von Kuntillet 'Ajrud, SEL 6 (1989),
57-65; J.-G. Heintz, Une tradition occultee? La deesse cananeene 'Anat et son
'aserdhdans le livre du prophete Osee (chap. 14, v. 9b), Ktema 11 (1986 [1990]),
8 See A. S. van der Woude, Bemerkungen zu einigen umstrittenen Stellen im
Zwolfprophetenbuch, Melanges bibliqueset orientauxen l'honneurde M. Henri Cazelles,
AOAT 212, 1981, 483-485.
9 R. Edelmann, Exodus 3218: n
n.s. 1 (1950), 56; Id., To
rm: in Exodus XXXII 18, VT 16 (1966), 355. See also R. N. Whybray, n1, in
Exodus XXXII 18, VT 17 (1967), 122; A. Graeme Auld, AJudean Sanctuary of
'Anat (Josh. 15:59)?, Tel Aviv 4 (1977), 85-86.
10 M. Delcor, Une allusion a 'Anath, deesse guerriere en Ex. 32:18?, JJS 33

(1982), 145-160.

Anat- Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


" Thus,
e.g., J.-G.

Heintz, Une tradition occultee?, 11-12.
A. Deem suggests to translate 'annot as "orgy" (The Goddess Anath and
Some Biblical Hebrew Cruces, JSS 23 [1978], 29). It is difficult to defend this
rendering without positing a missing complement of the verb.
13 W. F. Albright, A Catalogue of Early Hebrew Lyric Poems (Ps LXVIII),
HUCA 23/1 (1950-51), 28-9.
14 Smith, The Early History of God, 6.
15 See, e.g., A. W. Eaton, The Goddess Anat. The History of Her Cult, Her
Mythology and Her Iconography, 1964, 120-21. The occurrence of Anat in a fourthcentury B.C.E. bilingual inscription from Cyprus (KAI 42) may be deceptive,
since her name might have suggested itself as the nearly homophonic equivalent
of Athena.
16 R.
Borger, Die InschriftenAsarhaddonsKonigs von Assyrien, AfO Beiheft 9, 1956,
109 ? 69 iv 6. The text can also conveniently be consulted in S. Parpola and K.
Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths, SAA 2, 1988, no. 5.
17 For the
pronunciation see M. D. Coogan, West Semitic Personal Names in the
Murasu2Documents, HSM 7, 1976, 46-7; M. L. Barre, The God-List in the Treaty
Between Hannibal and Philip V of Macedonia. A Study in the Light of the Ancient Near
Eastern Treaty Tradition, 1983, 46-7.
Succession Treaty, line 467. For a recent edition with full
18 Esarhaddon's
display of the textual witnesses see K. Watanabe, Die ade-Vereidigunganlasslich der
Asarhaddons, BagM Beih. 3, 1987. The text is also to be found as
no. 6 in S. Parpola and K. Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treatiesand Loyalty Oaths, 1988.
19 Smith, The Early
History of God, 25.
Barre, The God-List, 43-4. 128-38.
21 Note that the Pleiades received a cult in Emar, see Armaud, Emar VI.3, no.

378:7 (cf. 373:72'. 126').
22 See R.
Borger, Zu den Asarhaddon-Vertragen aus Nimrud, ZA 54 (1961),
190. The correct reading has been established by Watanabe, Die ade-Vereidigung,

23 See P. Xella,
I testi rituali di Ugarit, 1981, 53. The name of the god is
unrelated to the deified Old Akkadian king Rimus, nor has it anything to do with
Hebrew remes, "creeping animals", pace J. C. de Moor, Studies in the New
Alphabetic Texts from Ras Shamra, II, UF 2 (1970), 325.
Except for the mention in the Succession Treaty, there is only onomastic
evidence in Akkadian. Two names compounded with Aramish are mentioned on
a tablet allegedly found at Rasm et-Tanjara, an obscure mound situated in the
valley of the middle Orontes River. A third name with Aramish as theophorous
element belongs to a merchant from Carchemish. See J.-M. Aynard and J.
Nougayrol, Une tablette neo-assyrienne de Syrie (?) et le dieu Aramis, RA 65
(1971), 85-87. On Rasm et-Tanjara see H. Athanassiou, Rasm et-Tanjara: A
RecentlyDiscoveredSyrian Tell in the Ghab, Part I: Inventoryof the Chance Finds, 1977.
25 Pace
Barre, The God-List, 47-8.
26 The
god Bethel is unrelated to the biblical town Bethel, pace 0. Eissfeldt, Der
Gott Bethel, ARW 28 (1930), 1-30 = KS, 1, 1962, 206-33.
27 M.-C.
Astour, Continuite et changement dans la toponymie antique de la
Syrie du Nord, in: La toponymieantique. Actes du colloquede Strasbourg12-14juin 1975,
1977, 139.
28 M.
Lidzbarski, Ephemerisfur semitischeEpigraphik, Vol. 2, 1908, 323-4.
29 H.
Seyrig, Altar dedicated to Zeus Betylos, Excavations at Dura-Europos,


Karel van der Toorn

Preliminary Report of Fourth Season, eds. P. V. C. Baur, M. I. Rostovtzeff and A.
R. Bellinger, 1933, 68-71 (= no. 168).
See K. van der Toorn, Herem-Bethel and Elephantine Oath Procedure,

ZAW 98 (1986), 282-285.

See P. Grelot, Documents arameensd'Egypte, LAPO 5, 1972, 464.
K. Beyer and A. Livingstone, Die neuesten aramiischen Inschriften aus
Taima, ZDMG 137/2 (1987), 285-296, esp. 287-288.
33 See also N. Aime-Giron, Textes arameens
d'Egypte, 1931, 113-117.
34 See Aime-Giron, Textes arameens
d'Egypte, no. 99:1; A. Dupont-Sommer,
"Bel et Nabu, Samas et Nergal" sur un ostracon arameen inedit d'Elephantine,
RHR 128 (1944), 28-39; E. Bresciani and M. Kamil, Le letterearamaichedi Hermopoli, 1966, no. 1:1. See also J. B. Segal, Aramaic Textsfrom North Saqqdra, 1983,
nos. 30:7 ([...] 'bd nbw 'lh' [...]); 182:1 (?); XVI 1.
35 Bresciani and Kamil, Le letterearamaiche, nos. 1:7; 2:1.12; 3:1.
36 K.
Deller, STT 366: Deutungsversuch 1982, Assur 3/4 (1983), 139-153, esp.
37 K. Deller, STT 366:
Deutungsversuch 1982, 142.
38 Following
a suggestion by E. Lipiniski (SKN et SGN dans le semitique
occidental du nord, UF 5 [1973], 202-203), Succoth-Benoth must probably be
interpreted as "an image of Banit".
See the edition by I. Kottsieper, Anmerkungen zu Pap. Amherst 63, ZAW
100 (1988), 217-244.
S. P. Vleeming and J. W. Wesselius, Studies in Papyrus Amherst 63, 1985, 7.
41 A.
Dupont-Sommer, "Bel et Nabu, Samas et Nergal" sur un ostracon arameen inedit d'Elephantine, RHR 128 (1944), 28-39 [= Collection ClermontGanneau, no. 277]. For a reference to "Bel his god" in an Aramaic letter from
Saqqara, see J. B. Segal, Aramaic Textsfrom North Saqqara, 1983, no. 23 r. 5.
42 S.
Dalley, Yahweh in Hamath in the 8th Century BC: Cuneiform Material
and Historical Deductions, VT 40 (1990), 21-32. See for a largely sympathetic
response Z. Zevit, Yahweh Worship and Worshippers in 8th-Century Syria, VT
41 (1991), 363-366 [in some of the Aramaean kingdoms Yahweh worship was
accepted as the cult of a minority group].
43 See
J. D. Hawkins, Izrijau, RLA 5 (1976-80), 227.
44 See
J. D. Hawkins, Jau-bi'di, RLA 5 (1976-80), 272-73.
For a survey of the inscriptional evidence see J. D. Hawkins, Hamath, RLA
4 (1972-75), 67-70.
46 The
authenticity of the Lucianian addition ("and where are the gods of the
land of Samaria?") is debated; see for a discussion with references to relevant
literature M. Anbar, xaLtrou ELtv oL OoItTi x. pacgSarxapeoiag"et ofu sont les dieux
du pays de Samarie?", BN 51 (1990), 7-8.
47 E.
Lipiniski, An Israelite King of Hamat?, VT 21 (1971), 371-373. Dalley
judges that this analysis "has no factual basis" (p. 27 note 18).
48 See for the
spellings J. D. Hawkins, Jau-bi'di, RLA 5 (1976-80), 272-73.
49 Cf. the
largely similar analysis by M. Weippert, apud B. Becking, De
ondergang van Samaria, 1985, 58 (reference courtesy B. Becking, University of
Utrecht). Cf. also the Ugaritic name IBi-di-i-lu in Ugaritica 5 (1968), 121 no. 39:7.
50 M.
Cogan and H. Tadmor, II Kings, AB 11, 1988, 166.
51 See M. Fishbane, Biblical Interpretationin Ancient Israel, 1985, 71-72.
Kottsieper, Anmerkungen zu Pap. Amherst 63, ZAW 100 (1988), 243.
See D. O. Edzard and M. Gallery, Kutha, RLA 6 (1980-83), 384-387.

Anat- Yahu and theJews of Elephantine


Thus Becking, De ondergangvan Samaria, 113-114 (with references to further

55 See E. Lipiniski, SKN et SGN dans le semitique occidental du nord, UF 5
(1973), 202-203.


J. Day, Molech. A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament, 1989, 44-46.
W. R6llig, Eine neue phoenizische Inschrift aus Byblos, NESE 2 (1974),


S. M. Paul, Sargon's Administrative Diction in II Kings 1727,JBL 88 (1969),


I. Eph'al, The Ancient Arabs, 1984, 105-111.
A. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth CenturyB.C., 1923, no. 22 vii 122-124.
Cf. P. Grelot, Documents arameensd'E,gypte, LAPO 5, 1972, 365.
A. Dupont-Sommer, "Bel et Nabu, Samas et Nergal" sur un ostracon arameen inedit d'Elephantine, RHR 128 (1944), 38.
63 B.
Porten, Archivesfrom Elephantine, 1968, 18.
M. H. Silverman, Aramean Name-Types in the Elephantine Documents,


JAOS 89 (1969), 691-709.

Silverman, Aramean Name-Types, 692 and n. 3.
A. Dupont-Sommer, "Bel et Nabu, Samas et Nergal" sur un ostracon arameen inedit d'Elephantine, RHR 128 (1944), 28-39.
D. Pardee, Les textes para-mythologiques de la 24e campage (1961), Ras
Shamra-OugaritIV, 1988, 103. The identification has recently been contested by

Saul M. Olyan, Some Observations Concerning the Identity of the Queen of

Heaven, UF 19 (1987), 161-174. The Aramaic texts from Egypt do not really
allow of a different identification, however. It is hardly conceivable that Ishtar
would be the West Semitic Queen of Heaven. Asherah and Astarte are unlikely
candidates too, because it cannot really be explained why Jeremiah would call one
of them "Queen of Heaven" whereas they are systematically referred to by their
proper name elsewhere in the Bible.
Some 35 years ago, Cyrus H. Gordon suggested that the Jews of Elephantine
came from an "offshoot of Judah planted in Aram during the united monarchy"
(The Origin of the Jews in Elephantine, JNES 14 [1955], 56-58, quotation from
p. 56). The hypothesis leaned heavily on the equation Yaudi=Judah,
definitely proven erroneous. Gordon was right, however, when he observed that
the religion of the Jews in Elephantine was quite unlike Jewish religion.
I wish to record a debt of gratitude to Peggy Day (Winnipeg) and Jonas C.
Greenfield (Jerusalem) who commented on an earlier draft of this paper. Responsibility for the views here expressed lies entirely with the author.