Monotheism and the Bible

See the source image
The god El – Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monotheism is a given for all Bible readers.  However when we come to the text we read in our expectations and can miss some points in the record.  Sometimes what the text actually says can be profoundly contrary to our expectations.  In some instances God has chosen to reveal Himself in ways crafted to suit the worldview of the first hearers but which jar in our ears.  More than just a point of interest, this reality speaks to the extent God is prepared to go to.  The message of redemption is of primary importance, the calling to know and serve Him alone.  In achieving this outcome, inspiration has accommodated ideas which almost all believers would recoil from.

Following is an exploration of one such ‘offensive’ accommodation.  Why?  Because it demonstrates the largeness of God’s grace to accommodate the limitations of His people – past, present and future in order to win them over to keep covenant with Him. Perhaps it also provides an example of the demands we should put on our fellow believers.

Culture and Bible reading

We read the Bible with cultural filters, reflecting in varying degrees our society, our education and our faith tradition.  This was demonstrated in an experiment by Mark Allan Powell in a test described in O’Briens “Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes” [1].  Powell had 100 Christians read and retell the story of the prodigal son as accurately as possible.  Only six participants mentioned the famine which triggered the son’s return.  In contrast, a second group of 50 readers had an 84% mention the famine.  The difference?  Group one were ethnically, economically and socially diverse but were all American.  The second group were similar varied but all Russian.  One culture has experienced famine in recent cultural memory.  This aspect of the story resonated and was clearly important to them, but not the Americans. 

As John Walton wrote:

God has accommodated himself to the world of ancient Israel to initiate…revelation. We therefore recognize that although the Bible is written for us (indeed, for everyone), it is not written to us. In its context, it is not communicated in our language; it is not addressed to our culture; it does not anticipate the questions about the world and its operations that stem from our modern situations and issues[2]

John Walton

The Old Testament accommodates the understanding of the early readers in a host of ways.  Some of these have crossed over into English and are understood as metaphors – a fact which can cloud our recognition of the literalness of the original text.  For example God declares he searches the hearts and tries the kidneys Jer 17:10.  The early readers understood this meant God searched out the thoughts in their thinking organ (the heart) and their emotions in the body organ from which emotions were generated – the kidneys.  Today we know these organs have completely unrelated functions, but (usually) read the Bible without concern about this accommodation of ancient biological misunderstandings.

However this accommodation of the Bible reaches further than we may realise or wish to face.  Conditioned by our understanding of God, we read the Bible in particular ways.  This is hardly surprising given the clarity of the revelation of God in Jesus – in whom the fulness of God dwelt (Col 1:19).  Combined with our views on inspiration, we can misread what the Bible says and miss the surprising example of God accommodating what we might consider unthinkable in the Old Testament.

The most basic Bible teaching?

Pretty much from Sunday School we all learnt there is only one God.  This is basic – fundamental and central to the teaching of the Bible.  Except it isn’t that simple.  Yes the Old Testament loudly and consistently demands the undivided loyalty God’s people.  However this is done in polytheistic language.  Why?  Because the culture of the first receivers was unwaveringly polytheistic. 

Jeremiah says they had more gods than towns in Jer 11:13.  The prophets constantly complained about the idolatry of their contemporaries.  Archaeological evidence demonstrates the remarkable extent of personal idolatry.  Female figures – mostly likely of Asherah or a composite female deity – appear

in 45 per cent of all the houses [in Bethsheba in the 9th to 8th century] and …the same seems to apply to other sites[3]

Becking

This is consistent with Asherah worship being part of the Jerusalem temple for some time 2 Kings 23:4-14.

This photo is the ruins of a temple in Arad .  Many of the design features, especially the dimensions of this shrine correspond to Solomon’s temple, and the tabernacle.  Correspondence from the site points to interaction with the temple in Jerusalem[4]

Interestingly “flanking the entrance to it were two incense altars.[5] 

Negev

This has been interpreted as evidence of two deities being worshipped – most likely Yahweh and Asherah[6].

Everyone would agree, on reflection, that polytheism was the norm in practice during early Old Testament times.  God spoke to them in ways they could understand, regardless of the fact that there only ever was one God – Yahweh, the God of Israel.  As has been noted:

a “monotheistic” people is a prerequisite for a monotheistic God. Or to put it differently, the idea of an absolute, solitary God depends upon the outward expression of a community self-identifiable through its attitude of exclusion. In other words, a monotheistic God is the ideational product of a self-awaredly exclusionary community.[7]

Cataldo

Ie monotheism needed the right conditions to emerge before this truth could be realised by the covenant people.  So we find that technically much of the Old Testament commands monolatry – the exclusive worship of one deity in a polytheistic environment – rather than monotheism.

Now of course some are unlikely to agree.  The term itself is quite rare in our community (used in the ejournal[8] but not in The Christadelphian Magazine).  Some might be somewhat outraged by this assertion.  But pause and let’s look at what the Old Testament says, let it speak.

Polytheism in the Torah

Exod 20:3, the first of the ten commandment is “You shall have no other gods before me”.  This introduces us to a consistent pattern.  The existence of other gods is not denied, but Israel is to be exclusively faithful to Yahweh.  Contrast this with the more certainly monotheistic statements later which are common in Jeremiah and Isaiah (eg Jer 5:7 “Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods”).

In reflecting on the deliverance from Egypt Num 33:4 says:

the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them; the Lord also executed judgments on their gods.

Numbers 33:4

Note God struck the Egyptian people AND their gods.  The context of the firstborn includes all the households of Egypt – from Pharaoh’s down.  We can’t reinterpret the second phrase as anything other than a judgement against a different collection of entities.  Ie God judged the Egyptian gods.  A comparison of the first 9 plagues shows well enough the correlation between the judgements and the superiority Yahweh demonstrated over the Egyptian pantheon.  Again we do not have a statement that God proved the Egyptian deities did not exist, rather He proved Himself superior.  This kind of ‘league chart’ view of gods is exactly consistent with the enduring beliefs of the region.  The Assyrians outside Jerusalem were quite happy to proclaim their gods were on top of the league charts while never once questioning the existence of the gods whose nations they crushed (2 Kings 18:33-35).

In Deut 4 there are statements which appear on the surface to be very monotheistic.  However further study reveals things are not as neat as we might imagine.  Firstly take v7:

In fact, what other great nation has a god so near to them like the Lord our God whenever we call on him?

This is a clear acceptance of the reality of other gods – weak and unworthy of attention though they may be.  V14 similarly encourages Israel to serve Yahweh as opposed to the other gods.  However when we come to v35 and v39 we get statements which seem to be clearly monotheistic:

You have been taught that the Lord alone is God—there is no other besides him.

Today realize and carefully consider that the Lord is God in heaven above and on earth below—there is no other!

However to take these readings at surface value and subjugate them to other passages which better suit our view/understanding is a poor handling of God’s word.  Scholars observed that there are examples of the same grammatic constructs as these verses which clearly indicate supremacy/incomparability rather than non-existence of alternatives.  Eg

  1. Babylon makes the same declaration of herself Isa 47:8-10, clearly this is a statement of being peerless.  Ninevah does the same in Zeph 2:15

  2. Ahab was “alone” searching for pasture for his horses 1 Kings 18:6 and David sinned against God alone (Psa 51:4) though Uriah and Bathsheba might have disagreed – however again the language is about comparability.[9]

Monolatry is the point of the Shema in Deut 6:4-5. 

Listen, Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! You must love the Lord your God with your whole mind, your whole being, and all your strength (NET)

The God of Israel is singular and demanded single minded/exclusive service.  The passage is no more a monotheistic formula than it is a trinitarian one.  It demands singular loyalty.  In the law, Israel was instructed not to serve other gods eg Exod 34:14 and the warning was repeated in Deuteronomy many times (see for instance Deut 7:4, 7:16, 11:16-17, 12:2, 12:30-31, 20:18, 28:14, 28:64, 30:17, 31:20).  Monotheism is inconsistent with the instructions.  It is not that these gods do not exist, it is that they’re unworthy of Israel’s worship – they owe their allegiance to Yahweh, the God of their fathers who redeemed them from Egypt.

Deut 32 as a passage has a number of clear polytheistic statements even as it demands monolatry.  At times some of this is masked in the KJV.  The accommodation of polytheism did not go unnoticed.  It seems to have inspired at least one ‘correction’ to the Masoretic Text.  In Deut 32:8 the original text according to the LXX and the Dead Sea Scroll 4QDeut, read as per the NET:

“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided up humankind, he set the boundaries of the peoples, according to the number of the heavenly assembly

Ie Moses is saying the land of Israel and all the nations were divvied up based on their gods.  Now historically I would have read the phrase “sons of God” as meaning either the angels or the faithful.  However this doesn’t fit the context, were national boundaries set based on the number of angels?  Nope.  Was the territory split between Moab and Ammon (or Fiji and Tonga) based on the number of Israelites?  Nope.  How would the readers understand this?  Only one way – the way which the MT sought to obscure (some would say “correct” [10]) by changing the text to say the boundaries were set according to the number of Israel.  This text accommodates polytheism. 

Deut 32 goes with more similarly accommodating comments in v12 saying

The Lord alone was guiding him [Jacob/Israel], no foreign god was with him”. 

Once again the text is clear, the point is not that there is only one God, rather Israel’s deliverance was due to the sole actions of their God.

However the chapter goes on to condemn the faithlessness of Israel, but does so in ways which acknowledge the existence/reality of the foreign strange gods.  Consider Deut 32:16-17

“They made him jealous with other gods, they enraged him with abhorrent idols. They sacrificed to demons, not God, to gods they had not known; to new gods who had recently come along, gods your ancestors had not known about.”

What does this passage say?  It condemns Israel for unfaithfulness, for serving new gods unknown to their ancestors.  It does not deny the existence of these gods as living entities.  Rather it denigrates them as demons and newcomers who were not the God of Israel.  This is unquestionably polytheistic.  The other ‘jonnie-come-lately’ deities were unknown to the nation and of dubious value, more evil spirits than Elohim (mighty one/s).  Their shortcomings are numerous, but existence is not one of their failures.  The polytheism of the God’s people is not challenged – their loyalty is.

This is a consistent pattern in the Old Testament.  The people of Israel are regularly recorded as turning and worshipping other gods.  This occurs through the period of the Judges and the Monarchy, until the period of Hezekiah when in Isaiah we start to see more definitively monotheistic revelation (progressing to the denunciations of Jer 10).  Let’s look at more examples of polytheistic accommodation though.

A short digression – were idols gods?

Based on our reading of the text it is not unusual to look at the condemnation of idols (and their powerlessness) and consider this is a scriptural condemnation of the existence of the gods themselves.  This is projecting our understanding backwards though.  It is not our right to assume what people thought (or knew).  We are fortunate that with advances in archaeology and the translation of ancient texts we now have significant insight into the views of ancient people.

Ancient Near Eastern idolaters knew that idols were not the actual deities they represent. While both the entity and the cult object might be called אֱלֹהִ֣ים (elohim), this does not mean that ancient people considered a human-made statue to be identical to the god it looked like. As Robins, a scholar of ancient cult objects notes: “When a non-physical being manifested in a statue, this anchored the being in a controlled location where living human beings could interact with it through ritual performance … In order for human beings to interact with deities and to persuade them to create, renew, and maintain the universe, these beings had to be brought down to earth.… This interaction had to be strictly controlled in order to avoid both the potential dangers of unrestricted divine power and the pollution of the divine realm was brought about through their manifestation in a physical body, manifestation in one body did not in any sense restrict a deity, for the non-corporeal essence of a by the impurity of the human world. While the ability of deities to act in the visible, human realm was brought about through their manifestation in a physical body, manifestation in one body did not in any sense restrict a deity, for the non-corporeal essence of a deity was unlimited by time and space, and could manifest in all its ‘bodies,’ in all locations, all at one time” (Robins, “Cult Statues in Ancient Egypt,” 1–2).”[11]

Heiser

In Mesopotamia:

At the end of the process [of making an idol], rituals were performed to transfer the deity from the spiritual world to the physical world, a process that one may refer to as “actualizing the presence of the god in the temple.” Consequently, the production of the image was not viewed in human terms, but as a miraculous process through which the deity worked   the material image was animated by the divine essence. Therefore it did not simply represent the deity, but it manifested its presence. We should not conclude, however, that the image was the deity. The deity was the reality that was embodied in the image[12]

Walton

Assyrian tablets have been discovered discussing/debating the process of moving from a manmade image to a divine manifestation – along similar lines to the ironic condemnation of Isa 49:9-20 but with a different conclusion. 

When we therefore read of idols in the Old Testament, we should be careful to read as the first audience would have understood.  The idol was not a divinity.  It was the image, the manifestation of the local god.  To the extent it had power it was power referred from the source – the pagan god.

Judges and the Monarchy

Consistent with the interpretation presented of Deut 32:8, in Judges 11:24 Jephthah said to the Ammonites:

“You have the right to take what Chemosh your god gives you, but we will take the land of all whom the Lord our God has driven out before us”

This is a clear polytheistic statement.  Chemosh had given land to the Ammonites in the same way Yahweh had given land to his people.  Chemosh is very much living and driving outcomes for ‘his people’.

In bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem, David offers a prayer and says in 1 Chron 16:25-26:

For the Lord is great and certainly worthy of praise, he is more awesome than all gods. For all the gods of the nations are worthless, but the Lord made the heavens

Far from a monotheistic declaration, this is patently polytheistic – even as it calls for loyalty to Yahweh.  David does not say there is no other god.  He doesn’t say the gods worshipped by other nations are figments of their imagination.  No, he just rates these other gods as vain/worthless in comparison to Yahweh the creator.  David does not compare reality or existence.  He compares comparative power.  Why did other gods even get mentioned?  As monotheists we don’t tend to refer to other gods at all.  In contrast David does.  But isn’t he declaring the other gods to be “idols”, ie non-existent?  No.  This is an anachronistic reading, substituting our monotheism onto the record and changing the sense.  The word translated “worthless” in the NET is “idols” in the KJV and others.  The word has the following meaning:

457. אֱלִיל ʾeliyl: A masculine noun meaning worthlessness. The term is frequently used to describe false gods and idols (Lev. 19:4; Ps. 96.5; Isa. 2:8; Hab. 2:18). Sometimes, this noun is used in a prepositional phrase, such as in Zechariah 11:17, where the Hebrew literally says “shepherd of worthlessness,” and in Job 13:4, “physicians of worthlessness.” In those verses, ’eliyl functions as an adjective[13]

Baker & Carpenter

The word declares the vanity of the other gods, the fact they are insignificant compared to Yahweh – not that they are non-existent.  David is making a comparative value judgement, not commenting on existence which he is effectively acknowledging.

After David is given the promises he prays to God and reflects on the Exodus, stating in 2 Sam 7:23:

“You did great and awesome acts for your land, before your people whom you delivered for yourself from the Egyptian empire and its gods”

As in Numbers 33, this is again a depiction of the exodus as a contest between God and the Egyptian deities.  Note Israel are being delivered from two parties and God is praised for this dual victory.  The first party, the Egyptian empire, makes sense.  The second party, Egyptian deities, only makes sense in a polytheistic framework.  You can’t be delivered from what doesn’t exist.  The existence of the Egyptian pantheon is assumed, even as their weakness before the God of Israel is asserted and He is praised for His victory.

After reading these statements we might come back to 1 Sam 19:13 and the incident where Michal uses the household gods in a bed with some rugs to fool Saul’s men into thinking David was in bed.  The teraphim were clearly large enough for the task – so David could hardly have been unaware of them in his house.  Given that the Samuel/King’s writer is hard on Michal, the failure to blame her for the idols is telling.  Archaeology has found:

many of these small figurines…in Mesopotamia and Syro-Palestine. They were a part of the “popular” or local religion, not associated with temples or national cults for the major deities. One recent study has suggested they were figurines of the ancestors, but others see them more generally related to the family’s patron deity[14]

Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H

Combined with his public commentary, this incident might give us pause to think about how God worked with David.

In 1 Kings 18 Elijah runs the contest on Mount Carmel.  The question of the day was which entity to serve, Baal or Yahweh.  Which one was to be the god of Israel?  Both are presented as if they are valid choices.  Elijah doesn’t speak of Baal as a non-entity.  When Baal is failing to perform, Elijah mocks Baal and his prophets by speculating that Baal was busy, asleep or out of the office 1 Kings 18:27.  Contrary to the expectations of the modern reader, Elijah acknowledges the existence of Baal, while mocking him.  Elijah does not teach the people about monotheism, instead he appeals for singular loyalty to the God of Israel.

Isa 24 is a prophecy of inescapable judgement.  In v 21 the judgement extends to the host of heaven. 

“On that day the Lord will punish the host of heaven in heaven, and on earth the kings of the earth.”

This is not an example of the word “elohim” being used of human judges, the host of heaven are presented as superior to the kings of the earth.  Instead again like Deut 32 we have the heavenly assembly in view.  God is judging and condemning not just the mortal kings, but also the gods they worshipped in preference to Him.  As noted in NICOT the reference is to

the pagan pantheon, since the gods were frequently identified with the stars (e.g., 2 Chr. 33:5)[15]

Oswalt

Remarkably even in Jer 48:7 we have the Moabite god Chemosh described as if he was an entity.  This is in the broader context of the book which has some quite monotheistic statements, particularly in the early chapters.  Yet in the judgements on Moab we read that:

“Moab, you trust in the things you do and in your riches. So you too will be conquered. Your god Chemosh will go into exile along with his priests and his officials

So the nation is conquered but into exile goes their god.  This consistent with the language of the Assyrian invaders about foreign gods previously noted.  Chemosh was demonstrated to be ineffective and weak rather than be proven not to exist.  The prophet describes the entire religious structure was going into exile – along with the god – rather than denounce Chemosh’s very existence.

Psalms

Psalm 89:6-7 describes the power of Yahweh and seems appropriately monotheistic, but this is not the full story:

“For who in the skies can be compared to the Lord? Who among the heavenly beings is like the Lord, a God greatly to be feared in the council of the holy ones, and awesome above all who are around him?”

We could choose to insist that the heavenly beings God cannot be compared to are the angels.  However does this fit the context?  No.  While angels cannot compare to God look at the rest of the passage.  God is feared (and the word is not reverenced – that is the idea of awesome at the end of the verse) in the council of holy ones.  What does naturally the passage mean?  Yahweh is the chief God who is feared by the lessor gods in the council in heaven.  This accords with the vision of the ‘brain storming workshop’ of gods who are asked by Yahweh to bring Ahab to battle in 2 Chron 18:18-22.  These descriptions are perfectly in accordance with the surrounding ideas of the nations around Israel according to the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary:

Common to the mythopoeic world of the ANE was the idea of a council or assembly of the gods that met to determine the fates of the cosmos. Depictions of such divine gatherings are found in the religious and mythological literatures of Mesopotamia, Ugarit, Phoenicia, and Israel[16]

Mullen

Different terms were used but the same idea imparted:

Ugaritic texts that refer to the “assembly of the gods”…”the assembly of the sons of the gods” …, and the “assembly of the council” …Similar terms such as “the circle of ‘Il” (dr ‘Il) or “the circle of the sons of ‘Il ” (dr bn ‘Il) are also well attested at Ugarit, as a means of referring to the divine assembly[17]

Rollston

For further information see John Day’s “Yahweh and the gods and goddess of Canaan” in The Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 265.

Psa 95:3 provides another example of Yahweh being greater than other gods, saying:

For the Lord is a great God, a great king who is superior to all gods.

Some might argue that the this describes the God of Israel as superior to his messengers.  However, this is redundant, obviously the Lord is greater than his messengers.  The point is clear – monolatry, not monotheism.  This is even clear in Psa 96:4-5 which reads:

For the Lord is great and certainly worthy of praise; he is more awesome than all gods. 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are worthless, but the Lord made the sky.

The very clear message.  The other gods are of no worth and power compared to the God of Israel.  As unusual as it may be to consider, the passage is clearly accommodating the existence other deities

Archaeological evidence points the same way

As Rollston notes what evidence we have (and it is admittedly slim) of early Hebrew beliefs consistently include references to ‘Yahweh and his Asherah’.  Are these inscriptions fringe statements by a small minority, ie not the norm?  No.  Rollston provides the evidence that such a position is not sustainable:

it is not likely that a complete rejection of ‘Asherah was always, everywhere, the norm for “orthodox” Yahwism during its earliest phases.43 Regarding the evidence from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom, for example, these sites are geographically separated by significant distances, with Khirbet el-Qom in the Judean hill country (about 11 kilometers from Lachish, a city that often served as a military outpost for the protection of Jerusalem) and Kuntillet ‘Ajrud in the Northern Sinai (but still under Judean control), some 150 kilometers away from Khirbct el-Qom. Moreover, the inscriptions themselves date to different periods of the 8th century, with those from ‘Ajrud dating to approximately 800 BC (±25 years), and those from el-Qom dating to the second half of the 8th century. Furthermore, the inscriptions from Khirbct el-Qom are etched in the walls of a tomb (intended by the tomb owner to be permanent), and those from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud refer to Yahweh of Teman and Yahweh of Samaria (that is, regions from the North and South)[18]

Rollston

Unsurprisingly to Bible readers the northern region was clearly polytheistic.  The Assyrian conquest reports from Sargon report that among the spoils he took from Samaria was

 ‘gods in whom they trusted.’[19]

Becking, B., Dijkstra, M., Korpel, M. C. A., & Vriezen, K. J. H

As already referenced female diety figures feature in 45% of southern homes.

Consistent with the biblical evidence, the archaeology shows monolatry was barely in existence, let alone monotheism through most of Jewish history until the exile (and even post-exile, monotheism was not universal).

Conclusion

Reading the Bible and allowing it to speak for itself is a fantastic idea but ignores the reality of cultural blinkers which hinder our perception.  Despite the monotheistic reality, the Old Testament – at least until the times of Hezekiah and more so again Josiah – was monolatrous.  Polytheism was the default assumption of the day and God accommodated this in His revelation to and interaction with Israel.

We can plainly see God’s desire for the children of Abraham to be faithful exclusively to Him.  Yet He did not at every instance attempt to dissuade them from the concept of polytheism.  Instead He graciously tolerated their mistakes while leading them to the critical point, the fundamental requirement – that they should love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and strength and their neighbour as themselves.


[1] Richards, E. R., & O’Brien, B. J. (2012). Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (p. 14). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] Walton, J. (2015). The Lost World of Adam and Eve. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[3] Becking, B., Dijkstra, M., Korpel, M. C. A., & Vriezen, K. J. H. (2001). Only one God?: monotheism in ancient Israel and the veneration of the goddess Asherah (Vol. 77, p. 79). London: Sheffield Academic Press.

[4] Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Arad (Place). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 146). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.

[5] Negev, A. (1990). In The Archaeological encyclopedia of the Holy Land (3rd ed.). New York: Prentice Hall Press.

[6] McClellan, D. O. (2016). Arad. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Cataldo, J. W. (2012). Breaking Monotheism: Yehud and the Material Formation of Monotheistic Identity. (C. V. Camp & A. Mein, Eds.) (p. 9). New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury.

[8] EG see Ed. Perry, A. W., Paul. Gaston, Thomas. Adey, J. (n.d.). Christadelphian eJournal of Biblical Interpretation Vol 3.

[9] Heiser, Michael, “Monotheism, Polytheism, Monolatry, or Henotheism? Toward an Assessment of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible” (2008). Faculty Publications and Presentations. Paper 277.

[10] Rollston, C. A. (2003). The Rise of Monotheism in Ancient Israel: Biblical and Epigraphic Evidence. Stone-Campbell Journal 6.

[11] Heiser, M. S. (2016). Divine Council. In J. D. Barry, D. Bomar, D. R. Brown, R. Klippenstein, D. Mangum, C. Sinclair Wolcott, … W. Widder (Eds.), The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[12] Walton, J. H. (2006). Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible (pp. 115–116). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.

[13] Baker, W., & Carpenter, E. E. (2003). The complete word study dictionary: Old Testament (p. 58). Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers.

[14] Matthews, V. H., Chavalas, M. W., & Walton, J. H. (2000). The IVP Bible background commentary: Old Testament (electronic ed., 1 Sa 19:13). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[15] Oswalt, J. N. (1986). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 1–39 (p. 454). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[16] Mullen, E. T., Jr. (1992). Divine Assembly. In D. N. Freedman (Ed.), The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (Vol. 2, p. 213). New York: Doubleday.

[17] Rollston, C. A. (2003). The Rise of Monotheism in Ancient Israel: Biblical and Epigraphic Evidence. Stone-Campbell Journal 6.

[18] Rollston, C. A. (2003). The Rise of Monotheism in Ancient Israel: Biblical and Epigraphic Evidence. Stone-Campbell Journal 6.

[19] Becking, B., Dijkstra, M., Korpel, M. C. A., & Vriezen, K. J. H. (2001). Only one God?: monotheism in ancient Israel and the veneration of the goddess Asherah (Vol. 77, p. 155). London: Sheffield Academic Press.

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