Stories change over time. This known to everyone who’s had the opportunity to join a “telephone” game (sometimes known as ‘Chinese whispers’). You can more read about it here.
One of the strangest things that seem to have change is our… God. Well, not directly him (or her), but rather their name, and – actually – their number.
Digging into our Western culture history in a more scientific fashion, we discover quite a few of Gods. A big happy family, if you really want to know. And I’m not referring to Zeus, Anubis, Thor, or any other of the thousands of worldwide gods (see also here). I’m referring specifically to the one we commonly call ‘God’ nowadays.
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So it appears the ancient Hebrews had two major gods a while ago. There was ‘Elohim’ (with several other names), often mentioned in the English translations of the Old Testament as ‘God’. And there was ‘Yehova’ (a.k.a. ‘Jehova’ and ‘Yahweh’), often mentioned in the English translations as ‘Lord God’.
God was the father. Yehova was one of his sons. Yehova also had a wife, you know (sorry for keeping thinking of ‘Life of Brian’). She was often called ‘Asherah’ but not only. In the ancient area of Israel, Elohim (derived from the ‘El’) is said to be originated in the north. Yehova is found in more southern contexts.
And the family had some very interesting internal arguments and disputes. A careful analysis of the Biblical text demonstrates how they sometimes contradicted each other. And before they merged into one entity sometimes in the late 1st millennium BC, people also had to decide between them:
“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24 15)
Using today’s phrasing, this text in Hebrew actually says:
“And if it looks bad to you to worship Yehova, choose today whom you will worship: whether ‘Elohim’, which your ancestors worshipped, which is on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you reside. But as for me and my family, we will worship Yehova.”