BIBLE BABEL--Where did Yahweh come from (2023)

As noted in the trilogy The Last King of Babylon the word Yahweh is a third person singular conjugation of the verb “to be.” A study of Biblical Hebrew linguistics reveals that it (the name “Yahweh”) was derived from the first person singular conjugation Ahweh, meaning “I am.” This first form appears in the Bible in Exodus 4:14 where God tells Moses that “I am that I am,” (The Hebrew is AHWEH ASHER AHWEH). Then God tells moses to: “say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.”

So, how did this grammatical structure, this third person singular of the verb “to be,” become the Hebrew name of God?


The Bible tells us that Yahweh was a son of El. In chapter 2 of Deuteronomy, God the most high (“El ‘Aliyon” in the Hebrew version) divided the nations into their inheritance giving Jacob’s descendants to the “Lord” (Yahweh in the Hebrew version). The translators of the King James version obviously tried to smooth that one over so as to disguise the polytheistic nature of early Israelite religion, but in the Hebrew version it is obvious that “Yahweh” (the “Lord”) is subservient to “El ‘Aliyon” (God the most high).

Some people have tried to use this passage to prove that Yahweh was originally a God of Ugarit where “El ‘Aliyon” (God the most high) was the chief deity over a large pantheon of Gods. However, all it really shows is that when believers of Yahweh merged with believers of El, subsequent religious literature was bound to show a great deal of cultural borrowing. That passage in Deuteronomy was only an attempt by later Biblical writers to explain how Yahweh became their chief God, instead of El whom their neighbors worshiped and whom the ancestors of some of them used to worship.

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The Bible also tells us that the children of “Israel” did not know of Yahweh prior to the Exodus (Exodus 6:2-3). “Moses” himself, if there was such a personage, did not learn of Yahweh until he visited his “father-in-law” in the land of the Midianites. “Moses” also supposedly got a personal one-on-one encounter with Yahweh on Mount “Sinai.” Traditionally Christians and post-diaspora Jews (under Christian influence) have placed all of this (i.e. the land of the Midianites, Mount Sinai, and the introduction of Yahweh as a deity) in what is now the “Sinai” Peninsula.

The problem is that no one ever placed these events in what we today call the Sinai until the 4th century A.D. when Roman Emperor Constantine’s mother Helena decided that a particular mountain in the deserts south of Judah/Palestine was Mount “Sinai” (and then she had a chapel built there to commemorate the site). So, from that time on that particular mountain was called Mount “Sinai,” and the peninsula in which it is located came to be called “Sinai.” And, then all of the events listed above, Moses meeting “Jethro” and his learning about Yahweh, etc., were thought to have taken place in that exceedingly desolate Peninsula.


There are a whole host of problems connected with that idea. First of all when “Moses” fled Egypt (assuming that he was wanted for killing a man) the last place in the world where he would try to hide out would the “Sinai” Peninsula where the Egyptians had numerous mines and large numbers of military forces stationed to protect those mines and to guard Egypt’s eastern frontiers. No, he would have fled much further afield, to an area where the Egyptians had no military presence or influence.

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Secondly, the name “Jethro” tells us a lot about the location of the place Moses fled to. “Jethro” is a corruption of the Hebrew YATRO coming from the stem "YOD TAW ROSH" the meaning of which is “Abundance,” and “excess.” Protagonists and antagonists in Biblical mythologies generally carry names descriptive of the function they played in life, or in the particular Biblical story that they are featured in. So, the “father-in-law” of “Moses” was a “man of abundance” who perhaps had an excess of wealth and/or flocks, hence the name YATRO. Now, it would be pretty hard to be a man of abundance and have excess wealth and flocks in a place like the “Sinai” Peninsula. However, it would not be so difficult to be a man of abundance if one lived much further east, namely the plains of northern Arabia.


In fact, that is what the “Land of the Midianites” actually refers to. “Midianites” is derived from the Arabic MIDAN meaning “plains” which describes the geography of northern Arabia from Tayma through Adammatu (Biblical Dumah), Sakkaka, and ‘Ar’ar. This area is sitting on top of a huge aquifer which supplies the wells that have fed the above-mentioned cities for thousands of years. Also, spring rains cause the entire region to burst into a riot of colors as flowers seem to spring up out of nowhere to blanket the countryside from one end to the other (even today). The bottom line is that northern Arabia would have supplied the right environment for someone like “Jethro” to become “Mr. Abundance,” and would have been an ideal place for someone like “Moses” to have fled to since the Egyptians had no control or influence there.

Interestingly there are a number of 8th century B.C. inscriptions that Identify the city of Tayma as a cult center of Yahweh (see Meshel, Ze’ev, on 2007, and Smith, Mark, The Early History of God, 2002, p. 32).


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The coup de grace is that the Bible itself, in several places, comes right out and says that Yahwah came from Tayma and/or Sinai was in Arabia. For example Habakuk 3:1-3 says that “God” came from Tayma. Note that the author who composed Habakuk writing in the post-exilic period many centuries after Yahweh and El (Elohim) had been merged into a single deity would not have known the difference between Yahweh and El, and in fact used both terms interchangeably in this reference. Therefore, he is saying that Yahweh came from Tayma. Galatians 4:24-25 says that Mount Sinai is in Arabia. Deuteronomy says “. . . the Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Se’ir unto them; He shined forth from mount Paran” (Deut. 33:2). And, then in Judges we have “Lord, when thou wentest out of Se’ir, when thou marchedst out of Edom, the earth trembled . . . .” (Judg. 5:4). Even though the place names of Edom and Sinai are usually not thought of as being in Arabia, many scholars do equate those sites, as well as Se’ir, with Tayma and areas of NW Arabia east of the Red Sea—at least in this particular context (Smith, Mark, The Origins of Biblical Monotheism, 2001, p. 245).

In this context it is interesting to note that Nabu Na’id, the last king of Babylon, thought of Edom as extending from Tayma to the Jordan River area as noted in the trilogy The Last King of Babylon. The Biblical prophet Ezekiel implies the same geographic range for Edom as extending from Tayma up to Judah (Ezekiel 25:13).


This obviously raises the question as to why Tayma? Why does the Bible say that God came from Tayma? Why was there such a strong Yahweh cult in Tayma as early as the 8th century B.C. (and probably much earlier)? To answer those questions we have to delve into the very nature of Yahweh—at least as viewed from the standpoint of early man.

Imagine that you are lying under the desert sky some nine or ten thousand years ago adoring the beauty of the night sky. You have gotten rather skilled at locating some of the major galaxies such as the great hunter, the twins, and the bull, etc. Then suddenly a star appears out of nowhere directly over head. It streaks across the sky almost faster than your eye can follow leaving a trail of sparks in its wake. In the distant western horizon it crashes to the earth with a roar and a blast that makes the ground tremble. Would you not be inclined to think that it was some sort of “god” coming to earth from the mysterious sky above? What if you were close enough to the falling meteor to actually see where it landed? What if after you overcame your fear you entered its crater and tried to touch it—only to burn your hand? (The effects of entering the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed still lingering).

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Objects such as these came to be called “Bayt El(h),” meaning “house of God” by the early Semites because they believed that deity resided inside such objects. This concept was eventually extended to any large rock of unusual shape or size. Often times these objects were worshipped or prayed to, and smaller replicas were often kept in personal homes and tents along with one’s household gods. Modern non-Semitic speaking archaeologists mistakenly called these items, large or small, “beytles.” (As a mispronunciation of “Bayt El”). Of course, the most famous “Bayt El” in modern times is the one housed inside the Kaaba at Mecca. This object, believed by western scholars to have been a meteor, had been venerated by the inhabitants of the Arabian Peninsula (or at least those who lived in the western part of it) for thousands of years prior to the advent of Islam.

The concept of meteors and large rocks being “Bayt El” or “house of God,” was well entrenched among the descendants of the “Israelite/Jewish” tribes who wrote the Bible. In Isaiah 44:8 where he relates the story about the mythical “Jacob” having a chit chat with God, Yahweh says “is there any other God besides me?” And then answers his own question: “There is no (other) rock that I know of.” The King James version of the Bible translates the word SWR as God making the final sentence read “there is no (other) God that I know of.” However, the actual meaning of SWR is “large rock,” “cliff,” or “high citadel.” So, in other words (in the original Hebrew) Yahweh is saying that there is no other “rock” besides himself. The Yahweh (or Eloh/Alah since the terms are used interchangeably in Isaiah) as “rock” imagery also permeates Deuteronomy 32. These passages show that the connection between divinity and large/unusual/prominent rocks and citadel-like mountains remained hard-wired in the Israelite/Jewish mind-set at least through the post-exilic times when most of the Old Testament passages were written (or re-written as the case may be).

But Mecca is not the only place in Arabia that can lay claim to a distinct “Bayt El.” A few miles to the south of Tayma there is a huge sandstone outcropping that sticks up out of the flat desert plain like an angry fist smiting the sky. Could this be the mountain of God that “Moses” visited? The Bible tells us that Yatr/Jethro was a priest of the Midianites, and Arabic tradition equates him with the Midianite prophet Shu’aib (Asad, Muhammad, The Message of the Qur’an, 2003, p. 246, and Qur’an 11:83).


Why did God scatter the Tower of Babel? ›

According to Genesis, the Babylonians wanted to make a name for themselves by building a mighty city and a tower “with its top in the heavens.” God disrupted the work by so confusing the language of the workers that they could no longer understand one another.

Why was God not happy with the Tower of Babel? ›

God was not happy that the people were building the tower. He changed their language so that they could not understand each other. Because they could not understand each other, they had to stop building the tower. God scattered the people and sent them all over the earth to live.

What was the main purpose of the Tower of Babel? ›

The declared purpose of the tower was to reach the heavens, to achieve fame for the people, lest they be scattered abroad into all lands. However, this was in clear contradiction with (possibly an act of rebellion against) God's command to go out and fill the whole earth.

Who were the Babylonian gods in the Bible? ›

Despite its many wonders, Babylon worshiped pagan gods, chief among them Marduk, or Merodach, and Bel, as noted in Jeremiah 50:2.

What God was the Tower of Babel built for? ›

Some modern scholars have associated the Tower of Babel with known structures, notably the Etemenanki, a ziggurat dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Marduk in Babylon.

Does the Tower of Babel still exist? ›

Today, nothing remains but a watering hole. The Tower was said to be almost 100 meters tall and was dedicated to Babylon's own God, Marduk. But even he was powerless to save this once mighty city.

What does the biblical name Babel mean? ›

In Biblical Names the meaning of the name Babel is: Confusion, mixture.

What was the religion of Babel? ›

Paul describes the pagan worship of the creation in Romans 1:22-25. Modern Babel worship is an ideal of peace, unity, and brotherhood which mimics God and where man makes his own route to God, usurping the prerogatives of divinity. Babel worship is manifest in the pluralistic faith of the deified state.

What was the main religion in Babylon? ›

Babylonians were polytheistic and worshiped a large pantheon of gods and goddesses. Some of the gods were state deities, like Marduk, the chief patron god of Babylon, who dwelled in a towering temple. Others were personal gods that families worshiped at humble home shrines.

Which god did the Babylonians believe in? ›

Marduk, in Mesopotamian religion, the chief god of the city of Babylon and the national god of Babylonia; as such, he was eventually called simply Bel, or Lord.

How many gods are there in the Bible? ›

Christianity has always been monotheistic, meaning that we believe in one God. But our belief in God's oneness refers specifically to his nature, or essence. Jesus taught and showed that the Divine Nature exists in three Divine Persons.

Who was behind the Tower of Babel? ›

Nimrod wanted to build cities and is credited with building the tower of Babel, the center of a city that would reach to the heavens. The goal of their leaders was to make a name for themselves that would be remembered forever.

What does the Bible say about other gods? ›

Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you; for the Lord your God, who is among you, is a jealous God and his anger will burn against you, and he will destroy you from the face of the land.

Did Adam and Eve speak a language? ›

The Adamic language, according to Jewish tradition (as recorded in the midrashim) and some Christians, is the language spoken by Adam (and possibly Eve) in the Garden of Eden.

What is Babylon called today? ›

The remains of the city are in present-day Hillah, Babil Governorate, Iraq, about 85 kilometres (53 mi) south of Baghdad, and its boundaries have been based on the perimeter of the ancient outer city walls, an area of about 1,054.3 hectares (2,605 acres).

What country is Babylon today? ›

Founded more than 4,000 years ago as a small port on the Euphrates River, the city's ruins are located in present-day Iraq.

What is the origin of the name Babel? ›

Etymology. From Latin Babel, from Biblical Hebrew בָּבֶל‎ (bāḇel, “Babylon”), from Akkadian 𒆍𒀭𒊏𒆠 (Bābilim); in Genesis associated with the idea of confusion.

Why did the people of Babel want to make a name for themselves? ›

While the people in Babel were looking to make a name for themselves through their accomplishments and power, God was making a name for himself through people (specifically through the line of Shem through which he would bring the nation of Israel, and ultimately his Son, Jesus).

What is the Greek meaning of Babel? ›

Babel {proper noun}

Βαβέλ {pr. n.} Babel. Tower of Babel. Πύργος της Βαβέλ

What is the oldest religion? ›

The word Hindu is an exonym, and while Hinduism has been called the oldest religion in the world, many practitioners refer to their religion as Sanātana Dharma (Sanskrit: सनातन धर्म, lit.

How many gods did the Babylonians worship? ›

With the fall of Sumerian hegemony at the end of the third millennium, Babylonian culture and political control spread throughout southern Mesopotamia. At the end of the third millennium B.C., Sumerian texts list approximately 3,600 deities.

What god did the Chaldeans worship? ›

The dominant religious tradition in Chaldea was the Mesopotamian pantheon. Major gods in this pantheon include Marduk, the father of all the other gods, and Nebo, the god of writing and the fates of men. Before the creation of the Chaldean Empire, Marduk was simply a local god, important only to the city of Babylon.

What religion is Marduk? ›

Marduk (Cuneiform: 𒀭𒀫𒌓 dAMAR. UTU; Sumerian: amar utu. k "calf of the sun; solar calf"; Hebrew: מְרֹדַךְ‎, Modern: Mərōdaḵ, Tiberian: Merōḏaḵ) was a god from ancient Mesopotamia and patron deity of the city of Babylon.

Was Babylon a pagan city? ›

The city founded by Nimrod was renowned for its pride and rebellion; its pagan worship of false gods was the beginning of the degeneration from monotheism to polytheism (Rom. 1:18–32), and reached a climax when its inhabitants sought equality with God (Gen. 11:1–9).

Who is the main god of Babylonians? ›

Marduk was the patron god of Babylon, the Babylonian king of the gods, who presided over justice, compassion, healing, regeneration, magic, and fairness, although he is also sometimes referenced as a storm god and agricultural deity.

Is Marduk a Demon? ›

Fictional character biography. Marduk Kurios is a high level demon and the ruler of one realm of Hell. Like many other demons, he has falsely taken on the titles of Satan, Lucifer and the devil to further strengthen his power and devotion.

Who was Marduk in the Bible? ›

Amēl-Marduk, meaning "man of Marduk"), also known as Awil-Marduk, or under the biblical rendition of his name, Evil-Merodach (Hebrew: אֱוִיל מְרֹדַךְ‎, ʾÉwīl Mərōḏaḵ), was the third king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, ruling from 562 BC until his overthrow and murder in 560 BC.

How many gods did Babylon worship? ›

With the fall of Sumerian hegemony at the end of the third millennium, Babylonian culture and political control spread throughout southern Mesopotamia. At the end of the third millennium B.C., Sumerian texts list approximately 3,600 deities.

Who is the strongest Babylonian god? ›

Marduk in the Enuma Elish

From a regional agricultural deity, Marduk became the most important & powerful god of the Babylonian pantheon, attaining a level of worship bordering on monotheism.

What was Babylon known for in the Bible? ›

Babylon symbolizes evil. God destroyed Babylon, a wicked city in the ancient world (see Isaiah 13:19–22; Jeremiah 51:37, 52–58). Babylon has become the symbol of the wickedness and evils of the world (see D&C 133:14; Revelation 17:5; 18:2; D&C 86:3).

What was the first religion? ›

Sometimes called the official religion of ancient Persia, Zoroastrianism is one of the world's oldest surviving religions, with teachings older than Buddhism, older than Judaism, and far older than Christianity or Islam. Zoroastrianism is thought to have arisen “in the late second millennium B.C.E.

Who is the biggest god in the world? ›

Vishnu is known as "The Preserver" within the Trimurti, the triple deity of supreme divinity that includes Brahma and Shiva. In Vaishnavism, Vishnu is the supreme being who creates, protects, and transforms the universe.

Is Yahweh a baal? ›

In northern sources, “the baal” refers to the Phoenician storm deity introduced by the Omrides—likely understood by them to be a form of Yahweh but a figure rejected by the prophets as foreign. The related term, “the baals”, is used separately in the DH as a collective for gods of which the Deuteronomist disapproved.

Who was Yahweh? ›

Yahweh, name for the God of the Israelites, representing the biblical pronunciation of “YHWH,” the Hebrew name revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus. The name YHWH, consisting of the sequence of consonants Yod, Heh, Waw, and Heh, is known as the tetragrammaton.

Is Marduk and Yahweh the same? ›

Originally Answered: Is Yahweh and Marduk the same? Yahweh is the only and supreme god of Israelites, and Marduk was the GOD of GODs of Babylonian.

What does the name Babylon mean? ›

mid-14c., Babilon, representing the Greek rendition of Akkadian Bab-ilani "the gate of the gods," from bab "gate" + ilani, plural of ilu "god" (compare Babel).

What was the downfall of Babylon? ›

The Fall of Babylon denotes the end of the Neo-Babylonian Empire after it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire in 539 BCE. Nabonidus (Nabû-na'id, 556–539 BCE), son of the Assyrian priestess Adda-Guppi, came to the throne in 556 BCE, after overthrowing the young king Labashi-Marduk.

What Babylon symbolizes? ›

Although the name “Babylon” is derived from the Akkadian word babilu meaning “gate of god,” it is an evident counterfeit of God's eternal city. The opposition to the rule of God by world powers or the exile of God's people from the land of blessing is conveyed properly through the metaphor of Babylon.


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