Skip to main content
Internet Archive's 25th Anniversary Logo

Full text of "The Religion of Canaan: From the Earliest Times to the Hebrew Conquest"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 
From the Earliest Times to the Hebrew Conquest* 

W. Carleton Wood 

NEWMARKET, ONTARIO, CANADA 
INTRODUCTION 

This work is an attempt to set forth, in the successive periods 
of history, the salient features of the religion of Palestine before 
the final settlement of Canaan by the Hebrews, and to relate to 
these features all the isolated facts and traces of religion gleaned 
from the various sources of the subject. The writer has striven, 
in the accomplishment of this task, to observe the well-recog- 
nized landmarks of comparative religion, and to show the origin 
and development of religious conceptions so far as they are 
peculiar to Palestinian soil. 

Up to comparatively recent times the only sources for the 
study of Palestinian culture and religion prior to the Hebrew 
invasion were limited to certain references in the Old Testa- 
ment, which in most instances furnish merely inferential 
evidence, and to the meager gleanings of facts from the monu- 
ments of Egypt and of Babylon concerning the gods and the 
religion of Canaan. But, in the last two decades, archaeological 

* Abbreviated titles in the foot-notes: A J A. — American Journal of 
Archaeology. Baedeker — Baedeker, Syria and Palestine, fifth edition, 
1912. Baethgen = Baethgen, Bcitrdge zur Semitischen Religionsgeschickte, 
Berlin, 1888. Barton — Barton, A Sketch of Semitic Origins, New York, 
1902. Baudissin — Baudissin, Studien zur Semitischen Religionsgeschichte, 
Leipzig, 1876. Benzinger — Benzinger, Sebriiische Archdologie, Tub- 
ingen, 1907. Bliss = Bliss, A Mound of Many Cities, London, 1894. Bliss 
and Macal. = Bliss, Macalister, and Wiinseh, Excavations in Palestine dur- 
ing the Tears 1898-1900, London, 1902. Breasted, ABE. = Breasted, 
Ancient Records of Egypt, vols, i-v, Chicago, 1906. Breasted, HE. — 
Breasted, A Sistory of Egypt, New York, 1905. Brinton = Brinton, 
Religions of Primitive Peoples, New York, 1897. Buhl — Buhl, Geographic 
des Alton Palastina, Leipzig, 1896. BW. = Biblical World. Clay, Amurru 
= Clay, Amurru, The Home of the Northern Semites, Philadelphia, 1909. 
Clay, Personal Names = Clay, Personal Names from Cuneiform Inscrip- 
tions of the Cassite Period, New Haven, 1912. Cook — Cook, The Religion 
1 



2 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

explorations in Palestine have furnished a new and most impor- 
tant source. We refer in particular to the discoveries made by 
Petrie at Tell el-Hesy (Lachish) in 1890, by Bliss and Macal- 
ister in the tells of the Shephelah in 1898-1900, by Sellin at Tell 
Ta'anek (Taanach) in 1903-4, by Schumacher at Tell el-Mutesel- 
lim (Megiddo) in 1903-5, by Macalister at Gezer in 1902-5 
and 1907-9, and by Mackenzie at 'Ain Shems (Bethshemesh) 
in 1911-2. Naturally there remain unavoidable gaps, and 
with the future knowledge that is sure to be revealed many 
conclusions will be superseded by others based on facts. As for 
the material contained in the Old Testament the task of disen- 
tangling the native Canaanite elements from the resultant fusion 
of the native religion with that of the incoming Hebrews is beset 
with difficulties because of the fact that the later Hebrew reac- 
tions against the native religion are chronicled by scribes who 
interpreted the religious practices of that polytheistic religion 
in the light of ethical monotheistic standards. However, in spite 
of this commendable bias of the biblical writers, they give us 
directly or inferentially a copious supply of facts for recon- 
structing the religion which the early prophets scathingly con- 
demned. 

A source for determining the names and titles of gods is 
included, but not mentioned, in those already given. It is the 
lists of ancient theophorous proper names gleaned from the 
monuments and from the Old Testament and other ancient liter- 
ature. When these proper names are personal and appear in 
Babylonian inscriptions belonging to the period when the 

of Ancient Palestine, London, 1908. Cooke = Cooke, A Text-Book of 
North-Semitic Inscriptions, Oxford, 1903. Curtiss = Curtiss, S. I., Vrse- 
mitische Religion im Vollcsleben des heutigen Orients, Leipzig, 1903. 
Doughty = Doughty, Travels in Arabia Deserta, vols, i-ii, 1888. Frazer = 
Frazer, J. G., Adonis, Attis, Osiris, London, 1896. Gray = Gray, Studies 
in Hebrew Proper Names, London, 1896. HDB. = Hastings, A Diction- 
ary of the Bible. HEBE. = Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and 
Ethics. Hommel = Hommel, The Ancient Hebrew Tradition, Translation 
by McClure and Crossle, New York, 1897. Jastrow, The Bel. = Jastrow, 
The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, Boston, 1898. Jastrow, Die Bel. 
= Jastrow, Die Religion Babyloniens und Assyriens, vols, i and ii, Giessen, 
1905. Jastrow, Bel. Belief = Jastrow, Aspects of Religious Belief and 
Practice in Babylonia and Assyria, New York, 1911. Jensen = Jensen, 
Kosmologie der Babylonier, Strassburg, 1890. KAT 3 . = Schrader, E., Die 
Keilinschriften und das Alte Testament, third edition, Berlin, 1903. KB. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 3 

Amorites dominated Babylonia and the "Westland, we are 
unquestionably justified in assuming an early prevalence of 
similar names in Palestine. Only in this way are we able to 
account for the ancient source whence sprang the large num- 
ber of similar Semitic personal names and place-names found 
scattered throughout the Egyptian inscriptions of later times 
and throughout the Old Testament. Thus, as the name Abi- 
ram, "my father is high," as well as other West-Semitic names 
having the element ab, appears in Babylonian inscriptions of 
the time of the first dynasty, so we have good reason to regard 
its identical Old Testament equivalent, viz., 'Abi-ram, as well 
as all other Old Testament 'ab names, as having a common 
ancient Semitic origin. The justification of this method being 
granted, all Old Testament and old Canaanite names having 
the element 'ab may therefore be regarded as survivals of the 
Amorite, or first Semitic, period of Palestinian history when 
the custom of forming names with this element prevailed. In 
the same manner other proper names containing theophorous 
elements are similarly cited to assist in constructing the Amor- 
ite pantheon. Accordingly it follows that all theophorous 
names appearing only in the post-Amorite periods of Canaanite 
history, and having, therefore, no Babylonian analogues, can- 
not be similarly used for the Amorite period, but only for the 
respective period in which each first occurs. 

This leads us to a consideration of the principles guiding in 
the divisions of the subject and in discovering a line of cleav- 
age between the elements of the primitive Hebrew religion and 

= Schrader, Keilinschriftliche Biblioihek, 1889. Kittel — Kittel, Studien 
zur Hebrciischen Archiiologie, Leipzig, 1908. Knudtzon = Knudtzon, Die 
El-Amarna Tafeln, Leipzig, 1908. Ldzb., ENE. = Lidzbarski, Handbuch 
der Nordsemitischen EpigraphiTc, I. Text, Weimar, 1898. Ldzb., Eph.— 
Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fur Semitische Epigraphik, Band i, Giessen, 1902; 
ii, 1908. Macalister, BSL. = Maealister, Bible Side-Lights from the Mound 
of Gezer, New York, 1906. Macalister, EG. — Macalister, The Excava- 
tions of Gezer, 1902-1905 and 1907-1909, vols, i-iii. London, 1912. Mas- 
pero = Maspero, The Dawn of Civilization, edited by Sayce, London, 1894. 
Meyer = Meyer, Geschichte des Altertums, I 2, Berlin, 1909. MI. = Mesha 
Inscription. MNDPV. = Mitteilungen und Nachrichten des Deutchen 
Paldstina-Yereins. Miiller = Miiller, Asien und Europa nach Altdgyptischen 
DenTcmalem, Leipzig, 1893. MVG. = Mitteilungen d. V orderasiatischen Ge- 
sellschaft. Nowack — Nowack, Lehrbuch der Eebriiischen Archiiologie, Frei- 
burg i. B. and Leipzig, 1894. Paton = Paton, The Early History of Syria 



i JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

the elements of Canaanite religion surviving in early Hebrew 
times. 

The facts of religion for the first, or pre-Semitic, period of 
Palestinian history are drawn almost entirely from the earliest 
known archaeological sources, and may, for that reason, be easily 
distinguished from those of the next, or first Semitic, period; 
yet it must be admitted that the reverence for at least one sacred 
object of worship, namely the sacred cave, was common to both 
periods. But for the reason that this holy regard is clearly 
shown to have existed in the earliest time, all later evidences of 
cave-worship have been considered as survivals of the religion 
of the first period. 

The great immigration of peoples which occurred about 1800 
b. c, resulting in the founding of foreign dynasties in Baby- 
lonia and Egypt, wrought material changes in Palestine where 
the early Amorites were either entirely supplanted or absorbed 
by the Canaanites, another Semitic folk who came probably 
from the north and the east. This radical change in the racial 
constituency of Palestine was sure to be attended with corre- 
sponding variations in religion. Accordingly it may be assumed 
a priori that the main current of religion flowed on as before, 
but that its character was modified by the influx of outside 
streams of religious thought. We have no means of determin- 
ing the scope of the modification, but we are sure that 
the political, social, and cultural developments following this 
political interruption wrought great changes in the religious 
sphere in crystallizing primitive modes of thought and prac- 

and Palestine, New York, 1909. PEFA. = Palestine Exploration Fund, 
Annual for 1911. PEFQS. = Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly State- 
ment, London. Petrie BS. = Petrie, Researches in Sinai, New York, 1906. 
Petrie TH. — Petrie, Tell el Sesy, London, 1891. Ranke — Ranke, Early 
Babylonian Personal Names, Philadelphia, 1905. Schumacher = Schu- 
macher and Steuernagel, Tell el-Mutesellim, Leipzig, 1908. Sellin = Sellin, 
Tell Ta' annek, Vienna, 1904. Smith, KM. — Smith, W. P., Kinship and 
Marriage in Early Arabia, Cambridge, 1885. Smith, BS. = Smith, W. P., 
Beligion of the Semites, Second Edition, London, 1894. Thompson = 
Thompson, The Devils and Evil Spirits of Babylonia, vols. i-ii. London, 
1903. Vincent = Vincent, Canaan d'apres I'Exploration Becente, Paris, 
1907. von Gall = von Gall, Altisraelitische Kultstdtten, Giessen, 1898. 
Wellh. = Wellhausen, Beste Arabischen Eeidentums, second edition, Berlin, 
1897. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 

tice, and in fashioning them into hard and fixed forms. If this 
political break of 1800 b. c. — lying about mid-way between 
2500 b. c, when the Semites first came into Palestine, and 1200 
b. c, when the Hebrews finally settled in the land — should 
serve no other purpose than as a line of cleavage between the 
primitive Semitic religious conceptions and the later crystallized 
modes of religious expression, its use will be justified. Accord- 
ingly the primitive Semitic elements, together with Babylonian 
contributions, are assigned to the first Semitic, or Amorite, period 
and the further developments of religious thought, to the sec- 
ond Semitic, or Canaanite period. As there are almost no con- 
temporaneous literary sources for the religion of the Amorite 
period, dependence must be had upon surviving elements of the 
old native religion in later sources, such as the Egyptian monu- 
ments, the Tell el-Amarna Letters, the Old Testament, and other 
Semitic survivals. The most copious and dependable source 
for positing the religion of the first period is offered by a com- 
parison of Canaanite and Hebrew rites with their Babylonian 
analogies. Just as the titles and names of certain Amorite gods 
are determined by citing those Canaanite and Hebrew theo- 
phorous names that have analogues in ancient Babylonian 
inscriptions, so likewise the religious conceptions and rites of 
the Amorite period are mostly determined by discovering those 
Canaanite and Hebrew rites which have Babylonian analogies 
or prototypes. The reason for asserting that the comparison 
between Babylonian and Canaanite analogies is the most depend- 
able source rises from the fact that the West was politically 
quite isolated from the East for centuries following the fall of 
Babylonian power over Palestine. This political isolation of 
Canaan from the great source of ancient culture served as a 
wall to keep the continuity of Amorite religion intact till the 
Assyrian period. Accordingly, therefore, when those primitive 
conceptions and practices appear in Canaanite and early Hebrew 
religion that betray Babylonian origin or analogies, we may be 
confident that we have found institutions that belong to the 
Amorite period and not to the late Babylonian religion. 



JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



THE PRE-SEMITIC PERIOD (Before 2500 B. C.) 
CHAPTER I 

THE RELIGION OP THE EARLIEST INHABITANTS 

History. Palestine before 2500 b. c, or in the paleolithic and 
succeeding neolithic periods, was inhabited by a race which was 
closely allied with that of the European Celto-Libyans. This 
conclusion is borne out by the etymological similarities between 
South European and Palestinian geographical names which 
undoubtedly have a very ancient origin 1 ; and, on the negative 
side, by the fact that the oldest population was non-Semitic as 
pictorially portrayed on the ancient monuments of Egypt and 
certainly proved by an osteological study of the human remains 
found in the lowest level of Gezer. Perhaps, the most promi- 
nent relics of this stone age are the well-known menhirs, or 
monoliths ; cromlechs, or stone circles ; dolmens, or stone tables, 
which are found to-day in large numbers particularly east of 
the Jordan. 2 Similar remains have been found in the Mediter- 
ranean coast lands where none but non-Semitic people dwelt in 
early times. "Whether or not the origin of these stones had 
any connection with religion, remains to be seen. The mode of 
life of these people was a simple one, as would be expected in 
such a remote age. They lived in caves naturally made or arti- 
ficially hewn out of the soft limestone, 3 used flint implements, 4 
and even cultivated fruit. 5 

Religion. Starting out, then, on the basis of this mode of 
life, we should naturally expect to find that the religion of the 
troglodytes was also of a crude primitive type to correspond 
with their simple ways of living. From the universal principle 
operating in nearly every religion — at least in those most primi- 

1 See Paton, pp. 1 ff. 

2 Schumacher, Northern 'Ajlun, pp. 131 ff. ; 169 ff. ; Across the Jordan, 
pp. 63 ff. 

'Macalister, EG. vol. i, pp. 6 ff.; 70 ff. 

l IUd., ii. p. 127. 

5 Breasted, ABE. i. $ 313, "fig-trees and vines." 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 7 

live — that the attributes and nature of deity are, to a large 
extent, the projections into the world without, but on a higher 
level, of man's own conceptions of himself, we may safely draw 
the conclusion that, since man was a cave dweller, the gods whom 
he worshipped were also regarded as cave denizens. Accord- 
ingly, then, certain caves, which may have attained the necessary 
degree of sanctity, either by having been the homes of famous 
heroes, or because of some special theophany, were set apart 
for places of worship by the tribe or clan. Such a hypothesis 
for the conception of deity and his dwelling-place best inter- 
prets a large amount of evidence which clearly ascribes certain 
caves of indubitable religious character to the pre-Semitic 
inhabitants of Palestine. Thus at Gezer, under the level belong- 
ing to the first Semitic period, Macalister found, in connection 
with certain caves, rock-cuttings and other things which sug- 
gested to him that these caves must have played some role in 
the sphere of religion. 

1. One cave had, leading into it through the roof, an orifice 
which was connected with a rock-hewn channel four feet long 
for the evident purpose of conducting fluid offerings within. 6 
Besides this channel there were "two or three circular depres- 
sions in the rock, built around with stones set on edge, but so 
arranged that they drained into the opening." Beneath the 
orifice and on the rock floor of the cave below the earth con- 
taining finds of the first Semitic period were found "a num- 
ber of pig bones" in a contracted mass which clearly bore 
evidence of sacrifice. 

2. Another cave which was connected with a system of nine 
other communicating caves was unique in that its rock floor 
contained forty-six cup-marks artificially hollowed out, They 
were made from about eight to twelve inches in breadth and 
with flat bottoms and vertical sides. 7 "They were disposed in 
the form of three concentric ovals, open, like horseshoes at the 
south end surrounding a central space in the floor that had been 
left vacant. ' ' No better purpose has suggested itself to the mind 
of Macalister than that "the whole floor of this chamber is a 
gigantic chamber of offerings." It is conceivable that this 

8 Macalister, EG., ii. pp. 379 ff. 
7 Ibid., i. pp. 112 ff. 



8 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

was the holy shrine of the dwellers of the nine connecting 
caves, and possibly others, and that every family or individ- 
ual had its own individual cup for depositing an offering to 
the cave-god. 

3. Another cave may have possessed a sacrosanct character 
from the fact that it was utilized by the troglodytes for a cre- 
matorium. 8 A chimney in the roof at one end evidently was 
made to create a draft. The relative position of the bones of 
the individuals to each other, and the alternating strata of 
wood and bone ashes, obviously pointing to repeated burnings, 
leave no doubt but that this was a crematorium. Outside the 
entrance of the cave were six cup-marks which may have served 
as offering receptacles for the spirits of the dead which were 
thought to have been set free from the body by cremation. 

4. The first-mentioned cave, with its orifice through the roof, 
bears a striking resemblance to a cave at Megiddo which Schu- 
macher regards as a place of worship whose antiquity corre- 
sponds to the oldest stratum of the tell. 9 The roof of this cave 
consisted of an elevated rock surface which evidently was used 
as a place of sacrifice; for, besides several cup-marks having 
been hollowed out on the upper surface, there were two narrow 
passages leading into the cave below. 

5. A cave uncovered in the lowest level at Taanach 10 appears 
to have been used by the oldest inhabitants for religious pur- 
poses. The most significant feature about this cave was an 
artificially constructed channel which obviously served the pur- 
pose of conducting some kind of fluid offerings into the cave. 

6. A goddess whom the Egyptians called the "Mistress of 
Turquoise" was worshipped by them while on mining expedi- 
tions at a certain cave in one of the valleys branching off from 
the Wady Sherabit el Khddem in the Sinaitic peninsula. 11 The 
setting apart of this cave for a shrine dates from very ancient 
times, probably long before the Semites inhabited the region; 
for there are traces of Egyptian devotion as early as the time 
of Senfru of the third dynasty (2900 b. c.) when the mining 
Egyptians sought revelations from the deity. 

8 Macalister, EG., i. pp. 74 ff., 285 ff. 

9 Schumacher, pp. 154 ff. 

10 Sellin, p. 34. 

11 Petrie, BS., pp. 70, 94, 97. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 9 

We may now proceed to interpret these facts in the light of 
later evidences of cave-worship gleaned from Semitic sources. 
Generally speaking, the Semites did not conceive of their deities 
as subterranean powers to be worshipped in caves; 12 yet there 
are many instances which will not come under this generaliza- 
tion, and which, therefore, may well be regarded as survivals 
from the pre-Semitic, or aboriginal, period. Just as the 
Hebrews adopted the sacred shrines of the Canaanites, as will 
be seen later, so it may be supposed that the Semites took over 
into their religion the sacred caves of the troglodytes. The three 
ancient caves mentioned above with passages, or conduits, evi- 
dently constructed for directing the sacrificial blood of slain vic- 
tims within, are the most ancient prototypes of the Arabian ghab- 
ghab. This was a pit where not only sacred treasures were stored 
but where also the sacrificial blood flowed after the animals had 
been slain before it. 13 Undoubtedly partaking of this same char- 
acter is the Sakhra, or the great sacred rock, in the Haram 
at Jerusalem. The surface of this rock shows many arti- 
ficial cuttings of which one is an orifice leading down into the 
cave below. The primitive character of these rock-cuttings, 
together with the fact that this sacred rock determined the site of 
Solomon's temple, has led some to the conclusion that this was a 
very ancient shrine. 14 Similar to this was a cave under the 
sacred altar at Mecca, and a supposed cave under the altar-idol 
at Dumaetha in which a human sacrifice was wont to be buried. 15 
Lucian reports having seen a chasm under the temple at Hier- 
apolis into which worshippers, from every quarter twice a year, 
were accustomed to pour water carried thither from the sea. 18 
According to the Christian Melito 17 this "well" was thought 
to be haunted by a demon who was prevented from coming forth 
to do harm only by this practice of pouring water. As water 
was a later substitute for blood, we may suppose that sacrificial 
blood was the original requirement. 

According to a well-recognized law of religious conservatism, 

12 Smith, BS., p. 198. 

18 ma. 

11 Kittel, pp. 1 ff . 
K Smith, MS., p. 198. 
"Lucian, De Syra Dea, §§ 13, 48. 
17 Spicilegium Syriaeum, p. 25. 



10 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

the sacred things of one age often persist unchanged in the next. 
Thus, the conception that some deities preferred to dwell in 
caves found expression in the oldest Phoenician temples, which 
were natural or artificial grottoes, and in many Greek cave- 
shrines from which divine energy was thought to emanate. 18 
The "holy of holies" in Solomon's temple, in design and loca- 
tion with reference to the rest of the sanctuary, answers to the 
adytum, or dark inner chamber in many Semitic and Greek 
temples. In Greek this was known as the megaron, which reveals 
its Semitic origin from the fact that it is a derivative from the 
Semitic me'arah, "cave." 19 

Among the caves which the Hebrews regarded as sacred sev- 
eral are mentioned. In a cave at Horeb 20 Moses and Elijah 
received revelations from Yahweh; and probably in another 
cave at En-dor 21 Samuel was brought up to talk with Saul. The 
sanctity with which the ancestral tomb was invested by the 
Hebrews betrays evidence that the cave of Machpelah 22 was 
originally a place where some chthonic divinity was worshipped. 

In summing up, therefore, it may be repeated that the con- 
ception of chthonic deities dwelling in caves like their worship- 
pers originally found expression among the ancient inhabit- 
ants of Canaan; and that this conception, throughout all the 
periods of history down to the Jewish, manifested itself in many 
instances of cave-worship. 

Cup-marks. The artificially-made depressions in rock sur- 
faces, already referred to in connection with these caves, have 
been found in more or less profusion in many parts of Pales- 
tine. One can hardly find a hill whose rock surfaces do not 
reveal the presence of these cup-marks. At Gezer, in particular, 
the rock surfaces present a "perfect wilderness of cup-marks" 
which are found within and at the entrances of caves, about the 
mouths of cisterns, about winepresses, and on the hills. 23 They 
vary in size from that of a wine glass to that of a washtub hav- 
ing round, though sometimes flat, bottoms. In determining the 

18 Smith, SS., pp. 197, 198. 
"Ibid., p. 200. 
20 Ex. 33:22; 1 K. 19:9 ff. 
21 1 Sam. 28:11 ff. 

22 Gen. 49:29 ff., &e. 

23 Macalister, EG., i. pp. 153 ff. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 11 

age of these rock configurations it is significant that, "whenever 
they have any connection with other remains that can be 
definitely dated, those remains are assignable to the cave- 
dwellers." 24 Prom this observation the conjecture may be ven- 
tured that these cup-marks, which in many instances at least 
are known to have been made in the pre-Semitic period, are 
all the work of the cave-dwellers. Whether or not these cups 
were made for a religious purpose, it is impossible to say. All 
of them certainly cannot be explained on that basis. However, 
it seems the most likely explanation that those which have 
already been mentioned as connected with caves, and possibly 
those about the mouths of cisterns, were made as receptacles for 
offerings. Macalister admits "that in a certain very limited 
number of cases they may have had a religious purpose is not 
impossible," and even goes so far as to suggest that this may 
have been the unique religious expression of the troglodytes 
as opposed to other religious remains belonging particularly to 
the Semites. 25 

Cup-marks and similar rock cuttings have been pointed out 
at Mizpah, 26 Gibeon, 27 Zorah, 28 Nebo, 29 Beth-el, Anathoth, 30 
Tell ej-Judeideh, 31 Gath, 32 and En-rogel 33 as possibly hav- 
ing served in the cults which are known to have been carried 
on in most of these places. Perhaps these cup-marks, etc., 
as Kittel points out, mark the original sites of the old high 
places which flourished here in ancient times. If the cup- 
marks are the peculiar religious expression of the cave-dwell- 
ers — and we have no evidence to the contrary — then it may be 
supposed either that these cup-marks mark the locations of the 
shrines made by the cave-dwellers, or else that the Semites later 
adopted this feature from the early inhabitants and made it to 
serve some religious function. In favor of the former alterna- 

24 IMd., p. 139. 

"'Ibid., ii. p. 380. 

26 Kittel, p. 137. 

21 IMd., p. 140. 

28 Ibid., p. 107. 

2 'Ibid., p. 145. 

30 Ibid., p. 125. 

st PEFQS., 1900, p. 249. 

S2 Ibid., p. 34. 

33 Often pointed out to travelers. 



12 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

tive it may be said that there is not a single hint in the Old 
Testament, or elsewhere, that anything like these cup-marks 
served a religious function either among the Canaanites or the 
Hebrews. 

Offerings. If, then, many of these cup-marks served a reli- 
gious purpose, what must have been the ritual connected with 
them? It has been suggested that they are symbols of what is 
distinctively feminine, and, therefore, played some role in the 
worship of a mother-goddess. 34 This is not impossible since 
there is no evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, no 
hint or analogy comes from any source to prove such a hypothe- 
sis. 35 On the whole it seems most plausible to assume that those 
cup-marks in particular, which were found in the "offering- 
table cave," at the crematorium, about the mouths of cisterns 30 
at Gezer, and on the upper surface of the cave-roof at Megiddo, 
were made by the cave-dwellers to serve as receptacles for liquid 
offerings poured as gifts to the gods. 37 While it was not essen- 
tial that such cups should be made to hold offerings, since ves- 
sels of clay were made at that time, yet it is conceivable that 
some virtue was attached to their making which gave the wor- 
shipper special favor in the eyes of the god. In the first and 
the last case the offerings were probably made to the respective 
deities dwelling in those caves; in the second, to the spirits 
of the dead set free from burnt corpses; and, in the third, to 
the numina of the cisterns or waters. If the cisterns were made 
by the Semites, which seems most likely, then these cups at the 
mouths of cisterns were made by them in imitation of the cave- 
dwellers. Such a purpose harmonizes with the conception char- 
acteristic of the Semites that gods dwelt in wells and springs. 38 

Amulets. The practice of wearing some cherished object on 
the person, as an amulet, or charm, to ward off evil spirits, began, 
so far as Canaan is concerned, in this pre-Semitic period. The 
custom persisted throughout all the succeeding periods of his- 
tory corresponding to the different levels of the excavations. 
Even at the present time, probably nine-tenths of the natives 

34 Paton, in HEBE., vol. iii., p. 178a. 

35 The citation from Herod, ii. 106 is not conclusive. 
30 Macalister, EG., i. pp. 155-7 ; ii. pp. 403 ff. 

37 Thus Vincent, p. 99; Kittel, pp. 137, 141. 

38 See Chap. III. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 13 

of Palestine, whether Jewish, Christian, or Mohammedan, wear 
an amulet of some kind. The most primitive that was found was 
made from a metacarpel of a goat. There were two holes at one 
end for suspension, and it was found in position at the neck of 
one human skeleton in the crematorium. Similar amulets were 
found elsewhere. 39 The discovery of a phallic emblem 40 points to 
the antiquity of ascribing to a deity influence upon reproduc- 
tion — a conception so common to Semitic religion. Possibly a 
few other objects, such as animal images 41 and amulets made 
from the ends of femur bones, may also have been cherished with 
religious veneration. However, the lack of a clear line of cleav- 
age between the first and second levels in the excavation throws 
doubt upon the religious value for this period of these and of 
some other objects. 

30 Macalister, EG. p. 449. 
m Ibi(L, i. p. 92. 
41 ii. p. 1. 



14 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



THE AMORITE PERIOD (2500-1800 B. C.) 
CHAPTER II 

HISTORY OP THE PERIOD (2500-1800 B. C.) 

At just what date the first Semitic immigrants, crowded out 
of their home in Arabia, first began to settle in Palestine is not 
definitely known; but certain significant facts point to the con- 
clusion that it was about 2500 b. c. 1 During the three hundred 
and fifteen years covered by the seventh to the tenth Egyptian 
dynasties (2475-2160 b. c.) there was political turmoil in Egypt 
caused chiefly by foreigners. These foreigners were undoubtedly 
Semites, since Canaanite loan-words begin to appear in Egypt 
at the beginning of the Middle Empire after order is restored 
by the kings of the eleventh dynasty (2161 b. c). Moreover, 
two Semitic chiefs of this early period bear Semitic names ; viz., 
Emuienshi, i. e., "Ammi-anshi," the sheik of Upper Tenu (1980 
b. c.), 2 and Ibshe, "Abishai, " the chief of thirty-seven Canaan- 
ite traders (1900 b. c.). 3 

Substantially coincident with this confusion in Egypt are 
similar disturbances in Babylonia which continued also about 
three hundred years, and ended with the supremacy of the city 
of Babylon over Babylonia under the rule of Semitic Amorite 
kings (2225 b. c). It has accordingly been inferred that the 
Amorites, from their homes in Arabia, were the moving forces 
in these great changes, and that a wave of the same migration 
that reached Babylonia also extended to Canaan. Archaeological 
evidence is in perfect agreement with this opinion; for, at 
Gezer, human bones, which are in ethnological type distinctively 
Semitic as opposed to the earlier non-Semitic, began to make 
their appearance at this time. 

With the supremacy of the Amorites in Babylonia, passed the 
Babylonian rule of the Westland, or Canaan, whither Babylo- 

^aton, pp. 25 ff. 

2 Breasted, ABE., i. § 494. 

s Yb-sh', ibid., i. § 620n. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 15 

nian authority had previously been carried as early as 3060 b. c. 
by Ur-Nina of Lagash, who brought cedar-wood from Ma'al, or 
Lebanon. This authority was maintained by Lugalzaggisi (2800) 
of Erech, whose kingdom extended "from the rising of the sun 
to the setting of the sun, ... to the upper sea"; by Sargon 
of Agade (2775 b. c), "conqueror of Martu," i. e. Amurru, 
i. e. "land of the Amorites"; by Dungi of Ur (2458 b. c.) 
who conducted a victorious campaign against Syrian and Pal- 
estinian strongholds; and by Gimil-Sin (2391 b. c.) of Ur. 
The first of the Amorite kings of Babylon were, however, so 
occupied with the task of establishing their own thrones against 
the power of Elam that their supremacy was not completely 
secured in the West. But when Hammurabi, the strongest king 
in the line, came to the throne, the Elamite yoke upon Baby- 
lonia was finally thrown off. All Babylonia was now united 
under his rule, and the Amorite kingdom embraced the whole 
of western Asia. 4 Ammiditana (2014 b. a), "king of the vast 
land of Martu," of the same dynasty, and probably kings of 
the second dynasty, continued to maintain authority in Syria- 
Palestine till the latter came to an end with the Hittite invasion 
of Babylonia and the establishment of the foreign Kassite 
dynasty (1761 b. a). Babylonian political influence in Canaan 
now came to an end, but the influence of Babylon's laws, customs, 
and language continued even down into the years of Egyptian 
supremacy. The discovery in 1888 a. d. at Tell el-Amarna, in 
Egypt, of several hundred inscribed clay tablets in Babylonian 
writing is of the greatest importance for the history of the next 
period as showing the lasting influence of Babylon. These tab- 
lets reveal the diplomatic correspondence between Egyptian mon- 
archs and Syrian-Palestinian princes (about 1400 b. a). The 
fact that these letters were written neither in Egyptian nor 
Syrian characters but in Babylonian cuneiform is of great sig- 
nificance. Moreover, even between native princes 5 the same 
script is employed, which shows that it was not merely a script 
for royal correspondence, but that it was also the script for com- 

4 Paton, pp. 47 ff. The dates for Babylonian kings are taken from 
Meyer, 1914 Edition; Kugler, Sternhunde und Stemdienst in Babel, II, i. 
quoted by Sayce, in PSBA., xxxiv (1912), pp. 165 ff. 

5 Tablets found at Taanaeh, Sellin, pp. 113 ff. 



16 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

mon communication. Names of places and persons, mentioned 
in early Egyptian inscriptions, in the Amarna letters, and even 
in the Old Testament, either compounded with the names of 
Babylonian deities, such as Bit NINIB, Nebo, Beth-lehem, and 
Beer-sheba; or names bearing a distinctive Babylonian forma- 
tion, such as Bit NINIB and Bit 8hael, a add further evi- 
dence of the permanence of Babylonian influence in Canaan. 
Moreover, the traditions current in ancient Babylonia concern- 
ing the creation, the garden of the gods, and the deluge came 
to be incorporated in Old Testament story only after they had 
passed down through the Amorite-Canaanite periods. Many 
religious institutions and ritual practices followed the same 
course. 7 

The best picture of life in Canaan during this period (c. 1980 
B. c.) is found in the "Tale of Sinuhe." 8 Sinuhe was an exiled 
prince from Egypt who asserted that the country of Canaan 
was beautiful and had lands of choicest possession, as they 
yielded figs, wine, honey, olives, and all kinds of fruit, wheat, 
barley, and herbs without number. No ruling authority main- 
tained order between hostile and contentious tribes. Each tribe 
was a law unto itself and was, therefore, free to go on expedi- 
tions of plunder and pillage among other tribes, thus killing by 
the sword and taking possession of wells, pastures, cattle, chil- 
dren, and fruits. Civilization as reflected in urban life was 
just beginning to dawn. 

When the Canaanite peoples, as we shall see in the next period, 
pressed into the land, the old Amorite settlers were forced to 
the highlands, especially the upper Orontes valley, or the Leba- 
non territory, 9 and to a few places in southern Palestine. 10 

"B'-t-sh'-r', Breasted, ABE., iii. § 114. 

7 See Chap. VIII. 

8 Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, p. 370 ; Breasted, ABE., i. § 493 f£. 
"Meyer, § 467. 

"Gen. 14:7, 13. 



WOOD : THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 17 



CHAPTER III 

SACRED WATERS 

Of all the objects of nature which manifested phenomena to 
elicit the awe and the veneration of the ancient Semites the 
spring was undoubtedly the most important, because it not only 
furnished the greatest boon to man in his desert life, but because 
it also manifested life and activity in its depths which the 
primitive mind could interpret only in terms of the divine. 
In Arabia, the cradle of the Semites, the springs made the 
oases, thus watering the land, giving life to palms, and quench- 
ing the thirst of man and animal. Such a boon could have its 
source only, so the Semite thought, in the gods upon whom man 
was absolutely dependent for his existence. It followed, then, 
that it was of supreme importance to make peace with the spring- 
numen, and ever seek his good favor. 

The sex of the spring-wwrnew was probably determined by the 
economical and social conditions of primitive tribal life. In the 
matriarchal stage of society, when the mother was the supreme 
head of the tribe, it was natural to conceive of the tribal deity 
as a mother-goddess who gave offspring both to man and to 
beast. As the husband, or father, came more and more to the 
leadership of the tribe in the patriarchal stage, a masculine 
conception was attributed to the deity of the tribe. It is barely 
possible that these feminine and masculine conceptions were 
carried over to the nature-gods who inhabited the springs. If 
so, probably the element of fertility was the common ground 
for this transition. The deity who gave fertility and offspring 
to man and to animal also gave fertility and fruitage to the 
date-palm and to other trees. However this may be, it is to 
be observed that the numina of some springs, or wells, were 
ba'als, or proprietors, and of others, la'alats, or mistresses. 
Thus in Canaanite nomenclature Ramman 1 and Shamaslr 

1 'En-Bimmdn, "spring of Rimmon," Neh. 11:29. 

2 ' En-Shemesli, "spring of Shemesh," Josh. 15:7, &c. 



18 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

appear as the ha'als of certain springs, while a ba'alat is an ele- 
ment in the name of a well. 3 Ramman and Shamash as nature- 
gods were closely associated in the Semitic mind and evidently 
were thought to have something to do with the flow of water. 

The animation, never-ceasing movement, and awe-inspiring 
bubbling of springs and running water were thought to mani- 
fest clearly the presence and the life of the indwelling numen. 
A spring or well so embodied its inhabitating numen that a well 
on one occasion was addressed, according to an ancient Hebrew 
poem, as a living being; 4 and the water that ran from such a 
spring won the attribute of "living." 

The primitive conception of running water as sacred found 
concrete expression in Babylon, whither Semitic influence went. 
In the Adapa myth the hero was told to refuse the bread and 
water of life which Anu would offer him. Ishtar was sprinkled 
with the water of life before she undertook her journey to the 
nether world. All flowing sweet water issuing in springs and 
rivers from subterranean regions, as also rain coming from the 
sky, was regarded as "the water of life." The Annunaki, as 
stewards of the water of life in the nether world, were known 
to stand in the closest connection with the purifying and vivify- 
ing water of the oath. 5 The garden of the gods in the creation- 
story would not have been complete in the Semitic mind without 
the added touch of flowing rivers. The legend, localized at 
Gebal, and recorded by Philo of Byblos, 6 which attributed the 
annual spring flow of marl-reddened waters of the Adonis river 
to the blood from the wound of the dead Adonis who was imag- 
ined to be slain annually at the spring of Aphek, is undoubtedly 
a survival of the old Semitic conception, but in new dress, of 
the life and spirit of the deity infusing running water. 

If the flowing spring embodied the numen and exhibited its 
presence by animation, then, it was fitting for the primitive 
inquirer seeking the divine will to throw into the water to the 
deity such offerings as jewelry, precious metals, webs of linen, 
libations of wine, cakes, myrrh, incense, and food — practices 

3 Ba'alathbe'er, "mistress of a well," Josh. 19:8. 
1 Num. 21:17, 18. 
*KATJ>, pp. 523-525. 

"Lueian, Be Syra Dea, §§ 6 ff.; Euseb. Vita Const., iii. 55; Sozomenos, 
Hist. Eccl., ii. 5. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 19 

known in later times. 7 Thus by an act of violation, expressing 
acceptance or rejection of these gifts, manifested by correspond- 
ing movements of the water itself, the spring-wwmew was 
credited with oracular powers. The oracle may have been, in 
many cases, interpreted by the diviner skilled in the art of divi- 
nation. Some such method of inquiring at the spring-oracle 
must be supposed to account for the place-name 'En-mishpat, 
"spring of judgment." 8 

To running waters also were attributed therapeutic virtues; 
for there has always been a prevailing conception among primi- 
tive peoples, at least the Semites, that the act of bathing in 
running water insures one not only against disease but also 
heals one from disease. 9 The healing waters of the Jordan, 10 
Ezekiel 's visionary river, 11 and the pool of Bethesda 12 need only 
to be mentioned to prove this point for Canaanite soil. Perhaps 
the water of the laver of the high place, explained in later times 
as merely intended for ceremonial ablutions, may have, in 
ancient times, been brought from some sacred spring to contrib- 
ute its healing virtues to the sanctuary within easy access of 
the worshippers. Thus the waters of the Jordan and the Ganges 
even to-day are carried long distances for their sanctifying and 
healing powers. 

The presence of the spring-ba'al was sought often to witness 
certain legal transactions and sanction political acts. Thus con- 
tracting parties performed some sort of oath-taking ritual before 
the sacred well of Beer-sheba 13 — perhaps by invoking over run- 
ning water the "seven demons" to destroy the offender; or 
undergoing an ordeal by water, thinking, according to an old 
fancy, that it was dangerous for an unclean person to come near 
sacred waters. 14 By approaching the spring-shrine, in like man- 
ner, the sanction of the ba'al was sought by pretenders to the 
throne in a coronation ceremony. Thus both Adonijah 15 and 

'Smith, BS., p. 177. 

8 Gen. 14:7. 

9 Smith, BS., pp. 183 ff. 
"2 K. 5:14. 

11 47: 9, 12. 
12 Jno. 5:7. 
"See "Oath," Chap. VIII. 

14 Smith, BS., pp. 179 ff. 

15 IK. 1:9. 



20 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Solomon 16 participated simultaneously in such ceremonies at 
two different holy springs. 

There must have been some close connection, if not actual 
identity, between the spring-mwme?i and that of the sacred tree ; 
for, at four different spring-shrines, it is known either by direct 
assertion or implication that one or more holy trees such as the 
oak, palm, and tamarisk existed. 17 Thus the flowing spring and 
the growing tree near by were thought to draw their life from 
the same divine source, so that it might be said that the numen 
of the spring passed into the tree. In one case the serpent- 
numen apparently dwelt, at times at least, in a holy stone 
near by. 18 

Again it is worthy of mention, in this connection, that the 
name of an animal, such as the antelope, serpent, kid, heifer, 
or partridge, is contained in the names of five different springs. 19 
This fact undoubtedly points to the almost universal notion, 
recorded by legend and folklore, that the spirit of a spring often 
took the outward form of some animal. 20 The habits of ani- 
mals to linger about watering places would form the basis of 
such a conception. 

Besides the sacred springs to which reference has been made, 
there were, at least, five others 21 — making a total of nineteen — 
which existed in Canaan and in the South, and which, perhaps, 
date their initial consecration as places of worship from this 
time. 

"1:38. 

"Be'er-'eUm, "well of oaks," Is. 15:8; Be'er-Sheba' , Gen. 21:33. 
'Elm, "oaks," Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9; Hebron, Gen. 18:1. 

1S 'Eben-ha-zoJieleth, "stone of the serpent," near 'En-rogel, "spring 
of (the) fuller," 1 K. 1:9. 

10 Be'er-lahay-ro'%, "spring of the antelope's jawbone"?, Gen. 16:14. 
' En-' eglaim, "spring of (the) heifer," Ezek. 47:10; Bamath-lehi, "high 
place of (the) jawbone," Judg. 15:17; see preceding note. 

20 Smith, BS., p. 135. 

21 Ba' al-Gad, Josh. 11:17, &c. — mod. Hasbeiya, Baedeker, p. 291; 
Buru-Silim, "well of Selem," Knudtzon, 137:64, 85; 'En-gannim, 
"spring of (the) gardens," Laish, Judg. 18:29 ff.; Nahali-'el, "brook 
of god," Num. 21:19. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN '21 



CHAPTER IV 

SACRED TREES 

As has already been observed, the divine life which was 
thought to animate the spring was thought also to animate the 
tree that stood by it. This life issued in growth, foliage, and 
fruitage. At first, probably only those trees were regarded as 
holy that grew by holy springs; but, as time went on, holiness 
was made to embrace a great many trees that had no connec- 
tion with holy waters. The worship of trees prevailed through- 
out the ancient Semitic world, beginning as early as the time 
when Amorite culture and religion put its characteristic stamp 
upon the religion of the Mesopotamian valley, and reaching 
down through the Canaanite and Hebrew periods to the pres- 
ent time. Aside from the fact that at least nineteen Canaanite 
places prove, either by tradition or inference, that the tree- 
cult was an ancient native inheritance in Canaan, we have the 
significant fact that the various Hebrew words for the holy 
oak, or trebinth, namely, 'elah, 'alon, 'allah, and 'allon ('dim, 
plural), were etymologically derived from 'el, the general Sem- 
itic title for deity. This shows that the tree-numen and the 
tree were originally so identified that the two were synonymous. 
Yahweh in one instance is referred to as "he that dwelt in the 
bush" 1 on Mount Horeb. Moreover the fruits of the tree of 
life and of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in Eden 
were regarded as infused with divine life and, therefore, capable 
of imparting to mortals the gifts of the gods: the one that 
of immortality, and the other, that of divine wisdom. Even 
Greek philosophers taught that trees were living beings hav- 
ing perceptions, emotions, and souls, and based their argu- 
ment for this belief upon the fact that branches bent with the 
wind. Philo Byblius records an ancient belief that plants of 
the earth "were esteemed as gods and honored with libations 
and sacrifices ; for from them the successive generations of men 
drew the support of their life." 2 Primitive Semitic survivals 

1 Deut. 33:16. 

2 Smith, SS., p. 186. 



22 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

of tree-worship are abundant in modern times. Ancient Arabs 
were accustomed to attribute personality to holy trees and 
expect them to speak with audible voice. 3 Such trees were 
termed mendhil, which is understood as a place whither the 
Jinn descend to sing and dance. To pluck a branch from such 
a tree was thought to be fraught with great danger. 4 The god- 
dess Al-'Uzza was believed to reside in a sacred acacia at 
Nakhla; 5 while a sacred tree at Hodaibiya was regarded by 
seeking pilgrims as a dispenser of favors. 6 

Moreover, this arboreal sanctity is further evinced by the 
great veneration which the ancients once had for trees near or 
within the precincts of the sanctuary. This veneration actually 
amounted to a taboo, and hence secured for the holy trees abso- 
lute protection. 7 At the entrance of Eden a naming sword was 
placed to keep the sacred trees within the garden inviolable 
from the touch of sinful man. The prototype for every ideal 
Semitic sanctuary was the mythical garden of the gods in which 
were all kinds of holy trees 8 regarded as the planting of the 
deity. 9 Trees appear to have stood in all Canaanite high places ; 
for, in the language of the Deuteronomist and later writers, 
idolaters bowed down to idols — images, pillars, and 'asherahs — 
"upon the hills and under every green tree." 10 This frequently- 
reiterated phrase does not specify whether there was one or 
more trees at each of the high places. It is probable that the 
former was more usually the rule, if we may be permitted to 
draw an inference from the fact that each of ten important 
sanctuaries 11 is known to have had its particular sacred tree, 
and that the names of six other places imply the existence of 

3 Doughty, Arabia Deserta, vol. ii. p. 209. 

'Ibid., i. p. 448 ff. 

B "Wellh. Beste arabischen Eeidentums," pp. 38 ff. 

6 Sura XLVIII. 18 ; Smith, BS., p. 185. 

7 Smith, BS., pp. 159 ff . 
8 Ezek. 31:8, 9. 

"Is. 61:3. 

10 Deut. 12:2; 2 K. 16:4; 17:10; 2 Ch. 28:4; Jer. 2:20; 3:6; 17:2; 
Ezek. 6:13; ep. Is. 57:5; Jer. 3:13. 

11 Beer-sheba, Gen. 21:33; Beth-el, 35:8; Gibeah, 1 Sam. 14:2; 22:6; 
Gubula, or Byblos, Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, §§ 15, 16; Hebron, Gen. 18:1 
(LXX); Kedesh, Judg. 4:11; Ophrah, 6:11, 19; Shechem, Gen. 12:6; 
Josh. 24:26; Judg. 9:6; Tomer-deborah, "palm tree of Deborah," Judg. 
4:5; Jabesh, 1 Sam. 31:13. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 23 

a single tree in each place. 12 But, on the other hand, there 
were mulberry trees at one place, 13 seventy palm trees and, by 
implication, many oaks at another, 14 and oaks at a third, 11 and 
acacias at a fourth place. 16 

The rites which had to do with the worship of holy trees were 
probably similar to those customarily performed at tree-shrines 
in later times. There was a tree at Mecca upon which worship- 
pers were wont to hang garments, weapons, and ostrich eggs 17 
as offerings to the tree-numen. Modern Arabs honor the Jinn 
who descend to sing and dance at sacred trees by hanging such 
things as rags 18 on the branches. Another method of offering 
gifts to the spirit of the tree was to erect a pillar as a bethel, 
under the tree to serve as a kind of altar. This bethel or "house 
of god," as the name implies, was regarded as an abode, tem- 
porary or conventionalized, for the ba'al, while the offerings 
were being poured, or set, on it. The massebahs and possibly 
the 'asherahs, which were so frequent in the high places, were 
set up under or near by the sacred trees. 19 Thus under the oak 
at Ophrah was a rock 20 and under the oak at Shechem 21 a 
pillar. Furthermore sacrifices and burnt-offerings in Canaanite 
times were made at each sanctuary on an altar which was located 
near the tree and, therefore, near the massebah and the 'asherah, 
as in the cases at Shechem and Ophrah and many other places. 22 

This 'asherah, or wooden stock, or pole, 23 itself without doubt 
was once a tree whose sanctity became none the less diminished 
after it was dead. Age would add to its sanctity and would 
lead to its being taken to the central sanctuaries to be placed, 

M Ba' al-tamar, "ba'al of (the) palm," Judg. 20:33; Beth-hash- 
shittah, "house of the acacias," 7:22; 'Elon-tabor, "oak of Tabor," 
1 Sam. 10:3; 'Eton, "oak," Josh. 19:43; 'Emek-ha-'elah, "valley of 
the oak," 1 Sam. 17:2; Hasason-tamar. 

13 Valley of Eephaim, 2 Sam! 5:22. 

ll 'Elim, "oaks," Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9. 

*Be'er-'ellm, "well of (the) oaks," Isa. 15:8. 

19 Abel-hasli-shittim, "meadow of the acacias," Num. 33:49. 

17 Smith, BS., p. 185. 

18 Doughty, i. pp. 448 ff. 
19 Jer. 17:2. 

20 Judg. 6:20, 21. 

21 Judg. 9:6; Josh. 24:26. 
22 Jer. 17:2; Ezek. 6:13. 

23 See "asherah," Chap. XIX. 



24 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

in most cases at least, under some holy green tree. The sacred 
erica in the temple of Isis at Byblos according to a myth is 
said to have enveloped the dead body of Osiris ; but it was after 
all "a mere dead stump ; for it was cut down by Isis and pre- 
sented to the Byblians wrapped in a linen cloth and anointed 
with myrrh like a corpse." 24 

The mysterious budding of the twigs, the rustling of the 
leaves in the wind, perhaps the echoes resounding in the tree- 
tops, and the shade of the trees all offered fitting natural means 
by which inquirers might divine the will and the feelings of 
the deity. On one occasion the "sound of marching in the 
tops of the mulberry trees" was interpreted as a command of 
Yahweh to strike the enemy. 25 Even the "trees of the field" 
were thought to share with the Jews returning from Babylon 
the emotion of joy, and to express the same by "clapping their 
hands." 26 Among the Arabs it was believed that a sick man 
might expect some counsel relative to his recovery if he slept 
under some sacred tree. 27 Perhaps it was while sleeping under 
such a tree that Gideon got his revelation from Yahweh. 28 . This 
view is favored by one account which says that Yahweh spoke 
to him in the night. The divining rites, by which the tree- 
numina were consulted, passed over, in the Canaanite period, 
into the hands of a special class skilled in the oracular arts. 
These diviners because of their fitness and insight assumed the 
role of divine mediatorship for the people. The two names 
'Elon Moreh, "oak of (the) teacher, and 'Elan Me'dnenim, 
"soothsayers' oak," by which the holy tree at Shechem was 
known, surely imply such a role. 29 Deborah, 30 Gideon, 31 Saul, 32 
and, according to tradition, Abraham 33 evidently officiated as 
oracular priests. 

The branches of holy trees were used for divining purposes — 

24 Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, §§ 15, 16, quoted from Smith, MS., p. 191. 

25 2 Sam. 5:24. 

26 Is. 55:12. 

27 Doughty, i. p. 449. 

28 Cp. Judg. 6:25 with 6:11. 

29 Gen. 12:6; Deut. 11:30; Judg. 9:37. 

30 Judg. 4:5. 

31 6:11 ft. 

82 1 Sam. 22:6. 

83 Gen. 12:6 ft.; 18:1 ft.; 21:33. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 25 

the withering or the budding of the same being interpreted 
with ominous significance. Aaron's rod that budded 34 and the 
slips of Adonis, which were placed in pots to grow or wither, 
were undoubtedly of this character. 35 The stick that made the 
axe blade to swim may have come from a sacred tree. 36 

Among the different trees which appear to have been classed 
as the most holy the date-palm was probably the first, since 
this was native to the home-land of the Semites, and furnished 
material sustenance for desert-dwellers. The date-palm figured 
prominently in the Babylonian cultus, being frequently pictured 
as a holy tree on Babylonian seal-cylinders. 37 The tree of the 
knowledge of good and evil may have been the date-palm. The 
oldest portions of the Ethiopic Enoch tell that Enoch found the 
palm of paradise to be that of the date. 38 Representations of 
the branches of the palm on the interior walls of Solomon's 
temple were an art motive which carried the flavor of sanctity. 39 
There were in Canaan and the wilderness seventy palms at one 
shrine 40 and one each at two others. 41 

Oaks, or terebinths, were by far the most common sacred 
tree, since one or more are mentioned or implied as existing 
at eleven different shrines; 42 while two Old Testament writers 
give the inference that oaks were usually to be found at every 
high place. 43 

The tamarisk, 44 acacia, 45 mulberry, 46 juniper, 47 and pome- 

34 Num. 17:23 (8). 

36 Cp. Is. 17:10 ff. 

36 2 K. 6:6. 

"KAT.*, p. 527. 

38 Chap. XXIV. Charles, The Booh of Enoch (1893). 

39 1 K. 6:29, &c; ep. Ezek. 40:16, &e. 

"Ex. 15:27. 

41 Ba' al-tamar, Judg. 20:33; Tomer-deborah, 4:5. 

42 See Beer-elim, Beth-el, Elim, Elon, Elon-tabor, Emek-ha-elah in note 
12 on p. 23. Also Kedesh, Judg. 4:11; Hebron, Gen. 18:1; Ophrah, 
Judg. 6:11, &c; Shechem, Gen. 12:6, &c; Judg. 9:37; Jabesh, 1 Chr. 
10:12 (cp. 1 Sam. 31:13). 

"Is. 1:29; Hos. 4:13. 

44 Beer-sheba, Gen. 21:33; Gibeah, 1 Sam. 22:6; Jabesh, 1 Sam. 31:13. 
43 Beth-liash-shittah, "house of the aeacia," Judg. 7:22; Abel-hash- 
shittlm, " meadow of the acacias," Num. 25:1; 33:49. 
"Valley of Eephaim, 2 Sam. 5:18 ff. 
47 1 K. 19:5. 



26 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

granate, 48 appearing respectively at as many different places, 
if not more, are to be added to the list of holy trees that were 
consulted for oracles. The thorn-bush which was sacred to 
Al-'Uzza 40 may have been the kind through which Yahweh spoke 
to Moses 50 and to Hagar. 51 There may be some lingering sug- 
gestion of sanctity in the cedar which was used in building 
Babylonian, Egyptian, and Phoenician temples. In early times 
the Egyptians and the Babylonians came to Lebanon for cedar 
for this purpose. The cedar for Solomon's temple came also 
from this source. 52 The cedar was sacred to the Babylonian 
Irnina and was associated with NINIB. 53 

Finally, it might be mentioned that the ground under sacred 
trees was regarded as the most fitting place for the burial of 
heroes, at least those who deserved the honor of homage. 54 

"Gibeah, 1 Sam. 14:2. 

*" Yakut, iii. 664, 1; Barton, in Hebraica, x. p. 63. 

60 Ex.' 3:1-3. 

61 Gen. 21:15, 17. 

52 1 K. 5:20(6)ff.; Ps. 104:16. 

t3 KAT. s , p. 527. 

64 Beth-el, Gen. 35:8; ' Emek-repha'tm, "valley of shades," 2 Sam. 
5:22; Hebron, Gen. 49:28 ff.; Shechem, cp. Josh. 24:32 with "the place 
of Shechem," Gen. 12:6; Jabesh, 1 Sam. 31:13. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 27 



CHAPTER V 

SACRED MOUNTAINS AND HILLS 

There was an air of mystery about mountains which led the 
ancient Semites to regard them as abodes of nature-gods. This 
air of mystery was probably created by the physical charac- 
teristics of the mountain itself, which became another means of 
arousing a sense of religious awe in the breasts of primitive 
people. The jagged mountain slopes which offered, through 
the daily course of the sun, a chance for a great variation in 
light and shadow; the almost inaccessible summit which for- 
bade the ordinary approach of man and which often hid itself 
in the storm cloud ; and the natural recesses and valleys which 
gave an added echo to the thunder-roll, all undoubtedly contrib- 
uted to the awakening of that dread of supernatural powers 
which played such a great role in primitive religion. The vol- 
cano, as in the case of Sinai in the land of Midian, 1 with its 
attendant phenomena of earth-quaking ; internal rumbling ; and 
belchings of fire, smoke, and lava, inspired desert tribes with the 
belief that these dreadful phenomena were the manifestations of 
an indwelling deity. 

The conception of a mountain-&a'aZ 2 was, in the primitive 
mind, very closely related to the conception of a storm-i a' al ; 
the latter doubtless being an outgrowth of the former, since 
the evolution of the idea of deity always progresses from the 
conception of a ietish-numen to that of a sky-god. Thus we 
see how Adad, or Martu, the West Semitic god of the storm, was, 
according to the first Babylonian portrayals of his nature, both 
a storm- and a mountain-god. 3 Furthermore Yahweh, the vol- 
cano-ba'al of Sinai, manifesting his presence from afar in the 
smoke ascending from the mountain, easily came to be identi- 
fied with Adad, the god of the storm, the function of the latter 
being absorbed by the former. 

■Ex. 19:16 ff. 

2 See Chap. XXV. 

3 See "Adda," Chap. XI. 



28 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

That Yahweh was the god of Sinai, as Adad was of Mount 
Lebanon, is proved by many references to Sinai-Horeb as the 
"mount of God," or the "mount of Yahweh," i. e. the place 
where God, or Yahweh, dwells. It was here that Moses received 
his first revelation of Yahweh, and that Israel subsequently was 
instructed in his laws. Hither came Elijah when he thought 
that Yahweh had forsaken his land. 4 

Since Sinai (Slnay) and the adjacent wilderness {Sin) 5 bore 
the name of the moon-god Sin at the time of Yahweh 's revela- 
tion to Moses, it may be justly inferred that the mountain was 
sacred to Sin long before Yahweh became its proprietor. 
Accordingly in the course of time, it must be supposed that the 
functions of the former god were absorbed by the latter. 

The name of the Semitic god Nebo, who in Babylonia devel- 
oped into the god of wisdom, became attached in some way to 
the mountain in Moab which bore his name. 6 No evidence of 
his cult remains. 

Gerizim was another mountain which, on the horizon of 
Hebrew history, appears to have been regarded as the abode of 
a ba' al. Possibly he was Ba' al-hevith who was worshipped as 
the covenant god of Shechem. 7 

The sanctity of high mountains easily passed to hills; for, in 
no other way than that the hill-top, like the mountain, offered 
a nearer approach to the deities of the sky or of the storm, 
can we explain the fact that, in Canaanite times and probably 
much earlier, hill-tops were especially chosen as appropriate 
sites for sanctuaries. Indeed, it seemed to the later prophetic 
writers that a high place existed on every hill in Judah. 8 There 
is little wonder, then, that bamah, "high place," which orig- 
inally was applied to heights, 9 came to be the stereotyped expres- 
sion for a sanctuary. 10 The Canaanite bamah, which was an 

4 1 K. 19:8. 

6 Ex. 16:1. 

6 Deut. 34:1, &c. 

7 Cp. Judg. 9:27, 46; Josh. 24:25 with Josh. 8:30 ff. See "Making 
Covenants," Chap. VIII. 

8 1 K. 14:23; 2 K. 16:4; 17:10; Jer. 2:20; 3:23; 13:27; 17:2; 
Ezek. 6:13; 20:28; Hos. 4:13. 

"Am. 4:13. 

10 Ezek. 20:29. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 29 

artificial mound of some kind, was not, however, always on high 
ground. On the contrary it is well known that a high place 
was sometimes in a valley. In the time of Ahab it was the belief 
of the Aramaeans that the gods of the Hebrews were "gods of 
the hills ' ' ; and, as such, could not be conquered if fought with 
on their own holy ground. 11 Accordingly, it was their policy 
to engage the Hebrews in battle on the plains. The Psalmist 
has risen above the prevailing conception of Yahweh as merely 
a god of the hills when he asks the question and appends the 
answer : 

"Shall I lift up mine eyes unto the mountains? 
From whence shall my help come ? ' ' 
(Not from the gods of the mountains; but) 

"My help cometh from Yahweh who made heaven and earth," 

(and, therefore, the mountains) ?- 

Yet, in spite of this transcendent conception of Yahweh, there 
persisted to a late date that old notion that Yahweh was the 
god of Mount Zion. 13 There he dwelt, and from thence help 
came to his devout worshippers. 11 

Naturally, then, because of high elevation and nearness to 
approach to the sky-ba'als or to Yahweh, mountain-tops were 
regarded as most favorable places for man to make offerings to 
the gods and to secure theophanies from them. Thus it happens 
in the case of many Hebrew worthies that mountain-tops were 
the usual places of divine revelation. There Moses, 15 Abraham, 16 
Balaam, 17 Samuel, 18 Saul, 19 David, 20 Solomon, 21 and Elijah 22 
all made sacrifices to Yahweh and received revelations from him. 
From the time of Ahaz onward nearly every hill-top smoked with 

11 1 K. 20:23. 

12 Ps. 121:1; cp. Jer. 3:23. 
13 Ps. 43:3; 99:9. 

14 Ps. 3:5 (4). 

15 Ex. 3:1 ff. 

10 Gen. 22:2 ff. 

17 Num. 23:1 ff.; 14 ff.; 28 ff. 

18 1 Sam. 9:12 ff.; 10:17 ff.; 11:14 ff. 

10 1 Sam. 13:8 ff. 

20 2 Sam. 24:18 ff. 

21 1 K. 3:4 ff. 

22 1 K. 18:20 ff. 



30 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

burnt-offerings 23 and resounded with the noise of tumultuous 
worshippers. 24 Including those already mentioned, there were 
at least thirty-two sacred mountains and hills in Palestine, the 
religious significance of many of which appears in their names. 
They are as follows: Bamath-ba' al, "high place of ba'al"; 25 
Gebaf, "hill"; 20 Gib'ath M-' Araloth, "hill of the fore- 
skins"; 27 Gib'ath ha-'Elohim, "the hill of God"; 28 Gib'ath 
ham-Moreh, "hill of the teacher"; 29 Gib'ath Phinehasf 
Gib' on, "hill"; 31 Har Ba'alah; 32 Har Bashanf 3 Har Beth- 
'Anath, "mount of (the) house of 'Anath"; 34 Har 'Ephron, 
"mount of (the) stag"; 35 Har Gerizzimf 6 Har Heres, "mount 
of (the) sun"; 3T Har Herman, "sacred mountain"; 37 Har 
Karmel"/ 9 Har Nebo, A0 Har Perasim; 41 ha-Pisgah, "the 
cliff"; 42 Har Salmon;* 3 Har Se'ir, "mount of (the) goat"; 44 

23 2 K. 16:4; 17:11; 2 Chr. 28:4; Jer. 17:2; Ezek. 6:13; 20:28; 
Hos. 4:13. 

24 Jer. 3:23. 

^Probably the original form instead of Bamoth-ba' al, "high places 
of ba'al," Num. 22:41; Josh. 13:17. 

26 Cp. 2 K. 23:8. 

27 A place where the rite of circumcision was performed, Josh. 5:3. 

28 1 Sam. 10:5 = Ear-el, "hill of God," Thutmose Ill's list, Miiller, in 
MVG., 1907, p. 24. There was a saered tree here, 1 Sam. 14:2; 22:6. 
The hill may have been sacred to Sheol, cp. 1 Sam. 11:4, &c. 

29 Judg. 7:1, when compared with Gen. 12:6, points to a holy hill. 

so Saered to hero-worship, Josh. 24:33. 

31 Cp. 2 Sam. 21:9; 1 K. 3:4. 

32 1 Chr. 13:6, probably near Kiryath-ba' al, "city of ba'al," Josh. 
15:60, and sacred to a ba'al. Cp. 1 Sam. 7:1. 

33 Called also "Mount of God," Ps. 68:16 (15). 

34 Breasted, ABE., Ill, $ 356. 

35 Josh. 15:9, saered to a stag. 

86 The well-known sacred mountain near Shechem, probably the mountain 
intended instead of Ebal in Deut. 27:4, and probably the scene of Abra- 
ham's offering, Gen. 22. See p. 28. 

37 Judg. 1:35. 

58 Deut. 3:8; cp. Book of Enoch, VI. 

39 A place of worship adopted by the Israelites, 1 K. 18:30-32. 

40 Deut. 34:1, sacred to Nebo, or Nabu. 

41 Is. 28:21, probably sacred to Ba' al-peraslm, 2 Sam. 5:20. 

42 Cp. Num. 23:14. 

43 Judg. 9:48, sacred to $elem. 
"Josh. 24:4, &c, sacred to a goat. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 31 

Har Sinay-Horeb; 45 Har Tabor ; ie Har haz-Zethim, "mount 
of the olive trees" ; 47 Har Zion; 4S Hor ha-Har, "mount Hor" ; 49 
ha-Ramah, "the high place"; 50 Ramath-Gil' ad, "high place of 
Gilead"; 51 Ramath-lelii, "high place of (the) jawbone"; 52 
Rosh Kedesh, "holy summit"; 53 Rosh ha-Pe'or, "the summit 
of Peor"; 54 Sela' 'Etam, "cliff of (the) bird of prey"; 55 
Shomron.™ 

43 Ex. 3:1, &c; 19:20, &c. 

46 Cp. Hos. 5:1. 

47 Zech. 14:4 = Mount of Olives, Ezek. 11:23, &e. Probably called also 
Har Mm-Mishhah, "the mount of ointment," which was intentionally 
changed to Har ham-Mashhith, "the mount of corruption," 2 K. 23:13, 
cp. Hoffman, in ZAW., II (1882), p. 175. 

48 2 K. 19:31. This mountain had on its summit a threshing-floor evi- 
dently sacred to 'Ado-nay, a title for deity (reconstructed from 'Arawnah 
and 'Oman), 2 Sam. 24:16-25. 

"Sacred to hero-worship, Num. 20:22 ff. 

50 Borne by three places: (1) Josh. 19:36; (2) 19:29; (3) 1 K. 15:17, 
&c. 

51 Changed to Bamoth-gil' ad, 1 K. 4:13. A pillar or a heap of stones 
was an object of worship here, Gen. 31:43-54. 

32 Judg. 15:17. In the hollow of this jawbonelike ridge (cp. Von Gall, 
p. 134) was 'Bn-hak-hore', "spring of the partridge," Judg. 15:17, 19, 
which was sacred to a partridge-cult. 

53 Miiller, in MFG., 1907, p. 17. 

"Num. 23:28, sacred to Ba'al-pe'or, Hos. 9:10. 

33 Judg. 15:8, 11, sacred to a bird-cult. 

06 1 K. 16:24, probably a sacred hill, cp. 1 K. 16:32, 33. 



32 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



CHAPTER VI 

THE PRIMITIVE ALTAR 

If, then, the nature gods made springs, trees, and mountains 
their usual and favorite habitats, and through the mysterious 
phenomena respectively connected therewith revealed their will 
and feelings to man, how was the worshipper to approach the 
gods conveniently and present to them his offerings? Though 
he cast his gifts into the holy spring and tied them on the 
branches of the holy tree, yet even these methods of offering 
were not entirely satisfactory for every kind of gift. Perhaps 
these natural objects were not present in every place, and thus 
another method had to be devised. The most natural medium 
through which an offering might be made was a stone conspicu- 
ously set up for the purpose of inviting the deity to come and 
dwell in this conventional abode, or bethel, "house of god," 1 
at least long enough to partake of such liquid offerings as oil, 
water, blood, milk, honey, and wine. It was in this way that 
the numina, or ba'als, of the sacred trees at Ophrah, 2 Shechem, 3 
possibly Beth-el, 4 and probably all other sacred trees existing 
at many of the Canaanite sanctuaries, as well as the ba'al of the 
"Serpent Stone" at En-rogel, 5 were approached with suitable 
offerings. 

Other ba'als besides those dwelling in springs, trees, and 
mountains revealed their power and presence to man through 
some other mysterious natural media, such as storm, earthquake, 
dreams, and natural sounds. The favor of these too was sought 
through the conventional stone-altar. It was with this pur- 
pose in mind that Jacob erected the pillar to the dream-reveal- 
ing god of Beth-el; that Samuel erected the "stone of help" 
near Mizpah to Yahweh who "thundered with a great voice 

J Gen. 28:18; 35:14. 

"- Judg. 6:19-21. 

2 Gen. 12:6; Josh. 24:26. 

4 Cp. Gen. 28:18 with 35:8. 

5 1 K. 1:9. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 33 

on that day upon the Philistines and discomfited them"; G that 
Moses set up the twelve pillars under Horeb-Sinai to the storm- 
god of the mountain ; 7 that Saul had a great stone rolled to a con- 
venient place to serve as an altar upon which to pour out to 
Yahweh the blood of slain animals taken as spoil; 8 and that 
both Manoah 9 and David, 10 on receiving each a theophany, used 
a sacred stone as an altar for offering gifts unto the appear- 
ing angel. 

In the vicinity of the place which afterwards was the site of 
a Semitic temple Petrie found many monoliths standing each 
within and on one side of a circle of stones which, he conjec- 
tures, served as sleeping places for the Egyptians who desired 
from the mountain-goddess revelations through dreams concern- 
ing the hidden treasures. At the base of many of the upright 
pillars was found a kind of stone table with incised cups for 
the holding of offerings. 11 There is no doubt that the goddess 
of the mountain was Semitic, as the manner of worship exhibited 
by the discoveries was entirely foreign to Egyptian soil. 

Prom this distinct Semitic conception of a ba'al as the deni- 
zen of an erected stone, or bethel, there has been an interesting 
development among the Phoenicians and the Greeks. The Sem- 
itic bethel, or "house of god," as a fetish becomes among the 
Phoenicians the name of a god, namely, Ba-ai-ti-ile, who is men- 
tioned in a treaty between Esarhaddon and Baal of Tyre. 12 
Moreover, in Greece the Semitic bethel gives the name baitulos 
to a small aerolite which is thought to be demon-possessed, self- 
moving, and endowed with magical qualities. 13 Perhaps the 
sacred stone at Delphi on which oil was daily poured was a 
baityl," or at least some sort of a stone in which a numen was 
thought to live. 

e l Sam. 7:10-12. 

'Ex. 24:4 ff. 

8 1 Sam. 14:31 ff. 

"Judg. 13:19. 

10 2 Sam. 24:25. 

"Petrie, MS., pp. 65 ff. 

r -KAT. z , p. 437. 

13 Euseb. Praep. Ev., i. 10, p. 37. 

14 Pausanias, X, 24, 6. See, however, Moore in AJA., 7 (1903), Series 
2, pp. 198 ff. 

3 



34 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

While the term bethel did not prevail in Canaan for the 
conventional habitat of a nature-god, nevertheless the idea con- 
tinued down into the Hebrew period. As an interesting paral- 
lel to the way in which the term bethel, as a dwelling-place of a 
ba'al, passed over into the name of a deity, as bethel into 
Bait-ili of the Phoenicians, we have sur, "rock," which was 
often applied by the Semites to a fetish, actually passing over 
to designate a certain Canaanite deity. 15 

The outward forms which sacred stones took were five: 
namely sur, massebah, 'eben, gal, and gilgal. 

Sur, "rock," was the native rock, or ledge, which emerged 
at the surface of the ground in such a way as to form a pro- 
jection convenient for offerings. Perhaps such a natural pro- 
jection was utilized whenever it occurred at sacred places. A 
portable stone in such a place would not be needed, as the rock- 
table, or projection, would serve as an altar. Such a rock 
appears, either by direct assertion or by implication, to have 
been used at Beth-zur, 16 Mahaneh-dan, 17 and possibly at Oph- 
rah, 18 Rephidim, 19 and Taanach. 20 

The massebah, "pillar," was by far the most commonly used 
fetish. It was elongated and capable of standing on end. A 
single one appears to have stood in nearly all the Canaanite 
sanctuaries, 21 including those at Beth-el, 22 the King's Vale, 23 
Carmel, 24 Rachel's grave, 25 and Shechem. 26 In Canaanite times 
its usual position, with reference to the other holy objects, was 
near, or under, the holy tree, and probably on the opposite side 

15 See Sur under "Special Gods" in Chap. XXVIII. 
"Josh. 15:58. 
"Judg. 13:19. 
18 Judg. 6:20, 21. 

19 Ex. 17:15. 

20 See Ta'anak, Chap. VII. 

21 Ex. 23:24; 34:13; Deut. 7:5; 12:3; 1 K. 14:23; [2 K. 10:26 
asherahs?]; 17:10; 18:4; 23:14; 2 Chr. 14:3 (2); 31:1; Hos. 10:1, 2; 
Mie. 5:12 (13). 

22 Gen. 28:18; 35:14. 

23 2 Sam. 18:18. 
24 1 Sam. 15:12. 

25 Gen. 35:14. 

26 Josh. 24:26 ff. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 35 

of the fire-altar from the 'asherah. 2 ~ In two places 28 the pillar 
is called a yad, "monument," but this is identical with 
massebah. The yad is, in one case, explained as a memorial to 
preserve the name of the dead; but this explanation betrays 
the ancient belief that the departed spirit could not rest unless 
a stone were set up at the grave. The nesib melah, "pillar of 
salt, ' ' whose origin a popular tradition seeks to explain as being 
Lot's wife, 29 may have been originally a fetish of this character. 

'Eben, "stone," was probably a rough boulder or block 
which might easily be rolled into position. It answered the 
same purpose as the stir, or the massebah, and may easily be 
another name for massebah, since the stones at Shechem and at 
Kamoth-gilead are also called massebahs. An 'eben served as 
an altar at Beth-shemesh, 30 'Eben-Bohan,* 1 Eben-ezer, 32 En-ro- 
gel, 33 and Gibeon. 34 A great stone was the center of elaborate 
rites at Mecca and also at Taif. 35 

Gal, ' ' heap, ' ' appears to have been built of small stones piled 
up probably for the same purpose as those mentioned above. 
Perhaps the gal was made when the pillar, or large stone, was 
not obtainable. Single gals existed at Ai, 36 'Emek 'Akor, sl and 
Kamoth-gilead. 38 The origins of these, in historical times, were 
accounted for by various popular traditions. Probably similar 
to the gal was the 'argab, "mound." 30 It was toward one of 
the latter that Jonathan shot the arrows to divine the feeling 
of the indwelling numen as to what course David should take. 40 

27 See 'asherah, Chap. XIX. 
28 1 Sam. 15:12; 18:18. 
29 Gen. 19:26. 
30 1 Sam. 6:15. 
31 See Josh. 15:6. 
32 1 Sam. 7:12. 
33 See 1 K. 1:9. 
31 2 Sam. 20:8. 

^WeUh., p. 30; Doughty, ii. pp. 511, 515 ff. 
36 Josh. 8:29. 
"Josh. 7:26. 
38 Gen. 31:46. 

39 1 Sam. 20:19. Bead ha-' argab hal-laz, "this mound," instead of 
ha- 'eben lia-'ezel, "the stone of Ezel." So Wellhausen and others. 
"See "Divination," Chap. VIII. 



36 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

The gilgal, "circle," may belong to this class of fetishes. 
From the facts that there were twelve venerated stones at Gil- 
gal, 41 and that the name Gilgal means "circle," one may be 
warranted in concluding that these twelve stones formed a 
circle. Possibly also the twelve at Horeb were set up in a cir- 
cle. 42 A stone circle has been found at Taanach. 43 A circle of 
pillars may have formed the original group of sacred stones at 
Gath. 44 The place-name, Geliloth, "circles," is also sugges- 
tive. 45 It seems probable, from the fact that there were twelve 
stones each at Horeb and Gilgal, that the original number in 
a circle was twelve and had, therefore, a sacrosanct value. 
Whether or not a numen was thought to reside in each stone 
is doubtful. 

Herodotus describes the Arab rite of invoking two deities 
by a worshipper while in the act of anointing seven sacred 
stones with blood. 46 Arabian poetry frequently refers to 
instances where worshippers invoked a number of stones in an 
act of worship. 47 This rite of blood-sprinkling is not men- 
tioned in the covenant ritual which was performed at Horeb, 
but it is implied; for it is said that Moses sprinkled half of 
the blood of the slain oxen on the altar (and perhaps on the 
pillars) and the other half he put in basins to sprinkle on the 
people. 48 

Sacred Objects. At an early age the Semite was not con- 
tent to confine his religious devotions entirely to the holy places, 
so he somehow evolved the notion that sacred objects in minia- 
ture had a hallowing influence in frightening away baleful spirits 
and inviting the presence of good ones, provided these amulets 
or talismans were carried on his person. Of this nature were the 
various kinds of amulets belonging to this period found espe- 
cially at Gezer. The rudest form of amulet was the so-called 
"spindle-whorl" which was made, at least in some cases, out 

41 Josh. 4:3 ff. 

42 Ex. 24:4. 
"Sellin, p. 11, fig. 3. 

"See "Gath," Chap. XVIII. 
45 Josh. 18:17. 
40 iii, 8. 

47 Smith, BS., p. 211. 

48 Ex. 24:4-8. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 37 

of the ends of femur bones. 49 The crudest form of anthropoid 
figures in limestone also begin to make their appearance at 
Gezer. It seems plain from an examination of them that the 
natural forms, in which they were found, suggested a similitude 
of the human features to the finder who added other marks to 
indicate eyes, nose, or mouth to make an image worthy of 
worship. 50 These may have been carried on the person or kept 
in the house for a shrine. 

48 Macalister, EG., ii. pp. 71 ff., 449. 

M Iiid., ii. p. 422; iii. ccxxii, Nos. 3, 9, 12, 18, 21. 



38 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



CHAPTEE VII 

SANCTUARIES 

Gezer. The most significant archaeological evidence for a 
place of worship of the first Semitic period appears from Gezer. 1 
Here, in the central depression between the two hills of the old 
city — being built on a commanding hill itself — was instituted, 
probably about 2000 b. c, a primitive shrine. This shrine, with 
the addition in the next period of many more features of indubi- 
table religious meaning, became a place of worship of the first 
magnitude. The two most striking features of the ancient shrine 
are the two pillars and the sacred cave. 

Two unhewn stone pillars 2 standing about five feet high and 
seven feet apart were evidently set up by the early Semites as 
bethel-altars upon which to pour liquid offerings. Macalister 
suggests that one may have represented a masculine and the 
other a feminine divinity. What sort of a ba'al it was who 
received homage at these stones — whether of the hill, the sacred 
cave, or some tree — can only be conjectured. 

A few yards to the east are two troglodyte caves 3 which orig- 
inally were separate but later were connected by a passage-way. 
This passage-way, which was long and curved, was in all prob- 
ability made at this time by the oracle-consulting priests to 
serve as an adytum from which oracles might be uttered as 
from similar dark recesses in Greek temples. 4 The innermost 
cave is entirely shut off from access, except as passage could 
be made through this channel, and that only with great diffi- 
culty. Thus the inner cave furnished a convenient means by 
which some confederate of the divining priest — being stationed 
within and removed from sight and easy approach — could 
impersonate the deity by weird articulations, and thus deceive 

1 Macalister, EG., ii. pp. 381 ff. 

'Ibid., pp. 385 ff. 

*Ibid., pp. 381 ff. 

' Herod, i. 47, 65; v. 72. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 39 

the superstitious inquirer who had, before admission to the 
mysterious, shadowy sanctum, been put into a half-hysterical 
frame of mind by certain preliminary rites. The imagination of 
a primitive people is a fertile soil for the growth of superstitious 
notions about cave-deities and shades of the dead. Even Saul 
on the eve of defeat was the victim of such deception by the 
witch of En-dor, 5 who undoubtedly resorted to some such device 
as is revealed here in this cave. It appears probable that the 
existence of this cave was, as Macalister suggests, the principal 
factor in determining the site of the sanctuary. 

Taanach. At the junction formed by the northeast with the 
central plateau of Taanach, Sellin found religious remains 
which he considers of no small importance. Here was found an 
altar which was hewn out of the natural rock having ascending 
chisel-hewn steps on the east side. On the top appear four 
incised cups — one oval sixteen by twenty inches across and 
three small round ones three or four inches in diameter. A 
channel had been cut around about the altar with the evident 
purpose of conducting liquid offerings to the ground. 

Moreover, in further confirmation of this as a cult-place is 
the fact that Sellin found in the immediate environs of this 
altar — particularly on the east and west side — a "child ceme- 
tery." The burials were carefully made in earthen vessels in 
or near which were deposited food and drinking vessels, thus 
showing a consideration for the sustenance of the soul after 
death. With the exception of one adult there were over 
eighty burials of infants. The fact that these burials were 
made in identically the same manner as other child-burials in 
other parts of the city precludes the possibility of these chil- 
dren having been victims of sacrifice. This custom of burial 
near a sanctuary generally prevailed throughout the whole his- 
tory of Palestine, as will be observed later. From Old Testa- 
ment sources it is known that kings and heroes had the honor 
of interment in sacred ground, which fact may account for the 
paucity of adult remains in the sanctuary here as well as at 
Gezer in the next period. The Old Testament gives no hint 
as to where children were buried ; but the evidence here and at 

B l Sam. 28:7-25. 
6 Sellin, pp. 35 ff. 



40 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Gezer in the next period seems to favor the conclusion that these 
children, having died a natural death, were tenderly buried by 
fond parents in holy ground. Perhaps it was the thought of 
sorrowing mothers that the spirits of their children untimely 
departed would soon again seek another incarnation, provided 
their bodies were buried at the sanctuary and suitable offerings 
were made on the altar. 

Sinai. During the twelfth dynasty the Egyptians began to 
adorn the sacred cave in the "Wady Serabit el-Khadem where 
Hathor, the Mistress of Turquoise, was worshipped. 7 Previous 
to this the Egyptians had been content to erect pillars on differ- 
ent spots in the environs of the sacred cave and to seek her 
revelations by means of offerings placed before the pillars. Now 
the cave was enclosed, except a doorway which permitted 
entrance to the cave where a pillar and an altar stood. As time 
went on additions were made outwards till, in the next period, 
a whole series of rooms were made in succession. In this period a 
portico was first added to the cave, and this was followed by 
a "Shrine of Kings" which consists of a dozen pillars extend- 
ing in a westerly direction. A great deposit of ashes outside of 
the cave shows that sacrifices on no small scale must have con- 
stituted the principal rites of this place of worship. 

'Petrie, BS., pp. 72 ff.; 186 ff. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 41 



CHAPTEK VIII 

RELIGIOUS RITES 

Offerings. In order to determine as far as possible what must 
have been the nature of the offerings which the Amorites offered 
to their gods, with respect to content, manner, and occasion of 
presentation, and significance, we are confined almost entirely 
within the limits of inference. If only for disassociating the 
primitive elements of these rites from the more highly developed, 
perhaps the task will be worth the trouble. 

As to content, it is to be presumed that, whatever the ardent 
worshippers had to give — whether of food, precious things of 
their own creation, or even of their own kindred or fellow-men — 
they gave the best. In the worship of fetishes one may be 
reasonably sure that liquid offerings, such as blood, wine, milk, 
and honey, were used. 

As regards human sacrifice, we have fairly conclusive evi- 
dence from the first Semitic level at Gezer 1 that human beings 
were offered in what is known as a "foundation sacrifice." 
There are two cases : one that of an old, invalid woman, a use- 
less member of the community, who was buried, probably alive, 
under a corner wall of a building; and the other, that of a 
man buried under the floor of a room. In both cases the burials 
were made prior to the erection of the building. These facts 
are significant when compared with the story of Hiel, the Beth- 
elite, who "laid the foundation (of the wall of Jericho) with 
the loss of Abiram, his first-born, and set up the gates thereof 
with the loss of his youngest son, Segub." 2 Evidence for this 
rite comes from all parts of the world; while its mitigated 
survivals, such as putting a newspaper, or coin, or Bible under 
the corner-stone, are of common occurrence to-day in civilized 
lands. Even in Palestine to-day the custom survives of offering 
an animal — a substitute for a human victim — whenever an 
important building is to be erected. This barbarous custom of 
offering a human victim, beginning among the early Semites of 

1 Maealister, EG., ii. p. 427. 
! 1 K. 16:34. 



42 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Palestine and continuing down to Hebrew times, came to be 
gradually supplanted by a more humane custom of offering a 
lamp and bowl. This does not occur till the next period. 

That sort of human sacrifice which required the victim to be 
slain and burned may be merely inferred for this period from 
Babylonian and Canaanite parallels. Many cases are on record 
in Babylonia in which a lamb is substituted for the life of a 
man f while a court formula preserves a recollection of the cus- 
tom of child-burning for Sin and Belit. 4 

Presentation. The mode of presenting the offering to the 
gods was in keeping with the prevailing conception concerning 
their abodes. For a gift to be accepted it must be presented at 
the dwelling-place of the god. At first offerings were merely 
thrown into the holy spring for the spring ba'al, or attached 
to the holy tree for the tree-ba'al; but later another mode 
came into vogue, that of setting up a stone as a conventional 
or temporary abode for the ba'al of some holy place, and pour- 
ing or setting on it offerings of drink and food for the deity's 
consumption. At the traditional Sinai a stone-table with cups 
was placed at the base of the pillar for the deity who was 
thought to reside in the pillar. 5 The blood of animal victims 
was sacred to the gods and, therefore, had to be presented to 
them either by sprinkling, or by pouring on their holy stones, 
or by letting it run down into their cave-dwellings. 

The Babylonian words, zlbu, "offering," and kutrinnu, 
"frankincense," "incense offering," 6 must originally have had 
a common origin with the respective Hebrew words, zebah, 
"slaughter" and ketoreth, " odor of burnt-offerings. " It seems 
probable, then, that offerings were presented by fire, although 
this method presupposes an advanced stage of reflection. It 
may be that the fire-offering, as is known later, was an out- 
growth of the practice of burning the refuse of the animal vic- 
tims after the sacrificial meal was eaten. A layer of ashes 
near the sacred cave at the traditional Sinai 7 points to the 
mode of sacrificing by fire as early as this period. 

Z KAI.\ p. 596. 
'■ma., p. 599. 
5 See p. 40. 
e EAT. 3 , p. 595. 
'Petrie, BS., p. 187. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 43 

Occasion. The many varying events of life such as birth, 
weaning, marriage, adversity, undertaking a journey, all fur- 
nished occasions on which offerings were made to the gods 
concerned respectively with these affairs. Before the final issue 
of an uncertain event, whether present or expected, vows were 
made to be fulfilled after the petitioned favor was secured. 

Besides the incidental occasions for sacrifice for the individual 
worshipper there were the yearly occasions for the tribe ; namely, 
the spring, summer, and autumnal feasts coinciding respec- 
tively with the foaling season, the barley-harvest, and the grape- 
gathering. Moreover, the feasts of the new moon and the 
Sabbath offered more frequent occasions for presenting gifts 
to the gods. These feasts will be considered later. 

Significance. The most primitive conception of offering must 
find its ultimate origin in the idea of a gift either for the pur- 
pose of maintaining present amicable relations with a friendly 
god or of propitiating an offended one. The origin of animal 
sacrifice and the practice of giving the blood of the victim to 
the deity are rooted in remote antiquity. In some way the life 
of the animal was thought to be resident in the blood and 
identical with the life of the god ; and, when the blood of the 
sacrifice was poured over the sacred stone, it became a drink- 
offering to the indwelling numen. Then the sacrificial meal was 
eaten by the worshippers in order to establish between them- 
selves and the god present in the stone — and possibly also in 
the flesh — a mystic communion, and to secure thereby divine 
strength and favor. Blood may once have been drunk for this 
infusion of the divine life resident in the animal; but later, 
at any rate, it became taboo because of its great sanctity. Even 
water got at the risk of blood-shedding so symbolized the blood 
that it could not be drunk, but was poured out as an offering 
unto the god. 8 

Offerings for the dead will be considered under Chapter XIV. 

Divination. For the Semites as well as for other people of 
antiquity the unknown future possessed an air of mystery which 
man tried to solve by various means of divination. Man was 
a helpless creature in the hands of powerful gods whose capri- 
cious ways seemed almost impossible to understand; and so a 

8 2 Sam. 23:15-17. 



44 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

longing was created to penetrate the future and peer into the 
very council-chambers of the gods in order to anticipate the 
consequence of a questionable course. To such a complex role, 
involving as it did all the mysterious phenomena and uncertain 
movements of nature, was called the divining class who, in 
time, built up a fanciful oracular science, and won, in the 
meantime, undisputed recognition as mediators between the 
ignorant inquiring layman and the deity. However, it was 
possible for the unskilled layman to interpret ordinary omens 
without the help of the professional diviner. 

The divining practices which were in vogue in ancient Baby- 
lonia and, in later times, over the Semitic world, 9 must be rooted 
in remote antiquity. At any rate, one is clearly warranted in 
attributing these primitive practices to the first Semites who 
inhabited Palestine ; for otherwise the large amount of evidence 
for these rites appearing in the Canaanite and the Hebrew 
periods would stand unrelated to the ancient fountain-head. 
Perhaps the most dependable evidence for this relationship 
between Babylonian and Canaanite survivals occurs in a num- 
ber of Hebrew words which have significant analogies in the 
divining ritual of Babylonia. 10 Thus torah, "teaching," 
"instruction," must have been related in some way to the 
Babylonian divining expression tertu, "foretoken." Berith, 
"covenant," when compared with biritu, "oracle," and bdru, 
"diviner," betray an original connection with divination. 
Other comparisons, as barar, "separate," "sever," with the 
Assyrian barn, "to discern" and 'anah, "answer," with the 
Babylonian-Assyrian technical term annu, "a favorable omen," 
add further interest. 

As the ba'als were regarded as the denizens of all the vari- 
ous forms and objects of nature that exhibited any ominous 
signs, it occurred to the ancients that these objects of nature 
might be interrogated with appropriate divining methods for 
an expression of the will or of the feeling of the animating 
numina. A classification of the subject under consideration 
according to the groups of these forms of nature will be con- 
venient. 

9 Jastrow, Bel. Belief, pp. 143 ff. ; "Wellh., pp. 143 ff. 
W KAT.', p. 606; Haupt, in JBL., six. pp. 55 fl. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 45 

Water. The bubbling spring, so often regarded as the abode 
of a ba'al, received into its depths, or cast up by its bountiful 
flow, with ominous significance to the inquirer, the gifts that 
were cast into it. The uncertain action of oil in a cup of water, 
a favorite method in Babylonia and probably in Canaan, 11 was 
a means that partook of the same nature. 

Tree. The numen of a holy tree was thought to give ominous 
signs to the wise interpreter, as when the leaves rustled in the 
wind or the tree-tops re-echoed the sound of an approaching 
army. 12 In this way the mulberry trees in the valley of 
Rephaim; the sacred oak at Shechem, called the "Teacher's 
Oak," and the "Diviners' Oak"; 13 and probably many other 
trees must have given omens when properly observed by the 
divining priest. Sticks cut from holy trees became divining rods, 
and were often laid away for later signs of flourishing or with- 
ering, 14 or were shuffled to give a sign. The "staff" which 
Hosea says "declareth unto them," 15 and the divining appara- 
tus used at Taanach may have been of this sort. Thus the 
sentence on a clay tablet found there : "If the finger of Ashirat 
itself show, so may one inculcate it and obey: and the sign 
and the thing informed me." 16 Furthermore, twigs cut from 
a holy tree may have furnished the material for the lot used 
in Israel for oracular purposes. It was attached in some way 
to the ephod, possibly having been kept in a pocket of the gar- 
ment that clothed the ephod-image. Be that as it may, the lot 
was wont to be cast, and the deciding "ball" gave either the 
favorable thummim or the unfavorable urim. 11 This method 
was employed by Samuel in choosing a king over Israel, and 
by Saul in discovering a transgressor among his ranks by 
eliminating, in succession, tribes, clans, families, and individuals. 
In the last days of Saul this means of divination failed to give 
him a favorable answer. 18 

"Gen. 44:5. 

12 2 Sam. 5:24; Is. 55:12. 

13 Gen. 12:6 f.; Judg. 9:37. 
"Num. 17:22 ff. (7 ff.). 
"4:12. 

10 About 1400-1300 B. c, Sellin, pp. 108 ff. 

17 1 Sam. 10:20 f.; 14:41 f.; 28:6; cp. Haupt, in JBL., xix. p. 73. 

18 1 Sam. 28:6. 



46 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Animals. Ba'als were thought also to possess animals and 
accordingly manifested their will and disposition to inquirers 
by certain movements which the animals made, or by direc- 
tions taken by liberated cows. 19 Divining by the flight of birds, 
so extensively used for oracular purposes among the Romans, 
may have been used as a means in the Amarna period; for, 
in one letter 20 to the king of Egypt, the writer beseechingly 
asks that an "eagle conjurer" be sent him, thus obviously 
implying the need of a skilled interpreter to divine the signs 
of the times in the face of national trouble that was then brew- 
ing. It is not impossible that Abraham sought an omen by 
observing the flight of the "turtle dove and the young 
pigeon"; 21 and Balaam by similar means at the bare height. 22 
A suggestion arises from a number of worn parts of animal 
bones found at Taanach 23 that, perhaps, some virtue may have 
been attributed to bones as fitting means of obtaining omens. 

Hepatoscopy, or divination by studying the aspect of an ani- 
mal's liver, was handed down from the Sumerians to the Amor- 
ites of Babylonia and of the West, to the Hittites, to the 
ancient Arabs, and eventually to the Greeks and to the 
Romans. 24 To the ancients the liver, because of the fact that it 
contains a disproportionately large amount of blood as com- 
pared with the other organs of circulation, was the seat of life, 
and therefore the organ which best betrayed the intimations 
of the disposition of the gods. This fancied seat of the soul 
of the animal slain for sacrifice was, according to ancient logic, 
conceived of as identical with and attuned to the soul of the 
god. Accordingly, it followed that the mind of the god, and 
therefore the future, was revealed, if the signs on the liver 
could be properly interpreted. 25 Liver-divination was early 
reduced to a science by the Sumerian har-tum, "liver-diviner," 
and the Babylonian bdru, " divining-priest. " 

As mentioned above, hepatoscopy came to the Palestinian 

19 6:7 ff. 
M Knudtzon, 35:26. 

21 Gen. 15:9. 

22 Num. 23:3, 23; 24:1. 

23 Sellin, p. 112. 

24 Jastrow, Die Religion, ii. pp. 213 ff.; Bel. Belief, pp. 150 ff. 

25 Jastrow, Bel. Belief, pp. 155 f. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 47 

Amorites from Babylon. In proof of this assertion are the 
following survivals among the Hebrews. 

The Smnerian word for liver-diviner, namely har-tiim, is the 
one whence the Hebrew word for magician, namely hartom, is 
derived. 20 This fact when taken in connection with the impli- 
cations underlying certain poetic references to the liver as the 
seat of life, 27 and with the knowledge which Ezekiel has of 
the practice of inspecting the liver, 28 clearly prove for this rite 
an ancient historical setting in Palestine. 

A common practice among the Arabs was to mark arrows, 
then shoot them against some symbol of the deity, and, accord- 
ing to the place and the manner in which they fell, to draw 
inferences as to what might be the disposition of the deity. 
This seems to be reflected in Jonathan's shooting the arrows at 
a mound 29 and announcing the result to David. 30 In this, or 
some other way, the sacred "stock" 31 or 'asherah, and the 
teraphim 32 gave, in Hosea's time, divine oracles for directing 
the nation's destiny. 

Perhaps related in some way to one or more of these oracular 
means, but not specifically stated or inferred, are the instances 
of Laban 33 and the servants of Benhadad 34 resorting to some 
divining practice. Other means of consulting the disposition of 
the gods, who held the destinies of men, were by consulting 
the departed spirits at graves by calling up shades to dis- 
close the future. 35 Still other methods were by observing 
the effect of dew or rain on objects exposed at night, 30 the 
strange phenomena about the sun-dial, 37 and the action of a 
storm. 38 

X PSBA., xxxv, p. 189. 
27 Prov. 7:23; Lam. 2:11. 
28 Ezek. 21:26 (21). 
29 Emended text, cp. LXX. 
30 1 Sam. 20:19 ff. 
31 Hos. 4:12. 

32 Ezek. 21:26 (21); Hos. 3:4; Zech. 10:2; cp. Judg. 17:5 ff.; 
18:14 ff. 

33 Gen. 30:27. 

34 1 K. 20:33. 

35 1 Sam. 28:11 ff. 

36 Judg. 6:36-40. 

"Is. 38:8. 

38 1 Sam. 7:10. 



48 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Magic. According to Babylonian-Assyrian religion, gods 
who represented the superior natural forces could be directly 
influenced by charms and spells to direct their power against 
evil demons who sought to work ill. This was sacred magic, 
and embraced under its scope, enchantment, sorcery, incanta- 
tion, and witchcraft. The adept who was versed in the occult 
arts was the magician, or sage. 39 Magic differs from divina- 
tion in that it is the human attempt, either by means of words 
or acts, to constrain directly the spirits, whether good or evil, 
to do what the magician desires ; while divination, on the other 
hand, is merely the art of determining omens for the import 
they may have in forecasting future events. Magic is probably 
of Babylonian origin since its nature demands a long period 
of time for mature reflection incident to its development. Mag, 
the Hebrew word for "magic," which appears to be cognate 
with an Assyrian word, 40 points to this conclusion. 

The colossal human-headed and winged bulls, or genii, stand- 
ing at the entrances of Assyrian palaces were thus placed for 
the purpose of guarding against the access of harmful demons. 
Similarly the brazen serpent lifted up in the wilderness and 
probably the nehushtan in the Jerusalem temple 41 were so dis- 
played to charm away the evil spirits of disease. 42 Magic rods 
possessed and imparted mysterious powers, 43 of which one was 
healing. 44 Amulets of all kinds, found in the excavations and 
worn commonly by women 45 and even by camels 46 in Hebrew 
times, were, in many cases at least, inscribed with magical words 
or symbols for the purpose of warding off the evil eye and for 
averting disaster. 

Magical formulas, or divine names, uttered with incantations, 
were, throughout the ancient world, supposed to be efficacious. 
Thus the exorcism which employed the divine name in the 

89 See Chap. IX. 

40 rab-mu-gi. Cp. Bab-sha'k(e) with Bab-mag, (Jer. 39:3). KAT. 3 , p. 
590, n. 5. 
11 2 K. 18:4. 
42 Num. 21:6-9. 
43 Ex. 4:2 etc.; Num. 20:11. 
"2 K. 4:29. 

"Gen. 35:4; Is. 3:18-23. 
"Judg. 8:21. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 49 

oath, 47 were, in reaction against Canaanite religion, rigidly pro- 
scribed. Naaman expected to be healed by some exorcism of 
waving the hand over that part of the body which was infected 
with leprosy. 48 Magical powers for inducing passion were sup- 
posed to reside in a kind of love-apples called duday which 
may have had some connection with Dudah, a god of the tribe 
of Gad. 40 

The inferior natural powers were relegated to the level of 
demons, and were therefore rejected by orthodox religion ; but 
their hold on the minds of the people continued, and reasserted 
themselves in periods when national religion was on the 
decline. 50 The powers of these demons, conjured up by charm- 
ers and sorcerers, were employed to tie magic-knots and to 
create spells. It is significant that shed, "demon," 51 is a cog- 
nate with the Baby Ionian -Assyrian word shedu, meaning "pro- 
tecting genius." The serpent with its subtle character became 
the fitting embodiment of evil genii, and employed its powers, 
on one occasion, to undo the work of creation, 52 and to bring 
a plague of disease upon the Israelites who could be rid of the 
demons only by the counteracting influence of the brazen ser- 
pent. 53 Magic was widely practiced by the Babylonians, 54 
Egyptians, 55 Hebrews, 50 and Arabs. 57 

Making covenants. The ancient custom that two contract- 
ing parties who came to some mutual agreement should express 
their agreement in a covenant was extended to contracts 
between man and deity. Since the fortune of man, in what- 
ever territory he might live, hung suspended as a slender 
thread in the hands of the gods of that territory, it was all 
important for him to make with them some sort of a covenant 

"Ex. 20:7 E. 

4S 2 K. 5:11. 

49 MI., 12; Gen. 30:14 ff. 

50 Deut. 18:11; 2 K. 9:22; Mie. 5:11 (12). 

"Deut. 32:17; Ps. 106:37. 

52 Gen. 3:1 ff. 

53 Num. 21:9. 

" 4 Jastrow, Die Bel., i. pp. 272 ff. 

53 Wiedemann, A., Religion of the Ancient Egyptians, pp. 146 ff. ; 267 ff. 

sc Jer. 8:17; Ps. 58:6 (5). 

"Baudissin, i. pp. 279 ff.; Wellh., pp. 159 ff.; Smith, BS., pp. 442 ff. 

4 



50 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

having stipulations binding on both parties. "When the Hebrews 
came into possession of the land and its places of worship, it 
was regarded as of first importance on their part to make terms 
with the ba'als so that material prosperity might be expected 
to follow. An old Hebrew law commanding Israel "to make no 
covenants" with the gods of Canaan expressed a protest against 
this procedure so generally practiced at first ; for already before 
this protest arose the worship of the ba'als of the sacred places 
had been sanctioned by popular tradition as legitimate Yahweh- 
worship. Thus the patriarchs came into covenant relations with 
the gods of Beth-el, Hebron, Beer-sheba, and Shechem. 

A covenant between deity and man was a reciprocal one 
and usually partook of the following conditions: (1) The bene- 
fit must be mutual or at least accruing to man. 58 (2) Its dura- 
tion must be perpetual. 59 (3) Subscribing to the conditions must 
be in good faith, and must be sworn to by an oath. 00 (4) New 
previously non-existing rights were created. (5) These resided 
with each party over against the other so long as the conditions 
were kept. 01 The assignment of this practice to this period is 
justified by the evident analogy between the Hebrew terith, 
"covenant," and the Babylonian heritu, "oracle," "bond." 
The double meaning of beritu probably grew out of the two 
aspects of the transaction: "oracle" referring to the covenant 
ritual, and "bond," to the binding effects of the agreement. 

At the sanctuary of Shechem covenant relations were renewed, 
probably annually, between the worshipping tribe and the deity. 
The ceremony was performed while the people stood, half of 
them on the north of the sanctuary over against Ebal, the 
mount of curses, and the other half on the south side over against 
Gerizim, the mount of blessing. The officiating priest stood at 
the sanctuary in the midst and pronounced the blessings, which 
would accrue from a kept covenant, to the party on Gerizim; 
and the curses, which would accrue from a broken covenant, to 
the party on Ebal. The people assented according to the agree- 
ment and so bound themselves by shouting "Amen." 02 

88 Gen. 14:19 f.; 15:5-18; 17:1-8 P; cp. 28:22; 35:14. 

59 Gen. 17:7 f.; Lev. 24:8; 2 Sam. 23:5. 

60 Gen. 15:9 ff. 

01 Gen. 17:1, 2, 10-14. 

^Deut. 11:26-32; 27:1-26; Josh. 8:30-35; 24:1-28; ep. Judg. 9:46. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 51 

The oath constituted an important part of the transaction of 
making a covenant, being employed as a reciprocal declaration 
of good faith on the part of the contracting parties. The oath 
of the covenant was performed in various ways. One method, 
which was used by Abraham in making a covenant with Yah- 
weh, consisted in arranging the divided halves of animals in 
two rows so that each half lay opposite its counterpart; then, 
the contracting parties passed through between the lines of 
pieces, invoking at the same time the deity to bring like conse- 
quences upon themselves should they be insincere or show a 
breach of faith. It was after dark when Yahweh, having the 
appearance of a smoking furnace, passed through between the 
pieces. 63 Another method consisted in the parties placing each 
his hand on the other's thigh, the seat of generative powers, 
and then invoking the deity to extend the dire consequences of 
bad faith or a broken covenant upon future generations. 04 
Another form, which must be later, was by making a gesture of 
the hand toward the stars. 05 The fact that the Hebrew word 
'alah means both "to swear" and "to curse" shows that the 
oath consisted of uttering a curse. Shaba' , another word mean- 
ing "to swear," a cognate, if not a derivative of sheba', 
"seven," points in the same direction and appears accordingly 
to have meant originally "to come under the influence of 
seven." "Seven" was a sacrosanct number among the Baby- 
lonians, and stood for a group of seven demons. 00 

The curse was employed not only in confirming covenants 
but also in all affirmations where doubt might linger in the 
mind of the one to whom the assertion was made. This abjura- 
tion was often expressed in certain stereotyped phrases, such 
as, "as Yahweh liveth and as thy soul liveth," 07 or "let the 
gods do so to me and more also if." 08 Since a prince or an 
ancestor was regarded as having divine attributes, swearing 
was often done "by the prince," "by the life of the prince," 
"by the life of Pharaoh," 09 or "by the fear of my father." 70 

03 Gen. 15:9-18. 

04 Gen. 24:2, 9; 47:29. 

•"Gen. 14:22; Dan. 12:7; Eev. 10:5 ff. 

oa See Sheba', Chap. XV. 

07 1 Sam. 20:3; 25:26, &c; ep. 1 Sam. 17:55, &c. 

08 1 K. 19:2. 

09 Gen. 42:15, 16. 

70 Gen. 31:42, 53. 



52 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

In the Amarna period the man who takes the oath is asked 
to swear by another god than his own. 71 Swearing by Dudah, 72 
the god of Beer-sheba, appears to have been a very popular prac- 
tice in the early Hebrew period, and may have prevailed still 
earlier. 73 The name of Beer-sheba, meaning the "well of the 
seven, ' ' probably has reference to the seven demons of the oath, 
which, in Babylonia, seems to have been connected with sacred 
water. 74 From this it may be conjectured that the oath-ritual 
at Beer-sheba consisted either in the parties dipping their hands 
into the water of the sacred well, or in drinking it, thus making 
the false swearer liable to death at the hands of the demons. 
The god of Dan, 75 Milcom, 76 and the ba'als~~ were also com- 
monly invoked in the oath. One case is on record in which the 
Hebrews did not keep the conditions of a solemn covenant ; and, 
as a result, suffered the pangs of a three-years' famine. 73 

Lustration was a physical preparation of the worshipper for 
appearing before the deity. From ancient Babylonian pictorial 
representations of priests performing acts of worship garment- 
less, from the custom of the ancient Arabs to encircle the Ka' aba 
at Mecca in a nude condition, and from the Hebrew custom to 
strip off the garments during a period of mourning, it may 
safely be inferred that the ancient worshipper religiously dis- 
carded his garments before entering the sanctuary for fear of 
bringing anything unholy into contact with the deity. For the 
same reason he bathed himself, and further, to prepare himself 
for the sacrificial meal, he fasted. Finally, having completed 
these ceremonial acts, he approached with head covered, lest he 
might perchance see the deity and suffer death in consequence. 79 

Circumcision had its origin in the cult of some goddess of 
reproduction who required this rite to be performed on all males 
in token of consecrating to her their generative organs. It was 

71 Knudtzon, 164:39. 

72 A god according to Amos 8:14 (LXX). Corrupted into derek, "way." 

73 Am. 8:14. Also implied by context of Hos. 4:15. See Harper, Amos 
and Hosea, p. 263. 

U KAT. 3 , pp. 459, 620 ff. 

75 Am. 8:14. 
7 "Zeph. 1:5. 
"Jer. 12:16. 

76 2 Sam. 21:1 ff. Cp. Josh. 9:3-15, 19. 
79 See Chapter XIV. 2. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 53 

thus a preparation for connubium, and was probably performed 
at puberty. The Egyptians learned it from the Semites as 
early as the Old Empire ; so and Moses, from the Midianites. sl 
When the Israelites entered Canaan and worshipped at the 
sanctuary at Gilgal, it was necessary for them to have all males 
circumcised. S2 The rite in later times was explained as a sym- 
bol of the covenant relation with Yahweh, which every male 
had to enter into on the eighth day after birth. 83 The reten- 
tion even in the bronze age of flint knives in performing the 
operation bespeaks for the rite a great antiquity. 84 

Music was probably one of the accompaniments of worship 
in Canaan as it was in Babylon and Egypt. The kinnor, "lyre," 
and neb el, "harp," which are of Semitic origin, were early 
adopted by the Egyptians, since they are mentioned in the 
inscriptions as ken, none, and nfr respectively. 85 A rattle of 
terra-cotta which was probably used, like similar ones in Egypt, 
for the purpose of scaring away demons, was found in the first 
Semitic level at Gezer.- Musical instruments, to judge from 
analogies, imply song and the dance. 

Prostitution. As has been pointed out, the ancient cult of 
'Ashtart spread from Arabia" to Babylonia, Canaan, Asia 
Minor, and to the lands of the Mediterranean ; and with it went 
those sacred rites which were characteristic of her cult, and 
which, because of religious conservatism, fastened their grip 
upon nearly every modified form of Semitic religion in these 
countries. In Babylonia in the time of Hammurabi virgins 
were vowed by their parents, or voluntarily offered themselves, 
as votaries to the temples to become brides of the gods. 88 They 
lived in a convent, or a bridal chamber, a part of the time, and 
were expected at other times, when off duty, to lead an exem- 

80 An operation in which flint knives are used is pictured on the walls of 
a tomb of the Old Empire. See Skinner, Genesis (1910), p. 296; ep. 
Barton, pp. 98 ff. 

61 Ex. 4:24, 25. 

82 Josh. 5:3. 

83 Gen. 17:12; cp. Ex. 12:48 (P). 

M Ex. 4:24, 25; Josh. 5:3; 24:31 (LXX). 
^HDB, "Musical Instruments." 
80 Macalister, EG. ii. pp. 305, 306. 
87 Eebraica X. p. 59. 
"Earn. Code, 178. 



54 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

plary life, and not to degrade the performance of their sacred 
religious function to the level of secular gain. 89 No blame or 
shame was attached to their holy calling. If any man falsely 
accused one of stooping to secular prostitution he was branded 
on the forehead according to law. 90 The mother of Sargon of 
Agade was a temple-priestess who brought him forth in secret, 
his father being unknown. 91 A female votary of Shamash had a 
daughter. 92 These customs continued down to later times, for 
Herodotus tells of the Babylonian custom whereby every native 
woman was obliged, once in her life, to sacrifice her virginity at 
the temple of Aphrodite. 93 Moreover, men also were vowed to 
the service of the gods ; 94 and it seems that children born from 
this consecrated temple-intercourse were especially honored. 
Thus contract-tablets of the time of Nabonidus, Cyrus, and Cam- 
byses mention "the son of the priest of Ishtar of Babylon." 95 
Inferring from the similar religious customs in Canaan during 
the second Semitic period, one can not be far out of the way in 
positing their existence during the Amorite period. 

89 Ham. Code, 110. 

90 Ibid., 127. 
n Helraica, X. p. 25. 

82 C. H. Johns, Notes on the Code of Earn., p. 104. 

93 1. 199. 

M Bam. Code, 192. 

95 Barton, in Rebraica, X. p. 19. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 5,5 



CHAPTER IX 

HOLY PERSONS 

In man's attempt to study the natures of the gods and to 
assign to their multitudinous activities and manifestations cer- 
tain definite laws governing these activities, there was inevitably 
called into service, from among the common ranks of men, a 
class of specialists, who, because of their superior insight, became 
the recognized mediators between their fellowmen and the gods. 
These divine interpreters may be conveniently divided into three 
classes as follows : the hartom, or kahin, the ro'eh, and the 
hakam. 

The interpreter of the phenomena of nature, or the augur 
who inspected the liver for omens, or the magicians who 
employed various divining means to ascertain the temperament 
of divine powers, was called both liartom, "liver-diviner,", and 
kahin, "soothsayer." This interpreter of deity-manifestations 
had his analogy in the Sumerian har-tum, 1 "liver-diviner"; in 
the Babylonian baru, "liver-diviner," or "astrologer"; 2 in 
the Arabian kahin, the soothsayer, who divined by casting lot, 
shooting arrows, or by drawing sticks in the presence of some 
symbol of the deity; 3 and in the Hebrew hartom, "diviner," or 
kohen, "priest-diviner," who superintended the service at the 
sanctuary and interpreted through divining rites the will of 
the deity. The phenomena of the sky, clouds, springs, trees and 
animals were studied by the kahin for the significance that they 
might bear to men concerning the disposition of the gods. These 
observations were tabulated and made eventually to form the 
nucleus around which gathered the system of divining practices 
already discussed. The correspondence of the Babylonian cog- 
nate words baru, ' ' diviner-priest, ' ' barutn, ' ' divination, ' ' and 
oiru, "aspect of the offering," with the Hebrew berith, "cove- 
nant," shows that in early times the kahin, or hartom, played 
some divining role which afterward became the ritual in mak- 



1 PSBA., xxxv. p. 189. 

2 Jastrow, Bel. Belief, pp. 162 ff. 



"Ibid., pp. 190 ff 



56 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

ing covenants. 4 The omen which the Babylonian diviner 
obtained was called tertu, "foretoken," which has its parallel 
with the Hebrew tor ah, known early as "teaching," but later 
as "law." 5 The customary requirements for the Babylonian 
guild of baruti embraced bodily perfection, purity of priestly 
descent," and later, the wearing of a special priestly garb. T In 
early times priests are represented naked or with only a loin 
cloth. These requirements find their corresponding survivals 
among the Hebrews, 8 which fact permits us to posit similar prac- 
tices among the Amorites. 

The ro'eh. Corresponding to the kahin as an interpreter of 
natural phenomena was the ro'eh, "seer," who was an inter- 
preter of the different mental and emotional states which were 
regarded as caused by as many indwelling deities. 9 As a special- 
ist he interpreted dreams and the significance of visions. He 
often worked himself up into a state of ecstacy or frenzy, and 
uttered, under these abnormal conditions, messages of divine 
import. He is the prototype of the prophet of Gebal and the 
Hebrew hozeh, "seer," and nail', "prophet." 

The hakam. Finally, in the sphere of life's events there was 
another mediator between man and the deity in the hakam, 
"sage," who became a close observer of human conduct relative 
to the actions that resulted beneficially or harmfully; and who 
gave expression to these observations in short sayings and prov- 
erbs which eventually came to form the nucleus of the later 
Hebrew Proverbs and Wisdom literature. If certain actions 
resulted in disaster or harm to the individual, the hakam played 
the role of medicine-man and magician by dispensing drugs, 
going through incantations, uttering magical formulas, and thus 
creating magic spells to drive the afflicting demons from the 
victim. A great many magical sentences used in incantations 
have come to light through the discovery of Babylonian clay 
tablets. The body of magical practices, already discussed, cer- 
tainly must be the product of magical arts of the Amorite 
period as they bear a close analogy with Babylonian practices. 

i KAT.% p. 606. 
5 See p. 44. 

"KAT. 3 , p. 589; Haupt, in JBL., xix. p. 57. 
TKAT. 3 , p. 591 (Tcitu). 
8 1 Sam. 2:18, 28; 22:18; 2 Sam. 6:14. 

The classification here is taken from Paton 's Early Religion of Israel, 
pp. 11 S. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 57 



CHAPTER X 

FEASTS 

Since it was perfectly natural for primitive people to regard 
certain sacred places and objects as particularly surcharged with 
the energy of the gods, and also to regard certain sacred persons 
as especially endowed to interpret to men mysterious divine 
energy, it was accordingly consistent for them also to look upon 
certain seasons in the year and days in the month as most desir- 
able or necessary times for approach to the deity to make 
expiation and to secure a continuance of divine favor. Thus we 
find that the ancient Babylonians esteemed certain seasons and 
days as preeminently sacred. These times were determined by 
them, as Jastrow 1 has clearly shown, on the basis of their being 
periods of transition in the year and in the month. The calen- 
dar, or method of reckoning time, which the Amorites inherited 
from the Sumerians, the Canaanites from the Amorites, and the 
Hebrews from the Canaanites, divided time into yearly periods 
according to the solar cycle, the year into twelve lunar months 
according to the lunar cycle — adding an intercalated month 
every three years, or when necessary — , and the month into four 
weeks of seven days each. The periods of transition in the year, 
to which were attributed a sacrosanct character, were the times 
of the vernal equinox, the summer solstice, and the beginning of 
winter. The monthly periods of transition coincided with the 
occurrence of the moon's phases. The reason that special sig- 
nificance was attached to these transitional periods in the calen- 
dar grew out of the importance which ancient people attributed 
to the sun and to the moon as exercising a profound influence 
upon human existence and welfare. The monthly transitional 
periods, or the four lunar phases, were carefully calculated to 
occur at regular times. But when phases did not rotate in the 
accustomed cycles, as they sometimes did not through a lack of 
accurate scientific methods of determining them, the fact precipi- 
tated fears and portended calamity to the people. Such a varia- 

1 Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions, New York (1914), pp. 134 ff. 



58 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

tion in the habit of the moon was attributed to a hostile 
disposition of the gods who held the threads of human destinies 
in their hands. Accordingly, therefore, the disappearance of 
the moon and the time of the full moon, as well as the periods 
of the other phases, designated special days when the gods should 
be appeased and their hearts and livers set right toward men. 2 

THE ANNUAL FEASTS 

The two annual transitional periods occurred at the time of 
the dying of vegetation in the autumn and of the quickening of 
vegetation in the spring. Man fancied that some special act of 
devotion on his part to the gods at these turning-points was 
quite essential to maintaining the established order of things in 
the divine economy. 

The Fall, or New Year's Feast 

In contrast to the Babylonian custom of beginning the year 
in the spring the people of Palestine had the custom of begin- 
ning the year in the fall. Thus we find that an agricultural 
calendar was in vogue in Canaan before the Exile which made 
Ethanim the first month of the year. 3 This season of the year 
marked the beginning of winter and the end of summer. The 
annual dying of vegetation and the close of the harvest season 
would fittingly designate a transitional period when the gods 
should be rendered thank-offerings for benefits that had been 
bestowed and be petitioned for boons that they still held in store. 

The only grounds we have, however, of positing such a sacred 
season for the Amorites are furnished by a possible Babylo- 
nian analogy, namely, the feast of Tammuz, and by one of three 
possible survivals among the Hebrews. One was the feast of 
the first new moon of the Canaanite year, called the Feast of 
the Trumpets, which was characterized by a "solemn rest" 
and a "holy convocation," and was announced by a blast of 
trumpets. 4 This feast may be the one referred to as being 
observed at Beth-lehem. 5 It has its parallel in a new moon feast 

2 Jastrow, ibid. 

3 1 K. 8:2. 

4 Lev. 23:24, 25; Num. 29:1. 

E l Sam. 20:6. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 59 

in this month in Cyprus. 6 Another was the Day of Atonement, 
which came on the tenth of Ethanim, and which was character- 
ized by a "solemn rest." 7 Another was the Tammuz-wailing, 
which, in Ezekiel 's day, occurred the fifth day of the last month 
of the year. 8 It may even be possible that all three are detached 
fragments of this hypothetical Amorite feast. 

The Spring Feast 

A Spring Feast, which must have been the prototype of the 
Hebrew Passover, probably occurred, like the Passover, 9 at the 
time of the full moon in the Canaanite seventh month. Accord- 
ingly at this time devotees brought the season 's gifts to the sanc- 
tuary to present them to the goddess of fecundity, who gave the 
offspring of man and the increase, or " ' ashtaroth, of the 
flock." 10 

In respect to origin man was on a level with the animal, and 
must present to the deity his own first-born as well as that of 
the animal ; else future increase, upon which the very existence 
and continuity of the tribe depended, could not be expected to 
follow. This practice of sacrificing the first-born of man was 
mitigated later by substituting the first-born of an animal as 
is seen by the law of redemption. 11 Moreover, this feast was 
probably also the time of consecrating to the mother-goddess the 
youths who had arrived at puberty: 12 the males by being cir- 
cumcised and the females by being required to sacrifice their 
chastity. 13 

This primitive feast has left its traces in the Semitic world 
in the Babylonian wedding-feast in honor of Ningirsu and Bau 14 
in the first month ; in the annual sacrifice of sheep and a wild 
boar to Astarte in Cyprus ; 15 in the annual sacrifice in Arabia ; 1C 

6 From an inscription of about 400 B. c, CIS., 86. 

7 Lev. 23:26 ff. 
s 8:l, 14. 
"Lev. 23:5. 

10 Deut. 7:13; 28:4, 18, 51. 
"Ex. 34:19, 20. 

12 See p. 52 f. 

13 See p. 53 f. 

"Jastrow, Die Bel., i. pp. 59, 456, 463, 465; Jeremias, The Old Testa- 
ment in the Light of the Ancient East, i. p. 96. 
16 Johannes Lydus, Be Mensibus, iv. 45. 
" Smith, BS., p. 406. 



60 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

and in the Hebrew passover feast, at which a lamb was slain 
in lieu of the first-born of man. 17 The annual four-days' feast 
at Kamoth-gilead, 1 s at which a virgin appears to have been 
sacrificed to some goddess of fecundity, must, because of its 
nature, coincide with this spring-feast so universally observed 
throughout the Semitic world. Moreover, the annual sheep- 
shearing feast, which was generally observed in early times 
throughout the land, particularly at Haran, 19 Ba'al-hazor, 20 Car- 
mel, 21 and Timnah, 22 which came at this time of the year, may 
also have coincided with this feast. 

THE LUNAR FEASTS 

The Feast of the New Moon 

The first appearance of the new moon was hailed with great 
acclaim because it marked the end of the period of uncertainty 
occasioned by the disappearance of the moon. When the cres- 
cent first appeared to the ancients, it seemed that the moon 
had issued victoriously from a deadly combat with some unseen 
devouring monster. Naturally the day was an occasion of great 
rejoicing and glad festivities. In this connection it is significant 
that the Hebrew word hallel, meaning "to begin a festal cele- 
bration, ' ' is cognate with the Arabic word hilal, meaning ' ' new 
moon, ' ' which is probably ancient. The feast of the new moon, 
whose importance is attested by this joy on the first appearance 
of the crescent, probably originally came, according to calcula- 
tion, on the day when the moon was dark, and probably was 
characterized, like the sabbath, because of like natures as will 
soon be seen, by solemn ceremonies 23 calculated to appease the 
gods and to secure their amicable disposition toward men. 
Analogous to this sacred day in Babylonia 24 is the ancient 
Hebrew feast of the New Moon which in Saul's time was evi- 
dently observed by every clan and family from the king's palace 

"Ex. 34:18 ff. 

,8 Judg. 11:40. 

w Gen. 31:19. 

20 2 Sam. 13:23, 24. 

21 1 Sam. 25:7. 

22 Gen. 38:13. 

2S Cp. Lev. 23:24. 

24 Jastrow, Bel. Belief, p. 115. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 61 

to the humblest peasant home. 23 This season was celebrated by 
having a family gathering in which every member was required 
to be present, unless compelled to be absent through ceremonial 
uncleanness, and by the members partaking of a sacramental, 
or sacrificial meal. The court feast in this instance appears to 
have lasted two days — the second allowing for those members 
of the household to participate who were ceremonially unfit the 
first day. Besides being a family feast and being celebrated at 
home, the feast of the new moon appears to have been generally 
observed also in common with the sabbath feast at the sanctuary. 
Thus, it was the day of all days when people stopped their daily 
work and resorted on beast and on foot to the sanctuaries to 
participate in the glad festivities. 20 The sanctuaries were open 
to all 27 for prayer 2S and worship. 29 The day of the new moon 
was, in late times if not early, heralded by the blast of trum- 
pets. 30 The fact that the early writers 31 of the Pentateuch make 
no reference to this feast seems to indicate that it was associated 
with many repulsive rites. 

The Sabbath-Feast 
The periods of monthly transition which were thought to 
be particularly imbued with significance were called shabbat- 
tum, which took its name from the fifteenth day of the 
month when the moon was full ; and were well known as ' ' evil 
days," or "unlucky days," because on them the king was 
prohibited from wearing a festal garment, from riding in his 
chariot, from going on an expedition, and from eating fire- 
cooked food. These prohibitions were of the nature of taboos 
which rested upon secular acts, and were imposed upon the king 
lest he, as the representative of the people, should offend the gods 
and thus endanger the welfare of the community by an indis- 
criminate use of the sacred element fire and by making an 
unusual display of power and festivity. 32 

25 1 Sam. 20:5, 6, 12, 18, 24, 26, 29. 
2e 2K. 4:23; Hos. 2:13 (11); Am. 8:5. 
27 Ezek. 46:1; cp. Is. 1:12. 

28 Cp. Is. 1:15. 

29 66: 23. 

30 Num. 10:10; Ps. 81:4 (3). 

31 J, E, D. 

32 From Jastrow's Hebrew and Babylonian Traditions, pp. 34 if. 



62 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

These Babylonian customs have a profound significance for 
determining the nature and the character of the religious 
monthly calendar for the Palestinian Amorites. Accordingly 
we find that in the Hebrew sabbath is the name and relic of the 
old Babylonian "day of rest of the heart." The character of 
the sabbath with its attendant observances presents many striking 
parallels to the Babylonian shabattum. As hinted above, it was, 
in early Hebrew times, closely associated with the feast of the 
new moon, since it is often mentioned with it, and since it 
exhibits the same ceremonial features. Like the Babylonian 
shabbatum prohibitions were placed upon certain secular acts 
being performed on the sabbath, as kindling a fire, 33 eating fire- 
cooked food, 34 doing ordinary work, 35 and leaving the house. 36 
These prohibitions undoubtedly had their origin in taboos, which, 
in Babylonia, rested on secular pursuits during the ' ' evil days, ' ' 
or the four days in the month when the moon was entering 
upon its respective phases. A reference to a "good day" in 
1 Samuel 25:8 is significant as implying the existence of its 
counterpart, an "evil day." The sabbath, moreover, came 
every seventh day, and, so far as we know from brief references 
in the Old Testament, coincided with the four phases of the 
moon which occurred respectively on the first, 37 eighth, 38 fif- 
teenth, 39 and twenty-second. 40 The occasion was observed by 
people refraining from their secular work and by devotees mak- 

33 Ex. 35:3. 

M 16:23. 

35 20:8-10; 23:12; 34:21. 

36 16: 29. 

31 In the first (Ethanim = seventh, or Tishri) month : a " solemn rest, ' ' 
a "holy convocation," and "no servile work," Lev. 23:24, 25; Num. 
29:1. 

38 In the ninth ( = third or Sivan) month: the "seventh sabbath" 
after the Passover. Lev. 23:15, 16. 

39 In the first (Ethanim) month: a "holy convocation," "no servile 
work," Lev. 23:36; Num. 29:12; a "solemn rest," Lev. 23:39. In 
the seventh (Abib = first or Nisan) month: a "holy convocation," "no 
servile work," Lev. 23:7; Num. 28:17; a "sabbath," Lev. 23:11, 15. 

"In the first (Ethanim = seventh, or Tishri) month: a "holy convo- 
cation," a "solemn assembly," "no servile work," a "solemn rest," 
Lev. 23:36, 39; Num. 29:35. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 63 

ing journeys to shrines 41 in order to pray 42 and to offer burnt- 
offerings. 43 

The utilitarian element of rest in the Hebrew sabbath was a 
later conception, which had nothing to do with the original sig- 
nificance of the day. When and how this new departure came 
about we have no means of determining. At any rate we may 
venture the assertion that it represents an early reaction of 
ethical religion against the immoral practices which were prob- 
ably connected with the old feast. 44 The fact that, with the 
ascendancy of monotheism, the worship of the new moon waned 
until the Hebrew sabbath, originally the offspring of the lunar 
cult, entirely supplanted the feast of the new moon, points to 
the same conclusion. 

Accordingly, therefore, we may conclude from Babylonian and 
Hebrew analogies that the Amorites of Palestine had a shabbat- 
tum, or sabbath, which was observed in substantially the same 
manner in which we find it observed by the early Hebrews. 

"2 K. 4:23; Hos. 2:13 (11). 

^Cp. Is. 1:15; 66:23. 

"1 Chr. 23:31; 2 Chr. 2:3 (4); 8:13; 31:3. 

"Is. 1:13-15. 



64 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



CHAPTER XI 

PANTHEON : NATURE-GODS 

No philosophy has ever succeeded in grouping into two dis- 
tinct and fixed categories that large body of phenomena often 
styled natural and supernatural ; for, with every new discovery 
of the laws operating behind the manifestations of nature, there 
has had to be a revision of the old grouping in the direction of 
enlarging the field of the natural. In primitive times the natural 
and the supernatural were one and the same, and enlisted the 
awe of a people who attributed these mysterious forces of nature 
to divine causes. The existence of these unseen but potent 
agencies could not be doubted or lightly disregarded ; for man 's 
very existence and welfare hung suspended on a slender cord 
which the gods, if offended, might sever at any time. Along the 
whole way of his life man was confronted at every turn with 
these supernatural powers which demanded recognition and 
homage. 

The designation for these gods were as numerous and varied 
as were their modes of manifestation to man and their rela- 
tionship with him. 

'El, which is perhaps derived from an old root meaning 
"power," 1 was the general Semitic title for deity, and was, 
therefore, applicable to the ba'als, or gods of nature, and to 
all departmental deities. The frequent occurrence of the ele- 
ment 'el in West Semitic proper names of the First Dynasty 
of Babylon, 2 as well as in proper names in Palestine from 1500 
b. c. onward, justifies us in assigning the use of this title to this 
early period. Old Palestinian place-names mentioned in the lists 

1 'ill, "be strong"; cp. Heb. 'el, "god." 

2 Hi in IU-sami' a, Ili-mabi, Ili-mahi, Ranke, p. 101 ; ilu in Ishme-ilu, p. 
110; Yadah-ilu, p. 113, &c; Ilii-malik, p. 104; Abi-ilu, p. 59; Yabnik-ilu, 
Yadah-ilu, Yadih-ilu, Yahbar-ilu, Yahwi-ilu, "Yahwi is god," Yahzar- 
ilu, Yakub-ilu "Yakub is god," p. 113; Samsu-iluna "the sun is our 
god," p. 140. Many in Cassite period, Clay, Personal Names, pp. 153 ff. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 65 

of Thutmose III 3 and in the records of Barneses III 4 and others ; 
and personal names in the Amarna correspondence 5 and Egyp- 
tian records reveal the divine element 'el. Furthermore, Old 
Testament place-names 7 containing the element were undoubt- 
edly Canaanite, and, as survivals, confirm the earlier use. Per- 
sonal 'el-names do not furnish us sure evidence at this point 
since the tendency developed among the Hebrews to use 'el in 
a monarchical and monotheistic sense. However, as the native 
religion influenced to a considerable extent the incoming 
Hebrews, one may not be far out of the way in supposing that 
some personal names, 8 at least, may suggest the general idea of 
deity as applicable to any of the many local gods of the land. 

3 Ba-r-'(e)-ra — 3ar-'el "hill of god," Thutmose Ill's list, No. 81, 
MVG. 1907, p. 24; Y (a) -sha-p- ' (e) -ra = Yoseph-el or Yesheb-el "god 
dwells," Thutmose Ill's list, No. 78, MVG. 1907, p. 16; Y(a)-'-q(e)-b-'- 
a-ra — Yakob-el, "god supplants," Thutmose Ill's list, No. 102, MVG. 
1907, p. 27; Ma-sha-'-(e)ra = Mishal which is probably for Mish-el, Thut- 
mose Ill's list, No. 39, MVG. 1907, p. 16; B '-wy- '-r ' — Levi-el, Breasted, 
ABE., iv. § 131. 

'TheTc-el, T'-Tc-'-r', place-name, iv. § 565; D'-d-p-l-t-rw = ZDPT-'L, 
place-name, iv. § 712; Sa-ba-'a-ru = Sab '-el, place-name, Mtiller, p. 134; 
D-ga-ira- 'a-ira = Degel-el, ' ' ensign of god, ' ' Miiller, p. 174. 

*■ lli-millcu, "My god is king," Knudtzon 151:45; 286:36; MilJc-ili, 
No. 267:4, Sea.; Yabni-ilu, "he who builds is god," 328:4; Batti-ilu, 170:3, 
&c; Shabi-ilu, 62:26; Ili-ra(beh) 139:2, &c; Millc-ilim, 289:11, Sea.; MilTc- 
ilu, 249:6, &c. 

°B'-dy-r' = Bed-el, Breasted, ABE., iv. § 565; M -fc '-m-rw = Makam-el, 
ibid., $ 566; W-r'-lc'-ty-r' = Berket-el, § 574; '(E)-ry-m = 'El-ram, § 
455; Bfc-M)r-m-r' = Bekur-el, § 555; B '-wy- '-r ' = Levi-el, § 131. 

7 'El-'ale('), Num. 32:3, 37; Is. 15:4, &c; 'El-Tcosh, Nah. 1:1; 
'El-telce('), Josh. 19:44; 21:23; 'El-teUn, Josh. 15:59; 'El-tolad, 
Josh. 15:30; 19:4; 'Ari-'el, Is. 29:1, 2, 7; Beth-'arb-'el, Hos. 10:14; 
Kabse-'el, Josh. 15:21; 2 Sam. 23:20; Migdal-'el, "tower of god," 
Josh. 19:38; Ne'i-'el, Josh. 19:27; Pent- 'el, Gen. 32:30; Yabne-'el, 
"he who builds is god," Josh. 15:11; Yokthe-'el, Josh. 15:38; Yirpe-'el, 
Josh. 18:27; Yiphthah-'el, "he who opens is god," Josh. 19:14, 27; 
Yizre'e-(')l, "he who sows is god," Josh. 19:18. 

"AW el, 1 Sam. 9:1; 14:51; 'Adri-'el, 1 Sam. 18:19; 'Al-modad, 
Gen. 10:26; 'Ammi-'el, 2 Sam. 9:4, &c; 'Asah-'el, 2 Sam. 2:18; 'Othm-'el, 
Josh. 15:17, &c; 'Ell-'ab, Num. 16:1; Deut. 11:6; 'Eli-' am, 2 Sam. 
11:3; 'Eli-melelc, Ruth 1:2, 3; 'Eli-'eser, Gen. 15:2; 'Eli-plielet, 2 Sam. 
5:16, &c; 'El-Hanan, 2 Sam. 21:19, &c; 'Elt-shua' , 2 Sam. 5:15; 
'El-yada', 2 Sam. 5:16, &c; 'El-yahba', 2 Sam. 23:32, &c; Hi- 'el, 1 K. 
16:34; Yo-'el, 1 Sam. 8:2; Palti-'el, 2 Sam. 3:15; Shemu-'el, 1 Sam. 
1:20, &c; Yeliezke-'el, 1 Chr. 24:16, &c. 

5 



66 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

The generic sense of the title is obvious in cases where it is used 
along with a specifying noun or adjective, as "I am the 'el, 
the God of thy father." 9 Moreover, at the different Canaanite 
sanctuaries the 'els were variously designated as 'El-beth-'el of 
Beth-el, 10 'El-'eloUm of Shechem, 11 'El-'elyon of Salem, 12 'El- 
shadday 13 and 'El-'olam 1 * of Beer-sheba. Many old tribal 
names which contain 'el as a final element were undoubtedly 
those of gods whom each of the respective tribes worshipped. 
The first element of each name, then, specifies which 'el is 
intended, for instance, Methusha-'el, Mehuya-'el, 15 Yisra-'el, 16 
Yerahme-'el, 11 Yishma' -'el. 18 

This general title for deity appears to have given a designa- 
tion for the sacred oak, or terebinth, 'elah, in which an 'el was 
invariably thought to dwell. 19 

Finally it was probably through the amalgamation of many 
local 'els that the conception of the one god 'Elohlm with its 
plural form gradually came into use. 

The gods of the early Semites had to do with three different 
spheres of activity according to which we shall fittingly group 
them; namely, gods who presided over the phenomena of 
nature, mental states, and events of life. 20 

1. Gods of Nature were conceived of as those powers which 
inhabited all the various physical objects which in any way 
exhibited mysterious phenomena. These forms were usually 
nameless and were designated by the title ba'al, "lord," or 
ba'alat, "mistress," which had reference, as the meaning 
shows, to the particular things in which one or the other dwelt. 
Thus there were ba'als of the sky, such as of the "north," the 
"sun," the "moon," the "light," and of the "darkness"; 

"Gen. 46:3. 

10 35: 7. 

"33:20. 

12 14:18-20, 22. 

13 17:1. 

"21:33. 

15 4: 18. 

"32:28, &c. 

17 1 Chr. 2:9, &c. 

18 Gen. 16:11, &e. 

19 See p. 21. 

20 For this classification the writer is indebted to Professor Lewis B. 
Paton. See The Early Seligion of Israel, pp. 3 fl. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 67 

ha'als of atmospheric phenomena, such as of the "storm," the 
"heat," the "cold," and of the "dew"; and ha'als of a 
large number of physical objects, such as of mountains which 
often resounded with the crash of thunder and trembled with 
the earthquake, of springs which bubbled with life-giving water, 
of rivers which flowed in majesty, of trees which put forth leaves 
annually that murmured in the breezes, of caves which were 
pregnant with mystery, of animals which exhibited peculiar 
signs of life, and of fields and of hillsides which were fertile with 
the powers of productivity. 

The phenomena which these physical objects exhibited thus 
became to worshippers the vehicles of divine communication. 
They were consulted by inquirers seeking some definite expres- 
sion of the divine will; but if that expression were not forth- 
coming on the occasion desired, recourse was had to that large 
body of sacred rites and religious ceremonies which have accu- 
mulated with the development of every religion. One feels 
safe in assuming, because of the coincidence of Amorite-Baby- 
lonian customs and survivals appearing in the next period, that 
it was at some dwelling-place of the ba'al, appropriate for the 
various ends in view, and in the presence of some deity, that 
covenants were established between contracting parties, diviners 
divined, priests offered sacrifice, and worshippers often went 
to sexual excess — all for the sake of securing divine approval 
of the ends about which these devotees were concerned. 

The sacred objects of the ba' al-shrines were thought to be 
surcharged with a subtle influence which might mean death to 
any one coming in contact with them, unless under certain con- 
ditions. Accordingly such objects were confined within the holy 
space of the shrine so as not to endanger the lives of men. This 
idea of separateness or holiness is expressed in the ancient Sem- 
itic root k-d-sh, meaning "sacred," and in the Hebrew kadosh, 
"holy," which originally meant "set apart," or "taboo." 
Thus only under the most favorable conditions, perhaps through 
some rite of lustration, was it safe for one to draw near and 
touch the sacred object. The rites of lustration, as we have 
seen, consisted of fasting, discarding the garments and shoes, 
and possibly donning a sacred garb, such as a loin cloth, lest the 
worshipper should carry anything common or offensive into the 
presence of the deity. Then, as one left the shrine, a similar 



68 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

process had to be gone through with in order to get rid of the 
"holiness," or taboo, that was on him. So long as criminals 
were within the sacred precincts of the shrine they were safe 
from the hand of the avenger. 21 

Ba'al, as a general appellation for a god of nature, must have 
had its early inception in Palestine as far back as the first Sem- 
itic period in order to account for the prevalence of proper 
names compounded with the element ba'al belonging to the early 
part of the next period. 22 Bel, the name of a god of Nippur, 
existing as an element in many personal names of the Amorite 
period in Babylonia, 23 had the sense of "lord" as did ba'al 
in Canaan; yet there could hardly have been any historical 
connection between them. 

The ba'als, in their relations with holy springs, trees, moun- 
tains, and sky, will be more fully discussed in the next period. 24 
Of the ba'als whose names were particularly known at this 
time we have the following : 

Addu, or Adad, or Hadad, is one of the oldest known gods of 
Canaan, his influence having extended at an early date to 
Babylon, 25 where he found acceptance as a weather-god under 
the special West Semitic ideographic title MAR-TU. This is 
to be read Amurru, indicating the Westland as his origin. 
MAE-TV, at the same time, meant abubu, the "flood." 26 He 
bore another important title, KUB-GAL, i. e., "great moun- 
tain. ' ' This appellation possibly refers to his ancient proprietor- 
ship over Mount Lebanon where the Babylonians may first have 
come in contact with him. Pointing to this is the fact that the 
Babylonian rulers often sent to Lebanon, in Martu, for the much- 
prized cedar for building purposes. As proprietor of Lebanon, 
Adad would have to be reckoned with to allow the much-coveted 
product to be taken. Both the above ideographic titles appear 
in Aramaic indorsements on Babylonian documents of the Per- 

21 Num. 35:6, 11, 15; 1 K. 1:51. 
"Chap. XXV. 

23 See list by Eanke, pp. 63 ff. A common element in Neo-Babylonian 
period. Clay, Personal Names, pp. 163 ff. 

24 Chap. XXV. 

''Adad, the Westland name, KAT.', pp. 443, 444. 
™IMd., pp. 447, 448. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 69 

sian period and are rendered by 'WR, i. e., Amurru. 27 Mer 
and Bur are also titles applied to this deity. 28 His name, how- 
ever, occurs phonetically written A-da-ad and Ad-du in the lists 
of the gods. In the curse pronounced upon the transgressor 
at the close of the Hammurabi code of laws, Adad is invoked 
in terms which reveal his true character: "May Adad, lord of 
abundance, regent of heaven and earth, my helper, deprive him 
of the rain from heaven and the water-floods from the springs ; 
may he bring his land to destruction through want and hun- 
ger; may he break loose furiously over his city and turn his 
land into the heap left by a storm." 29 

Probably the most ancient conception of Addu was that of 
soil-fertility and water-supply, which aspect of his nature sur- 
vives in the name of a spring, 30 and in Hadad, the Aramsan 
god of water-supply and soil-fertility, who, in union with El, 
Reshef , Eekub-el, and Shamash, ' ' gave fruitful crops, wheat, gar- 
lic, and vineyards." 31 Embracing as he did these characteris- 
tics of a nature-god, Addu's nature coincided in many respects 
with that of 'Ashtart and of the Canaanite ba'als whose cults 
flourished later. 

That manifestation of nature, however, which most clearly 
revealed the power and authority of Addu was the storm with 
its accompaniments of thunder and lightning. The transition 
from the former and more primitive conception of a god of the 
soil to a god of the storm is probably to be accounted for in 
one or both of two ways. As god of the soil and la' al of a terri- 
tory, such as a mountain or hill whose tops were shrouded in 
time of storm with clouds and resounded with the thunder-roll, 
he would, in the mind of the people, come to be regarded as 
having important connection with the storm. Or, since Addu 
presided over field-fertility or water-supply, it may be that 
he gradually came to be associated with the storm-cloud which 

27 Clay, Bab. Expl. Univ. Fenn., viii; x, 7; xiv; Studies in Memory of 
W. B. Harper, i. pp. 301, 304, 311 ; Clay, Amurru, pp. 95 £f . 

28 Jastrow, Die Religion, i. pp. 146 ff. 

29 Transl. by Cook, p. 90. 

30 ' En-Rimmon, Neh. 11:29 = 'Ayin, Josh. 15:32 = ' Ayin-Rimmon, 1 Chr. 
4:32. 

31 Zenjirli Hadad Insc, 11. 2 ff.; Cooke, pp. 159 £f.; cp. Barton, p. 229. 



70 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

gave the rain to increase field-fertility and water-supply. 32 A 
Hittite stele, found at Babylon, represents a Hittite deity with 
horns, probably Teshub, holding the same emblematic hammer 
in his right hand and bundle of thunderbolts in his left as the 
artist ascribed to Ramman, the Babylonian Addu. 33 In the 
Amarna letters Pharaoh is likened unto Addu who reigns with 
great power "in the sky" 34 and "who utters his voice in the 
sky ... so that he shakes the whole land with his voice." 35 
Similarly in Babylonia, though more often as the native Ram- 
man, "the thunderer," 36 Addu, who was probably introduced 
by the early Amorite settlers, was the weather-god, as is shown 
by the ideogram IM, meaning "wind"; 37 and was a storm- 
and thunder-god, as is shown by the curse at the conclusion of 
the Hammurabi code where Addu brings rain or withholds it, 
sends floods or drouths, and gives prosperity or thorns. 38 Adad 
was worshipped with Shamash probably because the lightning 
in mythology had a close connection with the powers of the 
sun. 39 An early Assyrian royal name combines the two gods. 40 
This aspect of Addu as storm-god was certainly incorporated 
into the conception of Yahweh ; for the God of the Hebrews is, 
in the earliest accounts, represented as in very close connec- 
tion with the cloud, the thunder, and the lightning. 41 On two 
occasions, Yahweh, in answer to Samuel's prayer, "thundered 
with a great voice . . . upon the Philistines and discomfited 
them." 42 

Another distinct aspect of Addu, growing undoubtedly out 
of the destructive powers of the thunderbolt, was that of war- 
god. While the name Addu, or Adad, does not appear on the 
Egyptian monuments, yet one may conclude from the char- 
acteristics of the Ba'al there mentioned and of the Hyksos 

32 Barton, p. 229. 
1,3 K AT. 3 , p. 449. 
"Knudtzon, 149:4 ff. 
^Ibid., 147:5 ff. 

36 See Chap. XV. 

37 Barton, p. 225. 

38 Jastrow, Die Bel., i. p. 150. 
"Ibid., p. 222. 

40 Shamashi-Adad, Eponym for year 823 B. c. 

"Ex. 19:16 ff., &c. 

"1 Sam. 7:10; 12:17,18; cp. Is. 29:6; Ezek. 13:13. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 71 

Sutekh, that the three were the same deity of storm and of war. 
Possibly Adad is intended in the phrase "lord of gods" on a 
tablet found at Taanach. 43 The Egyptian chroniclers in describ- 
ing the mighty valor of the Pharaohs of the eighteenth and nine- 
teenth dynasties in battle with Asiatics do so by means of com- 
parisons with Ba'al, the war-god, who corresponds well with the 
nature of Addu. Ba'al is "great in might, 44 conscious of his 
might, 45 valiant in strength," 46 "irresistible, mighty-hearted," 47 
has "(straight) form," 48 and animated limbs, 49 is "far-reach- 
ing in courage," 50 "consumes with flame the enemy," 51 is 
"wroth in heaven," 52 "in the hour (of manifestation)," 53 
' ' roars in heaven, " 5i " traverses the mountains, ' ' 55 and spreads 
terror "in the countries" 56 where Bedouin fear and prostrate 
themselves in fearful worship. 57 

This Ba'al was the Canaanite title for the Hyksos god Sutekh 
who was identified with the Egyptian god Set who wandered 
out of Egypt and returned with the Hyksos. 53 By the Hyksos 
Sutekh was made the chief deity of their capital city on the 
eastern delta. 59 Afterwards he became the patron deity of the 
royal city of Bamses II, his name appearing not infrequently 
on votive tablets of that time 60 and occurring once in parallel- 
ism with Ba'al in a simile expressing "great strength." 61 

The name Addu, or Adad, appears as an element in Canaanite 

43 Thus Cook, in Expositor, vol. x (1910), p. 124. 

"Breasted, ARE., iv. § 75. 

45 Ibid., iv. § 72. 

40 $§ 46, 72. 

47 iii. § 86. 

48 iv. § 62. 

49 iii. § 338. 

50 iv. § 75. 

51 iv. § 49. 

52 iv. § 96; cp. iv. § 80. 
M iii. §§ 312, 326; iv. § 106. 
64 iv. $ 104. 

»iii. $ 122. 
M iii. $§ 122, 144. 

67 iv. § 246. 

68 Breasted, HE., pp. 222, 460; Erman, A., A Handbook of Egyptian 
Religion, pp. 19, 74; Miiller, p. 309. 

K Erman, ibid., p. 74. 
"> Breasted, HE., p. 460. 
"Breasted, ABE., iii. § 338. 



72 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

and Syrian personal names mentioned in the Amarna letters, 62 
in one name found on a tablet at Taanach, 63 and in Assyrian, 64 
Kassite, 65 Aramaean, 66 Arabian, 67 and Old Testament personal 
names; 68 while that of Hadad appears in an ancient Semitic 
personal name, 69 in Canaanite, 70 Old Testament, 71 Aramaic, 72 and 
Hebrew 73 personal names and in the compound divine name 
Hadad-Bimmon. 7i 

Shemesh, or Shamash. The deification of the sun must have 
had its origin in primitive Semitic conditions, for Shamash 
presided over those phenomena of nature which brought him 
into close connection with Adad, 75 the storm-god, and with 'Ash- 
tart, the goddess of fecundity. The Semitic invaders of Baby- 
lonia, some of whose names bore the name of this god, 76 gave 
the Semitic name and coloring to the great Shamash-cult of 
Larsa and Sippar. 77 His worship under Hammurabi was pop- 
ular; for in the great Code he is called "the great judge of 
heaven and earth who maintains upright all living beings, the 
lord of vital energy." He helps the good and punishes the 
evil through his righteous law, solves doubts and gives oracles 

62 Adda-dani, Knudtzon 292:3, &c; Adda-Ya, Ada-Ta, 254:37; 287:47, 
49; 289:32; Abd-Addi, 123:51; Eidin-Addi, 12:24; Iddin-Addu, 123:37 
Bib-Addi, 68-71, &c; Shama-Adda, 49:2; 225:3; Shum-Adda, 8:3, &c. 
Tapa-Addu, Yappah-Addu, Yapah-Addu, 83:26; 85:29, 42; 97:2; 98:2 
103:19; 105:31, &c; Yaptih-Addu, 288:45; Addu-mi, 170:17. 

^Guli-Addi, SeUin, p. 113. 

64 Addu-nirari, Knudtzon 51:2; ShamsM-Adad, eponym for 823 b. c; 
Adad-nirari, eponym for 810 b. c. ; Adad-musJiammir, eponym for 789 
B. c; Adad-uballit, eponym for 786 B. c, &c; 'Adram-raelek, 2 K. 19:37; 
god of Sepharvaim, 2 K. 17:31, possibly for 'Adad-melelc. 

65 Clay, Personal Names, pp. 47 ff.; 150. 

66 Giri-dadi, Dadi-ilu, KAT.°, p. 444. 

67 Bir-Dadda, KAT.', p. 443. 

68 'Adad, 1 K. 11:17 (see Hebrew) = Hadad, 11:14, &c. 

69 Bish-Hadad (2470-2440 b. c), a prince captured by Naram-sin, Meyer, 
$ 401. 

70 Bib-Hadda, Knudtzon 68:1, &c; Shumu-Hadi, 97:1; Yapti-Hada, 
335:9; Hadad-' ezer, 2 Sam. 8:3, &c; Ben Hadad, 1 K. 15:18, &e. 

71 Hadad, Gen. 36:35, &c, probably for Henadad, Ezr. 3:9. 
n HDD-'ZB, Ldzb., HNE., p. 258; 'BD-HDD, Ldzb., HNE., p. 333. 
73 Abd-Hadad, a potter's name, Macalister, BSL., p. 159. 

T4 Zech. 12:11, probably for Hadad-Bimmonah; cp. ha-lia-Semonah, 
Am. 4:3. 

75 Knudtzon 154:6; cp. ShamasM-Adad, eponym for 823 b. c. 

"* Samsu(i)-d(t)itana, Samsu-iluna, "sun is our god," Eanke, p. 140. 

■"KAT. 3 , p. 367. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 73 

to the diviners. 78 His cult spread also to Palestine where in the 
Amarna period it was recognized as native and well-established. 
Shamash appears with Ishtar as crowning marriage with pleas- 
ure and joy, 79 and is mentioned with the ia'alat of Gubla, 80 
and is likened to Adad dwelling in the sky 81 and wielding the 
mighty thunderbolt. 82 Shamash had the power to quicken by his 
benevolent rays and to give "rest" (prosperity) to the whole 
land. 83 The two old Palestinian place-names, Shemesh-Edom S4 
and Shamshan* 5 preserve the name of this god. 

Survivals of sun-worship appear in the Old Testament. The 
sun, standing still 80 and causing the shadow on the dial to retro- 
grade, 87 reflects the divine prerogative of executing judgment 
and giving oracles. The story of Samson, 88 some think, points 
back to an ancient sun-myth. The keeping of horses and chariots 
sacred to the sun at the temple-gate, 89 the fiery chariot in Eli- 
jah's translation, 90 the worship of the rising sun in the time of 
Manasseh 91 and of Ezekiel 92 and many poetic personifications 93 
may, in the light of the foregoing, be cited as evidence of the 
surviving influence of the solar cult of the early years. More- 
over, Hebrew, 94 Phoenician, 95 Neo-Punic, 96 Aramaic, 97 Naba- 

78 Ibid., p. 368. 
79 Knudtzon, 21:15. 
80 Knudtzon, 116:65. 
sl Ibid., 49:14. 
82 147:5 ff. 

83 105:11; 147:52; 149:21. 

"'Sh'-my-sh'-y-t'-my in North Galilee, No. 51, Breasted, ABE., ii. § 783n. 
8S Shamshan, Miiller, p. 166, perhaps = Beth-Shemesh, Josh. 15:10. Cp. 
Shimshon who lived in the same territory, Judg. 13:24, &c. 
88 Josh. 10:12, 13. 
87 2 K. 20:11; Is. 38:8. 

88 Judg. 13-16; Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the Ancient 
East, ii. p. 172. 

89 2 K. 23:11. 
"2K. 2:11, 12. 

81 2 K. 23:5; Deut. 17:3. 

92 8:16. 

M Ps. 84:12 (11); 121:6; Is. 49:10. 

"'Shimshon, Judg. 13:24; Shamsheray, 1 Chr. 8:26; Shimshay, Ezr. 
4:8. 

95 'DN-ShMSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 209; ' BD-ShMSh, p. 335; 'DN-ShMSh, 
Ldzb., Eph., i. p. 352. 

" MKM-ShMSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 316. 

87 KLZYB-ShMSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 296; ShMSh-'DBY, p. 379; ShMsh- 
NWBY, Ldzb., Eph., vol. ii. p. 224. 



74 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

taean, 98 and Palmyrene" personal names and Old Testament 
nomenclature inherited from the former period, namely, 'Ir- 
Shemesh, 100 "city of Shemesh, " ' En-Shemesh, 101 "spring of 
Shemesh," Beth-Shemesh, 102 "house of Shemesh," Timnath- 
Heres, 103 "territory of (the) sun," Har-Heres, 104 "mount of 
(the) sun," carry significant evidence of the lingering influence 
of the Shamash-cult. 

Sin. The Semites brought the worship of the moon-god Sin 
into Babylonia at an early date ; for, according to Ranke in his 
study of personal names, the use of this name as an affix and 
the frequency with which it occurs as an element in proper 
names, especially from the Semitic Sippar, point to a Semitic 
origin of this cult. 105 Ur was the first center, and thence the 
cult spread and became prominent. 106 

Being thus identified with the great luminary of the night, 
Sin easily came to be regarded, at least in Babylonia, as the 
father of the gods. He ruled over the days, the months, and the 
years, thus bearing a vital relation to the welfare of man who 
depended on him for the continuity of the calendar and mun- 
dane prosperity. The monthly disappearance of the moon 
always injected uncertainty into men 's minds, which never could 
rest at ease until the new moon crescent made its appearance 
in the western sky. Accordingly the first appearance of the 
moon-crescent was hailed with great jubilation, for it meant 
that the supposed monster dragon, with whom Sin had to 
struggle every month, was now overcome. 107 

Any infraction of a state-made, and therefore a divinely- 

98 ShM-ShMSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 379. 

"> ShMSh-GBM, Ldzb., HNE., p. 379; BB-ShMSh, p. 246; TYM-ShMSh, 
Ldzb., Eph., ii. p. 425. 

100 Josh. 19:41. 

101 Josh. 15:7; 18:17. 

102 Josh. 15:10. 

103 Seres = ' ' sun, " Judg. 2 : 9. 

104 Judg. 1:35. 

105 Eanke, p. 35; Hommel thinks it came from the Westland, Aufs und 
Abh, p. 158. 

™KAT. 3 , p. 361. 

107 Ibid., p. 362; Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the 
Ancient East, i. p. 110. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 75 

sanctioned, law, as for instance that connected with the owner- 
ship of land, incurred the punitive wrath of Sin who inflicted 
leprosy upon the transgressor, or clothed his body with an erup- 
tion which ostracised him from the haunts of men. 108 In one 
instance this god is referred to as the causer of chills and 
fever. 109 

The cult spread westward to Haran, where, in the eighth 
century b. c, a great sanctuary existed with Sin at the center 
of a pantheon in which Sharratu, or Ningal, was wife ; Malkatu, 
or Ishtar, was daughter ; and Nusku was son. 110 The inception 
of this cult at Haran must have been at some time previous to 
1400 b. c, when the great Aramaan migration began, for the 
names of the three tribes of Haran, two of which migrated to 
Canaan at this time, bore divine names which were peculiar to 
this lunar pantheon. Thus, Milkah 111 received its name from 
"Malkatu," the title of Ishtar; Sarah, 112 from "Sharratu," 
the title of Ningal ; and Laban 1 ™ from Leianah, a Semitic name 
for moon. 

The moon-cult survived in Cyprus through 'Ashtart who was 
identified with the moon, for at the sanctuary of Kition pro- 
visions were donated "to the gods of the new moon." 114 

In Palestine the name Sin is preserved in the name of a land 
east of the Euphrates, 115 in Sinay, the name of a mountain, 116 
in Sin, the name both of a wilderness 117 and of a city, 118 and in 
Old Testament personal names. 119 

Other names for the moon, similarly preserved, show linger- 
ing traces of the old reverence for Sin : thus Yareah is an ele- 

108 Jastrow, Die Eel, i. pp. 151 ft. 

109 EAT. 3 , p. 366. 

110 KAX. 3 , p. 363. 

111 Gen. 11:29, &c. 

112 Gen. 17:15, &c. 

113 Gen. 24:29, &c. 

114 CIS., i. 86; Cooke, p. 66; cp. Barton, in Eebraica, x. p. 46. 

w Shai-na-r-lca-y, "the back -land Sin"; Shai-'no-ra-g-n-na, "the front- 
land Sin," Miiller, p. 289. 

110 Ex. 16:1, &c. 

117 Ex. 16:1, &c. 

1B Ezek. 30:15, 16. 

119 Shen-'assar, "Sin protects," 1 Chr. 3:18; Shin- 'ah, "Sin is father," 
Gen. 14:2. 



76 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

ment in early Babylonian 120 as well as in Old Testament, 121 
Phoenician, 122 and Palmyrene 123 personal names, and also sur- 
vives in the names of two Canaanite cities: viz., Blt-arha 124, 
and Yeriho. 125 YBH-BWL is the name of a deity of Palmyra. 126 
Hodesh, 127 "new moon," and Lebanah, 128 (the) "white," 
another name for moon, appear in Old Testament nomenclature 
and in Old Testament, 120 Phoenician, 130 Punic, 131 and Hebrew, 132 
personal names. Hilal, an old Semitic word for "moon," is 
preserved not only in a Hebrew proper name 133 but eventually 
came, probably because of the new moon-ritual at the sanctuary, 
to mean "praise." 134 

It is difficult to determine just how little or much the moon- 
cult in Canaan was directly influenced by the Babylonian type. 
At any rate we observe that in Canaan, as in Babylon, the cir- 
cuits of the moon divided the year into months ; and its phases, 
the months into weeks; making, therefore, the first day of 
each year, month, and week occasions for great jubilation. In 
the early Hebrew period each new year's day and new moon's 
day was celebrated by blasts of trumpets, by royal families and 
clans keeping holyday by festival, by worshippers making pil- 

la M6i-a(or A)rah, "Ab is (the) moon," Eanke, p. 58; Abdi-(A)rah, 
"servant of (the) moon," p. 58; Yama(?)-Erah, "Yah is moon," p. 
113; Sam-Arah, Zimri-Erah, "protection is (the) moon," p. 180; Sumu- 
rah, "Sumu is (the) moon," p. 166. 

121 'Ah-raJi, 1 Chr. 8:1; Yarah, Gen. 10:26; Yaroah, 1 Chr. 5:14. 

™<BD-YBH, "servant of (the) moon," Ldzb., HNE., p. 334. 

123 YBH-BWL', YBH-Y, Ldzb., HNE., p. 290; YBH-BWN '/Ldzb., EPH. 
ii. p. 417. 

124 Bit-arha, probably for Bit Yerah, "house of (the) new moon," 
Knudtzon, 83:29. 

125 Josh. 2:1 — Yereho, Deut. 34:1. 

128 Ldzb. HNE., p. 290. 

^Hadashah, Josh. 15:37; Hodsht, 2 Sam. 24:6. 

12S Laban, Deut. 1:1; Libnah, Josh. 10:29, &c; Lebanon (a mountain), 
Deut. 3:25; Lebonah, Judg. 21:19. 

™Laban, Gen. 24:29, &c; Lebanah, Ezr. 2:45; Libnl, Ex. 6:17, &c; 
Hodesh, 1 Chr. 8:9. 
"~™>BN-HDSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 238; M-HDSh, ibid., p. 307. 

™BN-HDSh, Ldzb., HNE., p. 238. 

132 MNHM-{L)BNH, a potter's name in Judah, Bliss and Macal., p. 120. 

133 Hillel, Judg. 12:13, 15; cp. Baby. Elali, Ranke, p. 199. 

134 hilUl, Judg. 9:27; Lev. 19 : 24. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 77 

grimages to the sanctuaries for worship, and by fasting. 135 The 
earliest literature of the Old Testament makes no mention of 
a lunar feast, probably because the Sabbath, with its humani- 
tarian conception, came to supplant these festal occasions which 
undoubtedly were attended with debasing practices. 

While Sin in Babylonia was active in inflicting leprosy or 
scab upon evil-doers, the moon in Canaan, once identified with 
Sharrabu, the dreaded fever-demon of the "Westland, 136 was 
thought to smite at night his victims with the fever. 137 

To the stars, as in Babylonia, 138 may have been attributed 
divine personalities; but the only suggestion that such was the 
case is the Old Testament place-name, Kesil. 130 The personifica- 
tion of the stars as "fighting against Sisera," 140 is not conclusive ; 
while the star-worship which was prevalent in Manasseh's 
reign 141 and which Deuteronomy condemned 142 evidently was a 
late introduction from Assyria. 

Dagon. All scholars generally agree with the probability 
that the cult of Dagon was not native to Babylonian soil, but 
was brought in by early Semitic settlers. 143 The name of the 
deity appears in the names of two kings of Isin, 144 of two early 
Assyrians, 145 besides in other personal names mentioned on the 
Obelisk of Manishtusu, 148 in documents of the first dynasty of 
Babylon, 147 and in other Babylonian names. 148 

135 See pp. 58, 60 f . 
™sharab, "heat," Is. 49:10. 

137 Is. 49:10; Ps. 121:6. 

138 EAT. 3 , p. 366. 

139 "Orion," Josh. 15:30. 
"°Judg. 5:20. 

"'2 K. 21:3; 23:4-6; cp. v. 12. 

" 2 Deut. 4:19; 17:3. 

113 Dagon was god of the Amorites whose worship was brought by them 
to Babylon and to Palestine. Bezold, in ZA., xxi. (1908) pp. 253 ff.; 
Meyer, §§ 463 ff.; Jastrow, Die Bel., i. p. 98, cp. pp. 219 ff.; Clay, Amurru, 
p. 147; Paton, in HEBE., iv. p. 388; Barton, p. 231; KAT. S , p. 358. 

144 I din-Dag an, Ishme-Dagan, Meyer, § 463. 

145 Ishme-Dagan, Dagan-bel-nasir, KB., i. p. 204; Bayti-Duquna, BU- 
Daganna, KB., ii. p. 92. 

146 Gimil-Dagm, Iti-Dagan, KA-Dagan, Ranke, p. 198, &c. 

111 Idin-Dagan, Nahum-Dagan, Issi{?)-Dagan, Sumu-Dagan, Yazi-Dagan, 
THri-Dagan, ibid., and n. 3. 
148 Dagan-abi and Ibni-Dagan, cited by Paton, in SEME., iv. p. 386b. 



78 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

The deity is mentioned by Hammurabi in his Code, who styles 
himself the "warrior of Dagon his creator." 149 From the 
facts that, in the same code, Dagon is referred to as native 
to the Euphrates region, and that he was connected with Bel 
the earth-god, it appears that the deity was originally essen- 
tially a god of water-supply and of the soil. 150 This conclusion 
is further strengthened by an old etymology mentioned by Philo 
Byblius connecting the name with com. 151 This nature of 
Dagon, thus conceived, proves him to be a sort of Semitic Ceres, 
and, therefore, a close relative of the Canaanite ba'als of the 
next period. In Palestine Dagon first occurs in the name of a 
native of the land of this early period. 152 Ramses Ill's annalist 
copies the town-name Beth-Dagon from an earlier list. 153 This 
city is to be identified probably with the city of the same name 
in Judah mentioned in Joshua. 154 Another town of the same 
name existed in Galilee. 155 In the light of the above data it 
seems quite improbable, if not impossible, that Dagon was a 
Philistine god prior to the settlement of this people in Pales- 
tine about 1200 b. c. It is to be concluded rather that the 
Philistines found the cult native to their new land and raised 
it to national importance. Dagon was the chief deity worship- 
ped at Gaza, where celebrations were wont to be held in his 
honor; 156 and at Ashdod, where a temple of Dagon existed at 
one time containing his image. 157 

Saphon, the "north," as an abode for deities, was a favorite 
conception among the Semites, and came therefore to be dei- 
fied. 158 Saphon, under the form of Ba'alat Saphon, was a god- 
dess worshipped at Memphis in Canaanite times; 159 but, under 
the form of Ba' al-Saphon, was worshipped as a god in Syria 

149 iv. 28. 

150 Barton, p. 231. 

151 dagon, Paton, in HEBE., iv. p. 387. 

152 Dagan-talcala, Knudtzon, 317:2, 9, 13; 318:4. 
15S Muller, Egyptological Research, 1906, p. 49. 

154 Beth-Dagon, Josh. 15:41; Sit Daganna, KB., ii. p. 92. 

155 Josh. 19:27. 
1M Judg. 16:23 ff. 
"'1 Sam. 5:1-5. 

158 Thus Baethgen, p. 22; No., in ZMG., xlii (1888), p. 472; Gray, p. 
134; Baudissin, i. p. 278. 

159 Miffler, p. 315. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 79 

and Palestine, being mentioned in a treaty made between Esar- 
haddon and the king of Tyre, 160 and likewise surviving in the 
annals of Tiglath-pileser 161 and Sargon 162 as the name of a peak 
of Lebanon. Also a city on the Eed Sea preserves the name. 163 
The simple form, Saphon, occurs in an Old Testament city east 
of the Jordan. 164 Moreover, an Assyrian eponym of the time of 
Ashurbanipal, 165 and Old Testament, 166 Egyptian, 167 Phoe- 
nician, 168 and Punic 169 personal names bear the name of this 
god of the north. 

Sharrabu, "heat," 170 and Birdu, "cold," 171 appearing in 
the Babylonian list of western deities 172 as designations for the 
two forms of Nergal, 173 survive separately each in Old Testa- 
ment personal names. 174 Birdu may also linger in an old 
Canaanite place-name 175 and in a Palmyrene personal name. 176 
These facts seem to suggest that heat and cold were deified by 
the Amorites. 

Uru, "light," as a divine name, appears as an element in 
Semitic names in both East and West. Urra was the god of 
Cutha, 177 and, as such, occurs in many personal names of the 
first dynasty of Babylon. 178 The cult of Uru came westward 
with the early Amorites and even penetrated Egypt, for as 

ieo Ba'al Sapuna, EAT. 3 , p. 357. 
ia Ba'li-$apuna, EAT. 3 , p. 479. 

162 Ba' il-Sapuna, ibid. 

163 Ba' al-$ephon, Ex. 14:2, 9; Num. 33:7. 
1M Josh. 13:27; Judg. 12:1. 

185 Glr $apunu, Giri-Sapuni, "client of Saphon," KAT. 3 , p. 479. 

106 'Ell-$aphan, Num. 3:30; $ephan-Yah(u) , Jer. 21:1, &c; §iphyon, 
Gen. 46:16 = Sephon, Num. 26:15; EWSh'-§PN, a potter's name, Bliss 
and Macal. p. 119; $PN-YEW, on a Hebrew coin, Ldzb., ENE., p. 359. 

167 Saphnath-pa'neah, name given to Joseph, Gen. 41:45. 

10S BD-SPN, Ldzb., E NE., p. 234; 'BD-SPN, ibid., 335. 

W SPN-B'L, ibid., p. 359; $PN-Y$DE, Ldzb., EPE., vol. i. p. 359. 

170 Heb. sharab, "burning heat." 

171 Heb. barad, "hail." 

112 EAT. 3 , p. 415. 

173 See Nergal, Chap. XV. 

171 Shereb-Yah, Ezr. 8:18, &c; Bered, 1 Chr. 7:20. 

™Bered, Gen. 16:14. 

™B'L-BBD, Ldzb., ENE., p. 236. 

177 Clay, Amurru, pp. 109 if. 

178 trBBA-bani, trBBA-erishnu, tBBA-gamil, tiBBA-gaslieir(l), Eanke, 
p. 172. 



80 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

early as the 4th dynasty there is found the beginning of the 
solar cult in Egypt. This was a foreign cult as may be inferred 
from the probable derivations of R'a, the Egyptian sun-god, 
from the Semitic 'Or, "light," and from the fact that sun- 
worship was not known among the neolithic Egyptians. 179 In 
the "West Uru found expression in Uru-salim, lso a city of the 
Amarna period; in Uru-milki, the king of Gebal mentioned in 
the annals of Sennacherib; 181 and in Old Testament 182 and 
Phoenician 183 personal names. Yahweh was Israel's UR. 1Si 

Salem, ' ' darkness, ' ' 185 giving an air of mystery to the prim- 
itive mind, would naturally be deified. Such a deity occurs in 
Assyrian names of the time of Sargon, 188 in the Amarna place- 
name, Buru-silim, 1S7 in the personal name Salmu, 1<iS in the names 
of a mountain 189 and of a town, 190 and in two Old Testament 
personal names. 191 

Tal, "dew," another natural phenomenon, 192 was deified, 
since it appears as an element in Babylonian names 193 and in two 
Old Testament personal names. 194 

179 Hall, The Ancient History of the Near East, London (1913), pp. 
85 ff. 

180 Knudtzon, 289:14, &c. 

181 KB., ii. p. 91. 

182 'Ur, 1 Chr. 11:35; 'Uri, probably for 'Uri-Yah, Ex. 31:2, &c; 'Uri- 
el, 1 Chr. 6:9 (24), &c; 'Uri-Yah, 2 Sam. 11:3, &c; 'Uri-Yahu, Jer. 
26 : 20 ; Shede- 'ur, Num. 1 : 5, &c. 

™BL-'WB, 'B-MLK, Cooke, pp. 18, 20. 

184 Ps. 27:1; Is. 2:5; 10:17; 60:19,20; Mic. 7:8. 

183 Heb. sel, Assy, salamu. 

186 Salmu-ahe, Salmu-sharikbi, KAT. S , p. 476. 

187 Knudtzon, 137:64, 85. ' 
lsi Ibid., 7:73, 80. 

189 Ear Salmon, Judg. 9:48. 

190 Salmonah, Num. 33:41, 42. 

191 Salmon, 2 Sam. 23:28; Salmunna' , Judg. 8:5, &e. 

192 Gen. 27:28; Ps. 133:3. 

193 "tali" in Tali-ioni{?), Eanke, p. 218. 

194 'Att-Tal, 2 Sam. 3:4, &e. Hammu-Tal, 2 K. 23:31. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 81 



CHAPTEK XII 

PANTHEON : GODS OF THE INNER CONSCIOUSNESS 

As the ba'als were thought to enter into and dwell in certain 
natural objects and to reveal themselves to men through the 
natural phenomena attending these respective objects, so gods 
were also thought to enter at times into men and reveal them- 
selves through the various human emotions. Thus the emotions 
of anger, fear, joy, love, and peace, which came at different times 
to men in their various experiences, were deified. The activity 
of the emotional gods, such as anger, strength, and joy, could, 
for special manifestations, be enhanced by participation in cer- 
tain rites or even by sleeping. Thus, the eating of the flesh and 
the drinking of the blood of some holy animal, or the eating of 
herbs, or of the fruit and leaves of a certain sacred tree, were 
old customs which undoubtedly betray the intention of the par- 
ticipant to secure or to invite that emotion, or that deity of con- 
sciousness, which a certain sacred food was thought to awaken 
or to produce. On the eve of battle, warriors, by eating the 
sacrifice and drinking the blood 1 of some strong animal, would 
seek to be possessed by the god of strength or of anger. Sim- 
ilarly dream-states, produced by an indwelling deity, were 
sought and were eagerly interpreted with ominous significance. 
Probably sleeping near holy places especially produced states 
in which the deity revealed his will. Thus Jacob dreamed at 
Beth-el, 2 Solomon at Gibeon, 3 and the treasure-hunting Egyp- 
tians at the traditional Sinai. 4 The interpretation of dreams 
became a science at Elephantine in the fourth century b. c. 5 

For the sake of correctly interpreting states of consciousness 
there originated the order of nebi'im, "prophets," just as the 
priest-diviner arose for interpreting the phenomena of nature. 

1 See p. 43. 

2 Gen. 28:12, 19. 
*1 K. 3:5-15. 

* Petrie, BS., pp. 67-9, 190. 
'CIS., ii. 137; Cooke, p. 203. 

6 



82 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

The prophets, in extreme cases, sought to suppress the normal 
and. to enhance the abnormal states of consciousness by going 
through all sorts of bodily movements, as do the modern der- 
vishes. In this frenzied state they believed themselves to be 
possessed by some divine personality who could in this way 
best impart a revelation. Prophets of this kind existed at Gebal 
as early as 1118 b. c. and were numerous in the days of Sam- 
uel and of Elijah. 

G See p. 56. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 83 



CHAPTER XIII 

PANTHEON : GODS OF THE EVENTS OF LIFE 

Gods of the events of life, in distinction from the nature- 
ba'als and the gods of the inner consciousness, presided over all 
the departments of tribal and individual life. As the ba'als 
were thought to own and to exercise authority over objects, so 
departmental deities owned and exercised authority over men. 
These, too, were given titles which were really projections into 
the realm of the ideal of the conceptions of family and tribal 
heads who were wont to exercise authority as "father-uncle," 
' ' beloved, " " father, " " brother, " " king, ' ' and ' ' name. ' ' While 
nature gods were often regarded as hostile to man and difficult 
of approach, the departmental deities, on the other hand, were 
conceived of as beneficent, as is shown by many personal names. 
Thus on the passive side of his nature one god or another is 
kind, strong, exalted, friendly, and righteous; while on the 
active side, he dwells, creates, knows, helps, fills, saves, hears, 
and gives peace and favor. A blessing was thought to be con- 
ferred on a child if he bore the name of some deity; hence 
arose the almost universal custom of giving theophorous names. 

Interpreters of the divine will as related to life's events were 
known as the "wise men." These have already been discussed. 

Divine titles were applied to the gods of this class just as 
ba'al was given as a title to all nature-divinities. Of this class 
of titles we have the following: 

'Amm, ' ' father-uncle, " is a very old Semitic title, and dates 
from a time in polyandrous society when a child could not 
distinguish his own father in a group of his mother's husbands. 
When carrying over the conception of human relationship to the 
gods, the chief tribal deity would be known as 'Amm. 'Amm 
and all other similar titles have been preserved in proper names. 
Though the term in its later development came to mean any 
ancestor on the paternal side, and later, any relative in general, 
its occurrence from first to last in proper names is confirmatory 



84 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

of its early divine significance. 1 'Amm survives in Emu as the 
deity of the land of Suti on the western bank of the Euphrates, 2 
as the name of the chief deity of the Kataban Arabs, 3 and as the 
name of a tribe in Mesopotamia. 4 Proper names having the ele- 
ment 'amm, connected with or without "i," and compounded 
with verbs or nouns either preceding or following, are expressive, 
as Paton has conclusively shown, of some affirmation of deity; 
and 'amm in these names is not to be interpreted as "people" 
or "kinsman." 5 This well-recognized divine element 6 is found 
in a large number of proper names collected from various parts 
of the ancient Semitic world. Thus, it occurs in personal names 
on the Obelisk of Manishtusu 7 ; in other ancient Babylonian 
personal names, 8 particularly belonging to the time of the first 
dynasty of Babylon 9 ; in the ancient place-name, Dur-'ammi, 10 
"amm is a fortress"; in many Assyrian personal names 11 ; in 
personal names 12 and the place-names 13 of Amarna and Canaan- 
ite times; in the names of Canaanite cities taken by the Israel- 

1 Paton, in HERE., vol. i. pp. 386 ff. 

2 KAT. 3 , p. 481. 

3 Hommel, in ZDMG., 1895, p. 525. 

4 Bene-' Ammo, Num. 22:5 (see Heb.). 

*HEBE., vol. i. pp. 387-8. 

"In various forms "Ama," "Amma," "Ammu," "Hammu," "Emu," 
"Ami," "Imme," and "Imi." 

7 Imi-ilu, Sheil, Textes, pp. 6 ff.; Ama-Sin, "uncle is Sin," A v. 3 = 
Imi-Sin Sheil, pp. 6 ff.; Beli-am, "Beli is uncle," C xv. 3. 

"Ami-U-'ti, "uncle is might," KAT. 3 , p. 483; Ilu-Imme, Nabu-liamrne, 
"Nebo is uncle," interchanges with Nabu-amme and Nabu-imme, KAT. 3 , 
p. 481; Ami-zabti, Ranke, p. 183; Ammi-Ya, Ranke, p. 65. 

"Ammu-rabi or Eammu-rabi, "uncle is high," Eanke, p. 85; ' Ammi- 
saduga, p. 65; ' Ammi-ditana (satana?), "my uncle is leader," p. 65. 

'"KAT. 3 , p. 481. 

11 Am-yate'u; ' Ammu-ladin, "my uncle is near"; 'Am-ramu; Bir- 
amma, "Bir is uncle"; Zimri-hamm.u, "mountain -sheep is uncle"; 
A-a-am-me = Yah-am(?), "Yah is uncle"; Atar-hamu, "abundance is 
uncle"; Shulmanu-imme; Shamash-imme ; Si'-imme; Se-ime, "gift is 
uncle"; Yashdi-hammu, "my uncle is lofty," KAT. 3 , p. 481-3. 

12 Emmienshi, Breasted, ABE., i. § 494; Yan-hamu, Knudtzon, 98:1; 
Balumme, 8:19; Ammu-nira, 136:29 = llammu-niri, 137:15, 66, 69; 
138:52, 132; Y-b'-'ra-' a-mu, "Am has swallowed," Miiller, p. 195 = 
Yible-'am, place-name, Josh. 17:11 = Bil-' am, 1 Chr. 6:55 (70); Ama-Ya, 
Knudtzon, 62:42, 45. 

13 Ammia, a land, Knudtzon, 139:15; 140:11. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 85 

ites 14 ; in the Arabic divine name ' : Ammi-mas 13 ; in Aramaean, 16 
Sabamn, 17 ancient Arabic, 18 South Arabic, 19 Ammonite, 20 
Phoenician, 21 and Nabata?an 22 personal names; and in the 
names of persons, principally foreigners, living in Palestine 
before the eighth century. 23 

Dad has essentially the same original meaning as ' Amm, 
"father-uncle." 24 It appears as a divine title in "West Semitic 
proper names 25 as early as the Obelisk of Manishtusu 26 and the 
first dynasty of Babylon. 27 Assyrian documents 28 preserve 
many more names of this form ; while the personal name Dudu 23 

11 'Am-' Ad, Josh. 19:26; Yokne-' am, Josh. 12:22; Yokde-' am, "he 
who burns is uncle," Josh. 15:56; Yokme-'am, 1 K. 4:12; Gid-'om, Judg. 
20:45. 

15 A god of the Khaulan, "Wellh., p. 23. 

M Amme-ba' ali, KAT. 3 , p. 482. 

17 ' Ammi-amara, Hommel, p. 84; ' Amml-anisa, ibid., p. 51; ' Ammi- 
yatlii'a, " my uncle has helped, " p. 84; ' Amm-Tcariba, "uncle has blest," 
CIS. iv. p. 73; ' Ammi-amuka, "my uncle is wise"; Ammi-saduka, "my 
uncle is righteous"; ' Ammi-samia, "my uncle has heard"; ' Ammi- 
shapaka, "my uncle has bestowed," Hommel, p. 84. 

^Amme-'ta', KAT. 3 , p. 482. 

10 ' Ammi-sa' da, "my uncle has terrified"; ' Ammi-dhara'a, "my uncle 
has sown"; Ammi-yada' a, "my uncle knows"; Ammi-yapia, "my uncle 
is perfect. ' ' — Hommel, p. 84. 

-"Ammi-nadab, "my uncle has been generous," KB., ii. p. 240; Ben- 
' ammi, "son of my uncle," Gen. 19:38. 

:l 'L-'M, Ldzb., HNE., p. 217. 

--'M-YMT, Ldzb., EPH., ii. p. 421. 

ss York e-' am, 1 Chr. 2:44; 'Ammi- 'el, 2 Sam. 9:4, &c; ' Ammi-Hud, 
13:37, &c; ' Ammi-sabad, 1 Chr. 27:6; 'Ammi-nadab, Ex. 6:23; ' Ammi- 
shadday, Num. 1:12; 'Am-ram, Ex. 6:18, &c; 'Ani-'am, 1 Chr. 7:19; 
Ben-' ammi, Gen. 19:38; Bil-'am, probably for Ba'al-'am, Num. 22:5, 
&c. : 'Eli-' am, 2 Sam. 11:3, &c; Malkam, probably for Malak-' am, 1 Chr. 
8:9; Belial-' am, 1 K. 11:43; Yarob-'am, 1 K. 11:26, &c; Yashob-'am, 
1 Chr. 11:11; Yekam-'am, 1 Chr. 23:19, &c; Yithre-'am, 2 Sam. 3:5, &c. 

M Heb. dod, "paternal uncle." 

-'KAT. 3 , p. 483. 

20 DA-DA, E-DA-DA, Dada, Gdl-dada, Eanke, p. 211, n. 3. 

"' Dadu-sha, Dadi-Ya, DA-DA-waqar, Eanke, p. 77 ; Da-wi-da-nim, p. 78 ; 
Dadi, name of god in 16th year of Samsu-iluna, Dada, Dadu-rabi, Aba- 
Dadi, cited by Eanke, p. 211. 

- s Dayadi-ilu, Didi, Dudiia, Dudii, Dadi, Dada, Dadai, Dadi-ilu, KAT. 3 , 
p. 483. 

28 Knudtzon, 158:1, &c. 



86 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

and the place-name 'Ash-dod 30 record its first appearance in 
Canaan. Israel, according to the Moabite stone, worshipped 
a deity by the name of Dudah? 1 in whose cult an altar-hearth 
was sacred. 32 Moreover Dud may have been the favorite title 
of the numen of Beer-sheba if "thy God" of the LXX of 
Amos 8 :14 is to be used in restoring the original dud in the 
place of the Massoretic derek, "way." 33 In Isaiah 5:1 dodi, 
"beloved," is used as an appellation of Yahweh. The sacred 
character of this title is borne out in many old personal names. 34 
Ab, Abu, "father," was another divine title originating in 
the next stage of social development known as polygamous, 
when the child first recognized his father. Naturally the appel- 
lation and attributive of paternity was applied to the tribal 
deity, as is clearly attested by the prevalence of proper names, 
containing the element abu, throughout the ancient Semitic 
world. Thus, personal names meet us from the time of the 
erection of the Obelisk of Manishtusu ; 3r> from the Amorite, 36 
Kassite, 37 and Neo-Babylonian 38 periods of Babylonian history ; 
and from Assyrian documents. 30 In the West this divine title 
shows its influence in Abi-shua, 40 an Asiatic trader who visited 
Egypt in the time of Sesostris III (1887-1850 b. c.) ; in the two 
personal names Abi-milki 41 and Hash-abu 42 of the Amarna 

30 Josh. 11:22, &c. 
"■MI., line 12. 

32 Smith, SS., pp. 488 f. 

33 By the similarity of the Heb. letters, "u" with "r" and "d" 
with "k." 

34 < El-Dad, Num. 11:26; 'mi-Bad, Num. 34:21; Mc-Dad, Num. 11:26, 
probably for 'Amml-Dad; Dawld, David, Euth 4:17, &c; Dodo, Judg. 
10:1, &c; Doda-Y(w?)ahu, 2 Chr. 20:37; Bildad probably for Ba'al- 
Dad, Job. 2:11, &c; Hena-Dad, Ezr. 3:9, &c. 

33 Abi-da, Hoschander in ZA., 1907, p. 250; Abu-BV, ibid., p. 253. 

30 Summu-abum (Hm), Ranke, p. 166; Abi-arah, "my father is the 
moon," Abi-eshuh{u"t.) , Abi-har, Abi-Yah, Abi-Ya(?)buh, Abi-Yatum, 
p. 58; Abi-ilu, Abi-U-Ya, p. 59; Abi-ma-Ishtar, Abi-ma-ras, Abi-rali, Abi- 
sat(t)d, Abu-Dadi, Abu-Yatum, Abu{m)-bani, Abu(m)-tabum, Abu-(m)- 
waqar, Eanke, pp. 60, 61. 

ST Very common elements are aba, abi, abu, abbu, Clay, Personal Names, 
p. 149. 

38 Abu-nadib, Abi-yakar, KAT. 3 , p. 483. 

30 Abi-ramu, Abi-rame, Abi-ikamu, Abi-Salam, KAT", p. 482. 

w Yb-sh', "Ab is salvation," Miiller, p. 36. 

41 "Ab is king," Knudtzon, 147:2, &c. 

"Ibid., 174:4. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 87 

period; in the place-names IIKL-'BRM, 4X "Field of Abram," 
and ' 'Abi-rama ; 44 in many Old Testament personal names 45 
belonging to the traditional and to the pre-Solomonic 46 periods 
of Israel's history; and in personal names from ancient Ara- 
bic, 47 Phoenician, 48 Punic, 49 Aramaic, 30 and Sinaitic 51 sources. 

Ah, Ahu, "brother," or "kinsman," is another oft-occur- 
ring divine title revealed in personal names on the Obelisk of 
Manishtusu 52 and in documents of the first dynasty of Baby- 
lon 53 and of the Assyrian empire. 54 In the West the element 
survives in the Amarna personal names Ali-ribi(t)a, 5 * Ahi- 
Tdbu, 5 " Kin-ahhi* 1 and A(h)-tirumnaf s in Old Testament per- 

a Ew-h-rw-'-'-b'-r'-m, "field of Abram," Breasted, ABE., iv. § 715. 

44 'Abi-ra-ma, Miiller, p. 168. 

43 'AM-' albon, 2 Sam. 23:31; 'AU-'cl, 1 Sam. 9:1, &c; 'Abl-'asaph, 
Ex. 6:24; 'Abi-gail, 1 Sam. 25:14, &c; 'Abi-Dan, Num. 1:11, &c; 
'Abl-da', Gen. 25:4; 'Abt-Yalm, 2 Chr. 13:20, &e. — 'Abi-yam, 1 K. 
14:31, &c. = 'Abl-Ya, 1 Sam. 8:2, &e. ; 'Abl-Yah, 2 Chr. 29:1; 'Abl-luV, 
Ex. 6:23, &c; 'Abl-Hud, 1 Chr. 8:3; 'Abl-hail, Num. 3:35, &c; ' Abi- 
tub, 1 Chr. 8:11; 'Abl-Tal, 2 Sam. 3:4; 'Abi-ma'el, Gen. 10:28; 'Abl- 
melelc, Gen. 20:2, &c. = 'ATclsh, 1 Sam. 21:11 (10), &c; 'Abi-nadab, 1 Sam. 
7:1, &c; 'Abl-no'am, Judg. 4:6, &c; 'Abl-ner, 1 Sam. 14:50, &c; 'Abl- 
'Ezcr, Num. 26:30, &c; 'Abl-ram, Num. 16:1, &c; 'Ab-ram, Gen. 11:26, 
&c. — 'Abraham, Gen. 17:5, &c; 'Abl-shag, 1 K. 1:3, &c; 'Abl-slma' , 
1 Chr. 5:30 (6:4), &c; 'Abi-shfir, 1 Chr. 2:28, &c; 'Abi-shay, 1 Sam. 
26:6, &c; 'AM- Shalom, 1 K. 15:2, &c; 'Eb-yathar, 1 Sam. 22:20, &c; 
'Ah-'ab, 1 K. 16:28, &c; 'Oholl-'ab, Ex. 31:6, &c; ro-V(6, 1 Sam. 26:6, 
&c; 'Eli-'ab, Num. 1:9, &e. ; r f s7ie&-V(b, 1 Chr. 24:13; Shin-'ab, Gen. 
14:2. 

40 With few exceptions all J& names are referred by Old Testament 
literature to the time prior to and including the time of David. Gray, p. 28. 

47 Abi-Yate', KB., ii. p. 215. 

48 'B-HLL, 'BY-B'L, Ldzb., HNE., p. 205; Abi-ba'al, Abi-milU, EAT:', 
p. 482; 'B-B'L, Ldzb., EPE., ii. p. 403; 'B-KM, Ldzb., BINE., p. 206. 

*"B-B'L, CIS., i. 378, 2; 'B-Sh'N, Ldzb., EPJI., p. 352. 

50 'B-'WShW, Ldzb., fflTO., p. 205; 'BY-TB, CIS., ii. 123, 2. 

51 'B-'WShW, Ldzb., ffiVE., p. 205. 

i2 Ahu-hi [or tab(i, u)], Hoschander, in 2J., 1907, p. 260; Ahu-hu, 
Ahu-isap, 261; Ahu-patan (or lik), p. 263; Ahu-sum(u, i)su, p. 264 

~° s AM(-a)-sat(d, t), Ahi-Ya, Ranke, p. 62; AM-ivadum, Ahutabum, 
Ranke, p. 63. 

'-* Ahi-ikamu, Ahi-yakar, AM-nadbi, Ahi-milli, Ahi-rame, Ahi-ramu, 
KAT.', p. 482. 

r,5 Knudtzon, 107:14. 

™md., 8:14. 

57 Ibid., 8:15, 25. 

m Ibid., 319:5. 



88 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

sonal names 59 belonging, with two exceptions, to the times prior 
to the eighth century b. c. ; 60 and in Phoenician, 01 Philistine, 02 
Aramaean, 03 Aramaic, 04 and Hebrew 65 personal names. 

Melek, "king," and Milkah, "queen," as titles of sover- 
eignty were probably carried over from the tribal head to the 
divine counterpart. Since the god Malik in the Babylonian 
pantheon 60 held an insignificant place, he must, therefore, have 
been one of the products, and not the cause, of the same gen- 
eral tendency throughout the Semitic world to ascribe royal 
prerogative to deities. Thus malik appears in Babylonia as a 
divine epithet meaning counselor 61 in many West Semitic per- 
sonal names most of which occur on the Obelisk of Manishtusu, 68 
but one in a document of the first dynasty. 09 Similar personal 
names continue to be used till the Persian period. 70 This divine 
appellative is very common in Assyrian and Palestinian proper 
names, thus occurring in Assyrian personal names; 71 in three 

5D 'Ehud, 1 Chr. 8:6; 'Ah-'ab, 1 K. 16:28, &c; 'Ah-lan, 1 Chr. 2:29; 
'Aim-may, 1 Chr. 4:2; 'Ahi-'am, 2 Sam. 23:33, &c; 'Ahl-Yah(u), 1 Sam. 
14:3, &c; 'AM-Hud, Num. 34:27; 'Ah-Yo, 2 Sam. 6:3, &c; 'AM-Hud. 
1 Chr. 8:7; 'AM-tub, 1 Sam. 14:3, &c; 'AM-liid, 2 Sam. 8:16, &c; 
'AM-Moth, 1 Chr. 6:25 (10); 'Ahi-melelc, 1 Sam. 21:3 (2), &c; 'Am- 
man, Num. 13:22, &c; 'Ahi-ma'as, 2 Sam. 15:27, &c. ; 'Ali-yan, 1 Chr. 
7:19; 'AM-nadab, 1 K. 4:14; 'AM-no'am, 1 Sam. 14:50, &c; 'Ahi-samak, 
Ex. 31:6, &c; 'AM-'Ezer, Num. 1:12, &e.; 'AM-lcam, 2 K. 22:12; 'Alil- 
ram, Num. 26:38; Hiram, probably for 'AM-ram, 2 Sam. 5:11, &c; 'AM- 
ra', Num. 1:15, &c; 'Ahi-shahar, 1 Chr. 7:10; 'AM-sliar, 1 K. 4:6; 'Alu- 
thophel, 2 Sam. 15:12, &c; Hi 'el, probably for 'AM- 'el, 1 K. 16:34; 
'Aha-rehel, 1 Chr. 4:8. 

"Gray, p. 38. 

m AM-miM, KB., ii. p. 173; 'H-NDB, 'H r 'LN, Ldzb., HNE., p. 212. 

02 Ald-millci, KB., ii. p. 149, 241; Ahi-miti, p. 65. 

03 Ahi-ramu, KB., i. p. 75. 

04 'H-LKD, CIS., ii. 93; 'H-MLKW, CIS., ii. 231 f.; 'H-WShN, Ldzb., 
EPH., ii. p. 412. 

es 'H-M'S, Ldzb., EPH., i. p. 352; 'AM-Yun, 'HY-T'Y, ii. 403; 
'H-WTB, ii. p. 411. 
°«A local god of the city of Tar-ma-as, KAT. 3 , p. 469. 
67 Written Ma-UB, KAT 3 , p. 469. 
68 See Scheil, Texts elam.-sem. pp. 41 ff. 
60 Ilu-malik, "god is counsellor," Banke, p. 104. 

70 Milhi-tariU, NuM-Milhi, KAT. 3 , p. 417. 

71 Bel-ili-milki, Dagana-millci, Dagan-milhi, Huru-m(ilki?), Milkai, MUM, 
Millca-Ya, KAT. 3 , p. 471; MilM-ashapa, KB., ii. pp. 149, 241; Millci-Ya, 
Milhi-Aya, Millci-ilu, MeliTci-ilu, Millci-Ishtar, Milki-Ashshur, Millci-ba, 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 89 

old Canaanite place-names; 72 in Amarna 73 and Old Testament 
personal names, the latter belonging mostly to the seventh cen- 
tury b. c. ; 7i and in Phoenician, 75 Philistine, 76 Hebrew, 77 Edo- 
mite, 78 Aramaean, 79 Aramaic, so Nabatsean, 81 and Palmyrene 82 

Millci-erba, Milki-mudammiTc, Milki-idri, MilM-uru, MilM-larim, Milki-nuri, 
Milki-ramu, Ilu-miVki, Milki-ramu, Il-mala(ki), KAT. 3 , p. 471. Al-Nashhu- 
milki, Al-Si'-milki, Ilu-milM, KAT. 3 , p. 470; Abdi-milki, Adad-milki, Ahi- 
millci, A-Nashuh-milki, KAT. 3 , p. 471. 

72 'Emek ham-Melek, "valley of the king," Gen. 14:17; 2 Sam. 18:18; 
Yw-d-h-m-rw-k, or Yadah-melek, place-name, Breasted, ABE., iv. $ 712; 
B(e)-le-ma-ra-ka = 'Eli-melek, Thutmose Ill's list, No. 45, MVG., 1907, 
p. 17 = 'Allam-melek, in Asher, Josh. 19:26. 

73 Abdi-milki, "servant of Melek," Knudtzon, 123:37; Milk-ili, 
"Melek is god," 267:4, &c; Milk-ilu, 249:6; Abi-miTki, "father is 
Melek," 147:2, &c; Ili-millcu, 151:45; 286:36. 

74 'Abi-melek, Gen. 20:2, &c; 'AM-melek, 1 Sam. 21:2 (1), &c; 'Adra- 
melek, 2 K. 17:31, &c.; 'Eli-melek, Euth 1:2; Melek, 1 Chr. 8:35; 
' Ebed-melele, "servant of Melek," Jer. 38:7; MilkaJi, "queen," Gen. 
11:29, &c; MalM-'el, Gen. 46:17, &c; Malki-Yah{u) , Jer. 21:1, &c.; 
Malki-Sedek, "Melek is righteous," Gen. 14:18, &c.; Malki-ram, 1 Chr. 
3:18; Malkt-shua' , 1 Sam. 14:49, &e.; Malkam, 1 Chr. 8:9; Ya-melek, 
1 Chr. 4:34; Malluk, 1 Chr. 6:29 (44); Meliku (Melukl?), Neh. 12:14; 
Begem-melek, Zech. 7:2; Nethan-melck, 2 K. 23:11. 

75 Abi-milki, Ahi-milki, KB., ii. p. 173; Uru-milki, p. 91; Abdi-milkuti, 
KB. ii pp. 125 ff.; Melki-asaph?, KB., ii. p. 241, cp. ii. p. 149; 'DB-MLK, 
Ldzb., HNE., p. 209; 'EL-MLK, ibid.; BN-MLK, ibid., p. 238; B'L- 
ML'K, CIS., i. 182, &c; B'L-MLK, Ldzb., HNE., p. 240; MLK-'SB, 
name of deity, CIS., i. 123b, 1 ff.; MLK-B'L, name of deity, ibid., 123, 
MLK-YTN, CIS., i. 10, 2, &c; MLK-'ShTBT, name of deity, ibid., 8, 1; 
MLK-PSh, MLK-BM, Ldzb., HNE., p. 311; MYLK-'MN MYLK-'TN, 
ibid., p. 308; 'HT-MLK, 'B-MLK, BD-MLK, CIS., i. 124, 4; GB-MLK, 
ibid., 50, 2; HN-MLK, Ldzb., £"#£., p. 260; H-MLK, CIS., i. 135, 4, &c; 
HT-MLK, ibid., 429, 2, &c; TD'-MLX, Ldzb., BWE., p. 285; rffTf- 
MLiT, C7S., i. 1, &c.; YTN-MLK, CIS., i. 244, 3, &e.; MKN-MLK, 
Ldzb., £"#£., p. 316; ' Z-MLK, CIS., i. 189, 3, &c; SDK-MLK, Ldzb., 
fflf.E., p. 357; 'HT-MYLKT, ibid., p. 213; H-MLKT, CIS., i. 135, 4, 
&c; HT-MLKT, ibid., 231, 1, &c; MT-MLKT, ibid., 438, 3 ff.; N'-MLKT, 
ibid., 41, 2; 'B-MLKT, ibid., 317, 4, &c. 

'"Ahi-milki of Ashdod, KB., ii. pp. 149, 241. 

'"MLK-ZB, Ldzb., fflVS., p. 311; GB-MLK, ibid., p. 253; 'HT-MLK, 
ibid., p. 213. 

78 Kausli-malaka, of the time of Tiglath Pileser, KB., ii. p. 21. 
1 "Il-mala(ki), CIS., ii. 1, No. 28; Ba'al-maluku, KB., ii. p. 172. 

80 'L-MLK, CIS., i. 50; 'SB-MLK, ibid., 155*, 4; MLK-M, ibid., 94, 2. 

81 ilfLKJF, CLS., ii. 158, 6; 170, 3; MLK-YWN, ibid., 201, 1; 219, 1. 
*"-MLK-HLS, Ldzb., HNE., p. 311; MLK-'L, CIS., ii. 30, 1; JlfiK- 

-BL (deity), Ldzb., HNE., p. 310; MLK-WS', MLK-Y, ibid., p. 311. 



90 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

personal names. A deity bearing the title Melek, but corrupted 
to Molek, was worshipped in the next period. 83 

Shum, Sum, or Shem, "name," occurs as an element in "West 
Semitic proper names in Babylonia as far back as the reign of 
Dungi of Ur, 84 the inscription on the Obelisk of Manishtusu, 85 
and the first dynasty of Babylon. 80 Three Canaanite cities* 7 
and one city of the Amarna period, 88 a person of Gaza of the 
time of Merneptah, 89 many persons mentioned in the Old Testa- 
ment," and in South Arabian name-lists, 01 and a few persons 
mentioned in Phoenician, 02 Punic, 03 and Aramaic 04 inscriptions 
bear names variously compounded with this divine title. Shem 
became an early designation for Yahweh. 05 

Of the special gods who presided over the affairs of life, to 
whom special names, in contrast to general titles, might appro- 
priately be applied, the following should be mentioned: 

'Ashtart. The worship of 'Ashtart, the primitive Semitic 
mother-goddess, was carried by the early Semites from their 

83 See Chap. XXVIII. 

84 SIM-Vru, "name is light," place-name (2286-2229 B. a), probably 
= modern Simyra, Paton, p. 22. 

83 Ahu-shumu, "brother is name," ZA., 1907, p. 264. 

86 Sumu-abum (Mm), "name is father," Sumu-atar, Sumu-hat(d, t)nu, 
Sumu-hala, Sumu-ha-ammu, Sumu-la-ilu, Sumu-liel, Sumu-rah, Sumu-rame, 
Su-VE-KI, Sumu-, Ranke, p. 166. 

S7 Shama-Adda, Knudtzon, 49:2; Shum-Add(a), Hid., 224:3; Shama- 
Adda, 225:3; Shumu-Hadi, 97:1. 

88 Sham-huna, place-name, Knudtzon, 225:4. 

80 Sh'-m-B-'-r'-m = Shem-Ba'al, "Shem is ba'al," Breasted, AKE., 
iii. § 632. 

80 Shem, Gen. 5:32, &c; Shem-'eber, Gen. 14:2; Shemu-'cl, 1 Sam. 1:20; 
Shemi-da' , Num. 26:32, &c; Shemi-ramoth, 1 Chr. 15:18, &c; Shim- 'am, 
1 Chr. 9:3S = Shim'a, 1 Chr. 8:32; Sham-gar, Judg. 3:31, &c; Sem(m)a, 
1 Chr. 7:37, LXX for Shamma' ; Shammah, Gen. 36:13, &c; Shammay, 
1 Chr. 2:28, &c; Ger-shom, Ex. 2:22, &c; Shem-ida' , of the time of 
Ahab, S. S. Times, Jan. 7, 1911. 

01 Sumhu-amara, " his name has commanded, " Sumhu-apilca, "his name 
is powerful, ' ' Sumhu-watara, ' ' his name is above all others, ' ' Yada' a- 
sumhu, "his name is omniscient," Sumhu-yapi' a, "his name shines," 
Sumhu-lcariba, "his name is blest," Sumhu-ali, "his name is sublime," 
Sumhu-riyamu, "his name is sublimity," Hommel, p. 84. 

' J2 ShM-ZBL, Ldzb., BNE., p. 377; ShM', CIS., i. 51, 1. 

08 ShM-HTT, CIS., i. 281, 3. 

M ShM-W'L, Ldzb., BNE., p. 377. 

85 Gen. 4:26; 12:8; 13:4, &c. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 91 

Arabian home to every country whither they went. This famous 
goddess won a unique and well-defined reputation, though with 
local colorings, in every country settled by her worshippers. In 
Babylonia she was known as Ishtar, but in the Westland her 
name is probably etymologically better preserved. 90 In a dedica- 
tory inscription in which Hammurabi is called the "king of 
Amurru" (Westland), the goddess appears as Ashirtu or Ash- 
ratu 97 and is styled the "bride of the king of heaven," "mis- 
tress of luxury and splendor," and "the merciful one who 
reverently implores her spouse." 08 He. according to a hymn, is 
"Amurru the lord of the mountain," since he is associated with 
"Ashratu," "the mistress of the steppe." 98 The name of this 
goddess appears in the West under the following cognate forms : 
in Assyrian as Astoria,; 100 in Canaan as Ashirat, 101 'Ashtart, 102 
' Asherah, 1 " 1 ' 'Attar, 'Atar, 10i and Atargatis ; 105 in Moab as 

M Several attempts have been made to trace the origin of ' Ashtart to 
the Babylonian Ishtar since Ashratu is equivalent to Ishtar as wife of 
Ramman (KAT. 3 , p. 433) ; since Palestine was greatly influenced by Baby- 
lonian religion in early times, and thither also might have gone the cult 
of Ishtar whence it might have returned later with western coloring, her 
name being changed to Ashirta; since Ishtar occurs long before Ashirta; 
and since Astirtu seems to be derived from ashirtu, eshirtu, a Babylonian 
word meaning "sanctuary" (EAT.', p. 437). These arguments are not 
conclusive enough to prove the thesis, since if they were true Ishtar 's 
popularity would then be quite out of proportion to that of the other 
Babylonian deities in the west; and the ' Ashtart-cult in the west would 
manifest more of the Ishtar-type. Moreover, 'Ashtart is the primitive 
Semitic form, while the phonetic changes involved in the derivation of 
all the separate, but cognate, forms of 'Ashtart from Ishtar are impossi- 
ble. KAT. 3 , p. 436. 

" 7 Ashratum occurs on a seal cylinder. KAT.", p. 433; Belit-scri in 
Assyrian names = Ashratu, ibid., p. 434. 

m KAT.°, pp. 20, 179, 432 ff. 

""KAT.", p. 433. 

m >KAT. 3 , p. 434. 

101 The goddess of Taanach. Sellin, p. 114. 

1,12 Vocalized later with the "bosheth" vowels as ' Ashtoreth. 

103 Taken from the designation for the wooden post sacred to her cult 
in western sanctuaries. 

104 An Aramaic-Arabic deity referred to by Assyrian inscriptions. Com- 
pare names Atar-samain, a goddess of a north Arabian tribe, Atar-bi'di, 
Ataridri, Atar-gabri, Atar-suri, &c. KAT. 3 , p. 434 ff. 

103 See article in EEBE., ii. pp. 164 ff. 



92 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

'Ashtar; 106 in Sabaea as 'Athtar; in Abyssinia as 'Astar; and 
in Phoenicia and her colonies as 'Ashtart and Astarte (Aphro- 
dite, enus). 107 These various forms reveal not only the antiquity 
of the name but also how widespread the cult of this goddess 
was in the western world. The name of the goddess is left on 
record in the Amarna period in the place-name Astarte 10 * and 
in the personal names Aidi-Ashtarti 109 and Ahdi-Ashirta. 110 

Wherever her worship has gone 'Ashtart has preserved a well- 
defined character, with slightly varying aspects, as goddess of 
maternity, fertility, sexual love, and war. In metronymic 
society, at a time when the mother of the tribe was regarded as 
the supreme authority, it was natural to attribute the same char- 
acteristics to deity, so that the deity was conceived of as a 
mother-goddess who preserved from the divine side the integrity 
of the tribe. In Babylonia Ishtar appears in various roles 
reflecting the aspects of mother-goddess. In one case she is the 
midwife, in another the one beax'ing, and in still another the 
potteress who forms men out of clay. 111 This function of presid- 
ing over child-bearing is clearly attested as a prominent con- 
ception of the mother-goddess in Palestine in the next period 
by the maternal features of many images and by Old Testament 
implications. 

In the second place, the goddess in all her various cults is the 
cause of human and animal as well as of vegetable fertility. 
For human and animal offspring and field increase her aid was 
sought; and, in return for these boons, worshippers brought 
as offerings the first-born of man and of beast 112 and the first- 
fruits of the ground. Field and arboreal fertility are closely 
associated with water supply which in the desert was the spring. 
'Ashtart was closely related to sacred springs and trees both 
in primitive and in Canaanite times. This relationship in primi- 
tive times is well exhibited in the original character of Ishtar 

™MI., 17. 

107 See HEBE., ii. pp. 115a. 

108 Knudtzon, 197:10; or Aslitarti, 256 :21 = ' Ashtaroth, Deut. 1:4, &c. 
100 Knudtzon, 63:3; 65:2. 

110 82:23, 25; 84:8; 85:64. 

m KAT. 3 , p. 429. 

112 See Offerings, p. 41. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 93 

as a water-goddess who was thought to be connected with some 
sacred tree to which the spring gave life. 113 

In the third place, the goddess presided over war, since 
the conception of her as leader in battle was merely an exten- 
sion of her prerogative as mother-goddess, the protectress of the 
tribe. Thus, in Babylonia and Assyria, Ishtar was long rever- 
enced by the war-loving kings, who styled her the "muster- 
er" or "assembler" of the hosts. 114 Ishtar of Arbela appears 
clothed in flames, equipped with quiver, short sword, and sheath, 
and standing on a leopard. 115 'Ashtart, as represented on the 
monuments of Egypt belonging to the next period, was the fear- 
ful goddess of war among the Canaanites, 116 being mentioned 
along with 'Anath as the shield of Ramses III in battle. 117 The 
trophies of war, as in the case of Saul's armor, 118 were pre- 
sented at her shrines. The astral aspect of Ishtar as the ' ' queen 
of heaven, ' ' so popular in Babylonia, and possibly an outgrowth 
of her being regarded as the leader of the hosts in battle, is, 
before the time of Manasseh, entirely absent from Canaan. 

The loose conjugal relationship existing in the matriarchal 
tribal life was destined to show itself in the realm of religion. 
Accordingly, the mother-goddess also became the patroness of 
unmarried, sensuous love. As such her character was well por- 
trayed in that of the Babylonian Ishtar who enticed 119 her 
many paramours that she might either destroy or divorce them 
at will. 120 Her retinue was composed of both male and female 
prostitutes who kept up those rites which later and purer 
religion regarded as shameful. 121 This aspect of the nature 

113 Barton, p. 86. 

lll KAT. s , pp. 430 f. 

"'KB. ii. p. 227:80; 251:52. 

11G Muller, p. 314. 

117 Breasted, ABE., iv. § 105. 

118 1 Sam. 31:10, probably at Ashkelon, Herod. I. 105. 

119 As Ukhat she enticed man to desire from the animals. (Gilgam. Epic, 
translated by Jastrow, The Eel. p. 477 fC.) With Ishtar 's descent to the 
underworld all desire failed men and beasts, KAT?, p. 428. 

1=0 In Gilgam. Epic, wife of lion, eagle, and horse. Bebraica, 1893, x. 
pp. 12-13. 

121 K AT. 3 , p. 422. Sargon's mother was a priestess who conceived in 
secret. Bebraica, x. p. 25. "Son of priest of Ishtar" frequent in con- 



94 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

of 'Ash tart gave a unique character to the cult of the goddess 
of love wherever her cult spread, as for instance, to Assyria, 
Canaan, Phoenicia, Cyprus, Carthage, and Asia Minor. 122 

Adon, 'lord," or Adonf, "my lord," was probably the 
favorite title applied by the Phoenicians and the Canaanites to 
an unnamed primitive Semitic god who was considered to be 
the son and, by a later social development in tribal society, 123 
the lover of 'Ashtart, the goddess of the oases. 124 This god 
in Babylonia became Tammuz; in South Arabia, Dhu'-l-Shara; 
in Phoenicia, probably Eshmun 12 " and perhaps also the ba'al 
of Lebanon; 120 and in Greece, Adonis. Barton suggests that 
the origin of this god may have been in some ancient tree- 
worship which was closely connected with the never-failing 
spring, the primitive natural shrine of the mother-goddess. 127 
Wherever the worship of the mother-goddess went, traces of the 
cult of the unnamed god appear in more or less close connec- 
tion. 

In Babylonia Tammuz was primarily the god of the city of 
Eridu on the Persian Gulf, making his home in the shade of 
the tree of life which stood in the midst of the garden of Eridu 
that was watered on two sides by the rivers Tigris and Euphra- 
tes. 128 The Babylonian legends picture him as a beautiful young 
shepherd suddenly slain by a boar and grievously mourned by 
the admiring goddess Ishtar who, by a famous descent to the 
lower world, went to seek her lover. Because of his connection, 
with sacred trees, Tammuz probably came to be identified with 
the life of spring vegetation which, because of the torrid heat 
of summer, withered and died. This annual dying of vegeta- 
tion announced the death of the god, whose funeral feast was 
celebrated on the second day of Tammuz by "the wailing of 

tract-tablets, ep. Hebraica, x. p. 19. All women were required to submit 
to prostitution at the temple of Aphrodite at Babylon in Herodotus' time. 
Herod, i. 199. 

'-Barton, in Bebraica, ix. pp. 131-134; Barton, p. 83. 

laa Barton, pp. 85 ff. 

12i Ibid., pp. 264 fl. 

™Ibid., pp. 265 ff. 

'-''• Since the worship of Ashtart and Adonis was inaugurated there. So 
Frazer, p. 18. 

,2; Barton, in Hebraica, 1893, vol. x. p. 73. 

128 "Tammuz" in HDB. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 95 

men . . . and women" with the words of the grieving lover 
Ishtar, "0 my brother, the only (son)," to which the mourn- 
ers further added, "Ah me, Ah me!" 129 During Ishtar 's 
absence from earth all sexual desire ceased among men and ani- 
mals, so there could be no conception till her return in the 
spring. 

Similar legends surround the Greek deity Adonis, whose 
name probably sprang from the earlier Semitic title Adorn, 
"my lord." In the country surrounding Byblos, where the 
Semitic goddess was worshipped from ancient times, a tradi- 
tion was learned by Lucian which accounted for the origin 
of the rites of Adonis that were carried on both at Byblos and 
at Aphek. It was related that the gods were jealous of Adonis' 
good fortune in winning the affection of the ba'alat, and, there- 
fore, had him, while hunting, killed by a wild boar at the great 
spring Aphek in Lebanon. Here was celebrated on a certain 
day the annual nuptials of the goddess and the beloved Adonis 
brought back from the under-world ; and, the day following, 
a great lamentation was made over the slain god. The spring in 
Aphek is the source of a river, then called Adonis, that runs 
into the sea. In mid-summer the river-water, after the spring 
freshet, is turned, by the infiltration of the red marl of Leba- 
non, into a reddish hue which tradition attributed to the influx 
of blood from the wound of Adonis slain in the mountains. 
This ruddiness of the water became, throughout the country, 
therefore, the signal for an annual lamentation, which consisted 
of wailing; beating and lacerating the breasts of the devotees; 
performing funeral rites of the dead Adonis; and, upon the 
day of his resurrection following the seven days of mourning, 
shaving the heads, and casting dust into the air. Instead of 
cutting off and sacrificing their hair women had the alterna- 
tive of sacrificing their chastity at the temple of Aphrodite. 130 
Furthermore, "gardens of Adonis" Avere planted, and wooden 
figures of the god were set in pots filled with earth along with 
cuttings of herbs which soon withered away. 131 

Traces of the old cult of Adon are undoubtedly discernible in 

1:0 IUd., Cp. Greek ailinon — ' ' woe to us, ' ' and the mythological Linos. 
""Lucian, Be Syra dea, §§ 4, 6, 8, 9. Trans, by Barton, in Eebraioa, 
x. p. 31. 

mi t < Tammuz, ' ' in HDB. 



96 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Canaanite customs. Ezekiel refers to women sitting at the north 
gate of the Temple weeping for Tammuz. 132 Similar rites are 
found in the lamentation annually observed by the women of 
Mizpah in Gilead, 133 a rite which was undoubtedly of Canaanite 
origin, since the traditions of the Danites extended back to pre- 
Israelite times. 134 The "oak of weeping" 135 below Beth-el, 
where Deborah was buried, as well as the mourning rites at the 
sanctuaries 136 is suggestive as a survival of the cult of Adon. 
Furthermore, the formulas of lamentation, "Ah my brother! 
Ah sister!" "Ah lord! Ah his glory!" 137 and "Alas, my 
brother!" 138 used over the dead reveal evidence of the old 
custom of weeping for Adon whose death coincided with and 
typified the annual death of vegetation. 139 The mention of 
"sister" probably implies a close association of Adon, as of 
old time, with 'Ashtart. The annual mourning in Palestine fell, 
according to the Canaanite calendar, on the fifth day of the last 
month of the year. 140 

The idolatrous practices of the Hebrews about 734 b. c. in 
making "plantings of pleasantness, the twigs of a strange 
(god)," 141 obviously suggest the "plantations," or "gardens 
of Adonis. ' ' These gardens were pots filled with earth in which 
grain, etc., were sown and tended for eight days. These plants 
grew rapidly under the sun's heat but withered soon after- 
wards. The power of Adonis thus manifested in the growth 
of the plants was often sought in this way to enhance the fer- 
tility and growth of plants. 142 Whether or not these private 
gardens were in any way regarded as miniatures of the gardens 
of oaks is not known. At any rate, idolaters in Israel are said 

132 8: 14. 

133 Judg. 11:40. Thus Smith, BS., pp. 415 ffi.; Moore, Judges, p. 305. 

134 Cp. MI., 10. 

135 Gen. 35:8. 

136 See p. 107. 

137 Jer. 22:18; cp. 34:5. 

133 1 K. 13:30; cp. "mourning for an only son," Am. 8:10. 

130 See Jensen, p. 197 ; Jeremias, Vie Baiylonisch-Assyrisclien Vorstel- 
lungen vom Lehen nach dem Tode, pp. 32, 41; Barton, Semitic Ishtar 
Cult, in Hebraica, vol. x. pp. 73, 74. 

"°Ezek. 8:1. 

141 Is. 17:10. 

142 See Gray, Isaiah, in Int. Crit. Com., p. 302. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 97 

to have consecrated themselves unto gardens 143 of oaks 144 under 
the shade 145 where they made sacrifices 146 and participated in 
unchaste rites. 147 Possibly the rites of prostitution, so preva- 
lent in the high places, may have been particularly sacred to 
the cult of Adon-'Ashtart, the sacred men and the sacred women 
playing respectively the roles of the living god and goddess. 148 
Ya seems, from its frequent appearances as an element in 
proper names, to have been a well-recognized deity among the 
Amorites and Canaanites. In Amorite names of the first dynasty 
of Babylon this divine name appears as Yama, 140 or Yam, 1 ' " 
or Yaum; 151 and Yawi; 10 " in Canaanite proper names as Yawi, 
or Yami; 15S Yau; 15i Ya, 15i or Y'a; 156 in Assyrian personal 
names as Yawa, 107 Yaw/ 58 or Ya'u; 1 ™ and Ya; 1C0 in Kassite 
personal names as Ya; 161 in Aramaic personal names as Yaw; 162 

143 Is. 66:17. 

'"Is. 1:29. 

115 Hos. 4:13. 

140 Is. 65:3. 

147 See p. 53. 

146 So Frazer, p. 14. 

149 Yama-erah (?), Eanke, p. 113; Yama-num, ibid., p. 114. 

150 YamWc-ilu, Yam-zi-(?), Hid. 
ai Yaum-baya(f), ibid. Yaum-ilu, KAT. 3 , p. 468. 
ls,2 Yap(=w)i'-ilu, Yap( = w)i-um, Eanke, p. 114. Ashirat-Yawi, Clay, 

Amurrv,, p. 204. 

153 AM-Yawi (or -Yami), Sellin, p. 115. 

134 Nathan-Yau, Gezerite tablet, Clay, Amurru, p. 204. 

155 Personal names : Ya-pahi, Knudtzon 297:3; Ya (h) -tin, 296:4. Place- 
names: Ya-rami, 333:10; Amm-Ya{?), 73:27, &c; Ba-ti-ya-a = Bati-Ya 
— Beth-Ya, list of Thutmose III, No. 97, cp. Bith-Ya, 1 Chr. 4:18, MVG., 
1907, p. 216. 

""Place-names: Sha-na-y-'a = Shana-Y'a, ibid., No. 115; Ba-bi-y-'d 
= Babi-Y'a, No. 118; cp. Ha-ni-m-'a — Eanim-'a, ibid., No. 95. 

™Yaua, KAT?, p. ±G5 = Yelm', Jehu, i K. 19:16, &c. 

1! "Ya-hagi, KAT. a , p. 465 — Yeho'-'ahaz, Jehoahaz, for Ahaz, 2 K. 
10:35, &c. HazaM-Yau = Hezki-Yahu, Hezekiah, 18:1, &c. 

ls9 Azri-Ya'u = 'Agar- Yahu, Azariah, 15:6, &c. 

la >Gadi-Ya, KAT. S , p. 467. 

161 Ya-Ba {?)u, Ya-bua, Clay, Personal Names, p. 82. 

1<a Azri-Yau; Azri-a(u) ; Izri-Yau (— Azri-Yau) ; Y'DY, prince on 
Zenjirli inscr. KAT. Z , pp. 54, 262, 465; Yau-bi'di, king of Hammath, 
ibid., 66, 465. 



98 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

in Hebrew personal names as Ya; 163 and in personal names of 
the Neo-Babylonian period as Yama, 1M or Yawa, leti or Yami. 160 
These variations in writing the name do not arise from the posi- 
tion of the element, whether first or last, in the theophorous 
name; for Yama, Yawi, Yau, Ya, the most oft-recurring forms, 
appear in either the first or second position. Perhaps these 
slight differences may be explained as merely dialectal. With- 
out doubt, then, it may be asserted that we have in Ya the name 
of an Amorite god, the knowledge of whom has survived only 
in theophorous names and in the not infrequent application by 
ancient Hebrew poets of this same name to Yahweh. 167 

What original connection, if any, existed between the Amorite- 
Canaanite god Ya and Yahweh, the volcanic god of the Kenites, 
whom the Hebrews adopted under the leadership of Moses, is 
not known. The name Yahweh appears to be derived from the 
old Semitic root hawah, meaning "to be." The form of the 
name may be either in the simple stem, meaning "he will be," 
or in the causative, meaning "he causes to be." It is sig- 
nificant, however, that when the Hebrews settled among the 
Canaanites the name of the Canaanite Ya and that of the 
Hebrew Yahweh were, probably because of the similarity of 
sound, identified, as is shown by the use of these names in proper 
names and in the poetic use of Ya for Yahweh. Thus Yahweh 
appears as the initial element in some compound Hebrew names 
as Yeho 1GS sometimes contracted to Yd, 1 ™ and in some Baby- 
lonian names of the Neo-Babylonian period as Yalm; 170 and as 
the final element in other Hebrew names as Yahu or Yah. 111 
Confirmatory of this identification is the fact that the Assyr- 
ian royal scribes transliterated the Hebrew initial Yeho and 

103 'Abi-Ya = Abijah, and others, Gray, pp. 162 ff. 

W4 AM-Xdma, Gadal-Yama, Hanani-Yama, Yadeh-Yama, Igdal-Yama, 
Pad-(Y)ama, Pili-Yama, Tiri-Yama, KAT. 3 , pp. 466 ff. 

105 Abi-Yawa, Clay, Business Documents of the Murashu Sons, p. 19. 

169 Ah-Yami, ibid. 

1117 Ex. 15:2; 17:16 (emended text); Is. 38:11; Song of Sol. 8:6; 
Ps. 68:19. 

108 Yeho-nathan, 1 Sam. 14:6, &c; Yeho-sMa' , Deut. 3:21, &e.; Yeho- 
'ash, 2 K. 12:1, &c; and others. 

109 Yo-tham, 2 K. 15:5, &c; Yo-'el, 1 Sam. 8:2, &c; and others. 
1,0 Yalm-lakim, Yahu-lunu, Yahu-natanu, KAT.", p. 466. 

171 See Gray, p. 162 f. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 99 

the final Yahii in Hebrew royal names as Yau, 172 which as we 
have seen above, is a cuneiform variation of Ya. 17S 

Ya'kob, the " supplanter, " appears to have been a deity in 
Canaan since the name appears in Yakob-'el, a place-name 
recorded by Thutmose III, 174 and in Yakob-her, the name of a 
Hyksos king. 173 The parallel Yakub-ilu, "Yakub is god," in 
the Babylonian lists 170 confirms this conclusion and suggests a 
great antiquity for the cult of this god. Furthermore, the best 
interpretation of the Hebrew tradition, ascribing the origin of 
the sanctuary at Beth-el to Jacob, 177 is that Ya'akob, the old 
numen of the sacred stone, was worshipped by Israel ; and 
finally, because of the supremacy of Yahweh, was lowered to the 
level of an ancestor. Somehow the name of the numen of 
Beth-el gave its name to the worshipping tribe, as well as to 
its city or district; and, when the native tribe was absorbed 
and its god adopted by Israel, the transaction could easily pass 
over into the later tradition accounting for the change of 
Jacob's name to that of Israel."* 

Possibly this deity, according to a poetic reference, 170 won the 
title of abir, "the strong," from which the inference may be 
drawn that the bull was already sacred to the god of Beth-el 
long before Jeroboam made Beth-el the royal sanctuary. 180 

Shalom, "peace," is a West-Semitic deity who seems to 
have had some early connection with S{h)almdti, an Elamite 
name for NINIB. 181 This deity was received into the Assyrian 
pantheon, as a number of personal names, 182 of which one is 

172 See notes 157-159 above. 

1,3 For further discussion see KAT. 3 , pp. 465 ff. ; Jastrow, in JBL., 
siii., pp. 101 ff. ; ZA., x. pp. 222 ff. ; Clay, Light on the Old Testament, 
pp. 241 ff.; Amurru, pp. 202 ff. 

™Y-'-k-b-'a-ra, Miiller, p. 162. 

175 "Jakob is satisfied," Breasted, HE., p. 220; Meyer, Israeliten, p. 
282. 

170 Eanke, p. 113. 

177 Gen. 28:10-22; Meyer, ibid., pp. 278-286; von Gall, pp. 94 ff. 
See p. 32. 

178 Gen. 32:29(28). 
,7 »Gen. 49:24. 

180 1 K. 12:28 ff.; Am. 7:13. 
181 KAT.', p. 474. 

182 Sh(S)ulmanu-nunu, Temen-Salimi, Shulmani-nunu-shar-ildni, Shalim- 
xikin, Sh(S)ulmanu-imme, KAT. 3 , p. 475. 



100 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

that of a king, 183 clearly attest. In the West the early mentioned 
place-names Uru-8alim 18i Shalma-ydti 185 Shalamna, 180 Salem, 18 ' 
and Shalom 188 and many personal names compounded with 
Shalom from many sources — namely, the Old Testament, 1550 
cuneiform texts, 190 and Phoenician, 191 Nabatsean, 102 Sinaitic 103 
Palmyrene, 104 and Hebrew 105 inscriptions — reveal no small 
degree of influence exerted by this cult. Possibly shalom, the 
Hebrew farewell greeting, 196 is a survival of an ancient invoca- 
tion of this god. 

'Amor, who was probably the eponym of the 'Emorl, "Amor- 
ites," 197 evidently was a deity because this name frequently 
occurs in proper names. It appears to be present in Baby- 
lonia in Ammuru, 198 in the two Amorite names of the first 
dynasty Amri-ilishu wo and Humurum, 200 in personal names of 
the Kassite period. 201 In the West the land of Amor, 202 men- 

183 Shulman-asliaridu =1 Shalman-'eser, 2 K. 17:3. 

184 Knudtzon, 289:14, &a. = Yeru-Shalaim, Josh. 10:1, &c. 

185 Knudtzon, 155:6, 26, 42, 50. 

186 Sha-ra-ma-na, Spiegelberg, ZA., xlii. (1898), pp. 120 ff. 

187 Gen. 14:18. 

^S'-r'-m, Breasted, ABE., iii. § 356; Miiller, p. 220. 

^Salmon, Buth 4:21; Salmay, Ezr. 2:46; Shillem, Gen. 46:24, &c. = 
Shallum, 2 K. 15:10, &e.; Shelomo, Solomon, 2 S. 12:24, &c; Shelomoth, 
1 Chr. 24:22; Shelomlth, 1 Chr. 26:28, &c; Shelomi, Num. 34:27; Shel- 
umi-'el, Num. 1:6; Shelem-Yah(u) , Jer. 36:14; 'Abi-Shalom, 1 K. 15:2; 
Salami-el, Num. 34:20, LXX for Shemu-'el; Selemios, Jer. 43:12, LXX 
(36:12 Heb.) for Sliema' -Tahw ; Bishlam, Ezr. 4:7, probably for Ben- 
Shelam. 

190 Salamanu, KB., ii. p. 21; op. Hos. 10:14. 

™ShLM-N-, name of a deity, Ldzb., HNE., p. 377; B'L-ShLM, CIS., i. 
95,3; 338,3; 679,3; Ldzb., HNE., p. 241. 

1!a ShLM-W, Ldzb., HNE., p. 376. 

193 ShLM-W, ShLM-YW, ShLM-NIN, Ldzb., HNE., pp. 376, 377. 

w ShLM-', ShLM-WY, ShLM-Y, Ldzb., HNE., p. 376; SKLM-LT, 
ShLM-I, ShLM-N, ibid., p. 377. 

195 ShLM-SLWN, ibid., p. 377 ; SJiLM, a potter 's name, Bliss and Macal., 
p. 119. 

^'Gen. 43:23; Judg. 6:23; 18:6; 19:20; 1 Sam. 1:17; 25:6, &c. 

197 Num. 21:13. 

198 KAT. 3 , p. 447. 
190 Banke, p. 65. 

200 Ibid., p. 87. 

201 See Clay, Personal Names, pp. 54 ff. 

202 Y-m-r, Breasted, ARE., iii. § 141, &e. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 101 

tioned in Seti I's accounts; the Amarna personal names Amur- 
ia'alu; 203 the Old Testament place-name 'Immer; Wi and 
several Old Testament, 205 one Aramaic, 206 one Nabataean, 207 
and two Palmyrene 20S personal names are to be noticed for 
native survivals of this divine name. 

Han, or Hen, "favor," evidently was a "West-Semitic deity 
as inferred from the occurrence of this element in early Baby- 
lonian names 209 in parallelism with similar names in the West, 
namely, the Amarna place-name Sham-Huna, 210 which appears 
later in the form Beth-Hanan; 211 and in many Old Testament, 212 
and in a few Phoenician, 213 Punic, 2 " Hebrew, 215 Nabataean, 216 
and Sinaitic 217 personal names. 

Bes (?), the Egyptian name for some unknown Semitic god 
whose worship entered Egypt probably through Canaanite influ- 
ences long before 2000 b. c. appears, according to the oldest 
Egyptian representations, to have been a lion-killer and a pro- 
tector against wild animals and snakes ; 21S and, therefore, to 

203 Knudtzon, 170:38. 

204 Ezr. 2:59, &c. 

" m 'ImrT, 1 Chr. 9:4, &c; 'Amar-Yali(u), 1 Chr. 23:19; Omar, Gen. 
36:11, &e.; 'Immer, 1 Chr. 24:14, &c. 
200 'MB', Ldzb., HNE., p. 221. 

207 'MBT-, Ldzb., HNE., p. 221; 'MEW, Ldzb., EPH., ii. p. 412. 

208 'MB-Sh', Ldzb., HNE., p. 221; 'MB-Sh', Ldzb., EPH., i. p. 361. 
208 Hani-rabi, ' ' Han is high, ' ' Eanke, pp. 86, 199. 

210 Knudtzon, 225:4. 

211 1 K. 4:9. 

- 1 - Ba' al-Hanan, Gen. 36:38; Hen, Zech. 6:14; Hannah, 1 Sam. 1:2, &c; 
Hanan, 1 Chr. 11:43, &c; Hanun, 2 Sam. 10:1, &c; Hanni-'el, Num. 
34:23, &c; Hanan- 'el, Jer. 31:38, &c; Hena-dad, Ezr. 3:9, &e.; Hananl, 
1 K. 16:1, &c; Hanan-Yahu, Jer. 36:12, &c; Han-Nathon, place-name, 
Josh. 19:14. 

™HNN-B('L), Ldzb., HNE., p. 278; 'L-HNN, p. 217; HN-' ShTBT, 
Ldzb., EPH., i. p. 355. 

™HN-$D, HN-TS, HN-B'L, HN-MLKBT, Ldzb., HNE., p. 278; HN>, 
HNDB, p. 277; MLKBT-HN, MLKBT-HN', p. 312; HN'-MLK, HN- 
YHD?, 'L-HNN, Ldzb., EPH., i. p. 355. 

215 B' L-HNN, Ldzb., HNE., p. 240; HNN-YHW, p. 278; YHW-HNN, 
p. 286; 'L-HNN, Ldzb., EPH., p. 352; HNN, p. 406; HNN-YH, ii. 
p. 406. 

™HN-'L, Ldzb., EPH., ii. p. 416; HN-ILN, Ldzb., HNE., p. 278; 
HN-'L, p. 277. " 

2IT HN-TLW, Ldzb., HNE., p. 278. 

218 Muller, pp. 310, 311. 



102 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

have been a type of the Babylonian Gilgamesh. As an Egyp- 
tian god his worship returned to Palestine during the next 
period. 

Har-Sopd, a protecting god of the desert residing eastward 
from the land of Goshen, was known to the Egyptians. 219 He 
may have been a Semitic deity. 

Pathah, the "opener," appears as the name of a Semitic god 
whose cult obtained an early foothold in northern Egypt. His 
name and possibly his cult seem to have been continued in 
Egypt in the name and worship of Pitah, the artificer god. 220 
The Canaanite place-names Yiphtah-'el 221 "the opener is god," 
and Yiphtah 222 the Gileadite hero-name Yiphtah 22i and the 
Hebrew personal name Pethah-Ya 22i appears to preserve the 
name of this old Semitic god. 

218 Erman, A., A Handbook of Egyptian Beligion, 1907, p. 18. 

220 Hall, The Ancient Religion of the Near East, pp. 85 ff. 

221 Josh. 19:14, 27. 
222 15:43. 

223 Judg. 11:1, &c. 
224 1 Chr. 24:16, &c. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 103 



CHAPTER XIV 

PANTHEON : CULT OF THE DEAD 1 

It was the common belief of all primitive peoples that the 
spirits of the departed not only retained their spiritual powers 
possessed in life but also acquired new supernatural powers 
which rendered them worthy of worship as gods. As such they 
were worshipped with the same rites as the other gods. In 
Babylonia they were called ekimmu, "ghosts of the departed," 
and in Canaan 'elohlm, "gods," and repha'im, "shades." It 
was, moreover, believed that the superior knowledge and the 
supernatural power which these disembodied spirits possessed 
put them in a position to bring blessing or bane upon the liv- 
ing, according as the latter rendered, or failed to render, them 
honor through the rites of burial and of offering. 

1. The sanctity of tombs. The veneration which everywhere 
was accorded the graves of the dead is in itself conclusive evi- 
dence that the spirits of the dead were worshipped. The ancient 
Arabs made their graves like the sanctuaries, surrounding them 
with a hima, or sacred enclosure, and erecting pillars. 2 Nearly 
every hill-top to-day in Palestine has its tomb where some wely, 
"patron," sheikh, "chief," or neby, "prophet," is wor- 
shipped by all sects. Many of the Canaanite sanctuaries, which 
the Hebrews adopted, were centers of the worship of old heroes 
whom the Hebrews, after years of occupation, came to regard as 
their own tribal ancestors. The stories which cluster about 
these tombs in the Old Testament narrative are popular tra- 
ditions that clearly show the desire on the part of the writer 
to prove them to be ancestral tombs and, therefore, the legiti- 
mate places of worship in the early religion of Yahweh. These 
Canaanite sanctuaries, whose worship was, partially at least, 
set apart to the cult of heroes and ancestors, were 'Abel-mis- 

'For the most important literature on Ancestor-worship among the 
Hebrews see BW., vol. 35 (1910), p. 80. 
2 Wellh., p. 184. 



104 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

raim, 3 'Ayyalon, 4 Beth-Leliem* ' Emek-repha'im, 11 Gib'ath 
Phinehas, 7 Kadesh, s Kamon, Kiryath-'arba' , 10 Mahaneh- 
Dan, 11 Moserah, 12 Oboth, 13 Pir' athon, 14, Shamir, 15 Shekem, le and 
Yabesh-gil' ad. 11 Tombs are known also to have been connected 
with the sanctuaries at Beth-'el, ls Gezer,™ Beth-Shemesh, 20 
Megiddo 21 and Taanach. 22 The tombs of the kings of Judah, 
which the writer of Kings is ever careful to mention, were, 
to infer from Ezekiel 43 :7-9, adjacent to the sanctuary on 
Mount Zion. The "abominations" which Ezekiel says were 
carried on here could have been none other than the cult of 
the dead. The uncleanness which came through personal con- 
tact with a corpse or a tomb in later Yahwism 23 had its origin in 
the developing conception that the worship of the spirits of 
the dead at the grave was subversive of the sole authority of 
Yahweh. The uncleanness came from the nephesh, or "soul," 
which was thought to reside in the bones, and not from the 
bones themselves. 

2. Of the rites connected with the cult of the dead we are 
sure of the following : 

a. Fasting was probably a ceremonial preparation for par- 

5 Gen. 50:11. 

4 Judg. 12:12; cp. Gen. 46:14; Num. 26:26. 

5 Judg. 12:10. 

""valley of shades," 2 Sam. 5:22-24. 

7 Josh. 24:33. 

8 Num. 20:1. 

B Judg. 10:5; cp. Num. 32:41. 

10 Or Hebron, Gen. 23:1-20; 25:9,10; 49:29-32; 50:13. 

u Judg. 16:31. 

12 Deut. 10:6. 

13 "Ghosts," Num. 21:10. 

"Judg. 12:15. 

13 10:1. 

'"Josh. 24:32. 

"1 Sam. 31:13; 1 Chr. 10:12. 

18 Gen. 35:8. 

19 Macalister, EG., i. pp. 392 ff. 
W PEFA., ii. pp. 58 ff. 

21 Sellin, pp. 14 ff. 
- 2 See p. 39. 

2S Lev. 21:1-11; 22:4; Num. 5:2; 6:6, 11; 9:6-10; 19:11 ff.; Deut. 
26:14; Ezek. 43:7 ff.; Hag. 2:13; Matt. 23:27. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 105 

taking of the sacred meal, 24 and was therefore analogous to the 
Roman Catholic custom of fasting before communion. This rite 
was practiced in the cult of the dead, commonly lasting till 
sundown on the day of death, 25 when the body was buried and 
the funeral-feast spread. On one occasion, which must have 
been an exceptional one, the period extended over seven days, 20 
food being taken, as in the Mohammedan feast of Ramadan, only 
after sun-down. 

b. Removal of garments, as an act of mourning, probably 
had its origin in the thought of self-humiliation; since the 
mourner, in the act of communing with the departed spirit, did 
not wish by wearing a garment to appear to a greater advantage 
than the corpse, which was buried naked, as a Babylonian relief 
shows. Among the ancient Arabs it was customary for mourn- 
ing women to expose their faces, breasts and, sometimes, their 
entire bodies ; while bearers of evil tidings either wholly or par- 
tially divested themselves of their garments. 27 Frequent repre- 
sentations of naked worshippers in Babylonian art presuppose 
an old custom of removing one's garments before approaching 
the deity. 2S The ancient Arabs were wont to encircle the sacred 
Ka' aba in a condition of nudity ; while, to-day, only a loin-cloth 
is allowed. Similarly the old Hebrew seers, whose origin as a 
guild is Canaanite, also practiced such things. Saul, in a state 
of religious ecstacy, stripped off his clothes, and lay naked all 
night. 29 Prophets, in symbolizing the act of mourning, some- 
times went naked. 30 These primitive customs, however, because 
of rising standards of decency, became mitigated by the prophet 
wearing a hairy mantle 31 and mourners, sackcloth on their 
loins. 32 It is significant that shakku, the special mourning and 
penitential garment among the Babylonians, 33 bears an evident 

-* Smith, BS., p. 434. 
" ! 2 Sam. 1:12; 3:35. 
26 1 Sam. 31:13. 
27 Wellh., pp. 177, 195. 
28 Jastrow, The Mel., p. 666. 
20 1 Sam. 19:24. 
30 Is. 20:2; Mic. 1:8. 

31 Cp. 2 K. 1 :8 with 1 K. 19 :13, &c, See XXIII. 2. 

32 Gen. 37:34; 2 Sam. 3:31. 
23 EAT. 3 , p. 603. 



106 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

connection with the Hebrew sak, ' ' sackcloth. ' ' A still later cus- 
tom was to remove simply the sandals 34 or to rend the upper 
garments. 35 

c. Cutting off the hair, or the heard, or both. Among the 
ancient Arabs the men shaved off their hair and their beards, 
and the women cut off their hair in the rite of mourning. This 
was done probably for the purpose of making an offering of 
hair to the dead. 30 Among the Syrians, offerings of hair were 
made by the women to the goddess; and, among the Hebrews, 
by the Nazirites to Yahweh. 37 As strength was thought to reside 
in the hair, 3s an offering of hair to the dead was intended to 
impart strength to them. Shaving the head 39 and the beard 40 
were common acts of mourning among the Hebrews. These acts 
the later law prohibited because they were associated with the 
cult of the dead. 41 Shaving the head was conventionalized later 
into merely shaving a spot above the forehead 42 or into pulling 
out some of the hair. 43 

d. Cutting the flesh may have been practiced, in connection 
with mourning, for the purpose of supplying blood as an offering 
to give strength to the feeble shades. 44 Or it may have been 
the means of establishing a blood-covenant with the shades. 45 
This was customary among the Hebrews 40 and the ancient 
Arabs; 47 and was not proscribed by the Hebrew law till after 
the Exile, when it, together with tattooing the face, was strictly 
forbidden because of its connection with the cult of the dead. 4S 
Tattoo marks branded one as a constant devotee of the deity. 

34 Ex. 3:5; Josh. 5:15; 2 Sam. 15:30; Ezek. 24:17. 
3 = Gen. 37:34; Lev. 21:10; Num. 14:6; Ezr. 9:3. 

36 Smith, BS., pp. 323-326. See Wellh., pp. 181, 195 ff. 

37 Num. 6:18. 
38 Judg. 16:17. 

30 Lev. 14:8, 9; 21:5; Num. 6:9; Deut. 21:12; Is. 15:2; 22:12; Jer. 
16:6; 47:5; 48:37; Mie. 1:16. 
"Is. 15:2; Jer. 41:5; 48:37. 
"Lev. 21:5. 

12 Deut. 14:1. 

13 Ezr. 9:3. 

"Jevons, F. S., An Introduction to the History of Beligion, pp. 191 ff. 
"Smith, BS., pp. 322 ff. Cp. 1 K. 18:28. 
"Jer. 16:6; 41:5; 47:5; 48:37. 
" Wellh., p. 181. 
4S Lev. 19:28. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 107 

e. Covering one's self with dust or ashes was an act of 
mourning both among the Hebrews and the Arabs. 49 With the 
Hebrews it varied from wallowing in the dust 50 — its most orig- 
inal form — to simply putting dust on the head, 51 or sitting in 
dust or ashes. 52 It was undoubtedly expressive of the mourn- 
er's desire to become identified with the dead by this symbolic 
act of burial. 53 

/. Covering the head and face ni was either a substitute for 
cutting off the hair and beard, which were regarded as personal 
adornments, and was thus an act symbolizing self-humiliation; 
or it was an act designed to protect the eyes from beholding 
the ghost. 55 This fear of beholding the deity was shared by the 
Hebrews. 50 

g. Prayer and lamentation. Lamentation, among the Sem- 
ites, was an accompaniment of all solemn supplications at the 
sanctuary, 57 being an outward sign of sincerity and of repent- 
ance for sin. Naturally lamentation came to accompany prayer 
also in the cult of the dead. The Babylonians formally lamented 
the dead, employing professional mourners to mourn and to 
sing dirges. 58 The period of mourning extended from three to 
seven days. The ancient Arabs while mourning addressed the 
dead with the usual invocation "Be not far away." 59 Among 
the Hebrews the custom was originally to address by a bewailing 
cry a prayer to the departed spirit in such terms as, "0 my 
son," 00 "Ah my brother," "Ah sister" 01 and "Ah, lord." 02 
Lamentations were originally addressed to the dead; 03 but, as 

10 Wellh., p. 177. 

50 Esth. 4:3; Jer. 6:26; Ezek. 27:30; Mic. 1:10. 

51 Josh. 7:6; 1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam. 1:2; 13:19; Esth. 4:1; Job 3:12; 
Lam. 2:10; Ezek. 27:30. 

52 Job 2:8; Is. 26:19; 47:1; 52:2; 58:5; Ezek. 28:18. 
53 Paton, in BW., vol. 35 (1910), p. 83. 

54 2 Sam. 13:19; 15:30; 19:5(4); Esth. 6:12; Ezek. 24:17, 22; Mic. 
3:7. 

55 G. Margoliouth, in HEBE., i. p. 448. 
3e Ex. 3:6; 33:20; 1 K. 19:13. 

"Judg. 11:38-40; cp. Am. 8:10; Zeeh. 12:11. 

5S Jastrow, The Eel., p. 604. 

'"HERE., i. p. 672*. 

°°2 Sam. 19:1 (18:33). 

01 Jer. 22:18; cp. 2 Sam. 1:26. 

62 Jer. 22:18; 34:5. 

03 2 Sam. 1:26. 



108 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

time went on, they became crystallized into set formulas and 
dirges 64 in which every vestige of prayer was lost. Professional 
mourners now did the mourning for the family. 65 Prayer to 
Abraham and to the patriarchs at the tomb in Hebron has prob- 
ably been offered through all the centuries. 06 It is offered to-day 
by the Jews, Moslems, and Christians. 

3. Offerings to the dead were made, not only to supply 
the needs of the spirit in its new existence, but also to pay 
it homage lest its restlessness should cause it to roam the earth 
and do harm. This appears to have been a universal custom 
among primitive peoples reaching as far back as the age of the 
mammoth. 07 It was extremely important that the corpse should 
be properly buried and that common articles of everyday life 
should be deposited with it. The deposits which the Babylonians 
made with their dead were determined by the principles that 
the future life was a repetition of the present, and that the 
soul needed those things to which it was accustomed in this life. 
Thus, with dead children, toys were deposited; with women, 
ornaments, flowers, and cosmetics; with men, weapons; and 
with all, food and drink offerings. Entrances were made to 
tombs 68 for renewed offerings, and fresh water was directed 
thither by means of clay drains. 69 As far back as 2200 b. c. 
it was customary to hold funeral festivities in honor of departed 
kings and to offer sacrifices to them. 70 Sons, particularly the 
eldest, and other descendants took the leading part in these 
celebrations, in which the people generally shared. The rite 
of offering incense to the dead is clearly depicted on an ancient 
bronze tablet. 71 One late Assyrian king dedicated gold and 
silver vessels as offerings to his father. 72 Another "appears at 
the tombs" of his ancestors "with rent garments, pours out a 

"1:17; 3:33. 

ffi 2 Chr. 35:25; Jer. 9:16 ff.(17 ff.) ; Am. 5:16. 
00 Cp. Is. 63:16. 

67 D 'Alviella, Hiooert Lectures, p. 17; De la Saussaye, Manual of the 
Science of Beligion, pp. Ill ff. 
08 Peters, Nippur, ii. pp. 173 ff. 
""Koldewey, in ZA., ii. (1887), p. 414. 

70 Jastrow, The Bel., p. 561. 

71 Maspero, pp. 690 ff. 

72 L. "W. King, Babylonian Beligion and Mythology, p. 49. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 109 

libation to the memory of the dead, and offers up a prayer 
addressed to them." 73 Similar customs are found among the 
Greeks and the ancient Arabs. Ulysses poured out the blood 
of sheep, and poured libations of honey, sweet wine, and water 
to the shades. 74 The Arabs were wont to tether a camel, that 
had previously been rendered useless by laming, near the grave 
and let it starve to death with the evident intention of furnish- 
ing a means of conveyance to the departed soul. About 1100 
A. d. certain Arabs of northern Yemen, in showing honor to a 
dead man according to this ancient custom, broke 1,000 swords 
and 300 bows, and lamed 70 horses. 75 Rendering these things 
useless for the service of the living helped the primitive mind 
to fancy that they were dedicated to the service of the dead. 
There are traces of such offerings having been offered to the 
dead as hair, incense, food, and drink. 70 

The excavations in Palestine reveal abundant evidence that 
offerings of all kinds were deposited with the dead ; which fact, 
taken in connection with the custom given above and with sur- 
vivals among the Hebrews, warrants us in positing similar 
practices for the early Semites of Canaan. In the first three 
Semitic levels, food and drinking vessels, gifts of ornaments, 
weapons, and other things which the spirit was thought to need 
in the future life, are usually found deposited with the dead. 77 
In the later levels lamps are found in great profusion ; 7S which 
fact suggests that, as the Babylonian conception of the dead 
descending into Sheol came gradually to dominate the older and 
more primitive view that the nephesh lingered about the tomb, 
the idea gained currency that the soul would need a light to 
find its way in the region of darkness. 79 

73 Jastrow, The Bel, p. 605. 

'"Odyssey, xi. 26 ff. 

"Wellh., pp. 180 ff.; HERE., i. p. 672b. 

78 Wellh., pp. 177 ff.; Doughty, i. pp. 450 ff.; Curtiss, pp. 188 ff.; 
HEBE., i. p. 672b. 

"Gezer — Macalister, EG., i. pp. 392 ff.; Taanaeh— Sellin, pp. 33, 34; 
Megiddo — Schumacher, pp. 13 f., 25, 54 ff.; Laehish — Petrie, IS., p. 32; 
Beth-Shemesh— TEE A., 1912-13, pp. 40 ff.; Tell Zekariyeh— Bliss and 
Maeal., p. 151. 

78 E. g., Gezer— Macalister, EG., pp. 393 ff.; Beth-Shemesh— PEE A., 
pp. 47, 65, 70. 

70 See Chap. XVI. ii. 



110 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

The radical opposition of Yahwism to the cult of the dead 
may account for the meager traces among the Hebrews of the 
practice of offering gifts to the dead; but enough survives to 
give no uncertain confirmation of the existence of this uni- 
versal custom. The loyal worshippers of Yahweh, according to 
the Deuteronomic law, were expected to disclaim any connec- 
tion with the heathen practice of partaking of funeral feasts 
and "giving thereof for (or to ?) the dead." s0 It was the 
usual custom, as in the case of Asa, 81 to "make a burn- 
ing" for the dead king. 82 Ezekiel implies that the cult 
of the dead kings was carried on under the very shadow of the 
temple. 83 ' ' Neither shall men break bread for a mourner to com- 
fort him for the dead, nor shall one give him the cup of con- 
solation to drink on account of his father or his mother," nor 
shall one "go into the house of feasting to sit with them to 
eat and drink," 84 are commands which reveal the ban put 
upon this cult. Participation in the funeral repast 85 rendered 
one unclean for approach to Yahweh because it involved paying 
homage to another god. Yahweh was provoked by the fore- 
fathers who "ate the sacrifices of the dead," 80 and also by 
certain post-Exilic idolaters who "dwelt among the graves and 
lodged among the tombs" 87 for the purpose of consulting the 
dead. 

The conception inherent in the funeral feast, as in other 
mourning rites, was undoubtedly that of a communion between 
the mourner and the dead. 

The important function of offering sacrifices to the dead 
devolved upon the first-born son, as is indicated by the Baby- 
lonian custom mentioned above and by the importance which 
the Hebrews attached to male offspring. In view of this duty 
the eldest son was given a double portion of the inheritance. 88 

80 Deut. 26:14. 
81 2 Chr. 16:14. 
8 -2 Chr. 21:19; Jer. 34:5. 
83 43: 7-9. 

84 Jer. 16:7, 8 (emended text); cp. Ezek. 24:17, "eat the bread of 
mourning" (emended text). 
S5 Deut. 26:14; Hos. 9:4. 
SG Ps. 106:28. 
87 Is. 65:4. 
^Deut. 21:15 ff. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 111 

To have no son was considered the greatest misfortune S9 and 
a mark of the deity's displeasure. 90 To overcome such a con- 
dition various expedients were resorted to, such as the hus- 
band's taking a concubine, 01 or adopting a son, 02 or the wife's 
seeking, according to the levirate law, 03 offspring through mar- 
riage with a brother of the deceased or with his nearest male 
kin. The son thus obtained was to carry on the cult of his 
father so as to give the spirit rest. 

4. Necromancy. In process of time the functions of con- 
sulting the dead, like similar methods of seeking revelations 
from deities, came to be taken by a specialist known as the 
necromancer. Among the Arabs every magician has his tabi' , 
"follower," or familiar spirit, whom he consults for revelations 
on favorable occasions. Gilgamesh called up the ghost of Ea- 
bani; 04 and the witch of En-dor, the shade of Samuel. Down 
through the period of the kings, in spite of the attempt of 
Josiah to stamp out the custom, 93 the people were wont to con- 
sult, on behalf of the living, the ghosts and familiar spirits 
that gibber and moan rather than Yahweh. 00 It is significant, 
as connecting necromancy with offerings to the dead, that kispu, 
the Babylonian word for "food-offering" for the dead, 97 
appears to have an etymological connection with kesheph, the 
Hebrew word for sorcery. 08 

S, E. g., Gen. 30:1. 

90 1 Sam. 1:5; cp. Ex. 20:5; 34:7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9. 

01 Gen. 16:1 ff. 

M 15:2 ff. 

M 38:8; Deut. 25:5; Ruth 2:20; 4:1 ff., &c. 

04 Gil. Epic, xii. Col. 3. 

M 2 K. 21:6; 23:24. 

00 Is. 8:19; cp. 19:3; 29:4; 47:12, 13. 

01 KAT?, p. 640. 

05 Is. 47:9, 12; Mic. 5:11(12) ; Nah. 3:4. 



112 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



CHAPTER XV 

PANTHEON : FOREIGN CULTS 

Babylonian Influence. During the supremacy of the Baby- 
lonian civilization in the West-land many elements of that civili- 
zation were adopted in Palestine, of which the most important 
was the use of the Babylonian cuneiform 1 as a medium of official 
correspondence even down through the two centuries of Egyp- 
tian supremacy which lasted to about 1300 b. c. Other evidences 
of the eastern civilization in the West are found in fashions 
of dress; in art-motives in pottery; in architectural designs; 
in temples; in ancient seal cylinders pictured with religious 
scenes found in the old levels; 2 and in a tablet, found in the 
first Semitic level at Gezer, impressed with a zodiacal cylinder 
on which were represented several Babylonian gods. 3 The 
mythological conceptions furnishing the basis for the mono- 
theistic revisions that now appear in the Old Testament accounts 
of creation, garden of Eden, the flood, and of the birth of Moses 
possess a distinct Babylonian coloring in spite of the lapse of 
time from their reception in Canaan during Amorite times down 
to their incorporation into Hebrew life and thought. 4 Along 
with these influences and ideas there came Babylonian religious 
elements which continued down through the Canaanite period 
and left their impression on Hebrew religion. Summarized 
briefly, these are the technical terms of religious rites ; the special 
kinds of offerings; the doctrine of Sheol; the reverence for 
certain sacred numbers, for religious rites, such as prostitu- 
tion, swearing, and divination, and for a priesthood requiring 
strict ceremonial cleanness ; and the sacred annual, monthly, and 
weekly feasts. 5 In this enumeration the archaeologist is ever 
confronted with the difficulty of finding the line of cleavage 

1 Amarna letters found at Tell el Amarna, Egypt. 

2 Bliss and Macal., pp. 41, 153 ; Sellin, p. 105. 
8 Maealister, EG., ii. pp. 344 ft. 

'Consult Paton, pp. 49 ff.; Meyer, $ 469; KAT?, p. 506 ff. 

5 Cp. Haupt, in JBL., xix. (1900), pp. 55 ff.; See Rites, chapter VIII. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 113 

between the purely Babylonian and the purely Semitic. A care- 
ful survey of the facts will force the investigator to admit that 
the Babylonian culture and religion was, on the whole, less 
warmly welcomed in Canaan than among the Assyrians, Lulu- 
ba;ans, and Gutseans ;" and, when account is taken of the 
unique Palestinian developments, especially in the religious field, 
one is struck with the paucity of Babylonian religious concep- 
tions. Several gods of the Babylonian par±i.heon left slight traces 
of their cults, particularly in the superficial way of surviving 
geographical and personal names, the latter of which are few 
and uncertain. 

Nabu, or Nebo, bears a genuine Semitic name meaning in 
Assyrian "to announce." 7 According to Barton, 8 he was a Sem- 
itic deity before he received his Babylonian coloring. If this be 
true, he was first the god of deep water and fertility, the pro- 
tector of agriculture, and the waterer of the fields. Prob- 
ably his later association with Ea led to his becoming the god 
of wisdom, the protecting patron of literature and the art 
of writing. He is represented as the scribe who records for the 
gods on the tablet of destiny the fate of men. 10 Bearing also 
the name Papsukal, "highest or holiest messenger," he was 
also the herald of the gods. Whether or not Nebo won his way 
into Palestine prior to his assumption of Babylonian coloring is 
not known; but, at any rate, his name finds expression in 
Ka-ira-W n-bu, "city of Nabu," 11 of the thirteenth century; in 
Nebo, both a mountain 12 and a city 13 of Gad; in Nebo, a town 
of Judah; 11 in Nob of Benjamin, 15 and possibly in Nabai of 
Gilead. 10 It survives also in Old Testament, 17 Phoenician, 18 

"Meyer, § 469; Cook, p. 112. 

7 nabu. 

8 Barton, p. 212. 

9 Jastrow, Die Bel., i. p. 118. 
10 KAT. S , p. 401; Jastrow, ibid., p. 121. 

11 Miiller, p. 174. 

12 Num. 33:47, &c. 

13 1 Chr. 5:8; Jer. 48:1 — NBH in MI., 14. 

"Ezr. 2:29; Neh. 7:33. 

13 1 Sam. 22:19; perhaps = Is. 10:32. 

10 LXX Nabai for Nobah {MI), Judg. 8:11. 

" Naboth, 1 K. 21:1, &c; Nabau, LXX for Nobah, Num. 32:42. 

1S -NB-'LZ, Ldzb., HNE., p. 321. 



114 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Aramaic, 19 and Palmyrene 20 personal names. Whether or not 
the Canaanite prophetism had its origin in the Nabu-cult, it 
is interesting, at least, to observe an analogy between the two. 
The Hebrew word for prophet, nabi', may be related to Nabu. 21 
The prophetic functions of bearing messages, 22 speaking in 
frenzy, 23 deciding the destiny of kings, 24 and possibly of guard- 
ing and encouraging literary productions; and the conception 
of Yahweh's "book of remembrance"; 25 and of Israel's elec- 
tion bear remarkable resemblance to the nature and functions 
of Nabu. 26 

Nergal, like NIN-IB, was god of war and of the chase. 27 
He held also the offices of god of disease, of the glowing sun, 
of the waxing and waning moon, and of the underworld. 
During the shortening days before the winter solstice and the 
lengthening days after it, Nergal, as the sun, was thought to 
tarry in the underworld. This annual waxing and waning of 
the sunlight being attributed to the influence of Nergal, lent 
an analogous conception to the waxing and waning lunar cres- 
cent. 28 Thus Nergal won the name of twin moon, or double 
moon, being revealed in the two forms, Lugalgira and Shitlam- 
taea, which in the Westland were designated Sharrabu and 
Birdu 29 the two desert demons who were also identified in the 
West with the waxing and the waning moon, and respectively 
inflicted upon man the fever stroke and the chills. 30 Nergal 's 
role as a god of fever and of pestilence may be seen in a letter 

"NBW-'LH, NBW-NIN, NBW-ShLM, NBW-SB-DN, NB-BB, Ldzb., 
ENE., pp. 320, 321; 'BD-NBW, ibid. p. 205; GD-NBW, ibid. p. 249; 
'BD-NBW, ibid. p. 345; NBW-BP', Ldzb. EPH., ii. p. 419. 

W NBW-BD, NBW-GDT, NBW-ZBD, NBW-KW', Ldzb., HNE., pp. 320, 
321; BD-NBW, ibid., p. 245; XBD-NBW, ibid., p. 265; NBW-ZBD, 
NBW-LH', Ldzb., EPS., i. p. 364; NBW-Z', NBW-ZDD, NBW-L', ibid., 
ii. p. 419. 

n KAT. 3 , p. 400. 

a Ex. 7:1; Deut. 18:15, 18; Judg. 6:8; 1 Sam. 3:20; 1 K. 17:1. 

23 See p. 56 and Chap. XXIII. 1. 

24 1 K. 19:15, 16; 20:42; 2 K. 9:1-3. 

^Mal. 3:16; ep. Ex. 32:32; Ps. 69:29 (28); Is. 4:3. 

™KAT. Z , p. 404 ff. 

™KAT.*, p. 412; Jastrow, Die Bel., i. p. 157. 

<*KAT.\ p. 413. 

29 See p. 79. 

30 EAT. 3 , p. 415. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 115 

written by the king of Cyprus to the king of Egypt : "My lord, 
Nergal, has killed all the people of my land. . . . The hand 
of Nergal is in my land." 31 Also belonging to the Amarna 
period is a genuine Canaanite seal-cylinder, found at Taanach, 
bearing, in Egyptian hieroglyphics and early Babylonian cunei- 
form, the inscription: "Atanahili, son of Habsi, servant of 
Nergal." 32 In both these cases Nergal may be merely a Baby- 
lonian name for a native deity; but, even in that case, the 
use of the name implies a lingering Babylonian influence as 
does also the discovery, among the Amarna letters, of a tablet 
containing the myth of Nergal and Eresh-kigal. 33 Nergal was 
worshipped by the Phoenicians at Piraeus as late as the second 
century b. c. 34 

NIN-IB was chiefly the old Babylonian god of war and of the 
chase. The Semitic equivalent for his ideographic name has 
been preserved only in Aramaic where it appears as 'NWShT 
and is best pronounced 35 En-nammasM, "lord of the crea- 
tures." 30 He is represented as a warrior heavily armed and 
mighty in battle. He revealed himself particularly in the thun- 
der and lightning of the storm. The constellation Orion; the 
planet Saturn; possibly at one time Mars; and the eastern, 
southern, and western sun were his various astral identifications. 
On the beneficent side of his nature he protected fields, watched 
over boundary -stones and states, healed sickness, raised the dead, 
and forgave sins. 37 

The name of the god appears in Amarna times in that of 
two cities both called Bet NIN-IB SS and in the personal name 
'Abdi-NIN-IB™ The fact that swine were sacred to NIN-IB, 
thus giving him the surname Humusiru, 40 "pig," may account 

31 Knudtzon, 35:13, 14, 37. 

32 Sellin, p. 105. Vincent, p. 170, fig. 117. 
sa KAT. 3 , p. 413. 

34 £?/£., i. 119; Cooke, pp. 100 ff. 

Si Clay reads this En-Mashti, i. e., En-marti, which in Sumerian is equiva- 
lent to Bel-Amurru, "lord of the Amorite," Baby. Expl. Univ. of Venn., 
x. p. 5 ff.; JAOS., xxviii. (1908), pp. 135 ff.; Studies in Memory of 
W. S. Earper, i. pp. 287 ff.; Amurru, pp. 195 ff. 

36 Hrozny, in Sevue SSmitique, 1908, pp. 339 ff. 

s 'KAT. a , pp. 408 f.; Jastrow, The Bel, p. 154. 

33 (1) Near Jerusalem, Knudtzon, 290, 16. (2) Near Gebal, ibid., 74:31. 
"Ibid., 84:39. 

i0 KAT. s , p. 409-410, Heb. Msir, "pig." 



116 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

for the origin of the uncleanness which the Hebrews attached 
to the pig. 41 This uncleanness probably arose out of an ancient 
taboo which seems to find confirmation in the name Hezir, 4,2 
an order of Hebrew priests. Sakkut, an epithet of the god, 43 
appears, in its Hebrew form, in Sakkuth in the corrected text 
of Amos 5 :26 in parallelism with Kewan, ' ' Saturn, ' ' the planet 
sacred to him, thus indicating some idolatrous custom : 

"Ye have borne the Sakkuth of your king 
And the Kewan of your images." 

Ramman, the Babylonian god of the storm and of the weather, 
whose name originated in the native word ramdmu, meaning 
"to cry," "roar," because of his like nature, came to be 
identified with MAR-TU or Amurru, the West Semitic name for 
the weather god Addu. It cannot yet be determined with cer- 
tainty whether Ramman was originally native to the Sumerian- 
Babylonian pantheon or was introduced by the Amorites, but 
probably the latter was the case. Ramman is represented in 
Babylonian scidpture with four bull-horns, brandishing an axe 
in his right hand and a bundle of lightning-shafts in his left. 
In nature he is both beneficent and destructive, since he sends 
or withholds rain, causes cloudbursts and floods, and directs the 
destructive thunderbolt. The flood represents his rage and wins 
him the title, "lord of the flood." In one instance he is called, 
Ragimu, "the roarer." 44 The cult of Ramman was probably 
carried by settlers westward to Assyria where, because of his 
destructive nature as a storm-god, he won favor as a war-god. 43 
Assyrian kings often liken themselves to the roaring of Ramman 
and the overflowing of his waterspouts. 40 Still further west- 
ward his cult spread, for Tiglath Pileser refers to Ramman as 
the god of the "west country" 47 and Shalmaneser II, at 
Hallaba (Aleppo), paid homage to him. 48 He was worshipped 

"Lev. 11:7; Deut. 14:8. 

« 1 Chr. 24:15, &c. 

43 See Rogers, in Encyclopaedia Biblica, p. 749. 

"KAT. 3 , pp. 445 ff. 

« Barton, p. 226. 

*>KAT. 3 , pp. 447 ff. 

47 Barton, p. 226. 

"KiT. 1 , p. 447. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 117 

at Damascus where his primitive nature was preserved as a 
soil-god. 40 

It is not definitely known whether the Babylonian cult of 
Ramman divided the honors with that of Addu in Palestine dur- 
ing the first Semitic period or entered the land during the next 
period with Aramaic influence. However, place-names as early 
as the time of Thutmose III 50 and the Amarna period 51 reveal 
the name Ramman in the form of Rimmon which may be the 
Aramiean form. This form appears in four Old Testament 
place-names 52 probably of Canaanite origin, in one Old Testa- 
ment, 53 in one Aramaean, 54 and in two Aramaic 55 personal 
names. 

The cult of Anu, the king and father of the Babylonian gods, 
who dwelt in the northern sky seated on his judgment throne, 50 
seems to have extended to Palestine, where traces of his name 
possibly appear in the place-name (E)-nu-h(e)-r-tu, men- 
tioned by Thutmose III, 57 in the personal name Ben-Ana™ of 
the Amarna times, and in several Old Testament personal 
names. 59 The Old Testament accounts of the tower of Babel, 00 
of Jacob's ladder, 01 of Elijah's translation, 02 and of the visions 

40 2 K. 5:18; Hadad-Simmon, Zech. 12:11. 

M Sa-na-ma, MVG., 1907, p. 19. 

a Giti-rimunima, Knudtzon, 250:46 = Gatli-Simmon, Josh. 19:45; 21:24 
ff.; 1 Chr. 6:54 (69). 

'-- Sela' ha-Simmon, "the cliff of Rimmon," Judg. 20:45, 47; 'En-Sim- 
mon, "spring of Rimmon," Neh. 11:29; Josh. 15:32; 19:7, probably = 
'Ain Simmon, Josh. 15:32; 19:7; Zech. 14:10; Simmon Peres, Num. 
33:19, 20; Simmon, Josh. 19:13 — Simmono, 1 Chr. 6:62 (77). 

53 Simmon, 2 Sam. 4 : 2, &c. 

'-* Tab-Simmon, 1 K. 15:18. 

85 SDK-SUN, SMN-NTN, Ldzb., ENE., pp. 357, 369. 

m KAT.% p. 352. 

57 No. 52= 'Ana-lmrath, Josh. 19:19. 

" s Knudtzon, 170 : 37. 

""Anali, Gen. 36:2, 24; 'Unni, 1 Chr. 15:18, &c; ' Ana-Yah, Neh. 8:4, 
&c; Ba'anah, probably for Ben-'Anah, 2 Sam. 4:2, &c; Ba'anah, prob- 
ably for Ben-'Anah, 1 K. 4:12, &c; cp. ' Anam-melek, god of Sephar- 
waim, 2 K. 17:31. 

"Gen. 11:4 ff. 

01 28:12. 

w 2 K. 2:11. 



118 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

of Micaiah 63 and Isaiah, 64 and many other references 65 locating 
Yah weh's abode and throne in the heaven or northern sky, 
point evidently to the conclusion that Babylonian conceptions 
of Ami prevailed in Canaan prior to their assumption by the 
later Yahwistic theology. 

Bel is the Semitic name for the Sumerian En-lil, "lord of 
wind," of Nippur. He was the lord of the mystical sky -moun- 
tain, like Anu, and later came to be regarded as the lord of 
the inhabited earth. 66 Bel bore no relation to ba'al as one 
might infer from the similar formation of the names. Bel may 
possibly survive in the two Amarna place-names Balumme 67 
and (B)-(Sh)a(m)m(a) GS and in many other personal names 
from the Old Testament 09 and from Aramaic, 70 Nabataean, 71 
and Palmyrene 72 inscriptions. 

Lahmu, a deity of fertility, is evidently contained in the 
place-name Beth-Lehem, "house of Lahmu." 73 That the second 
element of the name has reference to the Babylonian deity is 
borne out by the fact that in the Greek version of Mic. 5 :2(1) 
Beth-Lehem is explained as the "house of Ephratha," 74 i. e., 
"house of fertility." The place-name Lahma 75 may contain 
the name. 

63 1 K. 22:19. 

64 Is. 6:1. 

K Yahweh on Sinai, Ex. 19:11, 20; 34:5; throne in heaven, Is. 40:22; 
66:1; Ezek. 1:26; in the northern sky, Ps. 48:3(2); Is. 14:13; light 
streams from his throne, Dan. 7:9, cp. Ezek. 1:27. 

"lir, p. 355. 

e7 Knudtzon, 8:18. 

™Ibid., 37: 26. 

69 'Ashbel, Gen. 46:21; Iosbel, LXX for MT Yahse'el, Gen. 46:24; 
lobel, LXX for MT Ga'al, Judg. 9:26; Iobel or lobel, LXX for MT 
Yabal, Gen. 4:20; Bela' , Gen. 36:32, &c; Bil-'am, Num. 22:5, &c; Gaibel, 
LXX for MT 'Ebal, Gen. 36:23; Bil-gah, 1 Chr. 24:14, &c; Bil-Dad, 
Job 2:11, &c; Bil-Han, Gen. 36:27, &c. 

m BL-'TN, Ldzb., ENE., p. 236. 

71 'YTY-BL, ibid., p. 214. 

-> 2 -'LH-BL, p. 216; BL-BBK, p. 236; BL-' KB, BL-ShWB, BL-ShWBY, 
p. 237; YDY'-BL, p. 285; KMBY-BL, p. 297; MLK-BL, a god, p. 310; 
NDB-BL, NWB-BL, p. 322; 'BD-BL, p. 333; ShKY-BL, p. 375; TKLY- 
BL, p. 386; ZBD-BL, p. 265. 

73 One in Zebulun, Josh. 19:15, another in Judah, Euth 1:19. 

74 LXX: Brfi\te/i of/cos 'E<f>pa$a. 'Ephrathah in MT, Mic. 5:2 (1); 
Euth 4:11. 

75 Or Lahmas, Josh. 15:40. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 119 

Sheba'. The group of evil demons known as "the seven," 
often invoked in incantations, evidently had some connection 
with the deity Sibitti, "seven," who represented the seven 
stars of the Pleiades. 70 The facts that the Hebrew word sheba' 
means both "swear" and "seven," and that this name sur- 
vives in the old place-name Be'er-Sheba' ,' 7 and in the personal 
names Bath-Shebaf , 78 'Ett-Sheba' , 79 Yeho-Sheba' , so and Sheba'* 1 
show that the cult of this Babylonian god, or group of demons, 
made its influence felt in Palestine. Probably the famous oath- 
ritual of Beer-sheba, which Amos condemned, 82 involved the 
invocation of these evil demons in making covenants. 

Sacred Numbers. The numbers seven, twelve, and probably 
ten and forty, when considered in their respective relation to 
sacred objects, events, and rites, possessed a sacrosanct value. 
This veneration for -sacred numbers must have originated in 
Babylon where religious reflection had a chance to crystallize. 
The origin of the early calendar, which the Hebrews probably 
adopted from the Canaanites, dividing the year into twelve 
lunar months and each month into four weeks of seven days 
each, undoubtedly grew out of Babylonian astral worship. 83 

The seven heavenly bodies, including the sun, moon, and five 
planets; the seven-day division of the week; 84 and the seven- 
demon god Sibitti s ~° probably helped to form a basis for the 
evident reverence for seven which is found surviving in the 
West. Such survivals are found in the seven-fold obeisance 
to which the Palestinian princes often made reference when 
writing to Pharaoh, 80 and by which Jacob showed courtesy on 
one occasion; 87 in the invocation of the seven demons implied 
in the oath-formula; 88 in the number of altars and offerings 

n KAT. s , pp. 459, 620 f. 

"Gen. 21:31, &c. 

78 2 Sam. 11:3, &c. 

70 Ex. 6:23. 

80 2 K. 11:2. 

81 2 Sam. 20:1, &c. 

82 8: 14. See p. 86. 

S3 EAT. 3 , p. 620; Jeremias, The Old Testament in the Light of the 
Ancient East, pp. 62 if. 
84 Ex. 34:21; Deut. 5:14. 

83 See above. Jastrow, Die Bel., i. pp. 174, 292. 

86 See "Obeisance," Chap. XXII. 

87 Gen. 33:3. 

ss Skinner, Genesis, on 21:22-34. See Oath, p. 51. 



120 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

used by Balaam; 89 in the number of pillars standing at one 
time at Gezer; 90 in the duration of the days of fasting, 91 of 
uncleanness from leprosy, 92 of encompassing Jericho, 93 and of 
the feasts of unleavened bread 94 and tabernacles; 95 and in the 
seven-year period ending with the year of release. 90 

The twelve months of the year and the twelve signs of the 
zodiac 97 evidently left a reverence for the number twelve which 
may linger in the number of the tribes of Israel, 915 the springs 
of 'Elim, 09 the pillars erected at Sinai, 100 the stones composing 
the sacred heap at Gilgal, 101 and the rough stone altar on 
Carmel. 102 

What ancient basis existed for the sacredness of the num- 
bers ten and forty is not known. At any rate, in the oldest 
literature of the Old Testament the number ten finds a possible 
sacred content in the ten words given on Sinai 103 and in the 
tithe-offering required at the sanctuary of Beth-el; 104 while 
forty shows the regard with which it was held in the duration 
of the days of fasting 105 and of Moses' communion with Yahweh 
in the mount 100 and of the years of wandering in the 
wilderness. 107 

Egyptian Influence in Canaan during this early period is 
necessarily insignificant owing to the fact that the early Egyp- 
tian kings did not have the passion for conquest that the later 

89 Num. 23:1 ff. 

90 See Gezer, Chap. XVIII. 
91 1 Sam. 31:13. 

02 Num. 12:15; cp. 2 K. 5:10, 14. 

93 Josh. 6:14 ff. 

94 Ex. 13:6; 23:15; 34:18. 

95 Deut. 16:13. 

98 Deut. 15. 

m KAT. s ;-p. 620. 

98 Ex. 24:4, &c. 

"15:27. 

ioo 24:4. 

101 Josh. 4:8. 

102 1 K. 18:31. 

105 Ex. 34:28. 

104 Gen. 28:22. 

105 Ex. 34:28; 1 K. 19:8. 

100 Ex. 24:18; 34:28; Deut. 9:9, 11, 18; 10:10. 

197 Deut. 2:7; 8:2, &c. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 121 

kings had. However, three expeditions northward into Asia 
are known to have been undertaken in this period: one by 
Snefru of the third dynasty in order to secure cedar lumber 
from Lebanon; 103 another by Uni, a general of Pepi I of the 
sixth dynasty, in order to subdue the coast towns (c. 2570) ; 109 
and another by Sesostris III of the twelfth dynasty (c. 1875 ). 110 
The Amorite seal-cylinder found at Tanaach 111 which combines 
the Babylonian cuneiform with an Egyptian emblem shows at 
least an interesting point of contact between the two contem- 
poraneous civilizations. 

108 Breasted, ABE., i. § 89. 
lm Ibul, §§ 311-313. 
iW Ibkl., U 676-687. 
111 Sellin, p. 105. 



122 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 



CHAPTER XVI 

THE CONCEPTION OP LIFE AFTER DEATH 

It is only by gathering up the primitive Semitic beliefs from 
ancient Babylonian, Canaanite, Hebrew, and ancient Arabic 
sources, as well as from primitive Semitic survivals of to-day, 
that we are able to determine what must have been the belief 
of the Amorites relative to the life after death. The facts that 
throw light on this subject naturally arrange themselves into 
two distinct systems of belief, which had two independent ori- 
gins, but which were woven into one system, with no thought 
of incongruity, by the eastern and western Semites. One group 
of ideas, easily recognizable by its primitive character, belongs 
in common to all Semitic peoples; while the other belongs to 
the Semites who came in closest contact with the old Sumerian 
civilization, namely the Amorites of Babylonia and the West. 
This distinction has been made clear by Professor Paton whose 
results have largely been embodied here. 1 

I. Primitive ideas of the soul after death 
1. Among all ancient peoples the fact of death led to the 
discrimination between the animating principle of the body and 
the body itself. This animating principle, which manifested 
itself in acting, feeling, and knowing, left the body at death; 
while the corpse remained to decay. Since the cessation of 
breathing and the flowing of blood from a mortal wound were 
the accompaniments of death, it was natural for the primitive 
mind to see in the breath and the blood the very seat of the 
soul. This hypothesis is sustained by the fact that, in many lan- 
guages, the words for spirit are either identical with the words 
for "breath" or "wind," or are cognates of them. The 
Hebrew nephesh, "soul," which was either identical with the 
blood 2 or resided in it, bears a significant relation with the Ara- 
bic nafs, "soul," "blood," and nafas, "breath"; the Ethio- 

1 BW., xxv. (1910), pp. 8 ff. 

2 Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:11, 14; Deut. 12:23. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 123 

pic nafes; the Syrian nafsha; and the Assyrian napishtu, 
"breath." 

2. Belief in the soul's survival is a common heritage of 
every primitive as well as every civilized race of men. There 
has been no exception to this rule in any race of the past or 
of the present. As far back as the period of the mammoth in 
western Europe such a belief is clearly indicated by the dis- 
covery in tombs of food vessels, weapons, implements, and orna- 
ments. 3 Similarly, in the ancient tombs at Tello and at Nippur 
in Babylonia, 4 at Gezer, 5 at Megiddo, 6 and at Beth-shemesh 7 
these common every-day articles, together with food and drinking 
vessels, show that the future life was regarded in some way as 
a repetition of the earthly. Moreover, the belief that spirits of 
the dead, as for instance Samuel, could appear to the living, 
and the application of the Hebrew term nephesh, which stood 
primarily for "breath," "soul," 8 to the corpse itself, surely 
reveal survivals of this primitive belief. 

3. The nature and character of the soul in the future state 
was conceived in terms of breath, wind, shadow, specter, and 
reflection. Among the Greeks, the shades of the dead were 
smoke-like and intangible, 10 and so weak that only by drinking 
the warm fresh blood of sacrificial victims could they be revived 
to activity. 11 In Babylonia the evil spirits, which in reality were 
the restless shades of the dead that plagued the living, are 
described in incantation sentences as "roaming wind-blasts," 
' ' evil wind-gusts. ' ' 12 

Hebrew conceptions are in perfect accord with this unsub- 
stantial nature of the shade, since the Hebrew word nephesh 
originally meant "wind," "breath," and since the usual word 

3 D'Alviella, Eibbert Lectures, pp. 15 ff. 
4 Peters, Nippur, ii. p. 173; Maspero, p. 686. 
= Macalister, EG., i. pp. 392 ff. 
Sellin, pp. 14 ff. 
"PEFA., ii. pp. 58 ff. 

s l K. 17:21, 22; Job 11:20; 31:30; Jer. 15:9. 

"Lev. 19:28; 21:11; 22:4; Num. 5:2; 6:6, 11; 9:7, 10; 19:11, 
13; Hag. 2:13. 

10 Iliad, xxiii. 99-107; Odyssey, xi. 204-224. 

11 Ibid., xi. 34 ff. 

12 Thompson, i. pp. xxvii, 77 



124 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

for shades is repha'im, 13 "feeble ones." The old Testament 
pictures them as "weak," 14 "helpless," 15 "groping like the 
blind," and "stumbling at noonday." 16 From these analo- 
gies one can be safe in positing for the Amorites a similar con- 
ception of the unsubstantial nature of departed spirits. 

Moreover, the nature of the disembodied soul was never con- 
ceived by the ancient Semites as apart from the body which 
it once animated. The following observations make this plain : 

a. The soul was thought to present, though in a paler and 
more shadowy degree, a corporeal appearance ; and this appear- 
ance was an exact likeness of the body at death. Accordingly, 
the shades of fallen heroes appear to Ulysses as "mangled by 
the spear and clad in bloody armor." 17 The warriors of cruel 
nations are represented by Ezekiel as slain by the sword and 
lying in their graves. 1 ** The shade of Samuel was recognized by 
his hoary appearance and his accustomed robe ; 19 while the kings 
of the earth are distinguished, in the conception of one writer, 
by their habit of sitting on thrones clad no doubt in their 
royal robes. 20 

b. The soul could not be thought of apart from the corpse 
and its resting-place. The departed spirit among the ancient 
Arabs was known as Kama which meant originally ' ' skull, ' ' the 
most characteristic part of the body. 21 At her tomb in Eamah 
the soul of Eachel was heard "weeping for her (captive) chil- 
dren." 22 Graves, among the Babylonians, and burying-grounds 
among the Arabs, were places whence issued ghosts to plague 
men and Jinn to scare the living. 23 The disembodied spirit felt 
the pain of scars and wounds on its corpse as keenly as if it 

"Job 26:5; Ps. 88:11(10); Prov. 2:18; 9:18; 21:16; Is. 14:9; 
26:14, 19. 
"Is. 14:10. 
15 Ps. 88:5(4). 
"Is. 59:10. 
17 Odyssey, xi. 40-43. 

ls Ezek. 31:18; 32:21 ff.; cp. Is. 14:19. 
19 1 Sam. 28:14. 
20 Is. 14:9; cp. 19. 
"-'HEBE., i. p. 672a. 
"Jer. 31:15. 
23 Doughty, i. p. 448. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 125 

were in a living body. 24 The universal custom of depositing use- 
ful articles and offerings of food and drink with the dead, 25 
and the Hebrew taboo which was attached to any one who 
touched a corpse, 25 find their only explanation in the belief that 
the departed soul still lingered about the body. 

c. Finally the belief in the lingering presence of the spirit 
near its corpse and its tomb is shown in the great care that was 
exercised by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, and 
Arabs in the burial of their dead. Should the corpse be left 
unburied 27 to be devoured by wild beasts and birds, or should 
even a tomb be desecrated, 28 the soul haunting that corpse or 
that tomb was thus made to suffer grievous discomfort. Such 
an outrage, among the Assyrians, Babylonians, 29 and ancient 
Arabs, 30 was committed only against the worst criminals and 
the most hated enemies. 

The Hebrews were also careful to bury their dead. Dying 
fathers strictly charged their sons to perform the usual funeral 
rites. 31 Improper burial, as when a body was left on the 
ground, 32 or was torn by beasts and birds, 33 was regarded as the 
greatest calamity that could come to the soul, which in con- 
sequence would suffer the greatest torture. The ordinary crim- 
inal, according to a humane law, was given proper interment; 34 
but notorious transgressors, or most despised foreign enemies, 
were, for punitive reasons, often refused burial 35 or were 
burned. 30 Burning the bones from desecrated tombs was justi- 
fiable when practiced against transgressors, 37 but was con- 
demned when practiced against a foreign king. 3S 

2 *1 Sam. 17:51 ff.; 18:25, 27; 2 Sam. 4:12; 20:22; cp. Job 14:21 ff. 
25 See p. 12. 
2 »Num. 19:11. 

27 Cp. Gil Epic (xii. Col. 6) and Sophocles, Antigone, 27 ff., &c. 

28 Annals of Ashurb., vi. 70 ff. 
w Ihid., iv. 73 ff.; vii. 45. 

30 HEME., i. p. 672». 

31 Gen. 47:30. 

32 1 K. 14:13; Is. 14:19 ff.; Jer. 22:19; 25:33; 36:30. 

33 Gen. 37:33; 1 Sam. 17:44, 46; 2 Sam. 21:10; 2 K. 9:35 ff. 

31 Deut. 21:22 ff.; Josh. 7:24-26. 

35 1 Sam. 17:44, 46; Ezek. 29:5. 

30 Gen. 38:24; Lev. 20:14; Josh. 7:15, 25; Is. 30:33. 

37 1 K. 13:2; 2 K. 23:16, 20. 

38 Am. 2:1. 



126 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

This belief that the soul lingered near the corpse also accounts 
for the Hebrew expression for burial, namely, "gather unto 
one's fathers," 39 which implies that the soul could have fellow- 
ship with the spirits of the fathers in the family sepulcher. It 
was fitting, therefore, that Abraham should secure a family 
tomb, that Jacob's bones should be carried thither, and that the 
kings of Judah should be buried with their fathers in the royal 
sepulcher. Burial outside of the family tomb meant a depriva- 
tion of this enjoyment with kindred spirits, and was, therefore, 
calamitous. 40 

4. The powers possessed by the soul after death were spirit- 
ual, apparitional, and locomotive. 

a. The spiritual powers such as knowledge, feeling, and will- 
ing were in no wise diminished but increased, though the 
physical powers of the dead were gone. The soul of the mur- 
dered Arab remembered the wrong done, called through an owl 
for vengeance upon his slayer, and could not be appeased with- 
out drinking, through means of a libation poured on the grave, 
the blood of his murderer. 41 Among the Babylonians the ghosts 
of those who die childless or unmarried, and of those who met 
other untimely deaths, as through murder or through child- 
birth, remembered so keenly these misfortunes that they could 
not rest in their graves. 42 Besides memory they possessed 
greater knowledge than the living in that they could foresee 
future events and could reveal such facts to the living through 
a seer. Thus the ancient Arab magician had a tabi' , "follower," 
or a ra'l, "one who sees," that is, a familiar spirit who occa- 
sionally revealed secrets to him. 43 Among the Hebrews also it 
was the belief that the dead had powers of memory, perception, 
feeling, and foreknowledge. The soul which resided in the 
blood of the murdered Abel was conscious of wrong done and 
cried for vengeance unto Yahweh from the ground; 44 and the 
souls under the altar were heard by John to cry out, "How 
long, Master, . . . dost thou not judge and avenge our 

39 2 K. 22:20. 

"1 K. 13:22; Ps. 26:9; op. 2 Sam. 18:17; 2 K. 21:18. 

41 HEBE., i. p. 272*. 

42 Thompson, i. pp. 39 ff. 
"HEBE., i. p. 671*. 
"Gen. 4:10. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 127 

blood ou them that dwell on the earth?" 45 The spirit of Sam- 
uel remembered Saul and the words that he himself had spoken 
relative to the king's downfall. 40 The blessing or the curse 
of a dying father upon his son carried a potency after death 
because his spirit could secure its fulfilment. 47 The feeling of 
grief by Rachel over the captivity of her children, 43 that of 
joy by the spirits of the dead over the downfall of Babylon, 49 
and that of comfort by the shade of Pharaoh over the multi- 
tudes of the dead, 50 all show belief in the continued consciousness 
of the shades and in their interest in the events of life. The 
soul of Samuel and all other yidde'onim, "familiar spirits," 51 
which were consulted by the ro'eh "seer," were regarded as 
having supernatural insight into the future, and could, there- 
fore, give valuable advice to the living. 

6. The belief in the apparitional and the vocal powers of 
departed spirits, who appeared and spoke to the living, is well- 
nigh universal. The wind-like, transparent specter of Eabani 
appeared to Gilgamesh and talked with him. 52 Among the 
Babylonians it was the belief that departed spirits, as specters, 
lurked in the desert, the mountain, the sea, and the graveyard 
lying in wait for man. 53 The Greeks also believed that ghosts 
appeared and spoke to men. 54 Likewise, among the Hebrews the 
'Ob, "ghost," was thought to gibber from the ground; 55 and 
the shades of the dead were believed to talk with seers and with 
other persons. 50 

c. Although the soul was thought to maintain usually a 
close relation with the decaying body; yet, at the same time, 
it had the power of leaving the body and moving over the earth 
with infinite rapidity. According to a Babylonian incantation, 

"Rev. 6:10. 

40 1 Sam. 28:16 ff. 

"Gen. 27:3 ff. 

* Jer. 31:15. 

49 Is. 14:9 ff. 

50 Ezek. 32:31. 

51 1 Sam. 28:3, 9; 2 K. 21:6; Is. 8:19; 19:3. 

52 Gil. Epic, xii. 

53 Thompson, i. pp. xxiv. ff. 

H Odyssey, xi. 59 ff., 155 ff., &c. 

55 Is. 29:4. 

50 1 Sam. 28; Job 4:15 ff.; 2 Mace. 15:12-15. 



128 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

' ' They are the children of the Underworld. 

The children born of Earth. 

The highest walls, the thickest wall : 

Like a flood they pass. 

From house to house they break through ; 

No door can shut them out, 

No bolt can turn them back, 

Through the door like a snake they glide; 

Through the hinge like a wind they blow." 57 

In accordance with this supernatural power they could take 
up their abodes in material objects and the bodies of men and 
animals. To obviate such a possibility an effort was made to 
confine, if possible, the spirit near its grave by the erection at 
the grave of an upright stone called, in North Arabic nusb, 
in Hebrew, massebah "pillar," or yad, "monument," and 
in Aramaic, nephesh, "tombstone." The ancient Arabs erected 
such a stone, or made a pile of stones at the grave, for an abode 
of the departed spirit. It is significant that the old word for 
soul came in North Semitic to designate " tombstone. " GS In 
Babylon images of hideous animal monsters were often placed 
at the doors of houses and temples for the purpose of inviting 
the dreadful demons to enter and dwell within them. 59 The 
Hebrews likewise were accustomed to erect massebahs, or yads, 
or gals, "heaps," at graves, presumably for the same purpose. 00 

Spirits which possessed men caused all sorts of physical, men- 
tal, and emotional phenomena. In Babylonia all kinds of sick- 
ness were attributed to the possession of demons whose hold 
could be loosened only by repeated incantation and invocations 
by the exorciser. Among the Arabs insanity was explained as 
possession by the Jinn whence the name majnun, "insane." 
Yahweh absorbed the functions of the Canaanite lesser spirits; 
and, for that reason, Saul's insanity is represented as due to "an 
evil spirit from Yahweh." 61 The leper was regarded as afflicted 

57 Thompson, i. pp. 51, 53. 

58 Cooke, p. 214. 

59 Jastrow, Die Bet, i. p. 281. 

60 2 Sam. 18:18. 
61 1 Sam. 16:14. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OP CANAAN 129 

by a demon which only powerful incantations could drive 
away. 62 The hereditary transmission of this disease may have 
been explained as issuing from the spirits of departed relatives. 03 
The demoniacs of New Testament times need only to be men- 
tioned. 

Spirits also took possession of animals. The raven and the 
hawk among the Babylonians, and the owl among the Assyr- 
ians and Arabs, were regarded as birds that possessed super- 
natural powers, and were naturally of ill omen because they 
were embodiments of evil demons. 64 Demons also took the 
forms of beasts and of serpents both in Babylonia and in Ara- 
bia. 65 Perhaps it was a taboo resting on certain animals 
regarded as demon-possessed which eventually determined the 
Hebrew list of unclean beasts. At any rate, these birds of ill 
omen and the serpent were listed with the unclean beasts of the 
Hebrew code. 66 

II. Sheol, the Realm of the Dead 

Alongside of this universal primitive Semitic belief that the 
spirit of the dead lingered about the grave there existed another 
conception, which for us is radically contradictory, but which 
by the early Amorites could readily be amalgamated with the 
more primitive idea. This was the belief that departed spirits 
went to a great subterranean cavern. It had its origin among 
the Sumerians, then passed over to the Babylonian Semites, 
then to the western Semites through Babylonian rule in the 
west, and so on down through the centuries to the Hebrews. 67 

By the Babylonians, this abode was known as Aralu; Kigal, 
or Kigallu, "great beneath" or "underworld," and Irkalu, 
"great city"; and was described as "Land of the Dead," 
"Mountain-house of the Dead," "House of Tammuz," "Dead," 
" Earth, " 6S Nakbu, "the hollow," 69 and "the Hole of the 

62 2 K. 5:11. 

63 5:27. 

"Thompson, i. p. 1.; BESE., i. p. 272a. 
00 Lev. 11; Deut. 14. 
0S Wellh., pp. 152, 157, 185. 

07 The whole subject is presented by Lewis B. Paton, in BW., xxxv. 
(1910), pp. 159 ff. 
GS Gil. Epic, XII iv. 2. 
09 G. A. Smith, Miscellaneous Texts, 16. 



130 JOURNAL OP BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

Earth." 70 Aralu was located in the depths of the earth, as is 
implied by the expressions "go down to" and "come up from." 
It was so vast and deep that it was thought of as the subter- 
ranean counterpart of the celestial dome of the earthly firma- 
ment. 71 The soul on its journey to Aralu pursued a westward 
course, similar to that of the heavenly bodies, to the great region 
of darkness. On this journey it crossed the Great Sea in a 
boat, as Gilgamesh did attended by a ferryman; 72 entered the 
""Waters of Death" beyond the strait of Gibraltar and finally 
reached the western horizon. The soul then passed through 
seven successive gates 73 which pierced the seven respective 
enclosing walls of Aralu, and which were fastened with bars 
and were opened by a porter. This vast cavern to which the 
shades came was a region of darkness, being described as a 
"dark dwelling" where those who enter are "deprived of 
light, ' ' 7 * for ' ' they see not the light : they dwell in darkness. ' ' 75 
Since it was the abode of the dead, it is represented — to har- 
monize with the primitive conception of a tomb in the earth — 
as a vast tomb which includes many individual ones, the same 
ideogram being used for "grave" that is used for Aralu. To 
carry out this conception of a grave, Aralu is pictured as a 
place where dust is strewn "over door and bar" — dust being 
the food and nourishment of the shades 70 — and where worms 
eat every thing that the heart of the living delights in on 
earth. 77 Moreover, the realm of the dead, in analogy with an 
earthly kingdom, was ruled by a king. This ruler was Nergal, 
or Irkalla; and Eresh-kigal, "Mistress of the Underworld," 
was his wife. They had, in their service, the death-demon 
Namtaru and his host of evil spirits who were wont to wander 

70 KB., vi. p. 262. 

71 Jeremias, Die Babylonisch-Assyrischen Vorstellungen vom Leben nach 
dem Tode (1887) ; Holle und Parodies bei den Babyloniern, in Der Alte 
Orient (1900); Jensen; KAT. S , p. 635; Warren, Earliest Cosmologies 
(1900) ; Jastrow, Die Bel., i. pp. 65, 157, 354. 

™ Gil. Epic, KB., vi. 217-23. 

n Ishtar's Descent, obv. 37-62. 

"Ibid., obv. 7. 

"Ibid., 9. 

m Ibid., 11. 

" Gil. Epic, XII iv. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 131 

over the earth securing new subjects for Aralu by disseminating 
deadly diseases. Sooner or later these demons were successful 
in their mission; for it was the prevailing belief that "the 
day let no one go." "He who at eventide is alive at daybreak 
is dead," so went a proverb. When once the watchman seized 
a man there was no release: 78 he must abide forever in the 
"Land of No Beturn." 79 Hence the Babylonians did not con- 
ceive of any resurrection from the dead. It was possible, on 
exceptional conditions, to be snatched from death and be trans- 
lated to the abode of the gods as was Ut (Sit?, Pir?) = napish- 
tim, 80 the Babylonian Noah; but this was not a resurrection. 
Furthermore, the Babylonians never conceived of Aralu as a 
place of rewards and punishments for conduct in this life. No 
divisions were made there separating the righteous from the 
wicked, for all the shades had all things in common. However, 
some shades suffered greater discomfort and restlessness than 
others ; but this was caused by improper burial of the body and 
by the lack of the customary offerings for the dead. 

Turning now to the Amorite and the Canaanite conceptions 
of the abode of the dead that survive in the literature of the 
Hebrews who came into possession of these beliefs after entering 
Canaan, we find the utmost harmony with the Babylonian view 
just presented. The abode of the dead was known as Sheol, 
which was frequently put in parallelism with Maweth, 
"Death," 81 or was referred to as MetMm, "the dead," 82 or 
'Eres, " Earth " S3 and was often called 'Eres-tahtiydth," Si 
"Lowerland," or "Underworld," and Shahath,™ or Bor, 
"Pit." 80 Sheol was in the depths of the earth, even below the 
waters under the earth. 87 Corresponding to the earthly firma- 
ment it was deep as the heights of heaven, S8 and was lower than 

"Ibid., XII iii. 

™ Ishtar's Descent, obv. 1, 6, 41. 

w Gil. Epic, xi, 198-204. 

81 2 Sam. 22:5, 6; Hos. 13:14. 

82 Ps. 115:17. 

S3 Ex. 15:12; Is. 14:9; 29:4; Eccl. 3:21. 
"Ezek. 26:20; 31:14; 32:18, 24. 

85 Job 33:18, &c; Is. 38:17, &c; Ezek. 28:8. 

86 Ps. 28:1, &c; Prov. 1 : 12, &c. ; Is. 14:15, &c; Ezek. 26 : 20, &c. 
81 Job 26:5; Lam. 3:54; Jonah 2:4 ff. (3 ff.). 

88 Job 11:8; Ps. 139:8; Is. 7:11; Am. 9:2. 



132 JOURNAL OF BIBLICAL LITERATURE 

the foundations of the mountains. 89 The departed spirit "went 
down to," or was "brought down to" Sheol; while the con- 
valescent who escaped death was "brought up from Sheol." 
The shade, in his journey to Sheol, according to the author of 
Enoch, 90 apparently pursued a westerly course; and, accord- 
ing to the parallelism of "crossing the seas" with "going up 
into the heaven, ' ' 91 crossed the Great Sea. The Babylonian con- 
ception of the "waters of death" comes to frequent expression 
in Hebrew poetry whenever the writer describes the narrow 
escapes of the soul from the snares of death. Thus the soul 
is "cast into the depth, into the heart of the seas"; is encom- 
passed with the "waves of death," "the floods of Belial," is 
submerged in "waves" and "billows," and is ensnared in 
"the weeds" of the deep and the "cords of Sheol." 92 The 
seven-fold division of Sheol, though not mentioned except in 
later Jewish theology, is, nevertheless, implied by the expres- 
sions "gates of Sheol" 93 and "porters of Sheol." 94 Beyond 
the "gates" and "bars" of Sheol, 93 the soul enters the "cham- 
bers of death" 96 and the "recesses of the pit" 97 which are 
"the land of darkness and of deep gloom; the land dark as thick 
darkness ; the land of deep gloom without any order, where the 
light is as thick darkness." 98 The soul lies "down in the 
dust." 99 This place is pictured as a vast tomb 100 where worms 
crawl over the corpses 101 and cover them. Like Aralu Sheol is 
ruled by a potentate who is known to the Canaanites as Mtith 102 

S9 Deut. 32:22; Jonah 2:7(6). 
90 22:1-4. 
9t 22:l-4. 

92 Deut. 30:12 ff.; Ps. 18:5 ff.(4 ff.) ; Jonah 2:4-6 (3-5); cp. Ps. 
88:8(7); 124:4, 5; Am. 9:3. 

83 Job 38:17; Ps. 9:13; 107:18; Is. 3'8:10. 

94 Job 38:17 (LXX). 

95 Job 17:16; Jonah 2:7(6). 
""Prov. 7:27. 

97 Is. 14:15; Ezek. 32:23. 

98 Job 10:21, 22; cp. 17:13; 38:17; Ps. 88:7(6), 13(12) ; 143:3. 
"Job 7:21; 17:16; Is. 29:4. 

100 Ezek. 32:17-32. 

101 Is. 14:11. 

102 See Chap. XXVIII. 



WOOD: THE RELIGION OF CANAAN 133 

and Sheol; 103 and to the Hebrews as Bala'-'el 103 whose nature 
is well depicted by poetic parallelisms and personifications 
as "Death," 104 "Shepherd," 105 "King of Terrors," 106 and 
"Destroyer." 107 He is represented as a hungry monster whose 
immense jaws are ever open and eager to swallow men. 108 

Active iii the service of this god in securing new recruits for 
Sheol, are evil demons which, as personified diseases, are repre- 
sented as "Destroyers," 100 "Terrors," 110 "Plagues of Death," 111 
"Pangs of Death," "Pains of Sheol," 112 "Destruction," 113 
"Calamity," and "First-born of Death." 114 Sooner or later 
man had to go "the way of all the earth" 115 "to the house 
appointed for all living" 116 from which there was no return. 117 
Enoch and Elijah escaped death by translation,- but this was 
not a resurrection which for the early Semites was an unknown 
idea. In the realm of the dead there was no partition separat- 
ing the wicked from the righteous, as for instance, Samuel 
from Saul ; lls but there was a common existence in one place. 110 
However, some shades suffered more discomfort and unrest than 
others; but this was not apportioned according to a law of 
rewards and punishments depending upon the earthly existence, 
but was conditioned on the proper or improper funeral and 
burial rites. 120 

103 See Chap. XXVIII. 
™ Job 30:23; Ps. 49:15(14) ; 107:18. 
:r= Ps. 49:15(14). 
108 Job 18:14. 
107 Ex. 12:23. 

us Prov. 1:12; 27:20; 30:15 ff.; Is. 5:14; Hab. 2:5; cp. Jonah 
2:3(2). 

lra Job 33:22. 
110 18:11, 14. 

111 Hos. 13:14. 

112 Ps. 116:3. 

113 Hos. 13:14. 

114 Job 18:12, 13. 

115 Josh. 23:14; I K. 2:2. 

116 Job 30:23. 

117 2 Sam. 12:23; 14:14; Job 7:9, 10. 
118 1 Sam. 28:19. 

113 Gen. 37:35; Job 3:13-19; Is. 14:9 ff.; Ezek. 31:18. 
120 Is. 14:19; Ezek. 31:16. 

(To be continued)