[b-hebrew] The Priestly Stratum
Lisbeth S. Fried
lizfried at umich.edu
Thu Feb 27 17:46:16 EST 2003
Dear Pastor Eddy,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
> [mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of
> Pastor Mark Eddy
> Sent: Thu, February 27, 2003 4:58 PM
> To: b-hebrew
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] The Priestly Stratum
> I really don't have time to get involved in this. If only
> there were 36 hours in a day! I still have to
> answer questions on another thread (which I intend to get to
> in a couple weeks), but I have to chime in a
> little bit (interspersed below).
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Lisbeth S. Fried"
> > Dear Ian,
> > I disagree that the people of pre-Exilic Judah were polytheistic.
> What do you mean by "the people"?
I meant anyone!
I know that the prophecies
> of Jeremiah were not compiled until the exile
> had begun, but it seems to me that there were at least two
> groups in Israel at his time. The "orthodox"
> monotheists, such as Jeremiah, and large number of other
> people who worshipped many gods. What else does
> Jer. 11:11-13 mean?
13 For the number
> of your cities became (the number of) your
> gods, O Judah;
This actually was the starting point of my research.
I assumed that at the time of Jeremiah there were
cult sites in every city and that I would be able to
find them in the Iron Age II strata of Judah.
Nope, they weren't there, nothing, nada.
In fact, there was hardly any Judah there at all. Most
had been conquered, and very lightly rebuilt.
There was no cult site in Judah from Megiddo to Beer Sheba
between 701 and 586 except for the temple in Jerusalem.
This in spite of what Jeremiah had to say.
I'm telling you it was a big shock, traumatic you might say.
> > I don't know that the figurines represented
> > Ashera or that they were worshipped.
> I have long wondered if some of them were the equivalent of
> Barbie dolls. How do we know that adults
> worshipped them? Maybe the girls dressed them up and played
> house. But there is evidence that some people
> did worship Ashera, e.g. Jer. 17:2. And I remember hearing
> that something with male and female figures on
> it, dated to the 7th or 8th century B.C., was unearthed in
> the 1980s with an inscription, to "YHWH and his
> consort." I didn't subscribe to BAR at that time, so I don't
> have the details about this in front of me.
None of the cult sites that I did find (all dated to before 701)
cotained those figurines. They were found in domestic strata only,
or in favissae.
> > I don't know who
> > wrote the grafitti on the Kuntillit Adjrud pithoi. I can tell
> > you tho that there was only one matzevah at Arad, the
> > other one you see in all the photos was part of the wall
> > and had fallen into the cella area.
> > All the polemics that you read in Ezekiel, etc. are just their
> > way of explaining the disasters. The temple was captured,
> > the people deported -- ERGO they must have worshipped
> > other gods.
> But Jeremiah was in Jerusalem at the time, and he saw the
> altars to other gods and how they were being
He talks about sacrificing children in the valley of Topheth.
That has been excavated over and over again, and there is nothing
there, it was just a garbage dump. There is no evidence whatsoever
of any sacrifices ever held there.
And how does anyone know that the word of YHWH did NOT
> come to Ezekiel, when he prophesied against
> the altars and idols of Israel (e.g. Ezek. 6)?
Unfortunately we cannot excavate under the temple mount to find out,
and the WAQF is doing a good job of destroying anything we might find
And what about
> Ezekiel's claim (e.g.) that in the 12th
> years of his captivity he received news directly from an
> escapee from Jerusalem that the city had been
> captured (Ezek. 33:21)? Ezekiel knew (at least second hand)
> of the religious conditions in Jerusalem in
> its last days, and that included the fact that some people
> worshipped many gods. He wrote, not just to
> explain Jerusalem's fall, but to condemn idolatry. Or is
> Ezekiel one of the lying prophets about whom
> Jeremiah claimed: "And YHWH said to me, 'The prophets are
> prophesying falsehood in My name. I did not send
> them, and I did not command them and I did not speak to them.
> They are prophesying to you a false vision,
> and worthless divination, and the deceit of their own
> hearts'" (Jer. 14:14)? If he was a lying prophet,
> just making up a charge of polytheism is Jerusalem, then he
> did not help set up the cultus of post-exilic
> YHWHism, but he was engaged in starting a cult (like
> Mormonism). In which case, why are we studying what
> that liar wrote?
A lie is a falsehood which is said knowingly. I beleive that
these prophets assumed that there was idolatry because
the god had left the temple. It had become unfit for habitation
so he left. Ezekiel and Jeremiah knew that YHWH had left
the temple because the temple was destroyed. It could not have
been destroyed if YHWH was still living in it. The only possible reason
it could have become unfit is that the people sinned, and they must have
done this by worshipping other gods.
But whether he lied or not, Ezekiel kept the faith in YHWH alive and
enabled the Jews to return to their land.
> Mark Eddy
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> b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
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