The Shasu and Yahweh

barre at barre at
Wed Nov 3 13:06:07 EST 1999


Does anyone have any information about the Shasu beyond that which is listed in the posting 
quoted below?


"Egypt, Canaan, and Israel in Ancient Times" by Donald 
Redford: pages 271-273 

Shasu-- literally meaning "a people who move on 
foot"--are found in Egyptian texts from the 18th 
Dynasty through the Third Intermediate Period. They 
most frequently occur in generalizing toponym lists 
where the context helps little in pinpointing their 
location. But lists from Soleb and Amarah ultimately 
of fifteenth century BC origin suggest that an 
original concentration of Shasu settlements lay in 
southern Trans-Jordan in the plains of Moab and 
northern Edom. 

Here a group of six names is identified as in 'the 
land of the Shasu' and these include 
#1--Se'ir (Edom) 
#2--Laban (Libona, south of Amman) 
#3--Sam'ath (Shim'ethites, a clan of the Kenites: 1 
Chron. 2:55) 
#4-- Wrbr (Wady Hasa) 

Elsewhere in texts of the 19th and 20th Dynasties, the 
consistent linking of Shasu with Edom and the Arabah 
(Timna) places the identifications on the earlier 
lists beyond doubt. 

The localization of the 'Land of the Shasu' in the 
mountainous districts of Se'ir 

--has an interesting consequence for one name in the 
mentioned lists from Soleb and Amarah - 'Yhw (in) the 
land of the Shasu.' 

For half a century it has been generally admitted 
that we have here the tetragrammaton, the name of the 
Israelite god, 'Yahweh'; and if this be the case, as 
it undoubtedly is, the passage constitutes a most 
precious indication of the whereabouts during the late 
fifteenth century B.C. of an enclave revering this 

Numerous passages in later Biblical tradition depict 
Yahweh 'coming forth from Se'ir' and originating in 


Thank you.

L. M. Barre, Ph.D.

barre at

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