"The Ten Tribes living in the Kingdom of Israel during the 8th century B.C.E. practiced a mixed religion, but contrary to the conventional wisdom among biblical scholars, their main deity was Yahweh after all, not the Canaanite god El and his envoys, golden calves and goat-shaped demons." -- Bohstrom, Haaretz Magazine

Was the worship of "El", or was it "Elohim" (the general name for the true God )? The "conventional wisdom" that the writer attempts to debunk by the archeological evidence is not the only interpretation of the Biblical record. Yes, the prophets condemned synchronism, but the evidence seems to parallel the use of the golden calf in Yahweh evidence in Exodus , lead by none other than Aaron himself. While dancing drunk around the calf, the congregation were calling upon Yahweh.

The article mentions the use of the suffix "Yah" in names, calling such naming "invoking the name of their protective deity". This implies that the apostate religion of the northern kingdom was polytheistic, with Yahweh as the chief god of many, at least in Dan . Lest we forget, prophets from Judah also prophesied in, and against, such abuse of the true religion.

The writer, Philippe Bohstrom, insinuates that the Bible shows a heavy bias against what was "really" going on the edge of the northern kingdom. Of course there was a bias, but there was no ethical misconduct in relaying a disdain for worship practices. It was not the intention of Jeroboam to deny Yahweh, but rather to keep his people loyal to him and the kingdom. In his indiscretion he broke not the first commandment, but the second. He declared that the One God was to be worshipped incorrectly -- with images. In a way, this was also breaking the third commandment about taking the Name in vain[1].

In closing, I suppose this is just a rant about making assumptions. We find that the Samaritan religion , a syncretistic use of the Law outside of Judah and Jerusalem, honored the Law, but not the required place to which to worship. In doing this, they perverted the worship of God, just as Aaron and Jeroboam had. Let us remember that the time came that those who worship God would worship him "in spirit and in truth"[2]. The worship of the true God must always be monotheistic AND according to the Bible.

  1. Exodus 20:2-7 (Link)
  2. John 4:1-40 (Link)

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