The online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel posted an article written by Ariel David on Jun 13, 2016, titled: “How the Jews Invented God, and Made Him Great”.
The article stated the following arguments: [The God of the Old Testament started out as just one of many deities of the ancient Israelites. It took a traumatic crisis to make him into the all-powerful creator of the world.]
[Support for the theory that Yhwh originated in the deserts of Israel and Arabia can be found in Egyptian texts from the late second millennium, which list different tribes of nomads collectively called “Shasu” that populated this vast desert region.
One of these groups, which inhabits the Negev, is identified as the “Shasu Yhw(h).” This suggests that this group of nomads may have been the first to have the god of the Jews as its tutelary deity.
“It is profoundly difficult to sort through the haze of later layers in the Bible, but insofar as we can, this remains the most plausible hypothesis for the encounter of Israelites with the Yhwh cult,” says David Carr, professor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.
The many faces of god
How exactly the Shasu merged with the Israelites or introduced them to the cult of Yhwh is not known, but by the early centuries of the first millennium, he was clearly being worshipped in both the northern kingdom of Israel and its smaller, southern neighbor, the kingdom of Judah.
His name appears for the first time outside the Bible nearly 400 years after Merneptah, in the 9th-century BCE stele of Mesha, a Moabite king who boasts of defeating the king of Israel and “taking the vessels of Yhwh.” ]
[Snatching God from the jaws of defeat
The real conceptual revolution probably only occurred after the Babylonians’ conquest of Judah and arson of the First Temple in 587 B.C.E. The destruction and the subsequent exile to Babylon of the Judahite elites inevitably cast doubts on the faith they had put in Yhwh.
“The question was: how can we explain what happened?” Römer says. If the defeated Israelites had simply accepted that the Babylonian gods had proven they were stronger than the god of the Jews, history would have been very different.
But somehow, someone came up with a different, unprecedented explanation. “The idea was that the destruction happened because the kings did not obey the law of god,” Römer says. “It’s a paradoxical reading of the story: the vanquished in a way is saying that his god is the vanquisher. It’s quite a clever idea.]