Is it true that there is an inscription of Yahweh found that is older than when Moses was revealed the name of God in the Bible?

  • 2
    Could you clarify the question? By "inscription" do you mean only the written scripture of the bible, or other writings such as a carving found in an archeological dig? And by "older than when Moses was revealed the name," do you mean older than when the event actually happened (i.e. when Moses was younger or before he was born), or do you mean an older written record (i.e. something written before Exodus was written), or do you just mean earlier in the order of events in the Bible (i.e. something from Genesis)? – JDM-GBG Sep 9 '18 at 0:22
  • yes it could mean any inscription not just limited to the Bible – user3125707 Sep 9 '18 at 10:37

Tradition holds that Moses lived sometime around the 15th century B.C. This would put the oldest use of the tetragrammaton (the Hebrew word "YHWH", anglicized to "Yahweh") to the same time frame, as Moses wrote the oldest portions of the Bible.

Outside the Bible, the oldest known inscription of the tetragrammaton appears on the Mesha stele, which has been dated to around 840 B.C. You can read more about the Mesha stele here.

  • 1
    @DJClayworth Good point; it's been added! – Cerulean Chelonii Sep 11 '18 at 4:07
  • Thanks for the answer but is it true that Assyriologist Friedrich Delitzsch found an inscription of Yahweh around 2500bc? – user3125707 Sep 29 '18 at 20:39
  • From what I've read, Friedrich Delitzsch believed certain inscriptions contained words which were variants of "Yahweh", but not the version used in the Bible. However, this was just his opinion; most secular scholars today are uncertain of the origin the word "Yahweh" and therefore it would not be possible to determine any variants. As such, anything beyond what I answered above would just be speculation. – Cerulean Chelonii Sep 30 '18 at 1:48

In a tomb at Ketef Hinnom in Israel, the oldest text of the Hebrew Bible was discovered. The text, inscribed on a silver scroll in the old Hebrew script dating to the 7th Century B.C., is the Aaronic blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), which begins, "yeverekh'kha YHWH Vayishmarekha" (May Yahweh bless you and keep you). Source: http://ancient-hebrew.org/bible_manuscripts.html

The oldest known inscription of the Tetragrammaton dates to 840 BCE, on the Mesha Stele. It bears the earliest certain extra-biblical reference to the Israelite God Yahweh. The most recent discovery of a Tetragrammaton inscription, dating to the 6th century BCE, was found written in Hebrew on two silver scrolls recovered from Jerusalem. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton

I found a related questioninBible Hermenutics: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/14042/the-name-of-god-in-ancient-manuscripts

You may find it helpful.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.