Humor from the Prophets (8th Century B.C.)

God’s Humorous Response to the Israelites’ Forgetfulness

God’s response to the confusion of His Name was humorous. 

Perhaps, it was humorous because He understood their confusion about the meaning of “He WILL BE,” and He gave them a very difficult riddle when He said of Joshua, “My Name is in Him.”

Nonetheless, the name of Yaho was caused by the idolatry of the tribe of Dan, and so God said, “Their fathers forgot My Name for Baal” (Jeremiah 23:27).

I WILL No Longer Be Your I WILL BE

The meaning of God’s Name, as I WILL BE/He WILL BE, relates to His covenant, “I WILL BE with you.”

But after the Israelites left God for Baal, He was no longer with them.

The invisible God became as their “master.” They could no longer see Him as a helper. They no longer understood Him as the God who was “with them.”

In Chapter 1 of the Book of Hosea, God said, “You are not My people, And I will not be your God.”(Hosea 1:9) Literally, in Hebrew, He said, “I not I WILL BE to you shall be” (enki lo EHYEH אֶהְיֶ֥ה lakem).

But in Chapter 2, God prophesied there would be a New Covenant, “in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’”(Hosea 2:16)

The Story of Yaho Was Well Understood by Jeremiah

The grandson of Moses, the priest of Dan, in Judges 18:30, had a YHV prefix in his name, which we understand as Yaho. But you may ask how we know that the writer of the Book of Judges had the same understanding of this YHV prefix that we do. Could YHV have been an abbreviation of Yihvah, since the last consonant is silent?

From the description of the captivity of the land, in Judges 18:30, we know that the Book of Judges was not completed until at least the 720 B.C.  And from 1 Chronicles 29:29, we know that the Books of Samuel were first written by Gad and Nathan.  Most scholars believe that all of these historical accounts were edited and compiled in about 550 B.C., 1 in the time of Jeremiah, and perhaps by Jeremiah himself. There is a strong Jewish tradition that the Books of Kings were written by Jeremiah in 550 B.C.

Because all of these Books were edited at the same time, and quite possibly by the prophet, we know that the meaning of the YHV prefix is the same in all of these writings.

Their Fathers Forgot My Name for Baal

The story of Yaho was likely Jeremiah’s story because he understood God’s statement,

How long will this be in the heart of the prophets who prophesy lies? Indeed, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart, who try to make My people forget My Name by their dreams which everyone tells his neighbor, as their fathers forgot My Name for Baal.

Jeremiah 23:26–27

The term “Baal” or “Master” does not refer to the substitutionary expression “Adonai” or “LORD” that appeared years later in the Bible. God had no objection to the expression “Adonai.” Even the prophets called God “Adonai YHVH.”

The Israelites originally worshiped an Angel, who was Jacob’s God, and their ELOHIM. But they were drawn after another god named “Baal,” meaning “Master.” Maybe they thought that “Master” was the true God, the “Master” of the Angel.

  1. Tsumura, David Toshio (2007). The First Book of Samuel.