Yhwh Tsevaot before Samuel: Canonical Foundations for a Davidic Title

Published: Reformed Theological Review 81, issue 1, April 2022, 1–32.
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The article argues that the title, Yhwh Tsevaot, first appearing in Samuel, is rooted in the pre-Samuel canon. ‘Host’ language in Genesis–Judges is assessed, as are comparable expressions to Yhwh Tsevaot, including ‘hosts of Yhwh’ and ‘God of Israel’, to conclude that Yhwh Tsevaot refers to the deity of the federated tribal armies of Israel. The new term is designed to demarcate a new salvation-historical era, like ‘El Shaddai’ and ‘Yhwh’. It marks the age of military victory and rest attained under the Davidic monarchy. The canonical background does not suggest an angelic meaning and gives quite a different concept to the Canaanite council of the gods.