>>1747006> By the end of the Babylonian captivity they had become monotheistic, but old testament scripture still contains traces of the polytheistic Yahwism.
ironically while railing against polytheism throughout. In the early books of the Old Testament you get these traces of polytheism. The earliest passages in which Yahweh is said to speak about other Gods, by the authors, Yahweh acknowledges that they exist, but forbids worshiping them. He says he will drive them out of Canaan and give that land to the proto-Jewish Yahwists returning from Egypt. So that is henotheistic Yahweh, and henotheistic Yahweh has very interesting contradictory themes. Only later, in the last books of the old testament, written after the Babylonian captivity, do we start to get traces of monotheistic Yahweh which claims that the other Gods are merely statues and don't really exist, but even when we get traces of monotheistic Yahweh, he is still called "lord of hosts" and the heresy of worshiping the hosts is brought up over and over. The theme emerges of Yahweh punishing infidelity on the part of the proto-Jewish Yahwists by giving them into the hands of enemies whenever they or their leaders stop worshiping Yahweh and/or start worshiping foreign Gods. So the Gods of the canaanite pantheon Yahweh originally came from were reenvisioned as first foreign Gods, but this leaves Yahweh without his hosts that he lords over, so the idea developed that there were angels that Yahweh ruled over, like the archangel michael. So even in Christianity, with its tripartite nicean trinitarian God (no longer Yahweh explicitly, but only implicitly) , and its many named angels and saints, you still see elements of henotheism in a religion nobody dares call anything but monotheistic.
Let's examine contrary themes:
1. He will drive out the "foreign" Gods of the Canaanite pantheon, along with their worshippers
2. He will give the land back to the foreign Gods and their worshipers and allow his own worshipers to be carried off into captivity if they lapse in faith and works.
So Yahweh not only gives and takes from his own worshipers, in order to reward and punish, but Yahweh also gives and takes from foreign pagans who don't even necessarily know he exists. This creates a very strange accounting system, where people who fail to worship Yahweh are punished by… being carried off into a land where nobody worships Yahweh, where there is no Yahwist superstructure to turn them back on the path to Yahwism, and the Yahwists essentially become pagans. And pagans are rewarded for lapses in faith on the part of Yahwists. Pagans are given the lands of the Yahwists as punishment against Yahwists… becoming pagans. So pagans are rewarded when Yahwists are punished, and Yahwists are punished by becoming embedded in a pagan superstructure. This narrative allowed Yahwism to become very powerful, because any time anything bad happened to Yahwists, the priesthood was obligated to attribute it to a lack of zealotry, and to chronicle that in their histories, so that in hindsight, any kind of material failure was transformed into a spiritual failure. Did a famine happen because everyone kept sacrificing their vegetables and meat on Yahwist altars? No! The famine happened because people weren't sacrificing enough food! And now we have starved for our sins.! Was our city taken by the Philistines and put to the sword because we did not build good enough fortifications? No! We failed to fortify our hearts by worshiping Yahweh.