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Two Yahwehs?

 Two Yahwehs at Sodom

Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from Jehovah out of heaven. (Genesis 19:24, ASV)

We previously examined Genesis chapters 18 and 19 in detail and read in 19:24 that Yahweh, whom we established as being at Sodom, rained down brimstone and fire from a Yahweh that was in the sky. One Yahweh on the ground, the other in the sky.

Two Yahwehs at Passover

Exodus 12:23 For the LORD will pass through to smite the Egyptians; and when he seeth the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not suffer the destroyer to come in unto your houses to smite you.

In this verse Yahweh prevents the destroyer from killing the firstborn of the house with the blood on the doorposts.

Exodus 12:29 And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle.

In this verse the destroyer is identified as Yahweh. Therefore, when Yahweh the preventer sees the blood on the doorpost he prevents Yahweh the destroyer from killing the firstborn.

Yahweh will not go with Israel, Yahweh will

And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it: And I will send an angel before thee; and I will drive out the Canaanite, the Amorite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, the Hivite, and the Jebusite: Unto a land flowing with milk and honey: for I will not go up in the midst of thee; for thou art a stiffnecked people: lest I consume thee in the way. (Exodus 33:1-3, KJV)

Yahweh is speaking to Moses and says that because of Israel’s stiff-neckedness, he will not go with them to the land, if he did, he would destroy them. Instead, he is sending a messenger to go ahead of them to protect them.

And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest. (Exodus 33:14, KJV)

From these two verses we can conclude that Yahweh will send his messengers, one to go ahead of them and another (identified as the face of  Yahweh) to be with them and Yahweh himself will stay behind at Mount Sinai. In Numbers 10:11 Israel leaves Mt. Sinai yet, beginning in Numbers 11:16 and all the way to the time Israel enters the land, Yahweh is still speaking with Moses time and again. We also read in Deuteronomy 23:14 that Yahweh "walks" through the camp of Israel.

We already know that Yahweh remained behind at Mount Sinai, but sent his messengers with them and now we find out that these messengers, or at least one of them, is identified as Yahweh.

Two Yahwehs with Moses

Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. (Exodus 33:11, RSV)

Moses would speak with Yahweh "face to face," which means that Moses saw the face of Yahweh. However, in verse 20 Yahweh says to Moses, "You cannot see my face; for man shall not see me and live."

Either we have a contradiction in the text or we are not reading the text correctly. There are few explanations for this. Probably the most common explanation that I have heard is that "face to face" doesn't really mean "face to face,"  but I think this is just a case "fixing" the text to fit with their theology as "face to face" can only mean one thing, "face to face." Another explanation is that this chapter was written by two different authors. One author understands that you can see the face of Yahweh while the author does not believe that you can see the face of Yahweh. Another possibility is that there are two Elohim with the same name, Yahweh.

One other possible explanation for these two Yahwehs is that the texts originally included two different Elohim with two different names, one being Yahweh and the other by another name. But when the text was revised, to reflect a more monotheistic viewpoint, the name of the “other" Elohim was simply changed to Yahweh, giving us two Yahwehs.