Wednesday, May 08, 2013


Ancient Near Eastern societies were predominantly patriarchal. The father at least symbolized (or assumed, in practice) all responsibility, care, and protection for his entire familial group, and thus family gods were naturally commonly referred to as “father.” Gods were also often named “brother,” which reflected the practice of an older brother’s assuming responsibility for the family after the unavoidable absence or death of the father (see, for example, Genesis 44). References to the father’s brothers appear for similar reasons.—Family and Household Religion in Ancient Israel and the Levant, page 351

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