Abstract

That YHWH was perceived to command a divine army in the heavens brooks no argument. Traditionally, the phrase “host of heaven” (צבא השמים) has been associated with this divine army. In this article I reassess the relevant evidence and argue that the host of heaven are not portrayed in this role. The biblical texts contain numerous references to YHWH’s divine army, but these forces are never called a host (צבא). Rather, the diversity of terminology employed in reference to YHWH’s army suggests that it possessed no fixed terminology. It may be that the biblical authors deliberately did not use the term host in order to avoid associating YHWH’s divine army too closely with the weaknesses of human armies.

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