When exactly did YHWH abandon Israel?
Much earlier than you've probably realized!
This is a very important question, because the entire Old Testament (aside from the Torah, the first 5 books of Moses) may hinge upon how early it can be said that YHWH abandoned his people.
The veracity of the Books from 1 Samuel and onward can be judged by how these writings portray the continued presence of YHWH if it’s obvious He had already abandoned Israel.
In fact this article will be the basis of several articles questioning stories that are unquestionably accepted by Jews and Christians, when the Samaritan community, the remnant of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, have a completely different story that you probably haven’t heard yet! I will help you arrive at the actual truth of the Hebrew scriptures!
Consider this promise made to Moses which is often overlooked:
Then YHWH said to Moses, “You are about to die, and then these people will begin to prostitute themselves with the foreign gods of the land into which they are going. They will reject me and break my covenant that I have made with them. At that time my anger will erupt against them and I will abandon them and hide my face from them until they are devoured. Many disasters and distresses will overcome them so that they will say at that time, ‘Have not these disasters overcome us because our God is not among us?‘ But I will certainly hide myself at that time because of all the wickedness they will have done by turning to other gods.
Deuteronomy 31:16-18 NET
YHWH indicates that worship of the Canaanite gods will cause him to abandon them and hide his face from them.
Now consider what was happening as early as the time of the judges:
The Israelites did evil before YHWH by worshiping the Baals. They abandoned YHWH God of their ancestors who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods – the gods of the nations who lived around them. They worshiped them and made YHWH angry. They abandoned YHWH and worshiped Baal and the Ashtars. YHWH was furious with Israel and handed them over to robbers who plundered them. He turned them over to their enemies who lived around them. They could not withstand their enemies’ attacks.
Judges 2:11-14 NET
Given the promise made to Moses, if one takes YHWH seriously, one must conclude that this is the point in Israel’s history when His presence was removed–not centuries later after an unauthorized temple was built in Jerusalem.
This is something that even Gideon, from the same time period, admits:
Gideon said to him, “Pardon me, but if YHWH is with us, why has such disaster overtaken us? Where are all his miraculous deeds our ancestors told us about? They said, ‘Did YHWH not bring us up from Egypt?’ But now YHWH has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.”
Judges 6:13 NET
Notice how similar this statement is to what YHWH promised would be said in Deuteronomy 31: Have not these disasters overcome us because our God is not among us?
Now that we’ve established how YHWH abandoned Israel by the time of the Judges, not long after the Canaanite conquest, this requires reasonable people to question the writings compiled after that period, because they may be entirely corrupt and completely untrustworthy. In the next few weeks, expect to be troubled by scriptural exposés about the Old Testament stories about Eli, Samuel, Saul and David.
Remember, in order to believe the Hebrew or Greek scriptures to be true, you must first believe the earliest writings (the Torah) to be true, and the Torah spells out exactly how things were to be done. Any divergence is simply rebellion and falsehood.
You’ll be very surprised how a thorough examination will open your eyes to actual truth!