William Dever

Extend as if in blessing, a hand reaches out from an inscription that reads “Blessed will be Ariyahu to Yahweh and his Asherah.” Found in a tomb at Khirbet el-Kom, near Hebron, the inscription provides yet more evidence that the ancient Israelites believed their god Yahweh to have a consort. Ariyahu may have been a priest of Yahweh: It was common for the temple priests to incorporate a form of the name Yahweh into their own name; names with endings such as -yahu, -yo and -yah are frequently found on seals or in Biblical references to priests.