From the Oak: Let’s hear it for the God!

Many are those that focus on female divinities, leaving male divinities in the shadows if they get mentioned at all. This is a shame. Here I will share my thoughts, stories and prayers on male divinities. Currently focusing on divinities placed in an atheist "graveyard".

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Reshep, god of war and disease

b2ap3_thumbnail_Egyptianized_Resheph.png

 

Today I’m going to tell you about Reshep, a Syrian god of war and thunder, who became popular in Egypt.  In Egypt, he was also associated with pestilence.  This god is the latest divinity from the atheists’ graveyard.

 

Reshep (Resheph, Reshpu, Reshef, Rahshaf, Resep, Rasap, Rashap) became popular during the 18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom and whose worship has been found as far away as Spain.  In iconography, he is portrayed wearing the White Crown of Upper Egypt with a gazelle head in front and ribbons down the back.  He is seen holding a weapon in his right hand such as spear, ax, sickle, or mace and a shield was scepter or ankh in this left.  Sometimes Reshep is depicted with a Syrian-style beard.

He is known from as far back as 3000 BCE and was one of the most popular gods of the Near East.  In Ugarit texts, Reshep is described as the gatekeeper of the sun goddess and the guardian of the Netherworld along with being lord of battles, fire and diseases.

Reshep was associated with Montu, the Egyptian god of war and with Set through their shared animal, the antelope.  He was often shown with Qetesh, the Syrian goddess of love and nature and Min, their child and god of fertility.  Some named his wife as Itum, a healer goddess.  During the reign of Amenhotep II, Reshep was the god of horses and protector of royalty.  His ability for destroying royal enemies evolved to extend to the general populace in curing disease.  This god of war was specifically called upon to repel the demon that caused abdominal pains. Reshep gained popularity as he was believed to hear and answer prayers directed to him.

Interestingly enough, Reshep has featured in Hebrew Scriptures, specifically the Old Testament, as part of Yahweh’s retinue although English translations change his name to simply “pestilence” or “plague”.  According to a text from Ebla, Reshep was the patron god of the Canaanite city that became the capital of Israel.  This patronage came about through his association with Shulman, god of dusk, who was the patron deity of Jerusalem which means “foundation of Shulman”.  When Yahweh took over, Reshep lived on in their memory as a powerful warrior able to inflict disease on Judah’s enemies.

Like all the deities I write about, I’ve only scratched the surface of who Reshep is…but he more than most seems to have a lot of surprising connections covering a wide geographic area.  I’ve seen him connected to Apollo, Ba’al, Nergal just to name a few.  May Reshep be honored and remembered.

 

Helpful Links: 

https://isthatinthebible.wordpress.com/2014/05/05/the-phoenician-god-resheph-in-the-bible/

http://www.ancientegyptonline.co.uk/reshep.html

http://egyptian-gods.org/egyptian-gods-resheph/

 

http://www.egyptianmyths.net/reshep.htm

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So much has changed for me in the last year. I'm an eclectic polytheist whose main divinities are Heru-ur, Isis, Zeus, Hermes and Hestia. I'm a mother, wife and Librarian living in the Rocky Mountains stumbling on my path and wondering what the heck I'm doing. Blessed be.

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