The Holy Name, the Seven Palaces and Genesis 1:1


Addendum The finding of a curse tablet from Mt. Ebal with the early name of God (YHV) places the dating of gematria to the 13th Century BCE. Read the blog...

The earliest known reference to the name of God; YHVH is on the Mesha Stele which is dated to 840 BCE, but there is little evidence to say that the Holy Name was a different divinity from El. Rather it seems that the Name of God emerged from the meditations of priests and scribes upon the story of the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the Seven Palaces illustrate this.

It is often presumed by historians that there were two separate Gods with two separate identities called El and YHVH, from two different regions in the ancient near east, that were over time syncretised into one supreme deity in the religious life of ancient Israel. However, both the name of God (YHVH) and the hebrew word that means 'God' אל (El) were intertwined as the structural basis of religious mysticism and cosmology in ancient Israel during the time of the first Temple.  Each letter of the holy name represents a group of letters on the Seven Palaces. Each of these grouping is called a 'gate'. The four gates of the holy name are color coded on the diagram above.

Together, all four gates of the Holy Name represent all the letters used in the first two chapters of Genesis (the creation), with the exception of the leading letter ב Beth. This letter ב is assigned to the highest 'seventh' palace and it symbolizes the House of אל (El) 'God', where God exists beyond all comprehension. 

When the alphabet is counted, leaving off the leading letter Beth, it sums to:

אגשדתהוזחטיכלמנסעפצקר = 800 which is a number representing everything created, like the number 700, but also everything yet to be, or that ever was.

The first hebrew word of Genesis is the title of the Book: בראשית (Brashith). It means "in the beginning" and it has the gematria value of 220, which is the gate of the Yod י from the holy name and the value of יהוה (YHVH) with the reversal cipher and התורה (HaTorah) the Torah.

When Brashith is multiplied:

ב × ר × א × ש × י × ת = 48000

The other three nouns from Genesis 1:1 sum to 480, which is the gate of the Vav ו and the number of minutes in eight hours

אלהים (86) + השמים (98) + הארץ (296) = 480

All together, the nouns of Genesis 1:1 sum to 700:

בראשית (220) + אלהים (86) + השמים (98) + הארץ (296) = 700

- which is the gate of the Yod י (220) + the Vav (480) ו of the Holy Name.

The notariqon of Genesis 1:1 also sums to 800 with the reversal cipher:

ב + ב + א + א + ה + ו + ה = 800. These numbers of 700 and 800 in Genesis 1:1 are corresponded to the letter Beth on the Seven Palaces, and they are underlining the peshat (plain) meaning of the text to tell us that God, dwelling inside his house, is responsible for all of creation.  

The two remaining letter Heh's of the Holy YHVH name sum to אל × 10:

Heh (217) + Heh (93) = 310.

These letters have gate values which are multiples of the value of God אל (31):
31 × 7 = 217
31 × 3 = 93

On the Seven Palaces, the value of gate between the Palaces of Beth and Resh sum to 217, and it is the same value of all seven letters attributed to the Palaces themselves:

ב + ג + ה + ז + ר = 217
ב + א + א + ר + ד + ד + ה = 217 

Biblical tradition says that the Book of Genesis was written by Moses during the Exodus from Egypt, between 1440 and 1400 BCE. According to scholars, Genesis was likely composed in its current form during the time of the first Temple, but if YHVH and El were originally two different Gods that were syncretized there is little evidence for it. There are references to the Seven Palaces (or Chambers) as early as 1450 BCE when the polity of Ugarit was at its height, and there was little difference between Hebrew speaking people and the Canaanites. 

In Ugaritic legends, the creator God 'El' had 3 sons (Hadad, Mot, and Yam) and a daughter (Anat), and these were known as the 'Elohim'. El lived in a temple of Seven Palaces on Mount Tzaphon that was located at "the underground wellspring of the rivers, amidst the course of the two seas". Solomon's waterworks, consisting of a Sea and two rows of water wagons, are comparable and resemble the description of the abode of the Canaanite deity El.[1] 

"El the Bull, lifted up his voice from the Seven Chambers, from the eight openings."[2]

In Ugaritic literature there are many stories that list significant things in terms of 7's or 8's, or 700's and 800's. When Baal came to earth he brought with him seven servitors and eight boars. Seven and seventy times he loved a heifer by the edge of the stand of death, eight and eighty times. Texts from Ras Sharma tell us that Hadad, lived in the Seven Palaces of his Father before he grew restless and asked for an abode of his own. 

"But there is not a house for Ba’al like the gods, no court like the sons of Athirat. The dwelling of El, the shelter of his son.” [3]

The letters of the three lower Palaces spell out the name of this son Hadad; הדד, but by the time of the first Temple, this early association was of no significance.

- Bethsheba Ashe Oct 16th 2021.

Please see my work 'Behold! The Art and Practice of Gematria' for more information about the history and practice of gematria during biblical to modern times. 


[1] Hurowitz, V. A. (2010). ‘Tenth Century BCE to 586 BCE: The House of the Lord (Beyt YHWH)’. Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade.

[2] Kapelrud, A. S. (1968). The Number Seven in Ugaritic Texts. Vetus Testamentum, 18(4), 494–499.
[2] ibid.