The common Semitic noun nšr, ‘eagle; vulture’, attested in the OT some 25 times, indicates a deity in pre-Islamic Arabic texts and inscriptions. In the Old Testament Yhwh’s caring love is sometimes compared with the attitude of an eagle toward its breed (Exod. 19.4; Deut. 32.11).
The oldest attestation of the avian deity can be found in a Sabaic inscription from the vicinity of Mārib dating from the first part of the seventh century bce (YM 375 = YM 1064; TUAT II 628; Müller 1994:91–94)…