Council of gods before the Deluge. Engraving by Virgil Solis for Ovid's Metamorphoses Book I, 162-208. Fol. 4v, image 7.
The Council of Gods (Sketch for the Medici Cycle) No.14, Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640), Alte Pinakothek
This seal depicts a favorite scene of the Old Babylonian period in which a worshiper stands among a number of gods. The worshiper, in a long robe and cap, offers an animal to the sun-god Shamash, who rests one foot on a stool and holds the saw of justice in his outstretched hand. The sun disk, nestled in a crescent, floats between the two. The goddess Lama stands with her hands raised in supplication. Behind her, a male figure in a kilt holds a curving weapon at his side, and another figure behind Shamash holds the bucket and "sprinkler" associated with fertility.
A meeting of gods on the Tablet of Shamash, British Library room 55. Found in Sippar (Tell Abu Habbah), in Ancient Babylonia ; it dates from the 9th century BC and shows the sun god Shamash on the throne, in front of the Babylonian king Nabu-apla-iddina (888-855 BC) between two interceding deities. The text tells how the king made a new cultic statue for the god and gave privileges to his temple.
Divine council in Olympus: Hermes with his mother Maia, Apollo playing kithara, Dionysos and a maenad. Side B of an Attic red-figure belly-amphora, ca. 500 BC.
A Divine Council is an assembly of deities over which a higher-level god presides.
Texts from Ugarit give a detailed description of the structure of the divine council, where El and Ba'al are presiding gods.
The Council of Gods, Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647), Galleria Borghese
Loggia di Psiche, ceiling fresco by Raffael and his school (The Council of The Gods), Villa Farnesina, Rome, Italy, by Alexander Z., 2006-01-02
In the Hebrew Bible, there are multiple descriptions of Yahweh presiding over a great assembly of Heavenly Hosts. Some interpret these assemblies as examples of Divine Council:
"The Old Testament description of the 'divine assembly' all suggest that this metaphor for the organization of the divine world was consistent with that of Mesopotamia and Canaan. One difference, however, should be noted. In the Old Testament, the identities of the members of the assembly are far more obscure than those found in other descriptions of these groups, as in their polytheistic environment. Israelite writers sought to express both the uniqueness and the superiority of their God Yahweh."
The Book of Psalms (Psalm 82:1), states "1 God (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim) stands in the divine assembly (בַּעֲדַת-אֵל ); He judges among the gods (אֱלֹהִ֔ים elohim)" (אֱלֹהִים נִצָּב בַּעֲדַת־אֵל בְּקֶרֶב אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁפֹּט). The meaning of the two occurrences of "elohim" has been debated by scholars, with some suggesting both words refer to YHWH, while others propose that God rules over a divine assembly of other Gods or angels. Some translations of the passage render "God (elohim) stands in the congregation of the mighty to judge the heart as God (elohim)" (the Hebrew is "beqerev elohim", "in the midst of gods", and the word "qerev" if it were in the plural would mean "internal organs"). Later in this Psalm, the word "gods" is used (in the KJV): Psalm 82:6 - "I have said, Ye [are] gods; and all of you [are] children of the most High." Instead of "gods", another version has "godlike beings", but here again, the word is elohim/elohiym (Strong's H430). This passage is quoted in the New Testament in John 10:34.
In the Books of Kings (1 Kings 22:19), the prophet Micaiah has a vision of Yahweh seated among "the whole host of heaven" standing on his right and on his left. He asks who will go entice Ahab and a spirit volunteers. This has been interpreted as an example of a divine council.
The first two chapters of the Book of Job describe the "Sons of God" assembling in the presence of Yahweh. Like "multitudes of heaven", the term "Sons of God" defies certain interpretation. This assembly has been interpreted by some as another example of divine council. Others translate "Sons of God" as "angels", and thus argue this is not a divine council because angels are God's creation and not deities.
"The role of the divine assembly as a conceptual part of the background of Hebrew prophecy is clearly displayed in two descriptions of prophetic involvement in the heavenly council. In 1 Kings 22:19-23... Micaiah is allowed to see God (elohim) in action in the heavenly decision regarding the fate of Ahab. Isaiah 6 depicts a situation in which the prophet himself takes on the role of the messenger of the assembly and the message of the prophet is thus commissioned by Yahweh. The depiction here illustrates this important aspect of the conceptual background of prophetic authority."
Others interpret the heavenly hosts as angels. They argue that angels are creations of God and not deities; therefore the verses are not Biblical examples of Divine Councils.