Elohim plurality

Schmuel schmuel at bigfoot.com
Tue Jan 29 13:29:22 EST 2002


Shalom B-Hebrew

Ian
>In the 'Shema' Deut 6:4 the bible reads 'the LORD your
>God is one'.
>
>Someone has asked already about what exactly one
>means, but this sentence has a curiosity.
>If the LORD is one God why is the noun 'God' plural?  <snip>
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We saw that this is not the case in Deut 6:4

One website put it as... " ELOHANU (our GOD, singular not Elohim, plural)"
And Shosh shared similarly......

Note also that in Mark  12:29 , where the Shema is quoted by Jesus
there is also no such possible plurality issue in the Greek....

(remember, "plurality"is usually brought up by Christians, in an attempt
  to defend trinitarian theologies, so the Greek is quite significant too..)

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Now Elohim is brought up re Genesis 1:26,
  where there actually is a plural verb with the word Elohim...

Genesis 1:26, Elohim said , "Let us make man  in our image, after our likeness"

Daniel Seagraves touches on the plural "Elohim" in  depth ..

Those who are interested, I suggest reading the whole article on the website...

It might clarify a lot of the back and forth :-)
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http://www.clc.edu/askdr/Archive/elohim.htm
CHRISTIAN MONOTHEISM: A BIBLICAL THEOLOGY
By Daniel L. Segraves

(TWO EXTRACTS here)

In Genesis 1:26, Elohim (plural) said (third masculine singular), "Let us 
make (first person common plural) man (noun masculine singular) in our 
image ("image" is a masculine singular noun with a first person common 
plural suffix), after our likeness ("likeness" is a feminine singular noun 
with a first person common plural suffix)."

  Elohim is a masculine plural noun. Eloah, the singular form of the word, 
appears 54 times and is also used in reference to both the true God and to 
false gods. Eloah is from the Hebrew El, which appears 226 times.  El 
signifies strength and power.

The "im" ending on a Hebrew word (as in Elohim) makes the word plural, like 
putting an "s" on the end of many English words. But, unlike the English 
language, the plural form of a Hebrew word may not signify more than one. 
Though the Hebrew plural can certainly refer to more than one (and the 
Hebrew language also has a dual ending, signifying two), the Hebrew also 
uses plural forms when only one subject is in view, to indicate intensity 
(something like the "est" ending on some English words), fullness, 
something that flows, or multiplicity of attributes.
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btw, there is another pretty good link that discusses other aspects
   (hopefully, separate post)

Schmuel at bigfoot.com

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