Psalm 97:7; Psalm 138:1 "the gods"
tmcos at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 2 15:43:32 EDT 2000
My question although of a grammatical nature does bend however towards a
theological side. In Psalms 97:7 and 138:1 I notice that 'elohim' is
translated in English in the plural as "gods", although in Hebrew it is a
3rd person masculine plural noun. It is believed that the "gods" here is a
reference to the angels. In Psalm 8:5, while the MT has 'elohim', and it is
translated "...made him [man] a little lower than God." (NASB), the LXX of
Psalm 8:5 has 'anggelos', "angels". Obviously, the LXX compositors took
'elohim' in the MT to be the equivalent of "angels".
In Psalm 97:7, "Worship Him, all you gods." (NASB) may appear as a
reference to the supremacy of YHWH over the "idols" that were worshipped as
gods. However, in Psalm 138:1, "I will sing praises to Thee before the
gods."(NASB) is quite different.
Can anyone spare some light on this issue? Were the angels regarded as
"gods" and if so, would this not constitute polytheism, or at least
henotheism, which affirmed belief in one God without the exclusion of other
gods? Or does this confusion lie in the ambiguity of the various meanings
and translations of 'elohim'? I think Rolf Furili (I apologize if I have the
name mispelled) commented on this subject a while back. Any comments would
be appreciated. Many thanks in advance.
University of Toronto
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