God's name is feminine?

Peter Kirk Peter_Kirk at sil.org
Sun Jan 27 14:51:26 EST 2002


ELOAH is NOT feminine. Any suggestion that it is is based on a
misunderstanding of Hebrew. The feminine ending is simply -a, but is
written with a HE as a "mater" or helping letter simply to indicate the
presence of a final vowel. But the final HE in ELOAH is not a "mater",
but has a mappiq indicating that it is a fully pronounced consonant.
Also the A sound here is not original but is a "furtive patah" which is
inserted before final guttural sounds, inlcuding HE with mappiq. So in
the plural of this name the A drops out, but the H does not, the
masculine plural ending -im is added, and we get the familiar plural
form ELOHIM, which is also used regularly with singular meaning.

 

Now God is portrayed in the Hebrew Bible as having female as well as
male characteristics, e.g. Isaiah 49:15, 66:13. But that's a different
issue.

 

Peter Kirk

 

-----Original Message-----
From: peterg45 at excite.com [mailto:peterg45 at excite.com] 
Sent: 27 January 2002 03:47
To: Biblical Hebrew
Subject: God's name is feminine?

 

Hi Group 
I was talking with some friends last night and they said they were told
in the seminary that in Hebrew God's name is feminine. The only name
used for God in the Old Testament that I could think of that would even
come close to a feminine form would be 'eLOaH (Dt. 32.17; 2 Kings 17.31,
etc. - used about 60 times in the OT). 
Do any of your have any insights? 

Peter Gordon 

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