Shoshanna Walker rosewalk at concentric.net
Tue Jan 29 11:33:51 EST 2002

No Liz, it is NOT as you say, and it's not 'neat'

Elohim is one of G-d's names

Why it is written as if it is plural - you have to learn deeper than the
literal translation

Ramban (Nachmanides):   "The word Elohim means "the Master of all forces",
for the root of the word is eil, meaning force, and the word Elohim is a
composite consisting of the words eil heim, as if the word eil is in a
construct state, and heim [literally] "they", alludes to all other forces.
Thus Elohim means "the Force of all forces".

Ibn Ezra suggests that the name Elohim is derived from Eil [literally
meaning strength].  It appears in the plural form as a matter of reverence,
for every language has its reverent form of address [as in the 'plural of
majesty'], but no idea of plurality is to be inferred from this form as
evidenced by the fact that the verb Bara, created, IS IN THE SINGULAR

The primary explanations of Elohim are:

1. A name which throughout Scriptures signifies Marut, authority (Rashi on

2.  It denotes G-d as 'chief' (Rambam)

3.  It is a term signifying 'Proprietor' or 'Governor' of the world in broad
terms; or in narrower terms, to a human judge (Kuzari 4)

4.  It denotes G-d as the Eternal and Everlasting.  Human judges are
referred to as Elohim because they judge 'in the image of G-d' (Sforno)

5.  It describes G-d as 'the Mighty One who wields authority over the beings
Above and Below (Tur Orach Chaim 5)

6.  It describes G-d as "Baal Yecholet", the omnipotent, the all-powerful
(Shulchan Aruch; ibid)

7.  In the plural form it signifies the many forces which spread throughout
Creation.  All these forces emanate from the ONE G-D, and in Him are found
the sources of all forces in complete unity (Malbim)

8.  It indicates the sum total of His attributes and powers united in Him

For a much more complex Kabbalistic explanation, see


> It's our *Gods*, actually.
> HEar Oh Israel, YHWH is [all of] our gods , YHWH alone.
> Neat, eh?
> Liz
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: ian goldsmith [mailto:iangoldsmith1969 at yahoo.co.uk]
> > Sent: Tue, January 29, 2002 9:49 AM
> > To: Biblical Hebrew
> > Subject: Re:One God.
> >
> >
> > Shoshanna
> >
> > Sorry, you are of course correct, it is 'Elohainu'
> > (our God - I'll check my BHS next time), but the point
> >  still stands when He is refered to, 'God' is always
> > in the plural.
> >
> > I just wondered if this was an intentional references
> > to the LORD's character, mysterious as it most
> > definately is.
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
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