h'lhym

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Fri Jul 19 00:46:55 EDT 2002


Dear Ian,

The Hebrew Bible advocates in my view the belief in many living gods, 
but neither polytheism nor henotheism. The seemingly contradion in my 
words can be solved if we understand the Hebrew Bible's presenteation 
of "the family of YHWH".

This "family" consists of YHWH as the supreme God who is the only one 
that should be worshiped; then there are spirit creatures which are 
"gods" in a generic sense and others who are "gods" in both a generic 
and a religious sense. YHWH has "sons" who occationally are called 
"gods", because, as sons they are "gods" in a generic sense, but not 
in a religious one, because they do not deserve worship. YHWH has 
other sons who are in opposition to him. They are called shêdîm 
(Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 136:36,37) and are "gods" in both a 
generic sense (they were created by YHWH) and in a (false) religious 
sense (they are worshiped). The idols are completely lifless, but 
when the people worshiped idols, they in reality worshiped living 
"gods", the shêdîm, who stood behind the idols. (The second 
commandmend thus implies the belief in many living "gods") Paul 
expresses exactly the same thought i 1 Corinthians 10:19-21: the 
nations in reality sacrifice to the daimonion when they sacrifice to 
idols.

On this background I would take your h'lhym in the sense "The God", 
who has a completely different position compared with other "gods". 
So I would translate is as "The true God". The word 'lhym without 
article refers in most instances to "The true God" as well (keep in 
mind the difference between "meaning" and "reference"), but when the 
article is used, it is stressed that he is "The true God".

I am not aware of any literature that discusses the matter, so I have 
stated the results of my own research.


Regards

Rolf


Rolf Furuli

University of Oslo






>Earlier I asked:
>
>>Is there any literature (or any thoughts) on the term
>>ha-elohim (with article) as against that without?
>
>and didn't get any takers. Here's some raw data which
>might be found interesting. Perhaps someone might find
>it stimulating.
>
>     h'lhym 'lhym   yhwh    'dny
>
>Gen   20    140     128       6
>Ex    27     30     298       4
>Lev    -      -     198       -
>Num    2      7     286       1
>Deut.  5     28     413       2
>Jos    3     10     160       2
>Jdg   13     26     122       2
>Ruth   -      -      12       -
>1Sa   11     34     204       -
>2Sa   17     13     115       7
>1Ki   21     21     195       4
>2Ki   34     26     217       2
>1Ch   44     14     112       0
>2Ch   47     25     270       0
>Ezr   12      -      22       0
>Neh   22      3      14       2
>Job    3     11      22       1
>Ps     3    189     545      50
>So     -      -       -       1
>Pro    -      3      70       -
>Ecc   29      7       -       -
>Isa    2     14     366      47
>Jer    2     13     604      13
>Lam    -      -      30      13
>Eze    1     11     387     215
>Dan    5      -       6      13
>Hos    -      5      36       -
>Joel   -      -      23       -
>Amos   -      1      71      23
>Ob     -      -       5       1
>Jon    4      4      19       -
>Mic    -      1      33       1
>Nah    -      -      10       -
>Hab    -      -       9       1
>Zep    -      -      24       1
>Hag    -      -      25       -
>Zec    -      1      96       7
>Mal    -      5      36       1
>--------------------------------
>      316    634    5194     420
>--------------------------------
>
>
>'dny has been vetted to remove non-god references
>as in "master".
>
>
>Ian
>
>
>
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