Martin A. Shields mshields at mail.usyd.edu.au
Fri Jul 19 07:38:32 EDT 2002

On 19/7/02 11:27 am, Ian Hutchesson at mc2499 at mclink.it wrote:

>> 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.

I had it in the back of my mind that I had come across something on this
topic, but the path to the back of my mind has been obscured of late by
sleep deprivation.

However, you did prompt me to wonder whether proper nouns were often written
with the article. I couldn't find any instances of personal names (I haven't
looked all that closely, so someone may correct me here). It is, however,
not uncommon for place names to be written with the article (e.g. Josh 13:6;
Judg 2:1).

There do seem to be passages where Ba`al is written with the article (e.g.
1Kings 16:31; 18:21, 26; 2Kings 10:18).

What bearing this has on 'lhym I have not decided...

On 19/7/02 2:46 pm, Rolf Furuli at furuli at online.no wrote:

> 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".

This seems to me to be unlikely--I doubt such a broad generalisation can be
made for the entire Hebrew Bible. For example, it suggests that Psalms
rarely seeks to stress "the true God" but Qohelet frequently wishes to do so
(based on the statistics Ian provided). This certainly seems
counter-intuitive to me!

Martin Shields,
University of Sydney.

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