[b-hebrew] Elohiym

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Thu Jun 23 18:21:17 EDT 2005


Mr. Gray,

As others have already noted, the generally accepted 
understanding of elohiym is what is sometimes called the *
majestic plural* of eloah - God.  It has been suggested in 
some quarters that this some sort of remnant of ancient 
polytheism but that is merely speculation.  

Despite it's plural form, elohyim is generally used as if 
it were singular and sometimes it does not refer to Yahweh, 
the God of Israel.  For example, when Saul uses a medium to 
contact the spirit of the dead Samuel, the medium says she 
sees *elohyim* rising up from the earth (1 Sam 28:13) even 
though is obviously singular. 

Ashtoreth is twice referred to as *elohyim* even though she 
is also obviously singular (and feminine).  Likewise both 
Chemosh (Jud 11:14, 1 Kings 11:33) and Milkom (1 Kings 
11:33) are also called *elohiym* and each is a 
single god.   Interesting Baal is never referred to as *
elohiym*.  

There are other times when Elohiym is used as a plural.  In 
Psalm 8:5 it refers to angels (or divine beings subordinate 
to Yahweh) where it is clearly plural.  Elohyim is also 
used frequently as a plural for unnamed gods other than 
Yahweh.   Also the idols (teraphiym) that Rachel stole from 
her father in Genesis 31 are also called elohiym (Gen 
31:32).


Jack Tladatsi



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