[b-hebrew] Elohiym - On the Other Hand

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Thu Jun 30 02:13:56 EDT 2005

On the other hand, it is interesting that Yahweh always 
says ?I? not ?We?.  In Lev 18 ? 20 the phrase *eniy Yahweh* 
(I Yahweh) occurs 20 times.   In Isaiah Yahweh repeatedly 
speaks in the first person singular (Is 44 for example).  

Likewise Yahweh is addressed in the second person masculine 
singular.  For example in Isaiah 63:16 Yahweh is addressed 
as *atah Yahwah* (You Yahweh) or *atah abiynu * (You Our 
Father).  In Isaiah 63:15 *your glory* is second person 
masculine singular.   Likewise in Judges 5 ? the Song of 
Deborah ? Yahweh is addressed as * Elohay Yisheralel* (God 
[singular] of Isreal.  Elsewhere He called * El Elohim* 
(God [singular] of gods), Elohey Aberaham (God [singular] 
of Abraham, El Shadey  is singular, El Elyon is singular.  
You get the idea, singular, even when Elohim is used, is 
the case for the vast majority of uses.

Only in Genesis 1 does God speak in the third person 
plural.  Even though God is called Elohim, the verbs are 
all third person singular ? He created, He said ? not they 
created or they said.  Interestingly, in Gen 1:26 ? Elohim 
creates man (third person singular verb and singular object 
- haadam) but then says *let us make man in our image and 
our  likeness and let THEM rule over the fish of the sea??  
So Elohim is describing man (singular) in the plural (THEM) 
as well as Himself.

So the *Majestic Plural* may not make sense.  That may have 
been more confusing than helpful.  Oh well.

> From: "John Gray" <jgray at lfmp.com.au>
> Date: 2005/06/27 Mon AM 02:51:28 EDT
> To: <tladatsi at charter.net>
> Subject: Re: Elohiym
> Thank you very much for you response JOhn Gray
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: <tladatsi at charter.net>
> To: <jgray at lfmp.com.au>; <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Friday, June 24, 2005 8:21 AM
> Subject: Elohiym 
> > 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 
> > 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 
> > it were singular and sometimes it does not refer to 
> > the God of Israel.  For example, when Saul uses a 
medium to 
> > contact the spirit of the dead Samuel, the medium says 
> > sees *elohyim* rising up from the earth (1 Sam 28:13) 
> > though is obviously singular. 
> > 
> > Ashtoreth is twice referred to as *elohyim* even though 
> > is also obviously singular (and feminine).  Likewise 
> > 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.  
> > Psalm 8:5 it refers to angels (or divine beings 
> > 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 
> > her father in Genesis 31 are also called elohiym (Gen 
> > 31:32).
> > 
> > 
> > Jack Tladatsi

Jack Tladatsi

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