/ELOHIYM

Construction of Word

Masculine Plural Suffix Root

BHC Conclusion

The word `elohim is a word that designates a "classification" of beings or entities.  It is like other classification words, i.e., mankind, animals, birds, etc.  It is most often found in the indefinite form `elohim, which we suggest should be translated as "an elohim."  It is also found in the definite form ha-`elohim, which we suggest should be translated as "the elohim."  The reason we are using the transliterated form "elohim," instead of the usual translation "God/god," is because there is a tremendous amount of theological baggage attached to the translation.  We suggest that you build your own "Meaning Profile" for the word.

Our research indicates that the text of the Hebrew Bible neither supports the monotheistic claims of Rabbinic Judaism nor the Trinitarian claims of many sects of Christianity.  Instead, it reveals a history of transition from a world of many "elohims" to the ultimate dominance of Yahweh the elohim of Israel.

Meanings

I. God, god, gods
II. rulers, judges, angels
III. Pl. intensive - god, goddess

See Holladay 16b & BDB 43a

Range of Meanings

Jewish 1. The word `eloha "God" and its plural, `elohim, is apparently a lengthened form of `El (cf. Aramaic `elah, Arabic `ilah).  The singular `eloha is a relatively rare occurrence in the Bible outside of Job, where it is found about forty times.  It is very seldom used in reference to a pagan god and then only in a late period (Dan. 11:37ff; II Chron. 32:15).  In all other cases it refers to the God of Israel (e.g. Deut. 32:15; Ps. 50:22; 139:19; Prov. 30:5; Job 3:4, 23).  The plural form `elohim is used not only of pagan "gods" (Ex. 12:12; 18:11; 20:31), but also of an individual pagan "god" (Judg. 11:24, II Kings 1:2ff.) and even a "goddess" (I Kings 11:5).  In reference to Israel's "God" it is used extremely often -- more than 2,000 times -- and often with the article, ha-`elohim, "the [true] God."  Occasionally, the plural form `elohim, even when used of the God of Israel, is construed with a plural verb or adjective (e.g., Gen. 20:13; 35:7; Ex. 32:4, 8; II Sam. 7:23; Ps. 58:12), especially in the expression `elohim hayyim, "the living God."  In the vast majority of cases, however, the plural form is treated as if it were a noun in the singular.  The odd fact that Hebrew uses a plural noun to designate the sole God of Israel has been explained in various ways.  It is not to be understood as a remnant of the polytheism of Abraham's ancestors, or hardly as a "plural of majesty" -- if there is such a thing in Hebrew.  SOURCE: Encyclopedia Judaica 7:679
Christian 1.

Jesus is the messiah called "Yeshuah", Yeshuah is a name given to him.  Jesus is also Elohim, Elohim is a name which describes God, and his servants (God's) in Heaven. God is the supreme leader and the creator of the Elohim. Jesus, the son of God, which makes him the Supreme Elohim.

The Elohims are the supreme beings, that govern all Time and Space. They exist in Heaven, which is a dimension that is not governed by Time nor Space. Their existence precedes all Time and Space, because they are the creators of Time and Space.

2.

EL and Elohim - EL is the supreme creator god of the Canaanites who lives with the other gods on Mount Zaphon (similar to Mount Olympus of the Greeks but located at the mouth of the Orontes river near the border between Turkey and Syria). He is the father of all the gods and men and is often addressed as such by the Canaanite gods. He is the god of the earth and the air who is represented by a bull. He is derived from the Sumerian god AN. In the Bible EL is translated as God. Elohim is the plural form of EL yet in most places in the Bible it is used in the singular sense so it is also translated as God instead of gods. Strict monotheism was not fully developed in Israelite thought until their exile to Babylon. Before then Yahweh (translated as Lord in the Bible) was the god of Israel and Judah (officially their only god) whose principle power and characteristic was that of justice and righteousness. Because he judged other peoples and gods he soon came to be seen as the supreme God (the equivalent of EL), and finally as the only God for all people. Echoes of Israel's earlier stages of understanding are found in some old psalms as follows:.

  • Psalm 82:1: Elohim has taken his place in the assembly of EL, in the midst of the elohim He holds judgment.
  • Psalm 29:1: Ascribe to Yahweh, O sons of EL, ascribe to Yahweh glory and strength.
  • Psalm 89:6: For who in the skies can be compared to Yahweh, who among the sons of EL is like Yahweh. SOURCE
Other 1.

ELOHIM - in ancient Hebrew this term was plural and meant "righteous living beings who rule the heavens and the earth."  SOURCE

2. "Elohim, the plural of the Hebrew word eloha, "god," a lengthened form of the Canaanite word el (Aramaic alaha; Arabic ilah), is most frequently used for the God of Israel in the Old Testament. The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections (The New Encyclopaiedia Britannica, Micropaedia, Vol. III, 15th Edition, p. 863)." SOURCE
3. I have often heard people refer to the Judeo-Christian God as "the nameless God" to contrast our God with the ancient pagan gods. I always found this odd, because Judaism clearly recognizes the existence of a Name for God; in fact, we have many Names for God.

The most important of God's Names is the four-letter Name represented by the Hebrew letters Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHVH). It is often referred to as the Ineffable Name, the Unutterable Name or the Distinctive Name. Linguistically, it is related to the Hebrew root Heh-Yod-Heh (to be), and reflects the fact that God's existence is eternal. In scripture, this Name is used when discussing God's relation with human beings, and when emphasizing his qualities of lovingkindness and mercy. It is frequently shortened to Yah (Yod-Heh), Yahu or Yeho (Yod-Heh-Vav), especially when used in combination with names or phrases, as in Yehoshua (Joshua, meaning "the Lord is my Salvation"), Eliyahu (Elijah, meaning "my God is the Lord"), and Halleluyah ("praise the Lord").

The first Name used for God in scripture is Elohim. In form, the word is a masculine plural of a word that looks feminine in the singular (Eloha). The same word (or, according to Rambam, a homonym of it) is used to refer to princes, judges, other gods, and other powerful beings. This Name is used in scripture when emphasizing God's might, His creative power, and his attributes of justice and rulership. Variations on this name include El, Eloha, Elohai (my God) and Elohaynu (our God).

SOURCE

Other Links (1) Elohim by STEVE KEMP

HEBREW LEXICON

GENESIS

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