Though Elohim is plural in form, it is understood in the singular sense. The Israelites probably borrowed the Canaanite plural noun Elohim and made it singular in meaning in their cultic practices and theological reflections. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Elohim Hebrew god. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica Encyclopaedia Britannica's editors oversee subject areas in which they have extensive knowledge, whether from years of experience gained by working on that content or via study for an advanced degree See Article History.
What Does "Elohim" Mean?
Please help support the mission of New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. See also GOD. Septuagint , theos ; Vulgate , Deus. Elohim is the common name for God. It is a plural form, but "The usage of the language gives no support to the supposition that we have in the plural form Elohim , applied to the God of Israel , the remains of an early polytheism , or at least a combination with the higher spiritual beings" Kautzsch.
The use of the word
Learn Hebrew. Printer-Friendly Version. Please be patient as the sound files load The word Elohim is the plural of El or possibly of Eloah and is the first name for God given in the Tanakh : "In the beginning, God Elohim created the heavens and the earth" Genesis :. The name Elohim is unique to Hebraic thinking: it occurs only in Hebrew and in no other ancient Semitic language. The masculine plural ending does not mean "gods" when referring to the true God of Israel, since the name is mainly used with singular verb forms and with adjectives and pronouns in the singular e. However, considering the Hashalush HaKadosh Trinity , the form indeed allows for the plurality within the Godhead. I am called according to my actions. In the second creation story Genesis b-ff the Name of God is revealed as the Sacred Name YHVH from the semitic root that means "to be" and expresses the idea of God's closeness to humans.
Answered by Mark D. Futato, Robert L. Futato received his Ph. He specializes in Hebrew language and is author of the book Beginning Biblical Hebrew Eisenbrauns, Second, Elohim is a common noun, used to refer to deity. Sometimes the referent is plural. At other times the referent is singular. Like most words in English, Elohim can mean several things.