Elohim אֱלֹהִים (3 of 6): etymology and biblical (alien) plurality

In gods we trusted: etymology of Elohim and (biblical) alien plurality.

Maybe, it’s time to abandon old prejudices, and embrace what might be, for some, unpleasant truths, and that gods, saints, and prayers are all extraterrestrial by definition and history.“ – Rabbi Ariel Bar Tzadok

 

Content in a flash 

  1. Elohim: אֱלֹהִים: the etymology of the term confirms that uncertainty reigns supreme over its real meaning; yet, many details seem to wink at the ancient astronauts theory
  2. In gods we trusted – Alien plurality: narrative context and grammar clearly indicate that the Elohim were many and that Yahweh was only of them;

Picture credited to: https://pl.pinterest.com/pin/578220039630358661/

 

5. Elohim: אֱלֹהִים: The Etymology

The Abarim publications explain

  • ”The name Elohim: Summary. Meaning: Unclear, but probably Powers or Forces”.
  • “Etymology: Unclear, but probably from a reference to the singular total of all natural forces; the observable effect of Logos.”

As we have already mentioned in the first part of this article, “Elohim” is the plural form of the Hebrew word Eloah (אלה), or Ēl (אל), two Hebrew terms translated by the mainstream with “God” but whose meaning might instead be, as we will shortly see, close to something similar to“the powerful one”,“The mighty one”.

The etymology of both these terms ( Elohim: אֱלֹהִים and Ēl(אל)) is generally deemed uncertain but the shared opinion is that they come from the root אלה(‘lh) on whose meaning debate is heated, but which could be related to the ideas of might, strength and power.

Some relate both Elohim and Eloah to alah(“to terrify”) or alih(“to be perplexed, afraid; to seek refuge because of fear”).

In HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Professor of Old Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, R. Laird Harris Ph.D. states: Thesuggestions that are most frequently mentioned for an original meaning arepower orfear but these are widely challenged and much disputed.”

 

Finally, The Brown-Driver-Briggs defines Elohim:

Noun masculine

1 plural in number.
a. rulers, judges, either as divine representatives at sacred places or as reflecting divine majesty and power:
b. divine ones, superhuman beings, godlike one,

In the Ugaritic texts, which is older than the Hebrew Bible, “Elohim” meant “children of El”.

Now, the Brown-Driver-Briggs translation cannot go unnoticed. It says superhuman beings”. It actually says superhuman beings, including God and angels” clearly implying that God would be a superhuman being himself and that besides him and the angels there are still other superhuman beings. 

In summary: there is no certainty about the term Elohim, nor about the term El. In both cases, philology associates these terms with concepts such as power, strength, in some cases destruction or fear. According to some other hypotheses, Elohim would even mean “Sons of El” or Judges.

Yet, right now, millions of Bibles are being printed in which Elohim is being translated with God.

 

6. In gods we trusted – Alien plurality (Elohim were many)

Does the Bible deal with multiple Elohim, or does Elohim means God and therefore only deals with one El only, Yahweh?  

The Bible unequivocally tells us about various Elohim.

 

But be careful: in order to properly understand the biblical stories without getting lost in a thousand contradictions and apparently meaningless anecdotes, it is crucial to be aware of the textual reality told by those books. 

And the textual reality of the Bible tells a very different story from the one found on the modern biblical translations produced by monotheistic theology.

A story where the Elohim are several, distinct beings. They are extraterrestrial (humans) in flesh and blood coming from the stars. They colonized Earth, created us and divided the Earth among themselves constituting real kingdoms each one of which had an El (one of the Elohim) in command.

The context of biblical stories leaves no doubts or space for interpretations; the term Elohim clearly indicates a plurality of individuals, and the various tales and stories are built on this assumption. 

No matter how hard you try, it is practically impossible to hide or deny them all. 

Yahweh (יַהְוֶה), is not the only god in the Bible since the entire book is literally pervaded by the idea that there are other “gods” like him existing as real extraterrestrial beings. 

There is literally no hint in the Bible that Yahweh is the only God. Instead, it is clearly implied that the other nations have their gods, and Yahweh, god of Israel, will defeat them all. In the Bible there are many references to the fact that Yahweh is the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but it never says they serve him because he is the only true God. They serve him because of a military alliance with him and also because they are faithful to the tradition and creed of their ancestors.

Arnold Bogumil Ehrlich, rabbi, profound connoisseur of the Bible and Talmud whose work spanned the latter part of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and author of the work “The Bible according to its literal meaning” observes:

In the first meeting between Yahweh and Abraham in Genesis 12, he asks Abraham to make a covenant with him: Abraham would have to serve him and he, in turn, would have rewarded Abraham for his service.” 

Ehrlich implies that if Abraham had believed to one God only then an alliance would have been useless. God would have simply said, “I am God, serve me.” There would be no need to negotiate, make a deal and settle a payment for the service.

Ehrlich gives an example: when Adam joined her with Eve he did not make a covenant with her, binding her to remain faithful only to him, because there was no need for it; there were no other men with whom Eve could be unfaithful.”

Modern biblical academic studies and archaeological findings in and around Israel clearly indicate that the early Israelites did not believe in a single universal God creator of heaven and Earth. In fact, as we’ve seen, monotheism is a relatively recent concept, even among the People of the Book.

Jews of the origins were not monotheists, quite the contrary. Not only were they clearly polytheists or henotheists, but there are those who maintain that at the beginning of their very long history the Israelites probably did not even worship Yahweh but some other El, and this would result from the name: Israel.

In other words, the name “Israel” might be older than the veneration of Yahweh and rightly Thomas Römer, world-renowned expert in the Hebrew Bible and professor at the College de France and the University of Lausanne, argues that the first deity they were worshipping was El, otherwise their name would have been Israyahu.

 

In any case, on this issue, the Bible is clear enough:

 

  • When Yahweh gives his people the Ten Commandments, the very first commandment concerns Israel’s relationship with the other gods: “You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20: 3; see also Deut. 5: 7
  • In Exodus Yahweh says that he will judge all the gods of Egypt (Exodus 12:12). 

 

  • The sentence “I am your God” frequently reappears in Scripture. Yahweh never says I am God, meaning the only one, but always “I am your god”, which means that other nations have their gods. The Chapter 29 of Psalms, for instance, refers to the Israelites as the “people of God”. The idea that the Israelites would be the chosen people by God has been misunderstood. Most do not realize that it is a monolatrous statement. Religious ministers are aware of it and hence tend to avoid mentioning it. The sentence “people of God” does not mean that Jews are a favorite group; it means that the Israelites agreed to follow and serve Yahweh who in turn asked them to revere exclusively him over any other of the Elohim.
  • Among other biblical books, the Psalms fairly explode with evidence:
“There is none like you among the gods, O Lord” (Psalm 86: 8);
“For great is Yahweh  and to be highly praised; he must be worshiped above all gods “(96: 4);
“I know that Yahweh is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods.” (Psalm 135: 5);
“He is exalted above all gods” (Psalm 97: 7);

“For Yahweh is a great god and a great king above all gods” and so on. (Psalm 95:3)

 

                                                                                                                                    …to be continued

 

What you can expect from the next section

The many gods of the Bible: A short list of the most important “gods” mentioned in the Bible. We will also see how and when Judaism became monotheistic.

 

 

Now, was he [Jesus] the first and the only one to come down here or others came previously? If the Christians intend to affirm that he is the only one, one can catch them in flagrant lie and in contradiction, in fact they affirm that others have often come, even in groups of 60 or 70 at a time.”- Celsus, The true speech, second century CE

Previous

Next

Share This