“Elohim” with Plural Verbs to Signify the True God

August 25, 2022

Through information from some language references and my ongoing research in the Hebrew OT, I have learned that there are at least 3 clear instances where elohim is the subject of a plural verb form and signifies the true God:

Gen. 20:13  And it came to pass, when God caused me to wander from my father’s house, that I said unto her, This is thy kindness which thou shalt shew unto me; at every place whither we shall come, say of me, He is my brother.

Gen. 20:13  ἐγένετο δὲ ἡνίκα ἐξήγαγέν με ὁ θεὸς ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου τοῦ πατρός μου καὶ εἶπα αὐτῇ ταύτην τὴν δικαιοσύνην ποιήσεις ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ εἰς πάντα τόπον οὗ ἐὰν εἰσέλθωμεν ἐκεῖ εἰπὸν ἐμὲ ὅτι ἀδελφός μού ἐστιν

Gen. 20:13 וַיְהִ֞י כַּאֲשֶׁ֧ר הִתְע֣וּ אֹתִ֗י אֱלֹהִים֘ מִבֵּ֣ית אָבִי֒ וָאֹמַ֣ר לָ֔הּ זֶ֣ה חַסְדֵּ֔ךְ אֲשֶׁ֥ר תַּעֲשִׂ֖י עִמָּדִ֑י אֶ֤ל כָּל־הַמָּקוֹם֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָב֣וֹא שָׁ֔מָּה אִמְרִי־לִ֖י אָחִ֥י הֽוּא׃

 

Gen. 35:7  And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

Gen. 35:7  καὶ ᾠκοδόμησεν ἐκεῖ θυσιαστήριον καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ τόπου Βαιθηλ ἐκεῖ γὰρ ἐπεφάνη αὐτῷ ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῷ ἀποδιδράσκειν αὐτὸν ἀπὸ προσώπου Ησαυ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ

Gen. 35:7 וַיִּ֤בֶן שָׁם֙ מִזְבֵּ֔חַ וַיִּקְרָא֙ לַמָּק֔וֹם אֵ֖ל בֵּֽית־אֵ֑ל כִּ֣י שָׁ֗ם נִגְל֤וּ אֵלָיו֙ הָֽאֱלֹהִ֔ים בְּבָרְח֖וֹ מִפְּנֵ֥י אָחִֽיו׃

 

2 Sam. 7:23  And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?

2 Sam. 7:23  καὶ τίς ὡς ὁ λαός σου Ισραηλ ἔθνος ἄλλο ἐν τῇ γῇ ὡς ὡδήγησεν αὐτὸν ὁ θεὸς τοῦ λυτρώσασθαι αὐτῷ λαὸν τοῦ θέσθαι σε ὄνομα τοῦ ποιῆσαι μεγαλωσύνην καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τοῦ ἐκβαλεῖν σε ἐκ προσώπου τοῦ λαοῦ σου οὗ ἐλυτρώσω σεαυτῷ ἐξ Αἰγύπτου ἔθνη καὶ σκηνώματα

2 Sam. 7:23 וּמִ֤י כְעַמְּךָ֙ כְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל גּ֥וֹי אֶחָ֖ד בָּאָ֑רֶץ אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָלְכֽוּ־אֱ֠לֹהִים לִפְדּֽוֹת־ל֙וֹ לְעָ֜ם וְלָשׂ֧וּם ל֣וֹ שֵׁ֗ם וְלַעֲשׂ֙וֹת לָכֶ֜ם הַגְּדוּלָּ֤ה וְנֹֽרָאוֹת֙ לְאַרְצֶ֔ךָ מִפְּנֵ֣י עַמְּךָ֗ אֲשֶׁ֙ר פָּדִ֤יתָ לְּךָ֙ מִמִּצְרַ֔יִם גּוֹיִ֖ם וֵאלֹהָֽיו׃

Observations about these verses

1. The plural Hebrew verb of which elohim functions as the subject in each verse precedes it in all three verses.

2. The KJV correctly renders elohim as God in all three verses even though it is the subject of a plural verb in the Hebrew text.

3. The Septuagint correctly renders elohim as the singular theos and renders the plural Hebrew verb of which it is the subject as a singular verb in all three verses. The translators thereby reflect correctly that the plural noun and verb in the Hebrew text signify actions by the true God.

Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.

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Copyright © 2011-2022 by Rajesh Gandhi. All rights reserved.