Elohim in Hebrew script: the letters are, right-to-left:, aleph-lamed-he-yud-mem.

Elohim (Hebrew: אֱלֹהִים[ʔɛloːˈhim]) in the Hebrew Bible refers to deities, and is one of the many names or titles for God in the Hebrew Bible.

The word is identical to the usual plural of el, meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'l-h-m found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods, the children of El, and conventionally vocalized as "Elohim". Most uses of the term Elohim in the later Hebrew text imply a view that is at least monolatrist at the time of writing, and such usage (in the singular), as a proper title for the supreme deity, is generally not considered to be synonymous with the term elohim, "gods" (plural, simple noun). Rabbinic scholar Maimonides wrote that the various other usages are commonly understood to be homonyms.[1]

The notion of divinity underwent radical changes in the early period of Israelite identity and development of Ancient Hebrew religion. The ambiguity of the term elohim is the result of such changes, cast in terms of "vertical translatability", i.e. the re-interpretation of the gods of the earliest recalled period as the national god of monolatrism as it emerged in the 7th to 6th century BCE in the Kingdom of Judah and during the Babylonian captivity, and further in terms of monotheism by the emergence of Rabbinical Judaism in the 2nd century CE.[2]

Grammar and etymology

Elohim is a grammatically plural noun for "gods" or "deities" in Biblical Hebrew. In Hebrew, the ending -im normally indicates a masculine plural. However, when referring to the Hebrew God, Elohim is usually understood to be grammatically singular (i.e. it governs a singular verb or adjective). In Modern Hebrew, it is often referred to in the singular despite the -im ending that denotes plural masculine nouns in Hebrew.[3][4]

It is generally thought that Elohim is derived from eloah, the latter being an expanded form of the Northwest Semitic noun ’il.[5] The related nouns eloah (אלוה) and el (אֵל) are used as proper names or as generics, in which case they are interchangeable with elohim.[5] The term contains an added heh as third radical to the biconsonantal root. Discussions of the etymology of elohim essentially concern this expansion. An exact cognate outside of Hebrew is found in Ugaritic ʾlhm, the family of El, the creator god and chief deity of the Canaanite pantheon, in Biblical Aramaic ʼĔlāhā and later Syriac Alaha ("God"), and in Arabic ʾilāh ("god, deity") (or Allah as "The [single] God").

"El" (the basis for the extended root ʾlh) is usually derived from a root meaning "to be strong" and/or "to be in front".[5]

Other Languages
العربية: إلوهيم
български: Елохим
català: Elohim
Deutsch: Elohim
eesti: Elohim
español: Elohim
Esperanto: Elohim
euskara: Elohim
فارسی: الوهیم
français: Elohim
한국어: 엘로힘
hrvatski: Elohim
italiano: Elohim
Latina: Elohim
lietuvių: Elohim
Bahasa Melayu: Elohim
norsk: Elohim
norsk nynorsk: Elohim
polski: Elohim
português: Elohim
română: Elohim
русский: Элохим
Scots: Elohim
suomi: Elohim
svenska: Elohim
Türkçe: Elohim
українська: Елогім
Tiếng Việt: Elohim
中文: 埃洛希姆