Hebrew: Elohim, Eloheinu. Am I correct

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by skaught, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

    I had a conversation with a friend of mine who is Jewish. He's not practicing, and he speaks only a smidge of Hebrew. I said the words "Elohim Eloheinu." And he said that "eloheinu was not a Hebrew word. I ardued that it was and that I thought that Elohim Eloheinu" meant "God is our God." He said I was wrong and then insulted me for not being Jewish and claiming to know something of Hebrew

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    (He was only play insulting me of course

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    ) Anyway, I quickly did some wiki research and came up with the following and sent it to him. Can anybody tell me if I hit the nail on the head with this?

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  3. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    What a coincidence. I recently searched for the etymology of Elohim because I was interested in its connection to the word El [meaning God in the Canaanite religion]

    So El is probably a Ugarit word, while Elohim is a Hebrew variation.
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  5. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

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  7. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Not a good source. It says:

    The word "Jew" is actually a pretty recent word for the people worshipping Yhwh. Note that there is no record of that word before the eighteenth century when Jesus was referred to as a Jew in the New Testament. Previous versions of the New Testament did not contain the word Jew.

    The meaning of the word "Ioudaios" in the Greek Bible is not the same as the meaning of the word Jew. In the Bible "Ioudaios" refers to a resident of Judea [or "Ioudaia"].

    I found a link to a Greek dictionary with biblical terms:

    Last edited: Dec 22, 2010
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    El oheinu is two words. Your translator didn't notice the space between them in the original Hebrew.

    There aren't many five-syllable Hebrew words in the first place, so it almost had to be a compound anyway.

    I have to drive to the airport so I don't have the time to look up oheinu. I'll leave that as an exercise for you folks. And please find someone who is at least passingly familiar with Hebrew to do it. None of you are. If you can't find somebody and you're desperate, just Google el oheinu in quotes with the space and you'll get a hundred hits in Hebrew. One of them will surely offer a translation.
  9. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    Is it written separately in Hebrew? From what I can gather, el-oheinu is our God just as el-ohai is my God
  10. Cifo Day destroys the night, Registered Senior Member

    I have an interlinear Shema (Hebrew, transliterated into English, and translated into English) taped onto my wall (as well as an interlinear Bible), and the word "eloheinu" is a Hebrew word that means "our god".

    The text (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) of the Shema reads "yahweh eloheinu", meaning "Yahweh is our god". However, some Jews see "yahweh" (which is the name of their God) as too sacred to pronounce, so they prefer to use "elohim" (meaning "God"), "adonai" (typically translated as "Lord") or even "hashem" (which simply means "name" as an oblique substitute for the name of God).
  11. mathman Valued Senior Member

    Standard Hebrew blessings (almost) always start with a formula which translates into:
    Blessed art thou O Lord (adonai) our God (eloheinu) King (melech) of the universe (etc.)

    Note that adonai is a substitute for the name of God, which is not to be spoken.
  12. edenocp Registered Senior Member

    So what does Yahweh mean or it is strictly a name. I seem to recall - Provider?
  13. skaught The field its covered in blood Valued Senior Member

    As far as I know it is just gods name. But it has a lot more significance than just that.
  14. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    There are several versions of the origins of the name Yahweh

    One is from the Midian tradition:

    "In its earliest attestations the name Yah refers to the moon as satellite of the earth. Yah then becomes conceptualised as a lunar deity, iconographically anthropomorphic but whose manifestations, from the hieroglyphic evidence, can include the crescent of the new moon, the ibis and the falcon- comparable to the other moon deities, Thoth and Khonsu. It is probable that contact with Middle Eastern states in Palestine, Syria and Babylonia was instrumental in the development of Yah as a deity. Certainly the zenith of Yah's popularity lay in the period following the Middle Kingdom when immigration from the Levant was high and princes from Palestine, knoiwn as the Hyksos, rulers, dominated Egypt. These foreigners may well have looked for a lunardeity analogous to the Akkadian moon-god Sin who had an important temple at Harran in north Syria. Strangely, it is with the Theban royal family eventually responsible for the expulsion of these alien rulers that there is a difinite inclination for names involving the mood-god Yah. The daughter of Seqenenre Tao I (Dynasty XVII) is Yah-hotep ('Yah is content'). The founder of Dynasty XVIII was called Yahmose ('Yah is born') and the same element is in the nameo f his wife Yahmose-Nefertari. Most likely the Middle Eastern deity who gave the stimulus to the adoption of Yah is the influence behind the name Kamose, the brother of Yahmose, who began the final thrust against the Hyksos domination. Kamose ('the bull is born') might be the Egyptian equivalent of the epithet applied to Sin describing him as a 'young bull... with strong horns' (i.e. the tips of the crescent moon). This imagery would be totally compatible with the Egyptian concept of the pharaoh as an invinvible bull. In the tomb of Tuthmosis III (Dynasty XVII), the pharaoh whose campaigns took him to the banks of the Euphrates river, there is a scene where the king is accompanied by his mother and three queens, including Sit-Yah 'daughter of the moon-god'. Traces of his cult beyond this period are sporadic."

    Yah, was the name of the god of the Midians into which Moses supposedly married by marrying the daughter of a Midian priest. Yah was also the name of the desert god worshipped by the Bedoins. It is likely this name is the same one Canaanites applied to Yamm as Yaw or Yawu.​

    From the Ugarit tradition:

    Professor Cohn noted that some scholars suspected that Ugaritic Yaw might be the prototype for Yahweh:

    "It is becoming ever more difficult to say with any confidence when, where and how the Israelites first came to know the god Yahweh. It may be that, as Exodus says, he was originally a Midianite god, introduced into the land of Canaan by immigrants from Egypt; or he may have started as a minor member of the Canaanite pantheon...Originally El was the supreme god for Israelites as he had always been for Canaanites. Even if one discounts the pronouncement of El in the Baal cycle,'The name of my son is Yaw'- the import of which is still being debated- one cannot ignore a passage in the Bible which shows Yahweh as subordinate to El. Deuteronomy 32:8 tells how when El Elyon, i.e., El the Most High, parcelled out the nations between his sons, Yahweh received Israel as his portion." (pp.131-132. "Yahweh and the Jerusalem Monarchy." Norman Cohn. Cosmos, Chaos and the World to Come, The Ancient Roots of Apocalyptic Faith. New Haven and London. Yale University Press. 1993)

    The Bible tends to support the Ugarit tradition:

    That Yahweh was originally a son of El is attested by a document (KTU 1.1 IV 14) from Ugarit, a Palestinian site occupied by neighbors of Israel. It reads sm . bny . yw . ilt, which translates as "The name of the son of god, Yahweh."

    This status as the foremost of the sons of El is remembered in the Song of Moses, one of the oldest of the Hebrew scriptures, in Deuteronomy 32:8-9: "When the Elyon [another name of El] apportioned the nations, when he divided humankind, he fixed the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of the gods [i.e., each god controlled one nation of people]; Yahweh's own portion was his people, Jacob [i.e., the nation of [Israel] his allotted share."

    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, ​



    It seems like the cut off point between the pantheon and Yhwh as the solo god is the Book of Ezra, following the Persian invasion of Babylon. Ezra was a courtier of the then Persian king and according to his book, preached monotheism to the then polytheistic Judeans. The Persians being monotheists at the time, probably encouraged that sort of thing.


    This would also explain why Herodotus who preceded Ezra had never heard of Yhwh, inspite of the Temple being 500 years old by his time.

    Last edited: Dec 28, 2010
  15. Chipz Banned Banned

    I disagree with your conjugation, my alternate explanation is provided below.

    נו "nu" is a post-fix in Hebrew which refers to "our" (masculine / feminine). The root of the word is "אל" which means "Supreme one / deity" etc etc. Just as a side note; the word אלה is pronounced similar to the Arabic word for God, "Allah". In both cases (I believe) it means the one God which provides, although in modern Hebrew means "my oath". And אלהי would be "my God".

    This is where it gets a little confusing in conjugating the Hebrew into English.
    אלהים "elohim" is technically plural. It refers to a different kind of plural conjugation which doesn't exist in English. It means "The God which we all have a unique relationship with which is different for each of us".

    אלהינו "eloheynu" is also plural. It's read more as..."The God which we all mutually have a relationship with."

    In short, I would say you were more correct than him. However, due to the nature of the English language (or my shortcomings therein) the exact distinction between the two is not intuitive.
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    But it is two words.
    • El means "god".
      [*]It's a truncated form of eloh, which has already been discussed in this thread.[*]Eloh is a cognate of Arabic allah.[*]Vowels are very ephemeral in the Afro-Asiatic language family because they are not phonemic. (I.e., they are irrelevant to the meaning of the word.) So if you find two words in two Semitic languages with the same consonants, the probability is very high that they are the same word.[*]Truncation is a common phenomenon in Hebrew, especially in the construction of compound words and names. The -el at the end of myriad Hebrew names such as Daniel, Israel, Michael, Immanuel, Ezekiel, is an abbreviation of eloh.
    • Oheinu is the first-person plural possessive pronoun, "our."
      [*]Hebrew syntax places modifiers after the nouns they modify, even possessive pronouns.[*]The Romance languages do this with adjectives (casa blanca, "white house"), but not with possessive pronouns (mi madre, "my mother") except for emphasis (¿Madre mía, dónde estás? "Mother of mine, where are you?")[*]Hebrew is more inflexible in this matter.​
    • The rules for transliterating Hebrew into the Roman alphabet are a little imprecise.
      [*]This is especially true when choosing to separate two words by a space or a hyphen.[*]Therefore, you will see this romanized both ways: el oheinu and el-oheinu. The first transliterator regards them as two independent words; the second regards them as the formation of a compound.[*]Hebrew, especially Classical Hebrew, does not have as many punctuation marks to choose from as the modern European languages, so transliterators sometimes get very creative. We have the same problem in Chinese.​
    Again, I will humbly defer to the superior scholarship of anyone who is actually fluent in Classical or Modern Israeli Hebrew, but so far no one with that qualification has shown up.
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member


    I recently encountered the Modern Israeli Hebrew phrase Yisrael beitenu in a news article. It was being shouted during a demonstration against the possibility of giving any of Palestine back to the Palestinians.

    The translation is "Israel is our home." Since beit means "house" or "home" (Classical Hebrew bayith, generally rendered by scholars as beth, particularly as the name of the letter ב representing the B phoneme), clearly -einu is a suffix expressing belonging.

    Therefore, since eloh means "god," Elohim eloheinu means "(The) gods are our gods."
  18. paygan Registered Member

    Elohim is a plural word that usually means 'Gods' but has also been rendered 'Shining Ones' or 'Bright People'. Similar singular words include El-Elyon and El-Shaddai.

    In Genesis "God created" in Hebrew is "Elohim bara".

    "bara" has 3 principal meaning:

    i) = "to create"; but, strangely, this meaning is only used with the term "elohim" (or it's equivalent) as the subject'
    ii) = "to clear ground" (for agriculture) including "felling timber"'
    iii) = "fatten oneself" - a meaning which cannot be ignored because, in paronomastic terms, it could have associations with both i) and ii)
  19. HeartlessCapitalist Ravager of Biotopes Registered Senior Member

    Not that I wish to attack anyone, but I would seriously question the scholarship in a lot of that.

    First, this translation is overly paraphrastic. It should rather be that he (the Most High) "divided the boundaries of the nations according to the number of the sons of god (=El)", though Israel did become the portion of Yhwh. But this does not necessarily mean that Yhwh was one of the "sons of god" (which in the Bible is usually a term for what we call angels, ie non-divine supernatural beings that are servants of Yhwh). Indeed, if one considers that Elyon is frequently used in the Bible as a name or title for Yhwh himself, it might be that both words speak of the same agent here, too. So one can quite plausibly read the text to say that while Yhwh gave each nation to an angel, he took charge of Israel himself. This interpretation is supported by other passages, such as Daniel 7-12, where mention is made of angelic "princes" ruling over the nations.

    Second, one should note that the version quoted is the one represented by the Septuagint, ie a Greek translation of original Hebrew documents. The Hebrew manuscript tradition for the Old Testament (the so-called Massoretic Text) has "sons of Israel" in place of "sons of god". Which removes the possibly polytheistic reference altogether. Which version is the older, we can't say with any confidence.

    The Bible tends to support the Ugarit tradition:

    I don't follow that vocalization. "Yw" reads "Yaw", or the like, not Yahweh.

    See above. And in Hebrew it doesn't say gods (elohim), but sons of god.

    El in the Bible is never used as a proper name, though it does appear so in the Ugarit writings and elsewhere. It means simply "god" in a general sense, just like in Arabic Allah isn't a name, but a simple noun. It's practically a synonym to elohim, just like he other main form of the word, eloah. Presenting it as another god than Yhwh is disingenious at best.

    Honestly, I'm very unimpressed with these sources. I didn't read the bulk of the first one, but from the general gist I did get it that his MO seems to be to pick mythological and biblical sources out of context and force analogies between them. It doesn't help that he also mangles them in the process -- for example, his description of the legend of Ishtar's (Inanna's) descent into the underworld is fragmentary at best.

    The second, of course, endorses Immanuel Velikovsky. To anyone mildly familiar with the scholarship of ancient mythology, I shouldn't have to say more than that.

    The Persians were not monotheists. What they were was Zoroastrians, which faith was dualist if not polytheist at the time (it's very hard to figure out the specifics, since we have no contemporary sources on that religion, but only much later writings).

    When the Hebrew religion became monotheist is something of an open question, but in my personal reckoning we see at least the beginnings of it rather earlier in the Bible than Ezra. We can look, for example, at the apparently monotheistic campaign of King Josiah of Judah in the late 7th century.

    Another unscholarly source, but this one commendably short, so I can comment in some more detail on its shortcomings. My general impression is first of all that of its partiality to all things Persian. It then proceeds to make a number of bizarre and unsupported claims. Since when was marrying foreign women a favored Israelite/Judaic practice? It's condemned throughout the Old Testament, from Genesis to, erhm, Nehemiah. As for translating the "Book of the Law", this would be for the sake of Aramaic speakers who didn't know Hebrew. Where he gets it that the Jews of the day didn't understand Aramaic, I have no idea. Equally bizarre are his claims about the Judaic sects of New Testament times. The word pharisees derives from Hebrew perushim, which means "set apart". The sadduccees, by contrast, were the Temple priesthood elite, not any kind of popular movement at all, or numerous. Most Jews belonged to neither of the sects, however.

    And yet another unscholarly source. Rhetorical question, has this guy ever even read a critical Bible commentary? Bizarre claims like the Bible being written originally in Greek and there never being such a thing as a Hebrew language instantly disqualify him from any serious consideration.
  20. HeartlessCapitalist Ravager of Biotopes Registered Senior Member

    That is still very much under debate. From the explanation of the name in Exodus 3, some want it to be something akin to "The Causer To Be", ie a creator god, and this is what sounds most reasonable to me. But there are numerous other theories on the hitory and etymology of the name (some quoted here already), and I won't claim with any certainty I'm right.

    Incidentally, the Bible never mentions a "Yahweh". All it says is Yhwh -- the vowels are a hypothetical reconstruction by modern etymologists. Even the Jews themselves don't know for certain how the word was really supposed to be pronounced.
  21. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member


    Most scholars accept that the Bible has very little to do with scholarship. I'm not sure there is any evidence that there was a Hebrew Bible, to begin with. The only direct evidence seems to be a Pseudepigrapha in the dead sea scrolls and an archaeologist who falsifies information to fit the Zionist narrative. So, basing your etymology on that kind of information seems to be quite contentious.
  22. HeartlessCapitalist Ravager of Biotopes Registered Senior Member

    You aren't sure there was a Hebrew Bible?? There is one today. We have writings from it that are dated as before 0 AD by both paleographic methods and radiocarbon. (The Dead Sea Scrolls.)

    If we don't accept the evidence for that, we shouldn't accept any evidence of Greek or Roman writings or history either, since every manuscript on those is younger than that -- copies of copies of copies.

    But I must ask -- if you don't think there was a Hebrew Bible, how do you think we can determine anything about its god? All the sources you quoted made use of the Bible, to be sure, though not sensibly so IMHO.
  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

    The Pseudepigrapha in the dead sea scrolls do not constitute evidence of a Hebrew Bible preceding the Greek one because the Spetuagint is older than all current Hebrew renderings. As the letter of Aristeas has been proved a forgery, its contents have no academic value except as an example of faking history.

    Yigal, who has custody of the DSS, has already admitted to falsifying evidence at Masada where he pretended pig bones were Jewish martyrs. Since he was one of the founding fathers of Israel and in fact, a military officer who led the crusades against the natives [aka nakba] his objectivity is suspect

    Do you have any independent non-Zionist related evidence of a Hebrew bible?

    Etymology and myth are two different subjects. Regardless of the date of the Jewish God, there is a precedent for the name. As I've outlined, etymologically, it dates back to the Ugarit peoples and their known deity El, with his son Yahwah whose mother/wife Ashareth was one of a pantheon.
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011

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