SPECIAL TOPIC: THE ALMIGHTY (SHADDAI)

"Almighty" is the noun Shaddai (BDB 994, KB 1420). The meaning is uncertain. Here are some of the theories.

1. The ancient Hebrew versions and the rabbis usually translate it as "self-sufficient."

2. Some scholars (Albright) see it as coming from an Akkadian root meaning " mountains" (cf. Ps. 18:1-2). It may have Canaanite mythological associations (cf. Isaiah 14:13; Ezekiel 28:2) or Babylonian associations with the manmade mountains called Ziggurats (cf. Genesis 11).

3. It is possibly an Assyrian root (BDB 993, KB 1417) for "a protecting spirit" or "demon."

4. It is possible that it comes from the Hebrew root shdd (BDB 994, KB 1418), meaning "destroy," " ruin," or "despoil."

5. It is possible that it comes from the Hebrew root shd (BDB 994), meaning a woman’s breast (i.e., "God the nurturing One" or "God the Protector/Provider" ).

6. It is possibly a rare word (BDB 994, KB 1420) meaning "to pour out" (i.e., God as rain-giver).

All of this speculation shows that we simply do not know the etymology. In usage it is parallel to YHWH in Genesis through Exodus and the book of Job.

The early Patriarchs called Deity El Shaddai ("God Almighty, " cf. Gen. 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; Exod. 6:3).

In the book of Job the title, Shaddai (without El) is used in Job 5:17; 6:4,14; 8:3,5; 11:7; 13:3; 15:25; 21:15,20; 22:3,17,23,25,26; 23:16; 24:1; 27:2,11,13; 29:5; 31:2,35; 32:8; 33:4; 34:10,12; 35:13; 37:23. The historical setting for the book of Job is the Patriarchal Period (i.e., the second millennium B.C.).

 

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