SPECIAL TOPIC: GOD ALMIGHTY (El Shaddai)

The title "God Almighty" is El Shaddai. The etymology of this term (BDB 994) is uncertain (see Special Topic: The Almighty). The rabbis say that it means "self-sufficiency." The LXX and the Vulgate follow this understanding by translating it "God (El) Almighty." Apparently this was the patriarchal name for God (cf. Exod. 6:3). It is used six times in Genesis and thirty-one times in Job (both in the historical setting of the second millennium b.c.). Albright asserted that it is from an Akkadian root that can mean "mountain" or "rock" (cf. Ps. 18:1, 2). If the term implies, "God of the mountain" as the true meaning, then it must reflect Canaanite mythology (cf. Isa. 14:13; Ezek. 28:2) or Babylonian religion (i.e., ziggurats being raised on human-built mountains, cf. Genesis 10) on which to worship their gods. Whatever the original intent, as early as Exodus 19-20 the focus will change to the God of Mt. Sinai (cf. Jdgs. 5:5).

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