The Names of God



Yahweh (or Jehovah) means literally, "He who will be", and occurs 6,829 times in the Old Testament. Its contraction Yah occurs 49 times. Yahweh was revealed to Moses as God's new and memorial name, as recorded in Exodus 6:3, which reads, "I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty (Ail Shaddai), but by my name Jehovah (Yahweh) was I not known to them". The difference between Ail Shaddai and Yahweh is that whereas the former only denoted past and present, the latter is prophetical, and therefore full of meaning concerning God's purpose and plan of salvation.



The Hebrew word "Ail", many times rendered by the word "God" (and frequently combined with the word Shaddai, and then rendered "God Almighty"), occurs about 250 times in the Scriptures. No less than 12 English words have been used by the translators in the Authorised Version as its equivalent; namely, "God", "goodly", "great", "idols", "Immanuel", "mighty", "mighty one", "power", "strength", "Bethel", "El Bethel", "El-elohe".

Its primary meaning is "strength".

In the Prophets it is applied to the Creator (Isa. 43:10; 45:22). It is applied to Nebuchadnezzar in Ezek. 31:11, where he is referred to as "The mighty one (Ail) of the heathen".



Shaddai is the plural form of the Hebrew word Shad, which is derived from the root Shadad, "to be strong or powerful"; therefore Shaddai means "mighty ones". It is found 48 times in the Bible, and in every case is rendered "Almighty". The first time it occurs is in Genesis 17:1. In the Book of Job alone it is found 31 times, and in every case refers to the Deity.



The Hebrew word Elohim, translated "God" throughout the first chapter of Genesis, and generally so throughout the Scriptures, occurs about 2,600 times, and in 56 texts in its singular form of Eloah, 41 of which are found in the Book of Job. These two words have been rendered in 11 different ways, thus: "God", "gods", "goddesses", "godly", "judges", "angels", "great", "very great", "mighty", "exceeding", "Israel", and "El Elohe".

The radical meaning in the singular is "mighty one"; hence, in the plural, "mighty ones".

These words in the Bible are applied as follows: To idols in Gen. 31:32, 35:2, 4; to judges in Ex. 21:6; to a goddess in 1 Kings 11:5, 33; to Angels in Psa. 8:5; to the Children of Israel in Psa. 82:6; and to God Himself in Psa. 18:31.