- Series: Hebrew and Aramaic Word Pictures
- Scripture: Genesis 14:18-19; 2 Samuel 22:33; Genesis 17:1
God is a generic name in English for the one whom we worship. If we understand what his name means in Hebrew and Aramaic, we will be able to describe him and also our relationship with him more clearly.
The aleph in Hebrew, alaph in Aramaic is a picture of the ox and as we saw before, it means the strong one or leader. (Remember the letters are always read from right to left.)
The lamed (both Hebrew and Aramaic) is a picture of a shepherd staff and represents the authority of the Shepherd. The simple meaning of word picture is the strong authority.
A yoke was used to harness the ox and often two oxen, one older with one younger, would be yoked together so that the older ox could teach the younger. The older ox in the yoke is the strong authority or strong or mighty one who rules and teaches.
The first use in the Bible of the word El is in Genesis in the record of Melchizedek the king and Abraham. It uses El with the Hebrew word, Elyon, “most High.” The word El is used in all of the Semitic languages including Phoenician, Akkadian, Arabic, and Ugaritic. This first use of El distinguishes the God of the Bible as greater than any other “gods.” He is the Most High or supreme sovereign. There are no other gods greater than He.
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)
Genesis 14:19 And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
2 Samuel 22:33 (ESV) This God (El) is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless.
El is the strong authority who guides our way to be whole and complete!
Genesis 17:1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
Almighty God in Hebrew is El Shaddai. It uses El with Shaddai and is translated as Almighty God. The deeper understanding of Shaddai is of sufficiency.
The Aramaic word Alaha is similar to Elohim, the plural form of El, in that it has the addition of the letter “h”, hey, which means “behold,” or “reveal.” The “im” ending in Hebrew indicates the plural form and is not added to the definition. Thus the definition becomes the strong authority revealed. The first place that Elohim is used is of course in Genesis 1:1.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
God first revealed himself in the beginning by creating the heavens and the earth. He is the ultimate authority or controller of the universe. He provides all power and strength – all sufficiency to those he guides and protects. He is the HIGHEST authority!
The Aramaic word Alaha is used consistently throughout the New Testament and translated God. A key verse to sum up this article is from Romans 8.
Romans 8:31 (MGI) What then should we say about these [things]? If God [is] for us, who is against us?