Can “Elohim” Refer to Beings Other Than God?

Elohim is the most common name for Israel’s god in the Old Testament. In fact, it appears over 2,500 times in the Hebrew Bible. But Elohim can also refer to beings besides the Creator of Genesis 1—such as angels or mighty men or even to the false, lower-case-g gods worshiped by Gentile nations. With Logos we can quickly see the different ways this Hebrew term is translated, and then run a search to discover every place where the term refers to an entity other than the one true God.

To expand on this week’s Logos Pro Tech Tip, try changing your searchable resource to a different English version. See, for example, what results turn up when you search the New International Version for the following:

<Lemma = lbs/he/אֱלֹהִים> NOTEQUALS (God, God’s)>

(Or click here to run the search.)

In the upper left hand corner below the search icon, select the drop down arrow and ensure Match Case is checked. This will further limit your search by case and provide the results seen in the video. Don’t forget to uncheck it once finished.

Recommended Resources

  • You need a Hebrew Bible in order to search the Hebrew Bible. Try the Lexham Hebrew Bible.
  • It’s helpful to have multiple English translations of Scripture for Bible study. Logos 7 base packages all include such translations, and they’re all 20% off until midnight on Sunday, December 31.

Comments

  1. Steve M Conwell says:

    I have been using Logos and Libronix for more than 20 years. They are excellent programs but they are over priced. The new technology makes it harder to use not easier. Although I am a biblical scholar, I don’t always want to plow through so much information, to get a simple answer. Your prices don’t let me refer your program to my staff and students. There are free or low-cost, online resources, that are more than adequate.

  2. I have followed the video instructions exactly but yield different results. It shows no instances in Exodus of Elohim NOTEQUALS to God. I have check to make sure I have the required library books such as the LHB. Do you have any ideas to why this is not working for me? I am very interested in this topic since reading Dr. Heiser’s book.

  3. Brian Cole says:

    The tetragram far exceeds elohim, by 6,800 to 2,500.

  4. I ran the search demonstrated in this video, being careful to follow instructions carefully.
    I chose:
    “search all bible text in entire bible in ESV
    typed “elohim” and chose the option with the translation ring to the left of the term
    then typed “NOTEQUALS” and “God”

    My search window seemed to be exactly as the video showed (NOTEQUALS God), but my results were very different! I had 19 results, not 237; the first was Ge 30:8 and the last was Mal 2:15

    What did I do wrong?

    A related question: the Bible Word Study seemed to break down the uses of the word “elohim”. Under the heading “deity” there were 259 hits, which is slightly more than the 237 in the video example. My question is this; with this kind of in-depth breakdown in the Bible Word Study, is there any need to perform the search shown in the video?

  5. When I posted it somehow changed my search window example to (NOTEQUALS God). That is not what I pasted into the note.

    Here I attempt to post the correct example. (It may change again when I post this). My search window showed:
    NOTEQUALS God