De Moor 4:4: Names of God, Failed Proposals

Updated: Feb 15, 2019



To these Names some in addition, but unworthily, add others, for example, פֶּלֶא, out of Judges 13:18, in which the Angel of the Lord says of his own name, וְהוּא־פֶלִאי, and it is wonderful: concerning which form of the word, פֶלִאי, see STOCKIUS’[1] Clavem Linguæ Sacræ. Certainly God is Wonderful in the highest degree, to the extent that He so affects the soul of whatever creature, contemplating Him with uncommon diligence, with a certain, sudden engrossment, that he is completely taken up with Him, as with a thing most rare, and above all other things worthy of the greatest consideration. But, in the passage cited, Wonderful is not so much the Name of God itself, as indeed a quality of His Name, which is declared concerning His Name.


Thus REUCHLIN[2] in de Verbo mirifico, book II, and GALATINUS[3] in de Arcanis Catholicæ Veritatis, book III, chapter XXIII, column 159, maintain that הוּא/Heu[4] is a divine Name, which they prove, for example, out of Isaiah 42:8;[5] 43:10,[6] 25;[7] Psalm 102:27;[8] in the same manner it is concluded concerning אַף־הוּא/Aph-heu, 2 Kings 2:14.[9] And for the sake of confirmation the Greek Name of God, τὸ ταὐτὸν, the Same, in DIONYSIUS the Areopagite, chapter IX de Divinis Nominibus, § 1, 4, opera, tome I, pages 798, 800: indeed, the title of King Jove is Idem, the Same, in VIRGIL’s Æneid, book X, verse 112.


…King Jupiter is idem, the Same, to all.


Thomas Gataker

But, if you examine the cited passages carefully, it will appear that הוּא/ Heu and אַף־הוּא/Aph-heu in those places are not Divine Names; but pronouns, whether demonstrative or relative, to be referred to the subject designated in context, yet used with utmost emphasis. Upon this matter GATAKER[10] is altogether worthy of consultation, de Stilo Novi Instrumenti, chapter III, columns 22-25, in which you will also see that it is exceedingly doubtful whether that אַף־הוּא/Aph-heu in 2 Kings 2:14 is to be referred to God, or to the Prophet Elijah. Nevertheless, concerning the manifest emphasis of the pronoun הוּא applied to God, see GERHARD TEN CATE’S Epistolam de Rebus Jesu Christi ex Prophetis ad Leonardum Offerhaus,[11] after Offerhaus’ Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, page 876.

[1] Christian Stock (1672-1733) was a German philologist and professor of oriental languages at Jena (1698).


[2] Johannes Reuchlin or Capnio (1455-1522) was a Reformer and philologist, largely responsible for the introduction of Hebraic studies into Germany. He was Professor of Greek and Hebrew at Wittenburg (1518), and he published works on Hebrew lexicography, orthography, and grammar, and on Rabbinic and Kabbalistic interpretation.


[3] Petrus Galatinus, or Pietro Colonna Galatino (1460-1540), was an Italian Franciscan, theologian, and Orientalist. With Reuchlin, he was an advocate for the authority and authenticity of the Hebrew original.


[4] הוּא can also mean he, it, that one, or the same.


[5] Isaiah 42:8: “I am the Lord: that is my name (ה֣וּא שְׁמִ֑י): and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.”


[6] Isaiah 43:10: “Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he (כִּֽי־אֲנִ֣י ה֔וּא): before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.”


[7] Isaiah 43:25: “I, even I, am he (אָנֹכִ֙י אָנֹכִ֥י ה֛וּא) that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”


[8] Psalm 102:27: “But thou art the same (וְאַתָּה־הוּא), and thy years shall have no end.”


[9] 2 Kings 2:14: “And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he (אַף־הוּא) also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”


[10] Thomas Gataker (1574-1654) was in his day regarded as a critic of unsurpassed skill, learning, and judgment. On account of his great learning, he was invited to sit as a member of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.


[11] Leonard Offerhaus (1699-1779) was a German historian. He was a professor of history at Groningen, beginning in 1725.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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