De Moor IV:5: Hebrew Names for God: אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah

Updated: Feb 25, 2019


either from אֵל/El in the same sense; or from the Arabic אלה, with the signification of worshipping; or from the Hebrew אָלָה, one sought, even denoting Him, who swears to us in Covenant, and by whom we swear in turn. See BUXTORF, Dissertatione de Nominibus Dei Hebraicis, § 38; LEUSDEN, Philologo Hebræo-Græco, Dissertation XXXII, § 2; VAN ALPHEN, Commentario on Daniel 9:3, pages 107-113, where you may observe, α. that LEUSDEN and JACOB MARTINI[1] in view of Hilary’s Onomasticon Sacrum, page 253, think that a certain Etymology of this Name is not able to be given. β. That GUSSETIUS, in his Commentario Linguæ Hebraicæ, page 46, has אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah as the primary form, denoting precisely this very one, who is God, unto which opinion VAN ALPHEN also signifies himself to be chiefly inclined, Commentario on Daniel 9:3, page 113; but against which VRIEMOET, who discusses the origin and signification of this name in his Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 1, chapter III, pages 121-124, observes, page 122, “This will not be readily allowed by those that rightly attend to the form of the word, in which the ו/waw is obviously servile. The Chaldean אֱלָהּ is somewhat simpler; but, apart from the fact that perhaps most will say that it arose from the Hebrew אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah, with the Qametz (ָ), in the accustomed manner, added in the place of the Holem (ׂ), it is not such in its own form that you might safely acquiesce in it. Certainly not, as long as some other suitable root is able to be shown:” while ALBERT SCHULTENS, who treats of this Name both in his Institutionibus ad Fundamenta Linguæ Hebrææ ad regulam CXXXII, note ה, pages 389, 390, compared with note ד, pages 388, 389, and page 372, note I, and especially on John 1:1, pages 3, 4, concerning that opinion of Gussetius exclaims, Where has he come, when he passes beyond the olives? His Eight Arguments against the Etymology from אָלַהּ, to worship, among the Arabs, are quibblings, to be refuted elsewhere, not sufficiently worthy of his reputation for learning. γ. That MARCUS MARINUS in his Arca Noæ[2] seeks the origin of this Name from אֵל/El, with the ה added, as if you would call Him the Almighty; which VOSSIUS, in his Etymologico Linguæ Latinæ, on the word Deus/God, also makes mention of as pleasing EUSEBIUS already of old and then PETER LOMBARD;[3] thus also it appears to MATTHIAS MARTINIUS, in his Lexico philologico, on the word Deus/God, page 304b: but which both Buxtorf and Leusden reject as too inconsistent with Grammatical analogy, since the letter ה with a Mappiq (ּ) is never wont to be servile, but always radical, unless it is a suffix of the feminine gender. They likewise repudiate the conjecture of ABARBANEL, who in his Commentario on Genesis 1 maintains that this name is composed of אֵל/El and two letters taken from the Name יְהוָה/Jehovah. With which the invention of HILARY is able to be compared, who maintains that אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah is composed of אֵל/El and the name הוֹהַּ/essence, which is fabricated: but which sort of authors VRIEMOET not without reason thinks to be exceedingly far from the truth, Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 1, chapter III, page 121. δ. That COCCEIUS[4] derives this Name from the Hebrew אָלָה, to swear, to adjure, in his Lexico Hebraici and Summa Theologiæ, so that it properly denote Him, to whom it belongs אָלָה, that is, to whom it belongs to pronounce a curse, and thus to oblige the conscience to His inquiry under the threat of judgment. But, although Van Alphen, Commentario on Daniel 9:3, pages 110-112, studies to remove by some better way the difficulties of Gussetius and others, moved against this Etymology, nevertheless the Philologists mentioned above, Buxtorf, Leusden, Schultens, Vriemoet, and others, most truly observe against the same that it is altogether repugnant to the genius of the Hebrew language; since the הּ in אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah has a Mappiq (ּ), but Words quiescent in the third ה are never wont to move that ה, either in themselves or in derivatives, of which SCHULTENS advises that not even one example is given, Institutionibus ad Fundamenta Linguæ Hebrææ, page 388. VRIEMOET, Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 1, chapter III, page 122, admits that there is only one example from the Hebrew language of a quiescent ה changed into a mobile, in אֲמָהוֹת/ handmaids from אָמָה/handmaid: among the Arabs indeed a Word, אַמַהַ/ amaha, is extant, with the final ה being mobile; but nevertheless this name owes its origin to a Word that ends in a quiescent א or י, אמא or אמי: adding notwithstanding this sole example, with some also in the Chaldean tongue, like אֲבָהָן/fathers from אָב/father, which is from אָבָה, to be willing; שְׁמָהָן/names from the singular שֵׁם/name, which is not going to be made from שָׁמָה, so that, when also elsewhere the origination of the Name אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah from אָלָה, to swear, is energetically sought, we might so readily believe that a withdrawal was made here from the ordinary use and analogy of the tongue. But, on the other hand, according to SCHULTENS, Institutionibus ad Fundamenta Linguæ Hebrææ ad regulam CXXXII, note ה, page 390, אֲמָהוֹת/handmaids is from the singular אַמְהָה/handmaid, or the shortened form אָמַהּ, as אָמוֹת/handmaids is from אָמָה/handmaid, both which roots the Arabs have preserved. On the two examples that Vriemoet advances from the Chaldean, SCHULTENS in that same place says, These and a fair number of this sort are pretty far off. Now, concerning these the Most Illustrious Schultens thus established, that double roots of the same signification were to be recognized, אַבַהַ or אָבַהּ with a mobile ה, and אָבָה or אָבַי with the third radical quiescent; and thus likewise שַׁמַהַ or שָׁמַהּ, and שָׁמָה or שָׁמַי: because אָב/father and שֵׁם/name are characterized by a quiescent third radical, but אֲבָהָן/fathers and שְׁמָהָן/ names rom words that have a mobile ה as the third radical. But of a double root of this sort that denotes to swear there are no vestiges. Hence, ε. following ERPENIUS,[5] POCOCKE,[6] HOTTINGER,[7] and other most excellent Philologists, reviewed by CALOVIUS,[8] Bibliis Illustratis on Genesis 1:1, tome I, page 216a: SCHULTENS and VRIEMOET in the passages cited above; JACOB ALTING in his Heptadibus VII, Dissertation IV, page 211b; VENEMA in his Commentario on Daniel 11:37, § CXCIII, page 396; and DEYLING Observationibus Sacris, part II, Observation II, § 1-4, pages 11-13, trace the Name אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah back to a root, which has remained in use among the Arabs, אַלַהַ/alaha, with the Eliph not quiescing, but with the ה/He mobile at the end; and they believe that it properly notes Deity, σέβασμα/awe-inspiring, Him that is to be worshipped and adored with religious veneration, with fear and trembling, which agrees with the true God alone, Jeremiah 10:6, 7; Matthew 4:10. Certainly both words have remained in use among the Arabs, both אלא or אלי, with the ultima quiescent, which to them is to swear; and אַלַהַ/alaha, with the third ה/He mobile, which is to serve, to worship: whence also formerly the Word אָלַהּ with the same signification appears to have been in use among the Hebrews, from which אֱלוֹהַּ/Eloah descends. At the same time, with SCHULTENS on Job 1:1,