De Moor IV:5: Hebrew Names for God: שַׁדַּי/Shaddai

s שַׁדַּי/Shaddai, either from an Arabic word meaning robustness; or from שדד, to lay waste; or from אשד/effusion; or from שד/breast; or rather from די/sufficiency, proceeding from a prefix, denoting either Omnipotence, or Omni-sufficiency. 1. That God is rather thus called from power, others think, who judge that שַׁדַּי/Shaddai is to be derived from שָׁדַד, on account of the Dagesh (ּ) in the ד; not indeed in the sense of laying waste, as used in the Sacred Codex, in favor of which one might believe the paronomasia in Isaiah 13:6[1] and Joel 1:15,[2] שֹׁד מִשַׁדַּי, devastation from Shaddai; but which notion does not sufficiently agree with a great many places in which שַׁדַּי/Shaddai is found: but from the Arabic notion of this Root according to Bochart and Pococke, with MARCKIUS observing in his Commentario in Prophetas minors on Joel 1:15, § XXI, pages 36, 37, in which this or a cognate Root denotes to be powerful, to be strengthened with power, or to give strength, which MICHAELIS[3] also observes in his notes on Joel 1:15; see BOCHART’S Canaan, book II, chapter II, column 706 at the end, and chapter XII, column 743 at the beginning; from which primary notion the secondary notion of laying waste is also able to be derived, because the powerful often abuse their power unto destruction. Thus Ibn Ezra[4] on Genesis 17:1 expounds שַׁדַּי/Shaddai by תַּקִּיף/powerful, and מְנַצֵּחַ/victor, rejecting other explanations. The Dutch Translators also translate it by Omnipotent, but in their Notes they conjoin the notions of Omnipotence and Omni-sufficiency. 2. Just as others prefer to hold this word as a composite of the relative prefix שֶׁ/who, in the place of אֲשֶׁר/who, after which a Dagesh (ּ) is wont to follow, and which is written with a Patach (ַ) in the place of the Segol (ֶ); and of the word דַּי/sufficiency, one sufficient, so that it might denote Him who is sufficient. Thus the Talmudists in Chagiga, folio 12, column 1, in a passage cited by BUXTORF in his Lexico Hebraico and Dissertatione de Nominibus Dei Hebraicis, § 48, מַאי דִּכְתִיב אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי אֲנִי הוּא שֶׁאָמַרְתִּי לְעוֹלַם דַּי, What is this which was written, I am El Shaddai? I am He who said, I am sufficient forever. So also Rabbi Salomon Jarchi on Genesis 17:1,אֲנִי אֵל שַׁדַּי אֲנִי הוּא שֶׁיֵּשׁ דַי בֵּאלָהוּתִי לְכֺל בְּרִיָה, I am El Shaddai, I am He in whom there is a sufficiency through my Deity for every creature. Which Maimonides,[5] More Nebochim, part I, chapter LXIII, and others of the Hebrews also follow; with our LEUSDEN approving, Philologo Hebræo-Græco, Dissertation XXXI, § 12, and also GUSSETIUS, Commentario Linguæ Hebraicæ, page 185b. In which manner Omni-sufficiency, as the broader term, comprehends Omnipotence under itself; yet it is not of altogether the same signification with אֵל/El, with which it is wont to be joined, as it indeed would be, according to the more common derivation of the Name אֵל/ El, if שַׁדַּי/Shaddai also denotes one powerful: but thus אֵל שַׁדַּי, El Shaddai, shall denote the Powerful, and altogether Sufficient God. Over against his derivation DEYLING, Observationibus Sacris, part I, Observation X, § 7, sets among other things that thus the relative would not be needed, because all by itself the little word דַּי signifies the sufficient one: as God is called יְהוָה/Jehovah, not שֶׁיְּהוָֹה, who is Jehovah; גִּבּוֹר, the Mighty, simply, but not שֶׁגִּבּוֹר, who is mighty. 3. We return to the same sense of sufficiency, if, a. we derive שַׁדַּי/Shaddai from שַׁד/breast, sending forth milk, which is the first and principal nourishment in earliest infancy; in view of which שַׁדַּי/ Shaddai shall denote God as nourishing and sustaining all His creatures: in which manner among the Gentiles they were wont to call Ceres the Full-breasted one,[6]


Both double, and full-breasted, is Ceres on account of Iacchus,[7]


in LUCRETIUS’[8] De Rerum Natura, book IV, page m. 552, and to depict her with great breasts, according to ARNOBIUS, book VI adversus Gentes<