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against the people Israel after they have made the
golden calf.^ The wrath of God, then, breaks forth
whenever his will encounters opposition, when it is
ignored or transgressed, and it manifests itself in severe
penalties. It is to be observed that there are references
to the wrath of God throughout Hebrew literature, and
that they are most frequent in the documents dating
from the time when prophetism had reached its apogee,
Deuteronomy and Jeremiah. This proves that at that

1 V. 7. 2 Deut. xxxii. 18 f.

8 Ex. iv. 14. * Ex. xxxii. 10 ff.


time God was still represented after a very human

The vengeance of God appears as a consequence of
his jealousy and his anger. This could not be better
expressed than by Nah. i. 2: "Jehovah is a jealous
God, he avengeth himself; Jehovah avengeth himself,
he cherisheth malice toward his enemies." Micah,
likewise, makes Jehovah say: "In my wrath and my
fury I will execute vengeance upon the nations who
have not hearkened."^ Similar words are found, Ezek.
XXV. 14, 17. Further, in later as well as in earlier
passages, there are references to the vengeance of God,
who sometimes punishes Israel for their disobedience,
and sometimes smites the foreign peoples who have
oppressed Israel and are treated as enemies of Jehovah

4. Crod^ the Strong One, the Might?/ 0?ie, the Most
High, the Lord. — Having spoken of the above names,
which the Israelites gave only to their God, we come
to a series of names of a more general character, and,
for that reason, less characteristic than the preceding.

The most general and indefinite name, and one that
the Israelites gave to Jehovah in all periods, is Elohim.
Document C, and also one of the sources of document
A, designate God onl}^ by this name in narrating events
prior to the call of Moses. Now it is found in no other
Semitic language; hence it must be supposed that it
is of Hebrew origin. Unfortunately scholars are not
agreed respecting its etymology. According to that

1 V. 14.

2 Deut. xxxii. 35, 41-43 ; Isa. i. 24 ; xxxv. 4 ; xlvii. 3 ; lix. 17 f. ; Ixi.
2 ; Ixiii. 4 ; Jer. v. 29 ; xlvi. 10 ; 1. 15, 28 ; li. 6, 11, 36 ; Ps. xciv. 1,


suggested by Gesenius in his dictionary, it is from a
root that would make it synonymous with religious
fear, and this interpretation agrees very well with the
old passages. Gen. xxxi. 42, 53. ^ It has, in fact, an
indefinite sense, and is equivalent to the Latin numen
and the English divinity.'^ There is a similarly indefi-
nite and elastic sense in which it may also be applied
to man. Thus it is said of Moses that he will be
Elohim to Aaron and Pharaoh.^ It is probably also
men clothed with judicial or some other authorit}^ to
whom this name is found applied in the following pas-
sages: Ex. xxi. 6; xxii. 8 f., 28; Jud. v. 8; 1 Sam. ii.
25; Ps. Ixxxii. 6.^ The king of Israel is once called
Elohim ;^ Samuel is also designated by this word when
he appears after death. ^ It is likewise said that the
house of David will be like Elohim."^ This name, then,
denotes a power or a being of a superior nature.^ It is
applied to heathen divinities, as well as to the God
of Israel, and denotes no peculiar quality inhering in
this last.

Since Elohim is a plural, it has been claimed that
there is in it a relic and a proof of the polytheism of
the early Hebrews. This thesis has found numerous
opponents. Baudissin, however, defends it,^ and we

1 Comp. de Wette, Archeologie, § 97 ; Hofmann, Schriftbeiceis,
2 ed. L pp. 76 1, 79 ; [Kuenen, Beligion of Israel^ I. p. 41].

2 Oehler, § 36 ; Hitzig, Bihl. TheoL, pp. 36 f.

3 Ex. iv. 16 ; vii. 1.

4 Schultz, II. p. 126 ; Dillmann on Ex. xxi. 6 ; Bertheau on Jud.
V. 8. ^ Ps. xlv. 6 f. ; see Delitzsch, i.l.

6 1 Sam. xxviii. 13. "^ Zech. xii. 8.

8 Comp. Reuss, Geschichte^ § 69.

* Studien, I. p. 55 ; [Kuenen, Beligion of Israel^ I. p. 224].


think that he is right in so doing. In fact, the Bible
furnishes so many proofs of the polytheism of the early
Hebrews that this statement ought not to be seriously
disputed. In the Old Testament, it is true, this name
is always construed as a singular when it is applied to
the God of Israel; but this proves simply that at the
date of the earliest biblical documents faithful Israel-
ites were already imbued with the principle that their
people should have but one God.

The names of God that remain to be examined pre-
sent a more^precise idea of divinity than that of which
we have just spoken. There is first El^ which means
strong.. This is perhaps the oldest name of God among
the Hebrews.^ It is found in very old portions of doc-
ument A. 2 The passages cited prove that this name
was applied to foreign divinities as well as to the God
of Israel.^

It is one of the old fragments already cited in which
we find the divine name Shadday^"^ which means mighty.
Of this and the preceding was formed a composite
name,^ El-Shadday., which is generally translated al-
mighty. It is rather an emphatic expression for the idea
of power.

Another epithet was very anciently combined with
El^ viz. Elyon^ most-high ; hence the composite name,
El-Elyon.^ Document A calls God "Most-High, lord,"
"possessor, "or, according to some translators, "creator,
of heaven and earth. " ^ But this epithet must anciently

1 Oehler, § 36 ; Schultz, II. pp. 128 f.

2 Gen. xlix. 25 ; Ex. xv. 2, 11 ; xxxiv. 14.

3 See especially Gen. xxxiii. 20. * Gen. xlix. 25. ^ Gen. xliii. 14.
« Gen. xiv. 18-20, 22 ; Num. xxiv. 16 ; Deut. xxxii. 8.

' Gen. xiv. 19, 22.


have served as a reminder that the God of Israel was
more exalted than all the other Elim or Eloliim^^ while
the epithet Shadday asserted that he was really a mighty
God, and not one of the powerless gods that the other
nations worshipped.

God was also early called Haadhon^ the Lord,^ or
Adhonay^ my Lord.^ This name expresses, in a greater
degree than those preceding, the feeling of dependence
in man over against God.* It implies the idea that
man is the servant of God, that he owes him obedience ;
that he belongs to him;^ while the names preceding
imply rather the idea of the power and authority that
God possesses over all things.

II. Attributes of Crod.

Since in Israel the names of God were not arbitrary
designations, but denoted perfections that were attrib-
uted to the Deity, we have not been able to speak of
them without at the same time mentioning a number of
attributes of God. We must now dwell on those to
which hitherto no reference has been made, or of Avhich
there remains something to be said.

We have seen that among the attributes of God, those
that had most importance for the Israelites were the
moral attributes. It will, therefore, be best to begin
with them, and speak of the metaphysical attributes

1. Moral Attributes. — We know that the attribute
par excellence of Jehovah, denoted moreover by his very

1 Schultz, II. pp. 129 f. 2 Ex. xxiii. 17 ; xxxiv. 23.

3 Gen. XV. 2, 8 ; xviii. 3, 27, 30. *

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