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Bible Dictionaries

Holman Bible Dictionary

Sons of God

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Divine beings associated with God in the heavens in what can be called the “divine council” (Psalm 82:1 NRSV) or the “council of the holy ones” ( Psalm 89:7 NAS). In Job, the earliest Greek translation translated “sons of God” as “angels of God” ( Job 1:6; Job 2:1 ) and “my angels” (Job 38:7 ). The phrase “sons of the living God” in Hosea 1:10 , however, refers to Israel.

The expression sons of God employs a Hebrew idiom in which “son(s)” refers to participants in a class or in a state of being, and the second word describes the class or state of being. Thus, in Genesis 5:32 , Noah is said to be a “son of five hundred years,” meaning he was 500 years old. In English an adjective often best translates the second term, so that “divine beings” rather than “sons of God” would be a better rendition of the Hebrew. This accords with the NRSV's translation “heavenly beings” for “sons of gods” in Psalm 29:1; Psalm 89:6 .

In the New Testament, “sons of God” always refers to human beings who do God's will (Matthew 5:9; Romans 8:14 ,Romans 8:14,8:19 ). Similar expressions with the same meaning are to be found in Matthew 5:45; John 1:12; Romans 9:26 ( Hosea 1:10 ), and 2 Corinthians 6:18 . The usual designation of the heavenly beings in the New Testament is “angels.” See Angels; Divine Council; God; Son of God .

Fred L. Horton, Jr.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Sons of God'. Holman Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hbd/s/sons-of-god.html. 1991.

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