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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ALMIGHTY is the regular rendering of Shaddai , which occurs altogether 45 times in the OT; 6 times qualifying El (God) and 39 times [31 of these in Job] standing by itself. In the Hexateuch its use is almost confined to P [Note: Priestly Narrative.] , according to which source it is the name by which God revealed Himself to the patriarchs ( Exodus 6:3 , cf. Genesis 17:1 ; Genesis 35:11 ). The meaning and derivation are alike obscure. The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] usually render by Pantokratôr (‘Almighty’); 6 times by a fanciful derivation they paraphrase by ‘He that is sufficient.’ But in Gn. El Shaddai is always represented in the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] by a pronoun, ‘my ( or thy) God’; in Ezekiel 10:6 it is merely transliterated. Other suggested renderings are ‘the Destroyer,’ i.e. ‘the Storm-God,’ ‘the Pourer,’ i.e. ‘the Rain-God,’ ‘the Mountain’ (cf. ‘Rock’ as a title of God in Deuteronomy 32:4 ; Deuteronomy 32:18 ; Deuteronomy 32:30-31 ), or ‘Lord.’ The last two have the most probability on their side, and it is hard to choose between them; but the fact that in Babylonian ‘the Great Mountain’ ( shadu rabu ) is a common title of Bel seems to turn the scale in favour of the former of the two meanings proposed: some slight confirmation is perhaps afforded by 1 Kings 20:23 . In composition the word occurs in two personal names: Zurishaddai ( Numbers 1:6 ) and Ammishaddai ( Numbers 1:12 ); perhaps also in Shedeur ( Numbers 1:5 ). The first (‘Shaddai is my Rock’) is specially interesting if the meaning given above is correct.

In the NT, with the exception of 2 Corinthians 6:18 (a quotation from 2 Samuel 7:14 ), the name is confined to the Apocalypse. That it renders Shaddai rather than Sabaoth seems proved (in spite of Revelation 4:8 from Isaiah 6:3 ) by the fact that it always either stands alone or qualifies ‘God,’ never ‘Lord.’ The writer is fond of piling up the titles or attributes of God, and among them his favourite is that ancient title which carries him back to the patriarchal age, the title El Shaddai .

H. C. O. Lanchester.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Almighty'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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