• Caleb Rawls

Week 2- Wednesday Lesson

Elohim and YHWH

The Old Testament was written in predominantly Hebrew. Having a little bit of understanding of this language can help us to understand the complexity and uniqueness of the terminology mentioned in Exodus Chapter 3 when God states, “I am who I am.”

So, what are both of these terms?

Elohim- אֱלֹהִים

This Hebrew term simply means god or God depending on what context you are reading. Look at the following examples.

“And God (Elohim) said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

-Genesis 1:3

“So Moses returned to the Lord and said, “Alas, this people has sinned a great sin. They have made for themselves gods (Elohim) of gold.”

-Exodus 32:31

In Hebrew, we do not have a convenient capitalized letter of “god” to inform us when this term is relating to a pagan god or the God of the Israelites. It is dependent upon the context how one is supposed to read it.

YHWH or Yahweh- יהוה‎

When God stated to Moses through the burning bush, “I am how I am,” this is what it would appear as in Hebrew. This was the first language to write the personal name of God.

Most English translations help us to differentiate between the term YHWH and Elohim and when it is being used. For example:

"If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord (YHWH) your God (Elohim), and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you that I put on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord (YHWH), your healer.”

-Exodus 15:26

Both names serve a purpose in helping us to turn our gaze upward toward our God.