Vol. 19 New Series October, 1957 No. 5

A most peculiar theory regarding the Hebrew words which for centuries have been translated as meaning" God" (El, Eloah and Elohim) appeared during the year 1954 in "Unsearchable Riches." As some readers of The Differentiator have been puzzled by the strange ideas set forth, they have appealed to me for information.

Theories such as this ought to be established upon clear facts, and one important fact does not appear to have been established, namely, the derivation of the Hebrew word EL or AL. Until this is settled, it seems useless to proceed. Formerly this Hebrew root was taken to signify DISPOSER, or arbiter. No one could object to God disposing of His own Universe as He pleased during all future ages, and further. But the thought of God being ever a SUBJECTOR is not so agreeable. Surely the main feature within our Deity is not subjection or subjecting.

Perhaps we might examine a case such as that found in 1. Samuel 30:11-15. David with four hundred men wanted to pursue an Amalekite army which had burnt Ziklag, and taken captive the inhabitants and even the two wives of David. They came upon a sick Egyptian youth who had been left behind by his master, an Amalekite. He agreed, on condition that David swore by God (b-Elohim) to secure his safety, to lead David and his men to the spot where the Amalekite army lay.

Is it likely that this Egyptian youth, or any other foreigner, understood by the word Elohim (or Alueim) "To-Subjectors"?

The thought contained in the grand name Immanuel can be a great comfort to God's people at any time—"With us, GOD!" But the whole effect of this is lost if we translate this name as "With us, Subjector." Besides, Matt. 1 : 23 does not give any support to this idea. "And they shall call His name EmmanouEl, which is, being translated, 'With us (the) God' (ho Theos)." Here we have the Hebrew word EL rendered by the Greek word Theos, which no one, so far as I know, has ever thought of translating as "Subjector." Why did the Greek here not shew some form of the word hupotassO, under-set or subject? It might be shewn, furthermore, that in Hebrew there are words which express the thought of subjection, such as kabash (subdue, bring into subjection) and Kana' (humble, subdue, bring into subjection). Why are these not used as the name of God?

This word is supposed to relate to God's Son. It is claimed that the final letter, E, in ALUE (generally sounded as -ah, as in Eloah), signifies in Hebrew "to," and thus we get the TO of TO-SUBJECTOR.

But there is one very serious objection to this. It is quite true that this termination is found in some Hebrew words, with the meaning to or towards, but so far as lean discover, it is never used as the termination of a personal name. It is generally used to denote direction towards a place, or motion to a place, something like our word ward. Thus, Gen. 15:5, "Look now toward heaven," ha-shamayim-ah, "the heavens toward." Deut. 30:12, literally, "Who will ascend for us heavenwards?" Gen. 28:12 mentions a "ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven," but strictly this ought to read, "a highway stationed earthwards and its top touching heavenwards." In Gen. 13:4 and 28:14 we find the four directions, northward, southward, eastward and westward. Ashurah means "toward Assyria." Mitzraimah means "toward Egypt." Other expressions mean "mountainwards," "Sodomwards," "toward Haran."

This form is said to occur about 130 times in Genesis alone, nearly always of places or countries at some considerable distance, but it does not seem to be used in connection with human beings. Occasionally it is also used of time, as " from years to years" (mi-yamim yamim-ah; from years years toward).

If the To-Subjectors theory is to be proved, it is vitally necessary to find cases in which the letter E or the sound -ah is added at the end of names of persons in Hebrew, expressing motion or direction.

Anyone who wishes to examine the rule in this connection should consult Dr. Julius Fuerst's Hebrew Lexicon at page 344. He states that the ending is used to denote direction towards a thing in nouns which are" not personal," and in relation to time, denoting duration. The Grammar of Gesenius, and the Lexicons of Parkhurst (page 108) and Lee confirm this rule.

Unfortunately, the statement given in "Unsearchable Riches" (May, 1954, page 138) is incomplete and thus deceptive. It is not sufficient to state that the letter E (or -ah as it is commonly sounded) signifies to or toward, "especially when added to the name of a place to which attention is directed. It is exceedingly important to grasp its force in forming the titles Alue, and Alueim, for it indicates the fact that the eventual subjecting is to Al."

V{hat has been overlooked is the more important fact that the Hebrews did not utilize this ending -E in personal names. Moreover the -E does not appear in the middle of a word, but always at the end of the word. In the Name Alueim (Elohim) the letter -E is doubly impossible as signifying toward.

As for the letter U in Alue and Alueim, we are informed that" When u is inserted in a stem, it usually agrees with the English ending -ING," and may indicate the one acting. If, however, the stem is AL, would not the insertion of the letter U in the stem produce AULE and AULEIM?

Occasionally in the Old Testament the word EL is used along with another noun. Thus Psalm 36:6, "Thy righteousness is like the great mountains" (margin, like the mountains of God). But what would be the sense if we read, "Thy righteousness is like the mountains of Subjector"? The parallelism ought to be preserved somehow. The next sentence says, "Thy judgments (as) a great deep." The King James version at least preserves the parallel. Psalm 80:10 mentions "the goodly cedars" (margin, the cedars of God). Did we read, "the cedars of Subjector," the sense would be ruined. Psalm 44:20 reads, "If we have forgotten the name of our God (Elohim), or stretched out our hands to a strange god (El)." Can this really mean, "the name of our To-Subjectors .. . . . to a strange subjector"?

According to Gen. 35:7 Jacob built an altar at Bethel, and called the place El-beth-el: because there God appeared unto him. Was the thought in his mind to call it "Subjector house of Subjector: because the To-Subjectors (ha-Elohim) appeared to him?

An even more ridiculous case is found in Psalm 42:9, "I will say unto God my rock. . .." The Hebrew reads El sloi. This would be incomprehensible did we read "Subjector of my rock" (or, crag). So would Psalm 43:2 did we read "For Thou art the To-Subjectors of my strength," and in verse 4, "Then will I go (willingly) unto the altar of To-Subjectors, unto Subjector, the gladness of my joy. . . .. O To-Subjectors my To-subjector."

Psalm 29:3 would require to become "Subjector of the glory thunders," while 1. Sam. 2:3 would become "for Jehovah is a Subjector of knowledge," which might mean that we ought to abandon study altogether.

In fact, all the 240 occurrences of the name EL in the Old Testament should be examined. Their cumulative evidence would utterly destroy such a meaning as Subjector.

The translation DEITY, as given in "Unsearchable Riches" September, 1941, page 236, was at least reasonable and satisfactory. So was the translation INVOKED (ONE) for the form Alue. This is at least in line with the probable meaning of the ancient English word GOD, thought to signify the "implored" One. Kluge and Lutz, in "English Etymology" (Strassburg, 1898) explain the North European Gott, Guda, Gutha, Gud, God as "the being implored," upon the analogy of the words old, cold, loud, which were originally participles, ol-ed, col-ed, hlu-ed (see The Differentiator, February, 1954, foot of page 43, regarding old). This means that there was an ancient root ghu or go which meant to implore, which is found in Sanscrit, used of the gods. The same root is found in Hebrew as GOE, used of cattle lowing, and in Greek as GOE, meaning moan.

Another feature in the article found in "U.R." of May, 1954, which must make anyone with some knowledge of Hebrew very suspicious, is the extraordinary renderings: given to twenty-seven verses or passages from the Old Testament. Very few of these are at all satisfactory. Words are inserted or omitted without any reason. Sometimes grammar is simply ignored. Thus, Prov. 30:5 is made to, mean, "Every saying of the Alue is refined. A shield is it to those taking refuge in Him," As the word for saying in Hebrew is feminine, the word it should be He, being the masculine pronoun. In Job. 16:21 the Hebrew word for with (om) is rendered as by, while the Hebrew for to (the letter L) is rendered as by. The sense of the verse is quite altered and lost.

No doubt it would be helpful to have Psalm 82 and John 10:34-36 cleared up, but the To-Subjectors theory cannot accomplish this. In John. 10:34, 35 the word for "gods" does not signify in Greek Subjectors or To-Subjectors. The Note in the Concordant Version here is quite satisfactory.

Rotherham was never disturbed by the readings in the King James 1611 Version at Exodus 21:6; 22:8, 9; and 22:28, where we find the word "judges" instead of the usual "God," five times. At ch. 21:6 he reads, "then shall his lord bring him near unto God." At ch. 22:8: "then shall the owner of the house be brought near unto God (to swear) that he hath not laid his hand on the property of his neighbour." Next verse: "unto God shall come the affair of them both,—he whom God shall condemn shall make restitution. . .." Verse 28: "God shalt thou not revile, and a prince among thy people shalt thou not curse." There is no need to bring in the word "judges" at all. The Greek version reads "God" in the first four cases, and "gods" in the final verse.

Young's Concordance states that the word Elohim is rendered 240 times by the word" gods." It would be interesting to examine some of the Occurrences. There are many cases in which the Elohim mentioned was by no means a "Subjector." When strange gods could be "put away" (Gen. 35:2), or "stolen" (31:30), or where they were mere images of silver or gold (Exodus 20:23), or "molten gods" (Exodus 34:15-16), how could these be "Subjectors"? Such molten gods were things which people could make for them selves (Lev. 19:4).

In Exodus 32:1, 23, the cry of the Israelites was "Up, make us gods, which shall go before us," but gods which were to lead them could not be gods which would subject them. Similarly in. verses 4, 8, and 31, it was the molten. calf (chief Egyptian god) which was said to have brought Israel up out of the land of Egypt. A god which brought Israel up out from the captivity of Egypt was the very opposite of a subjector god.

There is not a scrap of evidence in favour of the "To Subjectors" theory.

A.T. Last updated 13.6.2006