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Shouldn't it be spelled אֱלוהִים? Is there some reason it's not? I did some googling but could only find pages on other topics. Apologies if I missed something.

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  • Step - I suggested a change to the title, but wanted to be sure it is consistent with what you intended. Did you mean "God Ha-Yam" or really mean "God Ha-Yod"? (Yad could be Hand, Yod is a letter, Yam is sea...". I can see an argument for "El Ha Yam", especially since diacritics, (vowel pointings), didn't even exist until 900ad. Also, Paleo-Hebrew could hide spaces between words. Mar 16 '20 at 7:46
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The following is what I came across when having the same question a while back. The subject isn't settled for me yet, but had to move on.

אֱלֹהִים֮

Lamed has a 'top dot', called a cholam/holam chaser/haser when over letters other than vav. If over a vav, it is called a cholam malei. The top-dot represents a vav.

The hey has a 'bottom dot', which is called a chiriq. The chiriq represents a yod.

The way I found it explained is that the Masoretes chose to 'shorten'/save space in the Tanach by substituting some actual yods and vavs with "puncta extraordinaire" (top and bottom dots, among other dot uses).

So, in the case of 'Elohim', it would actually read "Aluhiim" - which gives me pause on the theory.

However, I did find examples of the Dead Sea Scrolls having "Eluhim":

Edit to add source: In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language By Joel Hoffman (p. 137 - Google Books)

DDS Eluhim

EDIT: Just found two interesting resources:

  1. Ancient Hebrew Research Center (AHRC) (Jeff Benner) - Shows differences between the Masoretic and DSS - differences I was not aware of before, like Maso. K with qamatz vs DSS KH.

https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dss/great-isaiah-scroll-and-the-masoretic-text.htm

https://www.ancient-hebrew.org/dss/dead-sea-scroll-text-of-psalm-138.htm

  1. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition by FG Martinez - free PDF - pp. 1386

http://superbook.org/AUDIOBOOK/SECRET/The_Dead_Sea_Scrolls_Study_Edition.pdf

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The spelling in the Bible is always אֱלֹהִים, never אֱלוֹהִים. The /o/ sound comes from the diacritic on the letter ל; vowels aren't always indicated by letters. In Modern Hebrew, the trend is for vowels to be systematically indicated by letters when possible, so the ordinary spelling is אֱלוֹהִים.

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  • 1
    There are no vowel pointings in ancient Hebrew. They were added in 900 A.D., (In the Aleppo Codex). Mar 16 '20 at 7:41
  • @elikakohen There were vowels in ancient Hebrew. The vowel pointings are a convention for marking them in writing
    – b a
    Mar 17 '20 at 10:26
  • Could you address the other aspect of the question which is the spelling (without any pointing)? If אלהים is the plural of אלוה, then why isn't it אלוהים? Apr 14 at 13:56
  • @RevelationLad I don't see that asked in the question. But it's an interesting question in its own right. Maybe to avoid ambiguity with אֵלֶּה
    – b a
    Apr 14 at 15:45
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In traditional vocalization, the א is elided when a prefixed clitic is added. Thus, “to God” is לֵאלֹהִים (lelohím) rather than לֶאֱלֹהִים (le'elohím). Observant Jews, outside of prayer, may prefer to write and say אֱלוֹקִים‎ (elokím), so as not to abuse the name of God.

See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%D7%90%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%94%D7%99%D7%9D

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There’s no ‘O’ to be sounded in today’s spelling. Ancients weren’t any more complicated in writing language than we are.

The Masoretes took it upon themselves to take certain things out (such as the waw) and substitute with dots and such. I suppose they thought it would be less confusing for some to read.

Bear in mind that was done 1000 yrs after the destruction of the Temple. The main purpose for the 70 was to have uniformity in how words were pronounced in Synagogues everywhere ... based on what “they thought” at the time it should sound like.

Best to use the Septuagint which was translated by scribes under the supervision of Hillel in Jerusalem 200 yrs before the destruction of the Temple. They still spoke Aramaic and had access to scrolls in both Heb & Aramaic.

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  • Welcome to Bible Hermeneutics SE and thank you for your contribution. When you get a chance, please take the tour to understand how the site works and how it is different than others.
    – agarza
    Apr 14 at 3:47
  • @JBosque. Hillel was not yet alive 200 years before the Temple was destroyed. And the LXX was produced in Alexandria, Egypt, not Jerusalem. Apr 14 at 5:24

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