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.
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.
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)
EDIT: Just found two interesting resources:
- 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.
The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition by FG Martinez - free PDF - pp. 1386
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.
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.
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.