As a bonus, point me to where I can easily look and answer such questions myself. I did look some for an answer. Ive heard Yahweh and Elohim are both used in OT. Is this the case in Gen 1:26 and 27, where the pronoun switches from first-person plural to singular? Another side question: Does it make sense to say “Yahweh” instead of God the Father? Finally, wax interestingly about any of this at your pleasure. Glad to be on here learning more about the bible. God bless.

  • 1
    See the Hebrew Interlinear at Biblehub which answers part of your question. It's a good question and I have up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    May 7, 2021 at 1:10

3 Answers 3


There is only one word for God used in Genesis 1:26-27. It is the word "Elohim" (אֱלֹהִ֔ים). In fact, the Hebrew does not include even a pronoun for God in verse 26 where in English the translation uses "us" and "our" to reference God. Hebrew, like Latin languages, e.g. Spanish, includes pronouns with verb "conjugations" (Hebrew: Binyanim). The verb is given in the first-person plural form, requiring the addition of those pronouns in the English translation.

There are multiple websites that show the Hebrew grammatical notes in an interlinear format with English that can help you to see these things for yourself. One such website is https://www.biblasia.com. Simply choose the "Interlinear Hebrew/Greek with English" translation option in one of the windows. Note that you can see additional information about the notations within that version by hovering (mouseover) over them.

UPDATE: In response to the OP's additional comments regarding the usage of plural "Elohim" with singular verbs -- this is a relatively common phenomenon in Hebrew, with a number of Hebrew words existing in only a plural form (plurale tantum).

In English, a word like "scissors" or "physics" comes in only the plural form and has no accepted singular. But Hebrew differs in that these "plural" words can be, and often are, used as singular nouns.

Examples of plurale tantum include the word "face/faces" (panim), "water/waters" (mayim), and "skies/heavens" (shamayim). These are always grammatically plural in form but not in usage.

Nouns in Hebrew are also gendered, as they are in Latin languages, Greek, Germanic languages, etc., and many exceptions exist. Hebrew scholars and instructors will teach readers to always look at the adjectives and verbs to know both the gender and number of a Hebrew noun. (Ambiguities sometimes exist, as is evident with English translations in Genesis 1:1 as "the heaven" or "the heavens" where the noun has neither adjective nor verb associated with it.)

"Elohim" is always used throughout the Old Testament with singular verbs and adjectives when referencing the true God. The word "elohim" is, however, often used in its plural sense when referring to the pagan gods.

  • Thank you 🙏🏻. I had some follow-ups in my reply below to dottard, if interested in more
    – Al Brown
    May 9, 2021 at 2:21
  • @AlBrown I've edited my post to hopefully answer your follow-up question.
    – Polyhat
    May 9, 2021 at 4:03

The title of God in the Hebrew of Gen 1:26, 27 is a single word, אֱלהִים (Elohim). However, there are many places where the title/name of God is two words or a compound word such as:

  • יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֑ים (Yahweh Elohim) = "LORD God", eg, Gen 3:1
  • אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֗ה (Adonai Yahweh) = "Lord LORD", or Sovereign Lord, eg, Eze 45:9
  • יְהוָ֣ה ׀ יִרְאֶ֑ה (Yahweh Jireh) = The LORD will provide, eg, Gen 22:14
  • אֵ֣ל שַׁדַּ֔י (El-Shaddai) = God almighty, eg, Gen 17:1
  • לְאֵ֥ל עֶלְיֹֽון (El-Elyon) = God Most High, eg, Gen 14:18, 19

There are many more.

As NigelJ has already pointed out, https://biblehub.com/interlinear/genesis/14-19.htm has an interlinear and much else.

  • 1
    Thank you. So it seems from some of what you wrote that replacing “God” (father god) w “yahweh” does not make sense, as you wrote Lord for Yahweh a couple times. Is Elohim a good one for God? Since gen 1:26 and 27 both use Elohim, any thoughts about why the plural and then the singular verb conjugations used?
    – Al Brown
    May 9, 2021 at 2:20
  • @AlBrown - that question is the subject of a huge theological literature and should be the subject of a separate question if it has not ben asked already.
    – Dottard
    May 9, 2021 at 4:30

The verb make in Genesis 1:26 is plural because the "us" is plural. Why does the "the pronoun switches from first-person plural to singular?"

If the "let us" in Genesis 1:26 indicates numerical plurality or more than one Creator, then the next verse should have been " and they created man in their own image. A verse should not be read to the exclusion of the rest of the bible that shed light on the passage in question. "Let us" is a phraseology that is sometimes used to express the dignity and authority of the speaker. Just as Elohim is assigned to single persons, the pronouns "we" and "us" are sometimes applied to a singular person, usually a ruler or a king. Consider, Ezra 4:18 and he says to them, “What are you counseling, and we answer this people, who have spoken to me, saying, Lighten [some] of the yoke that your father put on us?" Zedekiah spoke in the same manner in Jeremiah 38:6 So Zedekiah the king sware secretly unto Jeremiah, saying, As Jehovah liveth, that made us this soul, I will not put thee to death, neither will I give thee into the hand of these men that seek thy life. Would we then deduce from this manner of speaking that these kings have plurality of persons in each of them?

The New International Version Study Bible (NIV) commentary on Genesis 1:1 reads:

God created. The Hebrew noun Elohim is plural but the verb is singular, a normal usage in the OT when reference is to the one true God. This use of the plural expresses intensification rather than number and has been called the plural of majesty, or of potentiality. (New International Version Study Bible, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985, p. 6.)

In Genesis 1:26 God was speaking to other beings, but the verse does not say that he was speaking to other Creators.

Genesis 1:26 ASV

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

“Who was God talking to in Genesis 1:26?

In Genesis 1:26 God was speaking to heavenly beings. He was speaking to the creation which he had already created. God had already created heavenly beings before man was created as recorded in Job 38:4-7.

Reading Genesis 1:27 "And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

In Matthew 19:4 and Mark 13:19, we see Jesus attribute creation to God, not to himself.

And he answered and said, Have ye not read, that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female,

Mark 13:19 ASV

For those days shall be tribulation, such as there hath not been the like from the beginning of the creation which God created until now, and never shall be.

So why do the pronouns used for God switched from first-person plural to singular.? Because God was never plural. Genesis 1:26 says "God said". Genesis 1:27 And God created...

Some verses showing the use of the word god(elohim) like Moses was to Pharaoh in Exodus 7:1 and Baal in Judges 6:31 does not show that the people who knew Moses and Baal as having compound natures. The idea that Elohim implies a compound unity when it refers to the true God is a not in the bible.

  • The verb in verse 26, נַֽעֲשֶׂ֥ה is plural, not singular. Mar 26 at 23:48
  • @RevelationLad. How about posting your comment as a question? Mar 27 at 0:03
  • Because the question has been correctly answered. Only one word is used. Your answer incorrectly states it can be understood as singular because the verbs are singular. That is incorrect. The verb in verse 26 is plural. Hence let us make… Mar 27 at 0:30
  • @RevelationLad. There is nothing in the us that says there are multiple Creators. Mar 27 at 1:46
  • The word is plural the verb is plural. So your statement about singular verb is wrong. How that is interpreted is up for consideration, but the word is plural and the verb is plural. Mar 27 at 3:25

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