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The title "El-Shaddai" has been traditionally translated in English as "God Almighty", but this is increasingly disputed. However a way of understanding what the word meant historically and is how it was historically been translated.

Thus documents like the LXX and the Targums are increasingly useful in this case.

You can find a list of its occurrences here

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Let us take the three verses referenced

  • Gen 17:1 - The LXX simply has Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός σου = "I am your God". That is, "El-Shaddai" is not mentioned.
  • Gen 35:11 - The LXX simply has ἐγὼ ὁ Θεός σου = "I am your God". That is, "El-Shaddai" is not mentioned.
  • Ex 6:3 - The LXX simply has Θεὸς ὢν αὐτῶν = "being their God". That is, "El-Shaddai" is not mentioned.

This perfectly illustrates the problem that often arises when comparing the Masoretic Hebrew text with the LXX - they clear differ quite often. Let us examine a few more:

  • Gen 28:3 - The LXX has ὁ δὲ Θεός μου εὐλογήσαι = "And may my God bless you". Again, "El-Shaddai" is not mentioned.
  • Gen 43:14 - Again, the LXX has θεός μου = "my God"
  • Gen 48:3 - Again, the LXX has θεός μου = "my God"

The above are the only places in the OT where "El-Shaddai", appears. However, the word "Shaddai", "Almighty" appears regularly by itself as stand-alone title of God such as in Gen 49:25, Num 24:4, 16, Ruth 1:20, 21, Job 5:17, 6:4, 14, 8:3, 5, 11:7, 13:3, 15:25, 21:15, etc. There is little consistency in the way the LXX translates this:

  • In some cases "Shaddai" it is translated by Παντοκράτορος = "Almighty" such as in Job 5:17, 11:7, etc
  • In some cases "Shaddai" is simply translated as κύριος = "Lord", such as Job 6:4, 14, 8:3, 13:3, etc.
  • In some cases "Shaddai" is translated as κύριος Παντοκράτορος = "Lord Almighty" such as Job 8:5, 15:25, etc.

All this illustrates the point that whatever the LXX was translated from, it was obvioulsy a different text from what we now call the Masoretic Text.

However, what we can be reasonably certain about is the translation of "El-Shaddai" as meaning "God Almighty".

Ellicott records this about Gen 17:1 -

I am the Almighty God.—Heb., El shaddai. The word is Archaic, but there is no doubt that it means strong so as to overpower. Besides its use in Genesis we find it employed as the name of Deity by Balaam (Numbers 24:4; Numbers 24:16); by Naomi (Ruth 1:20); and in the Book of Job, where it occurs thirty-one times.

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  • Complete answer. +1
    – Perry Webb
    Nov 19, 2021 at 18:15

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