Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. (Daniel 11:37 - King James Version)

‎וְעַל־אֱלֹהֵ֤י אֲבֹתָיו֙ לֹ֣א יָבִ֔ין וְעַל־חֶמְדַּ֥ת נָשִׁ֛ים וְעַֽל־כָּל־אֱל֖וֹהַּ לֹ֣א יָבִ֑ין כִּ֥י עַל־כֹּ֖ל יִתְגַּדָּֽל׃ (Daniel 11:37 - Leningrad Codex)

I know that there is some verse in the Old Testament which contains the plural and the translation is not "God" in uppercase and neither "gods". For example 1 Kings 11:3, where we can find "god" and "goddess" translated from the plural construct. Is it possible that the translation can be "god" lowercase in the singular form? Am I wrong or is it a matter of the accent < placed under the letter of the lemma "אֱלֹהֵ֤י" which makes the difference?

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    – Dottard
    Aug 6, 2023 at 22:27

4 Answers 4


To start, here is a typical translation of 1 Kings 11:33, which the OP rightly cites as a case where elohim is translated as the singular but uncapitalized "god."

For they have forsaken me and have bowed down to Astarte, goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh, god of Moab, and Milcom, god of the Ammonites. They have not walked in my ways or done what is right in my eyes, according to my statutes and my ordinances, as David his father did. (NABRE)

Here the reference is clearly to one deity in each case, so "god" is the correct translation. In the case of the OP's quote, we should consider the context. The preceding verse reads:

36 “The king shall do as he wills, exalting himself and making himself greater than any god; he shall utter dreadful blasphemies against the God of gods...

If, as many commentators believe, this is a reference to Antiochus IV Epiphanes, then the question becomes, does the "God of his ancestors" in vs. 37 refer to the Hebrew God, or to a pagan god/s? We can rule out the former, so the King James Version (KJV) is wrong to capitalize "God." A note in the NABRE version, which translates elohim as "gods" here, explains:

Antiochus favored the cult of Zeus. Daniel takes this to imply the neglect of all other gods, although this does not appear to have been the case.

In conclusion, although elohim may sometimes be correctly translated as either "god" or "gods" in this case the correct translation is "gods." In KJV, which the OP cites, "God" is wrongly translated because elohim here does not refer to the Hebrew deity.

  • 1
    This conclusion would hold good even without the "Antiochus Epiphanes" interpretation, because the context of the entire chapter implies that the "kings of the north" are gentiles. So YHWH would not have been the God of his ancestors. Aug 15, 2023 at 21:43

Many versions translate אֱלֹהֵ֤י (plural) and אֱל֖וֹהַּ (singular) in Dan 11:37 with lower case, eg:

  • NIV: He will show no regard for the gods of his ancestors or for the one desired by women, nor will he regard any god, but will exalt himself above them all.
  • ESV: He shall pay no attention to the gods of his fathers, or to the one beloved by women. He shall not pay attention to any other god, for he shall magnify himself above all.
  • BSB: He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers, nor for the one desired by women, nor for any other god, because he will magnify himself above them all.
  • NASB: And he will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women, nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will boast against them all.
  • CSB: He will not show regard for the gods of his ancestors, the god desired by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all.
  • HCSB: He will not show regard for the gods of his fathers, the god longed for by women, or for any other god, because he will magnify himself above all.
  • ASV: Neither shall he regard the gods of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall magnify himself above all.
  • ISV: He'll recognize neither the gods of his ancestors nor those desired by women—he won't recognize any god, because he'll exalt himself above everything.
  • ... + many more

I believe these versions are correct in so translating these Hebrew nouns.

  • I was only referring to the first term in the verse which the King James Version translates into "God" in uppercase. I wanted to know if this first term can be translated into "god" in lowercase.
    – Relyze
    Aug 6, 2023 at 22:39
  • 1
    @Relyze - the answer is yes as per my response above.
    – Dottard
    Aug 6, 2023 at 23:09
  • @Relyze - the first term is plural and when that does not refer to YHWH, it must be translated as plural.
    – Dottard
    Aug 6, 2023 at 23:23
  • 2
    Nope, because you referenced Bible verses that translate the first term into "gods" in the plural form. I knew that the first term can be translated into "gods" too. The first term is plural construct, while the second one is singular absolute. I am only interested in the first term. Since the first term has that sign under one letter so as to differ from the plural constructs translated into "god" and "goddess" in 1 Kings 11:38, I was wondering if it is a matter of that sign which makes the difference so as that specific term in Daniel 11:37 cannot be translated as "god" in the singular form
    – Relyze
    Aug 6, 2023 at 23:27
  • Read the new comment. The old was too brief. As said in the question of my post too, in 1 Kings 11:33, for example, the plural is translated into "god" two times and one time into "goddess".
    – Relyze
    Aug 6, 2023 at 23:30

Paul references this passage of Daniel and describes Emperor Titus:

[2Th 2:1-12 NASB20] [1] Now we ask you, brothers [and sisters,] regarding the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, [2] that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit, or a message, or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. [3] No one is to deceive you in any way! For [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, [4] who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. [5] Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? [6] And you know what restrains [him] now, so that he will be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains [will do so] until He is removed. [8] Then that lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will eliminate with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; [9] [that is,] the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and false signs and wonders, [10] and with all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not accept the love of the truth so as to be saved. [11] For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, [12] in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

For a full exposition from an NT perspective, please see:


So to answer your question, yes, "gods" is the right idea.

  • I wanted to know if in the phrase "God of his fathers" that lemma can be translated into "god" as singular. Now I edited my post and it is more clear.
    – Relyze
    Aug 6, 2023 at 23:05
  • 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38 But in his estate shall he honour the God of forces... (Daniel 11:37-38 - King James Version). The correct translation cannot be “gods” in the plural because in Daniel 11:38 the Hebrew text has “in his estate”. The subject to whom “in his estate” is referring to is necessarily “… of his fathers” in the verse 37. The question was if the correct translation must necessarily be "God" or there might be "god".
    – Relyze
    Aug 13, 2023 at 21:54

But Daniel 11:37 is not referring to Antiochus Epiphanes, but to the Antichrist. (At the very least a dual prophesy.) You already mentioned that he favored the cult of Zeus. The Antichrist will not favor the God of "his" fathers. Many commentators refer to this individual in verse 37 and 38 as the Antichrist. Since some have come to believe the Antichrist to be Jewish. (Including myself), he will claim to be their long awaited messiah. Then the term "God of his fathers" will make perfect sense. Also, the desire of Hebrew women was to be the mother of the messiah, this also makes sense. Unfortunately I believe this war in Israel could break out with the Muslim nations coming against her, for her treatment of the Palestinians, in their fight to destroy Hamas. This might lead Israel into accepting a false messiah. I'm 67 and homebound so these circumstances have led me to take on a more serious study of the Bible than I have in the last 40 something years and that study has led me to believe that the Antichrist will be an Israeli, possibly from the tribe of Dan, but will claim to be from the tribe of Judah. John 5:43 says, "I have come in my Father's name, and you do not receive Me. If another comes in his own name, you will receive him." I cannot say that this is true 100%, I'm not that foolish but I think the verse Daniel 11:37 is very telling. I hope I'm wrong.

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