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Why is “אֱלהִים” (Elohim) spelled like god ha-yam (El the sea), with no “o” sound, in Genesis and Exodus?

14

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.

2 Answers

4

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.

3

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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Why is “אֱלהִים” (Elohim) spelled like god ha-yam (El the sea), with no “o” sound, in Genesis and Exodus?

14

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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9

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.

edit

There are no vowel pointings in ancient Hebrew. They were added in 900 A.D., (In the Aleppo Codex). - elika kohen Mar 16, 2020 at 7:41

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