The most common of the originally appellative names of God is Elohim (), plural in form though commonly construed with a singular verb or adjective. This is, most probably, to be explained as the plural of majesty or excellence, expressing high dignity or greatness: comp. the similar use of plurals of "ba'al" (master) and "adon" (lord). In Ethiopic, Amlak ("lords") is the common name for God. The singular, Eloah (), is comparatively rare, occurring only in poetry and late prose (in Job, 41 times). The same divine name is found in Arabic (ilah) and in Aramaic (elah). The singular is used in six places for heathen deities (II Chron. xxxii. 15; Dan. xi. 37, 38; etc.); and the plural also, a few times, either for gods or images (Ex. ix. 1, xii. 12, xx. 3; etc.) or for one god (Ex. xxxii. 1; Gen. xxxi. 30, 32; etc.). In the great majority of cases both are used as names of the one God of Israel.
The root-meaning of the word is unknown. The most probable theory is that it may be connected with the old Arabic verb "alih" (to be perplexed, afraid; to seek refuge because of fear). Eloah, Elohim, would, therefore, be "He who is the object of fear or reverence," or "He with whom one who is afraid takes refuge" (comp. the name "fear of Isaac" in Gen. xxxi. 42, 53; see also Isa. viii. 13; Ps. lxxvi. 12). The predominance of this name in the later writings, as compared with the more distinctively Hebrew national name Yhwh, may have been due to the broadening idea of God as the transcendent and universal Lord
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