Shaddai (07706) (Shadday)
means Almighty, most powerful. As alluded to in the preceding table and
elaborated on in more detail in the following notes, the Name Shaddai
conveys the truth on the one hand that He is omnipotent and on the
other that He is sufficient. El Shaddai = God Almighty the
ever-present God who protects and provides, presents Himself as the One
who makes a covenant with a human being named Abraham.
There are 48 OT
uses of Shaddai (see below) and in every use the reference is to God. Approximately one third of
these uses of Shaddai are translated in the
pantokrator (see below).
Lest we become too dogmatic in our
interpretation of the etymological derivation of Shaddai, Davison
makes a cogent point noting that...
The exact origin, history, and
etymology of the name (Shaddai) are highly debated. Traditionally, it has
been connected to Hebrew šādad, “deal mightily with,” but the verb
actually has the connotation “deal violently.” Other scholars associate it
with Assyrian šadu, “mountain” or “high,” thus rendering the Hebrew as
“High God” or “God of the Mountains.” The usual English translation,
“Almighty,” derives from the rendering of the Hebrew in the LXX (Ed
note: See pantokrator
below) and Vulgate (Ed note:
E.g., Genesis 17:1 = "ego Deus omnipotens")., which was a free
translation of what was by then an obscure term. (Eerdman's Dictionary of
There are some authorities (most
notably Nathan Stone - see
(or see notes below) who feel
that the Hebrew Shaddai is derived from the Hebrew word shad which means
breast (an etymology also made popular by the Scofield Reference Bible). If this is valid, it in turn suggests that Shaddai might signify
the one who nourishes or supplies. El Shaddai then would be the one who is
able to pour out His promises of provision and power in abundance. Those
who hold to this interpretation call attention to Genesis 49 where we read
of Joseph (as Jacob is preparing to die)...
But his bow remained firm, and his arms
were agile, from the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (From there is the
Shepherd, the Stone of Israel), from the God ('El) of your father who helps you
Jehovah Ezer - LORD our Helper),
and by the Almighty (Shaddai) who blesses you with blessings of
heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the
breasts (Hebrew = shad) and of the womb. (Genesis 49:24, 25)
In this passage note that it is 'El
Who gives strength to the arms, and it is the Almighty or
Shaddai Who brings the blessings of the breast and the womb,
including the blessing of the promised seed from the line of Abraham.
Nevertheless while the meaning of Shaddai as the God Who nourishes and Who blesses
the breasts and the womb is certainly a possible derivation, many commentators do not
favor this etymology.
John Davis in Grace Journal
(Volume 4) writes that...
The basic understanding of the
conservative view is that the name “El Shaddai” is of divine, not natural
origin. The name, it is asserted, was revealed by God, and not conceived
by man. While all conservative scholars agree on this basic principle,
there is little agreement as to the etymology and significance of this
name in relation to the patriarchs. There are four basic views in this
regard. The first view is that Shaddai comes from the root šādad
(shadad) “to be strong” or “powerful.” This view seems to be the more
popular. The emphasis, therefore, in respect to the patriarchs, is that of
God’s power and strength. Oehler favors this view in his Theology of the
The second view of the name Shaddai is that its root is šādad (shadad)
“to destroy” or “to terrify.” This view is held by Mack.
The third view maintains that Shaddai comes from a compound word (from še
(šer) and day which in Hebrew means “sufficiency.” For a statement of
this view compare John Calvin.
The fourth, and not too well accepted view is that proposed by the
Scofield Bible. This view contends that the name comes from šad which has
primary reference to the female breast. The name, therefore, signified
nourishment and strength to the Patriarchs.
Wayne House writes that El
"The God of Strength" Probably related
to the word “Mountain” and suggests the power or strength of God. This
name also emphasizes God’s covenant keeping nature (Ge 17:1)... Some
feel Shaddai is derived from a root that refers to a mother’s breast,
sustaining a newborn infant. If so, it conveys love, tenderness, mercy,
all that a mother is to a dependent newborn, God is to his children... Job
chastened by God. God often corrects His own to make them fruitful. Used
this way in the book of Job 31 times. Job was a “perfect” man. God
wanted to refine him still more, make him even more fruitful. And by the
end of the book, God had given to Job more than he had to begin with. (H.
Wayne House: Charts of Christian Theology and Doctrine, Grand Rapids, MI:
Louis Berkhof (Systematic Theology)
points out that whereas God as El Shaddai is indeed presented as
the all-powerful One who overpowers nature, the name, where it occurs in
the Bible, does not present God as an object of fear or terror, but rather
as a source of blessing and comfort.
The NET Bible has a good summary
of Shaddai noting that...
Heb “Shaddai”; traditionally “the
Almighty.” The etymology and meaning of this divine name is uncertain but
its significance is clear. It may be derived from:
(1) Shadad, “to be strong”,
cognate to Arabic sdd, meaning “The Strong One” or “Almighty”;
(2) Shadah, “mountain”, cognate
to Akkadian shadu, meaning “The Mountain Dweller” or “God of the
(3) Shadad, “to devastate” and
shad, “destroyer”, Akkadian Shedum, meaning “The Destroyer” or “The
Malevolent One”; or
(4) She “who” plus diy,
“sufficient”, meaning “The One Who is Sufficient” or “All-Sufficient One”
Shaddai) is presented as the sovereign king/judge of the world Who grants
life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis He blesses the patriarchs with
fertility and promises numerous descendants.
Outside Genesis He blesses/protects and
also takes away life/happiness. In (Ruth 1:20) in light of Naomi's
emphasis on God's sovereign, malevolent deprivation of her family, one can
understand her use of this name for God. For discussion of this divine
name, see T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72.
Wiersbe writes that...
Hebrew scholars traditionally have
interpreted El-Shaddai to mean “God Almighty” or “God All-Sufficient,”
relating it to the Hebrew word for “breast.” Thus He is the God who
nourishes and provides, who sustains and enables. Recent studies have
suggested “the God of the mountain” (strength, stability) or “God my
destroyer” (power against the enemy). (Wiersbe, W. W. Be Authentic. An Old
Testament Study. Victor Pub)
Below are all 48 uses of Shaddai
in Scripture. Observe that 31 uses occur in Job where 16 of these
uses are translated in the
with the Greek word
and 3 uses are translated with the Greek adjective
hikanos [word study]
which means sufficient, adequate, enough, able, competent, qualified. In
summary, when one compares the way Shaddai is translated in the
, two main ideas emerge...
Genesis 17:1 Now when Abram was
ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, "I am
God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
Genesis 28:3 (Isaac
called Jacob and blessed him saying) "And may God
Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you
may become a company of peoples.
Comment: Note that El Shaddai is
found in passages such as this one that report God’s promises of
fertility, land, and abundance to those in covenant with Him, indicating
that He, the Almighty Omnipotent One, could fulfill those promises.
Genesis 35:9 Then God
appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him.10 And God said to him, "Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called
Jacob, But Israel shall be your name." Thus He called him Israel.
Genesis 35:11 God also said to him, "I am
Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come
from you, And kings shall come forth from you. (Here again as with Abram's
name change to Abraham when El Shaddai reaffirmed the covenant, He changes
Jacob's name to Israel and reaffirms the promises made to Abraham and
12 "And the land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you,
And I will give the land to your descendants after you."
Comment: Note that the land
is not given to the church but to Jacob. The church is never called Jacob
in Scripture. The promises are for a literal land, and El
Shaddai has all power and sufficiency to fulfill these covenant
promises, which He will bring to consummation in the book of the
Revelation, where the God is repeatedly referred to as "The
the very name that the
uses repeatedly to translate Shaddai
in the book of Job. El Shaddai affirms the promises of the Land of
Israel to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and fulfills the promise some 4000+
years later following the after the
Great Tribulation or time of Jacob's
trouble . when Messiah
returns as the King of kings to establish His
Millennial Kingdom (click for schematic
picture of this kingdom)
in which He rules for 1000 years.
13 Then God went up from him in the place where He had spoken with him.
14 And Jacob set up a pillar in the place where He had spoken with him, a
pillar of stone, and he poured out a libation on it; he also poured oil on
15 So Jacob named the place where God had spoken with him, Bethel.
Comment: Establishing a
memorial (stone and name of place) was a common component of
covenant in the OT, in this case memorializing the affirmation of the
covenant originally cut with his grandfather Abraham
Genesis 43:14 (Jacob to his sons
preparing to return to Joseph in Egypt)
and may God Almighty
(the One Who is powerful and sufficient to)
grant you compassion in the
sight of the man, that he may release to you your other brother and
Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved."
15 So the men took this present, and they took double the money in their
hand, and Benjamin; then they arose and went down to Egypt and stood
Comment: What is the context?
There is a famine in the land of promise, but Jacob knows that there is no
famine in the name El Shaddai. Jacob realizing that they must have grain,
commits his sons to the covenant care of God Almighty, the One Who is
sufficient for every emergency! In Him there is never any lack.
Do you know Him as Shaddai, not just
in your head but in your heart? Have you found Him sufficient for every
need? Or perhaps we need to ask have you been willing to trust Him to meet
your every need?
Genesis 48:3 Then Jacob said to Joseph, "God
Almighty appeared to me at
Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me,
4 and He (El Shaddai reaffirmed the covenant with Abraham and Isaac) said to me, 'Behold, I will make you fruitful and numerous, and I
will make you a company of peoples, and will give this land to your
descendants after you for an everlasting possession.'
Comment: The Land belongs to
Israel. They are back in the Land in unbelief but in the Millennium all
Israel will be saved and occupy the Land promised to Abraham, Isaac and
From the God of your
father Who helps you (see related name
Jehovah Ezer: The LORD our Helper),
and by the
Who blesses you with blessings
of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the
breasts and of the womb. 26 The blessings of your father have surpassed the blessings of my
ancestors up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. May they be on
the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of the one distinguished
among his brothers.
Exodus 6:3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God
Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.
Numbers 24:4 The oracle of him who hears the words of God, Who sees
the vision of the Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes
Numbers 24:16 The oracle of him who hears the words of God, And
knows the knowledge of the Most High, Who sees the vision of the
Almighty, Falling down, yet having his eyes uncovered.
Comment: Observe that Balaam
used three different names for God: El, Elyon (Most High), and Shaddai
(Almighty). He had a head knowledge of Israel’s God but not a heart
relationship with Him. It is one thing to know God’s name and quite
something else to trust that name and allow God to work in one's heart
Ruth 1:20 (note)
And she said to them, "Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara
(bitter), for the
Almighty (Shaddai) has dealt very bitterly with me. 21 "I went out full,
but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since
the LORD has witnessed against me and the Almighty (Shaddai) has afflicted
Job 5:17 "Behold, how happy is the man whom God reproves, So do not
despise the discipline of the Almighty. (Lxx = pantokrator)
Job 6:4 "For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; Their
poison my spirit drinks; The terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Job 6:14 "For the despairing man there should be kindness from his
friend; Lest he forsake the fear of the Almighty.
Job 8:3 "Does God pervert justice Or does the Almighty
pervert what is right?
Job 8:5 "If you would seek God And implore the compassion of the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator)
Job 11:7 "Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the
limits of the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator)?
Job 13:3 "But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to
argue with God.
Job 15:25 Because he has stretched out his hand against God, And
conducts himself arrogantly against the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator).
Job 21:15 'Who is the Almighty (Lxx =
= sufficient, adequate, enough, able, competent, qualified), that we should serve Him,
And what would we gain if we entreat Him?'
Job 21:20 "Let his own eyes see his decay, And let him drink of the
wrath of the Almighty.
Job 22:3 "Is there any pleasure to the Almighty if you are
righteous, Or profit if you make your ways perfect?
Job 22:17 "They said to God, 'Depart from us!' And 'What can the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) do to them?'
Job 22:23 "If you return to the Almighty, you will be
restored; If you remove unrighteousness far from your tent,
Job 22:25 Then the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) will be your gold And choice
silver to you.
Job 22:26 "For then you will delight in the Almighty, and
lift up your face to God.
Job 23:16 "It is God who has made my heart faint, And the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) who has dismayed me,
Job 24:1 "Why are times not stored up by the Almighty, And
why do those who know Him not see His days?
Job 27:2 "As God lives, who has taken away my right, And the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator), who has embittered my soul, (Comment: Compare this
statement by Job with that of Naomi in Ruth 1:20,21. Remember that
this is not a sin nor is he blaming God, for Scripture itself testifies
"Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Job 1:22).
Job 27:10 "Will he take delight in the Almighty, Will he
call on God at all times? 11 "I will instruct you in the power of
God; What is with the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) I will not conceal.
Job 27:13 "This is the portion
of a wicked man from God, And the inheritance which tyrants receive from
the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator).
Job 29:5 When the Almighty was yet with me, And my children
were around me;
Job 31:2 "And what is the portion of God from above Or the heritage
of the Almighty (Lxx =
= sufficient, adequate, enough, able, competent, qualified) from on high?
Job 31:35 "Oh that I had one to
hear me! Behold, here is my signature; Let the Almighty answer me!
And the indictment which my adversary has written,
Job 32:8 "But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) gives them understanding.
Job 33:4 "The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) gives me life.
Job 34:10 "Therefore, listen to me, you men of understanding. Far
be it from God to do wickedness, And from the Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) to do wrong.
Job 34:12 "Surely, God will not act wickedly, And the Almighty
(Lxx = pantokrator)
will not pervert justice.
Job 35:13 "Surely God will not listen to an empty cry, Nor will the
Almighty (Lxx = pantokrator) regard it.
Job 37:23 "The Almighty-- we cannot find Him; He is exalted
in power; And He will not do violence to justice and abundant
Job 40:2 "Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty (Lxx
= sufficient, adequate, enough, able, competent, qualified)?
Let him who reproves God answer it."
Psalm 68:14 (see note) When the Almighty scattered the kings there, It
was snowing in Zalmon.
Psalm 91:1 (see note) He who dwells in the shelter of the
Most High (El
abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
Comment: The names of God used
in these verses encourage us to trust Him.
Isaiah 13:6 Wail, for the
Day of the LORD
is near! It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Amplified Version renders it
"Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand; as destruction from the
Almighty and Sufficient One [Shaddai] will it come! [Ge 17:1.]
Ezekiel 1:24 I also heard the sound of their wings like the sound
of abundant waters as they went, like the voice of the Almighty, a
sound of tumult like the sound of an army camp; whenever they stood still,
they dropped their wings.
Ezekiel 10:5 Moreover, the sound of the wings of the cherubim was
heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty (more
literally "God - the mighty One") when He speaks.
Joel 1:15 Alas for the day! For the
Day of the LORD
is near, And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.
Comment: Note the two uses in
Isaiah and Joel in the context of the
Day of the LORD,
the day of Jehovah's wrath, which comes to fruition in the book of the
Revelation where we see God designated as the Almighty (pantokrator).
He is able to complete the work He began when He cut the covenant
initially with Abram.
Where are the majority of OT uses of
Shaddai? Why? Clearly the majority of uses are in the book of Job, in
the context of a man who is suffering severely and being tempted to doubt
the goodness, fairness and justice of God.
How futile are our own schemes
for bettering ourselves! How constant and ready are the provisions of our
great El Shaddai!
R C Sproul commenting on El
Shaddai writes that...
When God revealed himself by this name
to the patriarchs in Genesis he focused on his power, revealing himself as
the God who makes and keeps his promises. It was a name that demanded
faith in what was coming but not yet; the God behind the promise was
sufficient for now, even if the fulfillment of the promises could not be
seen... God makes promises, and God is mighty to perform them. God is
strong enough to accomplish everything He has said He will do. He has the
power to fulfil every promise He has made to His people. Isn't this where
our faith tends to fail? (Sproul, R. Vol. 3: Before the Face of God)
Although I generally respect Oswald
Chambers, albeit find him a bit "mystical" at times, I was shocked to
find the following comment of his that makes mention of El Shaddai. I pray
you too will be shocked by his aberrant theology...
Jesus Christ is the last Adam in this
sense, viz.: that He reveals the characteristics of El-Shaddai, the
Father-Mother God, all vested in the unique manifestation of the
Incarnation. (Chambers, O. Conformed to His image) (Ed note: One
wonders if Chambers was not led to write this description because of a
belief that Shaddai is from shad, Hebrew for breast. In any event, El
Shaddai is unequivocably NOT "the Father-Mother God"!
Chamber's quote makes the point that we must constantly be Bereans [Ac
taking all of men's writings [including the one's you are currently
reading!] back to the plumbline of God's inerrant Word of Truth.)
Tyndale Bible Dictionary has an
excellent summary of the origin and meaning of Shaddai writing...
In these passages the combined ideas of
God as the all-powerful, all-sufficient, transcendent, sovereign ruler and
disposer are present. This meaning is generally accepted, but there are
differences as to the exact meaning of the term Shaddai. Some have begun
with shad as the first concept to be considered; its meaning
is “breast, pap, or teat,” and it is considered a “precious metaphor” of
the God who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies. The root of shad
(shadah), in Semitic usage, is to moisten. This meaning is not the
preferred one in the context of which ’El Shaddai appears; nor is
shed (demon), which some scholars have sought to use because it
appears in Deuteronomy 32:17 and Psalm 106:37-note speaking of Israel’s
idolatry. In addition to the fact that shed is spelled
differently, the connection between the concept of demon and God as
all-powerful is difficult to establish. More acceptable is the suggestion
that Shaddai is a composite term of sha (“the one who”) and
dai (“is sufficient”). The later Greek versions have adopted
this meaning. The most preferred explanation is that Shaddai is derived
from the verb shadad (“to overpower, to deal violently, or
to devastate”). A clear connection between shadad and
Shaddai is said to be found in Isaiah 13:6 and Joel 1:15. God as ’El
Shaddai is presented as the all-powerful One, totally self-sufficient,
absolute ruler, and the One who can and does make final disposition. The
Septuagint has adapted this meaning; it translates ’El Shaddai as
Pantokrator, the “All-Ruler” or “Sovereign One.”
W. A., & Comfort, P. W. Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale
BDAG writes that "God's name is
almost equivalent to God's being" which emphasizes how important it is
that we understand the meaning of His names as best we can.
from pás = all +
strength or might, especially
manifested power, the power to rule or control) is literally the ruler
over all or the One Who controls all things and Who has power over
everything. The One in total control! Pantokrator thus describes God’s
sovereign, omnipotent, irresistible power.
Note that Vine gives the derivation of
pantokrator as from pas = all + krateo = to hold or to have strength.
Tony Garland writes that "The Almighty" [ho
pantokrator] is derived from ho panton kraton which means the
One Who holds all. (Re 1:8-note) Krateo
which means to hold or cling to is derived from
and gives the picture of being in the
grip of Him in Whose hand are all things. God is the Almighty One, the One
Who has His hand in everything and on everything! If believers are in the
hands of a God like that (and they are), nothing can pluck them away.
Dear saint, perhaps you need to
ponder and assimilate this truth about God, the Almighty, the Pantokrator,
in Whose hands you are eternally sustained and secure.
My times are in thy hand:
I’ll always trust in thee;
And, after death, at thy right hand
I shall for ever be.
As discussed below pantokrator is used
most often to translate "of hosts" in "LORD of hosts" (Jehovah Sabaoth),
but it used frequently in Job to translate the Almighty (Shadday).
Pantokrator is used only of God,
indicating that He is omnipotent (omni = all), universally sovereign. The
Ruler of all things. The All-Powerful. The Omnipotent (One). Pantokrator
is He Who holds sway over all things and the Ruler of all. It speaks of
His supremacy over all things.
In light of the fact that 9/10 NT uses
of Pantokrator are in The Revelation, clearly Pantokrator is the characteristic title for God in the
book which records the consummation of God's victory over sin and
the evil one Satan and His awesome control over all the universe and all
history. In this final chapter of God's plan of the ages, God brings to
consummation His initial covenant promises
made and affirmed to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as He revealed Himself to
them as El Shaddai some 4000+ years earlier in the book of beginnings, Genesis
(see Genesis 17:1; 28:3; 35:9; 48:3; Ex 6:3).
Although, El Shaddai is not translated (in the
with Pantokrator in these 6 uses in Genesis or in Exodus 6:3, it is
nevertheless notable that the
Name El Shaddai by which God first revealed Himself to the patriarchs is
related to the same
Name, Pantokrator, by which He brings to final fulfillment the covenant promises
made to the patriarchs! God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. The
Names El Shaddai and Pantokrator undergird the assurance every believer
should have that He is able to fulfill every one of His promises, so that
"not one word of all the good words which Jehovah spoke has failed" (Joshua
Richards adds that...
Pantokrator signifies the
unmatched greatness of God, who has power over all humankind and every
competing authority (Ep 1:19, 20, 21-see notes
Occurrences of this word predominate (9 of the 10 uses) in Revelation.
There they pick up the OT theme of God's final, decisive intervention in
history, when He acts to destroy this world's kingdoms and to establish
His own (Ed note: Thus fulfilling His covenant promises to the
the patriarchs and the Nation of Israel, which is not the
church but the actual nation that will be composed of 100% believing Jews
at the return of the Messiah, when as Paul states "all Israel will be
saved" - see note
As the Almighty, God makes promises to people and commits his own power to
see these promises carried out. This God is ever-present, hovering over
history and free to act within it, even though his authority may be
unacknowledged by those who do his will. Ultimately, he will undertake a
great, final intervention. Then every competing power will be visibly
crushed, and God's hidden authority will be overwhelmingly visible. When
this happens, the irresistible power that makes God almighty will be known
and acknowledged by all (cf. Php 2:9, 10, 11-notes
Re 19:6-note). (Richards,
L O: Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Regency)
As noted below, the
adopts pantokrator for two Hebrew descriptions of God, Sabaoth (hosts) and
NIDNTT writes that...
It is also striking that the
renders the divine Shadday not
only by pantokrator, the Almighty, but also, quite often, by ho
hikanos. (Ed note: "the Sufficient
One")...The Hebrew consonants were divided into two groups, vocalized to
make the relative se and day, and then read as
follows: Yahweh, “Who is sufficient (of Himself)”, the
Almighty (Ruth 1:20, 21-note; Job 21:15; 31:2; 40:2; Ezek. 1:24). As Shadday,
Yahweh has not to conform to some external standard or to some ideal (this
would have been the same as the Greek concept of moira, fate, to whom even
the gods were subject); rather He Himself sets the standard for Himself
and hence also for His creation. (Brown,
Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986.
There are far more uses (142) of
pantokrator in the
(2Sa 5:10; 7:8, 25,
27; 1 Ki. 19:10, 14; 1Chr. 11:9; 17:7, 24; 29:12; Job 5:17; 8:5; 11:7;
15:25; 22:17, 25; 23:16; 27:2, 11, 13; 32:8; 33:4; 34:10, 12; 35:13;
37:22; Je 3:19; 5:14; 15:16; 23:16; 25:27; 31:35; 32:14, 18; 33:11;
44:7; 49:18; 50:34; 51:5, 57; Hos. 12:5; Amos 3:13; 4:13; 5:8, 14, 15, 16, 27;
9:5f, 15; Mic 4:4; Nah. 2:13; 3:5; Hab. 2:13; Zeph 2:10; Hag. 1:2, 5, 7,
9, 14; 2:4, 6, 7, 8, 11, 23; Zec 1:3, 4, 6, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17; 2:8, 9, 11; 3:7, 9,
9; 5:4; 6:12, 15; 7:3, 9, 12, 13; 8:1, 2, 3, 6f, 9, 11, 14, 17, 18, 19; 9:14,
11:4; 12:4, 5; 13:7; 14:16, 17, 20, 21; Mal. 1:4, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14; 2:2, 4, 7,
8, 12, 16;
3:1, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17; 4:1, 3) and the first use translates the last
part of the name "the LORD of hosts" (see study
Jehovah Sabaoth, LORD of hosts or of
armies) as for
example "Lord (kurios) Almighty (pantokrator)" in 2Sa
5:10. Pantokrator is used far more often to translate "of hosts"
06635) (in "LORD of hosts")
Job 5:17 "Behold, how happy
(blessed - Lxx =
makarios [word study]) is the man whom God
reproves (Lxx =
elegcho), so do not despise the
discipline of the Almighty. (Hebrew = Shadday; Lxx = Pantokrator)
Jeremiah 15:16 (This author's
life verse) Thy words were found and I ate them, and Thy words became for
me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Thy name,
O LORD God of hosts (Lxx = pantokrator > "O Lord Almighty").
Pantokrator is used 10 times in
2 Corinthians 6:18 "And I will
be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me," Says the
Revelation 1:8 (note) "I am
the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who
is to come, the Almighty." (Comment: Tony Garland writes
that "The Almighty" [ho pantokrator] is derived from ho panton kraton
which means the One Who holds all and is a reference to God's sovereignty
and might as well as His command of powerful forces.)
Revelation 4:8 (note) And
the four living creatures, each one of them having six wings, are full of
eyes around and within; and day and night they do not cease to say, "Holy,
holy, holy, is the LORD God, the Almighty, who was and who is and
who is to come."
Revelation 11:17 (note)
saying, "We give Thee thanks, O Lord God, the Almighty, who art and
who wast, because Thou hast taken Thy great power and hast begun to reign.
Revelation 15:3 (note) And
they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the
Lamb, saying, "Great and marvelous are Thy works, O Lord God, the
Almighty; Righteous and true are Thy ways, Thou King of the nations.
Revelation 16:7 (note) And
I heard the altar saying, "Yes, O Lord God, the Almighty, true and
righteous are Thy judgments."
Revelation 16:14 (note) for
they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of
the whole world, to gather them together for the war of the great day of
God, the Almighty.
Revelation 19:6 (note) And
I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude and as the sound of
many waters and as the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying,
"Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns.
Revelation 19:15 (note) And
from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the
nations; and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine
press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
Revelation 21:22 (note) And
I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the
Lamb, are its temple.
ENGLISH TRANSLATIONS OF
HEBREW AND GREEK
translation from Hebrew...
Genesis 17:1 Now when Abram
("exalted father") was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram
and said to him, "I am God Almighty; Walk before Me, and be blameless.
"I will establish My covenant between
Me and you, And I will multiply you exceedingly."
does not directly
translate Shaddai in this passage rendering it in Brenton's English
And Abram was ninety-nine years old,
and the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, I am thy God, be
well-pleasing (euaresteo = acting in a manner that is pleasing) before
me, and be blameless (see word study
= irreproachable, faultless,
without defect or blemish and thus describes not being able to find fault
in someone - used by Paul - see notes
where the same charge is given
to NT believers - who also have El Shaddai as the One Who empowers
them to fulfill such a lofty calling!)
ON GENESIS 17:1
Clarke comments on El Shaddai
in Genesis 17:1
writing that it means...
I am the Almighty God - I am
from shadah, to shed, to pour out. I am that God Who pours out
blessings, who gives them richly, abundantly, continually.
Walk before Me - set thyself to
walk-be firmly purposed, thoroughly determined to obey, before Me; for My
eye is ever on thee, therefore ever consider that God seeth thee.
Who can imagine a stronger
incitement to conscientious, persevering obedience?
Be thou perfect - and thou shalt
be perfections, i.e., all together perfect. Be just such as the holy God
would have thee to be, as the Almighty God can make thee and live
as the all-sufficient God shall support thee; for He alone who
makes the soul holy can preserve it in holiness. Our blessed Lord appears
to have had these words pointedly in view, (Mt 5:48-note):
Ye SHALL BE perfect, as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.
John Gill commenting on El
Shaddai in Genesis 17:1 writes that...
as the Word of God is, as appears by
his creation of all things, his in sustaining of them, his government of
the church, his redemption of it, and preservation of his people safe to
glory, see (see note
Revelation 1:8) ; and this epithet
is very appropriate here, when the Lord was about to give out a promise of
a son to Abram and Sarai, so much stricken in years. Some render it "all
sufficient", as Jehovah is, sufficient in and of Himself, and for
Himself, and stands in no need of any, or of anything from another; and
has a sufficiency for others, both in a way of providence and
walk before me - not as though
Abram had not so walked, or had discontinued his walk before God, but that
he would go on to walk by faith in a dependence on Him for
everything he wanted, both with respect to things temporal and
spiritual; and to walk in all His commandments and ordinances, that He
either had given, or should give him; and all this as in His presence, and
under His watchful eye, that sees and observes all things, and before Whom
all things are naked and open, as all are to the essential Word of God,
(He 4:12, 13-See notes
and be thou perfect upright and
sincere in acts of faith, and in duties of religion, and go on to
perfection; which though a sinless one is not attainable in this life, is
desirable, and is to be had in Christ, though not in ourselves: but here
it chiefly denotes an holy and unblamable life and conversation, which
though not entirely free from sin, yet without any notorious ones, which
bring dishonour to God, and disgrace upon a man's character and
profession, see (Genesis 6:9) . This respects not perfection in his body or flesh, as
the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it, through circumcision, by which the
Jews fancy Abram became perfect, but was not till circumcised.
Mackintosh comments that in
we have God's remedy for Abraham's
failure set before us... This is a most comprehensive verse. It is very
evident that Abraham had not been walking before the Almighty God when he
adopted Sarah's expedient in reference to Hagar. It is faith alone that
can enable a man to walk up and down before an Almighty One. Unbelief will
ever be thrusting in something of self, something of circumstances, second
causes, and the like, and thus the soul is robbed of the joy and hence,
the calm elevation, and holy independence, which flow from leaning upon
the arm of One who can do everything. I believe we deeply need to ponder
this. God is not such an abiding reality to our souls as He ought to be,
or as He would be, were we walking in more simple faith and dependence...
"Walk before me."
This is true power. To walk thus, implies our having nothing whatever
before our hearts save God Himself. If I am founding my expectation upon
men and things, I am not walking before God, but before men and things. It
is of the utmost importance to ascertain who or what I have before me as
an object. To what am I looking? On whom or what am I leaning, at this
moment? Does God entirely fill my future? Have men or circumstances ought
to do therein? Is there any space allotted to the creature? The only way
in which to get above the world is to walk by faith, because faith so
completely fills the scene with God, that there is no room for the
creature, no room for the world. If God fills up my entire range of
vision, I can see nothing else; and then I am able to say with the
My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from
Him. He only is my Rock and my Salvation: He is my Defence, I shall
not be moved. (Ps 62:5, 6-note)
This word "only" is deeply searching. Nature cannot
say this. Not that it will, save when under the direct influence of a
daring and blasphemous skepticism, formally shut out God altogether; but
it, assuredly, Cannot say, "He only."
Now, it is well to see that, as in the
matter of salvation, so in all the details of actual life, from day to
day, God will not share His glory with the creature. From first to last,
it must be "He only;" and this, too, in reality. It will not do to
have the language of dependence upon God on our lips, while our hearts are
really leaning on some creature resource. God will make all this fully
manifest; He will test the heart; He will put faith into the furnace. "Walk
before me, and be thou perfect." Thus it is we reach the proper point.
When the soul is enabled, by grace, to get rid of all its fondly-cherished
creature expectations, then, and only then, it is prepared to let God act;
and when He acts all must be well. He will not leave anything undone. He
will perfectly settle everything on behalf of those who simply put their
trust in Him. When unerring wisdom, omnipotent power, and infinite love
combine, the confiding heart may enjoy unruffled repose. Unless we can
find some circumstance too big or too little for "the Almighty God"
(El Shaddai), we have no proper base on which to found a single anxious
thought. This is an amazing truth, and one eminently calculated to put all
who believe it into the blessed position in which we find Abraham in this
chapter. When God had, in effect, said to him,
"leave all to me and I will settle it
for you, beyond your utmost desires and expectations; the seed and the
inheritance, and everything pertaining thereto, will be fully and
everlastingly settled, according to the covenant of the Almighty God"
— then "Abram fell on his face."
Truly blessed attitude! the only proper one for a thoroughly empty,
feeble, and unprofitable sinner, to occupy in the presence of the living
God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the possessor of all things, the
Almighty God, El Shaddai! (C
H Mackintosh. Writings on the Pentateuch)
Warren Wiersbe comments on El
Shaddai in Genesis 17 noting that...
“El” is the name of God that
speaks of power; but what does “Shaddai” mean? Scholars do not
agree. Some say it comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to be strong”; others
prefer a word meaning “mountain” (Ed note: sadu) or “breast (shad).”
Metaphorically, a mountain is a “breast” that rises up from the plain; and
certainly a mountain is a symbol of strength. If we combine these several
ideas, we might say that “El Shaddai” is the name of “the
all-powerful and all-sufficient God who can do anything and meet any
But why would God reveal this name to
Abraham at this time, at the close of thirteen years of silence? Because
God was going to tell His friend that Sarah would have a son. The Lord
wanted Abraham to know that He is the God who is all-sufficient and
all-powerful, and that nothing is too hard for Him. God says “I will”
twelve times in Genesis 17 (Ge 17:2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 16, 19, 20, 21); He is about to do the miraculous.
After Abraham’s battle with the four
kings, God came to him as a warrior and told him He was his “shield.” When
Abraham wondered about his refusal of Sodom’s wealth, God told him He was
his “exceedingly great reward” (Ge 15:1). Now when Abraham and Sarah were
“as good as dead,” God assured them that He was more than sufficient to
bring about the miracle birth. God comes to us in the ways we need Him
most. (Wiersbe, W. W. Be Obedient. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books)
Dave Guzik who has written an
excellent more modern (yet still conservative) commentary has these
thoughts on Genesis 17:1...
Undoubtedly, this is another appearance
of God in the person of Jesus, who took on a temporary human appearance
before His incarnation on earth.
First, God tells Abram whom He is: I am Almighty God. By this name
El Shaddai, He reveals His Person and character to Abram. However, there
is some debate as to what exactly the name El Shaddai means.
Kidner: A traditional analysis
of the name is 'God (el) who (sa) is sufficient (day).
Clarke: El Shaddai, I am God all-sufficient; from shadah, to shed,
to pour out. I am that God who pours out blessings, who gives them richly,
Barnhouse: the Hebrew word shad means "chest" or "breast." It may
have in mind the strength of a man's chest (God Almighty) or the comfort
and nourishment of a woman's breast (God of Tender Care).
Leupold: Shaddai comes from the root shadad, which means "to
We do know the
translates the word with the
pantokrator "Almighty," the "One who has His hand on everything."
Then God tells Abram what is expected of him: walk before Me and be
blameless. We can only do what God expects of us when we know Who He
is and know it in a full, personal, real way. The word blameless
literally means "whole." God wanted all of Abram, wanting a total
God also reminds Abram He has not forgotten about the covenant. Though it
had been some 25 years since the promise was first made, and though it may
have seemed to Abram God had forgotten, God didn't forget anything.
The last time we are told the Lord communicated with Abram directly was
more than 13 years before. Seemingly, Abram had 13 years of "normal"
fellowship with God, waiting for the promise all the time. Surely, at
times during those years, Abram felt God had forgotten. Abram was becoming
a great man of faith, but you don't make a great man of faith overnight.
It takes years of God's work in them, years of almost mundane trusting in
God, interspersed with a few spectacular encounters with the Lord.
Criswell explains that...
The etymology of Shaddai is
traditionally explained as "sufficient" or "self-sufficient." The Greek
translators rendered it by pantokrator, "Almighty." Another explanation is
that the term means "one of the mountain," perhaps connoting safety and
sufficiency. The "almightiness" of Yahweh gives assurance to Abram that
God will make of him a great nation.
W A. Believer's Study Bible: New King James Version. 1991. Thomas Nelson)
Charles Ryrie feels that...
Shaddai is derived from a related word
that means "mountain," thus picturing God as the overpowering, almighty
One, standing on a mountain. (The
Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody
C I Scofield writes that...
Shaddai is the name of God
characteristically used by the patriarchs prior to the giving of the law
at Sinai... The name
largely replaces it from
Exodus 6 onward, where attention is centered more particularly on Israel
as God's covenant people.
El Shaddai is the name of God
which sets Him forth primarily as the strengthener and satisfier
of His people. It is to be regretted that Shaddai was translated
"Almighty." The primary name, El or
sufficiently signifies almightiness. "All-sufficient" would far
better express the characteristic use of the name in Scripture.
God Almighty El Shaddai
not only enriches but makes fruitful. This is nowhere better illustrated
than in the first occurrence of the name (Ge 17:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8). To a man
ninety-nine years of age, and "as good as dead" (He 11:12-note),
He said: "I am God Almighty (El Shaddai)...I will confirm my covenant
between me and you and will greatly increase your numbers." The same thing
is taught by the use of the name in Ge 28:3, 4.
As bestower of fruitfulness, God
Almighty (El Shaddai) chastens His people. For the moral connection of
chastening with fruit-bearing, see John 15:2; cp. Ru 1:20, 21(note);
Hence, Almighty is the characteristic name of God in Job. The hand
of Shaddai falls upon Job, the best man of his time, not in
judgment but in purifying unto greater fruitfulness (Job
5:17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25). (Ed note: See Job 42:5, 6 where Job describes a greater
vision of God as a result of the manifold trials)
Jameison, Fausset and Brown
Abram . . . ninety years old and
nine--thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael [Ge
16:16]. During that interval
he had enjoyed the comforts of communion with God but had been favored
with no special revelation as formerly, probably on account of his hasty
and blameable marriage with Hagar.
the Lord appeared--some visible
manifestation of the divine presence, probably the Shekinah (Shekinah)
or radiant glory of overpowering effulgence. (Ed note: I agree with
Guzik that God Himself appeared in a Theophany and more specifically a
Christophany - see related study
Angel of the LORD)
I am the Almighty God--the name
by which He made Himself known to the patriarchs (Ex 6:3), designed to
convey the sense of "all-sufficient" (Ps 16:5, 6-note;
walk . . . and . . . perfect--upright,
or sincere (Ps 51:6-note) in heart,
speech, and behavior.
Genesis 17:3. Abram fell on
his face -- the attitude of profoundest reverence assumed by Eastern
people. It consists in the prostrate body resting on the hands and knees,
with the face bent till the forehead touches the ground. It is an
expression of conscious humility and profound reverence.
Genesis 17:4 my
is with thee --
Renewed mention is made of it as the foundation of the communication that
follows. It is the covenant of grace made with all who believe in the
Genesis 17:5 but thy name shall be Abraham -- In Eastern
countries a change of name is an advertisement of some new circumstance in
the history, rank, or religion of the individual who bears it. The change
is made variously, by the old name being entirely dropped for the new, or
by conjoining the new with the old; or sometimes only a few letters are
inserted, so that the altered form may express the difference in the
owner's state or prospects. It is surprising how soon a new name is known
and its import spread through the country. In dealing with Abraham and
Sarai, God was pleased to adapt His procedure to the ideas and customs of
the country and age. Instead of Abram, "a high father," he was to be
called Abraham, "father of a multitude of nations" (Re 2:17-note).
Ed Note: See study of
as one of the aspects that
marked the cutting of covenant in the Old Testament and which spoke of the
oneness of covenant or the identification of the covenanting parties (see
note on name change).
We see this aspect of covenant illustrated in the
where the wife traditionally takes the name of her husband.
A B Simpson observes that...
Whenever God called men into a
closer relation or sent them on some higher commission, the call was
always accompanied with some marked revelation of Himself.
We find Him coming to Abraham at the crisis of his life as El-Shaddai and
then commanding Abraham to rise to a higher place in conformity to the new
revelation that He had given.
"I am El-Shaddai," He says, "walk before me,
and be perfect (or upright)."
I am the Almighty, the Absolute, the
Infinite, the All-sufficient God. Now live up to the vision you have had,
the revelation I have given. Stand straight up to the standard God has
given. Live as if you had a God that is all-sufficient.
You have not been living thus. You have not been walking before Me. You
have been walking before Sara, before Hagar, before circumstances, before
your difficulties and limitations and infirmities. Now lift your vision
above all these, look at Me alone and see in Me the God who is enough, and
stand upright in uncompromising faith. And so henceforth Abraham
"staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in
faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had
promised, he was able also to perform."
The secret of Abraham's faith was his realization of the supernatural God.
And so in describing him in the fourth chapter of Romans the apostle says
that he measured up to God, "before him whom he believed, even God, who
quickens the dead, and calls the things which be not as though they were."
(A. B. Simpson. Present Truths or the Supernatural)
Matthew Henry comments on
El Shaddai noting that...
By this name he chose to make himself
known to Abram rather than by his name
He used it to Jacob, Genesis 28:3,43:14,48:3. It is the name of God that
is mostly used throughout the book of Job, at least in the discourses of
that book. After Moses,
is more frequently used, and this, El-Shaddai, very rarely; it
bespeaks the almighty power of God, either, (1.) As an avenger, from
sdh He laid waste, so some; and they think God took this title
from the destruction of the old world. This is countenanced by Isaiah
13:6, and Joel 1:15.
Or (2.) As a benefactor s
for asr = who, and dy = sufficient. He is a
God that is enough; or, as our old English translation reads it here very
significantly, I am God All-Sufficient. Note, The God with Whom we
have to do is a God that is enough. [1.] He is enough in Himself; He is
Self-sufficient; He has every thing, and He needs not any thing. [2.] He
is enough to us, if we be in covenant with Him: we have all in Him, and we
have enough in Him, enough to satisfy our most enlarged desires, enough to
supply the defect of every thing else, and to secure to us a happiness for
our immortal souls
Thomas Brooks commenting on
Genesis 17:1 writes that...
As God is an immense portion, a large
portion, so God is an ALL-SUFFICIENT portion... or as some carry the words
"I am God all-sufficient, or self-sufficient." God has self-sufficiency
and all-sufficiency in Himself. Some derive the word Shaddai, that is here
rendered Almighty or All-sufficient, because God feeds His children with
sufficiency of all good things, as the tender mother does the sucking
child. (Thomas Brooks. An Ark for All God's Noahs in a Gloomy Stormy Day)
EL SHADDAI APPEARED
TO ABRAHAM, ISAAC AND JACOB
and I appeared to
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty (El
but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them.
The name Yahweh (Jehovah, LORD) was
known to Abraham even before the Name El Shaddai, as we note in such
passages as Genesis 12:8, 13:4, 15:7 (and to Jacob in Ge 38:13). Clearly
in Exodus 6 Jehovah does not introduce a new Name but a new revelation of
that holy Name. Remember that the OT (as in the NT), the Names of God were
a revelation of some aspect of His character and/or attributes. As noted
earlier, BDAG writes that "God's name is almost equivalent to God's
being". And so in Exodus 6 we see Jehovah reveals His character as the
Covenant keeping God, faithful to keep His promises and faithful to redeem
Israel from bondage. In other words, God would make Himself known to
Israel in actions by which He had not revealed Himself to the patriarchs
and which they knew only as promises of the covenant.
If we remember that God's character is
infinite, it is not at all surprising that the generation patriarchs might
not "know" God in the same way that a later generation could know Him as
He chose to reveal Himself to Israel in Moses' day.
The Jewish rabbi Rashi explains that
this the text means
“I did not make Myself known, I did not
allow My real character to be recognized.“
Others feel that the last clause could
be viewed as a rhetorical question which is permissible in the Hebrew and
which would read "by my name JEHOVAH was I not (also) known to them?"
Given the fact that God's Names are a revelation of His character, I favor
the former explanation.
Richards agrees writing that...
While the four–letter name YHWH appears
in Genesis, its true significance was only revealed in the acts of power
by which God intervened in Egypt to free Israel. From this time on, God’s
people will know not only what God’s name is, but what that name means!
(The Bible Readers Companion)
The liberals and "higher" critics go so
far as to say this verse indicates an error in Scripture which should be
totally discounted as an errant comment! (See also related note on Exodus 6:3)
J. A. Motyer argues for the
And I showed myself to Abraham, to
Isaac, and to Jacob in the character of El Shaddai, but in the
character expressed by my name Yahweh I did not make myself known to
them. (Bolding added)
Mackay explains that the
statement that God did not make Himself known to the patriarchs by the
Name Jehovah needs...
to be interpreted in the light of the
significance of the word name, as that which summed up the
character of an individual (see John 17:6NIV and the NIV translators’ note
there). In the Exodus experience God was giving content to what had been
merely a sound before — much closer to the Western use of a name. The NIV
footnote presents an alternative translation, “and by My Name the Lord
did I not let myself be known to them?” This would be a rhetorical
question asked for effect, asserting that the full significance of the
name Lord had been revealed to the patriarchs. While this explains the
record of the use of Yahweh in Genesis, it does not seem to do justice to
the focus on the name in Exodus. Further, it is surprising (though not
grammatically impossible) that if the explanation of the clause turns on
its being a question, there is no explicit indicator of a question in the
original. It is also important to remember that in Exodus the word
‘know’ is frequently used not of receiving information for the first
time, but of experiencing for oneself the reality of the truth being
conveyed (see on verse 7 below). (Mackay, J. L. A Commentary on
Keil and Delitzsch add that
When the establishment of the covenant
commenced, as described in Genesis 15, with the institution of the
covenant sign of circumcision and the promise of the birth of Isaac,
Jehovah said to Abram, “I am El Shaddai, God Almighty,” and from that time
forward manifested Himself to Abram and his wife as the Almighty, in the
birth of Isaac, which took place apart altogether from the powers of
nature, and also in the preservation, guidance, and multiplication of his
It was in His attribute as El
Shaddai that God had revealed His nature to the patriarchs; but now He
was about to reveal Himself to Israel as Jehovah, as the absolute
Being working with unbounded freedom in the performance of His promises.
For not only had He established His covenant with the fathers (Ex 6:4),
but He had also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, and
remembered His covenant (Ex 6:5; not only—but also). The divine promise
not only commences in Ex 6:2, but concludes at Ex 6:8, with the emphatic
expression, “I Jehovah,” to show that the work of Israel’s
redemption resided in the power of the Name Jehovah. In Ex 6:4 the
covenant promises of Ge 17:7, 8; 26:3; 35:11, 12, are all brought together
and in Ex 6:5 we have a repetition of Ex 2:24, with the emphatically
repeated "I". On the ground of the erection of His covenant on the one
hand, and, what was irreconcilable with that covenant, the bondage of
Israel on the other, Jehovah was not about to redeem Israel from
its sufferings and make it His own nation.
This assurance, which God would
carry out by the manifestation of His nature as expressed in the name
Jehovah, contained three distinct elements:
(a) the deliverance of Israel from the
bondage of Egypt, which, because so utterly different from all outward
appearances, is described in three parallel clauses: bringing them out
from under the burdens of the Egyptians; saving them from their bondage;
and redeeming them with a stretched-out arm and with great judgments;
(b) the adoption of Israel as the
nation of God;
(c) the guidance of Israel into the
land promised to the fathers (Ex 6:6-8). a stretched-out arm, is
most appropriately connected with great judgments; for God raises,
stretches out His arm, when He proceeds in judgment to smite the
rebellious. These expressions repeat with greater emphasis the “strong
hand” of Ex 6:1, and are frequently connected with it in the rhetorical
language of Deuteronomy (e.g., Deut. 4:34; 5:15; 7:19). The “great
judgments” were the plagues, the judgments of God, by which Pharaoh was to
be compelled to let Israel go. (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F.. Commentary
on the Old Testament 1:303-304).
Spurgeon on the importance of
the Names of God...
There is something in every Name of God
which may breed faith in our souls. Whether we know him as Jehovah,
Elohim, Shaddai, or Lord, or by whatsoever other name he has been pleased
to manifest himself, that title becomes the ground of our confidence, and
is the means of fostering faith in his people’s minds, when they come to
understand its meaning. To a trembling people the Lord enlarges on his
wonderful names. I think he also does it to excite our wonder and our
gratitude. He that loves us so much is Jehovah: he that can create and
destroy; he that is the self-existent God; he, even he, has set his heart
upon his people, and loves them and counts them precious in his sight. It
is a marvellous thing. The more one thinks of it, the more shall he be
overwhelmed with astonishment, that he who is everything should love us
who are less than nothing. It is the Holy One who has deigned to choose,
and to love unholy men, and to look upon them in grace, and save them from
their sins. That you may bow low in loving gratitude, God lets you see who
he is. That you may see how great a stoop of condescension he has made,
when he loves his unworthy people, and takes them into union with himself,
you are made to see how great and glorious is the diving name. (See
Spurgeon's full sermon "Jehovah's Valuation of His People" - Pdf)
Spurgeon in Your Available
Power alludes to El Shaddai writing that...
There are a few things that I would
have you remember, and then I will be done. Remember that the Holy Spirit
has His ways and methods, and there are some things that He will not do.
Remember that He makes no promise to bless compromises. If we make a
treaty with error or sin, we do it at our own risk. If we do anything that
we are not clear about, if we tamper with truth or holiness, if we are
friends of the world, if we make provision for the flesh, if we preach
halfheartedly and are allied with those in error, we have no promise that
the Holy Spirit will go with us.
The great promise runs in quite another strain:
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord,
and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a
Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord
Almighty (pantokrator).(2Co 6:17, 18)
Only in that one place in the New
Testament, with the exception of the book of Revelation, is God called by
the name of "the Lord God Almighty." If you want to know what great things
the Lord can do as the Lord God Almighty, be separate from the world and
from those who apostatize from the truth.
"El-Shaddai," God all-sufficient, the God who nurtures and provides. We
will never know the utmost power of God for supplying all our needs until
we have cut connection once for all with everything that is not according
to His mind. It was grand of Abraham when he said to the king of Sodom, "I
will not take from you"—a Babylonian garment or a wedge of gold? No, no. He said, "I will not
take from a thread even to a shoelatchet” (Ge 14:23). That was a
clear-cut separation. The man of God will have nothing to do with Sodom or
with false doctrine. If you see anything that is evil, cut yourself off
from it. Be done with those who are done with truth. Then you will be
prepared to receive the promise, and not until then. (Spurgeon, C. H. Your Available Power)
A B Simpson writes...
Beloved, have we learned, as we bow
the knee in prayer, that we are talking with Him Who still says to us as
to Abraham, "I am El Shaddai; the Almighty God"; to Jeremiah, "I am the
Lord, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?"; to
Isaiah, "Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting
God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither
is weary? there is no searching of his understanding." (A. B.
Simpson. The Life of Prayer)
Lewis Sperry Chafer writes
In the Old Testament the title
Almighty God (El Shaddai) conveys the truth that God sustains His people.
The term indicates more than that God is a God of strength. That He is;
but the title includes the impartation of His strength as a child draws
succor from the mother’s breast. The word shad as combined in El Shaddai,
means breast, and supports the conceptions of a mother’s nourishment
imparted to her child. (Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 94, 1937)
The first object seen on entering a
Jewish home is the mezuzah (see
Wikipedia article) on the door-post. It is a case of metal or wood
or plastic with a parchment scroll containing the passage in Deuteronomy
6:4 with others verses in that context. The name Shaddai (Almighty) is
written on the case. Orthodox Jews on entering and leaving the home put
their fingers on the mezuzah (Hebrew = door-post) and then touch their
lips. Among the several ceremonial objects of the home are the Talith
(based on Deut 22:12) and the Tefillin (from Ex 13:9, 16). We know these
were in use in the time of our Lord, for He refers to them specifically in
speaking of the Pharisees in Matthew 23:5. (Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 111:128)
As an aside, the Hebrew word
Shaddai is also written on some of the Jewish prayer paraphernalia as
described in the Encyclopedia of Judaism excerpt...
The man puts on the tallit (prayer
shawl) and tefillin (phylacteries) while reciting the blessings for each.
Every pious male obtains and maintains these prized and essential objects
of piety in accord with the prescriptions of the rabbis and scribes. He
wears these objects to show compliance with the prescriptions of the
verses of the Torah recited in the shema (Deut. 6:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11:13,
14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 and
especially Nu 15:37, 39, 39, 40, 41). Each knot on the four fringes of the prayer shawl
is tied in accordance with age-old tradition. The phylacteries are crafted
of select leather, made into cubical containers to hold the small
parchments of biblical paragraphs written by trained scribes. The
head-tefillin has to rest on the worshipper’s forehead between the eyes,
neither too high on the head, nor too low on the face. The leather strap
that holds it in place is tied in accordance with known custom. The wearer
understands that the knot of leather that sits at the base of his skull is
a representation of the letter yod, the third letter of
Shaddai, one of the divine names. On the leather box of the
arm-tefillin is inscribed the letter shin. (Ed note: the
fist letter of "Shaddai") The wearer knows that the knot that holds it
fast on his left biceps—opposite his heart—is a form of the letter
dalet. (Ed note: Transliterated as "d", the last letter in the
Hebrew name Shaddai, since Hebrew has no vowels) Thus as he recites the
prescribed prayers, the Jew is bound head and heart to God, Shaddai.
He wears these appurtenances each weekday from the time he reaches
thirteen, the age of maturity, now commonly called the age of Bar
The name of God is used in different
permutations on amulets (Ed note: charm often inscribed with a magic
incantation or symbol to protect the wearer against evil!), often just
Shaddai (the Almighty) is found.
Spurgeon has this comment on
the sufficiency of Shaddai...
Another translator reads the
passage, “In me thy fruit is enough.” Whatever may be the accuracy of
the translation, the sentiment itself is most correct. In God there is
enough for all his people; and well there may be, since in him there is
infinity. “I have enough, my brother,” said Esau when he met Jacob: “I
have all things,” said Jacob in reply. None but the believer can say, “I
have all things;” and therefore only he can be sure of having enough.
Ishmael had his bottle of water, and went away into the wilderness; but it
is written, that Isaac abode by the well: how happy is the soul which hath
learned how to live by the well of his faithful God for...
The water will be
spent in the bottle,
but the water will never be spent in the well.
Christian, remember the
All Sufficiency of thy God! Let that ancient name,
“El Shaddai”-God All-Sufficient, sound like music in thine ear-as some
translate it, “The many-breasted God,” yielding from Himself the
sustenance of all His creatures.
Spurgeon, C. H.
><> ><> ><>
EL SHADDAI'S SUFFICIENCY
Ruth 1:20 (note)
And she (Naomi) said to them (Ruth and Ophrah), "Do not call me Naomi, call me
Mara (Bitter), for the
Almighty (Hebrew = Shaddai;
LXX = sufficient) has dealt very
bitterly with me.
I went out full, but
has brought me
back empty. Why do you call me Naomi, since
has witnessed against me and the
Almighty (Hebrew = Shaddai;
= sufficient) has afflicted me?" (See similar use of Shaddai by Job
in Job 27:2)
In Ruth 1:20-21 Shaddai
is translated (in both verses) in the
by the Greek phrase "ho
hikanos", which could be rendered in English as r "the Sufficient
One". The Greek word
hikanos (see word study) means
sizeable, considerable, competent, ample,
adequate, enough, large enough or
Now take one or more of those meanings
of hikanos and "plug them back
into" the Name of Naomi's God - "The ________ One"!
Naomi is saying in
essence my God is...
"the (One Who is large) Enough"
"the Adequate One"
It is as if by using Shaddai
(little used outside of Genesis and Job), Naomi is expressing
trust in Him
even in the midst of her pain. Take those meanings and plug them into the
Name of God in Ruth 1:20-21. Naomi is saying my God is "the Sufficient
(One)", "the (One Who is large) Enough", "the
Adequate One", etc. Would it be that we could all see God as ample,
adequate, competent, large enough, sufficient, etc when we are
experiencing adversity or in the throes of bitterness.
Open our eyes LORD to see Thee as Who
Thou truly art -- "Large Enough" for any and every trial and affliction we
will ever encounter.
Elsewhere (primarily in Job) the Septuagint translates Shaddai with the Greek
all + kratos = strength, dominion) meaning Ruler over all,
Omnipotent or Almighty.
One explanation of the derivation of Shaddai
is that the term means "one of the mountain" a picture that might convey
the picture of safety and sufficiency. Rabbinic analysis (Babylonian
Talmud) holds that Shaddai is composed of the she ="Who" +
day ="enough" and so literally "she-day" means the "One Who
is Sufficient", which would be consistent with how the Septuagint
translates "Shaddai" in the Ruth 1:20, 21.
The Evangelical Commentary of the
Bible observes that the book of Ruth...
The book is striking for the way in
which the principal characters exhibit an abiding faith in the Lord of
Israel’s covenant. They know that he is alive (Ru 3:13-note), and although they
might be oppressed by various eventualities in life, they trust him to
turn adversity into blessing. The name generally used in Ruth for God is
Yahweh, which had been revealed formally to Israel at the time of the
exodus, and characterized the almighty covenant God who promised to bless
his chosen people as long as they honored him alone as their true and
living God. At a time when her faith was enduring considerable stress,
Naomi used the less personal name Shaddai, “Almighty” (Ru 1:20, 21),
though even here she names Israel’s covenant deity as the One Who had
directed her life. (Elwell, W. A. Evangelical Commentary on the
Bible. Baker Book House)
It is not surprising that the majority
of OT uses of Shaddai are in Job (31/48 uses)! One observation from
Job and Ruth 1:20,21 is that Suffering and Shaddai
are seen together. Perhaps when we are in the darkness then we can see
clearly His Sufficiency and His Adequacy, for all our other earthly
resources have come to naught. It is certainly true that when we come to
the "end of our rope in Moab" and find that Jesus is all we have, we find
that Jesus is all we have ever needed and that He is Enough. Eliphaz
attempting to comfort for Job, reminded him of "how happy (blessed) is the
man whom God reproves (corrects, disciplines). So do not despise the
discipline of the Almighty (Shaddai)." (Job 5:17) The storms of
our life prove the strength of our anchor.
Naomi's use of Shaddai (only in
Ruth 1:20-21) is not by accident, for to know a specific Name of
God is to know His character and His attributes inherent in that Name. And
so surely Naomi knows Shaddai as the God with Whom we have to do,
Who allows suffering, but Who is also a God Who is "enough". He is
"enough" in Himself. He is self-sufficient. He has everything and He needs
nothing. He is "enough" to us if we are in covenant with Him for then we
have all in Him, and we have enough in Him, enough to satisfy our deepest
desires, enough to supply the defect of everything else in our life and
enough to secure to us happiness for our immortal souls. This is the God
with Whom Naomi was intimate.
Do you know God intimately as
Have you come to the point in your personal relationship with God that He
Is He sufficient to meet all your needs?
Can Shaddai be trusted to fulfill the promises of His Word?
What in your life looks impossible?
Have you surrendered it fully to the Lord?
Are you willing to wait upon Him to fulfill His promises?
He who dwells in the shelter (hiding place, secret place) of the Most High
(El Elyon) will abide in the shadow of Shaddai.
I will say to the LORD, "My refuge & my fortress. My God, in Whom I
Spurgeon comments on the
phrase "Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty"...
The Omnipotent Lord will shield all
those who dwell with Him, they shall remain under His care as guests under
the protection of their host. In the most holy place the wings of the
cherubim were the most conspicuous objects, and they probably suggested to
the psalmist the expression here employed. Those who commune with God are
safe with Him, no evil can reach them, for the outstretched wings of His
power and love cover them from all harm. This protection is constant --
they abide under it, and it is all sufficient, for it is the
shadow of the Almighty, Whose omnipotence will surely screen them from
all attack. No shelter can be imagined at all comparable to the protection
of Jehovah's own shadow. The Almighty Himself is where His shadow
is, and hence those who dwell in His secret place are shielded by Himself.
What a shade in the day of noxious heat! What a refuge in the hour of
deadly storm! Communion with God is safety. The more closely we cling to
our Almighty Father the more confident may we be.
Under the shadow of the Almighty.
This is an expression which implies great nearness. We must walk very
close to a companion, if we would have his shadow fall on us. Can we
imagine any expression more perfect in describing the constant presence of
God with His chosen ones, than this -- they shall "abide under His
shadow"? ... And it is he who chooses to dwell in the secret place of the
most High, who shall "abide under the shadow of the Almighty."
There is a condition and a promise attached to it. The condition is, that
we "dwell in the secret place," -- the promise, that if we do so we "shall
abide under the shadow." It is of importance to view it thus. For when we
remember the blessing is a promised blessing -- we are led to feel it is a
gift -- a thing therefore to be prayed for in faith, as well as sought for
by God's appointed means. Ah, the hopes that this awakens! My wandering,
wavering, unstable heart, that of itself cannot keep to one course two
days together is to seek its perseverance from God, and not in its own
strength. He will hold it to him if it be but seeking for stedfastness. It
is not we who cling to Him. It is He Who keeps near to us. - Mary B. M.
Warren Wiersbe commenting on
Psalm 91 asks...
I wonder what the safest place in the
world is. A bomb shelter? A bank vault? Perhaps a prison surrounded by an
army? According to Psalm 91, the safest place in the world is a shadow.
"He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the
shadow of the Almighty" (Psalm 91:1-note).
"He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take
refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler" (Psalm 91:4-note).
What does this mean? The psalmist refers to the Holy of Holies in the
tabernacle and the temple. In the Holy of Holies, two cherubim were over
the mercy seat, and their wings touched each other. "Under his wings"
means at the mercy seat, where the blood was sprinkled, there in the
presence of the glory of God. The Holy of Holies was God's throne. It was
the place of God's glory. In other words, the safest place in the world is
in fellowship with God--not just visiting the Holy Place, as the high
priest did once a year, but dwelling in the Holy Place. The psalmist is
urging, "Live in the Holy of Holies."
According to Hebrews 10:19, 20, 21, 22 (note), we have an open invitation to come right into the
presence of God and dwell in the secret place--under His wings, at the
mercy seat. This is where God meets with us, where His glory is revealed,
where He gives us His guidance and shows us His will. My shadow is not
much protection for anyone. But when it belongs to the Almighty, a shadow
is a strong protection. Live in the Holy of Holies, under the shadow of
God invites you to fellowship with
Him--to live in the Holy of Holies. What an invitation! You may come into
the safety of His presence and receive His mercy, guidance and protection.
Do you live under God's shadow? (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and
When the Almighty (Shaddai) scattered the kings there, It was snowing in Zalmon.
Spurgeon comments on the
Almighty writing that...
When the Almighty scattered
kings in it, it was white as snow in Salmon. The victory was due to the
Almighty arm alone; He scattered the haughty ones who came against His
people, and He did it as easily as snow is driven from the bleak sides of
Salmon. The word white appears to be imported into the text, and by
leaving it out the sense is easy.
A traveller informed the writer that on
a raw and gusty day, he saw the side of what he supposed to be Mount
Salmon suddenly swept bare by a gust of wind, so that the snow was driven
hither and thither into the air like the down of thistles, or the spray of
the sea: thus did the Omnipotent one scatter all the potentates that
defied Israel. ...Whatever may be the precise meaning, it was intended to
portray the glory and completeness of the divine triumph over the greatest
foes. In this let all believers rejoice.
C H SPURGEON
In his sermon
Consecration to God—Illustrated by
we read the following comments on Genesis 17:1, 2 by C H Spurgeon...
Recalling your minds to Abram’s history, let me remind you that thirteen
years had elapsed after the time in which God had said that Abram’s faith
was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6), and those thirteen
years, so far as we can gather from Scripture, were not at all so full of
brave faith and noble deeds as we might have expected them to have been.
THE "BEST OF MEN"
MEN AT THE BEST
How sure is the truth that the best
of men are but men at the best, for that very man who had
accepted God’s promise and had not staggered at it through unbelief,
within a few months afterwards, or perhaps a few days, was taken with a
fit of unbelief, and at the instigation of his wife, adopted means which
were not justifiable, in order that he might obtain the promised heir. He
used means which may not be so vicious to him, as they would be in men of
modern times, but which were suggested by an unbelieving policy, and were
fraught with evil. He takes Hagar to wife. He could not leave it to God to
give him the promised seed; he could not leave it with God to fulfill His
promise in His own time, but justifies himself in turning aside from the
narrow path of faith to accomplish by doubtful methods the end which God
Himself had promised and undertaken to accomplish.
How shorn of splendor is Abram seen
when we read of him,
“and Abram hearkened unto the voice of
Sarai!” (Genesis 16:2)
That business of Hagar is to the
patriarch's deep discredit, and reflects no honor at all upon either him
or his faith. Look at the consequences of his unbelieving procedure!
Misery soon followed. Hagar despises her mistress; Sarai throws all the
blame on her husband; the poor bond-woman is so hardly dealt with that she
flees from the household. How much of real cruelty may be meant by the
term “dealing hardly,” I cannot tell, but one marvels that such a man as
Abram allowed one who had been brought into such a relationship with him,
to be heedlessly chased from his house while in a condition requiring care
We admire the truthfulness of the Holy
Ghost that he has been pleased to record the faults of the saints without
extenuating them. Biographies of good men in Scripture are written with
unflinching integrity, their evil recorded as well as their good. These
faults are not written that we may say, “Abraham did so-and-so, therefore
we may do it.” No, brethren, the lives of these good men are warnings to
us as well as examples, and we are to judge them as we should judge
ourselves, by the laws of right and wrong. Abram did wrong both in taking
Hagar to wife and in allowing her to be badly used.
In after years the child of the bond-woman mocked the child of the
free-woman, and an expulsion of both mother and child was needful. There
was deep sorrow in Abram’s heart, a bitterness not to be told. Polygamy,
though tolerated under the Old Testament, was never approved; it was only
endured because of the hardness of men’s hearts. It is evil, only evil,
and that continually. In the family relationship there can be opened no
more abundant and fruitful source of misery to the sons of men than want
of chastity to the marriage-bond made with one wife. Disguise that
unchastity by what name you will. All these thirteen years, so far as
Scripture informs us, Abram had not a single visit from his God. We do
not find any record of his either doing anything memorable or having so
much as a single audience with the Most High.
Learn from this, that if we once
forsake the track of simple faith, once cease to walk according to the
purity which faith approves, we strew our path with thorns, cause God to
withhold the light of His countenance from us, and pierce ourselves
through with many sorrows.
But mark, beloved, the exceeding grace of God. The way to recover Abram
from his backsliding was that the Lord should appear to him; and,
consequently, we read in our text that at ninety-nine years of age Abram
was favored with a further visit from the Most High. (Genesis 17:1) This
brings to my remembrance the words in the book of Revelation, concerning
the church in Laodicea:
Thou art neither cold nor hot: I
would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and
neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth” — a very solemn
declaration; but what follows? “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if
any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will
sup with him, and he with me
which means just this, that for
recovery out of a horrible state of languishing and lukewarmness there is
no remedy but the coming of Jesus Christ to the soul in near and dear
intercourse. Truly it was so with Abram. The Lord would bring him out of
his state of distrust and distance into one of high dignity and sanctity,
and he does it by manifesting himself to him, for the Lord talked with
“Midst darkest shades, if he appear,
My dawning is begun;
He is my soul’s
bright morning star,
And he my rising sun.”
Breathe a prayer, my brethren and sisters.
“Lord, reveal thyself to my
poor backsliding, languishing spirit. Revive me, O Lord, for one smile
from Thee can make my wilderness blossom as the rose.”
On the occasion of this gracious
manifestation, God was pleased to do for Abram what I think is to us an
admirable and instructive illustration of the consecration of our redeemed
spirits entirely to his service. I shall, this morning, as God may help
me, first lead you to observe the model of the consecrated life; secondly,
the nature of the higher life; and, thirdly, its results...
...For a man to be thoroughly sanctified to the Master’s service,
he must first realize the almightiness and all-sufficiency and
God. (Ed note: cp meaning of Name El Shaddai) Brethren, the God
Whom we serve filleth all things, and hath all
power and all riches.
If we think little of Him we shall render little
trust to Him, and consequently little obedience, but if we have grand
conceptions of the glory of God, we shall learn to confide in Him most
thoroughly, we shall receive mercies from Him most plentifully, and we
shall be moved to serve Him most consistently.
Sin at the bottom of it very frequently
has its origin in low thoughts of God.
Take Abram’s sin. He could not see how
God could make him the father of many nations when Sarai was old and
barren. Hence his error with Hagar (Genesis 161, 2, 3, 4, 5).
But if he had
remembered what God now brings to his recollection, that God
is El Shaddai, the all
sufficient One, he would have said,
“No, I will
remain true to Sarai, for God can effect his own purposes without my
taking tortuous means to accomplish them. He is
all sufficient in Himself,
and not dependent upon creature strength. I will patiently hope, and
quietly wait, to see the fulfillment of the Master’s promises.”
APPLICATION OF THE TRUTH
ABOUT EL SHADDAI
with Abram, so with you, my brethren and sisters. When a man is in
business difficulties, if he believes that God is all sufficient to carry
him through them, he will not practice any of the common tricks of trade,
nor degenerate into that shiftiness which is so usual among commercial
men. If a man believes, being poor, that God is sufficient portion for
him, he will not grow envious of the rich or discontented with his
The man who feels that God is an all-sufficient portion for his
spirit, will not look for pleasure in the pursuits of vanity; he
will not go with the giddy multitude after their vain mirth.
he, “God hath appeared unto me as God all-sufficient for my comfort and
my joy. I am content so long as God is mine. Let others drink of broken
cisterns if they will, I dwell by the overflowing fountain, and am
WHAT A MINE OF
WEALTH & MEANING
O beloved, what glorious names our Lord deservedly
wears! Whichever of His names you choose to dwell upon for a moment, what
a mine of wealth and meaning it opens up to you!
Here is this name, “El Shaddai;” “El,” that is,
“the strong one,” for infinite power dwells in Jehovah. How readily may
we who are weak become mighty if we draw upon Him!
And then, “Shaddai,”
that is to say, “the unchangeable, the invincible.” What a God we have
then, Who knows no variableness, neither shadow of turning, against whom
none can stand! “El,” strong; “Shaddai,”
unchangeable in His strength; always therefore strong in every time of
need, ready to defend His people, and able to preserve them from all their
Come, Christian, with such a God as this why needest thou abase
thyself to win the good word of the wicked man? Why gaddest though abroad
to find earthly pleasures where the roses are always mixed with thorns?
Why needest thou to put thy confidence in gold and silver, or in the
strength of thy body, or in aught that is beneath the moon?
Thou hast El
Shaddai to be thine. Thy
power to be holy will much depend upon thy grasping with all the intensity
of thy faith the cheering fact that this God is thy God for ever and ever,
thy daily portion, thine all-sufficient consolation. Thou dares not, canst
not, wilt not, wander into the ways of sin when thou knowest that such a
God is thy Shepherd and Guide.
Following up this model of the consecrated life, notice the next words —
“walk before me.” This is the style of life which characterizes
true holiness; it is a walking before God.
Ah! Brethren, Abram had walked before
Sarai; he had paid undue respect to her views and wishes; he had walked,
too, in the sight of his own eyes and the inclinations of his own heart
when he was allied to Hagar; but now the Lord gently rebukes him with the
exhortation, “Walk before me.”
It is remarkable that on the former
divine visit to the patriarch, the Lord’s message was “Fear not.” (Genesis
15:1) He was then, as it were, but a child in spiritual things, and the
Lord gave him comfort, for he needed it. He is now grown into a man, and
the exhortation is practical and full of activity — “walk.”
The Christian man is to put out and use
the strength and grace which he hath received. The pith of the exhortation
lies in the last words, “Walk before me,” by which I understand an
habitual sense of the presence of God, or doing the right thing and
shunning the wrong, out of respect to the will of God; a consideration of
God in all actions, public and private.
Brethren, I deeply regret when I see
Christian men, even in religious societies, in their calculations leaving
out the greatest item in the whole calculation — namely, the divine
element, the divine power and faithfulness.
Of the most of mankind I may say,
without being censorious, that if there were no God their course of action
would not be different from what it is, for they do not feel themselves
either restrained or constrained by any sense of the divine presence.
“The transgression of
the wicked saith within my
heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.” (Psalm 36:1-note)
But this is the mark of the truly
sanctified man of God, that he lives in every place as standing in the
presence chamber of the divine Majesty; he acts as knowing that the eye
which never sleeps is always fixed on him.
His heart’s desire is that he may never
do the wrong thing, because he has respect to worldly greatness, and may
never forget the right thing because he is in evil company, but may reckon
that God being everywhere, he is always in company where it would be
impudent rebellion to sin.
The saint feels that he must not, dare
not, transgress, because he is before the very face of God. This is the
model of the sanctified character, for a man to realize what the Lord is,
and then to act as in the immediate presence of a holy and jealous God.
The next words are, “and be thou perfect.” Brethren, does this mean
absolute perfection? I shall not controvert the belief of some, that we
may be absolutely perfect on earth. Freely do I admit that the model of
sanctification is perfection. It were inconsistent with the character of
God for Him to give us any other than a perfect command, and a perfect
standard. No law but that of absolute perfection could come from a perfect
God, and to give us a model that were not absolutely perfect, were to
ensure to us superabundant imperfections, and to give us an excuse for
them. God sets before his servants no rule of this kind, “Be as good as
you can,” but this,
“Be you perfect, even as your Father
which is in heaven is perfect.” (Mt 5:48-note)
Hath any man ever attained to
it? Truly we have not, but for all that, every Christian man aims
I would far rather my child had a
perfect copy to write by, though he might never write equal to it, than
that he should have an imperfect copy set before him, because then he
would never make a good writer at all.
Our heavenly Father has given us the
perfect image of Christ to be our example, his perfect law to be our rule,
and it is for us to aim at this perfection in the power of the Holy
Spirit, and, like Abram, to fall upon our faces in shame and confusion of
face, when we recollect how far we have come short of it.
Perfection is what we wish for, pant
after, and shall at the last obtain. We do not want to have the law toned
down to our weakness. Blessed be God, we delight in the perfection of that
law. We say with Paul,
“The law is holy, and just, and good,
but I am carnal, sold under sin.” (Ro 7:12-note)
The will of God is that which we would
be conformed unto; and if we who are believers had but one wish, and it
could be granted to us at once, it should be this, to make us perfect in
every good work to do his will, working in us that which is well-pleasing
in his sight. (Php 2:13NLT-note)
However, the word “perfect,” as I have
said, bears commonly the meaning of “upright,” or “sincere” — “walk before
me, and be thou sincere.” No double dealing must the Christian man have,
no playing fast and loose with God or man; no hypocritical professions, or
false principles. He must be as transparent as glass; he must be a man in
whom there is no guile, a man who has cast aside deceit in every shape,
who hates it, and loathes it, and walks before God, who sees all things
with absolute sincerity, earnestly desiring in all things, both great and
small, to commend himself to the conscience of others as in the sight of
the Most High.
Brethren, here is the model of the consecrated life. Do you not long to
attain to it? I am sure every soul that is moved by God’s grace will do
so. But if your feeling about it is like mine, it will be just that of
Abram in the text,
“Abram fell on his face before the Lord.”
For oh, how
far short we have come of this! We have not always thought of God as
all-sufficient; we have been unbelieving. We have doubted Him here, and
doubted Him there.
We have not gone to work in this world
as if we believed the promise,
“I will never leave thee, nor forsake
have not been satisfied to suffer, or to be poor, and we have not been
content to do his will without asking questions.
We might often have had addressed
to us the rebuke,
“Is the Lord’s hand waxed short? Is his
arm shortened at all? Is his ear heavy, that he cannot hear?”
WE DO NOT FEEL THE
PRESENCE OF THE LORD AS CHECK
have not always walked before the Lord. If one may speak for the rest, we
do not always feel the presence of God as a check to us. There are angry
words perhaps at the table; there is wrong-doing in the place of business;
there are carelessness, worldliness, pride, and I know not what beside of
evil to mar the day’s labor; and when we come back at night we have to
“I have gone astray like a lost sheep, I have forgotten my
Shepherd’s presence. I have not always spoken and acted as if I felt that
Thou wast always looking upon me.”
Thus it has come to pass that we have
not been perfect. I feel ready to laugh, not the laugh of Abram, but that
of thorough ridicule, when I hear people talk about their being absolutely
perfect. They must be of very different flesh and blood from us, or rather
they must be great fools, full of conceit, and utterly ignorant of
themselves; for if they did but look at a single action, they would find
specks in it; and if they examined but one single day, they would perceive
something in which they fell short, if there were nothing in which they
THE LIFE OF CHRIST
You see your model, brethren, study it in the life of
Christ, and then press forward to it with the zeal of the apostle who
“Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect:
but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am
apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have
apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are
behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press
toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus.” (See notes
(Read the full sermon Consecration
to God—Illustrated by Abraham's Circumcision)
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ON EL SHADDAI
Nathan Stone has the following
explanation of El Shaddai in his classic work the
Names of God (free online version)...
MEANING OF THE NAME
Now what does the term God Almighty
mean? We might begin by saying what it does not mean, and by ridding
ourselves of a common misconception. True, the word almighty does suggest
the all-powerful, the mighty, the power to be able to do anything and
everything at any time. Certainly there cannot be anything beyond God's
power. But this is indicated in the word God in this name, and not so much
in the word we translate "almighty." The word for God here is
In our first study, we discovered that
the name Elohim is derived primarily from this word el, and that it
stood for might, power, omnipotence, transcendence, the name connected
especially with Creation. We learned that the word el itself is translated
"God" over 200 times in the Bible with that general significance.
"Thou art the El that doest wonders:
thou hast made known thy strength among the peoples" (Ps 77:14-note)
the El of Israel who giveth strength and might to the
people (Ps 68:35)
And Moses says of Him:
What El is there in the
heavens or in the earth who can do according to thy works, and according
to thy might? (Deut. 3:24).
It is the word Isaiah uses in the wonderful
fortieth chapter of his prophecy of the mighty, incomparable God. It is
the word often used to denote God's power to interpose or intervene. So
Nehemiah calls upon the great, the mighty, and the terrible El to
intervene in behalf of His people (Neh 9:32).
This word el is also translated by such words as "might" and "power," with
regard to men. Laban says to Jacob: "It is in the power of my hand to do
you hurt" (Ge 31:29). The word for power is el.
In Proverbs 3:27 we read:
Withhold not good from them to whom it
is due, when it is in the power [the el] of thine hand to do it.
They practice evil because it is in the
power of their hand. (Micah 2:1),
The psalmist speaks of
the El that girdeth me with strength
It seems clear, then, with regard to this name God Almighty, or
El-Shaddai, that the idea of all might and all power is abundantly
expressed in the term God or El. How, then, shall we understand that part
of the name called Almighty or Shaddai?
In the first place, it is true that there is some difference of opinion
as to the root meaning of this word. The translation of it as "almighty"
is due to the influence of that ancient Latin version of the Bible called
the Vulgate, which dates back to the fourth century A.D., and was written
by Jerome. There are some scholars who simply dismiss the matter by saying
its derivation is doubtful. Other modern scholars believe it comes from a
root meaning strong, powerful, or to do violence, especially in the sense
of one who is so powerful as to be able to set aside or do violence to the
laws of nature or the ordinary course of nature. It is true that this is
what happened in connection with the revelation of this name to Abraham,
for the deadness of their bodies was overcome, and Isaac was born in
fulfillment of the promise after their bodies were considered dead. Thus
one scholar writes that
Elohim is the God who creates nature so that it
is and supports it so that it continues, EI-Shaddai the God who compels
nature to do what is contrary to itself.
And so another says that as
El-Shaddai He reveals Himself by special deeds of power.
It is quite likely that there is some connection between the name Shaddai
and the root from which some modern scholars think it is derived, but in
view of the circumstances under which it is often used and in view of the
translation of another word almost exactly like it, we believe it has
another derivation and a more significant meaning than that of special
Shaddai itself occurs forty-eight times in the Old Testament and is
translated "almighty." The other word so like it, and from which we
believe it to be derived, occurs twenty-four times and is translated
"breast." As connected with the word breast, the title Shaddai signifies
one who nourishes supplies, satisfies. Connected with the word for God,
El, it then becomes the "One mighty to nourish, satisfy, supply."
Naturally with God the idea would be intensified, and it comes to mean the
One who "sheds forth" and "pours" out sustenance and blessing. In this
sense, then, God is the all-sufficient, the all-bountiful. For example,
Jacob upon his deathbed, blessing his sons and forecasting their future,
says in Genesis 49:24, 25, concerning Joseph:
the arms of his hands
were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob...even by the
God [El] of thy father, who shall help thee; and by the Almighty
[Shaddai], who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings
of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts and of the womb."
The distinction and significance of
names here is quite striking and obvious. It is God as El who helps, but
it is God as Shaddai who abundantly blesses with all manner of blessings,
and blessings of the breast.
This derivation as related to God is even more strikingly brought out in
two passages in the Book of Isaiah. In Isa 60:15,16, speaking of the'
restoration of the people Israel in the future, Isaiah says: "Whereas thou
halt been forsaken and hated . . . I will make thee an eternal excellency,
a joy of many generations. Thou shalt also suck the milk of the nations,
and shalt suck the breast of kings: and [thus] thou shalt know that I
Jehovah am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob." Here
the idea of bounty under the figure of blessings of the breast is directly
associated with God. In Isaiah 66:10, 11, 12, 13, one of the most beautiful
passages of Scripture, it is even more directly expressed. In Is 66:10, 11 the prophet calls upon all who love Jerusalem and mourn over her to
rejoice and be glad in her redemption and restoration.
That ye may suck and be satisfied with
the breasts of her consolations; that ye may milk out, and be delighted
with the abundance of her glory.
In Isa 66:12 he continues:
For thus saith Jehovah, Behold, I will
extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like a
flowing stream: then shall ye suck....
and in Is 66:13:
as one whom his mother comforteth, so
will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
is that the word translated "breast" in these passages is the Hebrew shad
from which is derived Shaddai, the name of God translated "almighty" in
In that ancient version of the Bible we call the Septuagint, translated
by Jewish scholars from the Hebrew into Greek more than 250 years B.C.,
this name Shaddai is rendered a number of times by a Greek word hikanos
which can be' translated "as self-sufficient." The ancient rabbis also said
that the word Shaddai was made up of two particles which, put together,
meant "sufficient" or "self-sufficient".
Such a conception of a god or deity
was not uncommon to, the ancients. The idols of the ancient heathen are
sometimes termed sheddinn in the Bible. It is no doubt because they were
regarded as the great agents of nature or the heavens, in giving rain, in
causing the earth to send forth its springs, to yield its increase, its
fruits to maintain and to nourish life. There were many-breasted idols
worshiped among the heathen. One historian points out that "the whole
body of the Egyptian goddess Isis was clustered over with breasts because
all things are sustained or nourished by the earth or nature." The same
was true of the idol of the Ephesian goddess Diana in Acts 19, for Diana
(aka = Artemis - Ac 19:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 34, 35)
signified nature and the world with all its products. Ancient inscriptions
on some of these idols of Diana read: "All-various nature, mother of all
things."' It is interesting to observe here that the common Hebrew word
for field (sadeh)—that is, a cultivated field—is simply another form of
the word Shaddai. It is the field as cultivated earth which nourishes and
Thus in this name God is seen to be the power or shedder-forth of
blessings, the all-sufficient and the all-bountiful One. Of course, the
idea of One who is all powerful and all mighty is implied in this; for
only an all-powerful One could be all sufficient and all bountiful. He is
almighty because He is able to carry out His purposes and plans to their
fullest and most glorious and triumphant completion. He is able to triumph
over every obstacle and over all opposition; that is, He is sufficient for
all these things. He is able, we are told, to subdue all things to
Himself. But the word able applied to God refers more than an the ine else
to what He wants to be and to do for man. So He is able to save to the
uttermost. And He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we
can ask or think. From all this it is felt that the name El-Shaddai or God
Almighty is much better understood as that El who is all sufficient and
all bountiful, the source of all blessing and fullness and fruitfulness.
This leads us to our next consideration.
THE USE AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THE NAME
Let us look again for a moment at the
circumstances under which this name was first revealed. To a man who
apparently had some measure of understanding about the one true God and
who gave some promise of faith; who left a settled and assured abode,
comfortable circumstances, and family and friends to go on a long
hazardous journey he knew not whither, God made certain promises: the
promise of a land, a large posterity, and a spiritual mission. He was
fairly well advanced in years when the promise was first made. For many
years his faith stood the test of waiting while God repeatedly assured him
of the promise. When it appeared, however, that soon it would be too
late, humanly speaking, for such a promise to be fulfilled, he took
matters into his own hands, and Ishmael was born of Hagar, of the will of
man, of the will of the flesh and not of God.
God allowed thirteen years more to pass, till it was no longer possible
according to the flesh that the child of promise should be born. Then when
God appears to him again to repeat the promise of a seed Abraham can only
think in terms of Ishmael and begs that he might be allowed to live and
the promise made sure in him. Yet he laughs with a mixture of both doubt
and hope within that it may yet be true. Perhaps faith predominates as he
says in heart: "Shall a child be born to him that is a hundred years old?
And shall Sarah that is ninety years old, bear?" (Ge 17:17). It was to
this faith in God's promise that Paul refers in Romans 4:19-21 that
Abraham "staggered not at the promise of God," and did not consider his
own body as good as dead or Sarah's, and was fully persuaded that what God
promised He was able to perform. And the Epistle to the Hebrews refers to
Sarah's faith, who received strength to give birth when past age (He 11:11-note).
It is then that God reveals Himself to Abraham as El-Shaddai, mighty in
sufficiency and dispensing of His bounty. He is, first of all, sufficient
to revive the deadness of the human body in order to show His great power
It was a staggering promise by the time it was finally repeated, but they
did not stagger at it. It is by this new name, in this connection, that
God now reveals Himself as the Mighty Promiser and Giver of gifts. Abraham
and Sarah had to learn that what God promises only God can give, that the
promise was not to be made sure by the works of the flesh. So the bodies
of both of them must die first to make them realize that it was all of
God. Jacob had to be made lame and halt before he could finally reenter
the land of promise, lest he should claim it as acquired by his own hand
and cunning, and boast of his own sufficiency. So, too, God's salvation
in Christ is His gift to us and not to be earned by anything we may
do—"not of works lest any man should boast."
Thus this name also taught Abraham his own insufficiency, the futility of
relying upon his own efforts and the folly of impatiently running ahead of
God. Numberless Christian people have been guilty of just this, often to
their sorrow and loss. The birth of Ishmael proved to be a sore trial,
not only in Abraham's household, but to Abraham's descendants, both
physical and spiritual, all through the ages. God as EI-Shaddai is
sufficient for all things. Man's meddling only mars His working. It is
significant that with the revelation of this name Abraham is enjoined to
"walk before me, and be thou perfect." Instead of perfect, the word
complete or wholehearted would much better express what is meant. The
point is that Abraham's faith had been marred by the fleshly and
self-sufficient expedient to which he had resorted. The mighty
all-sufficient One demands and deserves our complete faith—a wholehearted
Then this name introduces God to us as the all-bountiful in the fullness
and fruitfulness He imparts to all who trust Him and wait patiently upon
Him. This is most clearly set forth and illustrated in the first few
occasions of the use of this name. As God Almighty or El-Shaddai, God
changes the name Abram, which means "exalted father," to Abraham, which
means "father of a multitude," many nations. "I will make thee exceeding
fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of
thee" (Ge 17:6). In blessing Jacob, Isaac says (Ge 28:3): "El-Shaddai
bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest
be a multitude of people." In Genesis 35:11, God Himself says to Jacob: "I
am El-Shaddai: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations
shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins:" Jacob upon his
deathbed repeats the promise of a great posterity made in the name of
El-Shaddai (Ge 48:3,4), and in that name pronounces the same blessing
upon Joseph, the blessings of Heaven and earth and of the breasts and of
the womb (Ge 49:25).
It is the name used by Balaam, who, being hired to curse Israel, was
compelled to turn it into a blessing. It is the "vision of the Almighty"
(Nu 24:4, 16) which makes him see Israel a goodly people, spread out,
with its seed in many waters, and as final victor over all its enemies
through that Star of Jacob and the Scepter of Israel, its Messiah.
Certainly this significance of the name may be gathered from the Book of
Job, where it occurs thirty-one out of the forty-eight times it appears in
the Old Testament, for the end of Job was even more blessed and abundantly
fruitful than his beginning.
It is in this connection that another aspect of the name El-Shaddai, as
the One who fills and makes fruitful, appears. We have already seen that
to experience God's sufficiency one must realize one's own insufficiency.
To experience God's fullness one must empty self. It is not easy to empty
self. It was never easy to do that. The less empty of self we are, the
less of blessing God can pour into us; the more of pride and
self-sufficiency, the less fruit we can bear. Sometimes only chastening
can make us realize this. Thus it is that the name Almighty God or
El-Shaddai is used in connection with judging, chastening, purging. Is it
not significant that it is in connection with the loss of her home, her
husband and her two sons, the fruit of her womb, that Naomi says: "The
Almighty [Shaddai] hath dealt very bitterly with me"? "I went out full,
and the Lord hath brought me home again empty . . . the Almighty [again
Shaddai] hath afflicted me" (Ru 1:20, 21-note). And as in the case of Naomi
is it not also true of Job that even this "perfect and upright" man was
made more upright or whole through sufferings; that he was purged, through
chastening, of some imperfections which hindered his fullest blessing and
fruitfulness; that this chastening emptied him so completely of self that
he could be "filled with all the fullness of God"? (Ep 3:19-note). He
understood this in the day when he said: "But now mine eye seeth thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5, 6).
Then he received power with God to intercede for his friends, and he was
filled with double blessings. The same El-Shaddai of the Old Testament is
the One who in the New chastens whom He loves that, being exercised
thereby, they may yield the peaceable fruit of holiness or righteousness.
He is the same One who has chosen us to bring forth fruit, much fruit, and
that this fruit should remain (Jn 15:16). As the all-sufficient One He
says, "Without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5). As the all-abounding One
who makes us fruitful with His gifts, He finds it necessary to purge us
that we may bring forth more fruit (Jn 15:2).
In the Book of Revelation the name Almighty appears in connection with
the pouring out of judgments. Of the Lord God Almighty it is said, "True
and righteous are thy judgments" (Re 16:7-note). We read of "the war of the great
day of God, the Almighty" (Re 16:14-note), and
Re 19:15-note speaks of "the fierceness of
the wrath of God the Almighty." May it not be that this is simply the
opposite aspect of that name which signifies the pouring forth of
blessings! Of the new heavens and new earth in Revelation 21 we are told that
the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple (Re 21:22-note), and its glory
and light (Re 21:23-note). But the Lamb which was the last word and full
manifestation of God's outpouring of love and life upon man is the Lamb
slain—rejected and slain of man. It is from the wrath of the Lamb that men
hide. It is the Lamb, too, who opens the seals and pours out judgment. If
man will not receive fullness of love and life from God, he must receive
judgment. For He who poured out His blood that men might have life and
have it more abundantly must pour out the judgment of sin and death upon
all who will not receive it.
But even here the ultimate purpose is of love and mercy. The judgment of
some is to turn to the mercy of many, that He may see of the travail of
His soul and be satisfied, that ten thousand times ten thousand may gather
about the throne and sing the song of the all-bountiful, all-merciful God
and of the Lamb.
So we see that the name Almighty God speaks to us of the inexhaustible
stores of His bounty, of the riches and fulness of His grace in
self-sacrificing love pouring itself out for others. It tells us that from
God comes every good and perfect gift, that He never wearies of pouring
His mercies and blessings upon His people. But we must not forget that His
strength is made perfect in our weakness; His sufficiency is most manifest
in our insufficiency; His fullness in our emptiness, that being filled,
from us may flow rivers of living water to a thirsty and needy humanity.
(Stone, Nathan: Names of God
- free online version)