I'd like to post a slightly odd question. When G-d speaks what does this mean?

As we know, G-d is not corporeal; does not have any physical characteristics/body. Yet it’s still possible to produce words by using other ‘instruments’ to produce sound or to cause vibrations in the air which can be heard etc.

Although people in the Bible were able to hear what G-d had to say, was this sound in itself something of G-d (i.e. His Voice, like we have our voices) or rather something distinct (something created by G-d) which G-d used in order to speak (like we humans sometimes use computers for example to produce words).

I noticed that G-d sometimes used messengers and when they speak it is as if G-d Himself is speaking. but in certain contexts, G-d Himself seems to be speaking directly to someone or even groups of people.


2 Answers 2


There is an idea that some things mentioned in relation to describing G-D are merely a description that humans can comprehend, with the real description being beyond our comprehension

Midrash Tanchuma Yisro 13:1

https://www.sefaria.org/Midrash_Tanchuma%2C_Yitro.12?lang=bi .

Yitro, Siman 13 ‎וַיַּעַל עֲשָׁנוֹ כְּעֶשֶׁן הַכִּבְשָׁן. אֵיזֶה כִּבְשָׁן? יָכוֹל כַּכִּבְשָׁן הַזֶּה? תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: וְהָהָר בֹּעֵר בָּאֵשׁ. אִם כֵּן, מַה תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר: כִּבְשָׁן? אֶלָּא לְשַׁכֵּךְ אֶת הָאֹזֶן מַה שֶּׁיְּכוֹלָה לִשְׁמֹעַ. כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ, אַרְיֵה שָׁאָג מִי לֹא יִירָא (עמוס ג, ח). וְכִי מִי נָתַן כֹּחַ וּגְבוּרָה בָּאַרְיֵה? לֹא הוּא. אֶלָּא הֲרֵי אָנוּ מְכַנִּין אוֹתוֹ מִבְּרִיּוֹתָיו, כְּדֵי לְשַׁכֵּךְ אֶת הָאֹזֶן מַה שֶּׁיְּכוֹלָה לִשְׁמֹעַ. כַּיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ, וְהִנֵּה כְּבוֹד אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּא מִדֶּרֶךְ הַקָּדִים וְקוֹלוֹ כְּקוֹל מַיִם רַבִּים וְהָאָרֶץ הֵאִירָה מִכְבֹדוֹ (יחזקאל מג, ב). וְכִי מִי נָתַן כֹּחַ וּגְבוּרָה בַּמַּיִם, לֹא הוּא? אֶלָּא הֲרֵי אָנוּ מְכַנִּין אוֹתוֹ מִבְּרִיּוֹתָיו לְשַׁכֵּךְ אֶת הָאֹזֶן.

And the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace (Exod. 19:18). What furnace? Perhaps it is comparable to this furnace? Therefore Scripture says: And the mountain burned with fire (Deut. 4:11). Why then does Scripture say Of a furnace? It does so only in order to transmit to the ear that which it can comprehend. Similarly it says: The lion hath roared, who will not fear (Amos 3:8), yet who instilled strength and power in the lion, if not He? We describe Him by the qualities given to His creations, so that the ear may hear what it is able to comprehend. Likewise, Behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east; and His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth did shine with His glory (Ezek. 43:2). Who instilled strength and force into the waters? Was it not He? Here again we describe Him merely by the qualities possessed by His creations, so that the ear may comprehend (what it hears).


According to the philosopher Philo, G-d did not “speak” as G-d's speaking is anthropomorphic (G-d does not have vocal cords). Rather, God created a miraculous sound, and this spoke to the prophets. Rambam takes it a step further and says that “spoke” means “thought” or “willed.” G-d has no vocal cords. G-d did not speak during creation (Genesis 1). G-d “willed” the creation (Guide, 1:65). Thus, G-d never spoke to anyone. Prophecy is not a miraculous communication. Prophecy is a natural event.


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