On almost every page in tanach you find the pair of words "hashem elokeynu" (Hashem our God). By saying "our God" it seems to imply that there are other gods.

If this implication is not correct why then is God frequently called by "hashem elokeynu" in tanach?


2 Answers 2


By saying 'our God' it seems to imply that there are other gods.

There are. See e.g. Deuteronomy 8:19 "וְהָלַכְתָּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים", "and you go after other gods". Not that they're real gods, of course, by which I mean that they don't have whatever powers and characteristics we ascribe to God, but they are called "gods" in the Torah, so it makes sense to refer to the real one as "our god".

  • Well it seems silly to command not to follow other gods when there are none. Didn't the sitra achra have powers in the ancient days? Could it be that that's what is meant by "other gods"?
    – Ani Yodea
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 1:42
  • @AniYodea I don't know why you say "there are none": this answer says there are some. Anyway, no, no being has ever had power not granted him by God.
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 2:56
  • @AniYodea It's like saying "Obey no regent of England other than Queen Elizabeth second. This includes not obeying Jimbo IV nor Howdy Doody III." In this case, Jimbo IV is a regent of England who is not real.
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 4, 2015 at 3:16

The term אלוהים refers to a power, not necessarily a divine being. Thus judges are called אלוהים. Moshe rabbeinu told that he would be a אלוהים to Par'oh.

the ancient idols have certain powers- which ultimately come from hashem- and thus are called אלוהים. hashem is the אלוהי האלוהים since he is the ultimate force.

The 4-letter name of G-d, which we often just refer to as "Hashem" (literally- the Name) refers to the name of G-d as the ultimate, all-powerful and timeless creator. This name is never used for any other element; no "god" ever is called by this name.

The idea of Hashem Elokeinu is that we're referring to "Hashem" the ultimate creator, who is also elokeinu i.e. our personal Power.

(See also the wonderful work "God vs. gods" by R' Chaim Reuven Klein which discusses the idea of idolatry in Jewish understanding from a comprehensive, yet comprehendible way.)

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