There are several Scriptural references to "sons of God."

What is a Scriptural understanding of the term "son of God."

  1. Who are the sons in various occurrences?

  2. How do they become "sons"? -by creation? -by birth? -by adoption? -by restoration?

  3. What does sonship indicate -subordinate to authority? -empowered by by the Father? -part of a family system? -entitled to an inheritance?

Are they figurative or literal sonships? (related question)

cf this related Mi Yodeya question.

cf this related question that deals only with "sons of God" and not the other passages concerning Father-son relationship with God.

And in case you wonder where I come from, please see my introduction in the chat room.

Genesis 6
ב וַיִּרְאוּ בְנֵי-הָאֱלֹהִים אֶת-בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם, כִּי טֹבֹת הֵנָּה;
וַיִּקְחוּ לָהֶם נָשִׁים, מִכֹּל אֲשֶׁר בָּחָרוּ. 2

ד הַנְּפִלִים הָיוּ בָאָרֶץ, בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם, וְגַם אַחֲרֵי-כֵן אֲשֶׁר יָבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים אֶל-בְּנוֹת הָאָדָם, וְיָלְדוּ לָהֶם:
הֵמָּה הַגִּבֹּרִים אֲשֶׁר מֵעוֹלָם, אַנְשֵׁי הַשֵּׁם. 4

1 Chronicles 17 יג אֲנִי אֶהְיֶה-לּוֹ לְאָב, וְהוּא יִהְיֶה-לִּי לְבֵן; וְחַסְדִּי, לֹא-אָסִיר מֵעִמּוֹ, כַּאֲשֶׁר הֲסִירוֹתִי,
מֵאֲשֶׁר הָיָה לְפָנֶיךָ. 13

1 Chronicles 22
י הוּא-יִבְנֶה בַיִת, לִשְׁמִי, וְהוּא יִהְיֶה-לִּי לְבֵן, וַאֲנִי-לוֹ לְאָב; וַהֲכִינוֹתִי כִּסֵּא מַלְכוּתוֹ,
עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל--עַד-עוֹלָם. 10

1 Chronicles 28 ו וַיֹּאמֶר לִי--שְׁלֹמֹה בִנְךָ, הוּא-יִבְנֶה בֵיתִי וַחֲצֵרוֹתָי: כִּי-בָחַרְתִּי בוֹ לִי לְבֵן, וַאֲנִי
אֶהְיֶה-לּוֹ לְאָב. 6

Job 1
ו וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם--וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל-יְהוָה; וַיָּבוֹא גַם-הַשָּׂטָן, בְּתוֹכָם. 6

Job 2 א וַיְהִי הַיּוֹם--וַיָּבֹאוּ בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל-יְהוָה; וַיָּבוֹא גַם-הַשָּׂטָן בְּתֹכָם, לְהִתְיַצֵּב עַל-יְהוָה.

Job 38
ז בְּרָן-יַחַד, כּוֹכְבֵי בֹקֶר; וַיָּרִיעוּ, כָּל-בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים. 7

  • Not sure how to format with English going the opposite direction.
    – user2411
    May 15 '16 at 23:17
  • 1
    None of these terms are really sons of GOD. This is not the correct translation.
    – newcomer
    May 15 '16 at 23:23
  • Can you elaborate? As for the translation, "son of God" is in the Hebrew translation: mechon-mamre.org/p/index.htm
    – user2411
    May 15 '16 at 23:40
  • 1
    You can either see it that every use (regarding David, Solomon, the children of Israel etc.) is literal, or all are metaphorical. What more is there than that?
    – rosends
    May 16 '16 at 1:34
  • 1
    There also (based on a comment you made to the referenced answer) may be a misunderstanding here. When we say metaphorical I think we acknowledge that God may literally have created the Jewish nation, but that still does not make him a literal father.
    – andrewmh20
    May 16 '16 at 5:25

Genesis 6 Rashi the sons of the nobles: Heb. בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, the sons of the princes (Targumim) and the judges (Gen. Rabbah 26:5). Another explanation: בְּנֵי הָאֱלֹהִים are the princes who go as messengers of the Omnipresent. They too mingled with them (Pirkei d’Rabbi Eliezer, ch. 22). Every אֱלֹהִים in Scripture is an expression of authority, and the following proves it (Exod. 4:16): “And you shall be to him as a lord (לֵאלֹהִים)”; (ibid. 7:1): “See, I have made you a lord (אֶלֹהִים).”

1 Chronicles 17 I shall be to him as a father, and he will be to Me as a son: And in Samuel (II 7:14), it is written: “… so that when he goes astray, I will chasten him with the rod of men.” The meaning is that if he sins against Me, I will chasten him immediately, as a man who chastens his son with a rod of men, insofar that He raised up against him as adversaries Rezon and Hadad, and on that verse, it is appropriate to say, “… and I shall not remove My loving kindness from him as I removed it from [Saul] who was before you,” and when he sinned before Me, I removed the kingdom from him and from his seed. In Samuel (ibid. 15) it is written: “from Saul.” The reason it is not written here: “so that when he goes astray, etc.” is because of David’s honor, for he does not wish to speak of this in this Book, because it is denigrating to the house of David.

Job 1 Metzudas tziyon These are the angels that are close to the Shechina to be members of its household. So too by וַיָּרִיעוּ כָּל-בְּנֵי אֱלֹהִים in chapter 38 Metzudas David Those who learn merit (i.e. the defending angels in the heavenly court)

1 Chronicles 22 Metzudas David As a son: beloved to Him like a son As a father: to have mercy on him like a father to a son

  • Your people often speak often of Rashi. I am familiar with the names of your sources, but not the sources themselves; could you provide links? Also, the princes and judges, these are understood as leaders of the people? If they go as messengers of the Omnipresent, are they priests?
    – user2411
    May 16 '16 at 14:45
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    @Sarah Chabad.org, under texts and writings, has the whole Jewish Bible (Tana"ch). There's an option to enable Rashi. For metzudas, I used an actual book, but you may be able to find a tanach with it on hebrewbooks.org
    – user613
    May 16 '16 at 21:50
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    And the Chronicles text draws out lovingkindness and chastening. Interesting. Thank you. And I understand that checking an answer here is a way to indicate that the answer was most helpful toward finding a solution even if not the only answer. You have been very helpful.
    – user2411
    May 17 '16 at 0:33