In Genesis 14:18-20 Abram recognizes the deity El Elyon of the Jebusite monarch Melchizedek.

Some scholars have investigated into the meaning of this name El Elyon and propose that it actually consists of two separate names of two deities. El being the son of Elyon.

According to Marvin Pope in his book "El in the Ugaritic texts".

Philo of Byblos identifies Elyon as being a separate deity who is the grandfather of the Ugaritic god El. He then goes on to compare Elyon to the 13th century BCE Hittite god Alalu.


Lastly, there is an Aramaic inscription known as the Sefire stele from 750 BCE that also uses the term El Elyon.

According to John Day:

The inscriptions may, under one possible interpretation, record the names of El and Elyon, "God, God Most High" possibly providing prima facie evidence for a distinction between the two deities first worshipped by the Jebusites in Jerusalem, and then elsewhere throughout the ancient Levant.

If this is indeed the case would that mean that Abram actually proclaimed his allegiance to numerous deities by accepting a blessing in the name of El (son of) Elyon?

closed as off-topic by kouty, rosends, mbloch, Scimonster, sabbahillel Jul 18 '16 at 12:41

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    א–ל עליון is a name for G-d which is also used in post-biblical Jewish prayer, namely, the first blessing of the 'Amidah. – Noach MiFrankfurt Jul 18 '16 at 1:48
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    "If this is indeed the case would that mean that Abram actually proclaimed his allegiance to numerous deities by accepting a blessing in the name of El (son of) Elyon?" Yes. – Double AA Jul 18 '16 at 2:44
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    Thisdoes not seem to be a Judaism question. "If this is the case" actually means that it is not the case so the premise is wrong. – sabbahillel Jul 18 '16 at 10:36
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    @sabbahillel that a totally bogus argument and it is unfortunate IMHO opinion that a new user be subjected to not just having his question closed, but to poor reasoning as well. One of the flaws with your claim is that is it conflates an incorrect premise with an off topic question. It appears that the OP has presented evidence, and others, rather than studying and responding the Torah's view in light of the evidence, instead hide from it, and delete it. What a shame. – mevaqesh Jul 18 '16 at 14:49
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    Whether this question is on topic or not, it is certainly not a question of comparative religion. – mevaqesh Jul 18 '16 at 14:51

Elyon means most high. Keil means G-d (Keil is a more appropriate way of referring to E-il without being in vain).

This article discusses the meaning of Keil Elyon, konei shomayim vo'oretz.

He first brings the Gemoro in Nedarim 32b:

R. Zechariah said on R. Ishmael's authority: The Holy One, blessed be He, intended to bring forth the priesthood from Shem, as it is written, And he [sc. Melchizedek] was the priest of the most high God. (translation of El Elyon).  But because he gave precedence in his blessing to Abraham over God, He brought it forth from Abraham; as it is written, And he blessed him and said. Blessed be Abram (first) of the most high God (second), possessor of heaven and earth, and blessed be the most high God.  Said Abraham to him, 'Is the blessing of a servant to be given precedence over that of his master?' Straightway it [the priesthood] was given to Abraham, as it is written, The Lord said unto my Lord,  Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool;  which is followed by, The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek,'  meaning, 'because of the words of Melchizedek.'  Hence it is written, And he was a priest of the most High God, [implying that] he was a priest, but not his seed.

It is clear from the Gemoro that El Elyon is identical with the true G-d.

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    Welcome to the site Moish. Thanks for the answer. The OP (original poster) seems to have evidence that the words mean something else. Accordingly, a good way to improve this answer would be to edit in evidence that his assumptions about the meanings of the words are incorrect. – mevaqesh Jul 18 '16 at 2:39
  • Where is your source that Elyon means most high? – Aaron Jul 18 '16 at 21:43
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    @Aaron Gen 40:17 implies as much. Sam 2:22:14 too. Or at least something similar to high/above/atop. Other verses use it as a direction, like Chron 2:32:30. – Double AA Jul 18 '16 at 22:02
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    @Aaron Just because "above" in one context refers to a specific other object, doesn't meant the word necessitates other actual objects. It could be used metaphorically for instance, like how "up" is used in Deu 28:13. – Double AA Jul 18 '16 at 22:09
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    @Aaron Context. Hebrew often doesn't have explicit helping verbs. The context is monotheism and the word fits just fine. There is no question unless you want to go cause problems. It doesn't say עליון מאלים for instance, and in Num 24:16 אל and עליון are paralleled, supporting the read further that both are straight nouns. – Double AA Jul 18 '16 at 22:10

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