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I’ve a question about Shemot 14:19 in which the malach ha’elohiem (מלאך האלהים) is mentioned.

This verse explicitly says that this messenger who went before the camp, removed and went behind them and that the pillar of cloud removed from before them, and stood behind them; although it’s mentioned in Shemot 13:21 it was HaShem who went in a pillar of cloud,

In another situation (Shemot 3:2) we read about the מלאך יהוה (malach HaShem) who appeared to Moshe in a flame of fire; although Elohim called from the bush (Shemot 3:4).

So here are my questions: 1. Are malach haElohim and malach HaShem interchangeable terms for one and the same messenger? 2. How should one understand these appearances, literally, methaphorically or as distinct from the malachim themselves?

P.s: related to; How to define the Malach YHVH

  • could you please make your second question more clear as to what you are seeking? – David Kenner Aug 31 '18 at 5:40
  • 1. In Judges 13 there is this story in which malach ha’Elohim appears, while in the end Manoach comes to the insight it was the Malach YHVH. So these could indeed be one and the same massenger ? – Levi Sep 4 '18 at 12:00
  • @DavidKenner well to put it simple if an malach appears as a ish, enosh, in a flame, etc. How should one understand such readings? Does it mean that malachim, these ‘spiritual entities’ can ‘take on’ certain forms/appearances, I.e. they themselves can appear in a physical shape? Or should it be understood as a figure of speech, methaphorically? Or did these malachim work through these physical elements such as a flame? – Levi Sep 9 '18 at 9:46

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