God vs. Gods: Hebrew's Deity Complex

Why is the Hebrew word for God a plural word? In this episode of StreetWise Hebrew, we explore the meaning and the various modern uses of His oft-used-in-vain name.

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God the Father by Cima da Conegliano.
God the Father by Cima da Conegliano.Credit: Wikimedia Commons / The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN, U.K.

Elohim, which means God in Hebrew, is a plural word. What is the explanation for this monotheistic oddity? How do we use elohim in Israeli slang, and what did we borrow from Arabic?

Words and expressions discussed:
Elohim - אֱלוֹהִים
El, Ela - אֵל, אֵלָה
Daniel - דָּנִיאֵל
Elohim Adirim - אֱלוֹהִים אַדִּירִים
Elohim natan lecha bematana - אֱלוֹהִים נָתַן לְךָ בְּמַתָּנָה
Elohim gadol - אֱלוֹהִים גָּדוֹל
Elohim yodea - אֱלוֹהִים יוֹדֵעַ
Ein lecha elohim - אֵין לְךָ אֱלוֹהִים
Ani nishba be elohim - אֲנִי נִשְבָּע בֶּאֱלוֹהִים
Be'elohim - בֶּאֱלוֹהִים
Me'elohim - מֵאֱלוֹהִים
Ta'im la-Allah - טָעִים לָאַללָה
Elohi - אֱלוֹהִי
Elohut - אֱלוֹהוּת
Elohai, Elohim sheli - אֲלוֹהַיי, אֱלוֹהִים שֶלִי

Ze mikvar – Oshik Levy
Elohim natan lecha be-matana – Eitan Massouri
Tipat mazal – Zehava Ben
Ratsiti she-teda – Uzi Chitman

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