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Daily manna from the Torah by Dr Ketriel Blad

Mishpatim 18-3


Exodus 22:5-27 (22:4-26 Heb.)

But if the thief is not found, the owner of the house must appear before the judges to determine whether he has laid his hands on the other man's property. In all cases of illegal possession of an ox, a donkey, a sheep, a garment, or any other lost property about which somebody says, 'This is mine,' both parties are to bring their cases before the judges. The one whom the judges declare guilty must pay back double to his neighbor. 

Ex. 22:8-9 NIV

What does the title elohim" mean?

In this text the word elohimאלהים – appears three times. In some instances it has been translated as “God” and in others as “judges”. The context clearly shows that it has to do with judges. This teaches us that the title elohim אלהים – which may be translated as ”mighty”, “greatly powerful” or “almighty”, has to do with the authority of establishing justice.

The interesting part is that this title is not limited to use exclusively to refer to the Eternal, but that it is also meant to be used for men.

In Psalm 82:1-2 it is written: “A Psalm of Asaph. God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment: "How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah. (ESV) In this text the word Elohim אלהים – is used twice with different meanings. The first time it refers to the Almighty, translated as God, and the second time it refers to the judges, translated as gods. In verses 6-7 it is written: "I said, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince." (ESV) In John 10:34-36 our Rabbi is citing psalm 82: "Yeshua answered them, "Is it not written in your Law, 'I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? (ESV revised)

These texts reveal two important truths. First, that the term elohim, translated as "gods", can describe people who have received the word of the Almighty. According to the context in Psalm 82, we see that in the first place it has to do with people that have been set in positions of authority over others, such as judges, kings and princes.  

Second, those who are called elohim are also called "sons of the Most High". Therefore, the term "Son of God" also refers to a king or a judge that has received the delegation from the Most High to govern, dictate and exercise his judgment on earth; as we can also see in 1 Chronicles 28:6, where it is written: "He said to me, 'It is Solomon your son who shall build my house and my courts, for I have chosen him to be my son, and I will be his father." (ESV)

The term elohim has to do with power and authority and doesn't only refer to the Almighty, but can also refer to heavenly messengers, false gods, a man that received authority from the Almighty and to the judges that represent the Almighty to judge on earth.

Therefore when Yeshua is presented in the Scriptures as "son of God" and "God" it doesn't mean that he was born from God from a reproductive point of view or that he is the Eternal himself. The Eternal is one and only.

Kol tuv – all the best,


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