Elohim sense categorized as deity vs idol

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Bob | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jan 8 2021 8:34 AM

Can anyone provide insights into why these example verses where elohim appears are categorized with the sense of deity, when a sense of idol seems to make better sense to me.

Ex 32:31 They have made for themselves gods of gold.

Ex 34:17 You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.

Lev 19:4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

Thanks,

Bob

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 8 2021 3:37 PM

Bob Densmore:
Ex 32:31 They have made for themselves gods of gold.

elohim ==> god or God depending on the context

gods = <Sense = deity> or <Person Any Deity>

gods of  gold = <Thing idol>

gold = <Sense = gold> 

Bob Densmore:
Ex 34:17 You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.

gods = <Sense = deity> or <Person Any Deity>

cast metal = <Sense = cast idol> or <Thing Molten image>

Bob Densmore:
Lev 19:4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

gods = <Sense = deity> or <Person Any Deity>

cast metal = <Sense = cast idol> or <Thing Molten image>

Bob Densmore:
Can anyone provide insights into why these example verses where elohim appears are categorized with the sense of deity, when a sense of idol seems to make better sense to me.

elohim has a <Sense = deity> or  <Person Any Deity>  when not applied to God (<Sense = God (Israelite)> or <Person God>), and by itself it does not denote an idol worshiped as deity.

"gods of gold" is tagged as <Thing idol>  (run the Thing search to see which words are highlighted).

"gods of cast metal" is not tagged by <Thing idol> or <Sense = cast idol> as I would have expected, just the "cast metal" part.

Dave
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Bob | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 8 2021 4:45 PM

Thanks for response, but still confused.

For instance Ex 20.23 (You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold), has the sense in Logos as "idol", not "deity".

This just doesn't seem consistent with the other passages I sited in original thread.

Bob

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 8 2021 8:00 PM

Bob Densmore:

Can anyone provide insights into why these example verses where elohim appears are categorized with the sense of deity, when a sense of idol seems to make better sense to me.

Ex 32:31 They have made for themselves gods of gold.

Ex 34:17 You shall not make for yourself any gods of cast metal.

Lev 19:4 Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the LORD your God.

Thanks,

Bob

I have some misgivings about these Logos categorizations. Maybe they are correct...but maybe they aren't. These text/context scenarios are certainly something which needs both interpretive attention and interpretive wisdom, but for FL to make the interpretive "choices" for customers and tell them, "This here is X, and that there is Y", just seems like a slippery slope. I see a few different potential problems.

This removes personal responsibility from users to judge righteous judgment.
This encourages dependency upon an "all wise" know-it-all.
Because it is part of the software "apparatus", it may leave some users blindly accepting the results as certain rather than perceiving it for what it is, merely an opinion.

I could probably add some additional points of concern, but they would mostly fall in similar categories. I've talked about how I rarely if ever use Logos datasets, and it's stuff like this that is part of the reason. If this info was presented as just another resource, then I see no problem. But this kind of thing is presented as an integral part of the software package, and as such has a sort of unquestioned aspect to it, the present query of the OPer not withstanding. Not everyone is going to have the confidence to question something that is inherent to the core apparatus of the software. No doubt they should, but confidence like that takes time to build. Unfortunately, when people are spoon-fed, they often never develop the necessary sense of responsibility to question what they encounter. I don't think Logos should be feeding that problem.

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 8 2021 8:38 PM

Bob Densmore:

Thanks for response, but still confused.

For instance Ex 20.23 (You shall not make gods of silver to be with me, nor shall you make for yourselves gods of gold), has the sense in Logos as "idol", not "deity".

This just doesn't seem consistent with the other passages I sited in original thread.

If you run the search <Sense = idol>  EQUALS <H430>  (H430 = elohim) you will find 7 other verses like this. The qualifier was not also tagged e.g. "gods of silver", "my gods", "foreign gods", "gods of wood and stone", but the immediate context clarifies that elohim is worshiped as an idol. So I'm now thinking that your original passages + 1 King 12:28 and 2 Chron 13:8 should also have been tagged <Sense = idol> for consistency.!!

<Thing Teraphim> and <Thing Idol> are often associated with this Sense, as well as other <Things>.

Dt 4:28, 1 Sam 7:3, 2 Kin 17:29, 2 Chron 25:14 use <Person> with this Sense, but the context indicates that <Thing> would be more appropriate (or add <Thing Idol>  if it is felt necessary to identify the god).

Tagging is difficult.

Dave
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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 8 2021 10:26 PM

Greetings,

Hebrew is not the stronger one of my original languages, so feel free to correct me, but could it be that since the word אֱלֹהִ֑ים is grammatically a plural, and can be translated (depending on the context) either as "God" (singular, true Deity) or "gods" (plural, idols), that the Logos categorization is a bit fluid?

For example, in the Leviticus 19:4  passage cited by you in your example passages, the same word is used for idols (הָ֣אֱלִילִ֔ים) and for true God (אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם), andi it is qualified by the tetragrammaton, יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֵיכֶֽם, "YHWH, your God" at the end of the sentence(which makes the grammatical plural singular in meaning).

Says Martin Luther: "Moses begins his first book thus: “In the beginning Elohim created the heavens and the earth” [Gen. 1:1]. It is indeed self-evident that Elohim is plural number and does not signify one, but many, so that to be grammatically correct one must translate, “In the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth.” That Moses does not say, “In the beginning created,” plural number (corresponding to the plural subject), but: “created,” singular number (as if corresponding to a singular subject), shows clearly that there is not more than one single God and Creator. But that he says “the Gods” shows that in the same single divine substance there is nevertheless the number known as plural or more than one. Therewith our faith is preserved: we believe in no other god than the single eternal God; and yet we learn that the same single Godhead is more than one Person. From then onward throughout the entire Scriptures God is called Elohim, that is, “Gods.” And after that the same name is also given to the creatures which sit in God’s place, as in Exodus 23, and in Psalm 82[:1, 6], where it says, “God stands among the gods and judges the gods,” and, “I say, ‘You are Gods.…’ ” Luther, M. (1999). Luther’s works, vol. 34: Career of the Reformer IV. (Vol. 34, p. 223). (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald, & H. T. Lehmann, Eds.) Philadelphia: Fortress Press (emphases mine).

Luther's reading is of course a Christian one, informed by the later doctrine of Trinity.

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 5:52 AM

Personally, I'm with David Paul on this.

As I understand it... Logos most likely uses some program to arbitrally go thru and tag certain things. Programs don't think... they just do. Thus the results we get. This word matches the search word sooo  that is what we get. 

We should never forget to think for ourselves... no matter what any machine, program or man tells us. When we start allowing others to think for us... that is a slippery slope to nowhere and will deaden our senses if not our ability to think. What are we then?

The truth will make us free....not what some program produces for us, not what some man tells us. Truth only and we each must decipher the truth for ourselves.  

xn = Christan  man=man

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Kevin S. Coy | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 6:56 AM

xnman:
Truth only and we each must decipher the truth for ourselves.  

If everyone has their own truth then there is no real truth.  Each with their own truth is the relativist hymn...IMHO.

God bless.

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Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 8:39 AM

xnman:
Logos most likely uses some program to arbitrally go thru and tag certain things

I don't know the details - but a lot of tagging is done by very skilled people.

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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 9:05 AM

David Paul:
I have some misgivings about these Logos categorizations.

When Logos introduced 'sense', it necessarily entered the promise land of doctrine. In the same 'sense', BDAG is a theological dictionary through its doctrinal sense assignments.

Further clouding this thread's issues, is when worthless-god (idol) enterred hebrew usage (and LEB's consequent tight translation no idols in Exodus, except for those sneaky dancing goats,  but Leviticus, chock-full).

Best to read what the authors wrote.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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xnman | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 9:13 AM

Kevin S. Coy:

If everyone has their own truth then there is no real truth.  Each with their own truth is the relativist hymn...IMHO.

God bless.

While many want to decipher truth their way... does not mean that there isn't a truth. John 17:17 tells us God's word is truth. 

2+2 has always equaled 4 no matter how other men may decipher it. The truth of God's word is what God holds us to. 

Have a great day!

xn = Christan  man=man

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Into Grace | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 11:00 AM

xnman:

Kevin S. Coy:

If everyone has their own truth then there is no real truth.  Each with their own truth is the relativist hymn...IMHO.

God bless.

While many want to decipher truth their way... does not mean that there isn't a truth. John 17:17 tells us God's word is truth. 

2+2 has always equaled 4 no matter how other men may decipher it. The truth of God's word is what God holds us to. 

Have a great day!

Yes

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Olli-Pekka Ylisuutari | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 11:21 AM

Back to the guesswork as to the ambiguous senses of the word Elohim:

Regarding the question of plurals vs. singular (I mentioned above) the Lexham Bible Dictionary says:

Elohim (אֱלֹהִים, elohim). A masculine plural form of El (אֵל, el). (emphasis mine).

Dave Hooton:

elohim ==> god or God depending on the context

I agree with Dave, perhaps only specifying this: "gods or God" rather than "god or God". The word is grammatically a plural, even though the meaning or sense can be either singular – and usually is, “over 2000 times”, – or plural (depending, of course, on the context).

One context that repeats time after time and in which the grammatical plural must be interpreted as singular is when “elohim usually takes singular verbs and adjectives.”

Horst Dietrich Preuss says: "The divine name אלהים = ’ĕlōhîm probably describes a plural of intensity or plural of majesty (simply “God” = an abstract plural)."

In Judaism and in modern critical scholarship the explanation that it is a “plural of majesty” is the dominating one. Modern critical scholarship can neither confirm (nor luckily deny) later doctrines. In Christian exegesis coloured by the (much later) doctrine of the holy Trinity and accepting to some degree the "sensus plenior" of the Holy Scriptures (also in protestant, not just Roman-Catholic theology!) it is not just a “plural of majesty” but a reference to the Triunity of God (just as I cited Luther above, and I might add as a lutheran priest: justifiably so!)

LBD also says: “Yahweh is an אֱלֹהִים (elohim), but no other אֱלֹהִים (elohim) is Yahweh. This was what an orthodox Israelite believed.”

David Paul:

I have some misgivings about these Logos categorizations. Maybe they are correct...but maybe they aren't. These text/context scenarios are certainly something which needs both interpretive attention and interpretive wisdom..

Couldn't agree more!

So my guesses as to why the sense in Logos categorization is ambiguous (no certain information here, just pure speculation!):

1)      Elohim is a common noun (compare: Eloah > Allah [with, e.g. arab christians)

2)      Grammatically Elohim is plural

3)      In sense it can be either plural (denoting idols) or singular (denoting the one, true God)

4)      The uses of the adjectives and verbs (singular) and the context reveal how the plural should be translated (whether as singular denoting one, true God, or as plural, denoting idols)

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 2:25 PM

Denise:
Further clouding this thread's issues, is when worthless-god (idol) enterred hebrew usage (and LEB's consequent tight translation no idols in Exodus, except for those sneaky dancing goats,  but Leviticus, chock-full).

If you mean <H457> 'idols' which has an associative meaning of 'worthless', then LEB translates 17x as 'idols' and only 3x as 'worthless' (once in the context of an idol). Not sure about Leviticus (2x), but it is not used in Exodus.  In general 'idols' is not used in Exodus and 4x in Lev.

Dave
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DMB | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 2:31 PM

Dave Hooton:
If you mean <H457> 'idols' which has an associative meaning of 'worthless', then LEB translates 17x as 'idols' and only 3x as 'worthless' (once in the context of an idol). Not sure about Leviticus (2x), but it is not used in Exodus.  In general 'idols' is not used in Exodus and 4x in Lev.

Exactly. But per syntax pattern dating. Leviticus is much later than Exodus (the hebrew, not necessarily when written). So, in translating and sense determination, one may have to make assumptions about hebrew common usage in Exodus, where worthless-god may not have been available as a word-combo.

"God will save his fallen angels and their broken wings He'll mend."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 7:33 PM

Kevin S. Coy:

xnman:
Truth only and we each must decipher the truth for ourselves.  

If everyone has their own truth then there is no real truth.  Each with their own truth is the relativist hymn...IMHO.

I get what you're trying to say, but "truth" received yet untested isn't truth...it's a bet. And not a "red or black" bet, but more like Powerball. There simply isn't a real corporate accountability...it is necessarily individual. That's what remnant Yis'raa'eil is--scattered individuals...one from a city and, occasionally, two from a family. The corpus is only aggregated after the fact. There isn't any church, congregation, or organization whose "line" you can follow and receive the prize. Only conforming to YHWH's will suffices, and only those who conform based upon their own determinative decisions are accepted. Going along to get along does not suffice. Those "two from a family" don't get in together because of corporate acceptance, but rather because one who tested well was able to influence another who then took the same test. In other words, yes, there is only one Truth that matters, but only the individual can properly inculcate that Truth. It isn't and can't be accomplished en masse. Every single "plug in", every single conformation, is singular and individual, because it is only by and through that dynamic that personal responsibility is taken into account.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 9 2021 8:30 PM

Time for a poll  based on multiple posts by multiple people today:

  1. Is Christian anthropology a branch of theology? I'll assume a yes here.
  2. Is epistemology when applied in a religious context, theological?
  3. Is it, therefore, banned or permitted under the forum guidelines? 

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 10 2021 8:44 AM

Hi MJ:

1: yes, Christian anthropology could be a branch of theology as long as it jibes with the Bible, and the Character and nature of God.

And that is what is the problem, the nature and character of God many times is at odds with the defined dogma of particular groups.

Jesus came directly from heaven, to tell it like it is, and found heavy resistance from man organized groups, that had their own conception (erroneous) of God's reality and developed dogma contrary to God's intent.

I must infer certain things about Faithlife:

A. It wants the Church to grow. To me it means that we believers as part of the body of Christ (the Church as fit aid), are that Church (assembly of believers and not a building of a given tradition), and thus FL wants my growth.

To grow, one of the best ways is to have robust dialogue that tries to elicit truth, based not only on primary sources, but on the insights men and women of God have had through time and across traditions.

To be exposed to different angles about a topic, allows me to enlarge my conceptual framework, to explore possibilities and sometimes to get in touch with information me or my tradition totally ignored.

As long as I present my case, experience, doubts, opinions in a respectful manner, and in a way that proper investigation of the issue / claim, and not trying to proselytize anyone, seems to me to be something in line with the character of Jesus who was crystal clear in His teachings, and who in a civil way discoursed about the errors He saw in some doctrines (eg Saducees') in the light of Scripture.

2 epistemology is of utmost importance. But to many of us believers, besides all of the involved methods, validity, and scope, are very clear that truth for us is a Person:

Joh 14:6  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

And he definitively set out a method, and implied personal accountability to try to ascertain truth:

Luk 10:25  And behold, a certain legal expert stood up to test him, saying, "Teacher, what must I do so that I will inherit eternal life?"

Luk 10:26  And he said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"

Luk 10:27  And he answered and said, "You shall love the Lord your God from all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

Luk 10:28  And he said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this and you will live."

Note Jesus did not ask the man: What did Gamaliel explain to be the most probable doctrine? nor what does the Pharisees dogma states? what do the Saducees affirm?

So just as good synagogue Bereans did, one has to check to see if things are so, regardless of what human / human institution tries to feed you.

I understand David Paul concern about databases, but is our responsibility to check and see if they are ok with respect to Scriptures and the Nature and Character of God.

If they are, more power to them, but if not just let go of what does not jibe, and retain the good.

Many times when posters voice concerns, and sometimes thread near the fringe of the envelope in what could be considered theological dialogue, I find that I learn, and many times am edified with respect to analyzing what is being pointed out to see what I consider the root issue is IAW the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

B. If FL core values at top are Honesty and Openess, I do not think they want one particular group to call out of bounds readily, when a closer study is needed to validate the issue commented.

I see nothing wrong to share different angles for further study, reflection and comment, as long as it does not turn into ungodly exchange with accusations of questionable intentions, character, etc.

As creatures, we must be very aware that the only fully Orthodox Being in the Universe is God Himself, every created entity has but a poor contextual grasp of God's reality, and thus we should very humbly listen to other angles and check to see if things are so.

That has proven a very effective way to grow, and is something I see FL very proactively and patiently tries to foster.

I understand people getting upset at certain posts, and is normal, because we all care deeply about the issues, and they are important, but remember judgment is of the Lord alone.

The only sin that will not be pardoned is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, all others (intentionally or unintentionally indoctrinating into wrong doctrine included) as long as one confesses to the Lord and repents.

Which brings us to an important point, if we are in error through ignorance (sincerely mistaken), maybe exchanges among different believers is a way God wants to set the root issues straight, so that persons can understand that something in their accepted theological constructs does not jibe.

Part of the prayer should be that God allows us to see our blind spots, to try to "Grow" as living stones part of the New Temple of God (body of Christ).

Take the above as an angle from a non expert user of Logos software, very grateful for its existence, and giving testimony that I consider it together with the forums and the exchanges there a key help in growth in understanding of the mysteries of theology.

Peace and grace.

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Bob | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 10 2021 11:44 AM

Dave,
Thanks for information. I agree and I have a better understanding now.

Bob

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Sean Boisen | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Jan 11 2021 9:10 AM

Graham Criddle:

xnman:
Logos most likely uses some program to arbitrally go thru and tag certain things

I don't know the details - but a lot of tagging is done by very skilled people.

The annotation for the Bible Sense Lexicon was a multi-year project involving manual curation by several curators with advanced training in biblical languages: it's one of the largest investments we've made in annotating the meaning of the biblical text. So it was not done by program, and it certainly wasn't done arbitrarily. You can read more about the curation process and principles in Bible Sense Lexicon: Dataset Documentation. That being said, it's a large amount of work, and we continue to find both errors and places where we can improve it (so please continue to report any issues you find or questions that arise).

Also note that there are often two or three different kinds of annotation of concrete nouns:

  • Sense annotation (contextually, and with a detailed inventory of senses)
  • Person annotation based on who a name, pronoun, or description refers to (also within the immediate context)
  • Thing annotation (generally not as granular)

We've tried hard to avoid imposing our own interpretations on the text and record what most honest readers would agree with, but naturally there are some cases where that's hard to do. In some cases we've recorded multiple possibilities when it seemed necessary.

xnman:
We should never forget to think for ourselves... no matter what any machine, program or man tells us. When we start allowing others to think for us... that is a slippery slope to nowhere and will deaden our senses if not our ability to think. What are we then?

100% agreed: our annotation is intended to facilitate search, discover, and other capabilities, but it's not a substitute for your own study of the text. 

We'll look further into these issues to see if we can improve the consistency of our tagging around elohim (which Dave Hooten has helpfully summarized on this thread.)

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