Naked Bible 249: Did Israelites View Their Judges as Gods?

 
 
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The word elohim frequently speaks of a single deity, most notably the God of Israel, in the Hebrew Bible. Exceptions include Psalm 82:1, 6, where plural elohim refers to the members of God’s heavenly host (his council or assembly; cp. Psa 89:5-7). Dr. Heiser has devoted a great deal of attention to how such passages and such thinking should not be defined by modern readers as polytheism or henotheism. Though he has written extensively in published scholarly journals on the topic and in his best-selling book, The Unseen Realm, some opponents of the straightforward reading of Psalm 82 and other passages insist that the elohim of that psalm are people—specifically, Israelite judges. This episode of the podcast examines the proof-texts of such an idea and shows their deficiencies.

Material in this episode is drawn from Dr. Heiser’s article, “Should אלהים (ʾelōhîm) with Plural Predication be Translated “Gods”? BT Vol. 61, No. 3: 123-136. This article is not accessible online, but can be accessed only via a theological or university library or by subscribing to Dr. Heiser’s newsletter. Papers read at conferences and other articles that address divine plurality in Psalm 82 and elsewhere are freely available at Dr. Heiser’s divine council website.

For how this episode and its content relates to Jesus’ use of Psalm 82:6 in John 10:34, see Episode 109: John 10: Gods or Men?

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