Plural Verbs Used with Elohim

Normally, when Elohim is used in reference to the one true God, the verb modifying the noun is singular. This is contrary to normal, Hebrew, grammatical rules which state that the verb should agree with the noun in gender and number. Normally, we would expect a plural verb to be used with the plural noun Elohim. When using Elohim of false “gods,” this is what we find. Most of the time when we encounter the plural noun Elohim, it is modified by a singular verb which shows that there is only one true God. However, there are exceptions.

These exceptions keep the door open for a discussion of complex, indivisible unity in the Godhead. Some examples are found in Genesis 20:13, 35:7; 2 Samuel 7:23; and Psalm 58:11. Let us use the 2nd Samuel verse for further clarification:

And who is like Your people Israel, a unique nation on earth, whom God went and redeemed as His people, winning renown for Himself and doing great and marvelous deeds for them [and] for Your land-[driving out] nations and their gods before Your people, whom You redeemed for Yourself from Egypt.[1]

The noun/verb sequence that we are focusing on is “God went.” The literal Hebrew reads “they went, Gods did.” We are talking of the one true God here, and He is referred to in plural terms-plural noun and plural verb agreement. The door is open to considering the concept of complex, indivisible unity in the Godhead.

  1. ^ Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures: A new translation of the Holy Scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997, c1985), 2 Samuel 7:23