The name “El” was a typical expression in Ancient Near East languages to identify a god. The equivalent in English is “God,” and we run into the same issues that people in the ancient world experienced when it comes to that name; Which God do you mean? If I’m talking to a Hindu and they say “god,” I am not sure which one they mean, because they have thousands of gods. In a world of Polytheism, which was pretty much the common belief in the ancient world, just saying “god” didn’t help identify which God was being discussed. Add to this the complication that in Ancient Judaism, writing or even speaking the name of God risked defiling Him and taking His name in vain (kind of a big commandment there). So, within the Jewish world, they developed various names to specify the God they worshipped by including His attributes.

As you pray this week and focus on the Father to whom you pray, I wanted to share a list of the various names/attributes of God found within our Old Testament.

And I will hope in your name, for your name is good. – Psalm 52:9

  • El Echad – The One God (Malachi 2:10)
  • El Hanne’eman – The Faithful God (Deuteronomy 7:9)
  • El Emet – The God of Truth (Psalm 31:5)
  • El Tsaddik – The Righteous God (Isaiah 45:21)
  • El Shaddai – The All Sufficient God or God Almighty (Genesis 17:1)
  • El Elyon – The Most High God (Genesis 14:20, Psalm 9:2)
  • El Olam – God Everlasing (Genesis 21:33, Psalm 90:1-3)
  • El Roi – The God Who Sees Me (Genesis 16:13)
  • El Gibbor – The Mighty/Victorious God (Isaiah 9:6)
  • El De’ot – The God of Knowledge (1 Samuel 2:3)
  • El Haggadol – The Great God (Deuteronomy 10:17)
  • El Hakkavod – The God of Glory (Psalm 29;3)
  • El Hakkadosh – The Holy God (Israel 5:16)
  • El Hashamayim – The God of the Heavens (Psalm 136:26)
  • El Chaiyai – The God of My Life (Psalm 42:8)
  • El Channun – The Gracious God (Jonah 4:2)
  • El Yisrael – The God of Israel (Psalm 68:36)
  • El Sali – God of My Strength / God My Rock (Psalm 42:9)
  • El Erek Apayim Avi Ha-Tanchumim – The God of Patience and Consolation (Isaiah 57:18)
  • El Rachum – The God of Compassion (Deuteronomy 4:31)
  • El Malei Rachamim – God Full of Mercy
  • El Yeshuati – The God of My Salvation (Isaiah 12:2)
  • El Kanno – The Jealous God (Exodus 20:5)
  • ImmanuEl – God with Us (Isaiah 7:14)
  • El Honnora – The Awesome God (Nehemiah 9:32)

These were not distinct or separate gods, but different ways to describe the one true God. Which of the names resonates with you today? Praying with the names of God in our minds can help direct our prayers and thoughts. Praying to our God who is full of mercy is a comforting thought when going through difficult times. When under attack, praying to the God described as the God of my strength and my rock provides confidence to weary warriors. Which name or names do you choose today?