Even though El Shaddai is generally translated God Almighty, shaddai is from the same root as “breast,” with reference to nurturing. This title occurs significantly in Genesis referring to God’s development of Abraham’s descendants. Exod. 6:4 affirms this: “I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shaddai, but by my name yhwh I did not make myself known to them.” The patriarchs, through the process of divine intervention in giving them wives and children experienced God as a family nurturer. In Exodus, the children of Israel would experience God as deliverer, hence to emphasis on yhwh. Of course the patriarchs knew and used the divine name, but the Exodus passage addresses experiential knowledge. The patriarchs never experienced a deliverance such as the Exodus. Their experience of God was appropriately denoted by the usage of El Shaddai in Exod. 6:4.

(Note: I am grateful to David Levin for providing this answer)

Tagged with →  
Share →