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Thursday, July 16, 2009

El Shaddai / God Almighty

For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

El Shaddai / God Almighty
(pronounced: "ale shad-DAI")

By the God of your father who will help you,
And by the Almighty who will bless you
With blessings of heaven above,
Blessings of the deep that lies beneath,
Blessings of the breasts and of the womb.
~ Genesis 49:24-25 (NKJV)

The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.
~ Job 33:4 (NKJV)

The name El Shaddai is generally found in poetic passages which declare God's promise or ability to grant abundance and fertility (of children, animals or land). It is the name God uses of Himself when He changes the name of His servant Abram to Abraham ("father of a multitude") and promises to give Abraham abundance of land and descendants (Genesis 17). It is a name used by non-Israelites to acknowledge the highest (Creator) God.

El Shaddai captures God's power both as raw strength, and in the ability to give and sustain life. Two related words are shadad, a verb meaning to be burly or too devastatingly powerful to be moved, and the noun shad, for the female breast or an animal teat.

The Bible is not shy in depicting the female breast as a source of not only nourishment and nurture which give life to a child, but of satisfaction and comfort to both husband and child. The male chest is likewise a source of security, as when a shepherd holds a lamb in his bosom or when a man offers protection by his strength.

The definition in Zodhiates' Hebrew Dictionary describes that this name indicates the ability of the Almighty to fulfill His promises. The translation "Almighty" (or "All Powerful, Omnipotent") evokes not the might of God's arm so often spoken of in Scripture, but the power in the chest to protect and give life.

The name El Shaddai also evokes a picture of one drawing close to God—into His very bosom.

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. I long to draw closer and closer.

  2. I couldn't help but hear Amy Grant while reading this post! Thanks for the insight into the meaning of this Name. And I love the themed posts. Great idea.

  3. Isn't that something how God can be, at once, an immovable Power House and a gentle Comforter? Incredible, really.

    Your wisdom is such a blessing. So glad you share this spiritual gift with us.

  4. Denise, I see you drawing closer every day.

    Kristie, nice to see you here again. I've thought about continuing to do themed posts, but they've been quite a bit more work. We'll see.

    Jennifer, I too thrive on the wonderful contrasts evident in the Bible, especially concerning the nature of God. As much (unanticipated) extra work as this series has been, it's also been drinking Living Waters for me.


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