El Shaddai


This particular 2013 study has been completely rewritten and expanded, but is
currently available in PDF form only. I have left the former study online below
for anyone who is unable to download or uncomfortable downloading from the
internet. Click here to download the 2019 "El Shaddai" study for free.

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El Shaddai
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Pronounced el shad-dY', this is the best-known of the "El" compound names. It means The All-Sufficient One and is usually translated in English Bibles as "God Almighty", "the Almighty" or "Almighty God". The exact derivation of the word "shaddai" is not known. According to my research, all of the following words have been used at various times in the development of the name:

  • The Hebrew word "dai" (meaning "sheds forth", "pours out", or "to heap benefits") suggests provision, sustenance, and blessing. Thus, God is the All-Sufficient, All-Bountiful El. (Genesis 42:24-25)
  • The Hebrew word "shad" or "shadayim" (meaning "breast" or "breasts") occurs 24 times as "Shaddai" and signifies One who nourishes, supplies, and satisfies (Isaiah 60:16, 66:10-13). Combined with the word for God, "El", it then becomes the "One mighty to nourish, satisfy, and supply".
  • The Hebrew root word "shadad" (meaning "to overpower" or "to destroy") suggests absolute power. While Elohim is the God who creates, in the name "Shaddai" God reveals Himself as the God who compels nature to do what is contrary to itself. He is able to triumph over every obstacle and all opposition; He is able to subdue all things to Himself.
  • An Akkadian word "Šadu" (meaning "mountain"), suggests great strength.

All of these names — whether individually or collectively — naturally would be intensified when combined with "El" and would refer to YHWH as the One who mightily nourishes, satisfies, protects, and supplies His people. El Shaddai is our All-Sufficient Sustainer. It is God as "El" who helps, and it is God as "Shaddai" who abundantly blesses with all manner of blessings.

As Nathan Stone wrote: "...the idea of One who is all-powerful and all-mighty is implied . . . for only an all-powerful One could be all-sufficient and all-bountiful. He is almighty because He is able to carry out His purposes and plans to their fullest and most glorious and triumphant completion. . . . So He is able to save to the uttermost. And He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think."

To experience God's sufficiency, we must realize our own insufficiency

The name "Shaddai", by itself, occurs 41 times in the Old Testament, 29 times in Job alone, and is translated "Almighty" in most English Bibles. In fact, the name "Shaddai" is the one written on the Mezuzah scroll.

  • Genesis 49:25 — "from the El of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty [Shaddai] who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb." (TS98)
  • Job 5:17 — "Look, blessed is the man whom Eloah does reprove, so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty." (TS98)
  • Job 33:4 — "It is the Spirit of God that made me, the breath of Shaddai that gives me life." (CJB)
  • Psalm 91:1 — "He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High [Elyon] Will rest in the shadow of the Almighty [Shaddai]." (WEB)
  • Isaiah 13:6 — "Howl, for the day of YHWH is near! It comes as a destruction from the Almighty [Shaddai]." (TS98)
  • See also Numbers 24:4, 16; Ruth 1:20,21; Job 6:4, 6:14, 8:3-5, 11:7, 13:3, 15:25, 21:15,20 22:3, 22:17, 22:23-26, 23:16, 24:1, 27:2, 27:10-13, 29:5, 31:2, 31:35, 32:8, 34:10,12, 35:13, 37:23, 40:2; Psalm 68:14; Ezekiel 1:24; Joel 1:15.

The compound name "El Shaddai" first appears is in Genesis 17:1: — "When Avram [Abraham] was 99 years old Adonai appeared to Avram and said to him, 'I am El Shaddai [God Almighty]. Walk in my presence and be pure-hearted.'" (CJB)

And one particular passage that employs both "El" alone and the compound "El Shaddai" is Genesis 49:24-25 — "but his bow remained taut; and his arms were made nimble by the hands of the Mighty One (El) of Ya'akov (Jacob), from there, from the Shepherd, the Stone of Isra'el, by the God [El] of your father, who will help you, by El Shaddai, who will bless you with blessings from heaven above, blessings from the deep, lying below, blessings from the breasts and the womb." (CJB)

Further passages in the Old Testament that use the name "El Shaddai":

  • Genesis 28:3 — "May El Shaddai bless you, make you fruitful and increase your descendants, until they become a whole assembly of peoples." (CJB)
  • Genesis 35:11 — "And Elohim said to him, 'I am El Shaddai. Bear fruit and increase, a nation and a company of nations shall be from you, and sovereigns come from your body.'" (TS98)
  • Exodus 6:3 — (God spoke to Moses...)"'I appeared to Avraham, Yitz'chak (Isaac) and Ya'akov (Jacob) as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (YHWH) [Adonai].'" (CJB)
  • See also Genesis 43:14, 48:3; Numbers 24:4,16; Ruth 1:20,21; Job 5:17, 6:14, 8:3,5, 11:7, 13:3, 15:25, 21:15,20, 22:3,17,23-26, 23:16, 24:1, 27:2,10-13, 29:5, 31:2,35, 32:8, 33:4, 34:12, 35:13, 37:23, 40:2; Psalm 68:14; Isaiah 13:6, 60:15,16, 66:10-13; Ezekiel 1:24, 10:5; Joel 1:15.

It's important to note here that to experience God's sufficiency as our all-sufficient El Shaddai, we must realize our own insufficiency. To experience God's fullness as He has revealed Himself through His names, we must first empty ourselves — that is, make ourselves empty vessels which El Shaddai can then fill and use.

Akkadian (lišanum akkaditum)
A Semitic language (part of the greater Afro-Asiatic language family) spoken in
ancient Mesopotamia, particularly by the Assyrians and Babylonians. The name of the
language is derived from the city of Akkad, a major center of Mesopotamian civilization.

Mezuzah Scroll case
Mezuzah scroll
Religious texts from Deuteronomy inscribed on cloth parchment, rolled up and placed into a
decorative case, and attached to the doorframe of Jewish households in accordance with Jewish Law.

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