The Divine Names and Titles.


El-Shaddai, אֵל שַׁדַּי

By the Rev. Dr. Bullinger.

Taken from Things to Come Magazine, April, 1897


Shaddai is in every instance translated. It is nevertreated as a proper name, but is always rendered "Almighty." As no other word is thus rendered, we need not give the actual references. It occurs forty-eight times. In seven of these passages it is combined with El, which, as we have already seen, means God with reference to power.

There is some difference of opinion as to the origin or root of the word, but all are pretty well agreed that Shaddai denotes the All-bountiful one rather than the All-mighty one. Shad is the Hebrew for breast, and it is used of the fields, whose manner of giving gives us the idea of bounty without wasting or losing their own treasure. Inexhaustible supply is the essence of the meaning.

The first occurrence of the name will supply us with the key to unlock its treasures. It is revealed first to Abraham, and at a critical moment in his life. For fifteen years there had been no appearance of God to Abraham, and no Divine communication made to him. Abraham had obtained an heir after his own will, and the silence of heaven during this period is the mark of the Divine displeasure, stamping these fifteen years as "Lo-ammi."1 At length (Gen. xvii. 1) God appeared to him again to reveal the way in which He would give Abraham the promised seed, and to establish His covenant with him.

In calling Abraham to lean only on Him and to depend not on his own plans but upon Divinely sanctioned means and upon the Divine resources, He reveals Himself to Abraham by the title of El-Shaddai, saying, "I am El-Shaddai (God the All-bountiful); walk before Me,!' &c. The lesson taught by this first revelation of the Name is that, when God was calling Abraham to walk before Him in the path of dependence upon His power to supply all his need, the Name He chose to use of Himself told Abraham of the relationship which He would sustain toward him, as one full of force to do all that He willed, full of power to give all -that He willed to bestow.

It is very remarkable and very blessed for us to notice that when the same God calls His children now to come out from all evil associations, and to walk before Him as He called Abraham, the title chosen is the same in which He revealed Himself to Abraham. "Ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. vi. 14-18).

When Isaac would invoke a blessing on his son Jacob, and direct his faith to the One who would meet all his necessities, he said, "And El-Shaddai bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee," etc. (Gen. xxviii. 3).

Under this name again God revealed Himself to Jacob in Bethel, and changed his name to Israel, renewing His covenant with him. "I am El-'Shaddai. Be fruitful and multiply," etc. (Gen. xxxv. 11).

Israel afterwards invokes this name when Benjamin is sent with his brethren to Joseph: "El-Shaddai give you mercy before the man " (Gen. xliii. 14).

When recounting to Joseph the mercies which God had bestowed upon him out of bounty and grace, he says (Gen. xlviii. 3, 4): "El-Shaddai appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me, and said unto me, Behold,

I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee," etc.

And in the blessing of Joseph (Gen. xlix. 25), Jacob says, "By the El of thy father, who shall help thee; and by Shaddai, who shall bless thee with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lieth under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb," etc.

In Exod. vi. 3, all this is referred to to show that this was the revealed name to the patriarchs. The name Jehovah had been used, but it was not known in all that it meant and conveyed.

In one other place it is used in connection with El (making eight in all, if we include Gen. xlix. 25), viz., Ezek. x. 5: "The sound of the cherubims' wings . . .. was as the voice of El-Shaddai when He speaketh."

In all the other occurrences (forty in all), Shaddai occurs without El.

The name therefore comes to us with the application made in 2 Cor. vi. 1 8, that as "God Almighty" — El-Shaddai — to us His sons and daughters now He has all-sufficiency of wisdom to direct us; all-sufficiency of power to protect us; all-sufficiency of loving-kindness and faithfulness to provide for us; all-sufficiency of grace to preserve us; and all-sufficiency of blessing treasured up in Christ the Head, for all the members of His Body.

All the references given above are connected with blessings, both temporal and spiritual; and therefore, as His "sons and daughters," we lay hold of this Title El-Shaddai, hear the inspired words of one who had tasted of the bounties of His grace and power speaking to our hearts, and saying, "My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches of grace by Christ Jesus " (Phil. iv. 19).


Continued in Parts 10, 11, and 12



1) These fifteen yearn deducted from the birth of Abraham to the Exodus leaves 490 yean. The ninety-three years of the captivities in Judges leaves 1490 from the Exodus to the Dedication of the Temple. The seventy years in Babylon deducted from the Foundation of the Temple to the going forth of the commandment to restore and rebuild Jerusalem" (Dan. ix. and Neb. ii. 1), leaves another 490 years. And from that to the end of the Seventy-Sevens of Dan. ix. will be the last 490 years, deducting the present Interval of this dispensation.