MANY Bible readers do not know that about five clearly different Hebrew words have been deliberately mistranslated into the English Bible as “God”. And that none of these five words means “Supreme Being”.
Rather, every one of these words refers to deities or gods.
These Hebrew words are El (also El Elyon), el, eloah, elohiym and Yahweh.
When about 200 years before the birth of Jesus, 70 (or 72) Jewish scholars gathered in Alexandria, Egypt, to make the very first translation of Hebrew religious texts into Greek, they found themselves in a dilemma.
Contrary to the “monotheism” preached by the Jewish faith (Judaism) in which their national deity, Yahweh, was touted as the “one and only God,” the translators found clear records in the texts of many superhuman beings called elohiym (gods) who took interest in, or took charge of the affairs of individuals or nations.
The records also showed that Yahweh was the personal name of just one of these elohiym each of whom was called an el or eloah. And that each of these elohiym had his or her personal name. The chief of these elohiym, according to the texts, was not even Yahweh, but another entity entirely, called El or El Elyon.
An accurate translation of these texts into Greek, the widely spoken language of those times, would deal a great blow to the Jewish faith. Not only would it expose the fallacy of the brand of monotheism preached by Judaism, it would also reduce Yahweh to the status of the gods and goddesses of other nations – nations, which the Jews had always branded “idol worshippers.”
The Jewish scholars did not want these to happen. So they took a most patriotic – but fraudulent – decision: to doctor their translations to agree with the Jewish brand of monotheism, which claims that Yahweh, their local deity is the “one and only God” of the whole universe, while the deities of all other nations are demons or mere idols – or totally non- existent.
They did accordingly.
They translated those five Hebrew words variously as it suited their purpose.
*Anywhere they saw the word elohiym (the plural form of el or eloah), meaning deities or gods, the Jewish scholars mistranslated it into Greek as Theou _ a singular word meaning “God” with capital letter “G”.
But they translated the same word correctly as gods when it refers to the elohiym of other nations.
Thus elohiym is mistranslated as God instead of gods in the very first sentence of Genesis; in Exodus 3:1; in Genesis 32:28 etc., but correctly as gods in Psalm 82:6; in Deuteronomy 32:17; Exodus 23:13, etc.
*The translators began referring to Yahweh as God such that “Yahweh told Moses” becomes “God told Moses” (e.g. Exodus 3:14) and actually translated Yahweh as God or the LORD (all capitals) or left it as Yahweh.
*They correctly translated el or eloah of other nations as god but translated same words incorrectly as God when it refers to the el or eloah of Israel.
Thus, while “el Philistine” is translated as “god of the Philistines”, “el Israel” is translated “God of Israel.”
As an example of how very misleading this can be, “el Philistine” in the Yoruba Bible is “Orisa awon Filistini” but el Israel” becomes “Olorun Israeli”, instead of “Orisa Israeli”.
*They translated El or El Elyon, the chief of all Canaanite gods also as God or God Most High (or Most High).
This way, the translators craftily erase this entity and prevent his identification as an authority separate from and by far superior to Yahweh their own local god.
For instance, the “Most High God” in Genesis 14:18 (whose priest was Melchizedeck), the “Most High” in Deuteronomy 32:8 and the “God” in Psalm 82:6 all refer to El Elyon, not Yahweh god of Israel.
The overall result of this deliberate mistranslations is a totally misleading impression/concept that Yahweh=Elohiym=God=God Most High.
The end product of this heavily flawed translation was The Septuagint (LXX), the first authorized compilation of Hebrew religious texts in Greek.
It is a document produced by the Jews about the Jews. Why must anybody take their word for it?
But evidently, the Christian Church did.
And this heavily racial and flawed document later got incorporated into the Christian Bible as the “Old Testament.”
And because it is in the Bible, the typical simple-minded Christian considers it “perfect”.
And so, today, millions of Christians sing praises of Yahweh (Jehovah) as God Almighty, not knowing they are worshipping a mere orisa “idol” – the local deity of the ancient Israelites.
The concept of God, the Supreme Being, is so crucial and fundamental to our lives that any misconceptions about it can do incalculable harm to our worldview. This is, especially so, when the misconception is an impersonation of that most elevated being by a local deity of such a violent nature as Yahweh.
For instance, many Bible readers have been led to believe that the unprovoked attacks and invasion of other nations by the ancient Israelites and the blood-curling slaughter of women and children were ordered by God, the Supreme Being.
That is a lie.
It was Yahweh, the local deity of the Jews, one of the most blood-thirsty deities, who ordered those massacres. African gospellers especially, should carefully distinguish between the humanistic gospel of Jesus of Nazareth and the clannish inhumanity of the Israelite deity, Yahweh, which has brought on both the Jews and the rest of the world the very worst of human calamities.
It is difficult to believe that the highest hierarchy of the Church is unaware of this “God fraud.” After all, the translators of the new Living Translation of The Holy Bible, Tyndale House Publishers, admit in the introduction to that version that: “All appearances of ‘el, ‘elohim or ‘eloah have been translated as “God” except where the context demands the translation “god(s).”
And that context, as already pointed out, is whenever these words refer to nations other than the Israelites – that is, all other nations of the world.
Fortunately, however, this “God fraud” was not perfectly executed. Many Old Testament passages and expressions give away the mistranslations.
For instance, the frequent occurrence of the expression “God of Israel” “God of Jacob” shows that the Hebrew words translated as “God” were never originally used as proper names like Yemi or Julius, but were generic terms like “Protector” or “guardian”. There can be many protectors or guardians.
Indeed, many of the elohiym acted as protectors of peoples or individuals with whom many of them signed pacts or “covenants.” It was common practice in ancient times for nations or races to sign pacts (covenants) with these gods.
Baal, one of the more charismatic gods with whom Yahweh competed bitterly for the affections of the Israelites, was called “Baal-of-the-covenant” by the people of Shechem with whom he apparently signed a pact.
Yahweh was simply one of these gods who took charge of the affairs of the Israelites – after a covenant with their leaders on Mt. Sinai. There was nothing special about Yahweh “choosing” the Israelites.
To say, therefore, that the Israelites were the “chosen people” of a deity called Yahweh would be correct. But to call them the “chosen people of God” is fraud.