Allah in the Jewish Bible
By Dennis Giron
"Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is One LORD:" (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Clarifying the linguistic connections between the Names Allah and Elohim.
First we see the identical prononciation in Scripture:
The word for God in Genesis 1:1 is elohim, which is essentially a plural form of a more basic root-Hebrew word for God, (eloh).
Furthermore, the Arabic translation of the Jewish Bible uses the name "Allah" to refer to God in Genesis 1:1
" Fee al-badi' khalaqa Allahu as-Samaawaat wa al-Ard . . ."
In addition to the etymological connection based on sound, we also discover the connections of the two Names based on roots, spelling, meaning, and geography.
If one were to find the word (eloh) (alef-lamed-heh) in an inscription written in paleo-hebrew, aramaic, or some sort of Nabatean script, it could be pronounced numerous ways without the diacritical marks to guide the reader.
When treated as a verb root, this letter combination (proncounced alah) is the root for the verb "to swear" or "to take an oath," as well as the verb "to deify" or "to worship"
[look up alef-lamed-heh (ALH) in Milon Ben-Y'hudaah, Ivri-Angli (Ben Yehuda's Hebrew-English Dictionary)]. The root itself finds its origin with an older root, el, which means God, deity, power, strength..
So, one of the basic Hebrew words for God, (eloh), can easily be pronounced alah without the diacritical marks. Not surprisingly, the Aramaic word for God, according to the Lexicon offered at http://peshitta.org, is (alah).
This word, in the standard script (), or the Estrangela script (), is spelled alap-lamad-heh (ALH), which are the exact corresponding letters to the Hebrew eloh.
The Aramaic is closely related to the more ancient root word for God, eel (according to Robert Oshana's on-line introduction to basic Assyrian Aramaic at www.learnassyrian.com).
The Arabic word for God, Allah, is spelled in a very similar way, and is remotely related to the more generic word for deity, ilah. We're quickly starting to notice the obvious linguistic and etymological connections between the respective words for God in these closely related Semitic languages (e.g. Allah, Alah, and Eloh being related to Ilah, Eel, and El, respectively).
Let me make it more clear....
- We have made the connection in terms of spelling, as all these words are spelled similar to one another.
- The geographic connection is there, as these respective languages originate in regions that are very close to one another.
- The roots are also basically the same.
- The meanings are essentially the same.
In conclusion, the ancient Semitic names for God (Allah and Elohim) are actually the same.