Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
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EL-ELOHE-ISRAEL

el-e-lo'-he-iz'-ra-el, el-el'-o-he-iz'-ra-el ('el 'elohe yisra'el, translated "God, the God of Israel" in the American Revised Version, margin and the King James Version margin): Found only in Gen 33:20 as the name given to the altar erected at Shechem by Jacob, henceforth, known as Israel, on the parcel of ground purchased by him from the inhabitants of Shechem, his first encampment of length and importance since the return to Israel from Paddan-aram and the eventful night at Peniel (Gen 32:30). This unusual combination of names has given occasion for much speculation and for various text emendations. Already the Septuagint sought to meet the difficulty by reading wa-yiqra' 'el 'elohe yisra'el, "and he called upon the God of Israel," instead of the wa-yiqra' lo 'el of Massoretic Text, "and he called it El" etc. Wellhausen, followed by Dillmann, Driver and others, changes "altar" to "pillar," because the Hebrew verb, hitstsibh, is used with mitstsbhah, "pillar," in Gen 35:14,20, so making this religious act a parallel to that at Bethel. But Delitzsch, New Commentary on Genesis, properly rejects this purely fanciful change, and understands the compound name as the altar's inscription. Dillmann well suggests that "altar" (or "pillar") be supplied, reading thus: "called it the altar of El, the God of Israel." The peculiar phrase is best and most readily understood in its close connection with the struggle at Peniel, recorded in Gen 32. Being victorious in that struggle, Jacob received the new name "Israel"; and to his first altar in Israel he gave that name of God which appeared in his own new name, further explaining it by the appositive phrase "Elohe-Israel." Thus, his altar was called, or dedicated to, "El, the God of Israel."
Edward Mack
Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Definition for 'el-elohe-israel'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". bible-history.com - ISBE; 1915.

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