Seven Prime Names: 7. Yahweh Elohim (יהוה אלהים)
We come now to the last of the seven prime names for God, and this is a combination of two names we looked at earlier. Yahweh-Elohim takes LORD (as in, the Eternal One – a name of power) and joins it with Elohim (creator, mighty, strong and supreme judge). Combined, it conveys a sense of God as mighty Lord – always there, full of power, creating and judging – but in relationship, not aloof.
We find Yahweh-Elohim first in Genesis:
This is the account of heaven and earth when they were created, at the time when Yahweh Elohim made earth and heaven. (Genesis 2:4)
This is a second telling of the creation. Genesis 1 is more chronological and almost academic; Genesis 2 is more poetic – but both tell the same story. And in Genesis 1, as God creates, He pronounces His judgement: “And God saw that it was good.”
The name used in Genesis 1 is ‘Elohim’ (God, Creator, Mighty, Strong and Supreme Judge) and this is appropriate for a straight recording of the events. In Genesis 1, God announces His intentions and actions (“Let the earth swarm with …” and “Let the earth produce …” etc), but the narrative does not record the interaction and conversation between God and the first humans. Genesis 2, however, is more poetic and records God addressing Adam:
And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”(Genesis 2:16-17)
And it records the words of Adam, inspired by the delight of being with Eve:
The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.”(Genesis 2:23)
So, Genesis 2 being more personal, it is appropriate that a more personal name be used – Yahweh. But also still showing the absolute power, absolute authority of the creator, we have Elohim. Together, the Eternal nature of the One who created and, in relationship, loves His creation we have: Yahweh-Elohim – often translated as “Lord of Lords.”
God maintains this relationship with us, even as we turn away and try to do things on our own. Indeed, even turning back to God (so often calling on Him when we want Him to do something, to punish all those whom we deem to be wrong), we reflect the maintenance of that relationship. In a sense, that is why even though we must leave it to God, still we have the temerity to ask for judgement to be pronounced. If we were not in relationship with the Eternal One, the mighty power, creator and supreme judge, then would you even dare to ask Him, seeking His protection?
“You, Yahweh-Elohim, you who are the God of Israel,
rouse yourself to punish all the nations;
show no mercy to wicked traitors.” (Psalm 59:5)
[from Timothy Pitt]