El Elyon

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15th-century manuscript of Baruch El Elyon.

El Elyon (Hebrew: אֵל עֶלְיוֹן) is one of the names of God in the Bible. It is conventionally translated into English as "God Most High". The name Elyon also occurs alone.




  • וַיֹּ֥אמֶר אַבְרָ֖ם אֶל־מֶ֣לֶךְ סְדֹ֑ם הֲרִמֹ֨תִי יָדִ֤י אֶל־יְהֹוָה֙ אֵ֣ל עֶלְי֔וֹן קֹנֵ֖ה שָׁמַ֥יִם וָאָֽרֶץ׃
  • בְּהַנְחֵ֤ל עֶלְיוֹן֙ גּוֹיִ֔ם בְּהַפְרִיד֖וֹ בְּנֵ֣י אָדָ֑ם יַצֵּב֙ גְּבֻלֹ֣ת עַמִּ֔ים לְמִסְפַּ֖ר בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃
    • Deuteronomy 32:8
    • Translations:
      • When the Most High gave nations their homes and set the divisions of humanity, [God] fixed the boundaries of peoples in relation to Israel's numbers.
      • When the Most High divided to the nations their inheritance, when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel.
      • When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance, when he divided all mankind, he set up boundaries for the peoples according to the number of the sons of Israel.


  • It is highly likely that Abraham's God was El, the High God of Canaan. The deity introduces himself to Abraham as El Shaddai (El of the Mountain), which was one of El's traditional titles. Elsewhere he is called El Elyon (The Most High God) or El of Bethel. The name of the Canaanite High God is preserved in such Hebrew names as Isra-El or Ishma-El. They experienced him in ways that would not have been unfamiliar to the pagans of the Middle East. We shall see that centuries later Israelites found the mana or "holiness" of Yahweh a terrifying experience. On Mount Sinai, for example, he would appear to Moses in the midst of an awe-inspiring volcanic eruption, and the Israelites had to keep their distance. In comparison, Abraham's god El is a very mild deity. He appears to Abraham as a friend and sometimes even assumes human form. This type of divine apparition, known as an epiphany, was quite common in the pagan world of antiquity.

See also

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