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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

el 'Elyon

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— Biblical Data:

The most high God (Genesis 19: A. V. R. V. "God most high"), as whose priest Melchizedek blesses Abraham (compare "Urusalem," in the El-Amarna tablets Schrader, "K. B." 4:180,25 et seq. 183,14 185). He is further characterized as the "possessor [or "creator"] of heaven and earth" ( Genesis 14:19 ). As an epithet of the Deity, "' Elyon" occurs with "El", in Psalm 78:35 with " Yhwh " in Psalm 7:18 , 47:3 , 97:9 with "Elohim" in Psalm 57:3 , 78:56 and without additional noun in Numbers 24:16 Deuteronomy 32:8 Psalm 9:3 , 18:14 Isaiah 14:14 Daniel 7:18-25 (compare Hoffmann, "Phö nizische Inschriften," pp.48,50). Among the Phenicians "' Elyon" was an appellation of God. The plural, ("gods"), is found on an inscription of Eshmun' azar (Bloch, "Phö nizisches Glossar," p. 12). The name is old, and analogous to "El-Shaddai," "El-' Olam," and the like. See God, Names of .

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— Critical View:
The Melchizedek episode is regarded as a post-exilic interpolation, the term "El ' Elyon" being compared to the formula by which the Maccabean priests were designated as "priests of the most high God" (Josephus, "Ant." 16:6, § , 2 compare also Assumptio Mosis, 6:1). This view is maintained, among others, by Holzinger in Marti, "Kurzer Handkommentar," under Genesis 14 Gunkel ("Genesis," p. 261) maintains that the foregoing assumption disregards the fact that an old tradition connected Melchizedek with Jerusalem, and that the possibility is not excluded that in remote days the God of Jerusalem was known as "El ' Elyon."E. G. H.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'el 'Elyon'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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