🔼The name El-Elohe-Israel: Summary
- God (Is) the God Of Israel
- From (1) the words אל ('el) and אלה ('eloah), God, and (2) the name Israel.
🔼The name El-Elohe-Israel in the Bible
The name El-Elohe-Israel occurs only once in the Bible. After Jacob emerged unscathed from the dreaded meeting with his brother Esau, he and his household travelled on to Succoth and settled there. Probably before he reached Succoth, he passed Shechem and bought a plot of land from the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem. There he erected an altar and named it El-Elohe-Israel (Genesis 33:20).
🔼Etymology of the name El-Elohe-Israel
The name El-Elohe-Israel obviously consists of three distinct elements, the first being אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The final element is the name Israel. And the middle part is the appellation Eloah, also meaning God, which is postfixed with the letter י (yod) to mark a possessive form (God of).
It's no longer exactly clear what the etymological relation is between the words El, Eloah and Elohim, but it is clear that all three hover somewhere in between being words that mean god or deity, and personal names of the Living God. Why Jacob chose to name his altar by using two closely related words (and one double, because El is also part of the name Israel) is also not clear, but it seems that he stated that El Is The God Of Israel.
For a meaning of the name El-Elohe-Israel, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather obscure God, the God Of Israel, as if to imply that Jacob fixed the name El onto the altar he just built. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes God Is The God Of Israel. BDB Theological Dictionary appears to not treat this name.