Answer:  No, it does not necessarily point to a plurality of persons. 

Exodus 32:1-8.  Please read the passage in your own Bible.  

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.” 

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons, and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” 

So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. 

He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 

So the next day the people rose early and sacrificed burnt offerings and presented fellowship offerings. Afterward, they sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in revelry. 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go down, because your people, whom you brought up out of Egypt, have become corrupt. 

They have been quick to turn away from what I commanded them and have made themselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. They have bowed down to it and sacrificed to it and have said, ‘These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.’  (NIV) 

NOTE:  The words “gods” in the above verses are Elohim in the Hebrew text.  The words are pluralized to capture the imagined respect the idolaters have for their idol.  In this case, the idol is one image of a calf and yet it is pluralized.  That means that the meaning is “plural of majesty” not a plurality of persons.

Please read also Genesis 1:1-31 and Genesis 2:1-25

(Know that in English: God =Greek: Theos, Theoi=Hebrew: Elohim)

We show part of the Greek text of Exodus 32:1-8 to prove what we are discussing: 

“houtoi einai hoi Theoi (Elohim in Hebrew) sou, Israel” Exo. 32:4;   “houtoi einai hoi Theoi (Elohim) sou, Israel” –v.8.  Quoted from Biblos, 1850). The single golden calf was dedicated to Yahweh, vs 5.  It reads Elohim in the Hebrew text.   

NOTE: In Greek, there is only one way of writing the Theta whether rendered capital or small letter in English.  Also in Hebrew, there is only one way of writing the first Hebrew letter Aleph whether rendered capital or small letter in English.  2 Cor. 4:4 reads Theou (refers to Satan) has the same letter Theta as in v. 2 which is Theos (refers to the true God).   Philippians 3:19 has Theos (refers to the belly). 

“Israel, estos son tus dioses (Elohim)” v. 4;    “Israel, estos son tus dioses (Elohim) ” v. 8”   (Sagradas Escrituras)

“Ang mga ito ang maging iyong mga dios (Elohim), Oh Israel” v. 4;   “mga dios” v. 8. (Old Tagalog, 1905)

“These are your gods (Elohim), Israel”v.4;    “These are your gods, Israel” v. 8. (World Messianic Bible) 

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v.4;   same reading in v. 8   (Catholic Public Domain Version) 

“These are thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8.   (Douay-Rheims, 1582/1609) 

“These be thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8.  (King James Version, 1611) 

“These are thy gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8.  (American Standard Version, 1901)

“These are you gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4;  same reading in v. 8. (Revised Standard Version)

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading  in v. 8 (New International Version) 

“These are your gods (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8  (English Standard Version) 

“This is your god (Elohim in Hebrew), O Israel” v. 4;   same reading  in v. 8 (New King James Version) 

“This is your god (Elohim), O Israel” v. 4; same reading in v. 8 (New American Standard Bible) 

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, the term Elohim is always translated God in English in the singular and the verb is also in the singular number, but Elohim in Exodus 32:1-8, the term Elohim is translated in the plural in English when it refers to the one, singular golden calf.  Why? The one singular golden calf is not plural in person.  

In Genesis chapters 1 and 2, all the pronouns are singular (15 times referring to Elohim, Yahweh Elohim) while there are only three (3 times referring to Elohim) plural pronouns in v. 26.

  • Question:  When singular pronouns have Elohim as an antecedent, how many persons are there?
  • Question:  When plural pronouns have Elohim as the antecedent, how many persons are there?
  • Question:  When Yahweh says He makes Moses Elohim to Pharoah (Exo. 7:1), did Moses become 3 persons?
  • Question:  When the one golden calf is called Elohim in Exodus 32:1-8, were there 3 persons?
  • Question:  Psalm 45:6 & Heb. 1:8 the Elohim refers to Jesus Christ, did Christ become 3 persons?
  • Question:  Psalm 45:7 & Heb. 1:9 the Elohim refers to the Father, did the Father become 3 persons? 
  • Question:  Psalm 82:1, 8 refer to Judges as Elohim, (John 10:34 cites Psalm 82:6 referring to human Judges), did the individual Judges (Elohim) become 3 persons?
    • Question: Judges 8:33, “Ball-berrith their Elohim” for the Canaanites, is Baal 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 11:24, “Chemosh thy Elohim” for the Moabites, is Chemosh 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 16:23, 24, “Dagon their Elohim” for the Philistines, is Dagon 3 persons? ;
    • 1Kings 11:33, “Milcom the Elohim” for the Ammonites, is Milcom 3 persons? ; 
    • 2 Kings 1:2, 16 “Baal-zebub the Elohim of Ekron” for the Philistines, is Baal-zebub 3 persons? ;
    • 2Kings 19:37, “Nisroch his Elohim” for the Assyrians, is Nisroch 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 2:13, Astarte or Ashtaroth, Ashtoreths of the Canaanites, is Astarte 3 persons? ;
    • Judges 3:7, Asherah  (Asherim, plural form) of the Canaanites, is Asherim 3 persons? ;
    • Isaiah 42:17 reads, “say to the molten images, You are our Elohim” are molten images 3 persons?

Conclusion:  So if the tribal deities are Elohim but they don’t possess multiplicity of persons, Elohim, therefore, is not necessarily plural in person?  Right?  But addressed in the plural to show respect. Right?

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