Why is the plural form of the Hebrew word elohim, employed for “God” (Gen 1:1)?

Why is אֱלֹהִ֔ים, or elohim, used for a singular God in Gen 1:1 and so many places later? Indeed, and not only that, why is a pluralized word meaning “in our image” (בְּצַלְמֵ֖נו, betzalmenu) used (1:26), if “the Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Deut 6:4)? A common and traditional explanation is theological: this is because the Holy Spirit and Jesus were part of the Godhead, and it was, apparently, acceptable to refer to the Godhead using the plural. While true enough, it does not seem this is why the plural was used here, because the author of this text presumably did not believe in a trinitarian Godhead and hence not intend to refer to one. But perhaps the author was inspired to use the plural, for reasons he himself did not quite understand. Another traditional explanation, however, is possible: this was what is called in Hebrew grammar the emphatic plural or the plural of majesty.By using the plural form (for the noun) with singular verb forms, the author conveys particular respect or emphasis. So this was not any old god; it was God.

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