The Biblical Meaning Of El Shaddai And Why It’s Important

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Published by Kenneth Garcia


Co-Founder of Biblekeeper, Author & Theologian

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Each of God’s names is significant in its own right. Perhaps you have heard of Jehovah Jireh, God of Provision, or Jehovah El Roi, God of Seeing. What does El Shaddai mean in the Bible?

Believers often debate whether or not to give one more weight than the others. You can find many distinct names for God throughout the Bible. To a greater or lesser extent, God’s many names reveal aspects of God’s essence. If we had to rank them, everyone believes El Shaddai is the name with the most meaning.

What Does “El Shaddai” Mean?

El, which means “God” in Hebrew, is often coupled with other words to emphasize God’s attributes. According to Bible scholars, the word Shaddai comes from the Hebrew word shaddu, which means “mountain.”

Therefore, God Almighty and God the Overpowerer are the prevalent interpretations of El Shaddai[1]. It’s a demonstration of God’s power over human weakness. A number of other Bible experts have hypothesized that the Hebrew word for breast is the source of the name Shaddai.

El Shaddai reveals God’s omnipotence, providential care, and satiety. According to some theorists, the term implies that God cares for us like a mother, providing for our every need. The more popular translation might be God Almighty, yet God is not only mighty but also nurturing and nourishing. This is consistent with the rest of the Old Testament.

Where Does The Name El Shaddai Appear In The Bible?

There are at least 40 occurrences of the name “El Shaddai” in the Old Testament. Several such instances may be seen in the Book of Genesis, and you can find many more in Job. In Genesis, God revealed Himself to Abraham using the name El Shaddai. In the beginning, God Almighty created the heavens and the earth.

When Abraham reached ninety-nine years old, the Lord Jehovah revealed Himself to him as El Shaddai. Before the Lord, Abram was ninety-nine when he bowed down on his face. God promised to create a covenant with Abram if he would walk alongside Him and live a righteous life.

El Shaddai promised Abram he would be prolific if he walked righteously before Him. Almighty God was demonstrating His majesty as one who can do the impossible by bringing about a child from Abraham’s elderly and frail body. Abram could rely on his omnipotence and sufficiency in every situation.

In Genesis 28:3, Isaac blesses his son Jacob as he sends him off to find a wife, saying, “May God Almighty prosper you and make you fertile and expand your numbers until you are a community of peoples.” Again, God is proclaimed to be the Almighty One and promise keeper who would keep Jacob alive and bless him with offspring in this passage.

God reminds Jacob of the covenant pledge He made to Abraham in Genesis 35:11, revealing Himself to Jacob as El Shaddai, God Almighty. “Be fertile and multiply in number,” God tells Jacob. You will give rise to a nation and a confederation of nations; your offspring will become kings.

El Shaddai, the God of Israel, is portrayed as the God of covenant and faithfulness in this verse. A famine has ravaged the land, and in Genesis 43:14, Jacob blesses his children as they travel to Egypt for sustenance. Jacob prays for God Almighty’s blessing, protection, and mercy upon his sons as they leave.

When Jacob was old, he blessed his son Joseph and his sons, saying, “Lord appeared to me in Luz in the region of Canaan, so there God Almighty blessed me and informed me that I would make your family fruitful and increase my numbers.”

“To your offspring, I will grant this land as something of an inheritance forever,” Genesis 26:4. The Mighty God is once again referred to as God Almighty, who creates a covenant, promises fruitfulness, and fulfills His promises. The God Almighty, who makes the covenant promise and, therefore, can carry it out, is the God to whom this name is permanently linked. He is always there, providing for us despite our frailties.

woman sitting on bench in front of cross and el shaddai meaning in the bible

Why Is The Name El Shaddai Important?

The significance of El Shaddai’s meaning stems from the all-encompassing nature of the name itself. Being “almighty” is defined as “powerful” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary. If only for this reason, the name El Shaddai stands out among the many other names for God. Please allow me to elaborate on how this is comprehensive.

Within this context, the word El Shaddai reveals that God is sovereign over everything and everyone, including disease, death, sin, Satan, and the dominion of demons. El Shaddai, the God Almighty, is the universe’s greatest and most powerful being. One possible justification for suggesting that this name is unique is that it reflects God’s omnipotence.

Why Do We Have To Behold God And Know Him As El Shaddai?

In today’s secular society, few churches openly proclaim God’s majesty. While a God who is still sovereign and powerful is impressive—a Mighty God who can change monarchs’ minds and direct nations to do His will—a God who is love is more tangible and easily absorbed.

Some of the concerns that the prophet Habakkuk had about a report regarding the Lord are detailed in his prayer (3:1–16). The greatness of God’s nature and deeds, His wrath against sin, and His dominion over the world were all described. Some nations and peoples responded to the prophets of God and turned to Him, while others stubbornly remained on the path of disobedience.

The same is true now as God’s people proclaim His greatness. To remind God’s people that He is the “Lord God Almighty” who will one day exercise His immense power and reign eternally, pastors should preach the Bible in its entirety. As the God who sets us apart from the world, he uses His transforming power to make us a holy nation. His allegiance is marked by religious awe and respect, the “fear of the Lord.”

What Does El Shaddai Teach Us?

El Shaddai is the name of God, and He is the one who saves us from ourselves. Because God reveals himself as El Shaddai, he can always surpass our limitations. Wow, that’s great hope for the future. Our lack of holiness is reflected in every aspect of our lives. We can’t do anything by ourselves because we’re not strong enough. El Shaddai, however, is more than enough for us.

Through Him, Jesus Christ, He has made a means for our shortcomings to be covered and forgiven. This new covenant we have entered into makes the righteousness of Christ our own. God’s sufficiency masks our insufficiency, covering our sinful humanity with a cloak of righteousness.

He can deliver us and keep us alive. If you commit something to God, He will keep it because He is El Shaddai, who keeps his word. We may put our trust in Him because He never goes back on His word. It’s safe to put our faith in God’s character and ability to fulfill His promises because He kept His promise with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The author of Hebrews emphasizes this point in Chapter 11 by recounting story after story of people who dared to accept God and trusted Him to keep His promises. Humans tend to question El Shaddai’s promises when times get rough. His name alone hints at His omnipotence and reliability, though.

You can put your faith in El Shaddai because He will fulfill His word. El Shaddai, the true God of the Hebrews, guards us. Jacob prayed to El Shaddai that his sons would be blessed, have mercy, and be protected when he sent them to Egypt to obtain sustenance.

With the rise of disease, violence, and evil in the world, it is comforting to know that our God, El Shaddai, shields us with His mighty hand. Faith on our part means believing that God will keep His promises. It is his responsibility to ensure success.

As Jesus taught in John 15, the Holy Spirit causes us to bear fruit as we dwell in Christ. The pressure to achieve and succeed lessens as our capacity for abiding grows. In time, we can sit back and let El Shaddai take care of everything.

It is a relief to know that El Shaddai has us in his firm grasp despite the chaos and unpredictability of our current world and age! He is the All-Powerful God who delivers us from danger, meets all our needs, keeps us safe, and causes us to flourish. Though we may not see His hand at work, we may rest assured that He is constantly at work and will never break a promise.

wooden cross and el shaddai meaning in the bible


When God acts faithfully, he is called El Shaddai or Shaddai, but either name is acceptable. El Shaddai God Almighty, the God who invites us to new adventures in life, is the God of creation, sustains us like a mother nourishing a child, and summons us to walk blamelessly in the Jewish faith, just as He called Abram and Sarai.

When God protects you, you can rest assured that no harm will come to you and that you need not worry about how you will make ends meet. To have the Almighty God, El Shaddai, looking out for you is to have nothing or nobody come against you.

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