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El Shaddai in the Bible: This Powerful Name of God

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El Shaddai in the Bible is one of the many different names of God which makes a strong case for his mighty power and all sufficient merit. In this article we will look at the meaning of El Shaddai as it is transliterated and translated from Hebrew and work to develop a greater understanding of it through both direct references and indirect references to the Hebrew name throughout scripture.

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El Shaddai in the Bible

El Shaddai in the Bible is one of God’s many names, similar to Yahweh or Jehovah. “He is the Almighty (Genesis 49:25), the Creator of heaven and earth (Genesis 14:19), Builder of everything (Hebrews 3:4), the King of heaven (Daniel 4:37), God of all mankind (Jeremiah 32:27), and the Eternal King. (Jeremiah 10:10). He is the only God (Jude 1:25), the Eternal God (Genesis 21:33), the Everlasting God (Isaiah 40:28), and Maker of all things (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

According to Becky Harling at, “the name, El Shaddai, appears at least 40 times” directly stated in the old testament. However, with the meaning of El Shaddai being Almighty God, or God Almighty, there are numerous references to the name. In fact, I’d say the entirety of God’s words points to God as the Almighty God. 

The Meaning of El Shaddai

As mentioned above, the name El Shaddai is directly stated many times throughout the Old Testament. If you are trying to find some or all of those in your Bible as you read this and are becoming increasingly confused because you just can’t find it (just as I was during my research), it’s because all of our English translations change the name to it’s English meaning, Almighty God or God Almighty, in nearly every verse that contains it. Those 40-plus statements of El Shaddai are only in the original Hebrew word of God; however, the meaning does not change between translations. 

So, how did we get from El Shaddai to God Almighty? 

If you find one of those 40 Old Testament verses – likely in the book of Genesis or the book of Job – in Blue Letter Bible and go to the tools section that breaks the verse down word by word, and click on the Strongs Reference for the word Almighty, you will see that the transliteration of it from the Hebrew language into English is actually saday. Since the Hebrew and English languages consist of entirely different alphabets, we use transliterations to be able to spell out and pronounce words between each language. 

A transliteration simply takes a word and its pronunciation from one language and finds letters that have a similar sound to the original pronunciation to form the word in a language with a different alphabet; the meaning of the word is not changed or affected. This process is not always necessary for the translation process, as there are many languages that are based off the same alphabet, i.e. Spanish and English. 

Back to saday and Shaddai, Shaddai is the pronunciation of saday spelled out in English. Again, there is no change in meaning.

Shaddai derives from the word for a woman’s breast (shad) and literally means “many breasted one” which shows God as our provider and nourisher. “Shaddai is also related to the Hebrew word shadad which means to overpower or destroy, referring to God’s absolute power”

El comes from another one of God’s names, Elohim, which simply means God. So, mashing the two together, you get the name of El Shaddai, and thus the name of God Almighty. 

Direct References to El Shaddai in Scripture

We will not go through each and every direct reference of El Shaddai in the Bible, as there are a total of over 40 in the Old Testament, but let’s look into a specific handful to add some more flavor to our understanding of the meaning of the name El Shaddai. 

What is special about these verses is that they outline and follow the beginnings and foundations of the fulfillment of the everlasting covenant promise between God and Abraham. 

As these are pulled from an English translation of the Bible, they do not specifically say El Shaddai, but rather God Almighty. Just know that each time it says God Almighty, the original Hebrew text would use El Shaddai. 

“When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless, that I may make my covenant between me and you, and may multiply you greatly.”

Genesis 17:1-2

This is the first time that God names himself as El Shaddai, and he does so in a reaffirmation of the Abrahamic covenant, one of the greatest of God’s promises, as it catalyzed the bloodline that Jesus Christ himself would be born of. Abram did not know this at the time, as his wife Sarai had yet to bear a son with him. God reaffirms and encourages Abram to keep pursuing Him, as he is the faithful God Almighty that fulfills his promises. 

This is such a powerful introduction of El Shaddai as one of God’s names. He is urging Abram to continue trusting in him, because he is almighty. We need to listen to this too. When our lives feel chaotic and out of control and nothing seems to be going our way, we often try to regain control out of our own power, instead of trusting in God. What can we possibly do that is going to be better than what our God does when we turn it over into his almighty hands? 

“God Almighty bless you and make you fruitful and multiply you, that you may become a company of peoples.”

Genesis 28:3

In this passage, Isaac is sending his son Jacob to Laban to find a wife, blessing his future family in the name of the Almighty God. Now, Isaac is the son of Abraham, who God made the original covenant with, promising that he would be the father of many nations. In Isaac’s blessing on his son Jacob in this passage, the provision of God as sovereign over everything is reiterated as this Abrahamic covenant continues to inch towards fulfillment. Jesus comes from the line of Jacob.

And God said to him, “Your name is is Jacob; no longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name.” So he called his name Israel. And God said to him, “I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall come form your own body. The land that I have to Abraham and Isaac I will give to you, and I will give the land to your offspring after you.”

Genesis 35:10-12

This snippet of scripture builds even more on the last and Abrahamic covenant. The great nation that God promised to make of Abraham was the nation of Israel, and it is here that we see the true foundation of that, as Jacob becomes Israel.

Looking back to the first passage in Genesis 17, when God first introduces himself as El Shaddai, you can see even more how deserving of our trust God, in his mightiness, truly is. After all this time, two generations later, and the ups and downs that have come with it, we see the beginning of the land of God’s people and thus the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s great promise that is still unfolding today. 

“May God Almighty grant you mercy before the man, and may he send back your other brother and Benjamin. And as for me, if I am bereaved of my children, I am bereaved.”

Genesis 43:14

Here, Jacob, now Israel, is sending ten of his twelve sons into Egypt, where they have had some previous conflict. They are hoping to return with their eleventh brother, who has been imprisoned, and to be able to find food along the way. Jacob is rather stressed – to say the least – about sending his sons into a land of great conflict for them, and this passage is prayer of desperation and submittance to God’s power. Even if it means he loses his own children, Jacob submits to the will of God. 

“God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.”

Genesis 48:3

This portion of Genesis takes place towards the end of Jacob’s life. His son Joseph, who’s story is widely known by the Church, stands before the sick and weak Jacob. Jacob is able to muster enough strength to sit up and tell Joseph that his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, are now to be considered Jacob’s sons, which means that Joseph’s family will get a double inheritance from Jacob upon his death. He begins this little speech by recalling God’s provision over his life, as he was first blessed in the Land of Canaan, and therefore passing the blessing down the bloodline that would become the bloodline of Jesus Christ himself. 

I just absolutely love this. The story that catalyzed the nation known as God’s own people, that Christ Jesus would be born into and crucified by, thus bringing salvation through the Holy Spirit to the entire world, is how we find the meaning of El Shaddai in the Bible. It is so interesting how it is at the beginning of this story of God’s promise that God introduces himself to Abraham as El Shaddai, God Almighty. At that point in time, Abraham had no idea what the next day of his life would look like, let alone the fact that he would be the first foundation of Israel. 

But God knew. He knew that He would send Jesus through these people to be the savior of the world, and he knew exactly when, where, and how Jesus would come back and restore the Earth to its original design. He is Almighty; He is El Shaddai. 

God Almighty Throughout Scripture

As previously stated, the entirety of the Bible points to God’s power as the Almighty, whether he is specifically referenced as El Shaddai or not. These are some verses that show God as the all-powerful, sufficient God that He is. 

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

Not just this verse but the whole story of Paul that this verse sums up perfectly

On this one, the focus isn’t necessarily the verse itself but rather the entire story and testimony of the apostle Paul, which is perfectly summed up by this short and sweet verse. 

The apostle Paul started out as a persecutor of the church and the “Way” as far as “to the death”, as he himself admits in Acts 22:4 as he defends himself against imprisonment. But even He repented before the Lord and received justification through the sacrifice of Jesus. This persecutor and hater of Christians went on to become the founder of many churches and the author of the majority of the New Testament that we pull so much doctrine from still today. He spent many years in prison and still trusted in and was used by the Lord for great things.

text of names of God for the post on El Shaddai in the Bible

It was only by leaning on the strength of El Shaddai that Paul was able to get through the years of imprisonment and persecution while still proclaiming the Gospel everywhere to everyone. The story of the apostle Paul shows time and time again that God’s power trumps that of anything in this world, no matter how beaten down it gets us. Whenever you find yourself imprisoned by your sin, by the state of the world today, by anything, call on the name of God Almighty. 

“Ah, Lord God! It is you who have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! Nothing is too hard for you. You show steadfast love to thousands, but you repay the guilt of fathers to their children after them, O great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of hosts.”

Jeremiah 32:17-18

God literally spoke the entirety of creation, the physical and the spiritual, into existence. He opened his mouth and said words, and the earth and all of its inhabitants came to be, not to mention the infinite universe. He did not stop at creation; He continued to hold each and every life in the palm of his hands, crafting the perfect plan for each one before they were even conceived in their mother’s womb. He loves each one unconditionally and brings justice to every wrong. There is nothing He cannot do. There is nothing more powerful than Him. 

“The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 27:1

If there is nothing He cannot do and nothing more powerful than Him, what is there to be afraid of? He knows our every trouble, whether we express it outwardly or not, and He has a use and a reason for it. He provides for and protects his people and is actively building a place in his mansion in Heaven for all who call on his name; a place so perfect and great that makes any hardship of life on earth, no matter how big, seem like nothing. 

“And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

Revelation 4:8

I think the four creatures’ praise pretty well sums this one up. Holy is the Lord! He was God Almighty, He is God Almighty, and He forever will be God Almighty!

“For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.”

Romans 1:20

This one really hits hard for me. There is enough proof of God’s existence in just his creation, in the world around us, that even those who have not heard of him by word of mouth or have access to his word have no excuse for not knowing about him. The magnificence of his power is written in the stars, in the mountains, the valleys, the seas, and the deserts. If you see creation, you see God as El Shaddai.

It’s a fairly common saying among the Christian community that we are born with a God-sized hole in our heart, meaning that we naturally long for him whether we are aware of it or not. That’s what this verse applies to. The answer to that natural longing is evident in nature alone. 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

John 1:1-5

It is as if the various aspects of God, specifically the Holy Trinity, were not already difficult to wrap around in our little human minds! The vastness of the living God alone is a testimonial to his omnipotence as the Almighty. He is in everything at all times in different forms. When we feel the tug of the Holy Spirit inside us, we feel God. When we read or hear from the Holy Bible, we hear from God. When we accept Jesus, we accept God. When we breathe, we breathe in God. 

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Revelation 1:8

The Alpha, in this context, means the very beginning, and the Omega, by contrast, means the very end—the finale. Everything began by, through, in, and for God, and in the same way, everything will meet its end. The entire timeline of the entire universe is under the authority of our God, and it is all for his glory and his alone.

“Remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of my counsel from a far country. I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass; I have purposed, and I will do it.”

Isaiah 46:9-11

The chapter of Isaiah in which these few verses are contained is a prophecy of Cyrus the Great conquering Babylon and delivering the Jewish people from it. Babylon was caught up in the idolization of false gods, a sin that God is actively rebuking, as He is not to be likened to anything that is of man.

At the same time, He also encourages and exhorts his people when He says “I have purposed, and I will do it.” As the Jews are the chosen people, who He has promised protection over, despite their continual and cyclical disobedience to Him and His laws. 

This is incredibly relevant to our lives as God’s children in the world today. We must remember that in a world surrounded by idolization of celebrities, of self-image, of money, you name it, the one true God is the only being worthy of our worship. We must also find encouragement and peace in knowing that we have the free gift of salvation and are promised a place in eternity in his beautiful presence, where all the hardships of this life are no more. 

“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.”

Genesis 1:3

God opened his mouth and said some words, and thus the entire universe, the Heavens and the Earth came to be. What more can I say that sounds like almighty power to me? 

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways… For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”

Psalm 139:1-3, 13-14a

How silly of us to think we could ever hide anything from God! He knows everything on our minds before we even tell Him before we’re even aware of it ourselves. He knows every move we make before we make it. He purposefully and intentionally formed every piece of our being – our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual attributes. And not just for you and I, but for every single person that ever has and ever will walk the face of this earth! 

The form you have selected does not exist.

Our Response to El Shaddai

As with any biblical topic, we don’t just want to stop at knowledge but expand into application as well. That being said, what should our response be to this growth in knowledge of God as El Shaddai, the Almighty God?  

This knowledge has four big practical applications in Christian life today: We should walk in humility, find peace in the Lord, let go of control and embrace freedom, and be ever more adamant about sharing the message of the Gospel. 

Walking in humility means accepting our faults as mere human beings and lowering ourselves to a place of submission under God. We are not to think of ourselves above others, and especially not as above God, whose all-sufficient merit and great power have been so clearly displayed in the scriptures we have gone through, as well as many more. 

Walking in humility is a daily thing and may even be a daily struggle. We must wake up every day and die to ourselves, submitting to whatever God has in store for us for that day and letting go of whatever we may want for ourselves in our flesh. This could even be a battle you fight on an hourly basis. Nonetheless, we must take up our cross and follow him. 

“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Luke 9:23

We can also find a great peace in the Lord as the Almighty, sufficient God; a peace so great that we can’t even fully comprehend it. 

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:7

It does not matter if you have everything you could have ever wanted in life or absolutely nothing at all; God has you where you are in the exact moment you are in for a purpose. We all have our own issues and struggles and face trials of many kinds, and the peace of God is offered to each one of us. Find comfort in his sovereignty over your life and all of creation; He holds your life in the palm of his hand. 

Because of God’s sovereignty as El Shaddai, we can let go of anything that holds us back and embrace the freedom we find in our salvation and adoption as children of God. You may be held back by fear, by the desires of the flesh, by anxiety, the need to be in control, your past, your environment, etc. It does not matter what you have or will experience; God has a plan for you that he will accomplish, so just let go and let him do it. 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

Lastly, because of all of these things that we experience in response to God as El Shaddai, we should be ever more adamant in our mission to share the Gospel message. Sharing the Gospel message means sharing all of these things. Do you not want your loved ones to find the same freedom in Christ that you have found?

“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”

Matthew 28:19

Repenting of your sin and submitting to the Lordship of Christ Jesus, and therefore our Heavenly Father God Almighty, means breaking free of the chains that the evil of our hearts and the world have been imprisoning us in and finally living for our true purpose: to bring glory to God. There is a peace that the entire world is searching for as spiritual warfare rages on between dark and light, and that peace is so easy to find! It is the peace of God that we find by our adoption as his children! 

The meaning of El Shaddai in the Bible is so simple yet vast. We will never be able to perfectly comprehend all that God is in his great might; if we could, then he wouldn’t be God! Go forth with your new or expanded understanding of El Shaddai as one of God’s names and find peace, joy, love, comfort, and motivation under his might, and share it with the rest of the world!

You may enjoy this beautiful song El Shaddai by Amy Grant:

Or one of these recommended resources for further study:

El Shaddai: The God Who Is More Than Enough by Kenneth E Hagin 

The Patriarchs: Encountering the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob by Beth Moore 

ESV – “Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

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