Thursday, April 13, 2017

Genesis 19:24 - Jehovah Rained Fire From Jehovah

And Jehovah rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from Jehovah out of the heavens.
-- Genesis 19:24, Green's Literal Translation

Genesis 19:24 is often cited as proof that Jehovah is more than one person. The claim by some trinitarians appears to be that there is one Jehovah on earth who is supposed to be the prehuman Son of God, and another in heaven, the Father. While Jehovah is used twice here, one would have to read into this that there are two persons who are being spoken of. Some claim that Jehovah called upon Jehovah to rain fire from heaven. Actually there is nothing at all in the verse about Jehovah "calling upon" Jehovah.

There is nothing in Genesis 19:24 about two persons; one person in heaven and one person on earth, nor is there anything at all here about a supposed plurality of persons in God. Nothing is said anywhere in the Bible that suggests that Jesus was Jehovah on earth while the Father of Jesus was Jehovah in heaven. Such ideas would have to be read into what is said.

Several trinitarian authors proclaim that there are "two Jehovahs" or "two Yahwehs" spoken of here: One Jehovah on earth and another in heaven. If you wish to read into this that there are two Jehovahs here, then you would have two Jehovahs, not one Jehovah as Jehovah declares himself to be. (Deuteronomy 6:4) Nor would such an application call for two persons in one Jehovah, for you would still have two different Jehovahs. There is nothing at all in the verse that indicates that the author had any thought that Jehovah is two different persons.

Actually all it is saying, in Hebraic prose, is that the one Jehovah rained fire and sulphur out of the sky from this same Jehovah. It is a manner of speech that can be found several times in the Old Testament.

Similarly we read:

Genesis 37:28 - Then there passed by Midianites, merchants; and they drew and lifted Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty [pieces] of silver: and they brought Joseph into Egypt.

Three Josephs? No, just the same Joseph mentioned three times.

A further example of this usage:

"...when Rehoboam was come to Jerusalem, he assembled all the house of Judah, with the tribe of Benjamin... to bring the kingdom again to Rehoboam the son of Solomon." (1 Kings 12:21)

Is it speaking of two Rehoboams? No, Rehoboam assembled the tribes to bring the tribes back to himself.

Another example is Genesis 4:23:

Lamech said to his wives, "Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice, You wives of Lamech, listen to my speech, For I have slain a man for wounding me, A young man for bruising me."

Lamech is not speaking of another Lamech when he refers to his wives as the "wives of Lamech".
David also said something similar as recorded at 1 Kings 1:33:

The king said to them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride on my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

David refers to himself in the third person as "your lord" when he said "servants of your lord". He did not say "my servants". He is not saying that there are two Davids, nor is he saying that there is another person in David.

Similar usages are seen in Genesis 17:23 (two Abrahams), Genesis 18:19 (Jehovah used twice, where a pronoun could have been used); Exodus 24:1 (Jehovah used as idiom for "me"), and 1 Kings 8:1 (two Solomons), Ezekiel 11:24 (two Spirits), Zechariah 10:12 (two Jehovahs).

It should be apparent that there is nothing in the terminology used in Genesis 19:24 that would lead one to believe two persons are being spoken of.

Addendum One

One objects that this cannot be a mention of the same "Jehovah" twice because Moses is contrasting heaven and earth in what is said. This seems to assume several things: (1) That Moses was the original author of this (see our study: The Tetragrammaton in Genesis); (2) that the author made a deliberate differentiation from earth and heaven (sky); (3) that this distinction is for some specific purpose other than just saying the the fire rained from the sky upon the earth; (4) and that this differentiation has some significance in proving that there are two persons being spoken of.

Actually, the verse does not even mention the earth, although it is evident that Jehovah did rain sulfur and fire from the sky on Sodom and on Gomorrah which are both on the earth. The actual contrast then, is not the earth and the sky, but rather the cities of "Sodom and Gomorrah" and the sky. The sulfur and fire rained from the sky on those two cities. It says nothing about one Jehovah on the earth, or in Sodom and Gomorrah, and another Jehovah in the sky -- such ideas would have to be assumed and read into what is being said.

Addendum Two

One author states that there are no passages like this one in the Torah where the same name is mentioned twice in the same verse for emphasis, and that there is no evidence that Moses ever used that kind of literary style.

Again, the author referred to above assumes that Moses was the original author of Genesis 19:24. -- See our study: The Tetragrammaton in Genesis.

We have already shown several examples, in the book of Genesis, of a name being repeated, or of the name being used where we would normally expect a pronoun, such as Genesis 4:23; 17:23; 18:10; 37:28. We also have examples in Exodus 3:12; 24:1; Numbers 19:1-2. So, in reality, there are some examples in the Torah of such usage. Further examples outside the Torah, but in the Old Testament, are: 1 Kings 1:33; 8:4; 12:21; Ezekiel 11:24; Zechariah 1:17; 10:12.

There is also the argument that the first "Jehovah" refers to one of the angels of Jehovah that spoke for Jehovah, and was addressed as "Jehovah", similar to the way an interpreter in a court may be addressed by the name of the person for whom he is interpreting. An angel of Jehovah, who is not actually Jehovah, did often speak for, act for, and was spoken of, as though he was Jehovah, and this could be case also in what is recorded in Genesis 19:24. Thus, when addressed as "Jehovah" it was left understood that it was actually the "angel of Jehovah" who was being spoken to directly. This does not mean that every "angel of Jehovah" who is spoken of as "Jehovah" is to be imagined to be a person of Jehovah. Nevertheless, the first reference to "Jehovah" could be referring to one of the angels of Jehovah while the second reference to "Jehovah" could be referring to the only Most High Jehovah in the heavens. See our study on:
The Angel of Jehovah

Last update of this study: May 6, 2004; January 9, 2010; March 28,2014; January 14, 2015

Related Links

Genesis 19:24 - What Does It Mean That Yahweh Rained Fire From Yahweh Out of the Sky?

Please note that we do not necessarily agree with all viewpoints presented by the authors below.
Yahshua the Messiah is Not Almighty Yahweh
This is presented from the Unitarian view, which denies the prehuman existence of Jesus.
The Two Jehovahs of the Psalms? The author defines "divine" as applying only the God Almighty, which we disagree with. It has some very good points, however.

No comments:

Post a Comment