Echad

The Old Testament uses the Hebrew word Echad to assert there is one God. Some have taken this to mean that God is one in number, while others have understood it to mean that God is one in unity. What does the word Echad mean?

‘echad {ekh-awd’} (0259)

Meaning: 1) one (number) 1a) one (number) 1b) each, every 1c) a certain 1d) an (indefinite article) 1e) only, once, once for all 1f) one…another, the one…the other, one after another, one by one 1g) first 1h) eleven (in combination), eleventh (ordinal)

Just as important as a definition is the word’s usage in context.

The Scriptures tell us there is one God.

Deu 6:4 KJV Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

The context of this verse is not describing a unity, but one single LORD.

The word Echad is used throughout the Old Testament to describe one in number. Here are some examples:

A list of Canaanite kings, with each king being described as a single king.

Jos 12:9-24 KJV 9 The king of Jericho, one; the king of Ai, which is beside Bethel, one;

10 The king of Jerusalem, one; the king of Hebron, one;

11 The king of Jarmuth, one; the king of Lachish, one;

12 The king of Eglon, one; the king of Gezer, one;

13 The king of Debir, one; the king of Geder, one;

14 The king of Hormah, one; the king of Arad, one;

15 The king of Libnah, one; the king of Adullam, one;

16 The king of Makkedah, one; the king of Bethel, one;

17 The king of Tappuah, one; the king of Hepher, one;

18 The king of Aphek, one; the king of Lasharon, one;

19 The king of Madon, one; the king of Hazor, one;

20 The king of Shimronmeron, one; the king of Achshaph, one;

21 The king of Taanach, one; the king of Megiddo, one;

22 The king of Kedesh, one; the king of Jokneam of Carmel, one;

23 The king of Dor in the coast of Dor, one; the king of the nations of Gilgal, one;

24 The king of Tirzah, one: all the kings thirty and one.

The prophet Micah is described as being one man.

1Ki 22:8 KJV And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so.

Abraham was described as being one.

Eze 33:24 KJV Son of man, they that inhabit those wastes of the land of Israel speak, saying, Abraham was one, and he inherited the land: but we are many; the land is given us for inheritance.

A list of gates, with each gate being described as a single gate.

Eze 48:31-34 KJV 31 And the gates of the city shall be after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.

32 And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan.

33 And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of Issachar, one gate of Zebulun.

34 At the west side four thousand and five hundred, with their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali.

The angel Michael was described as being one of the chief princes.

Dan 10:13 KJV But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.

In each of these cases the word Echad is used to describe one in number. Especially in reference to God, Echad does not refer to a unity. God uses many words and phrases to speak of Himself in the singular. There are many examples of this in the Old Testament.

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

Isaiah 43:10-11 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.  11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

Isaiah 44:6 Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

Isaiah 44:8 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

Isaiah 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

Isaiah 45:21-22 21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.  22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

Isaiah 46:9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,

If God was a plural group of persons, He would have spoken as a plural group- using words such as we, our, and us. Instead, God used words to describe Himself as one in number, such as I, me, alone, none else, etc.

Verses that seem to describe a plurality are not describing the number of members within the Godhead. They are indeed describing a plurality- a plurality of God’s attributes (see Elohim).

It is clear from the context of Scripture that God is one in number. It is clearly God’s intent by His use of Echad that He is absolutely one in number.

3 Comments

  1. Bro’ Brown.  Thank you for all your awesome studies.  They are so explanitory.  I find them so good that I have put a link for people to read this site. 

    Sis’ C

    PS Could you do a study proving God is real according to science?

  2. Thanks Sister Cheryl. I’ve been enjoying your site too. I will write an article soon about God and Science.

    Thanks,

    Randy

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