35:11 Then God said to him, “I am the sovereign God. 1 Be fruitful and multiply! A nation – even a company of nations – will descend from you; kings will be among your descendants! 2
43:14 May the sovereign God 3 grant you mercy before the man so that he may release 4 your other brother 5 and Benjamin! As for me, if I lose my children I lose them.” 6
48:3 Jacob said to Joseph, “The sovereign God 7 appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me.
1 tn The name אֵל שַׁדַּי (’el shadday, “El Shaddai”) has often been translated “God Almighty,” primarily because Jerome translated it omnipotens (“all powerful”) in the Latin Vulgate. There has been much debate over the meaning of the name. For discussion see W. F. Albright, “The Names Shaddai and Abram,” JBL 54 (1935): 173-210; R. Gordis, “The Biblical Root sdy-sd,” JTS 41 (1940): 34-43; and especially T. N. D. Mettinger, In Search of God, 69-72. Shaddai/El Shaddai is the sovereign king of the world who grants, blesses, and judges. In the Book of Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name are uncertain its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. For a fuller discussion see the note on “sovereign God” in Gen 17:1.
2 tn Heb “A nation and a company of nations will be from you and kings from your loins will come out.”
sn A nation…will descend from you. The promise is rooted in the Abrahamic promise (see Gen 17). God confirms what Isaac told Jacob (see Gen 28:3-4). Here, though, for the first time Jacob is promised kings as descendants.
4 tn Heb “release to you.” After the jussive this perfect verbal form with prefixed vav (ו) probably indicates logical consequence, as well as temporal sequence.
5 sn Several Jewish commentators suggest that the expression your other brother refers to Joseph. This would mean that Jacob prophesied unwittingly. However, it is much more likely that Simeon is the referent of the phrase “your other brother” (see Gen 42:24).
6 tn Heb “if I am bereaved I am bereaved.” With this fatalistic sounding statement Jacob resolves himself to the possibility of losing both Benjamin and Simeon.