Today’s question is an interesting one!
Hi, I am currently reading the bible and in the old testament right now. I was raised a Christian but am no longer religious.
I think the Old testament is not exactly the same as the Jewish version but still was hoping to get a Jewish perspective on something that I’m very curious about.
In the early books, God is portrayed as specifically interested in the Jewish people and it seems to me that God is seen as the Jewish God. Does that mean that Jews considered God to be exclusive to Jews? I mean, when Christians speak of God, do Jews consider that to not be the same deity?
I just don’t see anywhere so far where God is available to others. God may speak to others but it is always in the service of helping the Jews.
Thank you for addressing this. I hope it makes sense.
The Christian Old Testament is indeed not “exactly” the same as the Tanakh but I have written about that difference before (can’t remember if it was on this version of the website or the old one that I closed down) but you are correct in saying that HaShem has an interest in the Jewish people – HaShem picked them to be a “light upon the nations”!
With that said, however, HaShem is not exclusive to the Jewish people and is there for everyone. You can find many quotes to support this but there is one I will share is Numbers 27:16.
יִפְקֹד יְהוָה, אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת לְכָל-בָּשָׂר, אִישׁ, עַל-הָעֵדָה
Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
To answer the last part of your question – do Jews see HaShem as their own diety? No. HaShem created us all and is here for us all. When Christians speak about HaShem most Jews tend to believe that it is the same as the one in the Jewish faith but with a lot more added on so to speak.
I’ll also add on quickly that most Jews as well see the Islamic Allah as the same as HaShem – again with a different understanding.