Blog 1903 Names of God: Adonai

Adonai means Lord or Master. It occurs 434 times in the Old Testament. It is used mostly in the prophets, 200 times in Ezekiel alone.
Genesis 18:
16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD (Jehovah) said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?…
20 Then the LORD (Jehovah) said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great…
22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD (Jehovah). 23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24 What if there are fifty righteous people in the city?…
26 The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”
27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord (Adonai), though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty?…
“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”
29 …“What if only forty…
He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”
30 Then he said, “May the Lord (Adonai) not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty…
He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”
31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord (Adonai), what if only twenty…
He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”
32 Then he said, “May the Lord (Adonai) not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten…
He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”
33 When the LORD (Jehovah) had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.
The author of this passage, Moses, uses the name Jehovah to indicate who is speaking, and it is interesting the Abraham calls Jehovah, Adonai. Abraham understood that God was his lord.
Adonai follows the form of elohiym, in that it is the plural of Adon (Lord). Most of the time when adon is used in the singular, it is used to refer to human lords.
Once in a while, especially in the Psalms, adon is used to refer to God.
Adonai can be translated literally as, “my lords’ ” (both plural and possessive).

Many times Adonai is used with Jehovah.
Deuteronomy 3
23 At that time I pleaded with the Lord: 24 “Sovereign (Adonai) LORD (Jehovah), you have begun to show to your servant your greatness and your strong hand. For what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do the deeds and mighty works you do?
The different translations handle Adonai Jehovah in interesting ways.
The English Standard, NASB and the KJV say Lord God, translating both Adonai and Jehovah.
ESV – “O Lord God…
The Complete Jewish Bible transliterates both Adonai, and Elohim.
CJB – Adonai Elohim…
Young’s Literal translation Lord Jehovah, makes the “lord” sound like a title.
Young’s – Lord Jehovah…
The NIV takes the two words together and translates the meaning. You, my lord, who is sovereign.
NIV – Sovereign Lord
I like the Message, it emphasizes the master part of the two words together.
The Message- God, Master…

What does it mean to call God, Adonai?
When you call God, Adonai or Lord, you are making a bold statement. You are saying, “I am not my own, I belong to another.” You are identifying Him as your master. You are telling others that, this is the one I follow. Adonai is my master.


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