Adonai

Ad'onai (Heb. Adonay', אֲדֹנָי, prob. my master, in the plural form for the sake of intensity; see Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 329; Sept. Κύριος, Vulg. Dominus, Auth. Vers. "Lord," not in small capitals; but "God," when that term has just preceded as a translation of Jehovah), a term employed in the Hebrews Scriptures by way of eminence to God, especially (in the Pentateuch always) where he is submissively or reverently addressed in his character of sovereign; frequently with other titles added. SEE JEHOVAH. The simple form אָדוֹן, Adon' (either with or without suffixes), is spoken of an owner or possessor in general, e.g. of property (1Ki 16:21), of slaves (Ge 24:14,27; Ge 39:2,7); hence, of kings, as rulers over their subjects (Isa 26:13), and of husbands, as lords of their wives (Ge 18:12); also of God, as proprietor of the world (Jos 3:13; Ex 23:17; Ps 114:7). It is also used of a ruler or governor (Ge 14:8); and hence as a title of respect in addressing, e.g. a father (Ge 31:35), a brother (Nu 12:11), a royal consort (1Ki 1:17-18), and especially kings or nobles (2Sa 14:9; 1Ki 3:17). The plural is employed in a similar manner. The distinctive form, Adonai, never has the article; it is twice applied by God to himself (Job 28:28, where, however, many copies have "Jehovah;" Isa 8:7, where, however, the expression may be only the prophet's); a circumstance that may have arisen from the superstition of the Jews, who always point the sacred name Jehovah with its vowels, and even substitute it for that name in reading, so that in some cases it appears to have supplanted it in the text (Da 9:3,7-9,15-16,19). It seems to have been written peculiarly (אֲדֹנָי) to distinguish it from the regular form (אֲדֹנִי), which nevertheless occurs in its ordinary sense, once with a plural sense (Ge 19:2), but elsewhere as a singular (Ge 18:3; Ge 19:8). See LORD.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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