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Plowing through History from the Aleph to the Tav

Topics Definition of Hebrew Names


By Jeff A. Benner

And he said, Lord GOD, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it? (KJV, Genesis 15:8)

And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. (KJV, Genesis 2:15)

Notice that both of the verses above include the phrase "lord god." In 15:8 this phrase is written as "Lord GOD," but in 2:15 it is written as "LORD God." In 15:8 the Hebrew for this phrase is as; אדני יהוה (Adonai Yahweh), but in 2:15 it is written as; יהוה אלהים (Yahweh Elohiym).

The name Yahweh (whose pronunciation is debated) is the name of the God of the Bible. Throughout the Old Testament, the KJV, and most other translations translate the Hebrew name Yahweh as "LORD," in all upper case, and this is the case in 2:15.

The word Elohiym is the Hebrew word for "God." But in 15:8 the word "god" is written in all uppercase because it is the KJV’s translation of the name Yahweh. Because the word Adonai means "lord," which I will come back to, they couldn’t translate this as "Lord LORD," so they chose to use the word "god" for Yahweh and write it in all upper case letters (just another case of a translation disregarding the actual Hebrew text).

This brings us to the word Adonai. The noun that this word is derived from is the word אדן (adon) and means "lord." If you want to say "my lord," this word would be written as אדני (adoniy). If you want to say "lords," then it is אדנים (adoniym). If you want to say "my lords," then it is אדני (adonai), which is the very word in Genesis 2:15.

The Hebrew word אדוני (adonai), which is translated as "LORD," literally means "my lords." It should be noted that many of the names (or titles) of Yahweh are in the plural including; Adonai (my lords), Elohiym (powerful ones) and Shaddai (my breasts). Therefore, these words should not be translated, as so many translations do, but instead transliterated – Adonai, Elohiym and Shaddai.

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