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Psalm 145:17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.


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Why have you not dealt with Adoni, my lord, as distinct from Adonai?

by The Author on 11/25/10

Why have you not dealt with Adoni,  my lord, as distinct from Adonai? There is a critically important difference. Adonai is the Lord God, but adoni is never God. Why not comment on the misleading capital L on the second lord of Ps. 110?
Thanks, Anthony

Hi Anthony,

I certainly did deal with Adon, Adonim, and Adonai each according to their biblical uses. However, I really appreciate the question because

A. it lets me point odd the way I've organized the information, (which can be a little idiosyncratic) and

B. it lets me talk about the research part of this page.

A. When I first started studying the Hebrew words for Lord it was for the sake of comparison with the Aramaic words for lord. This was backwards of course, but still it led me to look for a word for earthly lords and an absolute form for supreme lordship. There are echoes of this distinction in the uses of Lord in the Aramaic texts of the New Testament, but echoes only.

I assumed that the first of these forms would be Adonai (as I had been taught) and the second of these forms would be Adon. I assumed that Adonai was based on the plural form of Adon, because the plural of majesty would mean "Supreme Lord." I was very surprised when I learned that the majestic plural of Adon was Adonim, not Adonai. Then I went back to the drawing board chewing crow feathers the whole way.

This leads me to B:

Antony, the information you seek is under "The Sopherim and Systems for Transmitting the Bible." The best study of the roots of Adonai leads me, at this point, to agree with Dr. Bullinger that:

"ADONAI is Lord in His relation to the earth; and as carrying out His purposes of blessing in the earth. With this limitation it is almost equivalent to Jehovah. Indeed, it was from an early date so used, by associating the vowel points of the word Jehovah with Adon, thus converting Adon into Adonai." ("Appendix 4" The Companion Bible)

Dr. Ginsburg, whose work Dr. Bullinger helped publish, says just the opposite. He says that the vowels from Jehovah came from Adownai. The more I studied the biblical uses, the more I agreed with E.W. My reasons are detailed in "The Sopherim and Systems for Transmitting the Bible."

It has recently come to my attention that I have based my studies on the Leningrad Codex (also a Masoretic text) which in some ways differs from the Hebrew text Dr. Ginsburg and Dr. Bullinger used (the Ben Chayyim Masoretic text). Hence, I might not have found all the uses of Adonai that exist in each text. Swordsearcher apparently makes an online version of  the Ben Chayyim text available and I'm double checking. By most accounts, though, the consonants of both texts are very, very similar.

Any additional insight or information on this matter would be greatly appreciated. Happy Thanksgiving 2010! It's just awesome we can work God's word together so freely with so many materials available.

All His best, 

P.S. -- Yes, the capital L is confusing in Psalms 110:1. It leads one to think that the second lord is Adowni, but it is not. It is Adown revealing Christ to David. It is remarkable how wrong our traditions about the Bible. In the world they reject tradition for the pleasures of liscense, in the word we reject tradition for the glory of God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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