Hebrew Meaning Of Adonai In The Bible

"Adonai" - it's a Hebrew word that is used often in the Bible, but you're probably more familiar with its English translation "Lord." Most likely, you already know that it is a title that refers to and represents our Creator Yahweh, but you may still be wondering, "What does the word mean?" and "How does its meaning effect the way we live on this earth?" Let's explore these questions by defining the Hebrew meaning of Adonai, and by discussing what it means to serve Adonai Yahweh.

Meaning Of The Hebrew Word Adonai

From the Hebrew word "Adon" (which means "Lord" in English) comes the word we use to talk about God, "Adonai." This word, Adonai, is the plural form of Adon. Just as with the word Elohim, the plural form of the word is used to amplify the greatness of Yahweh. It can also mean "My Lord."

Another word that could be used to describe "Adonai" is "master." It is thus apparent that this name implies the existence of a person or being that is subservient to its Adon(ai). This does not necessarily refer to the relationship of master and slave, though it could. It simply means that the Adon has power over another and that others serve him.

What It Means To Serve Adonai Yahweh

Knowing what Adonai means in Hebrew helps us to better understand our relationship with Yahweh. By calling him "My Lord" (Adonai), we gratefully acknowledge his strong leadership over us, and we accept guidance, correction, instruction, commands and suggestions from him.

I can think of no other "god" or "lord" that is more deserving of our submission than Yahweh. He takes his role of Master over us very seriously, and in his efforts to build His kingdom and bring Himself glory, Yahweh always involves us in a positive way that blesses us, too.

What It Means To Be An Adon

Now that we know the Hebrew meaning of Adonai as it refers to Yahweh, let's look at a different angle. Did you know that Yahweh is not the only being referred to with the Hebrew word "Adonai" or "Adon?" In 1 Peter 3:6, we learn that Sarah referred to her husband Abraham as her "Adon" (see Genesis 18:12).

In fact, you yourself may have good reason to be thought of as an "Adon" as well. No, I am not implying that you are Yahweh, but rather that Yahweh may have put you in a place of leadership, with the intention of empowering you to be a wise and understanding leader that represents Yahweh and all you do.

If you find yourself in such a position, I encourage you to act in a way that you believe Yahweh would act if he were filling your same position. In other words, bless those over whom you have authority, and work to further establish God's kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. And always keep your ears open to suggestions and instructions from the Adonai of all adons (Lord of all lords), so that he can guide you in the path of life.
About The AuthorJonathan Hostetler lives in southern Pennsylvania. He grew up in a strong Christian family, dedicated his life completely to Jesus at the age of 9, experienced a spiritual breakthrough at the age of 15, and is now in his mid twenties, joyfully serving Yahweh and sharing Yahweh's message of salvation and hope both on the internet and in person.
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