When Hannah asks for a son, she calls upon the LORD of Hosts:

And she vowed a vow and said, “O LORD of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the LORD all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.” (1 Samuel 1:11 ESV)
ותדר נדר ותאמר יהוה צבאות אם־ראה תראה בעני אמתך וזכרתני ולא־תשכח את־אמתך ונתתה לאמתך זרע אנשים ונתתיו ליהוה כל־ימי חייו ומורה לא־יעלה על־ראשו

The LXX has a very unusual rendering for this two-word phrase:

and vowed a vow to the Lord saying, “Adonai, Lord, Eloai, Sabaoth, if looking you will look on the humiliation of your slave and remember me and give to your slave an offspring of men, and I will give him as one devoted before you until the day of his death, and wine and strong drink he shall not drink, and no iron shall come upon his head.”
(LXX-1 Reigns 1:11 NETS)
καὶ ηὔξατο εὐχὴν κυρίῳ λέγουσα αδωναι κύριε ελωαι σαβαωθ ἐὰν ἐπιβλέπων ἐπιβλέψῃς ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης σου καὶ μνησθῇς μου καὶ δῷς τῇ δούλῃ σου σπέρμα ἀνδρῶν καὶ δώσω αὐτὸν ἐνώπιόν σου δοτὸν ἕως ἡμέρας θανάτου αὐτοῦ καὶ οἶνον καὶ μέθυσμα οὐ πίεται καὶ σίδηρος οὐκ ἀναβήσεται ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ

The transliteration of צבאות ("Hosts") as Sabaoth is not uncommon but the proper expression would be κυριος σαβαωθ, "Lord Sabaoth" (as in 1 Samuel 15:2). The translator made two additions. First, Adonai which is not present in the Hebrew was transliterated as αδωναι. Also ελωαι, apparently a transliteration of אלוה (God) was added.

Does this treatment mean αδωναι (Adonai) was considered as a proper way to address יהוה צבאות who is κύριε ελωαι σαβαωθ?

1 Answer 1


The Hebrew word for "Lord" is אָדוֹן (Adon) and simply means "master", etc.

However, and this is the crux of the matter, there is an elevated, specialized form of this word reserved purely for the name of God, namely, אֲדֹנָי (Adonay). In this form, the word is practically equivalent to the tetragrammaton, יְהוָֹה, and refers exclusively to Jehovah throughout the OT. For example: Gen 15:2, 8, 18:27, 30, 32, 19:18, 20:4, Ex 4:10, 13, 15:17, etc.

Strong's lexicon says this:

An emphatic form of 'adon; the Lord (used as a proper name of God only)

The phrase, אֲדֹנָי יהוה צְבָאוֺת (Adonay Yahweh Sabaoth = Lord Jehovah of Hosts) is a very elevated title of God in the OT and is often translated, "Lord God of Hosts" or some variant. Here are a few places this three-word Hebrew phrase occurs and the LXX rendering:

  • Ps 69:6 - Κύριε, Κύριε τῶν δυνάμεων
  • Amos 9:5 - Κύριος Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ
  • Isa 10:23, 22:5 - Κύριος σαβαώθ

In 1 Sam 1:11, we have the slightly different phrase, יהוה צבאות (YHWH Sabaoth = Jehovah of Hosts) which the LXX renders Ἀδωναὶ Κύριε Ἐλωὲ σαβαώθ = Lord, Lord, God of Hosts.

As is obvious from the above survey, the LXX is quite inconsistent in the way it translates the divine names.

  • It should be noted that the distinction between Adoni and Adonai comes with the Masoretes (who added vowels), a mere millennia ago, and may not reflect a distinction present in spoken Hebrew. Feb 12, 2021 at 22:51
  • @SolaGratia - not quite - אָדוֹן (Adon) is still different from אֲדֹנָי (Adonay) even without the vowel pointings.
    – Dottard
    Feb 12, 2021 at 22:54
  • Adon is different from Adoni (O Lord/my lord). Adon means lord in general, as in "who is lord over us?" (mi adon lanu?). Feb 12, 2021 at 22:57

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