“adonai Tsvaot” (hebrew Insight)

The Hebrew Adonai Tsvaot (יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת) has been used differently in different contexts. For example, in “A Mighty Fortress is our God” hymn in old, but still comprehensible English, the translator of the original German version in referring to the same idea has:

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing;
Were not the right Man on our side, the Man of God’s own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth, His name, from age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.”

I once heard in a church service stated that the worshipers have no reason to be confused – the Lord Sabaoth simply refers to the Lord of the Sabbath! (Nothing can be further from the truth of course as we will see momentarily).

In Isaiah 6 we read that the great prophet heard angels call out to each other:  “Holy, Holy, Holy is Adodai Tsvaot!” (קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת)

The last two words make up a phrase “Adonai Tsvaot” – “Lord God Almighty, the Lord of Hosts or Lord Sabbaoth” as it is sometimes translated. The very last word is “tsvaot” (צְבָא֑וֹת). The word “tsava” (צְבָא֑) means “army” and together with the plural feminine ending “ot” (ֹוֹת) we get “of the Armies.” More literal translation, therefore, is “Lord of the Armies”.

Nothing illustrates this use better than the example of Joshua meeting the ultimate Messenger of the LORD in Joshua 5. When Joshua first sow this Great Warrior, he inquired if he was for “them” or for their enemies. The answer he got was – no.

Not letting Joshua wonder too long the Heavenly Warrior added, “for I have come as the Commander of the Army of the LORD.” (לֹ֗א כִּ֛י אֲנִ֥י שַׂר־צְבָֽא־יְהוָ֖ה עַתָּ֣ה בָ֑אתִי).

Israel’s God is not satisfied with assisting Israel’s army (fighting on her side). He will lead Israel into battle Himself.

Joshua immediately understood to whom he was talking. He fell face down and quickly took of his shoes as Moses did before him at the sight of God in the burning bush for the place upon which his feet stood was holy.

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  1. George W Walker.

    One Reason Im Glad today, is that I saw this meaning, That which the Name Lord Sabaot- Tsavot.

    I love the Study of Hebrew.

    Wish i had known about this class and attempted to enroll and learn it LONG AGO.

    1. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

      That’s great. Spread the wold. Let others know 🙂

      1. George W Walker.

        I need to study more, and as i do each day, learning anew, in class, though its not as deep or as much new knowlege, i actually without trying at all, a witness of what is possible, is obvious to anyone i know.

  2. Edward Siders

    REPLACE lies with TRUTH———— he will come , not to start a war, But to end all Wars ,

    1. Monique T Tedder

      I have been studying the Bible for a long time different version. Recently someone wrote you never get the fullness until to look at the Hebrew. Now that is my quest. I have leaned so much in a matter of minutes. Praise God. Thank you.

  3. Edward Siders

    SHALOM———– all i want to know is what my FATHER says . Besides he is the only one that knows . IF we ask him ,and listen to his voice inside of us . HE will tell us everthing we need to know .And it will not be what we think . Is the truth ——- WE have two minds one is on top of our shoulders . THE outher is inside our chest . which the scriptures call the mind of CHRIST . Rember the carnal mind can and will deceive us ever time we use it .

  4. gustavo vargas angel

    I think that you do not need a religion, (which according some people is opium for people), but you really need is a belief, just a little one, and that belief be based on G-d Almighty and His Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, They will do the rest of the job to do; And some day, closer than you think, Peace will be,for everybody,everywhere.

  5. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

    Tonight I watched them fighting, the Muslims and the Jews. Both blaming each other, no one wanting to lose. Fighting for their rights, and also their land, but what I see as their problem, is that their religons don’t go hand in hand. Knock down the Wailing Wall, demolish the mosque within, take away what they see is their religon, let them see what is truly within. They have a faith around them, they have a faith within, no BOOKS or buildings are needed, but the light burried under is growing dim. Imagine no religion, no need to fuss and fight, you know I think John Lennon, was the one who got it right.

  6. Dan Lim

    Thank you so much for such learning. I’m new here. Did I miss anything on the covenants?

  7. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

    Stephen if you think we are under Moses rules after reading the NT I think you should read it again, Christ fulfilled those rules and his burden is light, the Jewish laws can not be kept fully that is why Christ came to show us the true way to the KoH. I feel very sorry for those that do not c the light the way Christ taught it 🙁

  8. Sonia Ann Azzopardi

    It is not us fighting it in God’s army it means God has an angel army and there are many references to this when God goes ahead of Moses and David.
    Is there anyway I can get a proper English translation of the Jewish New n Old Testament?

  9. gustavo vargas angel

    Cathy: As I can remember, was Jesus who said “if you love me, keep my commandments”, but , as I poorly can understand, that words are referred to the highest commandments, of all: Love God all over the things and to your neighbor as to yourself, and according Jesus said, these are the most biggest commandments of the whole law . Doing it, u r Ok!

  10. gustavo vargas angel

    Kat: Jesus said “come to me such as such you are”, that is why you should not be worry about else people or circumstances”take your cross each day and follow me”, troubles?pains?suffer? Jesus sees your soul and heals it, giving peace to your mind and heart.( See psalm 23) David wrote in deep anguish,perhaps like yours. Best for you.