Category Archives: Lord of lords

O Adonai


As we continue with the “O” antiphons in the run-up to Christmas Day, the Promised One is invoked today under the title O Adonai (O Lord of lords).

The name of YHVH revealed to Moses at the Burning Bush (Exodus 3, 14) is considered so sacred that it may never be pronounced except by the High Priest in the Temple at Jerusalem on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).

At other times and in other places other names or titles are used for God.  Adonai is the foremost of these.  Adonai  is the plural of adon, which means lord or master.  The plural is used to denote supremacy, like “Lord of all lords”, and appears 300 times in the Hebrew Scripture.  Its first recorded use was when Abram addressed God as “Adonai “(Genesis 15, 2)

In Evening Prayer today the Promised One is addressed as “O Adonai”, to signify that he has power over all, to put down the wicked, to administer true justice, and to save the humble who trust in him.

The prophet Isaiah speaks  to the poor, and challenges those who oppress them: “Adonai, Lord of hosts, enters into judgment with the princes of the people: “Why do you crush my people and grind down the poor when they look to you?”  (Isaiah 3,15)

 The prophet assures the exiles of their liberation to come, “Adonai will be there with us, our judge, our lawgiver and our king.  It is he who will save us” (Isaiah 33, 22)