The Hebrew word “adonai” / “adoni” or אדני (reading from right to left is aleph, dalet, nun, yod) is one of the most misused and misunderstood words in Hebrew. The root of adonai is “don” or דן (dalet, nun). The difference between these two English spellings are based solely on tradition. Adoni, pronounced “a·doe·nee” is actually more correct rendering. Just as avi (a·vee) is my father and achi (a·chee) is my brother.
Jeff Benner in his book Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible defines don or דן as the verb “rule” or the noun “ruler.” He says,
The pictograph dalet is a picture of a door. The nun is a picture of a seed representing the idea of life. Combined these pictures mean “the door of life”. The ancient Hebrew concept of a “judge” is one who restores life. The goal of one that rules or judges is to bring a pleasant and righteous life to the people.
Regarding the noun adon or אדן (aleph, dalet, nun) Jeff says it means the “base“,
The foundation of a column or pillar as the support of the structure.
Strong’s says this about adon,
From an unused root (meaning to rule); sovereign, that is, controller (human or divine): – lord, master, owner.
An adon is the support of the community; either in a micro sense, as in a family or in a macro sense, as in a nation. A woman has only one adon (one husband, father or even one owner) unless she is an orphan or a widow; and a man also has only one adon (ruler, master, lord, sovereign, controller).
However, the word which this discussion is about is adonai /adoni or אדני which, as you can see, ends in with a yod or י.
Now this is where Hebrew gets really interesting. The yod at the end of the word אדני is a suffix that denotes a pronoun and tells us whose adon we are talking about. Jeff Benner has created a wonderful chart that addresses these suffix endings for both verbs and nouns and is something that needs to be memorized by any serious student of the scriptures which were given to us by Yehovah through Moses and His other Prophets.
The Hebrew word for father is av or אב; and the suffix for my father is avi or אבי. And the suffix for his father is aviv or אביו.
But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father [אביו] and said, “My father [אבי]!” And he said, “Here I am, my son [בני].” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” (Gen 22:7)
Now the firstborn said to the younger, “Our father [אבינו] is old, and there is no man on the earth to come in to us as is the custom of all the earth. (Gen 19:31)
Adonai / Adoni, Translated Correctly, Is “My Master”
Here are some examples using adon.
O my master [אדני], open my lips [שׂפתי, sa·fa·ti], And my mouth [ופי, u·fi] shall show forth Your praise [תהלתך, te·hil·la·te·cha]. (Psa 51:15)
So David sent messengers to the men of Jabesh Gilead, and said to them, “You are blessed of Yehovah, for you have shown this kindness to your master [אדניכם], to Saul, and have buried him. (2Sa_2:5)
So the King will greatly desire your beauty; because He is your master [אדניך], worship Him. (Psa 45:11)
Now Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great and honorable man in the eyes of his master [אדניו], because by him Yehovah had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. (2Ki 5:1)
O Yehovah, our master [אדנינו], how excellent is Your name in all the earth! (Psa 8:9)
My master, Yehovah, says through His servant Jeremiah,
“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture [מרעיתי, mar·i·ti]!” says Yehovah. Therefore thus says Yehovah Elohim of Israel against the shepherds who feed My people [עמי, a·mi: “You have scattered My flock [צאני, tso·ni, driven them away, and not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for the evil of your doings [מעלליכם, ma·al·lei·chem,” says Yehovah. (Jer 23:1-2)
We, especially Yehovah’s men, have been lied to! Men are not created by Yehovah to serve in the kingdoms of men! But the Rabbis, and many other who translate Yehovah’s word, do not want men to follow only Yehovah because they lose control of the men who do.
The first time adonai / adoni is used in the scriptures is by Abraham. Here is how it is translated in most Bibles.
And Abram said, Lord GOD [a·do·ni Yehovah or יהוה אדני] what wilt thou give me, seeing I continue without a son, and the steward of my house is this Eliezer of Damascus? (Gen 15:2)
Lord GOD? What a perversion this is to the ignorant and uninformed masses who want to learn our Father’s wonderful good news! It steals both Yehovah’s name and His position in Abraham’s life; He only is his master, his sovereign,his controller! Abraham is saying “my master, Yehovah.”
There are translations that do get this right, but they are few and far between. Here is one.
And Abram said my master [אדני], Yehovah, what canst thou give me, seeing I continue without a son, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus. (Gen 15:2)
Having Yehovah as our only master, our adon is what makes us His people!
This said we must learn to read and understand Yehovah’s word accurately; and by doing so we will gain more light on how we are to conduct our lives.
This is part 1 of this series. In part two we will explore how a woman is to conduct her life in following her adon and in part 3 we will look at how a man is to conduct his life in following his adon.
See ya then!