God of hosts

Some Bible versions have different translations of the name God of hosts: God Almighty (NIV) is perhaps the best known, though it suits the Hebrew name ’El shaddai better. The Hebrew word tsaba’, from which the second part of this name comes, often stands for armies, hence the name, “God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” in the Message Bible.

Tseva’ot is used of various activities that require dedication and regimentation of life. For instance, service in the tabernacle (Ex. 38:8; Num. 4:23, 35, 39, 43; 8:24) and service in war (Num. 31:14). The name is used of God’s celestial host (Gen. 2:1; Ps. 33:6; 103:21; Isa. 40:26). Israel are also called the “hosts of the Lord” (Ex. 12:41). Shakespeare picked up on the meaning and called Him “God of battles” in his play, Henry V. “God of the armies of Israel” (1 Sam. 17:45) is a similar name of God but translates an unrelated Hebrew phrase.

Another similar name is “LORD of hosts” (Yahweh tseva’ot or Jehovah tseva’ot) but some English Bibles translate that as “Lord Almighty” (NIV). The reason for the difference is that in some places in the Greek Old Testament, the word pantokratōr was used to translate the name “God of hosts.” Pantokratōr means “all-powerful.” “Almighty” is a good translation of pantokratōr. However, while the Hebrew word places the emphasis on the resources available to God, the Greek emphasizes His might.

A name of God pictured in the Hebrew text: God of hosts (Elohei tsevaot) in Amos 5:27

God of hosts (Elohei tsevaot) in the Hebrew text of Amos 5:27

God of hosts in Hebrew:

’Elohei tseva’ot

Strong’s Concordance numbers: 430, 6635

Bible references: Ps. 80:14; Amos 5:27

Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. (Amos 5:27)

’Elohim tseva’ot

A name of God pictured in the Hebrew text: God of hosts (Elohim tsevaot) in Psalm 80:7.

God of hosts (Elohim tsevaot) in the Hebrew text of Psalm 80:7.

Strong’s Concordance numbers: 430, 6635

Bible reference: Ps. 80:7

Turn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved. (Psalm 80:7, KJV)

This is one of the seven names for God that the Old Testament specifically states to be a name of God.

In the book of Joshua, the mysterious “Captain of the Lord’s hosts” might be an early manifestation of Jesus Christ (Josh. 5:13-15).

Bookmark this page