YHWH-Tzva'ot (Sabaoth, Sabbaoth)
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YHWH of Hosts (of Armies) / YHWH of Powers

 

Pronounced Yä-wá' (or Yod-Há-Väv-Há') Sa-bâ'ôt, the name derives from sabaôth, which means "armies" or "hosts" (a vast multitude).

The compound name appears more than 285 times in the Old Testament, primarily in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi, as well as many times in the Psalms. Interestingly, the name never appears in the Torah (the first five books).

  • The name YHWH-Tzva'ot appears first in connection with the cult center at Shiloh:
    • 1 Samuel 1:3a — "This man went up out of his city from year to year to worship and to sacrifice to Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot] in Shiloh." (WEB)
    • 1 Samuel 1:11 — "She vowed a vow, and said, 'Yahweh of hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot], if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget Your handmaid, but will give to Your handmaid a man-child, then I will give him to Yahweh all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come on his head.'" (WEB)
  • The name is also associated with the Ark of the Covenant:
    • 1 Samuel 4:4 — "So the people sent to Shiloh; and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot], who sits above the cherubim: and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God." (WEB)
    • 2 Samuel 6:18 — "When David had made an end of offering the burnt offering and the peace [shalom] offerings, he blessed the people in the name of Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot]." (WEB)
  • The name is often associated with the military activities of Israel, as well as in the life of individuals:
    • 1 Samuel 15:2-3 — "Thus says Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot], "I have marked that which Amalek did to Israel, how he set himself against him in the way, when he came up out of Egypt. Now go and strike Amalek..." (WEB)
    • 2 Samuel 5:10 — "David grew greater and greater; for Yahweh, the God of hosts [YHWH-Elohe Tzva'ot], was with him." (WEB)
    • 2 Samuel 7:26-27 — "Let Your name be magnified forever, saying, Yahweh of hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot] is God over Israel; and the house of your servant David shall be established before You. For You, Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot], the God of Israel, have revealed to Your servant, saying, I will build you a house: therefore has Your servant found in his heart to pray this prayer to You." (WEB)
    • Psalm 46:6-7 — "The nations raged. The kingdoms were moved. He lifted his voice, and the earth melted. Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot] is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah." (WEB)
    • Psalm 59:5 — "You, Yahweh God of hosts [YHWH-Elohe Tzva'ot], the God of Israel, Rouse yourself to punish the nations. Show no mercy to the wicked traitors. Selah." (WEB)
    • Psalm 69:6 — "Don't let those who wait for You be shamed through me, Lord Yahweh of Hosts [Adonai YHWH-Tzva'ot]. Don't let those who seek You be brought to dishonor through me, God of Israel." (WEB)
    • Psalm 80:7 — "Turn us again, God of hosts [Elohe Tzva'ot]. Cause Your face to shine, And we will be saved." (WEB)
    • Isaiah 1:24 — "Therefore the Lord, Yahweh of Hosts [Adonai YHWH-Tzva'ot], The Mighty One of Israel, says: 'Ah, I will get relief from my adversaries, And avenge myself of my enemies;'" (WEB)
    • Isaiah 5:16 — "But Yahweh of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot] is exalted in justice, And God the Holy One is sanctified [m'kaddesh] in righteousness [tsid'ke-nu]." (WEB)
    • See also 1 Samuel 17:45; 1 Kings 19:14; 2 Kings 3:9-12,14; 1 Chronicles 11:9; Psalm 24:10, 46:11, 48:8, 80:4,19, 84:3; Isaiah 3:15, 6:5, 9:19, 10:26, 13:4, 14:22; Jeremiah 9:15, 11:20, 48:1; Hosea 12:5; Amos 3:13; Micah 4:4; Nahum 3:5; Haggai 2:6; Zechariah 1:3; Malachi 1:6; Habakkuk 2:13; Zephaniah 2:9.
  • The compound name also appears — or is referenced — several times in the New Testament:
    • Romans 9:29 — "As Isaiah has said before, 'Unless the Lord of Hosts [YHWH-Tzva'ot] had left us a seed, We would have become like Sodom, And would have been made like Gomorrah.'" (WEB)
    • James 5:4 — "Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry out, and the cries of those who reaped have entered into the ears of the Lord of Hosts [Yahweh-Tzva'ot]." (WEB)
    • Revelation 19:11-16 — "Next I saw heaven opened, and there before me was a white horse. Sitting on it was the one called Faithful and True, and it is in righteousness [tsid'ke-nu] that he passes judgment and goes to battle. His eyes were like a fiery flame, and on his head were many royal crowns. And he had a name written which no one knew but himself. He was wearing a robe that had been soaked in blood, and the name by which he is called is, 'THE WORD OF GOD.' The armies of heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. And out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations — 'He will rule them with a staff of iron.' It is he who treads the winepress from which flows the wine of the furious rage of Adonai, God of heaven's armies [YHWH, Elohe Tzva'ot]. And on his robe and on his thigh he has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (CJB)

The military connotation of the name cannot be over-emphasized. As the name reveals, the sovereign King of the Universe brings all the Armies of heaven to do battle with our adversary on our behalf. Thus, the victory is already ours! Hallelu YAH!

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