What does Jehovah Sabaoth mean?
Jehovah Sabaoth is one of God’s names in the Bible. It occurs more than 270 times in the Old Testament. It combines God’s personal name, Jehovah (Yahweh), with the Hebrew word, sabaoth, meaning “host” or “multitude.” So Jehovah Sabaoth means “The Lord of Hosts.”
Sabaoth: a military term
The Hebrew word, sabaoth, often has a military connotation such as:
- A group of fighting men or an army (1 Samuel 17:45; Isaiah 13:4).
- Sometimes sabaoth refers to the hosts of heaven (Psalm 148:2; 1 Kings 22:19), picturing God as Lord of the multitudes of angels, which are numbered as “a thousand thousands” and “ten thousand times ten thousand” (Daniel 7:10).
- Sabaoth also is used to describe the innumerable stars in the night sky (Psalm 33:6; 103:20, 21).
The important thing about this name for God is that whether it is armies, angels, or stars, Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, rules over all things both on earth and in heaven.
Jehovah Sabaoth in the Bible
The first time Jehovah Sabaoth appears in the Bible is in 1 Samuel 1:3, 11. This is the story of childless Hannah, who wanted a son so badly and earnestly prayed that the Lord would grant her the desire of her heart.
“She made a vow and said, ‘O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life’ ” (1 Samuel 1:11).
Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, is a name that emphasizes the power and might of our God. He rules over the vast multitudes of angels and stars and armies. Yet, the first time this powerful name appears in the Bible, it comes from the mouth of a humble woman who is praying in her anguish and distress for a blessing from God.
The mighty Lord of Hosts hears Hannah’s prayer. She gives birth to a son—Samuel. And Hannah keeps her promise. She gives Samuel to God’s service “all the days of his life.” Samuel grew up to be a great spiritual leader in Israel.
Hannah’s story tells us something important. It tells us that although God is indeed the Lord of all the multitudes on earth and in heaven, He is also the Lord of each individual person who comes to Him, weary and in need of His blessing. In your darkest hour, the almighty Lord of Hosts will hear you and comfort you as if you were the only person on earth needing His attention. Your troubles are never too small for Him to notice.
Whatever your need, the Bible assures you that you can cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). As the psalmist says, “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles” (Psalm 34:6). Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts, is your Lord.
Jesus is Jehovah Sabaoth
Isaiah specifically identifies the Lord of Hosts as our Redeemer. “Our Redeemer, the Lord of hosts is His name, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 47:4, see also 44:6; 54:5). Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. He is Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts.
This name for God emphasizes His power and authority over the multitudes of earth and heaven. When Jesus came to Earth to redeem us, He repeatedly demonstrated His power over the forces of Satan.
- He freed those possessed of demons (Mark 1:34; Luke 8:26-39).
- He raised the dead to life (John 11:1-44; Luke 7:11-17; Matthew 9:18-26).
- He healed lepers and the blind (Matthew 8:1-4; 9:27-31; 11:5).
As the Lord of Hosts, Jesus ruled even over the forces of nature, commanding a violent storm to cease when it threatened to swallow the little boat carrying Him and His disciples. Instantly, the wind stopped blowing and the waves were calm (Mark 4:35-41).
Just before the cross, Jesus told His disciples, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). And following His death, before going back to heaven, He told them, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). By His death for us on the cross, Jesus destroyed the devil and delivered us from the bondage of sin (Hebrews 2:14, 15).
Because of His powerful victory over sin in our behalf, the name of Jesus is above every name. “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10. 11).
Truly, Jesus is our all-powerful, all-loving Lord of Hosts—Jehovah Sabaoth.