The Difference Between LORD and Lord in the Old Testament

While reading the Old Testament, you will come across “LORD” in all caps. Perhaps, you think, the writer accidentally left the caps lock on.

You would be incorrect.

There are two words for “lord” in Hebrew, the common word is simply the word for “lord or master.” Sarah called Abraham her “lord.”

LORD, in all caps, is the Hebrew word for God, YHWH. The Hebrew alphabet does not contain vowels. Hebrew writers, however, would put vowel marks (little dots and dashes) in to help with pronunciation.

Due to the Jewish squeamishness about pronouncing the name of God, they never included vowel marks to help with pronunciation of YHWH. Thus, YHWH could either be a two-syllable word, YAHWEH, or it could be a three-syllable word, YAHOVAH (Jehovah).

When translating to English, they use the all caps “LORD” to let you know it’s the Name of God, YHWH. This helps make sense out of verses like Psalm 8:1

O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens.

What this means is, “O YHWH, our Master.” Two different words translated lord.

So, now you know.

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