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Why Does The Hebrew Bible So Often Refer To God As “Lord Of Hosts”?

On the meaning of the term “Lord of Hosts,” which seems to appear several hundreds of times in the Torah. In Jewish tradition, God’s armies are all the heavenly forces under His command, conceived of both as angels and as celestial bodies […] Rabbinic Judaism, which accepted the existence of angels, had no problem with such an interpretation. Thus, the medieval Bible commentator David Kimḥi, in commenting on the phrase elohey ha-tsva’ot, “the God of the armies,” in the book of Hosea, takes “armies” to refer to “the angels and the celestial orbs and the stars.” By “celestial orbs,” Kimḥi had in mind the heavenly spheres that, according to medieval astronomy, revolved around the earth and carried with them the sun, moon, planets, and fixed stars. Some modern Bible scholars, by contrast, are of the opinion that the Israelite “Yahweh of the armies” was an inheritance from ancient Canaanite mythology, which spoke of a great, primeval war of the gods wherein the storm god Ba’al and his allies fought against an enemy camp and prevailed… (READ MORE)


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