“The LORD Said to My Lord” – Psalm 110, Melchizedek, Yahweh, Adonai, and Adoni

Many Jewish eyes have been opened to the truth about our LORD and Lord via passages such as those in Psalms 110:1, 16:2, and 35:22-24. If your eyes haven’t yet been opened, I challenge you to read on. This blog analyzes passages about the LORD Yahweh, the Lord Adonai (or Adoni?), and King David.

“The LORD [Yahweh] said unto my Lord [Adonai], ‘Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.’”[1]

Jesus stumped the Pharisees with this verse,[2] which was written either by King David or about King David by a court poet, according to Dr. Michael Brown and other Hebrew Biblical experts. The point of view of the court poet would be that “my Lord” refers to King David. However, if Psalm 110 were written about King David, it would have to include historical content and information prophesied about King David, yet it does not. For example, King David is not considered to be “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4). We know very little of Melchizedek[3] and nothing of his lineage as he only appears in Genesis 14:18-19. He was the king of Salem[4] and priest of the Most High God who brought bread and wine to bless Abraham. Abraham, in turn, gave him a tenth of everything. King David is further not an equal to God, which is the implication of sitting at the Lord’s right hand. Therefore, it must have been written by King David.

The verse refers to both “the LORD” (YHWH or Yahweh) and “my Lord” (Adonai).[5] Some English translations distinguish LORD from Lord with upper versus upper and lower cases. Adonai stems from adon, which refers to a lord, master, or superior. Adonai has been used to describe the Almighty God and to describe ancient Hebrew kings[6] and prophets.[7] While some have claimed a lesser status for “my Lord” under “the LORD,” two passages in the Psalms make LORD and Lord interchangeable:

Psalm 16:2 “Oh my soul, thou hast said unto the LORD (Yahweh), Thou art my Lord (Adonai), my goodness and extendeth not to thee.”

Psalm 35:22-24 “This thou hast seen, O LORD (Yahweh); keep not silence: O Lord (Adonai), be not far from me. Stir up thyself, and awake to my judgment, even unto my cause, my God and my Lord (Adonai). Judge me, O LORD (Yahweh) my God, according to thy righteousness; and let them not rejoice over me.

Psalm 110:2-7 continues: “The LORD [Yahweh] shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. The LORD [Yahweh] hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek. The Lord [Adonai] at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries. He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.”

The language in Psalm 110 is consistent with numerous Old Testament verses about the powerful, authoritative, and blessed right hand of the LORD. Right is both directional and correct. See Genesis 48:14, Exodus 15:6, 1 Kings 2:19, Isaiah 41:10; 48:13, 62:8, Psalm 16:8, 44:3, 60:5, 63:8, 77:10, 89:13, 98:1, and 118:15-16. In 1 Kings 2:19, the author specifies that the queen mother of Solomon, Bathsheba, sat at the right hand of King Solomon.

“Bathsheba therefore went unto king Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the king rose up to meet her, and bowed himself unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right hand.”

The one sitting at the right hand of the LORD Yahweh is Adonai, the King, the Son of Man, the Messiah the prince, and the most holy anointed one whom the LORD had awarded dominion over all.[8] Daniel’s vision (7:13-14) explicates:

“I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of Man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.”

Jesus and the Pharisees also attributed Psalm 110 to the Messiah, as reported by Luke 20:41-44 when Jesus stumped the Pharisees: 

“And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David’s son? And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.’  David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?’”

The Pharisees were stumped because Jews were to honor and be obedient to their parents in accordance with the ten commandments, so a father could not give his son a superior title, such as master or lord. Furthermore, the Lord anointed ancient Hebrew kings to serve in their positions,[9] so no other earthly person would be greater. The only way for King David to call his descendant his superior while adhering to Jewish law, therefore, is if “my Lord” is the Lord and Almighty God.


[1] Numerous New Testament verses align with its message, such as those in Matthew 26:64, Mark 10:37, 12:36, 14:62, 16:19, Luke 20:42, 22:69, Acts 2:34, 7:55, Romans 8:34, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3, 1:13, 8:1,10:12, 12:2, Ephesians 1:20, and 1 Peter 3:22.

[2] Matthew 22:43-45

[3] In Hebrews 7, we learn more about Melchizedek. His name means “king of righteousness” and “king of Salem” means “king of peace.”

[4] Salem was a city in Canaan, which later became Jerusalem.

[5] Some have argued that “Adonai” in this passage is “Adoni,” which only refers to a non-deity lord or master. However, as Dr. James White (a Biblical theologian) has pointed out, “Adoni” first appears in the Masoretic texts, which were written between 500 and 900 years after the New Testament. “Adoni” does not appear in the Psalms in the Qumran (~200 B.C.) or the Septuagint (or Greek translation) (~250 B.C.).

[6] 1 Samuel 28:8; 26:17; 29:8; 2 Samuel 3:21

[7] 2 Kings 2:19

[8] Other relevant passages: Daniel 9, Malachi 3:1, Isaiah 61:1; Psalm 82:8, Luke 4:18, and Acts 10:38.

[9] 1 Samuel 24:8

14 Replies to ““The LORD Said to My Lord” – Psalm 110, Melchizedek, Yahweh, Adonai, and Adoni”

  1. Excellent analysis! Love this study. Very well done and researched. Glad to see you reference Michael Brown.

    This says it: “The only way for King David to call his descendant his superior while adhering to Jewish law, therefore, is if “my Lord” is the Lord and Almighty God.”

    AMEN!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Terrible analysis. SJ Thomason clearly does not understand Hebrew, nor the culture and context of Ps 110, and she is completely ill equipped to handle the manuscript tradition for this passage. Moreover, James White’s laughable argument about the consonantal Hebrew text is easily debunked by a more careful treatment of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which actually illustrate that Hebrew scribes were grappling with the distinction between אֲדֹנִי and אֲדֹנָי long before the creation of the Masoretic text.

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      1. That is a huge problem with this entire argument that Thomason is making: there is no preserved copy of this Psalm in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It is an argument from silence, since the earliest, most reliable copies of the passage align with the pronunciation in the MT. Moreover, there are several instances from the DSS which demonstrate rather clearly that scribes were using various other means to distinguish between אֲדֹנִי and אֲדֹנָי—sometimes they replace אֲדֹנָי with יהוה; sometimes they lengthen the word with the vowel-letter waw.

        The natural reading of the psalm is as part of an enthronement ritual for the Judean king, spoken by a royal official like a court prophet, and predicting victory and righteous rule for the newly installed monarch. EVERY element of the psalm conforms neatly to this reading.

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      2. Kipp: I think you’re confusing my work on Psalm 22 (which the DSS does provide evidence) with Psalm 110 (which we don’t have evidence). You are also ignoring the LXX translations and the NT references to same.

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  3. I am ignoring nothing. The LXX translation is unhelpful for gauging the Hebrew text of Ps 110:1. Just because the Greek translators chose not to distinguish אֲדֹנִי and אֲדֹנָי that does not mean that all Jews followed suit. Moreover, apart from what the LXX translators were doing the meaning and usage of the psalm in its original context does not align with the NT interpretation, nor with your poor analysis above.

    Your “work” on Ps 22 is another matter, which is not supported by the DSS in the way you think it is. Here is a link to the photograph of the fragment in question: can you even identify where the problematic word from v.17 is located?

    https://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/image/B-366235

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    1. I’m not focused on v. 17. It’s v. 16 that’s the issue and the translation of “pierced/dug” or “like a lion.”

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      1. That is because you are reading the English. In the Hebrew the word כארי is in v. 17.

        So, what is your assessment of the photograph? How do you read the passage in question?

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  4. Besides, you should be focused on the entire psalm in both cases. Ps 22 and Ps 110 need to be carefully read in their entirety.

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