Lord; the Lord
lord, This English word in our Bible represents one Aramaic, 3 Greek and 9 Hebrew words, two of them in two forms. It thus expresses all grades of dignity, honor, and majesty. It is not always possible to be sure of the sense in which the term is to be taken. In Ge 18:3; 19:18, the translators waver between interpreting of the Divine Person and a finite angel (compare marginal readings). It represents the most sacred Hebrew name for God, as their covenant God, Yah, Yahweh, and the more usual designation of Deity, 'Adhonay, 'Adhon, a term which they adopted to avoid pronouncing the most holy designation. They had placed on Le 24:16 an interpretation that aroused such a dread that they seldom dared use the name at all. When two of the words usually translated "Lord," both referring to God, occur together, the King James Version renders "Lord God," and the American Standard Revised Version "Lord Yahweh." the American Standard Revised Version has adopted the rule of using the covenant name transliterated, instead of the term "Lord," in which the King James Version adopts the rule of the Hebrews to avoid the holy name.
The Aramaic designation, Mare', occurs only in Dan (e.g. 2:47; 5:23), and the same word refers to a man (4:24).
Of the Greek words, Kurios is freely used of both the Deity and men. Despotes, of men in classic usage, occurs only of God, including the ascended Jesus, and is employed only 5 times. Megistanes (plural) is found once, of men (Mr 6:21). Rabboni (Hebrew in Greek letters) is applied only to the Christ, and is simply transliterated in the Revised Version (British and American), but rendered "Lord" in the King James Version (compare Mr 10:51).
Our English versions distinguish the 3 main uses of the term thus: (1) "LORD" represents the Hebrew Yahweh, Septuagint Kurios, except where 'Adhonay or 'Adhon is combined with Yahweh (= "Lord God"); the American Standard Revised Version has in these examples employed the name as it is found in the Hebrew, simply transliterated. (2) "Lord" corresponds to 'Adhonay, 'Adhon, Mare', also Greek Kurios (see (1)), and Despotes, for which the American Standard Revised Version has always "Master" in either the text or the margin. (3) "Lord" ("lord") translates all the remaining 8 Hebrew words and the Greek words except Despotes. It is thus seen that Kurios corresponds to all three forms of writing the English term.
William Owen Carver