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One of the names for God in ancient Hebrew in the Old Testament) is Adonai. In Hebrew this word means "Lord" (Hebrew: דֹנָי). Grammatically "adonai" is plural ("Lords") but is used in the singular sense. The word (in the singular) was also used by the Phoenicians for the pagan god Tammuz and is the origin of the Greek name Adonis. Jews only used the singular to refer to a distinguished person.

Since pronouncing God's personal name YHWH has been considered wrong by many Jews, they use Adonai instead of Yahweh in prayers and the reading of the Scriptures. When the Masoretes added vowel pointings to the text of the Hebrew Bible in the first century A.D., they gave the word YHWH the vowels of Adonai, to remind the reader to say Adonai instead. Thus the word Yahweh read as Jehovah (Yehowah)

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