â€œAnd this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.â€ (1 Samuel 1:3)
This majestic name of God, â€œLORD of hostsâ€ (HebrewÂ Jehovah Sabaoth), occurs almost 240 times in the Bible, first of all in our text above. It is noteworthy that Elkanah, the father of Samuel, understood this name of God better than did the wicked priests, the two sons of Eli. The name occurs only once in the New Testament, speaking of oppressed laborers crying to â€œthe Lord of sabaothâ€ (James 5:4).
A similar name, â€œGod of hosts,â€ occurs nine times, the first inÂ Psalm 80:7: â€œTurn us again, O God of hosts, and cause thy face to shine; and we shall be saved.â€ The combined name â€œLORD God of hostsâ€ is used about 25 times, first inÂ 2 Samuel 5:10: â€œAnd David went on, and grew great, and the LORD God of hosts was with him.â€
In all these 270 or so references, the name is used to emphasize the mighty power of God and His great host of angels â€œthat excel in strength, that do his commandmentsâ€ (Psalm 103:20). Not only is God Himself omnipotent and omniscient (after all, He is the Creator of all things!), but He has â€œan innumerable company of angelsâ€ (Hebrews 12:22) at His call. Occasionally, some of these mighty hosts have actually been seen by men, as in the days of Elisha (2 Kings 6:17) and at the birth of Christ (Luke 2:13).
There is evidently an angelic hierarchy among these heavenly hosts. There are the cherubim and seraphim (Genesis 3:24;Â Isaiah 6:2), for example, as well as â€œMichael the archangelâ€ (Jude 1:9) and â€œGabriel, that stand in the presence of Godâ€ (Luke 1:19). However, the great â€œcaptain of the host of the LORDâ€ (Joshua 5:14) is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He, and He alone, is the true â€œLORD of hosts.â€ HMM