A recent claim is that the full vowels for Yehovah have been found in ancient Hebrew manuscripts, thereby challenging the Name Yahweh. The following is an extract from our website (yrm.org) in response to this claim. (Original Q&A by Ryan Mansager)
We hear it often: “the full vowels for the creator’s name have now been found.” Sadly, many people have been sold a bill of goods based on a false premise. And that false premise is perpetuated from a lack of understanding of Ketiv/ Qere in Hebrew. Ketiv and Qere are orthographic devices that were used by the Masoretes (Jewish scribes) in the 6th to the 10th centuries. Ketiv means, “what is written.” Qere means, “what is read.” In other words, the sacred Name was written one way, but it was to be read another way.
Basically, the scribes would insert the vowels from two other words – Adonai and Elohim – into the Tetragrammaton, hwhy, so when the reader saw these vowels he would read the title Adonai or Elohim, completely avoiding the sacred Name, which Judaism believes is too holy to pronounce. This practice is done every Sabbath as the torah scroll is read our loud. (Professor William Barrick explains the practice in the link at the end of this article.) Some who promote Yehovah over Yahweh point to a Karaite Jew’s claim that he discovered the “full” vowels in the Tetragrammaton from a medieval manuscript, indicating the name Yehovah. However, another name would be just a legitimate as Yehovah, based on the same principles and logic used to support it and that name is Yehovih.
The vowels for Adonai in the Tetragrammaton read Yehovah while the vowels for Elohim in the tetragrammaton read Yehovih. One is no more legitimate than the other. Both have the same “full vowels,” as well as missing holems, vowel deductions, etc. I would like to go through some of these examples in the Leningrad Codex. The practice of such vowel substitution existed in Masoretic manuscripts dating to the 9th and 10th centuries, CE. There are several forms of Ketiv / Qere, including: ordinary, vowel, omitted, added, euphemistic, split, and qere perpetuum. If you do not have a basic concept of biblical Hebrew this may seem a bit complex.
it arose through pronouncing the vowels of the ‘ḳere’ (marginal reading of the Masorites: = ‘Adonay’) with the consonants of the ‘ketib’ (text reading: = ‘Yhwh’)— ‘Adonay’” Jehovah, Jewish Encyclopedia
‘Jehovah’ is generally held to have been the invention of Pope Leo X.’s confessor, Peter Galatin,” ibid.One thing is for sure, we don’t see the vowel combination for Yahweh ever used in the text. This is perfectly understandable as the scribes were purposely hiding the Name. By simple deduction we can prove the name Yahweh by what is not in the text, as no vowel combination exists for the “ah” and “eh” sounds” in the Masoretic vowel points in any part of the Tetragrammaton, just like we should expect from someone hiding the name.
Conclusion: Jehovah has all but died out as a legitimate form in the scholarly world. Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses realize it’s not authentic. It wasn’t until recently that history repeated itself. The name Yehovah (Jehovah with a Y) was popularized in the Messianic Movement by a recent narrative that a certain Karaite Jew found the full vowels of Yehovah as he was in the bowels of the Hebrew University, reading the Aleppo Codex on 9-11, at the exact moment the planes were hitting the World Trade Center. It should be noted this Karaite has a history of hyperbole. Apparently this sensationalistic story is supposed to dazzle the believer into thinking there was a miracle in the making. The proper name has “now” been found by a supernatural event, he excitingly proclaimed. Now that yarn has been expanded from one obscure, “amazing” find to literally thousands of occurrences. But wait, how can that be? How can the narrative change so drastically and no one question it? Sadly, many do not see the elephant in this room. Why the change? As shown, we can find these “full vowels” not just in the Aleppo Codex but also the Leningrad codex in Genesis 3:14 the very codex that the majority of our Bibles translate from (see Below).
Think about it! One full vowel combination became two, then three, then thousands over night. You can’t have it both ways, it can’t be an obscure scribal error found on 911 and yet be everywhere at the same time. It can’t be an accident and yet on purpose thousands of times.
Beware when you see a square peg in a round holem.Note: The above article uses the “v” for the 6th letter only to show those who use Yehovah the similarities with other name combinations using the vowels for Elohim. The 6th letter has a “w” anciently as taught by every accredited biblical Hebrew class and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.
Yehovah is impossible on many levels. See: yrm.org/the-sixth-letter-waw-or-vav
Biblical Hebrew Scholar Dr. Bill Barrick of the Masters Seminary refutes the erroneous name Yehovah (Jehovah) through Hebrew grammar. He explains how heretical Alexandrian Jews (the very ones that translated the Septuagint) removed the name Yahweh for Kyrios (the lord) around 250 BCE out of a misguided understanding of the 3rd commandment. This has influenced not just Judaism, but also Christianity; as a result the title “lord” made it in your Bible, replacing Yahweh. yrm.org/barrick-yehovah
Modern Hebrew uses a “vav” (v) for the sixth letter of its alphabet but anciently this wasn’t the case. Originally it had a “w” (double “u”) sound. This is a big deal when determining the proper pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. The only “v” sound in classical or biblical Hebrew is made from the second letter, the “bet” (for you Hebrew students this is the Hebrew letter “bet” without the dot called the dagesh lene, which indicates the harder pronunciation “b”).
It is known from antiquity the Tetragrammaton letters yod, heh, and waw are vowels. Vowels are spoken with the open mouth. The “v” is a consonant, not a vowel, and is spoken with the upper teeth and lower lip together. The historian Josephus (37 CE) said of the high priest, “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of the Almighty]: it consists of four vowels.” (War of the Jews, Book 5. 5. 7.)
Consisting of four vowels, the name Yahweh is pronounced with the open mouth, i.e., ee – ah- oo – eh. You cannot have or inject a consonant v as in Yahveh or Yehovah i.e., ee – ah – vv – eh. The two-syllable name Yahweh can be breathed when you deeply inhale and exhale.
The Masoretic vowel pointing backs up Josephus’ claims about the yod, heh and waw. In biblical Hebrew there are six unchangeable vowels (see chart above).
In his biblical Hebrew lecture series, Dr. Bill Barrick makes this interesting observation: “Sometimes actually in the transcription of ancient Hebrew such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, a ‘waw’ is sometimes given as a vowel letter for the qibbuts, which really represents a shureq and that also indicates the sounds of them were very, very close, even in ancient times.” (Biblical Hebrew Grammar I, Lesson 12). youtu.be/qb6DzN875y4?t=386 The qibbuts is a short vowel and has a “u” sound like in the word “ruler,” which equates to the “w” or double u. (See Basics of Biblical Hebrew Chapter 2.4)
J.D. Wijnkoop, literary candidate at the University of Leyden and rabbi of the Jewish Congregation in Amsterdam, states in his book, Manual of Hebrew Grammar, “Waw is a softly, scarcely audible pronounced w, which is produced by a quick opening of the lips,” (Forgotten Books, Classic Reprint Series, 2015, p. 3, original publication 1898).
Dr. Steven E. Fassberg, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a professor in the Hebrew language department and who headed the University’s Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and has contributed to numerous works such as The Encyclopedia Judaica, stated: “There is no doubt that the original sound was w and not v. Sometime during the history of the Hebrew language there was a shift from w > v in pronunciation, probably already during the Mishnaic Period [70 CE-200 CE]” (email correspondence).
We posed the V vs. W question to the Hebrew language Department at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. The Department Chair, Professor Adina Moshavi, responded in great detail: “I believe there are many ways to demonstrate that the waw was not originally pronounced as a bilabial “v” as it is in Tiberian Hebrew. The fact that the waw is frequently used as a mater lectionis for a long u sound would be impossible to explain if it was pronounced v, like the bet rafeh, rather as the semivowel w. Furthermore, there are many Hebrew words where a historical dipthong aw, as evidenced from Semitic cognates, has been reduced to a long vowel, e.g., in hiphil perfect of w-initial verbs hawrid > horid “he brought down”, or in the word yawm > yom “day”, and alternations between a dipthong and a long vowel, e.g.,absolute mawwet vs. construct mot “death.” Such correspondences are only understandable if the phonetic value of the waw was a semivowel.”
The Aramaic language became the common language throughout the Middle East, eventually displacing Assyrian cuneiform as the predominant writing system. Aramaic is still spoken today in parts of Turkey, Iraq and Iran. “An Aramaic institute was established in 2007 by Damascus University that teaches courses to keep the language alive. The institute’s activities were suspended in 2010 amidst fears that the square Aramaic alphabet used in the program too closely resembled the square script of the Hebrew alphabet and all the signs with the square Aramaic script were taken down.” Wikipedia “The Persians adopted Aramaic. The Babylonians adopted it and so did the Jews. It then prevailed as the language of the Middle East until 700 AD.” (Easter Sunday: A Syrian bid to resurrect Aramaic, the language of Jesus Christ)
Another interesting fact is found in the Aramaic alphabet. The Hebrew square script used today derived its letters from Aramaic around the time of the Babylonian exile. Being the language the Messiah spoke as well as the biblical patriarch Jacob, it uses a “w” for the sixth letter. We read in Deuteronomy 26:5, “My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down into Egypt with a few people and lived there and became a great nation, powerful and numerous.”
Ugaritic and later Semitic languages like Arabic, Maltese, and Ge’ez, all use a double “u” comparatively for the letter. This fact dynamites any possibility that the sixth letter had the sound of a “v” anciently as these languages all derive from older Semitic languages through Aramaic and as far back as Phoenician, i.e. ancient Hebrew.
Another substantiation is the linguistic study of the Yemenite Jews of Arabia. These Jews were never displaced from the region. Edward Horowitz writes: “The sound of waw a long time ago wasn’t ‘vav’ at all but ‘w’ and ‘w’ is weak. The Yemenite Jews of Arabia who retain an ancient, correct, and pure pronunciation of Hebrew still pronounce the waw as ‘w,’ as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew,” How the Hebrew Language Grew, pp. 29-30.
From this and other incontrovertible evidence, we see that any name for Yahweh like Yehovah, Yahvah, Yahveh, etc., has no basis in historical and linguistic fact.
‘It’s Just a Name…’ Oh Really?
A common argument that any name is acceptable for calling on the Heavenly Father not only violates the sanctity of Yahweh’s revealed, personal Name, but is also an assault on His True Worship.
The ongoing push to unite all worship into a monolithic, worldwide religion accomplishes its goals by exploiting words that are key to true worship and redefining them for mass consumption and unholy ends.
They make grace the universal leveler that eliminates specific demands that set apart true worship. “We are all covered by grace regardless of beliefs,” they say. Yahweh answers, No, such thinking turns grace into lawlessness, Jude 1:4.
The old bromides like: “He has many names;” “What difference does His name make, He knows who I mean,” fit right into this universalist agenda. Generic attributes like lord and god create all-purpose mighty ones. The result is worship where one size fits all.
But this is not how our Heavenly Father Yahweh expects devotion. In the 44th chapter of Jeremiah we find Him completely disgusted with His people and ready to wash His hands of them. We see an exceedingly patient Father who has finally had enough of His rebellious children who insist on worshiping their own way.
After all the many prophets He had sent to warn them, after all the trials they had to overcome and the plagues and hardships they endured for their disobedience, nothing ever really changed. Not for long.
Judah Barred from Using the Name
Now the people say in defiance to the prophet, “As for the word that you have spoken unto us in the name of Yahweh, we will not hearken unto you. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goes forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil” (Jer. 44:16-17).
His people were as rebellious as bratty children who act up just as soon as the parent’s back is turned. These defiant ones are still wanting to worship the heathen gods. No matter what Yahweh says or does, they lust to follow the apostasy of the majority religions around them.
Yahweh decides it’s time for drastic measures. “Therefore hear the word of Yahweh, all Judah that dwell in the land of Egypt; Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says Yahweh, that my name shall no more be named in the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, Yahweh Elohim lives” (Jer. 44:26).
Yahweh tells them, okay, go ahead, follow your lust to worship in error like the heathens around you. But know this, you may no longer use my Name if you do.
This was punishment for their refusal to worship Him in truth. He does not want His Name tied to their sin of rebellion. So much for the argument, “It makes no difference what I call Him.”
For Judah to return to True Worship would mean that Judah would have to return to using His Name.
Name Identifies True Worship
The Name does more than identify. It also creates True Worship. You take on His Name you take on His worship; you take on His identity. When you take on His identity and don’t live up to His standard, you smear Him.
The lesson for us comes down to this: You cannot worship the Mighty One of the universe properly without using His revealed, personal Name. His Name defines Him as well as the only worship that is uniquely His. His name is not just an identifier, it is His very identity and all that He is and does for His people. The only True Worship in the Bible is carried out through His personal Name.
What does this mean for those who mix His Name with the heathen titles in their congregations and from the pulpit? The same goes for their literature, prayers, and songs? How can you mingle true worship with false and think He’ll find that acceptable. G-d and L-rd are generic titles that apply anywhere to any worship traditions. They fit anywhere.
We learn in Revelation 7:3, 14:1, and 22:1-4 that the 144,000 faithful who are sealed in the end days are sealed with His Name in their foreheads. There is solid proof that His Name separates True Worshipers from false and will give them literal protection from tribulation in the latter days.
Notice what James told the people gathered at Jerusalem: “Simon Peter has declared how Elohim at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name” (Acts 15:14).
The heathens had to come out of their false worship and observe the true Name. True Worship and His Name go together like hand in glove and cannot be separated. It’s a match, not a mix.
Those who know the true Name but insist on using replacement titles are still in spiritual Egypt, in essence still sacrificing to the Queen of Heaven because they have not come to know the true Father, which comes from loving and using His personal Name.
If there is one truth that is clearly shown throughout Scripture it is this: His Name and True Worship go hand in hand, they cannot be separated. He prohibits man from substituting His Name just as He will not allow any worship other than what He prescribes.
By showing us in Jeremiah 44 that apostate worship is not allowed to call on His Name, He is also showing us that only in His Name can one worship in truth.
The true Name is not just a matter of His “knowing who we mean” when we worship or call on Him. It is more than simple identity. His Name is the difference between being in the truth and being outside the truth. It’s the difference between worship that pleases Him and worship that provokes Him once we know better.
This truth is as difficult for some to accept as it is for them to accept the Sabbath over Sunday. It is nothing more than 2,000 years of boiler-plated tradition speaking. All they need to do is allow Yahweh to work with their hearts — show them the truth — and they will see the difference.
The prophet wrote: “O Yahweh, hear; O Yahweh, forgive; O Yahweh, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my Elohim: for your city and your people are called by your Name” (Dan. 9:19).
Names in our culture are mostly labels. Not so with Yahweh. His Name signifies the one and only true Heavenly Father as opposed to the false deities of apostate worship. His Name is a true means of identification, a link to the only true Creator.
The simple lesson for Israel and for us is this: Reject True Worship and you reject His Name. The reverse is also true: Reject His Name for a substitute, and you no longer have the authentic, True Worship of the Scriptures. The two are inseparable.
Danger in Name Apathy
Names and words are powerful in ways you may not have considered. Is there any danger to the notion that any name is acceptable in worship of our Heavenly Father?
Aside from keeping us from the truth, the typical nonchalance regarding the Heavenly Father’s Name and His uncommon worship is part of the general indifference that will open the door to the universal, false religion soon to take control. At the heart of this system will be a demon-backed religious leader who will demand worship on a worldwide scale, unlike anything in history.
A book called New Age Bible Versions details how the way is being paved for the great deception. It reveals that the newer translations of Scripture are taking important words and terms associated with pure worship and generalizing them to appeal to a broad spectrum of worshiper. The goal is to soften the edge and ultimately devalue obedience to Yahweh’s will. Highly publicized was the taking of male references to Yahweh in Bibles and religious song books and replacing them with such pronouns as “She” for “He” (reflective of the worship of the ancient, feminine goddess Sophia).
Ultimately, attempts will be made to include everyone of every faith under a single, global religion. To accomplish that, the wording in new Bibles will help to ease many into that false worship. As will pulpit messages that incessantly attack the law and obedience.
The move is insidious for now. Once churchianity is rendered even more pliable, however, the complete yielding to the demands of a one-world religion will come openly.
Paving the way for this universal religion is a reorienting of beliefs through the manipulation of words. Unaware of what is happening, the masses accept new terminology that moves them further and further from what truth they had. Altering wording changes conceptions.
Power in Names
Stop for a moment and consider names and their power, especially when revealed in the Scriptures.
Who was the first to call something or someone by name? Yahweh. Names were used not for the simple sake of identification, but for creation. Just as Yahweh can travel by thought, when it says that Elohim created, He didn’t work or fashion through physical labor and burning calories. He spoke it (actually, Yahshua as the Dabar or the Word spoke it). The term used for the object brought it into existence.
Things are what they are because of what they are named.
Names don’t just differentiate objects from one another, they create the object. Names are the parents of everything in the universe.
“Let there be light” (the Hebrew ore) and light came into being.
The Hebrew word for “name” is shem. The two letters shin and mem are at the core of neshamah, which is the Hebrew word for soul. The soul or essence of the human being is contained in his or her name.
In 1Samuel 25:25 we read, “As his name is, so is he.”
Titles That Thrill the Adversary
Turn to Luke 4:8. This is Yahshua’s response to Satan’s invitation to fall down and worship the Evil One:
“And Yahshua answered and said unto him, Get behind me, Satan: for it is written. You shall worship Yahweh your Elohim, and him only shall you serve” (Luke 4:8).
The KJV says “L-rd thy G-d.” The Aramaic or Hebrew, which Yahshua spoke, reads, “Yahweh your Elohim.” But even in the Greek, Yahweh’s Name would have remained unchanged.
If Yahshua had said “Lord thy God,” Satan would have been de-lighted. Why? Because this general term could refer to Satan himself. The Apostle Paul calls Satan the “god of this world” in 2Corinthians 4:4. In Matthew 12:24 Satan is called Beelzebub, which is another name for Lord of the fly or the manure god.
In effect our English translation says: it is written, you shall worship the lord god – which could just as well be Satan – and him only shall you serve. We can see how the Adversary de-lights when people are led to worship in these common titles today. Doing so removes them from the true Father and a false one is put in His place through a generic and incorrect identification.
Any time we are not worshiping Yahweh in His true Name, we are in danger of invoking false mighty ones manufactured by the Father of Lies himself— even if done in ignorance.
You change the name of the one you worship and you change WHO you worship and the WAY he is worshiped. By using generic terms you re-move yourself from the True Yahweh. It is not simply a matter of semantics; it is not simply a choice between two equivalent alternatives. It is a matter of true versus false identification – and proper worship versus erroneous worship!
That is why Yahweh characteristically introduces Himself by Name first, then specifies precisely what worship He expects:
“I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to an-other, neither my praise to graven images” (Isa. 42:8). In Exodus 3, Yahweh tells Moses that His Name is Yahweh, then proceeds to explain how He will bring Israel out of the sin of Egypt. They would come to know True Worship, including the Holy Days, after they first learned His personal Name.
Power Through Words
We establish our beliefs through language. Language can inspire, convict, and challenge, as in the way Yahshua used it; or it can be used to manipulate and subjugate, as despots have done over the centuries through propaganda. Words can sway emotion and opinion, as in a good movie or a good book.
Even husbands, wives, and children know what the wrong word or the right word can mean in their relationships.
The use of general titles like god and lord promote universalism, which is exactly the opposite of the True faith. True Worship is narrow, specific, well defined, and includes the faithful identifying the True Father by name (Matt. 7:14).
The way of error leading to destruction is broad and many will be in it, Yahshua said (v. 13). One way this is accomplished is by the argument that it doesn’t matter what we call Him. Any name or title is acceptable.
As explained, titles like god and lord are general and apply to many different mighty ones, even to Satan him-self. Pagan idols as well are called by the same titles commonly used as names for the Heavenly Father.
Titles do not fix an identity. They are like the generic “human being.” To call on “G-d” is like calling your neighbor, “Hey you, human being…”
Today’s New Babel
Even the sacred Name of the Creator Himself can lose its significance when we allow others to manipulate with words and substitute names.
The human-centered, humanistic movement that began in the Renaissance is finally succeeding in eliminating the very language of sin, which de-rives from a higher power. We hardly ever hear in general society terms like “immorality,” “living in sin,” “fornication,” “virtuous,” and the like.
Today man has decided to set his own standards of what is right and wrong. Sin and any reference to it is out, because sin recognizes a Father above, and that runs head-long into the notion that man himself is all-knowing.
Our culture is building new Towers of Babel, where everyone speaks the same language of moral relativism. This movement is out to change the way people think by changing their language and how right and wrong are perceived.
Forces working behind the scenes have seized on the power of language to promote their own agendas.
Its all part of a revamping of Bible-based beliefs – to replace traditional and biblical morality with humanistic beliefs. This in turn will prepare the way for the universal Man of Sin.
Instead of biblical standards, we have today “political correctness.” As one author wrote, “Political correctness is an attempt to eliminate freedom of speech for those who hold traditional values and religious beliefs. It is overt social censorship designed to stifle the truth.”
But even greater implications are those that tamper with the very nature of Almighty Yahweh and His Word. Satan is out to obliterate Yahweh and the truth of Him in a final push to pre-pare for His own Antimessiah.
Not just everyday words but even the Word of Yahweh is being molested and modified for an unrighteous end. A recent report notes that a prominent publisher is packaging its Bibles for worldwide distribution with the insignia, “Good News for a New Age.”
Even more disturbing is how new versions are fiddling with the text itself.
Satan as G-d
Those who misunderstand the significance of words and names tell us that it doesn’t matter what you call the Heavenly Father. They say, “He knows who you mean” regardless. Oddly, however, those who tell us this exclusively employ the same “L-rd” and “G-d” titles, which by their universal use amount to false replacement names.
Having been removed from the Name Yahweh, which identifies the True Mighty One of this universe and the specific worship He demands, mod-ern worshipers have unwittingly ac-cepted a generic title that takes them away from the only True Worship connected with His Name as well.
Not surprisingly. Satan has usurped this title. New Age and satanic writings describe Satan in terms that sound biblical, calling Him the Divine God. saying Lucifer is God, the bringer of Light. the savior of the world.
This fact will help to fulfill the prophecy of Revelation 13:4:
“And they worshiped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshiped the beast, saying. Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
But how could it happen? Quite easily. The masses are already calling on their mighty one with the same terms and titles honored in both Christianity and Satanism.
Yahweh’s Unheeded Warning
A little more deception and they sim-ply transfer the titles from one being to another! By definition, titles can apply to any number of persons or beings.
Thus is the final fulfillment of Deuteronomy 32:17: “They sacrificed unto devils, not to Elohim; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.”
There are many new “gods” coming up in this age of the New Age. Our society is becoming increasingly taken over by pagan worship and its many false deities.
But the biggest is yet to show. The very worship of the Antimessiah all starts with violating the warning in Exodus 23:13, which is just as applicable for us today as for Israel 3,000 years ago:
“And in all [things] that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of your mouth.” (Ex. 23:13)
Yahweh knew clearly what He was doing by giving us this warning. He is Yahweh Almighty, the only True Father above. His Name identifies Him and defines Him, just as it does those He calls His People, by His Name.
Is it possible that with every breath you take you are breathing the name Yahweh? It has been said the Jewish sages associated the name with breath. The uniqueness of this two syllable form YaH-WeH can indeed be breathed, try it. Inhale “Yah” and exhale “weh,” or you can exhale Yah and inhale weh. The yod, heh, and waw (which make up the Tetragrammaton) are semivowel letters in Hebrew, commonly called matres lectionis, from the Latin “mothers of reading” and are consonants that are used as vowels. In Biblical Hebrew they are used for the unchangeable vowel combinations in Masoretic vowel pointing.
Ancient Jewish historian Flavius Josephus backs this up in his description of the inscription on the miter of the high priest: “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue ribbon, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name: it consists of four vowels,” The Wars of the Jews, 5.235. Could Josephus be indicating the name is an onomatopoeia (formation of a word from the sound associated with it)? I’m pretty convinced he is. I am also convinced they considered yod, heh, and waw as matres lectionis and I believe the Hebrew tells the story.
Vowels are spoken with the open mouth and to inhale and exhale air you must open your mouth. It is no accident that the Tetragrammaton is made up of semi-vowel letters.
Yahweh told Moses in response to his question, what shall I call You, in Exodus 3:14 said: “I Am that I Am.” I Am is from the verb of existence HaYah in Hebrew, which means to become, come to pass, as well as sustain. His name is attributed to life. Our very sustenance is the air we breathe. Maybe this is why David wrote: “I will bless Yahweh at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Psalms 34:1. To breathe is the very essence of life. Yahweh’s Holy Spirit is called the Ruach HaKodesh in Hebrew. Ruach literally means breath, wind or spirit.
Yahweh’s very breath filled life into the lungs of man, Genesis 2:7; 7:22.
In Psalm 150:6 Scripture says: “Let every thing that hath breath praise Yah. HalleluYah.” Psalm 150:6 retains the short form Yah in the Masoretic text. It is vowel pointed to “Yah” (yod, qamets, heh) twice in the text. The final heh in Yah contains a mappiq dot indicating the heh is to be pronounced as a full aspirated consonant “YaH,” rather than just the qamets vowel “Ya,” adding the breathy “h” sound to Yahh.
Many rabbis know the importance of the Tetragrammaton YHWH in relation to breath. The Jewish prayer book, the Siddur, teaches, “Nishmat kol chai tivarekh et-shimcha, YHWH elohenu” — “The breathing of all life, praises your Name, YHWH our Elohim.”
This is yet another proof of why the simplicity of the two-syllable name Yah-weh is authentic and why so many of the complex three-syllable variations cannot be breathed. In Genesis 2:7 Yahweh breathed into Adam the breath of life and made him live. “Nishmat khayyim (breath of life).” Khayyim is represented in the popular Chai symbol of the two Hebrew letters Het-yod, popular among Jews in the land of Israel and worn as necklaces symbolizing life.
Recall the phrase in the movie Fiddler on the Roof: “to life to life l’chaim.” In Jeremiah 23:36 we see the Hebrew phrase “Elohim khayyim Yahweh sebaowth Elohenu” or “Elohim of the living, Yahweh of Hosts our Elohim.”
Pronounce the tetragrammaton the way it is written: YHWH. Notice you can actually pronounce the name with just the four letters. It really is quite amazing! You really don’t even need the vowels to say the name. This is the beauty of these aspirate consonants that make up the name and how fascinating Yahweh’s name really is. From the first man Adam till now, no matter your religion, if you believe in the Bible, or an Atheist, the name of Yahweh will be on every ones lips until your last breath.
Nehemiah Gordon claims that the Hebrew word “gav” holds the key that unlocks the true pronunciation of the sixth letter waw, which almost all Hebrew linguists (including those at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem) believe anciently had a “w” sound. If he can prove that the sixth letter, also known as the vav was pronounced anciently as a “v,” then his claim that Yehovah, (Jehovah) holds more weight over the traditional scholarly consensus of the pronunciation Yahweh. His claim is that these two Hebrew words, one spelled with the soft bet “gav,” and the other spelled with waw “gaw,” clearly prove that this sixth letter had the original sound of “v.” He believes these two words are interchangeable, so according to him this is a major discovery that should rock the scholarly word to its core. Gordon has a history of speaking in hyperbole but in this case does he have validity?
According to Gordon: “The word for back in Hebrew is gav and gav can be written with a soft bet or with a vav, and the only way that can happen is if the soft bet and the vav have the same pronunciation.” So Gordon believes that this is proof of two variant spellings of the same word, back, and not two variant spellings of two different words.
The word Gav גַּב 1354 spelled with the soft bet (without the dagesh) occurs 13 times in the Hebrew Bible and only translates to mean “back” one time, in Ezekiel 10:12. The 12 other various translations of gav are mound, rim of a wheel, embossed shield, arch of eye, dome roof, and various meanings of something “rounded.” It would make sense that this word could be used used for back as well, since the human back can curve and be round.
The other Hebrew word Gaw גַּו 1458 spelled with the “waw” or commonly called “vav” in modern Hebrew, occurs three times, 1 Kings 14:9, Nehemiah 9:26, and Ezekiel 23:35. In every occurrence of this word it means just “back.” It seems pretty clear from the translations and the word root that gav and gaw are two distinct words with two distinct meanings.
We reached out to the Hebrew University language department regarding Gordon’s claims regarding the Gav-Gaw connection since he claims this is such an amazing and earth shaking discovery. Professor Adina Moshavi commented:
“I completely agree that the גב/גו alternation is not an adequate proof to the contrary. I have not looked into this issue, but I see that the lexicons derive the two words from different roots, implying that the phonetic identity of the two words in Tiberian Hebrew is not significant,” Adina Moshavi, PhD, Hebrew Language Department, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. More about Professor Moshavi
We also reached out to Steven Fassberg, PhD, professor at the Hebrew University and one of the world’s foremost experts in the Hebrew language and the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls in Israel. Regarding the gav-gaw question he replied: “gb (gav) is from the root gbb and gw (gaw) is from the root gww. Both are well attested roots in Semitic.” He continues…“There is no doubt whatsoever that vav was pronounced w in the Hebrew of the First Temple period and in Semitic languages.”
We also asked Professor Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal of the Hebrew University the same question and here was his response:
“Thank you for your question. There is no doubt that the original pronunciation was w There is some evidence that in some early Hebrew dialects there was a sound shift of w>v. There are two different prepositions go – inside and gab > on top.” Elitzur Bar-Asher Siegal, PhD, Department of Hebrew Language, Hebrew University, Jerusalem
So if both of these words are from different roots according to the lexicon and to some of the best Hebrew experts in the world, then how can Gordon claim that they are a variation of the same word? Is Gordon ignorant of these Hebrew word roots? Is he willingly misleading people? To make these outlandish claims one can only assume one or the other.
We could also use such flawed reasoning, let me give you an example. Lets look at the Hebrew words שָׂחַק sachaq “to laugh” 7832 and צְחַק 6711 tzchaq “to Laugh.” Both have different roots but similar sounds. So with the same logic used by Gordon, does this mean that the letters Sin (s) and the Tzade (ts) have the same pronunciation just because the sounds of these letters are similar? Is this some cutting-edge find that should implode Biblical Hebrew as we know it? Of course not, that would be ridiculous.
Gordon had made a challenge to prove the waw sound has a “w” sound. He said: “Can you please show me your manuscripts with the “w” pronunciation?” This is not hard to do. If you understand how the language works and how contractions work, we can easily prove the waw sound as a “w” literally hundreds of times in the Hebrew Bible through contraction. When a word contracts, as happens with many words, it gets easier to say as fewer letters and sounds are typically used.
Let’s look at the Hebrew word, Avihu אָבִ֖יהוּ which means “his father” in Judges 14:10. It contracts to Aviw אָבִ֣יו “his father,” as found in in Judges 14:3. Notice in the contracted form the heh (h sound) has been dropped and the Shureq vowel letter וּ (which has the sound of “u” as in ruler) contracts to a consonantal waw ו and loses the niqqud dot. Now pronounce Avihu in it’s contracted form without the “h” Aviu. The softer sound of w is now vocalized. You could phonetically spell it Aviw with the double u. This occurs 220 times from Genesis to Chronicles and clearly proves the sound of the “waw” anciently is tied to the “w” or “double u” sound of the וּ Shureq. The use of the letter waw in connection with the “o” vowel sound as in Shalom שָׁלוֹם is no accident. When pronounced fast you can hear that “w” sound in the word—try it, say Shalom several times rapidly (shalom, shalom, shalom, shalom)…hear that “w” sound? The lips are in the same position when making an “O” (וֹ) “U” (וּ) or “W” (ו) sound but not with the “v” fricative sound which needs the upper teeth and lower lip engaged. The v in Hebrew is not tied to the waw letter ו at all in biblical Hebrew but to the letter bet in Hebrew. The Bet has the sound of B with the dagesh dot בּ and V sound ב without the dagesh. The sounds B and V are very similar.
We can also see this with the word for brother, Akihu אָחִ֖יהוּ found in Jeremiah 34:9, contracted down to Akhiyw אָחִ֨יו where the heh is removed contracting the “hu” sound to the simple double U “w” sound in Jeremiah 34:14. This contraction also is seen hundreds of times in the Masoretic text. Now try saying Akihu several times really fast and you will hear the W sound in Akhiyw.
In our correspondence Professor Moshavi goes into greater detail regarding the connection to the “U” sound and why the waw could only be a semivowel, not a consonant like the v. She says: “I believe there are many ways to demonstrate that the waw was not originally pronounced as a bilabial ‘v’ as it is in Tiberian Hebrew. The fact that the waw is frequently used as a mater lectionis for a long u sound would be impossible to explain if it was pronounced v, like the bet rafeh, rather as the semivowel w. Furthermore, there are many Hebrew words where a historical dipthong aw, as evidenced from Semitic cognates, has been reduced to a long vowel, e.g., in hiphil perfect of w-initial verbs hawrid > horid ‘he brought down,’ or in the word yawm > yom ‘day.’ and alternations between a dipthong and a long vowel, e.g.,absolute , awwet vs. construct mot ‘death.’ Such correspondences are only understandable if the phonetic value of the waw was a semivowel,” Adina Moshavi, PhD.
With so much evidence at our fingertips it is hard to comprehend how so many can believe Gordon’s false claims regarding the Waw vs. Vav debate. The information discussed is just another proof that the name Yahweh is not just ancient, but it also fits the rules of Hebrew grammar and cutting-edge linguistics.
2) The Scriptures transliterate names of pagan gods and kings. Thus, by example, Yah teaches transliteration.
3) For clarity, titles should be translated -> idea-for-idea, accurately rendering Yah’s Thoughts and Priorities.These are not issues. OK? The Issue:
We are commanded to not utter the names of pagan deities. We have reason to believe that names of pagan deities are a common part of the English vocabulary, and thus should be avoided in a devotional context.
Exo 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other elohim, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.This author is focusing on the use of “other elohim” in a devotional context. Days of the week and other topics will not be addressed here. Further, we only summarize points relative to the common titles “god” and “lord”.Is it possible that pagan names have crept into worship?Admission: Word origin (etymology) usually has an element of uncertainty. When we trace a word or name to its possible origin, there is a chance we have missed something, or made a false connection. Conjecture abounds.
The names of deities do travel great distances. Mithra originated in Persia. Then the Romans brought Mithra to Central Europe, where his worship was mingled with Christian practices.
Ishtar originated in Assyrio-Babylonian mythology, and made her way to central Europe, as the sunrise goddess, Ēostre or Ostara. (Christians will deny this).
The name “god” originated somewhere in the eastern hemisphere, and has made its way all the way to Asia, where American territories and allies use it frequently.
Modern pagans in the USA (yes, they do exist) freely invoke the names of Egyptian, Babylonian and Teutonic deities.
It is certainly possible that the name of pagan deities would make their way across great distances. These deities travel with people, and people migrate great distances.
Could pagan names in our mouths be an issue today?
Without a doubt, the answer is Yes. In the last days, Yahshua tells his people, worldwide, to come out of Babylon. Babylon was global before global was cool.
Twice, Yahshua’s Revelation warns us about “names of blasphemy” associated with the beast. Note this is the plural form, “names”, and the beast is filled with them (Rev 17:3)
Combining these facts, Yahshua’s Revelation makes it a certainty that “names of blasphemy” is a matter of concern for his people worldwide at the end time.
Why would “names of blasphemy” apply to the command cited, above, from Exodus 23:13?
Connecting “names of blasphemy” to pagan names is easily done by looking at the interpretation that best fits the facts.
In Isaiah 66:1-3, Yahweh condemns a hypocrite, and (among other things) states the following in vs. 3b:“ … he that burneth incense, is as if he blessed an idol.
Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.”
That clause, “he that burneth incense, is as if he blessed an idol” is translated in the Greek Septuagint as:
“… he that gives frankincense for a memorial, is as a blasphemer.”
(the above taken from http://www.ecmarsh.com/lxx/Esaias/index.htm)
Thus, the names of blasphemy are connected to blessing an idol, through the word “blasphemy” (Greek #988 and 989) in our Greek copies of Revelation and Isaiah. Though “blasphemy” has a handful of applications and interpretations, this one best fits the facts: The “names of blasphemy” in Yahshua’s Revelation are the names used in idolatrous worship around the world.
This connects Revelation to a systematic theology against these names, meaning, it is a continuation of ancient warnings. In addition to Exodus 23:13, we have:
Psa 16:4 Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
Hos 2:17 For I will take away the names of the Baals out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
If this is not the correct interpretation, then what are the “names of blasphemy”? Outside of Sacred Name teaching, no one seems to have a systematic theology for this issue, even though it emerges twice in Yahshua’s Revelation.
What is the problem with the name “god”?
We start with “god”, because it is easiest to demonstrate. Weakest data first and building from there.
Linguistic theory of the origin of “god” shows it is perhaps from the Sanskrit (Proto-Indo-European) root “gheu” meaning to call, or else to pour. It can go either way.
The meaning “call” is connected to the Hindu deity Indra through the epithet (secondary name) “khuta”, meaning “invoked one”. This is not necessarily a problem. After all, Yahweh is invoked too. But that idea does not accurately translate the word “elohim.” Other possible meanings and origins of “god” are even more problematic.
The alternate meaning, “pour”, is interpreted as either pouring a drink offering or pouring a molten idol.
The citation, below, from the Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Ed. Vol VI, begins at once with uncertainty.
The word, geotan, highlighted in red, will be important, as will be the Greek cuton.
The connection with molten images, suggested near the end, is most alarming, but deemed unlikely by the author. That is, unlikely until other data is considered.
At dictionary.com, under “ingot” we get this: 1350-1400; Middle English: literally, (something) poured in, equivalent to in- in-
+ got (e) a stream, Old English *gota, akin to gēotan to flow; cognate with German giessen, Gothic giutan, Old Norse gjōta to pour
Thus, the “got” in “ingot” means “to pour”. The form “geotan” appears above both in the speculative derivation for “god”, and for the “got” in “ingot”. It is eerily similar to “Godan”, one of the names of Wodin/Woden/Wodan.
While the “got” in “ingot” comes from a word meaning to pour, linguistic sources shy away from connecting god->got-> g,heu (pour) in Sanskrit. Thus, the Sanskrit/Proto-Indo-European data is both ugly and elusive.
While the Sanskrit-origin path is unclear, (to scholars, anyway), an alternate explanation is the importation of “god” from the Semitic word “gawd” (H1408, 1409).In the Hebrew Scriptures, the word gad (or rather gawd) is usually a nice word with positive meanings. In the one case where it is part of a religious scenario, it is condemned, as it is the name of a deity.Isa 65:11 But yeH859 are they that forsakeH5800 Yahweh,H3068 that forgetH7913 (H853) my holyH6944 mountain,H2022 that prepareH6186 a tableH7979 for gawd (fortune),H1408 and that furnishH4390 the drink offeringH4469 unto that number meni (luck).H4507 (citation adapted from esword withStrong’s numbers).That alone should eject the word “god” from the vocabulary of the saints. At a minimum, the English “god” sounds JUST LIKE the name of a Babylonian deity of luck.
A cogent connection between the central European “god” and the Semitic “gawd” is found in the name for the Almighty in Slavic languages in Eastern Europe, which is right next door to Central Europe. “Bog” is the name they use. And its fundamental meaning is “Rich”.
Even more, while the Semitic “gawd” also means “troop”, Slavic mythology has legends of “bogatyrs”, who were soldiers of fortune. The following table may clarify the connection.
The intellectual connection between the Semitic “gawd” and the Slavic “bog” lends weight to the likelihood of a deity having to do with “wealth” migrating around central and Eastern Europe.
It should be remembered that there is no literary evidence connecting “god” to Sanskrit. Those connections stated above by the pros are admittedly conjecture. They are unverified, but plausible.
The connection to the Semitic “gawd” is just as plausible, if not more so, with that connection to Slavic “bog”.
More importantly than the above, despite any origin, the Teutonic word “god” (and related words) always pointed to Germanic idols and false deities. First, keep in mind that pagan mythology and religion are related, but not the same thing. Religion calls into play devotional practices. In “Norse Mythology: A Guide to Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs” (2002) by John Lindow, page 147, the author speaks to the use of this word “god” in mythology.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance Elohim winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:The forgoing material may seem like a witch hunt. But the urgency to “Come out of her, my people” points to a need for diligent inquiry. There is something here to which Yahshua is alerting the end-time saints. And since Revelation is directed through 7 gentile assemblies, the focus should be on names used among the nations.
Let it be agreed that the word “lord” should not be rejected, merely because it was used as a substitute for the Holy Name.
Linguistic Theory says that “lord” comes from “hlaf-ward”, where:“hlaf” means loaf and “ward” means “keeper”, like a warden.
At this time, this author has nothing in analysis of the word, “ward”.
The word “hlaf”, for loaf, is more interesting. From http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=loaf
late 13c., from Old English hlaf “portion of bread baked in a mass of definite form,” from Proto-Germanic *khlaibuz, the common Germanic word for “bread” (source also of Old Norse hleifr, Swedish lev, Old Frisian hlef, Old High German hleib, German Laib, Gothic hlaifs “bread, loaf”).The Germanic root is of uncertain origin; it is perhaps connected to Old English hlifian “to raise higher, tower,” on the notion of the bread rising as it bakes, but (according to OED) it is unclear whether “loaf” or “bread” is the original sense. It is disguised in lord and lady. Finnish leipä, Estonian leip, Old Church Slavonic chlebu, Lithuanian klepas probably are Germanic loan words.
Other online sources (For example: http://www.latin-dictionary.org/libum) also show that this libum cake is sacrificed to the gods on one’s 50th birthday.
Here is the connection:
Libum (pagan sacrifice cake) -> hlieb (Old German for bread) -> hlaf (for loaf) + ward->hlaf+ward->lord
As is common with word evolution, “libum” is hidden in the word “lord” through centuries of contraction. Though this author is unwilling to use “lord” in worship, perhaps some will think the long evolution of this word has adequately cleansed it … Rather like those who think a sufficiently hot deep-fryer will cleanse the fried chicken made in the same vat as shrimp and crabs.More importantly, the transition from “hlaf-ward” to lord is a stretch. In Surnames as a Science (1883), Robert Ferguson expresses doubt over “Lord” coming from “hlaf-ward”, he states under LORD, LORDING (Kindle Locations 2847-2848):
and from Amazon Kindle for free at: https://www.amazon.com/Surnames-as-Science-Robert-Ferguson-ebook/dp/B005UFTAAG/ref=sr_1_1_twi_kin_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1470553213&sr=1-1&keywords=surnames+as+science#navbar
“hlaf-ward” would morph into “Lorde” with that “e” at the end.Psa 23:1 A Psalme of Dauid. The Lorde is my shephearde, I shall not want.The case against “lord” is much stronger than the “hlaf-ward” connection, owing to its evident cognate status with pagan deities from the past. The following is an expansion of material available in Elder Chris Koster’s work, “The Final Reformation” (also known as “Come Out of Her My People”, under the section on LORD, subsection (a) LARTH, which is the strongest evidence.Koster’s section will be pasted at the end, but material you can check will be provided first.There was a household idol from Roman days, which appeared in pairs. Singularly, one was called a “Lar” and when they started popping up in pairs, they were called “Lares”. The form Lar was also cognate with Larth.
Koster makes the following connection within an ocean of legitimate linguistic data:
Lar / Larth ->Lard ->Lord
Information on Lar and Lares is available in many places. You are invited to do n internet search on your own.
First consider the Lar connection to Larth. It was a common prefix name, meaning “Lord”, as shown here:
I.a prænomen of Etruscan origin (in Etruscan, usu: “the prefix of the first-born, while a younger son was called Aruns. The name Lar, Lars, or Larth was an honorary appellation in Etruscan, = Engl. lord): Lars Tolumnius, rex Veientium,” Cic. Phil. 9, 2; Liv. 4, 17, 1; 4, 58, 7: “ad Lartem Porsenam,” id. 2, 9 (nom. Lar, Charis. 110 P.).From: A Latin Dictionary. Founded on Andrews’ edition of Freund’s Latin dictionary. revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by. Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1879.Next …
The Middle English Dictionary (online) is a recent achievement. The entry of “lord” is located at this link: http://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/m/mec/med-idx?size=First+100&type=headword&q1=lord&rgxp=constrainedThey list several variants of the word “lord” from Middle English:
lōrd (n.) Also lorde, lorte, lhord,
(errors) lor, lorlde & loverd,
(early) lovered, lowerd, lhoaverd, hloverd,
(errors) lover, lorverde & lard,
(early & N) laverd,
(early) lavord, lavard, laverred, lavert, laferd, laford, lhaferd, hlaverd, hlavord, hlaford, (error) laver &(early) leverd, læverd, leaverd, leoverð. Pl. lōrdes, etc. &
(early) hlāforde(n; pl.gen. lōrdes & lōrden(e & (early) lōverde, lāfordæ, hlāforden.The purpose of posting this list is to note and compare ancient spellings for “lord”. It is especially intriguing that forms deemed to be “error” are nearly identical to non-error forms. “lorde” is deemed an error, yet we see it plainly in the Geneva Bible. It is most significant to compare the existence of 1-syllable and 2-syllable forms, as though the parallel history of two different words are mixed up together.The citation from Koster’s book is here. (Downloadable PDF: http://www.sa-hebroots.com/koster.htm)(a) LARTH: There was an Etruscan house deity whose name was Lar, which signified “Lord”, also known as Larth, who later on became very popular in Rome and became known as Lares (plural), because as idol statues they were usually in pairs. This deity was invoked together with Janus, Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus and Bellona. The Greek equivalent of this name was Heros, which was another name for Zeus, as we have seen previously in this article. A feminine form was known as Lara, who was the beloved of Mercury, the Sun-deity. Another name for Zeus was Larissaeus, which also was another name for Apollo. Zeus was also known as or Lariseus, while Larasios was also a surname of Helios. Typical of the syncretism and polytheism of those days, we read of emperor Alexander Severus (222 – 235 C.E.) who “had images of Abraham, Christ and Alexander the Great among his household Lares.” These Lares are to be found in the East as well, seen in niches in Hindu houses. However, what is the analogy between Larth (Lar) and Lord? Firstly, all sources agree, that this Lar or Larth means: Lord. Secondly, it is well documented that “the” and “d” were virtually interchangeably used, varying from nation to nation. Thirdly, in Old English and Middle English it was common to find the “o” and “a” interchangeably used too. In the Middle English Dictionary, editor S.M. Kuhn, we read that lord was earlier spelt lard; that lor became lord; that lor was spelt lar in Old English (meaning: the action or process of teaching or preaching); that Lore-fader was also spelt Larfaderr or Larefadir or larfadir (meaning:teacher); that lorspel was lar-spel in Old English (meaning: that which is taught in religion); and that lor-theu was previously also spelt lar-theow, lardewe, lardewen, lauerd, lordeau (meaning: teacher or spiritual or theological teacher). Thus we can easily see the ease of identifying Lard, Lord, Larth, Lor, Lar, Lortheu, Lartheow, Lardewe with one another. In fact, it is easier to trace the origin of “Lord” according to this well documented evidence, rather than the commonly held belief that it originated from hlaf-weard.What is most compelling is that these lord-related word, beginning with the household idols used to “lord” over a home or public place, form a continuum of thought in the arena of master and teacher. This by far beats the mental gymnastics summoned to derive “lord” from “hlaf-word”.
“god” perhaps comes from a reconstructed Sanskrit root, likely meaning to pour a molten idol. We get this from the connection of “ingot” to the very same Proto-Indo-European root claimed by linguists. This would obviously be unacceptable.
If “god” comes from the reconstructed Sanskrit root “to invoke”, in itself, that would not be a problem. But that makes it an inaccurate translation of Elohim, which means “mightiest one” or “Almighty.” It’s hard to justify a word translation which obviously distorts a ubiquitous, Spirit-Breathed Description of Yahweh in The Scriptures.Or else “god” comes from the Semitic gad/gawd, condemned in scripture in the context of worship.
Or else it came belching forth directly from the bowels of Teutonic mythology, a word always pointing to an idol.
Regardless of your tack, “god” falls short of the intention to faithfully translate a title. In three of the four possibilities, it is unacceptable out-of-hand.
Summary Points for “lord”
Either ”lord” means “keeper of the pagan sacrificial loaf”, using “the hlaf-ward” derivation.
“lord” comes from the household deities named “Lar/Larth” singular and Lares plural. Through old-middle English, its evolution forms a continuum of thoughts in the realm of lord/master/teacher.What is a useful translation for “Elohim”?
We have an end-time warning about names (plural) of blasphemy, coming to us from Yahshua through 7 gentile assemblies. The saints of all nations should be examining what they use to describe The Supreme Being. In English, the common terms lord and god have fallen short. Yahshua’s Revelation is most likely about this very thing. If not about this, what could it be, to merit such warning in the final Revelation?
One might cling to a more favorable theory about the origins of these words. But, who among us has the supernatural ability to know which one it is? It doesn’t matter: In no case, does “god” convey the inspired concept of “Elohim”, and both of the lord-derivations are unsatisfactory.
Psa 19:13-14 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me:
then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Yahweh, my strength, and my redeemer. To the chief Musician.
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Bible Translations Endorse the Sacred Name, but Avoid It.
“In regard to the divine name YHWH, commonly referred to as the Tetragrammaton, the translators adopted the device used in most English versions of rendering that name as “LORD” in capital letters…(New International Version)
This personal proper name, written with the consonants YHWH. was considered too sacred to be uttered; so the vowels for the words ‘my Lord’ or ‘God’ were added to the consonants YHWH, and the reader was warned by these vowels that he must substitute other consonants. (New English Bible).
While it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced ‘Yahweh,’ this pronunciation was not indicated when the Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal Hebrew text. (Revised Standard Version).
Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowel in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for YHWH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name. To give the name YHWH the vowels of the word for Lord (Heb. Adonai) and pronounce it Jehovah, is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal-viz. Gormuna.(Emphasized Bible).
Following an ancient tradition begun by the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (the Septuagint) and followed by the vast majority of English translations, the distinctive Hebrew name for God(usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh) is in this translation represented by “Lord.” When Adonai, normally translated “Lord,” is followed by Yahweh, the combination is rendered by the phrase “Sovereign Lord. (Good News Translation).
The World English Bible main edition translates God’s Proper Name in the Old Testament as ‘Yahweh.’ The Messianic Edition and the British Edition of the World English Bible translates the same name as ‘LORD’ (all capital letters), or when used with ‘Lord’ (mixed case, translated from ‘Adonai’,) GOD. There are solid translational arguments for both traditions. (World English Bible).
There is yet another name which is particularly assigned to God as His special or proper name, that is, the four letters YHWH (Exodus 3:14 and Isaiah 42:8). This name has not been pronounced by the Jews because of reverence for the great sacredness of the divine name. Therefore, it has been consistently translated LORD. The only exception to this translation of YHWH is when it occurs in immediate proximity to the word Lord, that is, Adonai. In that case it is regularly translated GOD in order to avoid confusion. It is known that for many years YHWH has been transliterated as Yahweh, however no complete certainty attaches to this pronunciation. ”(New American Standard Bible).
For more info on the Sacred Name of Yahweh, please check out this article: https://yrm.org/scholars-attest-to-the-royal-name-yahweh/
Following is a compilation of sources confirming the pronunciation of the sacred Name “Yahweh.” While some maintain that the name is Yehovah or Jehovah, this form is a hybrid that developed through the practice of adding the vowel points from the Hebrew Adonai to the Tetragrammaton. Those vowels were not intended to be inserted into the Tetragrammaton, but were to warn the reader to use Adonai instead.
A Book About the Bible:
George Stimpson, p. 247. “Jehovah in that form was unknown to the ancient Israelites. In fact, Hebrew scholars say that Jehovah would have been impossible according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization. The God of Israel was known by a name approximately rendered into English as Yahweh.”
Wycliff Bible Dictionary:
Charles Pfeiffer, Ed., “God, Names and Titles of,” p. 694. “Yahweh was doubtless the approximate pronunciation of the tetragrammaton, the four-letter word YHWH, since transliterations into Gr. in early Christian literature have been found in the form of iaoue (Clement of Alexander) and iahe (Theodoret) pronounced ‘iave.’ The name is a variant connected with the verb haya, ‘to be,’ from an earlier form, hawa.”
The Oxford Companion to the Bible:
Bruce Metzger, Ed., “Names of God in the Hebrew Bible,” p. 548. “The Bible often refers to God by his proper name, which was probably pronounced Yahweh …In the Hebrew Bible, the consonants yhwh are usually to be read as Adonai…’my Lord,’ for the sake of reverence, and English versions represent the word by ‘Lord’ or (less often) ‘God’ in capital letters.”
The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary:
Allen C. Myers, Ed., “Yahweh,” p. 1075. “Although the meaning of the name remains subject to debate, Yahweh is most likely a verbal form of Heb. haya (perhaps originally hwy)…Because of the utmost sanctity ascribed to the name, Jews from postexilic times on have declined to pronounce it in public reading, and only the consonants were written (YHWH; the Dead Sea Scrolls use the archaic, ‘paleo-Hebrew’ script). Although the original pronunciation was thus eventually lost, inscriptional evidence favors yahwae or yahwe. The name is represented in the MT by the consonants with the vowel pointing for ‘adonay ‘Lord.’ From this derived ca, the sixteenth century the form ‘Jehovah’ (yehowah). In modern usage pious Jews often substitute the expression has-sem ‘the Name.’”
The Journey from Texts to Translations:
Paul D. Wegner, pp. 172-173. “The scribes reasoned that if they did not point the name Yahweh then it could never be treated lightly since his name would not really be known. Initially the real pointing was probably passed along by tradition, but in time it was lost. In Exodus 20:7 the name Lord is written in capital letters according to the convention of signifying the name Yahweh, but the name as it appears in the Hebrew text is hwhy (yehowa), in which appear the consonants from the name Yahweh (hwhy [yhwh]) and the vowels from the word Lord (ynda [‘idonay]). Proof for the fabricated nature of this word are the two vowels which appear on the waw, an impossibility in Hebrew. However, until the revival of the Hebrew language in western Europe scholars read the consonants YHWH (Germans would read them as JHVH) with the vowels of ‘adonay, thereby originating the incorrect form Jehovah. This word was then introduced into English by William Tyndale and was continued by the King James Version.”
Understanding the Old Testament:
Bernhard Anderson, “Definition: ‘Jehovah,’ ‘The Lord,’” p. 61. “The personal divine name YHWH…has had an interesting history. In the Old Testament period the Hebrew language was written only with consonants; vowels were not added until the Common Era, when Hebrew was no longer a living language. On the basis of Greek texts, which of course use both vowels and consonants, it is believed that the original pronunciation of the name was Yahweh. Notice the shortened form of the divine name in the exclamation, ‘Halleluyah’ — ‘Praise Yah.’
“However, because of its holy character, the name Yahweh was withdrawn from ordinary speech during the period of the Second Temple (c. 500 B.C.E. and later) and the substitute word — actually a title not a personal name — Adonai, or (The) Lord, was used, as is still the practice in synagogues. Scholars who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek (the Septuagint) in the third century B.C.E. adopted this synagogue convention and rendered YHWH as (ho) kurios, ‘(The) Lord.’ From this Greek translation the practice was carried over into the New Testament.
“The word Jehovah is an artificial form that arose from the erroneous combination of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of Adonai — written under or over the Hebrew consonants to indicate that the substitute is to be pronounced. This hybrid form is often held to be the invention of Pater Galatin…but in actuality it can be traced back to a work by a certain Raymond Martin in 1270.”
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible:
“Yahweh,” Vol. 4, p. 923. “YAHWEH. The vocalization of the four consonants of the Israelite name for God which scholars believe to approximate the original pronunciation.”
The Zondervan Pictoral Encyclopedia of the Bible:
“Yahweh,” Vol. 5, p. 1021. “Yahweh…meaning debated but often tied to the root meaning to be, become. The word Yahweh is a vocalization of the four consonants in the way many scholars think this covenant name for God was pronounced in OT times.”
“Jehovah, ” Vol. 16, p. 8. “An erroneous pronunciation of the name of the God of Israel in the Bible, due to pronouncing the vowels of the term ‘Adonay,’ the marginal Masoretic reading, with the consonants of the text-reading ‘Yahweh’…”
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:
“God, Names of,” Vol. 4, p. 241. “The English form ‘Jehovah’ arose by a Latinized combination of the four consonants (YHWH) with the vowel points that the Masoretes used to show that they meant the reader to say ‘Adonai’ when reading the tetragrammaton. That is, they left the consonants for ‘Yahweh’ in the text but put with them the vowels for ‘Adonai’…Though the older English versions sometimes used this hybrid form with compound names (such as ‘Jehovah-Jireh’ [Gen. 22:14]), usually the divine name has been rendered by ‘the Lord,’ following the ancient Greek translations of the OT, which commonly rendered Yahweh by kyrios.”
The Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church:
“Yahweh,” Vol. N-Z, p. 2537. “The probable pronunciation of the OT four-lettered word YHWH, the most profound and sacred of the Hebrew names for God. The name is interpreted in Ex. 3:14 as ‘I am who I am.’ The name was held in such high regard that the Jews were forbidden to pronounce it and read the word ‘Adonai’ (i.e., lord) instead. When the Hebrew masoretes added the vowel points to the consonantal text, they used the vowels of Adonai with the four consonants YHWH; this was transliterated in the early versions as Jehovah. This form of the word became quite popular, but it should be remembered that such a word never existed.”
The New Brown, Driver, and Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament:
pp. 217-218. “Yahweh, the proper name of the God of Israel … The pronunciation Jehovah was unknown until 1520, when it was introduced by Galatinus; but was contested by Le Mercier, J. Drusius, and L. Capellus, as against grammatical and historical propriety.”
Insight on the Scriptures:
Vol. 2, p. 5: “Jehovah,” (Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988). “Correct Pronunciation of the Divine Name. ‘Jehovah’ is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although ‘Yahweh’ is favored by most Hebrew scholars.”
Did you know?
“hovah” (Je-hovah) means ruin, and in Scripture is translated calamity, wickedness, perverse thing, iniquity, naughty, and mischievous. (Strong’s Hebrew and Aramaic Dictionary Nos. 1942 and 1943).
For more info on Yahweh’s Name see our free booklet: Your Father’s Name.