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).
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).
Psalms 145:21: My mouth shall speak the praise of Yahweh: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.
Praise His Name Yahweh
Psalm 69:30 I will praise the name of Elohim with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.
Call on His name Yahweh
Psalms 80:18: So will not we go back from thee: quicken us, and we will call upon thy name.
Psalms 99:6: Moses and Aaron among his priests, and Samuel among them that call upon his name; they called upon Yahweh, and he answered them.
Confess His name Yahweh
II Chronicles 6:24-25: And if thy people Israel be put to the worse before the enemy, because they have sinned against thee; and shall return and confess thy name, and pray and make supplication before thee in this house; 25) Then hear thou from the heavens, and forgive the sin of thy people Israel, and bring them again unto the land which thou gavest to them and to their fathers.
Declare His name Yahweh
Exodus 9:16 And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.
Hebrews 2:12: Saying I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the assembly will I sing praise unto thee.
Exalt His name Yahweh
Pslams 34:3 O magnify Yahweh with me, and let us exalt his name together.
Glorify His name Yahweh
Psalms 86:9: All nations whom thou hast made shall come and worship before thee, O Yahweh; and shall glorify thy name.
Psalms 86:12: I will praise thee, O Yahweh my Elohim, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.
Honor His name Yahweh
Psalms 66:2: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.
Magnify His name
II Samuel 7:26: And let thy name be magnified for ever, saying, Yahweh of hosts is the Elohim over Israel: and let the house of thy servant David be established before thee.
Remember His name Yahweh
Exodus 3:15: And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
Sing to His name Yahweh
Psalms 68:4: Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name YAH, and rejoice before him.
Trust in His name Yahweh
Isaiah 50:10 Who is among you that feareth Yahweh, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? let him trust in the name of Yahweh, and stay upon his Elohim.
Not to take his name in vain (3rd Commandment)
Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
Abraham called on the name Yahweh
Genesis 12:7: And Yahweh appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto Yahweh, who appeared unto him. 8) And he removed from thence unto a mountain on the east of Bethel, and pitched his tent, having Bethel on the west, and Hai on the east: and there he builded an altar unto Yahweh, and called upon the name of Yahweh.
David called on the name Yahweh
Psalms 116:13: I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of Yahweh.
Psalms 116:17: I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of Yahweh.
The name Yahweh a memorial unto ALL generations
Exodus 3:15: And Elohim said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, Yahweh Elohim of your fathers, the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac, and the Elohim of Jacob, hath sent me unto you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
His people will KNOW his name Yahweh
Isaiah 52:6: Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.
No more called Baal (my LORD)
Hosea 2:16: And it shall be at that day, saith Yahweh, that thou shalt call me Ishi; (Husband) and shalt call me no more Baali. (My LORD) 17) For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
Do NOT forget his name Yahweh
Psalms 44:20: f we have forgotten the name of our Elohim, or stretched out our hands to a strange El; 21) Shall not Elohim search this out? for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
Jeremiah 23:26: How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; 27) Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal (LORD).
Yahweh’s name called on from the Beginning
Genesis 4:26: And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of Yahweh.
The following is a compilation of scholarly sources confirming the pronunciation of “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.
Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, pg. 5: “Jehovah,” Watchtower Bible & 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. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te∙tra-, meaning ‘four,’ and gram’ma, ‘letter’). These four letters (written from right to left) are hwhy and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH).”
A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, pg. 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,” pg. 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,” pg. 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,” pg. 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, pg, 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,'” pg. 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 New English Bible, Introduction, pg. xv, xvi. “The traditional text was originally written only in consonants, but in order to preserve what they regarded as the correct pronunciation of the words the Rabbis added vowel-signs to the text…One variation of this convention is of special importance, inasmuch as it affects the divine name. 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. This change having to be made so frequently, the Rabbis did not consider it necessary to put the consonants of the new reading in the margin. In course of time the true pronunciation of the divine name, probably Yahweh, passed into oblivion, and YHWH was read with the intruded vowels, the vowels of an entirely different word, namely ‘my Lord’ or ‘God.’ In late medieval times this mispronunciation became current as Jehova, and it was taken over as Jehovah by the Reformers in Protestant Bibles.”
Revised Standard Version, Preface, pg. iv, v. “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. To the four consonants YHWH of the Name, which had come to be regarded as too sacred to be pronounced, they attached vowel signs indicating that in its place should be read the Hebrew word Adonai meaning ‘Lord’…The ancient Greek translators substituted the word Kyrios (Lord) for the Name. The Vulgate likewise used the Latin word Dominus. The form ‘Jehovah’ is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word… reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version… the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew…”
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, “Yahweh,” Vol. 4, pg. 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, pg. 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.”
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, “God, Names of,” Vol. 4, pg. 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 ‘Yahewh’ 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, pg. 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.”
Twentieth Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, “Yahweh,” Vol. 2, pg. 1195. “…It has become increasingly clear that no satisfactory attempt to recover the etymology and original meaning of the name ‘Yahweh’ can ignore the laws governing the grammatical, especially the phonetic evolution of Northwest Semitic. Thus attempts to derive the name from an original ya, yah, yaw, or yahu (popular among a large numbers of scholars since the discovery of the independent form YHW in the Egyptian papyri of the fifth century B.C. from Elephantine) appear now to be without sound philological foundation.”
The Emphasized Bible, (Joseph Bryant Rotherham), Introduction, pg. 23-25. “Why not in the form ‘Jehovah’? Is that not euphonious? It is, without question. Is it not widely used? It is, and may still be freely employed to assist through a period of transition. but is it not hallowed and endeared by many a beautiful hymn and many a pious memory? Without doubt; and therefore it is with reluctance that is here declined. But why is it not accepted? There it is–familiar, acceptable, ready for adoption. The reason is, that it is too heavily burdened with merited critical condemnation–as modern, as a compromise, as a ‘mongrel’ word, ‘hybrid,’ ‘fantastic,’ ‘monstrous.’ The facts have only to be known to justify this verdict, and to vindicate the propriety of not employing it in a new and independent translation. What are the facts? And first as to age. ‘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.’ Next, as to formation. ‘Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowels in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for JHVH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name, owing to an old misconception of the two passages, Ex. 20:7 and Lev. 24:16…To give the name JHVH 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. The monstrous combination Jehovah is not older than about 1520 A.D.’ From this we may gather that the Jewish scribes are not responsible for the ‘hybrid’ combination. They intentionally wrote alien vowels–not for combination with the sacred consonants, but for the purpose of cautioning the Jewish reader to enunciate a totally different word, viz., some other familiar name of the Most High.”
World English Bible, preface, “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.”
Yehovah, this latecomer in the rendering of our Creator’s Name, has gained popularity within the Messianic and Hebrew Roots communities. However, there are serious linguistic flaws with this pronunciation.
Before discussing those, however, it’s important to understand the premise of those who advocate “Yehovah.” This rendering is based on late medieval Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament that show the four letters yod-hey-waw-hey [hwhy] with the vowel points from Adonai.
Within these manuscripts or codices there are several instances where the vowel points for “Yehovah” (English, “Jehovah”) are found. Based on this fact, it is theorized that the scribes who produced these manuscripts accidentally preserved the name “Yehovah” by not removing the vowel points. There are serious flaws with this hypothesis and logic as you will soon see.
For those who believe this was a scribal error, it’s important to realize that Jewish scribes were ultra-meticulous. After copying a text, scribes would painstakingly review the script for any errors. The thought that a scribe would overlook numerous instances of the same mistake is unthinkable. According to the Jewish Talmud, there were 20 steps a scribe would go through to ensure textual accuracy. Below are some of these steps:
The scribe must be a learned, pious Jew, who has undergone special training and certification.
All materials (parchment, ink, quill) must conform to strict specifications, and be prepared specifically for the purpose of writing a Torah scroll.
The scribe must pronounce every word out loud before copying it from the correct text.
The scribe may not write even one letter into a Torah scroll by heart. Rather, he must have a second, kosher scroll opened before him at all times.
A Torah scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is added.
A Torah scroll is disqualified if even a single letter is deleted.
Every letter must have sufficient white space surrounding it. If one letter touches another in any spot, it invalidates the entire scroll.
If a single letter is so marred that it cannot be read at all, or resembles another letter (whether the defect is in the writing, or the result of a hole, tear or smudge), the entire scroll is invalidated.
Each letter must be sufficiently legible so that even an ordinary schoolchild could distinguish it from other, similar letters.
The scribe must put precise space between words, so that one word will not look like two words, or two words look like one word.
The scribe must not alter the design of the sections, and must conform to particular line-lengths and paragraph configurations.
A Torah Scroll in which any mistake has been found cannot be used, and a decision regarding its restoration must be made within 30 days, or it must be buried.
Considering these extraordinary measures, it is unfathomable that a scribe would leave the same mistake multiple times in a Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament. The logic that “Yehovah” arose due to Jewish scribal mistakes is seriously flawed. No scholar would accept this explanation.
Written One Way, Read Another
So how do we explain the instances where the vowel points for “Yehovah” are found in these ancient Hebrew codices? According to biblical scholars, following a Jewish tradition beginning after the 6th century BCE, The Masoretes, i.e., Jewish scribes from the 6-10th centuries CE, used an orthographic device known as Qere / Ketiv to conceal the name. Qere means, “what is read,” and ketiv means, “what is written.” It is found in existing Masoretic manuscripts dating to the 9th and 10th centuries, CE. There are several forms of Qere / Ketiv, including: ordinary, vowel, omitted, added, euphemistic, split, and qere perpetuum.
The ketiv that is most relevant is the vowel qere. In this this case, the consonants are unchanged, but different vowel signs are added and only the qere, i.e., what is read, is vocalized. The most notable example of this is with the Tetragrammaton or the four letters of the divine name. To ensure that the name was not pronounced, Masoretic Jewish scribes left the Hebrew consonants, but added the vowel points from Adonai, and on occasions Elohim. Following the Qere / Ketiv, the reader was to read Adonai or Elohim, depending on the vowel points used. It was never the intent of the scribes that the reader pronounce the vowel points with the consonants. Not realizing this, early translators of the Hebrew Bible transliterated the Tetragrammaton as “Jehovah.” Once scholarship realized that this was never the intent of the Hebrew text, they noted the mistake. Today, there are some who either don’t understand the Qere / Ketiv system or who are actively trying to mislead people by insisting that the pronunciation is Yehovah. However, as nearly all Hebrew scholars acknowledge, this name arose through a deliberate modification in the Hebrew text following a tradition of not pronouncing the Tetragrammaton, as noted by the below references.
“After the Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE), and especially from the 3rd century bce on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely local religion, the more common noun Elohim, meaning ‘God,’ tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (‘My Lord’), which was translated as Kyrios (‘Lord’) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures,” Encyclopedia Britannica.
According to the Jewish Encyclopedia (1901 version) and the Babylonian Talmud, after the death of Simeon the Just, 290 BCE, the Jews stopped pronouncing the Holy Name. The Babylonian Talmud states, “Tosaf Sotah 38a suggests that the Ineffable Name could be pronounced only when there was some indication that the Shechinah rested on the Sanctuary. When Simeon the Righteous died, with many indications that such glory was no more enjoyed, his brethren no more dared utter the Ineffable Name,” Yoma 39b, footnote, p. 186.
As confirmed by theJewish Talmud, hundreds of years before the birth of Yahshua the Messiah the Jews stopped pronouncing the divine Name and began concealing it by reading the vowel points from Adonai into the Tetragrammaton. The motivation behind this practice was not from irreverence but through a strong veneration for the Name. They were afraid that if it were pronounced, someone might misuse or blaspheme the Name. Part of this hesitation doubtless arose from their time in Babylon. While their reasoning was admirable, it is against the clear teachings of Scripture.
The Bible confirms the use of the Divine name in both the Old and New testaments, e.g. Genesis 12:8; 13:4; Exodus 3:15; Acts 2:21; and Romans 10:13. Clearly, our Heavenly Father’s Name was used by all believers. Additionally, the Bible states we’re to bless (Psalm 145:21), call (Psalm 80:18; 99:6; Isaiah 12:4), confess (2Chonicles 6:24-25; 1Kings 8:35-36), declare (Exodus 9:16; Psalm 22:22; John 17:26; Romans 9:17; Hebrews 2:12), exalt (Psalm 34:3); glorify (Psalm 86:9, 12), honor (Psalm 66:2), magnify (2Samuel 7:26), praise (2Samuel 22:50; Psalm 69:30), remember (Exodus 3:15; Psalm 45:17), sing (Psalm 68:4), and trust (Isaiah 50:10) in His Name.
Scholarship Explains “Yehovah”
The decision to hide or replace the Tetragrammaton with the invalid vowel points from Adonai is what led to “Yehovah” (“Jehovah” in English). Except for a few outliers, nearly all scholarship confirms this basic fact. Consider the following:
“In the early Middle Ages, when the consonantal text of the Bible was supplied with vowel points to facilitate its correct traditional reading, the vowel points for Adonai with one variation – a sheva (short ‘e’) with the first yod [Y] of YHWH instead of the hataf-patah (short ‘a’) under the aleph of Adonai – was used for YHWH, thus producing the form YeHoWaH. When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’” (Encyclopedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).
“The Tetragrammaton or Four-Lettered Name…which occurs 6,823 times, is by far the most frequent name of God in the Bible. It is now pronounced ‘adonai; but the church father Theodoret records that the Samaritans pronounced it as (Iabe), and Origen transcribes it as (Iae), both pointing to an original vocalization yahveh [The waw yields a ‘w’ sound, not a ‘v’]” (The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 5, p. 6).
“Jehovah, modern form of the Hebrew sacred name of God, probably originally ‘Yahweh.’ From c.300 B.C. the Jews, from motives of piety, uttered the name of God very rarely and eventually not at all, but substituted the title ‘Adonai,’ meaning ‘Lord,’ the vowels of which were written under the consonants of ‘Yahweh.’ In the Middle Ages and later, the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as Jehovah” (The Collegiate Encyclopedia, vol. 9, p. 580).
“Jehovah….What has been said explains the so-called qeri perpetuum, according to which the consonants of Jehovah are always accompanied in the Hebrew text by the vowels of Adonai except in the cases in which Adonai stands in apposition to Jehovah: in these cases the vowels of Elohim are substituted. The use of a simple shewa in the first syllable of Jehovah, instead of the compound shewa in the corresponding syllable of Adonai and Elohim, is required by the rules of Hebrew grammar governing the use of Shewa” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. VIII, p. 329).
“Jehovah, 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,’ which was not uttered to avoid the profanation of the divine name of magical or other blasphemous purposes. Hence the substitution of ‘Adonay,’ the ‘Lord,’ or ‘Adonay Elohim,’ ‘Lord God.’ The oldest Greek versions use the term ‘Kurios,’ ‘Lord,’ the exact translation of the current Jewish substitute for the original Tetragrammaton Yahweh. The reading ‘Jehovah’ can be traced to the early Middle Ages and until lately was said to have been invented by Peter Gallatin (1518), confessor of Pope Leo X. Recent writers, however, trace it to an earlier date; it is found in Raymond Martin’s Pugeo Fidei (1270)” (Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16, p. 8.).
“The personal name of the [El] of the Israelites …The Masoretes, Jewish biblical scholars of the Middle Ages, replaced the vowel signs that had appeared above or beneath the consonants of YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or of Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) came into being” (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Yahweh, Micropedia, vol. 10).
“In the Hebrew Bible the Jews wrote the consonants of the Tetragrammaton as YHWH, but out of reverence for the sacred name of God (or out of fear of violating Exod. 20:7; Lev. 24:16), they vocalized and pronounced it as Adonai or occasionally as Elohim. It is unfortunate, then, that the name was transliterated into German and ultimately into English as Jehovah (which is the way the name is represented in the American Standard Version of 1901), for this conflate form represents the vowels of Adonai superimposed on the consonants of Yahweh, and it was never intended by the Jews to be read as Yehowah (or Jehovah)” (The Making of a Contemporary Translation, p. 107).
“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,” (A Book About the Bible, George Stimpson, p. 247).
“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 Eerdmans Bible Dictionary, Allen C. Myers, Ed., “Yahweh,” p. 1075).
“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,” (The Journey from Texts to Translations, Paul D. Wegner, pp. 172-173).
“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. To the four consonants YHWH of the Name, which had come to be regarded as too sacred to be pronounced, they attached vowel signs indicating that in its place should be read the Hebrew word Adonai meaning ‘Lord’…The ancient Greek translators substituted the word Kyrios (Lord) for the Name. The Vulgate likewise used the Latin word Dominus. The form ‘Jehovah’ is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word… reasons the Committee has returned to the more familiar usage of the King James Version… the word ‘Jehovah’ does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew,” (Revised Standard Version, Preface, pp. iv-v).
“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 Encyclopedia of the Lutheran Church, “Yahweh,” Vol. N-Z, p. 2537).
“Why not in the form ‘Jehovah’? Is that not euphonious? It is, without question. Is it not widely used? It is, and may still be freely employed to assist through a period of transition. but is it not hallowed and endeared by many a beautiful hymn and many a pious memory? Without doubt; and therefore it is with reluctance that is here declined. But why is it not accepted? There it is–familiar, acceptable, ready for adoption. The reason is, that it is too heavily burdened with merited critical condemnation–as modern, as a compromise, as a ‘mongrel’ word, ‘hybrid,’ ‘fantastic,’ ‘monstrous.’ The facts have only to be known to justify this verdict, and to vindicate the propriety of not employing it in a new and independent translation. What are the facts? And first as to age. ‘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.’ Next, as to formation. ‘Erroneously written and pronounced Jehovah, which is merely a combination of the sacred Tetragrammaton and the vowels in the Hebrew word for Lord, substituted by the Jews for JHVH, because they shrank from pronouncing The Name, owing to an old misconception of the two passages, Ex. 20:7 and Lev. 24:16…To give the name JHVH 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. The monstrous combination Jehovah is not older than about 1520 A.D.’ From this we may gather that the Jewish scribes are not responsible for the ‘hybrid’ combination. They intentionally wrote alien vowels–not for combination with the sacred consonants, but for the purpose of cautioning the Jewish reader to enunciate a totally different word, viz., some other familiar name of the Most High,” (The Emphasized Bible, [Joseph Bryant Rotherham], Introduction, p. 23-25).
“‘Jehovah’ is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although ‘Yahweh’ is favored by most Hebrew scholars. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te∙tra-, meaning ‘four,’ and gram’ma, ‘letter’). These four letters (written from right to left) are hwhy and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH),” (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 2, p. 5: “Jehovah,” Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1988).
“Jehovah – ‘A mispronunciation (introduced by Christian theologians, but almost entirely disregarded by the Jews) of the Hebrew “Yhwh,” the (ineffable) name of God (the Tetragrammaton or “Shem ha-Meforash”). This pronunciation is grammatically impossible; it arose through pronouncing the vowels of the “kere” (marginal reading of the Masorites: = “Adonay”) with the consonants of the “ketib” (text-reading: = “Yhwh”)—“Adonay” (the Lord) being substituted with one exception wherever Yhwh occurs in the Biblical and liturgical books. “Adonay” presents the vowels “shewa” (the composite under the guttural aleph becomes a simple shewa under the yod), “holem,” and “kamez,” and these give the reading (= “Jehovah”). Sometimes, when the two names YHWH and Adonay occur together, the former is pointed with “ḥatef segol” under the י —thus, (= “Jehovah”)—to indicate that in this combination it is to be pronounced “Elohim.” These substitutions of “Adonay”and “Elohim” for Yhwh were devised to avoid the profanation of the Ineffable Name (hence is also written , or even, and read “ha-Shem” = “the Name”).’” (Jewish Encyclopedia, Emil G. Hirsch)
The above sources all confirm the fact that “Yehovah” or “Jehovah” arose from scribal additions to the Hebrew text. They added the vowel points from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton. Those who state that the name Yehovah is based on Hebrew manuscripts neglect to realize this crucial fact. The debate of Yehovah is not whether this name is found in Hebrew manuscripts, but how the name arose within these manuscripts. As scholarship overwhelmingly verifies, the name Yehovah arose from willful and deliberate alterations to the Hebrew text by Jewish scribes. For this reason, those promoting this name are simply following an old Jewish superstition designed to conceal the true name of our Creator, Yahweh!
A Late Rendition – Evolution of Je(ho)vah by the Masoretes.
From the book Pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton: A Historico-Linguistic Approach, we find this interesting scholarly explanation regarding the progression of the name Jehovah and the evolution of the “ho” sound from early Masoretic (Ben Asher) Manuscripts to the later Medieval Manuscripts.
“Both Paul Kahle and Peter Katz believed Jehovah to have originated with a combination of vowels of ‘adhonay and shema’ with the consonants of the Tetragrammaton. Dr. Reisel concurs: ‘The sewa under the yod is in my view connected with the pronunciation shema (rendering for yhwh), from which the spelling yehouah < yehwah was derived, under the partial influence of ‘dhny.’ In early Masoretic (Ben Asher) MSS the common vocalization of the Tetragrammaton is yehwah in later (Medieval) MSS we find yehouah. This is the reason why many scholars view Jehovah (Yehovah) as an unnatural, artificial construction. Such arguments against the Jehovah-pronunciation would become null and void if it could be traced back to early North Israelite usage.” And this is the problem we see. Yehovah lacks any ancient manuscripts before the Masoretic times to back it up. The preponderance of ancient evidence clearly shows it must be discounted as a viable pronunciation.
Case of the Missing Vowel Point
Some will debate that the vowel points of Adonai and Yehovah are not the same. While this is technically true, this difference is due to Hebrew grammar. Wikipedia explains this process: “The vocalisations Yehovah and Adonai are not identical. The shva in YHWH…and the hataf patakh in [Adonai]…appear different. The vocalisation can be attributed to Biblical Hebrew phonology, where the hataf patakh is grammatically identical to a shva, always replacing every shva nah under a guttural letter. Since the first letter of ינדא is a guttural letter while the first letter of הוהי is not, the hataf patakh under the (guttural) aleph reverts to a regular shva under the (non-guttural) Yod.”
The above citation was sent to Professor Fassberg, Ph.D., at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and he concurred that the explanation was correct based on Hebrew grammar (for additional information on Professor Fassberg, see section “Waw or Vav?”).
Once a person realizes this fact, the argument that Yehovah does not contain the vowel points from Adonai is simply false. The hataf patakh (compound shwa) found under the aleph of Adonai and missing from the yod of Yehovah is the result of Hebrew grammar. Those who state otherwise in defense of Yehovah are not understanding the mechanics of the Hebrew language.
Another problem with those claiming that Yehovah is confirmed through the vowel points from Adonai is that we see alternative pronunciations of the Tetragrammaton based on Hebrew vowel points added by the Masoretes. For example, the Leningrad codex, a codex that many advocates of Yehovah rely on, contains additional Hebrew spellings. Below are six examples where the Divine name contains different vowel points (transliteration approximate):
Those who argue that the vowels for Yehovah have no relation to Adonai have some explaining to do. Within the Leningrad codex and the Aleppo codex (see image below) is it merely coincidence that when the Tetragrammaton is preceded by Adonai, it receives different pointing? If Yehovah contains the proper and correct vowels, then why do we see the pattern of inserting the vowels for Elohim in the Tetragrammaton when Adonai proceeds it? This is a serious dilemma for the Yehovah proponents and clearly proves a redundant pattern. This is one of those elementary concepts that slips past the unlearned but is well understood in scholarship.
As seen (on p. 15) in the Aleppo Codex in Judges 16:28, the name YHWH appears twice with two different sets of vowel points with the approximate renderings “Yehwoh” and “Yehohiw.” “Yehwoh” derives from the vowel points of Adonai and “Yehohiw” derives from the vowel points of Elohim. When the word Adonai was in close proximity in the text to YHWH, the Jews added the vowel points from Elohim to YHWH, indicating the reader was to read “Elohim.” This was to reduce redundancy with the Hebrew Adonai. Strong’s OT:3069 explains this process: “Yehovih (yeh-ho-vee’); a variation of OT:3068 [used after OT:136, and pronounced by Jews as OT:430, in order to prevent the repetition of the same sound, since they elsewhere pronounce OT:3068 as OT:136]” (for clarification, OT:136 correspondents to “Adonai” and OT:430 to “Elohim”). According to the Englishmans Concordance, OT:3069 is found a total of 615 times in the Hebrew Old Testament.
Those who support Yehovah do so entirely on the vowel points added by the Masoretes. However, as we find in the Leningrad and Aleppo codices, along with many others, there are several different renderings for the Tetragrammaton. How it is possible to reconcile that the Jews both preserved the name Yehovah and explain why they introduced these alternate Hebrew spellings? Those who believe that Yehovah is the correct pronunciation, their only recourse would be to state that these other spellings were mistakes. However, based on the Talmud, the thought of a Jewish scribe making such a mistake, especially to the Divine name, is unthinkable. Jewish scribal rules required that if a Torah Scroll was found to contain any mistakes it could not be used, unless the mistake was resolved within 30 days. If not, the scroll was to be buried. Knowing this, even if these alternative pronunciations were mistakes, to believe that they were all missed and allowed to remain in the text is incredulous.
The other explanation is that the Jews willfully concealed the name with the vowel points from Adonai (as seen in Genesis 2:4 within the Leningrad codex) and Elohim (as seen in Judges 16:28 of the Leningrad and Aleppo codices). Considering the implausibility that the Jews overlooked these alternative spellings, the only logical conclusion is that they were aware and added the vowel points to instruct the reader not to pronounce the Divine name and replace it with the words “Adonai” and “Elohim.” As a side note, the Masoretes would often add the vowel points from Elohim to YHWH when the Tetragrammaton preceded the word “Adonai.” This was to reduce redundancy within the text.
Waw or Vav?
Another linguistic impossibility with Yehovah is the use of the “v.” While some who support Yehovah will state that the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet was originally a “vav” and not a “waw,” pronounced as a “v” and not a “w,” most Hebrew scholars disagree. According to some linguists, the Hebrew vav arose from Ashkenazi Hebrew, which was influenced by the Germanic language.
Menahem Mansoor notes, “There are, generally speaking, two main pronunciations: the Ashkenazi, or German, originated by Central and Eastern European Jews and carried to all countries to which those Jews have emigrated (Western Europe, America, etc.): and the Sephardi, or Spanish, used by the Jews of Spanish or Portugese stock in Europe and America and also by Jews from Oriental countries. In all universities and through-out Israel, the Sephardi pronunciation has been adopted, since it is generally believed that this is the pronunciation nearest to the original…” (Biblical Hebrew, p. 33)
As noted by Menahem Mansoor, Sephardi is older than Ashkenazi and closest to biblical Hebrew. Unlike Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Yemenite Hebrew were never influenced by the Germanic language and therefore maintained a closer resemblance to ancient Hebrew.
Edward Horowitz in his book, How the Hebrew Language Grew, states, “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,” pp. 29-30. As Horowitz notes, the “vav” is a modern form of the older “waw.”
In addition, J.D. Wijnkoop,. literary candidate in 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).
Mansoor, Horowitz, and Wijnkoop all confirm that the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet was originally a waw and pronounced as a “w.” Horowitz also notes that the Yemenite Jews have a purer form of Hebrew as compared to modern Hebrew. Incidentally, during our 2016 expedition to the Holy Land, our Israeli archaeologist, a graduate of Hebrew University and archaeologist with the Israeli Antiquities Authority, confirmed that the pronunciation was Yahweh and stated that this is how his Yemenite wife would pronounce the Name and explained how Yemenite Hebrew is closer to biblical Hebrew with the use of the “waw” in place of the newer “vav.”
Dr. Steven Fassberg, who received his Ph.D. from Harvard and teaches at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as a professor in the Hebrew language department, also confirms the use of the waw and the erroneous nature of Yehovah. He states, “The pronunciation you mentioned [i.e., Yehovah] is a mistake. The Hebrew consonantal text is YHWH and no one really knows how that was pronounced in Old Testament times. At a later date (the latter half of the 2nd millennium CE) Masoretes added vowel signs to the consonantal text. Whenever the Tetragrammaton was written, they added the vowel signs of the word ‘Adonay,’ which means ‘My Lord’ – there was a taboo on pronouncing the Divine name and one was supposed to read the word ‘Adonay – my Lord.’ Much later some started reading the vowel signs together with YHWH and came up with the nonsensical word Jehovah.
“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” (email correspondence).
In addition to serving as director of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature from 2006-2009, he has also contributed to many articles and publications. Below are a few as noted on his online profile:
Revision and updating of the entries “Aramaic,” “Neo-Aramaic,” and “Semitic Languages,” in Encyclopaedia Judaica, eds. M. Berenbaum and F. Skolnik. 2nd ed. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007.
A Grammar of the Palestinian Targum Fragments from the Cairo Genizah. Harvard Semitic Studies 38. Atlanta, Georgia: Scholars Press, 1990. 322 pages.
Studies in the Syntax of Biblical Hebrew. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1994. 202 pp. (in Hebrew)
The Jewish Neo-Aramaic Dialect of Challa. Semitic Languages and Linguistics 54. Leiden: Brill, 2010. p. 314
The Language of the Bible, 87-104 in Zipora Talshir, ed., The Literature of the Hebrew Bible: Introductions and Studies. Jerusalem: Yad Ben-Zvi Press, 2011 (in Hebrew).
Even though Professor Fassberg does not admit to the Divine name, he makes it absolutely clear that Yehovah is a mistake as it follows the old Jewish tradition of adding the vowel points from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton. He concludes by stating that Jehovah, i.e., Yehovah, is “nonsensical.”
He also explains that while the Jews combined the vowel points with the Divine name, the Jews were to read Adonai. Only later did some Jews incorrectly begin reading the vowel points with “YHWH,” phonetically enunciating Yehovah. Ironically, those who support Yehovah today are not only following a long-standing rabbinic tradition of concealing the Name, but doing so incorrectly based on the initial Jewish practice.
He also confirms here with absolute certainty that the waw pre-dates the vav. This again poses a significant problem for those who support Yehovah. Since the “vav” did not exist in biblical Hebrew, Yehovah would have been an impossibility. Only in modern Hebrew do we see the use of the “vav.”
However, even with such overwhelming evidence, there is one popular teacher within the Messianic community who attempts to support the use of the vav by stating that the waw arose through Arabic influence. While he states that this was confirmed by a “top expert,” he fails to identify this person. It should also be noted that Hebrew is far older than Arabic. According to scholars, the Arabic language does not predate the 4th century CE. The thought of a newer language influencing a pre-existing language in such a way is illogical. This person also states that the vav can be verified from a 6th century CE Hebrew poet Eleazar ben Killir. According to Professor Fassberg, the “v” as it pertains to vav, can be be verified by the Mishnaic Period (1st to 3rd century CE, see below). Therefore, knowing that the “v” existed by the 3rd century CE, it should not be a surprise to find a Hebrew document from the 6th century CE using the “v.” These co-called proofs for a “v” sound for the Hebrew waw is nothing but smoke and mirrors and contrary to the preponderance of scholarship.
Dead Sea Scrolls Rebuff “Yehovah”
Additional waw as found in Dead Sea Scrolls, but replaced with the holam in Masoretic codices.
There’s another issue with Yehovah and that is the use of the “o.” This letter derives from the holam, the vowel point that sits above the waw within the Masoretic manuscripts. The issue with this letter is that it’s not supported by the Dead Sea Scrolls. In many cases, when a holam appears in the Masoretic documents, the Dead Sea Scrolls reflect this sound through the use of the letter waw, which in biblical Hebrew was used as both a vowel and consonant. An example of this can been seen with the Hebrew elohim in Psalms 138:1. In this instance, the Dead Sea Scrolls contain an additional waw, which is replaced with the holam in the Masoretic codices. With this in mind, we should anticipate seeing an additional waw in the Tetragrammaton in some of the instances of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Surprisingly, though, there are no instances where the Tetragrammaton contains a second waw to reflect the “o” within the Dead Sea Scrolls. This lack of evidence strongly suggested that the holam or “o” within Yehovah is a recent addition. This is one more piece of evidence confirming that Yehovah is a counterfeit.
Flavius Josephus, the prominent Jewish historian who lived between 37 – 100 CE, also attests to the use of the waw or “w” within the Hebrew language. In describing the High Priest’s mitre or turban, he writes, “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, Book 5, chapter 5, paragraph 7.
Besides the waw the other letters in the mitre were yod and hey, which formed the Tetragrammaton (yod-hey-waw-hey), that appeared on the High Priest’s mitre. Technically, the Hebrew language has understood vowels and these Hebrew letters are vowel-consonants with the following sounds:
Yod = “ee”
Hey = “ei,” “ay,” “ah”
Waw = “oh,” “oo”
Vowels are spoken with an open mouth, allowing unobstructed air flow, and consonantal sounds are produced with the mouth fairly or partially closed. We can see that in such consonants as v, f, s, and z, the airflow is obstructed and the sound is made by squeezing the air through a narrow space.
While “v” is considered a consonant, “w” can be both a vowel and consonant and categorized as a semi-vowel. The Standard American Encyclopedia states, “W represents two sounds: 1) The distinctive sound properly belonging to it is that which it has at the beginning of a syllable, and when followed by a vowel, as in was, will, woe, forward, housework, etc.; 2) at the end of syllables, in which position it is always preceded by a vowel, it has either no force at all (or at most only serves to lengthen the vowel), as in law, paw, grow, lawful; or it forms the second element in a diphthong, as in few, new, now, vow, in such cases it is really a vowel,” Vol. XIV, “W,” 1940.
Once a person understands how a vowel is formed and that Yahweh’s Name (YHWH) consists of four vowel-consonants, the question about the “vav” and “waw” is quickly settled. Since the “vav” produces a “v” sound, representing a consonant, and the waw produces a “w” sound, representing a consonant or vowel, the only possible option is the “waw.”
Early Church Fathers
While “Yehovah” does not appear in any manuscript before the 9th century, CE, there is evidence for “Yahweh” within Greek manuscripts dating to the 2nd century CE, and later. Consider the following sources:
“The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh’” (Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 7, p. 680).
“Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh” (Encyclopedia Britannica, 15th ed., vol. x, p. 786).
“The pronunciation Yahweh is indicated by transliteration of the name into Greek in early Christian literature, in the form iaoue (Clement of Alexandria) or iabe (Theodoret; by this time Gk. b had the pronunciation of v)…Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only ‘name’ of God. In Genesis wherever the word sem (‘name’) is associated with the divine being that name is Yahweh” (Eerdman’s Bible Dictionary, 1979 p. 478).
“Such a conclusion, giving ‘Yahweh’ as the pronunciation of the name, is confirmed by the testimony of the Fathers and gentile writers, where the forms IAO, Yaho, Yaou, Yahouai, and Yahoue appear. Especially important is the statement of Theodoret in relation to Ex. lvi., when he says: ‘the Samaritans call it [the tetragrammaton] ‘Yabe,’ the Jews call it ‘Aia’…” (The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, “Yahweh,” p. 471).
“I mentioned the evidence from Greek papyri found in Egypt. The best of these is Iaouee (London Papyri, xlvi, 446-483). Clement of Alexandria said, “The mystic name which is called the Tetragrammaton…is pronounced Iaoue, which means, “Who is, and who shall be”’” (Dr. Anson R. Rainy, Biblical Archaeology Review, Sept.-Oct 1994). Dr. Rainy is a professor of Ancient and Near Eastern Cultures and Semitic Linguistics at Tel Aviv University.
As confirmed through these references, the pronunciation of Yahweh was preserved in Greek by several church fathers. This included Clement of Alexandria, Origin, and Theodoret. It’s important to realize that these Greek documents contain vowels, ensuring the exact pronunciation, and that they pre-date the Hebrew manuscripts containing the pronunciation “Yehovah” by nearly 700 years.
In addition to early church writers, evidence for Yahweh is also found in The Nag Hammadi codices, dating from the 2nd to 4th century CE. This library of Gnostic writings was discovered in Upper Egypt, near Nag Hammadi, in 1945. In all, there are over 50 texts within this library. Since they are in Greek, as the church fathers, they preserve the pronunciation.
One such book is The Secret Book of John. Within this codex, it mentions the name Yahweh and notes, “Eloim and Yawe, two names of God in the Hebrew scriptures…. Yahweh is the name of God (based on the Tetragrammaton, the ineffable four-letter name)” (Dr. Marvin Meyer, The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, p. 127).
The Secret Book of John dates to the second century, as it was known to the church father Irenaeus. This was the same timeframe as Clement of Alexandria, who also confirmed the name. Even though Gnosticism was rightly deemed heretical by the early church, it is another witness to the pronunciation of Yahweh. The fact that these groups were at odds, but agreed on “Yahweh,” is significant and adds credence to this pronunciation. It verifies that “Yahweh” was widely recognized as early as the second century, nearly 700 years before any Hebrew manuscripts containing Yehovah.
There is perhaps evidence supporting Yahweh’s name as far back as Hammurabi (1810 – 1750 BCE), the first king of Babylon. According to Halley’s Bible Handbook on page 62, “Sayce announced (1898) that he had discovered, on three separate tablets in the British museum, of the time of Hammurabi, the words jahwe…is God.” Clearly, jahwe would be rendered “Yahweh.”
Additional evidence for the short form “Yah” may also be found in the Murashu texts dating back to 464 BCE (Aramaic cuneiform scripts on clay tablets) and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, containing the first syllable of the Tetragrammaton and corresponding to IA or YA. This may offer additional evidence against the “yeh” in Yehovah.
It’s important to note that both of these sources contain vowels, which confirms the “yah” syllable before Jewish vowel pointing.
Akkadian Tablets Reveal “Yah”
Another strike against the “Yeh” prefix in Yehovah is that we find many Jewish names with the theophoric element “Yah” and “Yahu” dating to 572-477 BCE in Akkadian cuneiform tablets, a language cognate to Hebrew. Examples of such names include: Yahadil, Yahitu, Yahmuzu, Yahuazar, Yahuazza, and Yahuhin. YRM recently contacted several professors through email inquiring about these names and received the following responses. Professor Ran Zadok from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem who specializes in Mesopotamian, Iranian and Judaic Studies, confirmed, “It seems to me that the cuneiform spellings render approximately *Ya(h)w” (see similar rendering on the Dead Sea Scroll fragment below).
Professor Martin Worthington from Cambridge who specializes in Mesopotamian languages and literature, states, “…scholarly consensus has it that Yahwistic names are well attested in first-millennium Babylonia. As several scholars have observed, there is a strong tendency (though not an absolute rule) for the form to be yahu at the beginning of the name, and yama at the end of the name (though yama is actually yawa, since in this period intervocalic m is usually pronounced w). The cuneiform script does include vowels. The sign IA is a bit of a special case, since it can represent ia, ii, iu or ie. But in this case we also have spellings such as ia-a-hu, showing that the vowel is indeed ‘a’.” For additional study, refer to Documents of Judean Exiles and West Semites in Babylonia in the Collection of David Sofer by Laurie E. Pearce and Cornelia Wunsch.
In addition to these sources confirming the short form “Yahw” or “Yaho,” they also suggest that a shift occurred between “Yah” to “Ye” within the prefixes of Jewish names between the Neo-Babylonian and Achaemenid (572-477 BCE) and the Masoretic (6-10 century CE) periods. These names also offer indirect evidence for the prefix “Yah” within the Tetragrammaton and therefore casting doubt on the “Ye” within Yehovah.
The Smoking Gun
It’s surprising for some to learn that the short form of the name “Yah” (Yahweh = ee-ah-oo-eh) is found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Manuscript 4Q120-4QpapLXXLevb (See below) shows the Greek: Iota, Alpha, Omega, transliteration: YAW or Yahw. This clearly shows that the vowel pointing with “Yeh” is erroneous as it relates to the phonetic pronunciation of the name and supports the scholarly consensus that these vowel markings are a direct result of the later vowel pointing for Adonai added to the Tetragrammaton.
It’s important to understand that the “Omega” in Greek does not produce the sound of a “V” but a “W.” In phonetic terms, the Ancient Greek Ω or lowercase ω; is a long open-mid o, comparable to the vowel of the British word “raw.”
As noted in the book – The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English, pg. 472: “…It is worth noting that in Lev. iv, 27 (4Q120, fr. 20, 4) the Tetragram (the divine name YHWH) is rendered semi-phonetically as Iao, and is not replaced, as was customary later, by the Greek Kurios (Lord).”
It’s rather puzzling to see an attempt to use late manuscripts e.g. Leningrad Codex, Aleppo Codex (both 10 Century C.E. MSS) as proof for Yehovah, but which also have several other renderings like Yehohiw (with the vowels for Elohim inserted) written in the text. Yet, we see in the Dead Sea Scrolls three of the four parts of the Tetragrammaton (Yahw) going back to the 1st Century written in Greek with the vowels preserved. This is over 900 years before the Leningrad and Aleppo codices were written.
There are at least two instances where scholars accepted Yehovah but then later retracted their support in favor for Yahweh. After supporting Yehovah in its first edition, the Keil & DelitzschOld Testament Commentaries removed it from later printings. They stated, “…it must be conceded that the pronunciation Jahve [Yahweh] is to be regarded as the original pronunciation. The mode of pronunciation Jehova [Yehovah] has only come up within the last three hundred years; our own ‘Jahava’ [in the first edition] was an innovation” (Nehemiah to Psalm LXVII, p. 827).
Gesenius also initially accepted the Tetragrammaton with the vowel points from Adonai, but then later retracted his support for this hybrid and was noted within Gesenius Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon, “This opinion Gesenius afterward thoroughly retracted,” p. 337. Upon rejecting Yehovah, he supported the pronunciation Yahweh.
Both Keil and Delitzsch and Gesenius [1786–1842] , perhaps the most renowned linguistic scholar of his day and even in modern scholarship, rejected the inaccurate form Yehovah in favor of Yahweh. This withdrawal offers additional evidence for the erroneous nature of Yehovah.
Wilhelm Gesenius in his Hebrew Lexicon, the first edition published in 1810 and 1812, supported the pronunciation Yahweh (with the final letter being silent) as a result of the Samaritan pronunciation Ιαβε reported by early church theologian Theodoret (393–458/466 CE), and because the theophoric name prefixes YHW /jeho/ and YW /jo/, the theophoric name suffixes YHW /jahu/ and YH /jah/, and the abbreviated form YH /jah/ can be derived from the form Yahweh. The Dead Sea Scrolls Manuscript 4Q120-4QpapLXXLevb seen above in Greek rendering YAW, clearly illustrates the Masoretes later inserted the vowels for Adonai – ‘Yehovah’ by reading the Masoretic text in Leviticus 3:12. It’s interesting to point out that this later evidence was unaware to Gesenius and reaffirms his position.)
Gesenius referenced the 1707 book by Adriaan Reland which reprinted the views of a number of scholars on the proofs for and against the pronunciation “Yahweh” vs “Jehovah”, which allowed the readers to make their own determination based on the evidence. Already there was a move by scholars to support Reeland’s view that the pronunciation was indeed Yahweh (יַהְוֶה) and better represents how the Tetragrammaton was pronounced, rather than the previously believed Masoretic punctuation “יְהֹוָה” (Yehovah) thought correct by early Catholic scholars uneducated in the Hebrew language, who did not understand the orthographic device called Qere Ketiv, from which the English name Jehovah was derived. Another Masoretic Ketiv Kere punctuation, “יֱהֹוִה”, is used where the synagogue reader speaks Elohim, as he sees the vowels for Elohim inserted in the Tetragrammaton.
Weighing the Evidence
Let us weigh the evidence for Yehovah and Yahweh. First, we will consider Yehovah. According to a small number of individuals, the name Yehovah is found in Hebrew manuscripts dating back no earlier than the 9th century CE. And while they provide such late Hebrew manuscripts for this conclusion, they have no additional proof to offer. It’s also noteworthy that these manuscripts all include the vowel points or diacritical notes of the Masoretes or Jewish scribes.
The same is not true for Yahweh. The name Yahweh is confirmed by church fathers and Gnostic codices dating back to the 2nd century CE, nearly 700 years before Yehovah appears within any Hebrew manuscript. In addition, biblical and linguistic scholarship nearly universally agrees that Yehovah is an erroneous hybrid that arose by adding the vowel points from Adonai to the Tetragrammaton, a point that advocates of Yehovah disagree with, but have no scholarship to rebut. Modern scholarship also overwhelmingly is in agreement with the pronunciation Yahweh. Also, the “w” in Yahweh (Hebrew letter “waw”) is almost unanimously agreed upon by scholars to pre-date the modern “v” or “vav” within Yehovah. Credible biblical Hebrew classes like “Basics of Biblical Hebrew” from Zondervan and many others will teach this as fact in their curriculum.
The real issue with Yehovah is not that it doesn’t appear in Hebrew manuscripts of the Old Testament, but how it originated within those manuscripts. Therefore, whether a person claims one or a thousand manuscripts, the result is the same; this hybrid arose from willful and deliberate scribal modifications of the Tetragrammaton due to a belief that this Name was too holy to use, a claim that the Bible clearly refutes. This was done by adding the vowel points from Adonai and Elohim to the four letters of the Creator’s name. While this was done out of reverence for the name, such tampering is not biblically permitted. The Third Command warns of not using Yahweh’s name in vain. One way of using Yahweh’s name in vain is by replacing it with a counterfeit, such as Yehovah.
For additional information, watch the below videos exposing the hybrid Yehovah:
Who has gone up to heaven and come down? Who has gathered up the wind in the hollow of his hands? Who has wrapped up the waters in his cloak? Who has established all the ends of the earth? What is his name, and the name of his son? Tell me if you know!Proverbs 30:4
The writer of Proverbs 30 asks in verse 4 a series of profound, rhetorical questions that a wise person who has studied the Bible should be able to answer without hesitation. Are you knowledgeable enough to forthrightly give the correct answers?
What is His Name? The average person would say it’s “the L-rd” or “G-d.” However, a close examination of the Hebrew texts reveals that these are not the correct answers. The word “L-rd” is not a name. It is a title that has been substituted by Bible translators for the actual name of the Heavenly Father. In fact, it is title inferior to king or ruler. The word “G-d” also is not a name. It is a generic term used for the Almighty, a substitute for the Hebrew term “Elohim.” Since the translators have for the most part removed His Name, we must dig deeper to learn the answer to this important question.
Back to the Originals
All true translations of the Old Testament are based upon the Hebrew texts of the sacred Scriptures known as the Masoretic Text. This text was preserved and maintained by a group of Jewish scribes known as the Masoretes. The Masoretes sought meticulously to protect the exact text handed down to them so as to maintain its purity for future generations. This important work began after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE (AD) and has remained up until today. Their work is the base text of the majority of Old Testament translations.
Knowing this, we need only look in the Hebrew text to learn how to answer the question. We learn that about 7,000 times the one true Name of the Heavenly Father is used. That name is Yahweh. This truth can be verified in various dictionaries and encyclopedias. Here are several examples:
Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary lists under “Yahweh”—”In the Old Testament, the national [deity] of Israel.”
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary states, “YAHWEH (ya’way). The Heb. tetragrammaton (YHWH)…YAHWEH is now known to be correctly vocalized yahwe…The name Yahweh has been found to be unique to Israel and has not been verified as the name of any deity outside Israel.”
The Encyclopedia of the Jewish Religion gives the following: “Yahweh: According to scholarly opinion, the original pronunciation of the TETRAGRAMMATON (YHWH), the particular name of the [Deity] of Israel (also called the Shem ha-Mephorash—‘the explicit Name’)…”
Here are but three witnesses among countless others that verify Yahweh as being the true Name of the Heavenly Father as given in the Old Testament Scriptures. The Name of Yahweh was so highly revered by the early translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Hebrew text done in the third century BCE) that they preserved it in the Greek text.
He Has Only One Name
Remember the question in Proverbs 30:4 was, “What is His name?” Notice that it says name (singular) and not names (plural). That is because our Heavenly Father has only one name and not many. Let us consider a few scriptures to verify that fact.
“Elohim also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, “Yahweh, the Elohim of your fathers–the Elohim of Abraham, the Elohim of Isaac and the Elohim of Jacob–has sent me to you.” This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation’”(Exodus 3:15, NIV). “I am Yahweh; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols” (Isaiah 42:8, NIV).
It should now be obvious that our Father in heaven has only one name and that name is Yahweh. He was known by that name to Moses and the patriarchs of old. He always has been and always will be known to spiritual Israel by that covenant name.
Yahweh’s Name in the New Testament
Even though the Name Yahweh is not found in the majority of extant manuscripts of the New Testament Greek text, it should be noted that Yahweh’s Name is referred to by the Messiah and others. Let us consider some of these references.
We find that four times in the Messiah’s prayer in John chapter17 that He refers to the Name Yahweh. The references are as follows.
“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word” (John 17:6, NASU).
“…Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me…” (John 17:11-12, NASU).
“And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:26, NASU).
It is obvious from these references that the Messiah not only knew the name Yahweh but He made a point of declaring it to His disciples. From the age of the Apostles to the end of the age the true disciples of the Messiah will place great significance on the Name Yahweh. This can be seen clearly in the last book of the Bible, the Book of Revelation.
“Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads” (Revelation 14:1, NIV).
Those 144,000 saints who are with the Messiah on Mount Zion not only know the name of the Heavenly Father and His Son, they also have those names written in their foreheads. This is an indication that the names are written in their minds. Once again we have unshakable proof of the great significance of Yahweh’s Name.
What Name Will You Call On?
What are you going to do now that you can answer the question in Proverbs 30:4 and now that you understand the great significance of the Name of our Heavenly Father? All sincere seekers of truth need to understand that we are living in the end-times and that knowing and using the Name of Yahweh is important to our salvation.
“I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of Yahweh. And everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved; for on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be deliverance, as Yahweh has said, among the survivors whom Yahweh calls” (Joel 2:30-32, NIV).
In the difficult times ahead will you call upon the Name of Yahweh for salvation?
For more info on The Name of Yahweh, please check out our free booklet: Your Father’s Name
Watch: “Does His Name Matter” on Discover the Truth TV below.
Among the ranks of Messianic believers there has long been a controversy as to the correct pronunciation of the name of our Savior. Predominately, among Jewish Messianics, there is the belief that the Messiah’s name is to be pronounced “Yeshua,” while among other Messianic believers there is the belief that the Savior should be called “Yahshua.” Obviously they can’t both be right.
Our Savior said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them in the Truth, your Word is Truth.” It therefore stands to reason that the truth of this matter can be learned by examining the Word of Yahweh.
The Meaning of the Savior’s Name
By examining the Scriptures we learn that the Israelite leader Joshua had the same name as our Savior. Hebrews 4:8 reads in the KJV, “For if J-sus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day.” The context of this passage shows that this is not referring to our Savior, but rather to the Israelite general who took Israel into the Promised Land. This evidence supports the fact that the Messiah and Joshua had the same name.
All Hebrew names have meaning, and the name of our Savior is no exception. If we look in Matthew 1:21 we learn the meaning of the Messiah’s name. Again, we quote from the KJV: “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name J-SUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name of the Messiah means “savior” and its meaning is derived from the Hebrew word for salvation.
From Hebrew lexicons we learn the precise meaning of the Savior’s name. The Brown, Driver and Briggs Hebrew Lexicon gives the following definition for the name Joshua: “…Jehovah [Yahweh] is salvation as a proper noun, masculine:
1) a son of Nun of the tribe of Ephraim and successor to Moses as the leader of the children of Israel; led the conquest of Canaan;
2) a resident of Beth-shemesh on whose land the Ark of the Covenant came to a stop after the Philistines returned it;
3) a son of Jehozadak and high priest after the restoration;
4) the governor of Jerusalem under king Josiah who gave his name to a gate of the city of Jerusalem.”
This reference says that the Savior’s name means Jehovah, or (more correctly) Yahweh is salvation.
For a second witness on the meaning of this name we go to the Hebrew Lexicon of Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. The definition there states: “No. 3091, uwcwhy…-from No. 3068 and No. 3467; Jehovah-saved; Jehoshua (i.e. Joshua), the Jewish leader: -Jehoshua, Jehoshuah, Joshua. Compare No. 1954, No. 3442.”
This definition verifies our previous definition, and it reveals the root words of this name. The first root given in Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon is No. 3068. This is the Name of the Heavenly Father. “No. 3068, hwhyYehovah (yeh-ho-vaw’); from No. 1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of G-d: KJV – Jehovah, the L-rd. Compare No. 3050, No. 3069.”
The second root of the Savior’s name is Strong’s No. 3467. This is the Hebrew word for salvation, “No. 3467, ucy yasha` (yaw-shah’); a primitive root; properly, to be open, wide or free, i.e. (by implication) to be safe; causatively, to free or succor: KJV -at all, avenging, defend, deliver (-er), help, preserve, rescue, be safe, bring (having) salvation, save (-iour), get victory.”
From the Scriptures and from these lexicon definitions we learn that the Savior’s name should be translated as, Yahweh is salvation or the salvation of Yahweh.
Yahweh or Adonai?
The name of the Heavenly Father is composed of four Hebrew letters. For that reason it is referred to as the Tetragrammaton. Understand that when James Strong produced his concordance, the popular view among scholars was that the name of the Heavenly Father was Jehovah.
Strong and most scholars of that time were for the most part still following the error of the original English translators who had mistakenly incorporated the vowel points occurring in the Hebrew text into the transliteration. These vowel points had been added by the Masoretes to maintain their belief that the Sacred Name should not be spoken. The vowel points that were placed there were for the title Adonai (my L-rd).
Traditionally, the Jews read Adonai or Ha Shem (“the Name”) instead of pronouncing the Name of the Heavenly Father. They believe that “Yahweh” should not be pronounced because it is too holy, being called “the ineffable Name.” When the reader of the Hebrew Masoretic Text would see the Tetragrammaton, he would be reminded by the vowel points to read Adonai and not Yahweh. This belief is in direct conflict with what our Savior taught on the subject; He openly proclaimed the Name of the Heavenly Father to His disciples. Consider the following quotations from the Savior’s prayer in John chapter 17: “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word,” v. 6, NASU.
John 17:11-12: “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled,” NASU.
John 17:26: “And I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them,” NASU.
Four times in this prayer our Savior emphasized that He had declared the Name of the Father to His disciples. Obviously, the Messiah did not follow the Jewish tradition concerning the sacred Name. Scholarship has proven that the name of the Heavenly Father is not Jehovah but Yahweh.
The Correct Pronunciation
When looking at the various pronunciations offered in the lexicons, bear in mind that they are based upon the vowel points that were added by the Masoretes several hundred years after the Messiah’s death to help preserve the Hebrew pronunciations. The Hebrew texts were originally written without vowel points. In Marks and Rogers Handbook to Biblical Hebrew is the following quotation: “Originally Hebrew had no written vowels; the following consonants, however, were often used to indicate long vowels: a, h, w, y. When the Masoretes introduced their vowel signs, they added their signs to these consonants,” p. 7. Notice that all of the letters that compose Yahweh’s name are listed here.
The Masoretes took certain liberties with the sacred Name because of their belief that it was too holy to pronounce. For those fluent in Hebrew the vowel points are not necessary for reading or understanding the text.
It must be noted that the same “liberties” that were taken with Yahweh’s Name were also applied to the Savior’s Name in Hebrew. Because of these corrupted traditions it is necessary to disregard the vowel points when translating these names. Let’s take a look at these names as they appear in the Hebrew text.
We will first consider the name Yahweh. In the Hebrew it is written hwhy. Hebrew is written from right to left. The English transliteration is YHWH. These are four vowel letters. It is not necessary to have vowel points to pronounce this name. The first letter— y (yoth) is pronounced as a long Y sound, like the Y in heavy (an ee sound). The second letter— h (hay) is pronounced as a short A sound, like the A in father (an ah sound). The third letter— w (waw) is pronounced as a long U sound, like the OO in food (oo sound). The fourth letter— h (hay) is pronounced as a short E sound, like the E in met (an eh sound). When we put these sounds together we get the correct pronunciation of the Heavenly Father’s Name, ee-ah-oo-eh, or as written in English, Yahweh.
The following from the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament is more proof of the true Name: “Yahweh. The Tetragrammaton YHWH, the L-RD, or Yahweh, the personal name of G-d and his most frequent designation in Scripture, occurring 5,321 times in the OT (KJV and ASV, the L-rd, or, in those contexts where the actual title ‘L-rd’ also occurs, G-d, except KJV, Jehovah, in seven passages where the name is particularly stressed (Ex 6:3; Ps 83:18 ; Isa 12:2; 26:4) or combined with other elements, such as Jehovah Jireh (Gen 22:14; Ex 17:15; Judg 6:24; ASV, consistently Jehovah)… The tetragrammaton YHWH is not ordinarily written with its appropriate Hebrew vowels. But that the original pronunciation was YaHWeH seems probable, both from the corresponding verbal form, the imperfect of its root…”
Putting It Together
According to the previous definitions, the Savior’s Name is the combination of two words. In the Strong’s Lexicon they are No. 3068—“Yahweh” and No. 3467—“salvation.” When we look at the Savior’s name in Hebrew it is written as ucwhy. Again, Hebrew is written from right to left. Note the first three letters of this name—why. This is the contracted or abbreviated form of Yahweh’s name, pronounced Yah.
From the Theological Workbook of the Old Testament in regard to Yah: “YAH. A contracted form of Yahweh. Occurs fifty times (rendered in English as above, except KJV, Jah, in Psalm 68:4, where the name is particularly stressed).
Also numerous proper nouns compounded with shortened forms of the divine name ‘Yahweh, e.g.: Jehonathan, ‘Yahweh has given’; ‘Jonathan,’ a substitute name for the same person (compare Gen 1:1 with 1Sam 14:6,8; 2Sam 17:17, 20 with Gen 1:1-2); Jehoshaphat, ‘Yahweh has judged’; alternatively, ‘Joshaphat,’ applied only to two subordinates of David (1Chron 11:43; 15:24).”
Furthermore, we can cite the Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon on Yah hy. This authoritative work shows the two forms of Yah as being hy and why. It gives several examples in Hebrew showing how these two forms combine with other words to form proper nouns. Both of these forms are transliterated as Yah.
The Savior’s name is one of the many proper nouns in the scriptures that is compounded with the shortened form of Yahweh’s name, Yah. In this particular case it combines with the uc form of yahsa (salvation). From this evidence we can conclude that the Savior’s name must be pronounced as Yahshua and not Yeshua.
These facts take on even greater meaning if we consider the prophetic passage which deals with the Philadelphia Congregation of Revelation chapter 3. This is obviously an end-time congregation since in verse ten they are offered protection during the tribulation. “Because you have kept the word of my perseverance, I also will keep you from the hour of testing, that hour which is about to come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth” (Revelation 3:10, NASU).
These end-time true worshipers were complimented for not having denied the Savior’s Name. Yahshua then tells them that He will cause those of the synagogue of Satan to bow before them. “I know your deeds. Behold, I have put before you an open door which no one can shut, because you have a little power, and have kept My word, and have not denied My name. ‘Behold, I will cause those of the synagogue of Satan, who say that they are Jews and are not, but lie — I will make them come and bow down at your feet, and make them know that I have loved you’” (Revelation 3:8-9, NASU).
Judaism has for centuries sought to cover up the true pronunciation of Yahweh’s Name. That same false notion has been perpetuated today by those who insist on using the altered form Yeshua, rather than the correct and proper form, Yahshua. Yahshua is truth while Yeshua is error. Our Savior said that His disciples are sanctified by the Truth,John 17:17.
As sincere seekers of truth, let us follow the example of the Philadelphia Assembly and not deny the name of our Savior. Let us choose wisely and use the name that means “Yahweh is salvation.”
Above article written by Elder Bob Wirl
Q: “Why do you pronounce the savior’s name Yahshua instead of Yeshua?”
A: Rabbinic tradition suppressed the true Name Yahweh out of a fear of pronouncing the ineffable Name. In Hebrew, Jewish scribes inserted a vowel point, shewa (:) instead of the proper qamets (T), thus changing the sound “ah” in “Yah” to “eh.” This was done to hide the sacred Name and yielded the improper Yehovah and Yeshua, from which the improper “Jesus” arose. This may have been done to avoid offending the Jews and their proscription against even the short form YAH.
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance Hebrew Dictionary reveals this erroneous vowel pointing of YAH to YEH in the first column of page 48 where the resulting “YEH” is clear. In every name in this column, a shewa (:) appears under the Hebrew letter yod (y:), so that the pronunciation, following the Hebrew spelling, begins with the prefix “YEH.”
The Greek transliteration of the Tetragrammaton YHWH is “EE-AH-OO-EH,”showing the vowel “a” and not an “e” in “Yahweh.”
Even the well-known Hebrew word “halleluYah,” which means “Praise Yah,” employs the “a” and not “e”. You never say “halleluyeh.” The proper “ah” pronunciation is also found in names of patriarchs, like IsaYah (Isaiah-“Yahweh has saved”) and YeremiYah (Jeremiah-“Yahweh will exalt”).
Whether to pronounce Yahweh’s Name with a “v” or “w” hinges on which letter accurately transliterates the sound of the Hebrew letter W or “waw” in the Tetragrammaton, YHWH.
We must take into consideration the ancient pronunciation of the waw and whether “v”, “w” or “u” as we know them accurately reflect that ancient pronunciation. The following information is derived from a number of sources, including G.B. Palatino’s Lettere Romane(1545). ‘U’ and ‘W’ are variants of ‘V’ which was being used for two different sounds in medieval England. ‘U’ was introduced to give a soft vowel sound as opposed to the harder consonant sound of ‘V’. ‘W’ began as a ligature. Two ‘V’ letterforms were joined into ‘VV’ to represent ‘double U’ in 12th-century England. Those who use the “v” form of Yahweh’s Name (Yahveh) should note that the Name is spelled “Yahweh” in almost all academic publications, many by people well-studied in the Hebrew language, including Hebrew speakers. Hebrew linguists believe the third letter waw was in ancient times pronounced as “w” (hence it is named “waw”).
In later Hebrew its pronunciation, influenced by European languages, was changed to “v” and the letter was later called “vav,” according to the Encyclopædia Judaica. The Judaicashows that the semitic languages nearest Israel use the “w” pronunciation as opposed to the “v” pronunciation found in those speakers of Hebrew living in or closer to Europe. Those using the “w” sound include Jews of Babylonia, Yemeni, Morocco, Samaria, the Sephardi (Temple Hebrew) and Portuguese. Those using the “v” sound of “waw” include Hebrew-speaking communities in Italy, Poland, Germany, and Lithuania. These Europeans picked up the Germanic “v” and transferred it to the waw.
The change from W to V is very well known, for example, in most of the continental languages like German (also the descendants of Latin). We know from historical comparisons that direction of change in Latin was from W to V. English has remained faithful to an old W sound for over six thousand years, while it changed to V in Late Latin almost two thousand years ago (but had not yet changed in Classical Latin). The “w” is formed by putting two “v” letters together, but it is called a double-u because it is made up of two letters originally pronounced as we do the “u.” One needs only to look at old government building architecture with inscriptions bearing a “v” but pronounced like a “u” to see that the “v” was originally a vowel sound like “u” (e.g. bvilding, Jvly).
It was not until the dictionary was published that a decided difference was made between the “v” and the “u.” It is more than coincidence that the U, V, and W occur together in our alphabet; it shows a common relationship that these letters had in derivation and similar pronunciation.
The v is a consonant that some have used for the sound of the Hebrew waw in Yahweh’s Name (Yahveh). The problem is, the waw in His Name was considered a vowel anciently. In fact, all the letters of the Tetragrammaton are called vowels by Josephus (Wars of the Jews, 5.5.556) as well as by Hebrew grammars. Bagster’s Helps to Bible Study also says these are vowel-letters in the sacred Name, “as having been originally used to represent vowels, and they still frequently serve as vowels in combination with the points.” Bagsters says the waw represents the letters o or u.
Another authority says, “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, Edward Horowitz, pp. 29-30. As the online Wikipedia notes: “There was no ‘U’; instead, there was the semi-vowel ‘V’. There was no ‘W’, although ‘V’ was pronounced as the modern English ‘W’.” As for the “j” in “Jehovah,” the letter J is the last letter to be added to our alphabet. ‘J’ was an ‘outgrowth’ of ‘I’ and was used to give a sound of greater consonant force, particularly as the first letter of some words. It was used interchangeably with the letter “I” at first, showing that its original pronunciation stemmed from the vowel sound of “I” and only later got its “juh” sound through French influence.
The English name “Jehovah” was invented by Roman Catholics sometime in the Middle Ages, based on a misunderstanding of Masoretic Hebrew texts. It is a hybrid word consisting of the Tetragrammaton YHWH (“J” used to be pronounced as “Y”) and the vowels for the word “Adonai.” Though “Jehovah” is used a few times in the 1611 King James Version (e.g., Gen 22:14; Exod 6:3;Isa 12:2; Ps 83:18) and is found in many older Christian hymns, it is not the authentic biblical pronunciation of the sacred Name (For a discussion of the “Jehovah or Yahweh” question see “God, Names of” in Encyclopædia Judaica, vol. 7, col. 680, or George F. Moore, Judaism in the First Centuries of the Christian Era: The Age of the Tannaim (3 vols., Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1927-30), vol. 1, p. 219 and note 1, p. 427. Most modern Bible translations have notes on this issue in their introductions, agreeing that the true Name of the Heavenly Father is Yahweh.
If a person told you his name, would you argue with him about it? Would you tell him, “No, I don’t think so. I’ll call you something else instead”? Of course not, that would be absurd! You have no right to do such a thing and you would certainly not make him too happy if you did.
Yet when it comes to the personal Name of the Father in Heaven, many believe that they have the prerogative to decide what they will call the One they worship. They will go to great lengths to avoid using the revealed Name of the Heavenly Father, Yahweh. The most creative mental gymnastics are performed in an effort to justify the continued use of common titles over the personal Name Yahweh, which the Bible says is a name above every name.
In an effort to quiet their consciences, some will argue, “He has many names.” Many will rationalize, “He knows who I mean no matter what I call Him,” while others will postulate, “His ‘name’ just means His authority.” Anyone looking into this important matter from the Scriptures, however, soon discovers that Yahweh Himself rejects all of these arguments, as well as other common assumptions about His Name.
A simple examination of the Scriptures shows that the issue of Yahweh’s Name is of paramount importance to Him — just as your name is important to you. He thunders, “I am YAHWEH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images,” Isaiah 42:8. The Hebrew original of this passage contains the Tetragrammaton YHWH, or Yahweh.
Yahweh is resolute about His Name. He is adamant that His people call on Him by the only Name that ensures salvation. The New Testament Book of Acts tells us, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved,” Acts 4:12.
He even wrote the Third Commandment specifically to address the neglect of His Name: “Thou shalt not take the name of Yahweh thy Elohim in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.” The Hebrew behind that commandment says “bring to deso-lation and ruin,” which is exactly what will happen if you substitute other names and titles for the one true Name.
Following are the most familiar arguments given to justify the use of substitute titles like “God” and “Lord” in place of the true Name Yahweh. We will examine each in light of the Bible to see whether any has validity.
“He has many names.”
This is one of the most popular justifications advanced to avoid using the Name Yahweh. If He has many names then it is implied that no single name stands out as His one, special, personal Name. Or in other words, He has many names but no name. The problem with this argument is the failure to recognize that generic titles are not names.
Take “Mr. Sam Jones,” for instance. “Mister” is not the name of “Sam Jones.” Mister is only a title for him. Sam Jones cannot sign a document with only the word “Mister” and expect anyone to accept it as his authentic endorsement. One is a generic term that applies to any man, the other is his real name.
The same goes for the various descriptive titles for Yahweh that some erroneously think are names, like eloah (“mighty one”), el shaddai (“the all-powerful”) and adon/adonai (“sovereign”). Others are confused by attributions that are sometimes used in connection with His Name, like Yahweh-Yireh (“Yahweh provides”), Yahweh-Zidkenu (“Yahweh our righteousness”) and Yahweh-Rapha (“Yahweh our healer”).
Regardless of certain titles and attributions, He still has only one Name — Yahweh. He inspired the prophet Isaiah in 42:8 to write, “I am YAHWEH: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” Psalm 83:18 confirms that He has but one Name: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth.” Nowhere in the pages of the Bible can we find a statement saying He has many names. But we can find many passages attesting to His one true Name.
“He knows who I mean no matter what I choose to call Him.”
You cannot find such a statement expressed or implied anywhere in the Bible. Nowhere are we given the right to rename our Heavenly Father. To bestow a name is the sole prerogative of a superior, as when a parent names his child and as when Adam named the animals under his dominion. Since when does the one created have the right to address his Creator by any name he pleases?
To use this argument for the One who made us is the height of insolence and is utterly offensive to Yahweh. Notice His warning about such obstinacy: “If you will not hear, and if you will not lay it to heart, to give glory unto my name, says Yahweh of hosts, I will even send a curse upon you, and I will curse your blessings: yea, I have cursed them already, because you do not lay it to heart.” Yahweh’s Name is bound up in proper worship and in Psalm 68:4 He commands His people to praise Him by His Name. John 4:24 reminds us, “Yahweh is Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” To deliberately ignore the Truth of His Name in favor of what pleases us as His worshipers is nothing less than vain arrogance deserving of rebuke. We cannot reverse the flow of authority —Yahweh our Creator tells us how to worship Him, not the other way around. Even beyond this, His knowing “who you mean” makes no difference to Him if you refuse to honor and glorify Him as He demands, which includes using the right Name. His Name represents Him and His truths, something no other name does.
“The pronunciation of the Name has been lost and we don’t know how His Name was spoken.”
Besides being false, this argument amounts to no more than an excuse — that because of supposed uncertainty we should not even try to pronounce His Name. The fact is, the Name is given us in the Hebrew in the form of the Tetragrammaton or “four letters,” which is YHWH (Yod, Hay, Waw, Hay). Jewish scribes went to great lengths to ensure the accuracy of this Name in the Hebrew, while the Masoretes or text guardians vowel-pointed the Hebrew letters to preserve the pronunciation.
It is not true that the pronunciation of the Hebrew Name was lost. If it were then the pronunciation of the entire Hebrew Old Testament was lost as well. It would also mean that in the passing-down process of the Hebrew tongue from one generation to another, that at some point all Jews suddenly woke up and forgot how to speak their own language! If we can read the Old Testament out loud in the Hebrew, then we can also read the Name Yahweh accurately in the same Hebrew. Today the Jews read Hebrew every Sabbath in their synagogues. They have no problem pronouncing it.
Here is what the noted Encyclopaedia Judaica says about this issue: “The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian Church testify that the name was pronounced ‘Yahweh.’ This is confirmed, at least for the vowels of the first syllable of the name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g., Ex. 15:2) and the –yahu or –yah that serves as the final syllable in very many Hebrew names,” Vol. 7, p. 680.
The Encyclopaedia Britannica comments: “Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used the form Yahweh, thus this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh,” 15th Edition, Vol. X, p. 786.
The Catholic Encyclopedia notes: “The saying of God, ‘I am who I am,’ is surely connected with His name that is written in the Hebrew consonantal text as Yhwh, the original pronunciation of which is well attested as Yahweh,” 1967, Vol. 5, p. 743.
“But there are no vowels in the Hebrew so how can we know how to pronounce the four letters of YHWH correctly?”
Vowels do exist in Hebrew, as in all languages, or else it would be impossible to speak Hebrew. Vowels are spoken via the open mouth, while consonants are spoken by closure of the lips or by tongue contact on teeth or palate. Old Testament Hebrew is composed of words written in consonants with the vowels understood.
As noted, the Masoretes in the seventh century inserted vowel points or marks in and around the Hebrew letters to preserve the correct pronunciation. Just as with our letter “Y,” there are some Hebrew letters that serve as both consonants and vowels. Amazingly, all four letters of Yahweh’s Name are such consonant-vowels. This fact can be verified in most Hebrew grammars, including A Beginner’s Handbook to Biblical Hebrew (Horowitz), p. 7 under “Vowel Letters”; The Berlitz Self-Teacher, p. 73 under “The Vanishing Dots”; Hebrew Primer and Grammar (Fagnani and Davidson) p. 10, under “The Quiescents and Mappiq,” and How the Hebrew Language Grew (Horowitz), p. 28.
First-century priest and historian Falvius Josephus writes about the sacred Name that was engraved on the headpiece of the high priest (Ex. 28:36-38): “A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head, which was tied by a blue riband, about which there was another golden crown, in which was engraven the sacred name [of Yahweh]; it consists of four vowels,” Wars of the Jews, Book 5, chapter 5, p. 556.
“When the Bible speaks of His name it just means His authority, not His literal name.”
It is true that to do or say something in someone’s name can mean by the authority of that person. But that is only a small part of the meaning of Yahweh’s name in His Word. Through the Hebrew verb of existence, haYah, the Name Yahweh defines the very nature, character, and essence of Yahweh. His Name means to cause to be. To claim that references to His name refer only to His authority is incongruous in many important passages. To drive home the point, we have changed the word “name” to “authority” in the following verses. See whether each still makes proper sense:
“Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his [authority]and what is his son’s [authority], if you can tell?” Prov. 30:4
“That men may know that thou, whose [authority] alone is YAHWEH, art the most high over all the earth.” Ps. 83:18
“Sing unto Elohim, sing praises to his [authority] extol him that rides upon the heavens by his [authority] YAH, and rejoice before him.” Ps. 68:4
“Seek him that makes the seven stars and Orion… Yahweh is his [authority].” Amos 5:8
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his [authority] Yahshua: for he shall save his people from their sins.”Matthew 1:21
Once we realize that Yahweh has a personal, life-giving, healing, covenant Name only through which we can find salvation, to continue calling on an inanimate, generic title to provide the same blessings that His Name gives is an affront to Him and His character.
“I speak English, not Hebrew, so I use the English ‘God and ‘Lord.’”
One problem here is that these are not names but common titles that can apply to any number of mighty ones or even less than mighty ones. Another problem with this statement is that “God” is not English at all but Germanic from the word gott. A “lord” is someone subordinate to a king. “Lord” derives from Old English hlafweard meaning “loaf keeper,” a person who headed a feudal estate under a king.Yahweh is King of the universe, and so to address Him with a diminutive title like Lord is a dishonor.
Lord is also related etymologically to Bel, a pagan deity. As one source notes, “In late Babylonian times the title Bel, ‘Lord,’ became synonymous with Marduk, who like Ishtar assimilated to himself various aspects of other gods,” Babylon, by Joan Oates, p. 172. The Companion Bible note on Isaiah 46:1 says, “Bel. Abbreviation of Baal=Lord. Here=Zeus, or Jupiter of the Greek and Roman mythology.” Neither is the term “god” free of heathen trappings. Paul wrote that there are “gods many and lords many,”1Corinthians 8:5. One root of “god” means to pour as in a molten image (Oxford English Dictionary). No wonder idols are known as gods.
How can we justify using such terms when calling on the only true Father in Heaven, and His Son, Yahshua the Messiah? The language you speak has nothing to do with the Name of the one you worship, because His Name doesn’t change from language to language (Consider that there is no English form for the French name Napoleon and neither is there a German or Russian version for the English name Churchill. Specific names transcend language. They are transliterated, not translated).
“I have had prayers answered using ‘God’ and ‘Lord’ so it must be okay to use those titles.”
Yahshua said that even an evil person won’t give his son a stone when he cries out for bread (Matt. 7:9). Each one who seeks the Truth of Yahweh first does so with a certain lack of understanding. If Yahweh let our ignorance get in the way of our heart’s desire to seek Him, then we would soon become discouraged and give up our quest.
After more truth is revealed to us, however, then we become accountable to make the proper changes in our lives and toward True Worship. “And the times of this ignorance Yahweh winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17:30. Our true walk must start somewhere, and if calling on Him through common titles is all we know, then Yahweh will show compassion and toleration.
But as He gives us more knowledge and Truth, He expects us to walk in all the light we are given. Paul wrote, “For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Master: walk as children of light,” Ephesians 5:8. Yahshua said, “Not every one that says unto me, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi’ shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven,” Mattthew 7:21.
La plupart de ceux qui croient en la Bible vivent leur vie sans jamais voir la flagrante incohérence existant dans leur approche du Créateur de l’univers. Contrairement à d’autres religions majeures de ce monde, dont les adhérents utilisent un nom spécifique pour leur divinité, le nom employé exclusivement pour le Père Céleste étant adoré dans la chrétienté est un titre, ou sont des titres, communs et génériques. Alors que les païens fidèles comprennent précisément qui ils adorent, des millions de chrétiens appellent et rendent un culte à leur Créateur par les termes habituels « seigneur » et « dieu », et continuent à demander : « Le connaissez-vous ? »
Le fait évident est que la chrétienté a négligé le Nom révélé et personnel du Père Céleste. Beaucoup ne réalisent même pas qu’Il a un Nom, croyant que le titre Dieu est un nom parce qu’il a une majuscule. Cependant, ils acceptent le fait que des milliers de dénominations différentes rendent un culte avec ces mêmes titres mais avec une pléthore de croyances et de pratiques contradictoires. Ce qui amène à se demander si elles-mêmes Le connaissent ?
Identifiez et connaissez votre Père Céleste !
Hormis ces contradictions, le Nom sacré du Père Céleste est-Il à ce point important ? Cela fait-il quelque chose la manière dont vous L’appelez ? A-t-Il même besoin d’avoir un nom pour rendre un bon culte, comme les divinités des autres religions en ont un ? Certains croient qu’Il sait de qui vous parlez peu importe comment vous L’appelez. Mais ont-ils considéré que refuser de révérer Son Nom personnel démontre un manque de respect à l’égard de Celui qu’ils adorent, de même qu’un mépris flagrant de Sa Parole ? C’est exactement ce qu’Il nous dit dans Malachie 2:2.
En des temps de désespoir, combien de croyants en la Bible tomberaient-ils à genoux et feraient appel à Baal ? Ou Vishnu ? Ou Moloch ? Il est évident que CELA A de l’importance quel nom vous utilisez dans un culte. Les Noms VEULENT dire quelque chose. Les noms identifient un être particulier qui a des traits particuliers et qui est adoré d’une manière spécifique, et qui (en théorie) répond par des voies spécifiques à des cultes précis et bien définis.
En faisant appel à des noms comme Vishnu ou Bouddha, vous invoquez une certaine divinité qui ne doit pas être confondue avec le Tout-Puissant de la Bible. Comment quelqu’un pourrait-il s’attendre à ce que le vrai Père Céleste réponde à des noms de cultes païens ? Plus important encore, à quel point est-Il proche de ceux qui refusent Son Nom personnel, décidant qu’un simple titre est suffisant – un titre adapté à une identité perdue dans un océan de doctrines et de croyances en conflits? Un titre est-il suffisant pour le vrai Tout-Puissant lorsque ce même titre peut tout aussi aisément se référer à d’autres divinités païennes ? Notez ce qui suit.
L’apôtre Paul a écrit : « Pour ce qui est donc de manger des viandes sacrifiées aux idoles, nous savons qu’il n’y a point d’idole dans le monde, et qu’il n’y a qu’un seul [Elohim]. Car, s’il est des êtres qui sont appelés dieux, soit dans le ciel, soit sur la terre, comme il existe réellement plusieurs dieux et plusieurs seigneurs, néanmoins pour nous il n’y a qu’un seul [Elohim], le Père, de qui viennent toutes choses et pour qui nous sommes, et un seul [Maître, Yahshua], par qui sont toutes choses et par qui nous sommes » (1 Corinthiens 8:4-6).
S’il existe plusieurs dieux et seigneurs, comment pouvez-vous distinguer celui qui est adoré avec l’un de ces titres ? Indifférent aux arguments et aux excuses que les personnes vont utiliser, Yahweh le vrai Père dit qu’Il est jaloux de Son Nom, et qu’Il ne permettra pas des louanges à des images gravées ayant comme origines des titres communs (Ésaïe 42:8).
Intimité des noms
Nous, dans la civilisation occidentale, avons pratiquement perdu le sens de l’importance des noms. Pour nous, Johnny vaut tout autant que Tommy. Mais, même dans ce cas, nous pouvons être influencé dans le choix du nom de notre enfant sur base de quelqu’un que nous connaissons et possédant un nom particulier. Ce nom est, dès lors, connecté à une personne – peut-être un père, un grand-père ou un oncle – dont la personnalité et les qualités viennent à l’esprit lorsque le nom est cité ou qu’il y est fait référence.
Rien n’est plus vrai que dans les Écritures. En fait, les noms ont une bien plus grande importance lorsqu’il s’agit de la Bible. Ceci est particulièrement vrai à l’égard de Celui que nous adorons comme Créateur et Soutien de cet univers. Philippiens 2:9 dit que Son Nom Yahweh est au-dessus de TOUT nom. Peu importe ce que nous pouvons penser ou voulons croire, faire appel à Son vrai Nom est d’une importance critique à Ses yeux.
Son Nom révèle Son Identité spécifique. Lui seul est celui qui est connu par Son propre peuple comme le véritable Tout-Puissant appelé Yahweh. Lorsqu’un étranger vous appelle « amis », « monsieur » ou « madame », cela ne vous gêne pas. En fait, vous vous attendez à ce que les gens que vous ne connaissez pas utilisent de tels titres. Mais une fois que vous avez été présentés et que vous donnez votre nom à l’autre personne, vous vous sentez déconcerté si il ou elle continue à vous appeler monsieur ou madame. En agissant de la sorte, votre contact rejette la proximité que, normalement, l’usage de votre nom induirait.
Yahweh ressent la même chose. Une fois que nous connaissons Son Nom, mais que nous persistons à l’appeler par des titres de divinités communes, nous perdons Sa faveur. Son Nom est une marque de proche intimité. Comment certains peuvent-ils prétendre avoir « une relation personnelle » alors qu’ils ne l’appellent même pas par Son Nom ? En faisant une alliance avec Israël, l’une des toutes premières choses que Yahweh a faite a été de Se présenter à eux sous Son Nom personnel. Il voulait et s’attendait à l’intimité que l’usage de Son Nom personnel engendrerait.
Venons-en à des points précis
Lorsque Yahweh proclame par le prophète Ésaïe 42:8 : « Je suis [Yahweh], c’est là mon nom », Il n’a pas dit « c’est l’un de mes noms » ou « tu peux m’appeler comme tu veux, je saurai de qui il s’agit ». Au contraire, Il a dit « c’est là mon nom ». Point. Fin de la discussion. Le psalmiste écrivit à Son propos dans 83:18 « toi seul, dont le nom est [Yahweh]… »
Dans la Bible, quand une personne donne son nom à une autre personne, cela signifie la jonction des deux dans une proche unité. Lorsque Yahweh donna Son Nom à Israël, Il se lia à eux – il s’agissait d’un mariage – l’union la plus proche dont deux personnes peuvent se réjouir. Nous devons, en tant qu’Israël spirituelle et épouse du Messie, porter Son Nom également.
Est-ce une simple coïncidence qu’une femme prend le nom de son mari dans un mariage ? Pourquoi cela ? C’est parce qu’à présent ils sont unis – ils sont devenus une espérance, un but, un engagement en une cause unique dans une famille menée par le mari. (En cette ère de féminisme, il est difficile de dire combien de temps cela va encore être pratiqué). Actes 15:14 nous dit que Yahweh Se choisit, parmi les païens, un peuple spécial «portant Son Nom ». Il est en train de créer une famille à Son Nom : «C’est pour cela que je fléchis mes genoux devant le Père (de notre [Maître Yahshua le Messie]), duquel est nommée toute famille dans les cieux et sur la terre » (Éphésiens13 :14-15, Bible Darby).
Estimé par le Nom
Bibliquement, une personne et son nom sont virtuellement équivalents et inséparables. Le mot « nom » en hébreux est shem. Shemsignifie une marque ou un mémorial – exprimant l’individualité d’une personne. Un nom est la marque de l’honneur (ou déshonneur) d’une personne, son autorité, et son caractère. En fait, un nom décrit et définit tout ce qui concerne la personne. Le Nom Yahweh a une grande importance à cause de ce qu’il définit. Intrinsèquement, le Nom de Yahweh est la véritable parole de vie.
Dans Exode 3:14 Il dit à Moïse : « Je suis celui qui suis,» ou « ha Yah asher ha Yah » en hébreu. Ce qui signifie « Je suis l’existence elle-même ». « Je fais exister toute chose ». Son Nom Yahweh Le décrit, Le définit, et met Ses qualités en évidence comme étant celui qui nous fait exister maintenant, et comme celui qui peut, pareillement, nous donner l’existence éternelle. Joël 2:32 prophétise que le jour viendra où quiconque invoquera Son Nom sera délivré. Cette signification est également intrinsèque dans la définition de Son Nom : « Je suis » ou « Je serai ». « Yahweh » a la connotation « Je serai là (pour toi), » spécialement quand vous avez besoin d’une délivrance.
Son Nom est aussi un Nom de famille. Son peuple, ceux qu’Il a choisi, son appelé de Son Nom : « [Yahweh], écoute ! [Yahweh], pardonne ! [Yahweh], sois attentif ! agis et ne tarde pas, par amour pour toi, ô mon [Elohim] ! Car ton nom est invoqué sur ta ville et sur ton peuple » (Daniel 9:19). Son peuple porte ce merveilleux Nom car ils sont dans une alliance avec Lui – Lui obéissant et Lui plaisant dans tout ce qu’ils font. Il est extraordinaire que Son Nom Yahweh soit présent au moins 6823 fois dans les anciens manuscrits hébreux de la Bible. Cela ne peut simplement pas être ignoré.
L’erreur dans l’argument « Mais je parle le français »
Il y a également l’argument : « Je ne L’invoque pas par Son Nom hébreu parce que je parle le français. » Une personne change-t-elle son nom lorsqu’elle voyage dans des pays étrangers dans lesquels différentes langues sont parlées ? Ou son nom est-il le même où qu’elle aille ? A-t-elle un nouveau passeport à chaque entrée dans un pays ? Ou bien Monsieur Dupont est-il toujours « Monsieur Dupont » dans chaque pays qu’il visite ? Il est évident que son nom reste inchangé, épelé de la même manière peu importe où il se rend.
Quel est l’équivalent français de Barack Obama ? C’est Barack Obama, n’est-ce pas ? Quelle est la forme française de Bill Clinton ? Eh bien, c’est Bill Clinton. Si l’argument est « Je parle le français donc j’utilise des noms français », dans ce cas comment dit-on « Satan » en français ? Satan est la translittération d’un nom des Écritures, comme le sont de nombreux autres. Tout comme Yahweh, le nom Satan est hébreu. La forme française d’Abraham est également Abraham, un nom hébreu directement sorti des Écritures hébraïques et repris pratiquement sans altérations dans nos traductions françaises. Qu’en est-il de Daniel, également un nom hébreu ? Qu’elle est l’équivalent français de Daniel ? Le nom est Daniel évidemment. Et quid de Sarah ou Marthe ?
Tous sont des noms hébreux inchangés dans la traduction française parce que les noms ne se traduisent tout simplement pas. Les noms sont translittérés, c’est-à-dire que l’on fait correspondre, sans changements, les sons d’un langage avec les sons d’un autre langage. Nous n’avons aucuns problèmes à utiliser sans équivalents français ces noms hébreux pour la bonne et simple raison QU’IL N’Y A PAS D’ÉQUIVALENTS FRANÇAIS ! Pourquoi devrait-il en être autrement avec le Nom de Yahweh ? Pourquoi le Nom le plus important de l’univers devrait-il être non seulement altéré, mais complètement remplacé ? (Le terme « dieu » n’est pas, à proprement parlé, un mot français. Il dérive du latin « deus » – se prononce ‘déous’ – issu de la racine indo-européenne « dei wo » et se retrouve dans le nom du dieu grec Zeus – se prononce ‘dzéous’).
Mots et noms communs comprenant « Yah »
L’un des mots de louanges les plus populaire est « alléluia ». Chacun peut l’entendre dans les églises du monde entier. C’est l’un des mots d’exultation existant les plus anciens, et se trouve être un terme purement hébreu (halleluyah). « Hallel » signifie« louange » en hébreu, et « Yah » est la première partie du Nom sacré de Yahweh (c.-à.-d. Yah-weh). Ainsi,halleluYah signifie « louez Yah ». Beaucoup ne réalisent pas que le mot de louange le plus commun contient le Nom même de notre Père Céleste – halleluYah. Nous trouvons particulièrement ce mot sous la forme « alléluia » en français. Mais dans d’autres versions on le trouve sous la formehallelu-Jah, le « j » est toutefois dérivé de l’hébreu yod, qui est une consonne-voyelle équivalent au « y ». Un autre fait que beaucoup ignorent, c’est qu’il n’existait pas de lettre « j » dans les alphabets hébreu, grec ou latin. Pour cette raison la lettre originale ne pouvait pas être un « j » mais un « i » ou un « y ». Le « j » est la lettre la plus récente de notre alphabet et naquit au alentour de l’époque de Christophe Colomb.
Le « j » est simplement un « i » avec une courbe à son extrémité, avec un son « gi » qui n’existe que depuis peu de temps. Le « j » et le « i » étaient utilisés de manière interchangeable jusqu’au XVIIe siècle. Les Écritures reprennent de nombreux noms connus qui contiennent le nom de notre Père Céleste. « Élie » se prononçait « Eliyah », un nom qui signifie « mon El est Yah ». Ésaïe (YehshaYah) est un nom hébreu qui signifie « salut de Yah ». Jérémie (YirmeYah) signifie « celui que Yah a élevé ». Quant à Sophonie (ZephanYah), c’est « caché de Yah ». De nombreux autres auteurs et prophètes furent nommés sur base du Nom Yahweh, montrant le lien profond qu’ils avaient avec Lui.
Les inconsistances de l’argument en faveur du français
Si quelqu’un persiste dans sa position selon laquelle parce que nous parlons français nous ne devrions pas utiliser des formes hébraïques, dans ce cas nous ne devrions pas non plus utiliser les noms ci-dessus parce qu’il s’agit de noms hébreux et que « nous ne parlons pas l’hébreu ». Il ne serait pas juste d’appliquer cet argument uniquement au Nom de Yahweh et pas aux autres noms et mots hébreux de la Bible – comme « sabbat », un nom hébreu, ou « Messie » un autre mot hébreu.
Et quid de toutes les villes des Écritures, comme Jérusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, et les noms de centaines d’autres personnes, lieux, rivières, mers, déserts, et montagnes ? Tous devraient être transformés en équivalents français pour être consistent avec l’argument appelant à l’usage exclusif du français. Le problème est qu’il n’y pas de formes équivalentes en français pour ces noms hébreux ! Pas plus qu’il n’y a d’équivalent adéquat ou de nom, ou de titre, de substitution pour le grand Nom de Yahweh.
Mais poussons l’argument un peu plus loin.
« Cher Président (sans nom) »
Quel est le nom français pour Yahweh ? Cela pourrait-il être Dieu, avec un « D » majuscule ?
Premièrement, il nous faut comprendre que « dieu » n’est pas un nom mais un titre. Paul dit qu’il y a de nombreux dieux et de nombreux seigneurs. Les titres ne définissent pas d’individus particuliers. Il y a de nombreux présidents dans nos pays – présidents de compagnies, de collèges, présidents de conseils d’administrations, présidents de banques… mais il n’y a qu’un président de General Motors, un seul président d’Harvard, et un seul président de Citibank – et chacun à un nom qui lui est propre.
Si j’écris une lettre qui débute par la salutation « Cher président », celle-ci peut s’appliquer à n’importe lequel de ces présidents. Ce n’est que quand j’inclus le nom avec le titre que je mets en évidence à qui je m’adresse précisément. Si je prie le dieu de ce siècle, Paul dit, dans 2 Corinthiens 4:4, que je pourrais bien prier Satan car Satan est appelé un « dieu de ce siècle », comme le sont des milliers d’autres divinités auxquelles l’homme a rendu un culte tout au long de l’Histoire. Et même dans ce cas, ces divinités avaient des NOMS précis qui étaient liés à leurs titres.
Notre français, langue étrangère
Le mot « Dieu » est-il simplement l’équivalent de «Yahweh » utilisé par les croyants francophones ?
Attend-il de Son peuple que celui-ci change Son Nom en une autre forme plus conforme à la langue qu’il parle ? Cela est-il même possible ? Le Dictionnaire des racines des langues indo-européennes (R. Grandsaignes d’Hauterive, Éditions Larousse, Paris, 1949) dit que « dieu » dérive du Latin deus, ayant lui-même pour racine l’indo-européen dei wo ; la base étant « dei- »signifiant« luire », « briller » – dei wo = « ciel lumineux » considéré comme une divinité païenne. Ce mot a également donné dios et zeus(prononcé dzéous) en grec.
Le point est le suivant : peut-on dire que « Dieu » est un mot français ? Absolument pas ! Son usage commun en français repose sur d’antiques origines étrangères. Relativement peu de mots français utilisés sont du pur français. Le mot « Français » même n’est pas du français ! « France » vient du germanique « Franko(n) » (Francia en latin), domaine des Francs. Qui étaient les Francs ? Un peuple de guerriers germaniques situé aux abords du Rhin au IIe et IIIe siècle, et qui allait dominer la majeure partie des Gaules, de la Germanie et la Lombardie (nord de l’Italie actuelle) après la chute de l’Empire romain au Ve siècle.
Notre langue « française » impure
Le français est un langage qui emprunte de manière très étendue à d’autres langues. L’argument « Je parle français, c’est pourquoi je n’utilise pas de noms hébreux » manque, en fait, d’une base historique. Examinons quelque peu cet argument et voyons combien les racines de notre langue peuvent être peu françaises, et ce par quelques exemples issus de cette phrase :
« Je » vient du latin populaire eo, lui-même du latin classique ego.
« Français », comme nous l’avons vu, est d’une racine germanique.
« Parler » à pour racine le grec parabola ayant donné le latin parabolare.
« Être » à pour origine l’ancien français estre.
« Noms » vient du grec onoma
« Hébreux » vient de l’hébreu Eber.
Dans les exemples issus de cette phrase « Je parle français, c’est pourquoi je n’utilise pas de noms hébreux » on constate que le verbe « être » est peut-être le seul mot dont on peut dire qu’il est d’origine française. Le fait que l’on souhaite mettre en évidence ici, est qu’on ne peut pas dire que le français soit un langage pur en tant que tel. La majeure partie de ses emprunts vient du grec, du latin, voire de l’arabe et de l’hébreu même. La plupart des mots que nous utilisons en français viennent d’autres langues.
Dans tout ceci, le point important est que le langage n’a pas grand-chose à voir avec le Nom du Tout-Puissant des Écritures. Il était Yahweh avant qu’Il ne place l’homme sur cette terre. Avant qu’il n’y ait eu tous ces langages à Babel, Il était Yahweh. Son Nom transcende les langues. « Yahweh » est la vie personnifiée. Psaume 135:13 dit : « Ton nom subsiste à toujours, Ta mémoire dure de génération en génération. » Son Nom est Son mémorial qui perdure pour toujours.
Le premier commandement est fondamental
Dans Exode 20:2, les Dix Commandements débutent ainsi : « Je suis [Yahweh], ton [Elohim], qui t’ai fait sortir du pays d’Égypte, de la maison de servitude. Tu n’auras pas d’autres dieux devant ma face.» En définitive, tous les faux cultes peuvent être liés à la transgression du premier des dix commandements. Tous les péchés que nous commettons résultent du refus de suivre Yahweh et Sa volonté manifestés en premier lieu dans Ses lois.
Avant de dire quoi que ce soit, Yahweh établit dans le tout premier commandement que LUI est Yahweh notre Tout-Puissant. Ecclésiaste 12:13 énonce cette importante vérité :« Écoutons la fin du discours : Crains [Yahweh] et observe ses commandements. C’est là ce que doit faire tout homme. » Nous continuons avec Exode 20:4 : « Tu ne te feras point d’image taillée, ni de représentation quelconque des choses qui sont en haut dans les cieux, qui sont en bas sur la terre, et qui sont dans les eaux plus bas que la terre. » Les païens ne rendaient pas de culte à une image de pierre en tant que pierre, mais comme une représentation d’une divinité. Il dit : « Ne fabriquez pas ces choses car elles vous rappelleraient d’autres divinités, et Je suis le seul que vous avez à adorer. »
Plus loin, le verset 6 nous dit d’observer les commandements si nous L’aimons et qu’Il nous ferait miséricorde à Son tour. Notez à présent le verset 7 : « Tu ne prendras point le nom de [Yahweh, ton Elohim], en vain ; car [Yahweh] ne laissera point impuni celui qui prendra son nom en vain. » Que signifie de ne pas prendre Son Nom en vain ? Un juron lorsque vous ratez le clou avec votre marteau et que vous frappez sur votre pouce ? Ou quelque chose de beaucoup plus important ?
Pas dans l’hébreu
« Prendre » est traduit de l’hébreu nasa signifiant « lever » ou « emmener ». « Vain » vient de la racine hébraïque shoaw signifiant« se ruer sur ; dévaster ; ruine » – fondamentalement,« prendre en vain » signifie « traiter avec négligence ». Lorsque nous remplaçons Son nom uniquement par quelques titres, nous transgressons le Troisième Commandement.
Le commandement dit : « Ne portez pas Son Nom à la désolation » ou « Ne L’ignorez pas par négligence ». Lorsque nous utilisons un titre commun dans le culte, nous perdons l’aspect le plus important de l’identité de Yahweh et ce qu’Il représente ; Ce qu’Il est et ce qu’Il peut faire pour nous. Son Nom décrit l’essence même de qui Il est : Yahweh – Il est l’existence elle-même. Aucun titre ne peut décrire tout ce que Son Nom représente. Un titre annule la raison d’être même d’un nom. Il est juste là comme une étiquette, sans profondeur de sens, n’étant lié à aucune identité particulière.
« Je suis [Yahweh], c’est là mon nom ; et je ne donnerai pas ma gloire à un autre, ni mon honneur aux idoles », dit-il dans Ésaïe 42:8. Lui et Son Nom sont inséparables. Nous espérons que vous prendrez conscience de l’incroyable importance de cette vérité, et que vous en arriverez à connaître votre Créateur par Son Nom personnel et révélé : Yahweh. Imaginez tout ce qu’Il peut et voudra faire pour vous si vous Le mettez à la première place et que vous honorez Son merveilleux et puissant Nom !