yehovah, gordon, adonai, full vowels, god's name,

The Man-Made Name Yehovah

A recent claim is that the full vowels for Yehovah have been found in ancient Hebrew manuscripts, thereby challenging the Name Yahweh. The following is an extract from our website ( in response to this claim. (Original Q&A by Ryan Mansager)

We hear it often: “the full vowels for the creator’s name have now been found.” Sadly, many people have been sold a bill of goods based on a false premise. And that false premise is perpetuated from a lack of understanding of Ketiv/ Qere in Hebrew. Ketiv and Qere are orthographic devices that were used by the Masoretes (Jewish scribes) in the 6th to the 10th centuries. Ketiv means, “what is written.” Qere means, “what is read.” In other words, the sacred Name was written one way, but it was to be read another way.

Basically, the scribes would insert the vowels from two other words – Adonai and Elohim – into the Tetragrammaton, hwhy, so when the reader saw these vowels he would read the title Adonai or Elohim, completely avoiding the sacred Name, which Judaism believes is too holy to pronounce. This practice is done every Sabbath as the torah scroll is read our loud. (Professor William Barrick explains the practice in the link at the end of this article.) Some who promote Yehovah over Yahweh point to a Karaite Jew’s claim that he discovered the “full” vowels in the Tetragrammaton from a medieval manuscript, indicating the name Yehovah. However, another name would be just a legitimate as Yehovah, based on the same principles and logic used to support it and that name is Yehovih.

The vowels for Adonai in the Tetragrammaton read Yehovah while the vowels for Elohim in the tetragrammaton read Yehovih. One is no more legitimate than the other. Both have the same “full vowels,” as well as missing holems, vowel deductions, etc. I would like to go through some of these examples in the Leningrad Codex. The practice of such vowel substitution existed in Masoretic manuscripts dating to the 9th and 10th centuries, CE. There are several forms of Ketiv / Qere, including: ordinary, vowel, omitted, added, euphemistic, split, and qere perpetuum. If you do not have a basic concept of biblical Hebrew this may seem a bit complex.

1 Kings 2:26 1Kings 2:26 we see the full vowels for Elohim in the text using the shewa, holem, and hireq. In this instance the hateph seghol reverts to a simple shewa under the yod exactly as it does with the combination for Yehovah. This hateph vowel reverted to a simple shewa because the compound shewa was not needed under the yod as it is under the guttural aleph. This is a rule of Hebrew grammar. “Gutturals cannot take vocal shewa, but do take reduced (hateph) vowels” (Basics of Biblical Hebrew, Chapter 2L – “Hebrew Vowels”). This is a rare occurrence, just as is the rare occurrence of the full vowels of Adonai with the vocal shewa under the yod that we see in Genesis 3:14. (Pronunciation: Yehovih with the full vowels for Elohim with the initial vocal shewa under the yod) (

Judges 16:28 In Judges 16:28 we see the full vowels for Elohim but in this case the hateph seghol does not revert to a simple shewa under the yod. This may be because the title Adonai precedes the Tetragrammaton and could lead to the reader saying Adonai twice (if the vowels for Elohim were not added), however we do see exceptions. (Pronunciation: Yehovih, with the full vowels for Elohim retaining the hateph seghol under the yod) (

Ezekiel 24:24 In Ezekiel 24:24 the Tetragrammaton loses the holem and reverts to the shewa just as we see many times with the pointing for Adonai. (Pronunciation: Yehvih with the vowels for Elohim minus the holem above the first heh.

Genesis 15:2 In Genesis 15:2 the holem has been removed and the yod retains the hateph seghol. (Pronunciation: Yehvih ( These examples show vowel point combinations for Elohim in every aspect the same as we see with the vowel point combinations for Adonai (Yehovah). There is nothing special about the full vowels or partial vowels written as Yehovah any more than you could say the full vowels or partial vowels written as Yehovih are also indications of the name. One could use the same arguments and contend that the name Yehovih is just as valid. Here’s the thing, the scribe’s intent was never to put the proper pronunciation of the name in the text, but simply to use these vowel points as code to signal the reader to use either Elohim or Adonai rather than Yahweh. About 500 years ago this ignorance of Ketiv Qere gave us the name Jehovah. Petrus Galatinus (1460-1540), Pope Lex X’s confessor, thought these added vowels were a legitimate part of the Tetragrammaton so he rendered the Name 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 haMeforash’)… This pronunciation is grammatically impossible;
it arose through pronouncing the vowels of the ‘ḳere’ (marginal reading of the Masorites: = ‘Adonay’) with the consonants of the ‘ketib’ (text reading: = ‘Yhwh’)— ‘Adonay’” Jehovah, Jewish Encyclopedia

‘Jehovah’ is generally held to have been the invention of Pope Leo X.’s confessor, Peter Galatin,” ibid.One thing is for sure, we don’t see the vowel combination for Yahweh ever used in the text. This is perfectly understandable as the scribes were purposely hiding the Name. By simple deduction we can prove the name Yahweh by what is not in the text, as no vowel combination exists for the “ah” and “eh” sounds” in the Masoretic vowel points in any part of the Tetragrammaton, just like we should expect from someone hiding the name.

Conclusion: Jehovah has all but died out as a legitimate form in the scholarly world. Even the Jehovah’s Witnesses realize it’s not authentic. It wasn’t until recently that history repeated itself. The name Yehovah (Jehovah with a Y) was popularized in the Messianic Movement by a recent narrative that a certain Karaite Jew found the full vowels of Yehovah as he was in the bowels of the Hebrew University, reading the Aleppo Codex on 9-11, at the exact moment the planes were hitting the World Trade Center. It should be noted this Karaite has a history of hyperbole. Apparently this sensationalistic story is supposed to dazzle the believer into thinking there was a miracle in the making. The proper name has “now” been found by a supernatural event, he excitingly proclaimed. Now that yarn has been expanded from one obscure, “amazing” find to literally thousands of occurrences. But wait, how can that be? How can the narrative change so drastically and no one question it? Sadly, many do not see the elephant in this room. Why the change? As shown, we can find these “full vowels” not just in the Aleppo Codex but also the Leningrad codex in Genesis 3:14 the very codex that the majority of our Bibles translate from (see Below).

Genesis 3:14

Gen 3:14 They have been there for hundreds of years, read by thousands of people, yet somehow only on 9-11 were the full vowels supposedly found in the Aleppo Codex, a 10th century CE manuscript only 78 years older than the Leningrad codex.

Think about it! One full vowel combination became two, then three, then thousands over night. You can’t have it both ways, it can’t be an obscure scribal error found on 911 and yet be everywhere at the same time. It can’t be an accident and yet on purpose thousands of times.

Beware when you see a square peg in a round holem.Note: The above article uses the “v” for the 6th letter only to show those who use Yehovah the similarities with other name combinations using the vowels for Elohim. The 6th letter has a “w” anciently as taught by every accredited biblical Hebrew class and the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

Yehovah is impossible on many levels. See:

Biblical Hebrew Scholar Dr. Bill Barrick of the Masters Seminary refutes the erroneous name Yehovah (Jehovah) through Hebrew grammar. He explains how heretical Alexandrian Jews (the very ones that translated the Septuagint) removed the name Yahweh for Kyrios (the lord) around 250 BCE out of a misguided understanding of the 3rd commandment. This has influenced not just Judaism, but also Christianity; as a result the title “lord” made it in your Bible, replacing Yahweh.


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Posted in Sacred Name, Q&A - Sacred name, Common Misnomers.
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