The Name of YHWH
By Don Esposito
Almost 7,000 times in the English translations of the original Hebrew Texts the translators take out the Sacred name of our Creator YHWH and replace it with either the word God or Lord. God and Lord are titles not personal names, and if you go back to the origin of these words they also are very suspect. YHWH is omnipotent and everlasting and all merciful, but again these are titles but are not His personal name.
The Father tells us what his personal name is for all of eternity;
Exo 3:15 And Elohim said to Moses again, You shall say this to the sons of Israel, YHWH, 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, and this is My memorial from generation to generation.
The third commandment tells us “You shall not take the name of YHWH your Elohim in vain.” In vain means to change, falsify or to make common. A child could see that taking out the personal name of YHWH or in Hebrew it is the letters Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey, almost 7,000 times and replacing it with a generic title of lord or god is definitely breaking the third commandment.
So our next question is how do we pronounce the name of YHWH? After the Babylonian captivity the Rabbiâ€™s felt this name to be to sacred to say and started to hide the phonetic pronunciation of the name YHWH. The Talmud tells us that they even wrote it incorrectly so that if someone was reading the name they would not accidentally pronounce it. We are told to praise the name of YHWH, to exalt his name and to call upon his name. How could we do this if we are not allowed to pronounce it?
Clearly the rabbiâ€™s were wrong and only trying to control the people. What they started to do was take the vowels from Adonia (Hebrew word translated as Lord) and mix it with the consonants for YHWH and come up with Jehovah. They only used Jehovah so no one could pronounce the name correctly.
Very easily you could see that Jehovah would not be the correct pronunciation as there is no “J” in Hebrew and in Hebrew the name” Hovah” comes from Strongâ€™s Concordance # 1943 and means ruin or mischief. The name of our Heavenly Father is not ruin or mischief.
Another wrong misconception on the pronunciation of the name of YHWH that has come up recently is Yahueh. In Hebrew a vav can be a consonant or a vowel but can not be both. So pronouncing YHWH as Yahueh you are using the vav first as a vowel and then by putting another vowel after it, it goes against the grammer laws of Hebrew.
The argument for using Yahueh is because the name Yahudah (Hebrew for Judah) has the same letters as YHWH but adds a dalet. So some think to just remove the dalet and that is how you pronounce YHWH. This is not the way you do this in Hebrew and goes against every law of grammar in Hebrew. In Hebrew every word goes back to a 2 or 3 letter root, and then vowel pointed. So although in English it may seem that YHWH is simply Yahudah without the dalet in Hebrew it does not even come from the same root.
Check this out for yourself. In Strongâ€™s concordance Yahudah is word number 3063 and comes from the root word 3034 Yadah, Yod, dalet, hay, where as the name Yahweh is Strongâ€™s 3068 and comes from the root 1961 hayah or in Hebrew hey , vav, hey. So you can see they do not even have the same root and certainly would not apply a new rule of dropping the dalet and coming up with a new pronunciation.
I believe that from historical and archeological evidence the closest that comes to pronouncing the Sacred name of YHWH is phonetically pronounced as YAHWEH.
Also, Josephus states that the pronunciation of YHWH is phonetically spoken like 4 vowels. EE AHH OOOH AAA. (EE + AHH = Yah,) (OOH + AAA = weh.) So when you phonetically pronounce the 4 letters together they sound like Yahweh.
I have confirmed this pronunciation from some very credible scholars that I have met in Israel that have seen this pronunciation in written form in Hebrew from secret documents that have been taken out of the Talmud so as not to reveal the name.
According to the Rabbiâ€™s who purposely write the name incorrectly so not to be accidentally spoken, they would only say the name once a year on the day of atonement and this only by the High Priest who would go into the Temple, but later it was sanctioned by the Rabbiâ€™s that the name could be said by all Jews but again only once a year and this only at sunset at the ending of Atonement. Out of curiously I went to the Wailing Wall where this is done last year as atonement was ending and heard the pronunciation of the YHWH as Yahweh.
Another falsehood that has come up is that the name Yahweh is pagan because it has been found on some ancient inscriptions and possibly used by the ancient Samaritans. The fact that the name Yahweh has been found on ancient inscriptions proves to me more that it is the true name of our creator, for remember what Genesis 4:26 states;
Gen 4:26 b Then began men to call on the name of Yahweh.
So mankind knew the name of our creator from earliest times even though it was lost among most civilizations it is not surprising if archeological evidence surfaces to show proof that Yahweh is the creatorâ€™s name.
And even if it could be proven that the Samarians used the name Yahweh this also would not be surprising considering what happened to them when they first came to the land of Israel. Remember that Lions were eating them and they called Israelite Priests to help them learn the customs of the Elohim of Israel. So why would it be surprising if they therefore knew Yahwehâ€™s name?
2Ki 17:24 And the king of Assyria brought men in from Babylon, and from Cuthah, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and Sepharvaim, and made them live in the cities of Samaria instead of the sons of Israel; and they possessed Samaria and lived in its cities.
2Ki 17:25 And it happened at the beginning of their living there, they did not fear Yahweh, and Yahweh sent lions among them, and they were striking among them.
2Ki 17:26 And they spoke to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations that you have exiled and have made to live in the cities of Samaria do not know the custom of the Elohim of the land, and He has sent the lions into their midst; and, behold, they are killing them, since they do not know the custom of the Elohim of the land.
2Ki 17:27 And the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Cause one of the priests whom you removed from there to go there, and they shall go and live there; and he shall teach them the custom of the Elohim of the land.
2Ki 17:28 And one of the priests whom they exiled from Samaria came and lived in Bethel, and he taught them how they should fear Yahweh.
Some have mistakenly tried to connect the name of Yahweh to the false god Jupiter because Jupiter was also called IOUE which can phonetically be pronounced Yahweh. It should be noted that ancient pagans had many gods and where not shy in accepting any new concept of deity as a god. This is one of the reasons that the Romans persecuted the Jews so heavily because only the nation of Israel had a concept of a single deity. They were looked at as poor and weak because they only worshiped one deity. This is why the goddess Istar is also called Semeramis and Diana and Athena or Aphrodite. Now, none of these names phonetically sound alike and none are transliterations of the other name. It was just the common practice of pagan cultures to accept any new god and call him or her by the name of one of their old gods.
So, could pagan cultures when they saw the power of Yahweh, have used his name and called him by also their other pagan deities? Logic and history tells us yes they did. Does that change the name of Yahweh? Logic and history and archeology tell us emphatically NO! The way we know that our creators name is phonetically pronounced Yahweh is by the fact that Israel only had one deity and every credible scholar and every historical and biblical and archeological evidence distinctly points to the pronunciation of the only true deity the Elohim of Abraham Isaac and Jacob as YAHWEH.
Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary:
“Jehovah â€” False reading of the Hebrew YAHWEH.”
(“Jehovah,” Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, 1973 ed.)
“Jehovah â€” erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel.”
(Encyclopedia Americana, vol. 16., 1972 ed.)
“The Masoretes who from the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of Adonai or Elohim. Thus the artificial name Jehovah came into being.”
(“Yahweh,” The New Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 12, 1993 ed.)
The Jewish Encyclopedia:
“Jehovah â€” a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YaHWeH the name of God. The pronunciation of Jehovah is grammatically impossible.”
(“Jehovah,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, vol. 7, 1904 ed.)
The New Jewish Encyclopedia:
“It is clear that the word Jehovah is an artificial composite.”
(“Jehovah,” The New Jewish Encyclopedia, 1962 ed.)
According to the Encyclopedia Judaica, p. 680, vol. 7, “the true pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH was never lost. The name was pronounced Yahweh. It was regularly pronounced this way at least until 586 B.C., as is clear from the Lachish Letters written shortly before this date.”
the Deity of the Israelites, his name being revealed to Moses as four Hebrew CONSONANTS (YHWH) CALLED THE TETRAGRAMMATON. AFTER THE EXILE (6TH CENTURY BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greco-Roman world, the more common noun Elohim, meaning “god,” tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s Deity 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 Old Testament.
The Masoretes, who from about the 6th to the 10th century worked to reproduce the original text of the Hebrew Bible, replaced the vowels of the name YHWH with the vowel signs of the Hebrew words Adonai, or Elohim. Thus, the artificial name Jehovah (YeHoWaH) (emphasis ours, ed.) came into being. Although Christian scholars after the Renaissance and Reformation periods used the term Jehovah for YHWH, in the 19th and 20th centuries biblical scholars again began to use the form Yahweh. Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, had used a form like Yahweh, and this pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was never really lost. Other Greek transcriptions also indicated that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh.