How can we say God’s name in Hebrews?

Author: BibleAsk Team

God’s Name in Hebrews

In the original Hebrew, God’s real name transliterates to YHWH. This is known as the tetragrammaton (meaning “four letters”). The four letters that make up his name are found in Exodus 3:14.  However, there is no correct pronunciation for the name of God because the letters are only consonants, not vowels. 

So, we cannot tell what the “real” name of God is YAHWEH or YEHWAH or YAHWAH or YEHWEH, etc. Thus through the centuries, the correct pronunciation of YHWH was lost. But most scholars today believe that YHWH was probably pronounced Yahweh.

In early Judaism, the word YHWH was used as the Lord’s name. But, by the time of the Temple’s destruction in 70 A.D., the word was considered too holy to pronounce. The Jewish Mishnah (a book of early Jewish traditions) even states, “He who pronounces the Name with its own letters has no part in the world to come!”

Jewish scholars in the Middle Ages developed a system of symbols placed beneath and beside the consonants to indicate the missing vowels. YHWH is found more than 6,000 times in the Old Testament. Because it was thought that the divine name was too holy for a person to even pronounce at all, the word was substituted with “Adonai,” which means “Lord.” Thus, in many English Bible translations, YHWH is substituted with the word “LORD” in capital letters.

The vast majority of Jewish and Christian biblical scholars and linguists do not believe “Jehovah” to be the proper pronunciation of YHWH because there was no true J sound in ancient Hebrew. Even the Hebrew letter vav, which is transliterated as the W in YHWH is said to have originally had a pronunciation closer to W than the V of Jehovah. However, the form Jehovah, is used in the King James Version of the Bible (Genesis 22:14; Exodus 6:3; 17:15; Judges 6:24; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4).

Salvation is not in merely knowing what God’s holy name is. To “know” the Name of God means an actual living submission to Him as the Creator. When Adam “knew” Eve, that meant, he was tied himself to her in the bonds of marriage with all what that entails of duties, responsibilities and commitment. The Jews claimed to know God’s name more than other people, yet they crucified the Son of God.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

Categories God

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