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It is unfortunate that through the erosion of time, confusion and misrepresentation, many people today do not associate God with a personal name. Moses did however ask the Almighty God about his name.

King James Bible

Exodus - 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, [when] I come
unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of
your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me,
What [is] his name? what shall I say unto them?
Exodus - 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he
said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exodus - 3:15 And God said moreover unto Moses, Thus shalt thou
say unto the children of Israel, The LORD God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, hath
sent me unto you: this [is] my name for ever, and this [is] my
memorial unto all generations.

The traditional omnipotent tautology reads " I AM THAT I AM ." however God's reply in Hebrew was: ´eh·yeh' ´asher' ´eh·yeh', the Hebrew verb hayah, from which the word ehyeh is drawn, does not mean simply "be", it can also mean "He causes to become," or " prove to be."

The name revealed to Moses has only been recorded by four Hebrew consonants called the tetragrammaton, (YHWH or in the latinised form JHVH) which appear over
6,000 times in the Hebrew text, though the exact Hebrew pronunciation has been lost, since ancient times.

God's name is considered by the Jews too sacred to pronounce, on most occasions they refer to God as Hashem (Hebrew, `The Name') or adonai (Lord), only the High Priest on the day of Atonement uses the name in the Holy of Holies (the shrine of the Tabernacle and later of the first Temple of Jerusalem).

The earliest and most reliable Masoretic manuscripts that have been made available to modern Bible scholars are the Ben Asher Masoretic text of about 930 C.E. In places it records where pre-Masoretic copyists had altered the tetragrammaton (YHWH) with the vowel signs for the Hebrew words Adonai (Sovereign Lord) or Elohim (God). "Lord."

The Tetragrammaton or divine name (too sacred for utterance), depends on which vowels the reader inserts to the four consonants.

A Jewish colony in Elephantine (Egyptian, Yeb), an island in the Nile near Aswan, some 690 km (430 mi) south of Cairo, provide a valuable insight into conditions prevailing there during the fifth century B.C.E., about the time when Ezra and Nehemiah were active in Jerusalem. Documents, in Aramaic, contain the name of Sanballat of Samaria (Nehemiah 4:1, 2) and of Johanan the high priest. (Nehemiah 12:22) Of interest is an official order issued during the reign of Darius II (423-405 B.C.E.) that "the festival of unfermented cakes" (Exodus 12:17; 13:3, 6, 7) be celebrated by the colony. Also notable is the frequent use of the name Yahu, a form of the name YHWH; (see Isaiah 19:18)

The men who copied the manuscripts from the time of Ezra to the time of Jesus were the scribes or Sopherim, these men felt compelled at times to make changes in the text, as the divine name was increasingly becoming 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.

Their successors were the Masoretes, the "lords of tradition" from the sixth to the tenth century C.E., the Bible text was their life's concern; they would not tamper with it. For centuries Hebrew was written only with consonants, the vowels being supplied by the reader. By the time of the Masoretes, the proper pronunciation of Hebrew was being lost due to the fact that many Jews were no longer fluent in that language. To ensure accuracy, the Masoretes utilized the side margins of each page to record information that would indicate any possible change of the text made. As an additional cross-checking tool, they marked the middle word and letter of certain books, they went so far as to count every letter of the Bible in order to ensure accurate copying. For these marginal notes to be useful, these copyists would virtually have to know the entire Hebrew Bible by heart.


After the Exile (6th century BC), and especially from the 3rd century BC , the Jews ceased to use Gods name, Judaism was becoming a universal religion through its proselytizing in the Greek and Roman world, the common noun elohim, tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others.

Author David Clines stated in the publication Theology:

"Somewhere between the fifth and the second centuries B.C. a tragic accident befell God: he lost his name. More exactly, Jews gave up using God's personal name Yahweh, and began to refer to Yahweh by various periphrases: God, the Lord, the Name, the Holy One, the Presence, even the Place. Even where Yahweh was written in the Biblical text, readers pronounced the name as Adonai. With the final fall of the temple, even the rare liturgical occasions when the name was used ceased, and even the knowledge of the pronunciation of the name was forgotten."


In 1518, Petrus Galatinus published a work entitled De arcanis catholicae veritatis (Concerning Secrets of the Universal Truth) in which he spells God's name Iehoua.

Popularized in Christian usage at the Renaissance and occurring in Tindale's translation of the Bible, the Hebrew consonants JHVH (YHWH) have the insertion of the vowels from adonay my lord JeHoVaH. Therefore Christians have erroneously, according to the Jews, pronounced the Tetragrammaton Today many Hebrew scholars prefer Yahweh as the true pronunciation , however in English, consistency favors Jehovah as it has been accepted as God's name for centuries.

In 1530 the name first appeared in an English Bible, when William Tyndale published a translation of the first five books of the Bible, he included the name of God, usually spelled Iehouah, in several verses. From this the practice arose of using Jehovah's name in just a few verses and writing "LORD" or "GOD" in most other places where the Tetragrammaton occurs in the Hebrew text.

In 1611 what became the most widely used English translation, the Authorized Version, was published. In this, the name Jehovah appears four times in the main text. (Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4) "Jah," a poetic abbreviation of the name, appears in Psalm 68:4. And the name appears in full in place-names such as "Jehovah-jireh." (Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24) However, following the example of Tyndale, the translators in most instances substituted "LORD" or "GOD" for God's name.

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. There is by no means unanimity among scholars regarding the divine name, Yehwah', Yehwih', and Yeho-wah', have been used and Early Christian writers, such as Clement of Alexandria in the 2nd century, used a form like Yahweh, Greek transcriptions with spellings such as I-a-be' and I-a-ou-e' indicate that YHWH should be pronounced Yahweh but others have preferred Yahuwa, Yahuah, or Yehuah.


That Jesus used the Almighty Gods name is attested to by the Jewish accusation centuries after his death that if he performed miracles, it was "only because he had made himself master of the 'secret' name of God."-The Book of Jewish Knowledge.

Many names of people and places mentioned in the Bible contain an abbreviated form of God's name. The Almighty God's name was known long before Moses, the name of Moses mother was Jochebed (Yokheved), a word based on Gods name ([Jehovah] is Glory).

Thus, the tribe of Levi, to which Moses belonged, knew the name of God which originally may have been in its short form Yehoh, Yoh, Yah, or Ya'hu, from which the Hebrew spelling of the names Jehoshaphat, [Jehovah is judge] Joshaphat [Jehovah is judge], Shephatiah [Jehovah has judged] derive.


Elijah My God is Yah, Hebrew Eliyahu (1 Kings 17:1-15;) commemorated by some Christians on July 20 and recognized as a prophet by Islam.
Isaiah Salvation of Jehovah, Hebrew Yesha'·ya'hu. (Isaiah 1:1;)
Jeremiah Possibly, Jehovah Exalts; or, Jehovah Loosens [likely from the womb] Hebrew, Yirmeyahu (Jermiah 1:1;).
Jehoshua Meaning "Jehovah Is Salvation." Hebrew, Yehoh·shu'a' or Y’hoshua (Numbers 13:17)
Joshua Meaning Jehovah is salvation shortened form of Jehoshua, Hebrew, Yehoh·shu'a or Y’hoshua (Exodus 17:10;;
Jesus. Late Hebrew or Aramaic Yesua' var. of earlier Yehosua' Greek Iesous
Mattithiah Meaning "Gift of Yah." Mat·tith·yah',
Matthew   B(Greek), Math·thai'on; D(Gr.), Mat·thai'on; probably derived from the Hebrew proper name Mattithiah (1 Chronicles 9:31)
Zechariah "Yah Has Remembered", Hebrew, Z’kharyah or Zekhar·yahu. (2 Kings 14:29; Isaiah 8:2;) Latin, Zacharias (Luke 1:5;)
Abijah "My Father Is Yah", Hebrew, ´Avi·ya'hu. (1Kings 14:1)
Ahijah "Yah is (My) Brother"; Hebrew ´Achi·ya'hu. (1Kings 14:4)
Azariah "Yah Has Helped"; Hebrew 'Azar·ya'hu.
Besodeiah "In the Intimate Group of Yah", Hebrew B’sodyah (Nehemiah 3:6)
Beraiah "Yah Has Created" Hebrew B’rayah (1Chronicles 8:21)
Bealiah "Yah Is Owner", Hebrew B‘alyah (1 Chronicles 12:5)
Azaniah "Yah Has Given Ear", Hebrew Azanyah (Nehemiah 10:9)
Asaiah "Jah Has Made", Hebrew B’nayah (1Chronicles 4:36)
Amasiah "Yah Has Carried the Load", Hebrew Amasyah (2 Chronicles 17:16)
Habaiah "Jah Has Hidden" Hebrew Havayah (Ezra 2:61)
Hacaliah Possibly, "Wait for Yah"; or "Keep in Expectation of Yah", Hebrew Hakhalyah (Nehemiah 1:1)
Jedidiah "Beloved of Yah.", Hebrew Y’didyah (2 Samuel 12: 25)
Is it possible that the proper names used in the bible, can provide some clues as to how God's name was pronounced?

According to George Buchanan, professor emeritus at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, D.C., U.S.A., in ancient times, parents often named their children after their deities. That means that they would have pronounced their children's names the way the deity's name was pronounced. The Tetragrammaton was used in people's names, and they always used the middle vowel."

Examples of proper names found in the Bible that include a shortened form of God's name are Jonathan, which appears as Yoh·na·than' or Yehoh·na·than' in the Hebrew Bible, meaning "Yaho or Yahowah has given," says Professor Buchanan. The prophet Elijah's name is ´E·li·yah' or ´E·li·ya'hu in Hebrew. According to Professor Buchanan, the name means: "My God is Yahoo or Yahoo-wah." Similarly, the Hebrew name for Jehoshaphat is Yehoh-sha·phat', means "Yaho has judged."

A two-syllable pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton as "Yahweh" would not allow for the o vowel sound to exist as part of God's name. But in the dozens of Biblical names that incorporate the divine name, this middle vowel sound appears in both the original and the shortened forms, as in Jehonathan and Jonathan. Thus, Professor Buchanan says regarding the divine name: "In no case is the vowel oo or oh omitted. The word was sometimes abbreviated as 'Ya,' but never as 'Ya-weh.' . . . When the Tetragrammaton was pronounced in one syllable it was 'Yah' or 'Yo.' When it was pronounced in three syllables it would have been 'Yahowah' or 'Yahoowah.' If it was ever abbreviated to two syllables it would have been 'Yaho.'"- Biblical Archaeology Review.

In the 19th-century Hebrew scholar Gesenius commented in his Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament Scriptures : "Those who consider that [Ye-ho-wah] was the actual pronunciation [of God's name] are not altogether without ground on which to defend their opinion. In this way can the abbreviated syllables [Ye-ho] and [Yo], with which many proper names begin, be more satisfactorily explained."


The first occurrence of the expressions

Lord of Hosts, (cf. b. N. wambacq, L'épithète divine Jahvé Sébaot [Rome 1947] O. Eissfeldt, "Jahwe Zebaoth, " KlSchr, 103-23)
Jehovah of Armies
Yahweh Sebaoth
(depending on the translation) found at I Samuel 1:3.

They are translated from the Hebrew la·Yhwah' tseva·´ohth'; which appears 283 times particularly in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Zechariah, tseva-'ohth' basically means an army of soldiers. This refers not only to the physical stars but more frequently to the well-organized mighty hosts of Heavenly,angelic spirit creatures, thus conveying the sense of power, held by the Almighty God.

The expression LORD God of Hosts occurs for the first time in II Samuel 5:10 " it is translated from the Hebrew, wa·Yhwah' ´Elo·heh' tseva·´ohth'; (YHWH the God of armies). See also 1Kings 19:10, 14.

Some scholars interprete Yahweh-Asher-Yahweh as "He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists" with the rendering of 1 Samuel Yahweh Teva-'ot, as "He Brings the Hosts Into Existence," the hosts possibly referring to the heavenly court or to Israel.

The expression Yehwah' Sham'mah applied to the city seen by the prophet Ezekiel in chapters 40 through to 48 would translate as Jehovah-Shammah, or " Jehovah himself is there ". With Yehwah' Tsidh-ge'nu, found at Jeremiah 23: 6 & 33:16 and at Jeremiah 33: 14-16 being translated as " Jehovah is righteousness " .


In the palace room (known as the Lachish Room)

Sargon's heir Sennacherib is shown sitting on his throne during the surrender of the city of Lachish. Assyrian officers have come before the king for commendation, while prostrate Israelite prisoners beg for mercy as others receive the cruel treatment of flaying and impalement. Actual slingstones and a sling can also be seen here.

On view in the Room of Writing are the famous Lachish Letters.

One of them, addressed to "Ya'ush the military governor of Lachish from Hosha'yahu," it contains God's name, in the form of the Hebrew tetragrammaton.

In the King's Library and the Historical Manuscripts Room.

It is difficult to imagine that anybody would attempt to throw away the Codex Sinaiticus, a Greek Bible manuscript written about the fourth century C.E. Yet, when the German biblical scholar Tischendorf visited the Greek monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai in 1859, he found 43 sheets of this magnificent volume in a wastepaper basket.

At one time, the Codex Alexandrinus was in the library of the Patriarch of Alexandria. This vellum manuscript was presented to King Charles I of England in 1627. Look carefully at the Hebrew Pentateuch, a manuscript of the 10th century. In several places, you will see the, the tetragrammaton. It dates from the first half of the fifth century C.E.


An inscribed potsherd, measuring 4 inches by 3.5 inches [10.9 by 8.6 cm] dated as early as the ninth century B.C.E. "appears to be a receipt for a donation of three silver shekels to the Temple of Yahweh" containing five lines and 13 words, it "recently surfaced on the antiquities market," states Biblical Archaeology Review." (c. 1998) This is the oldest extra-Biblical mention of King Solomon's Temple ever discovered. Clear and easily readable are [The words] BYT YHWH, 'the house of the Lord,' This is at least a century older than the any other inscription and has been declared authentic by experts.

Lachish, 44 km (27 mi) WSW of Jerusalem, was a principal fortress protecting the Judean hill country. At Jeremiah 34:7 the prophet tells of Nebuchadnezzar's forces fighting against "Jerusalem and against all the cities of Judah that were left remaining, against Lachish and against Azekah; for they, the fortified cities, were the ones that remained over among the cities of Judah." Excavations at Lachish produced evidence of destruction by fire twice within a period of a few years, believed to represent two attacks by the Babylonians (618-617 and 609-607 B.C.E.), after which it lay uninhabited for a long period.

In the ashes of the second burning were found 21 ostraca (pieces of pottery inscribed with writing), believed to represent correspondence shortly before the destruction of the city in Nebuchadnezzar's final assault. Known as the Lachish Letters, these writings reflect a period of crisis and anxiety and appear to have been written from remaining outposts of Judean troops to Yaosh, a military commander in Lachish. Letter number IV contains the statement: "May
YHWH let my lord hear even now tidings of good. . . . we are watching for the fire signals of Lachish, according to all the signs which my lord gives, because we do not see Azekah." This passage remarkably expresses the situation described at Jeremiah 34:7, quoted above, and apparently indicates that Azekah had already fallen or at least was failing to send out the fire or smoke signals expected.

Letter number III, written by "Hoshaiah," includes the following: "May
YHWH cause my lord to hear tidings of peace! . . . And it has been reported to your servant saying, 'The commander of the army, Coniah son of Elnathan, has come down in order to go into Egypt and to Hodaviah son of Ahijah and his men he has sent to obtain [supplies] from him.'" This portion could well represent the fact of Judah's turning to Egypt for help, as condemned by the prophets. (Isaiah 31:1; Jeremiah 46:25, 26) The names Elnathan and Hoshaiah, occurring in the complete text of this letter, are also found at Jeremiah 36:12 and Jeremiah 42:1. Other names appearing in the letters also occur in the book of Jeremiah: Gemariah (36:10), Neriah (32:12), and Jaazaniah (35:3). Whether in any case they represent the same individual or not cannot be said, but the coincidence in itself is notable in view of Jeremiah's being a contemporary of that period.

Of interest is the use of the Tetragrammaton in these letters, thus manifesting that at that time the Jews had no aversion to the use of the divine name. Also a clay seal impression found refers to "Gedaliah, who is over the house." Gedaliah is the name of the governor appointed over Judah by Nebuchadnezzar after Jerusalem's fall, and many consider it likely that the seal impression refers to him.-2 Kings 25:22; compare Isaiah 22:15; 36:3.

The Moabite Stone was one of the earliest discoveries of importance in the area East of the Jordan. Found in 1868 at Dhiban, North of the Arnon Valley, it presents Moabite King Mesha's version of his revolt against Israel.


In 1278 Gods name appeared in Latin in the work Pugio fidei (Dagger of Faith), by Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk. who used the spelling Yohoua. Soon after, in 1303, Porchetus de Salvaticis completed a work entitled Victoria Porcheti adversus impios Hebraeos (Porchetus' Victory Against the Ungodly Hebrews). In this he, too, mentioned God's name, spelling it variously Iohouah, Iohoua and Ihouah.

The Latin Vulgate translation of the Bible by Jerome has been influential, rendering the tetragrammaton YHWH by substituting the word Dominus, "Lord.". The new European languages, French, English and Spanish, began to emerge , but the Catholic Church discouraged the translating of the Bible, while the Jews still refused to pronounce God's name.

The Five Books of Moses, Everett Fox
The introduction to his translation: "Both old and new attempts to recover the 'correct' pronunciation of the Hebrew name [of God] have not succeeded; neither the sometimes-heard 'Jehovah' nor the standard scholarly 'Yahweh' can be conclusively proven."

The Catholic Encyclopedia [1913, Vol. VIII, p. 329] states: "Jehovah, the proper name of God in the Old Testament; hence the Jews called it the name by excellence, the great name, the only name."

The New Catholic Encyclopedia states: "JEHOVAH, false form of the divine name Yahweh. The name Jehovah first appeared in manuscripts in the 13th century A.D., but had probably been in use for some time." (Vol. 7, p. 863)

The New English Bible in a footnote to Exodus 3:15 states: "The Hebrew consonants are YHWH, probably pronounced Yahweh, but traditionally read Jehovah." no one can be certain just what the original pronunciation was, even as admitted by those who prefer "Yahweh." And further, the form "Jehovah" has a currency and familiarity that "Yahweh" does not have. "Yahweh" is obviously a transliteration, whereas "Jehovah" is a translation, and Bible names generally have been translated rather than transliterated. A transliteration usually sounds strange to the ears of those speaking the tongue into which the proper name has been transliterated.

In the modern New Jerusalem Bible, the Tetragrammaton is translated "Yahweh" because as its Editor's Foreword admits: "To say 'The Lord is God' is surely a tautology [redundancy], as to say 'Yahweh is God' is not." Why, then, do we not use that? There is another "traditional manner of translating the divine name Jehovah, although the translators take exception to the use of Jehovah, a Jesuit writer says: "It is disconcerting to see the divine name written as Jehovah, a 16th-century . . . error for Jahweh."-America, Nov. 27, 1971, p. 460.

The Revised Standard Version translators objected to the form "Jehovah," stating that "the word 'Jehovah' does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew," and that "it is almost if not quite certain that the Name was originally pronounced 'Yahweh.'" (P. vi.)

The New English Bible: The name Jehovah appears at Genesis 22:14; Exodus 3:15; 6:3; 17:15; Judges 6:24; Ezekiel 48:35.
Revised Standard Version: A footnote on Exodus 3:15 says:
  "The word LORD when spelled with capital letters, stands for the divine name, YHWH."
Today's English Version: A footnote on Exodus 6:3 states: "THE LORD: . . . Where the Hebrew text has Yahweh, traditionally transliterated as Jehovah,
  this translation employs LORD with capital letters, following a usage which is widespread in English versions."
King James Version: The name Jehovah is found at Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; 26:4. See also Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; Judges 6:24.
American Standard Version: The name Jehovah is used consistently in the Hebrew Scriptures in this translation, beginning with Genesis 2:4.
Douay Version: A footnote on Exodus 6:3 says: "My name Adonai. The name, which is in the Hebrew text, is that most proper name of God, which signifieth
  his eternal, self-existing being, (Exod. 3, 14, Ex 3:14) which the Jews out of reverence never pronounce; but, instead of it, whenever it occurs in the Bible, they read Adonai, which signifies the Lord; and, therefore, they put the points or vowels, which belong to the name Adonai, to the four letters of that other ineffable name, Jod, He, Vau, He. Hence some moderns have framed the name of Jehovah, unknown to all the ancients, whether Jews or Christians; for the true pronunciation of the name, which is in the Hebrew text, by long disuse is now quite lost."
The Holy Bible translated by  
Ronald A. Knox:  The name Yahweh is found in footnotes at Exodus 3:14 and Ex 6:3.
The New American Bible: A footnote on Exodus 3:14 favors the form "Yahweh," but the name does not appear in the main text of the
  translation. In the Saint Joseph Edition, see also the appendix Bible Dictionary under "Lord" and "Yahweh."
The Jerusalem Bible: The Tetragrammaton is translated Yahweh, starting with its first occurrence, at Genesis 2:4.
New World Translation: The name Jehovah is used in both the Hebrew and the Christian Greek Scriptures in this translation, appearing 7,210 times.
An American Translation: At Exodus 3:15 and Exodus 6:3 the name Yahweh is used, followed by "the LORD" in brackets.
The Bible in Living English, The name Jehovah is used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures. 
S. T. Byington:  
The 'Holy Scriptures' The name Jehovah appears throughout the Hebrew Scriptures, also in many footnotes on Christian Greek
translated by J. N. Darby: Scripture texts, beginning with Matthew 1:20.
The Emphatic Diaglott, The name Jehovah is found at Matthew 21:9 and in Matthew 21:17 and other places in this translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures.
Benjamin Wilson:  
The Holy Scriptures At Exodus 6:3 the Hebrew Tetragrammaton appears in the English text.
A New Translation, Jewish Publication Society of America, Max Margolis editor-in-chief: According to the Masoretic Text.  
The Holy Bible translated by The name Jehovah is found throughout the Hebrew Scriptures in this literal translation.
Robert Young:  
The Rotherham's Emphasised Bible Uses the name "Yahweh".

No doubt the scholarly debate will continue as to whether or not we should use Jehovah the name established in the English language.

Most names change to some extent when transferred from one language to another, the pronunciation is slightly different, but we freely use the form that is common in our tongue. The same is true of Bible names such as Eljah from the Hebrew Eliyahu, Jesus was born a Jew, and his name in Hebrew was perhaps pronounced Yeshua, however the inspired writers of the Christian Scriptures did not hesitate to use the Greek form of the name, Iesous.

Some translators favor Yahweh, while others have chosen the name Jehovah a form of the divine name that is adapted to their own language while still clearly identified with what appears in the Hebrew text, and well-known through use. It is disappointing that God's name has been obscured, hidden, diminished in importance, but many Bible translators have shown sincere respect for Gods name and have used it consistently in their work.