National Name of Israel's God




Messiah's True Hebrew Name



Pagan Proofs of the Divine Name



Four Facts About the Sacred Name



A Set-Apart Name and
a Set-Apart Community:


The Scriptures tell us that the Divine Name of Elohim is important! Isaiah 29:22-24 says, "Therefore thus said יהוה, who ransomed Abraham, concerning the house of Ya'aqob, Ya'aqob is no longer put to shame, no longer does his face grow pale. For when he sees his children, the work of My hands, in his midst, they shall set apart My Name, and set apart the Set-apart One of Ya'aqob, and fear the Elohim of Yisra'ĕl. And those who went astray in spirit shall come to understanding, and the grumblers accept instruction."

The theme of being "set apart" or "sanctified" is doubled. Not only is Elohim's Name to be separated from the names of the world's gods, but there would be a "set apart" community that would follow both His Name and His Teachings. The Keil & Delitzsch Commentary interprets thus: "Just as Abraham was separated from the human race that was sunk in heathenism, to become the ancestor of a nation of Jehovah, so would a remnant be separated from the great mass of Israel that was sunk in apostasy from Jehovah; and this remnant would be the foundation of a holy community well pleasing to God."

Accepting the "set apart" distinctive Divine Name is an emblematic marker of a person who is separated or "set apart" from the world and following the ways of Elohim. Are you part of that "remnant," that "holy community well pleasing to YHVH"?


The Set-Apart Flock Will Know That "I AM YHVH"


Ezekiel recorded, "And I shall set apart My great Name... And I shall sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean – from all your filthiness and from all your idols I cleanse you. And I shall give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. And I shall take the heart of stone out of your flesh, and I shall give you a heart of flesh, and put My Spirit within you. And I shall cause you to walk in My laws and guard My right-rulings and shall do them... And you shall be My people, and I shall be your Elohim. (Ezekiel 36:23, 25, 26, 27, 28; The Scriptures)

Notice above that the setting apart of His Name is linked with our Spiritual cleansing from paganism, sin and idols. It is also linked to a new heart and walking in His ways. It is no accident that many of those who reject His Name also reject the continuing validity of His laws. It is no accident that many of those who reject His Name have debased grace into a license to sin. To own His Name is to model Him in your own life.

"As a set-apart flock...they shall know that I am יהוה." (Ezekiel 36:38)

The Whole World Shall Know His Name


"And I shall exalt Myself and set Myself apart, and I shall be known in the eyes of many nations. And they shall know that I am יהוה." ' (Ezekiel 38:23, The Scriptures)

The Divine Name According To Scholarly Research


Additional Published Research Concerning The Sacred Name


There is no question that the Name of God is important, but what is that Name? Much confusion persists on this in the minds of most Christians. Hebrew scholars seem to agree that the Sacred Name was originally "Yahuah" or "Yahu" in shortened form. This is also seen in the names of kings and prophets in Hebrew pre-exilic history. Below are a few examples of scholarly comments on this:


YAHU
"The earliest form of the [Divine] Name was doubtless Yahu." (Dr. James A. Montgomery, Univ. of Pennsylvania, "The Hebrew Divine Name," in Journal of Biblical Literature 63, p.162)

YAHUEH
"The ostraca from Samaria and the earlier seals from the 9th and 8th centuries write consistently YAU (for the older YAHU)…[There was a] religious revival of Yahwism in the period of Hezekiah and Josiah, which insisted on the use of the full form of the name YAHUEH…To strict Yahwists, the pronunciations YAHU, YAU and YO were associated with religious laxity and worship of the God of Israel under heathen forms. [Jews of Elaphantine still used YAHU, the] distinctily pre-Deuternomic attitude of colonists in Upper Egypt." –Dr. W.F. Albright, "Further Observations On The Name Yahweh," Journal of Biblical Literature 44, p.159


The scholarly ten-volume work, "Commentary On The Old Testament," by C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, transliterates the original Hebrew Name of God as "Yehovah" (see for examples x:304, x:320, etc.), and not as the later popular form, Yahweh. The letter "J" was, however, a late development, later than the 1611 King James Bible! Since European languages (except English) pronounce the letter "J" as a "Y", this is identical to the word, "Jehovah." Also, the letter "V" was a development from the letter "U" by Roman-era stonecutters who worked in straight lines rather than curves; the "V" then later developed into a separate letter. It can be seen, therefore, that "Jehovah" was a late form of "Yahuah".

YA-HUVA
"The original pronunciation is uncertain…If however—as seems probable—the Arabic Huwa is the original Semitic form…the original cry would be YA-HUVA, which, ironically enough bears a close resemblance to the hybrid form Jehovah. This, Mowinkel argues, could have developed into both Yahu and Yahveh." –Dr. Raymond Abba, University College of Swansea (U.K.), "The Divine Name," Journal of Biblical Literature 80, p.320-321.

YA-U-A
"The element Ya-u, as the first element of a proper name, appears in Ya-u-ha-zi, the Assyrian equivalent of the Hebrew Jeho'ahaz, i.e., the Judean king 'Ahaz, in an inscription of Tiglath-pileser IV (cf. Rost, Tiglath-pileser, p.72). The form Ya-u-a occurs as the representation of the name of the Israelite King Jehu, in the inscriptions of Shalmaneser III (cf. KB.i, p.140, p.150). The shortening of Ya-u into Ya as the first element of a proper name is seen in Ya-ma-e-ra-ah."–"Book of Judges," Dr. C.F. Burney, Ktav Pub., NY 1970, p.245.
Comment: Shalmaneser's "Black Obelisk" is a six foot high black basalt monument from the Assyrian city of Calah, now on display in the British Museum, and depicts Israelite King Jehu (Hebrew: Yahuah or Ya-u-a, see above) bowing before the Assyrian king. Israelite king Jehu/Yahuah was named after the name of his God, showing the actual proper pronunciation of the Hebrew Divine Name in Biblical times.

THE SACRED NAME WAS NOT "YAHWEH":
"The writing YHWH found in the Moabite stone, so far from favoring a pronunciation 'YAHWEH', seems definitely to preclude it." –Dr. Luckinbill, quoted by Dr. W.F. Albright, "Further Observations On The Name Yahweh," Journal of Biblical Literature 44, p.161

Article titled, “The Name Of God”
Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 90-1 (1999), p. 212

“Except for appearances in the proper names of people, the name Yahu all but disappeared from Israelite consciousness; replaced by a never-pronounced YHWH, a visual reminder of the one and only God’s essence.”

Replacing YHVH With Common "Euphemisms"

Selection from the book: “The Old Is Better: New Testament Essays” by Robert Horton Gundry, (2005) p.105: “...Bock deduces that y. Sanh. 7.25a-b (Neusner 7.8-9) suggests that many [rabbis] made the argument that a euphemism [a substitute for the tetragrammaton] left one liable [to the death penalty], just as blaspheming with the Name did.” (ref: Bock, “Blasphemy And Exaltation,” pp. 69-70).

The Correct Pronunciation of the Sacred Name YHVH:

A quotation and related footnotes from the book, “The Consequences of the Covenant,” Supplement to Novum Testamentum, Vol. 20, by George Wesley Buchanan, 1970; appendix chapter, “The Pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton,” pages 316-317:
“Most scholars think the correct pronunciation is Yahweh... Clement of Alexandria, however, spelled the Tetragrammaton ‘Iaoue, ‘Iaouai, and ‘Iao. In early Aramaic papyri, the divine Name was spelled yao, which Cowley pointed ya’u, but which might also be pointed yaho. Later magical papyri found in Egypt, often spelled the name Iao... In a Leviticus LXX fragment from cave 4, the Tetragrammaton was used and spelled IAO, with majuscule letters, whereas the rest of the text was spelled in minuscules. In other LXX fragments, the Name was spelled out in square Hebrew letters, even though the rest of the text was Greek. From the names of O[ld] T[estament] personages, whose names contained the divine Name, the pronunciation would also be IAO. For instance, Jonathan’s name was Yaho-nathan, ‘Yaho has given’. The name John was Yaho-chanan, ‘Yaho has been kind’. Elijah’s name was Eli-Yahu, ‘my God is Yahu’. The Masoretic text used the vocalizations hu and hi for words that, according to Arabic or Hebrew of the Dead Sea texts, were followed with an ah sound, like hia... The Masoretes, themselves, may have pronounced these final ah sounds, even though they did not write the consonants needed in Dead Sea Scroll Hebrew to indicate the final vowel. As in Arabic, they may have pronounced vowels after the final consonants. Therefore, it seems likely that the divine Name was pronounced Iaoah or Iauah, whenever it was correctly pronounced.”

Note: G.F. Moore, Judaism (Cambridge 1932), 426-427. His reference was to Quaest xv in Exodus. The only Samaritan vocalized reference is Yahwah. Depending on the dialect, this might support the pronunciation, Yahweh, if the break were abrupt. If it were more like Yahewah, it could be a variant for Yahuwah or Yahowah. See J.A. Montgomery, ‘Notes from the Samaritan,’ Journal of Biblical Literature 25 [1906], 49-51.

Note: “S. Mowinckel, ‘The Name of the God of Moses’, Hebrew Union College Annual 32 (1961), 121-133, held that the divine Name originally was “He.” In invocation, it became ‘Oh He!’ He held that the correct pronunciation would be Ya-huwa (p. 133). The addition of Ya in direct address seems likely. This is regularly done in Arabic. See also Pesikta de R. Kaljana 16:11; E.C.B. MacLaurin, "YHWH, the Origin of the Tetragrammaton," Vetus Testamentum 12 (1962), pp. 429-463; A.L. Williams, "The Tetragrammaton-Yahweh, Name or Surrogate?" ZAW 54 (1936), 262-269; and L. Abrahams, Op. cit. 11, 174-176.”

Judith Olszowy-Schlanger, "A Christian Tradition of Hebrew Vocalization in Medieval England," p.127, in "Semitic Studies In Honor Of Edward Ullendorff," speaking of Roger Bacon's thirteenth century Hebrew grammatical notes, tells us:
            "Following a list of the Hebrew consonants and their Latin equivalents, the author describes as vowels the following six letters: aleph, heh, waw, heth, yodh, and 'ayin, which include both matres lectionis and gutteral consonants. He explains that waw can only sound like Latin [o] or [u] and yodh as [i], four of these 'vowels', i.e. aleph, heh, heth, and 'ayin, can sound like any of the Latin vowels."
            Applied to the Sacred Name, we have:
            YHWH = ihoh (Yahoah) or ihuh (Yahuah)
            YHW = iaio or iahu (Yao or Druidic "iao")

"That is to say, there never existed a set of vowels designed to accompany any of the pronounced consonants whose letters, vocalic or consonantal, were Y-H-W-H." -Herbert Chanan Brichto, "The Names of God: Poetic Readings in Biblical Beginnings," Oxford University Press, 1998, p.438. [Quite a statement by this Hebrew language scholar! The word "Yahweh" is not the correct form of the Sacred Name, despite its modern popularity with many in the Sacred Name Movement.]

"Israel is 'a pre-Yahwistic entity' or else it should have the name 'IsraYah'." -R.W.L. Moberly, "The Old Testament of the Old Testament", Fortress Press, MN, 1992, p.197 [Note the importance of what Dr. Moberly says here. The term "Yahweh" did not originate in early Hebrew history or the formation of Israel, but was actually adopted at a relatively late period that scholars date to the post-exilic era.]

Regarding the Hebrew letters YHVH (yod, hay, vav, hay): "The [hay] could originally have represented 'ahu..." -Raymond DeHoop, "Genesis 49 In Its Literary and Historical Context," Brill, 1999, p.57. [Note: This would mean that the early original pronunciation of the Sacred Name was Yahuah(u), and not Yahweh!]

Although ancient Hebrew did not have vowels to aid in pronunciation, we do know the following: Judah was spelled yh-w-d (i.e. Yahud) in Aramaic, and Ia-a-hu-du (yahudu) in Akkadian. -Per Raymond DeHoop, "Genesis 49 In Its Literary and Historical Context," Brill, 1999, p.120. [Note that dropping the last consonant gives the pronunciation of the Divine Name.]

Three times as many "Saulides" (family members of King Saul of Israel) had names formed with "Baal" rather than "Yahu-" There was "political expediency in thus favoring Baalism, which was much more strongly entrenched in the north [House of Israel] than in the south [House of Judah]." -William Foxwell Albright, "The Biblical Period," Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1952, p.24

"Clearly, the reader of biblical texts must be careful always to set aside his assumptions about and knowledge of Modern Hebrew when he attemps to understand the language of the Bible. Indeed, a comparison of the syntactical status of ...Biblical and Modern Hebrew reveals that a significant change has taken place." -Scripta Hierosolymitana, "Biblical Hebrew," by S. Kogut, p.139

 

More Interesting Sacred Name Information To Be Added In The Future!

The information in this study should be read in conjunction with our separate study, "What is His Name and what is His Son's Name," found on the articles page.

 

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