The following articles have been compiled and indexed by inWORD Bible software.
There is almost universal consensus among scholars today that the sacred Tetragrammaton (YHWH) is to be vocalized and pronounced Yahweh. Probably the name means literally “He is.” Some argue, somewhat philosophically or metaphysically, that it presents God as the eternal self-existent One — the absolute, unchanging God (the eternal I AM — Exodus 3:13-15; cf. John 8:58). To them the name connotes the underived and independent existence of God.
The Tetragrammaton: Some Observations
The articles which appeared inthe issues for April and May under the heading “The Tetragrammaton” involve some very important and controversial matters. Indeed so little is dealt with about so much. Mention is made on p. 124 that “the Hebrew verb is comparatively timeless compared with ours,” reference being given to Driver’s Hebrew Tenses as a basis for the statement. We feel, however, that the statement is quite inadequate and demands some elaboration. The Hebrew verb has no tenses, and this is the burden of Driver throughout his work.¹ Samuel Green has written, “The Hebrew verb has no tenses, the time of action, past, present or future, must in every instance be gathered from the context…. The Hebrew tense disregards time, and only looks to completed action.”² The most informative book ever written upon the matter is The Romance of the Hebrew Language by W. H. Saulez who declared, “To one who has been accustomed to read the Bible in English, it comes as a surprise, which he can hardly take in at first, that the Hebrew verb is devoid of tenses, and that ‘perfect,’ ‘present,’ ‘imperfect’ or ‘future’ are only borrowed terms from our Western Grammars and applied to the Jewish” (p. 107). “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, and utterance finds vent in a manner of speech which is absolutely distinct from rules of Western Grammar” (p. 108). Of the borrowed terms “perfect” and “imperfect,” Driver says these “are employed in their etymological meaning, as signifying ‘complete’ or ‘incomplete’; they must not be limited to the special senses they have acquired in Greek or Latin grammars.”³ Therefore the basic thought in the Hebrew verb is not time, but state. It is either complete or incomplete, done or doing. If we pay attention to this mode of narration, strange as it may be to us, many difficulties will solve themselves. The desire to bring Hebrew into some sort of line with Western modes, however, has also brought its difficulties.
The Tetragrammaton: A Special Name for the God of the Jewish People
In the Old Testament is found a special name for the God of the Jewish people, which from earliest times was spelled with four letters, and hence has been called the tetragrammaton. The pronunciation of the original name is not now known, since Hebrew writing contained only the consonants until many centuries after it had ceased to be a living language. This name, transcribed into the nearest English equivalent letters is YHWH, and a shortened form of it, which is contained in many compounds used as personal names, is also used alone, mainly in poetry, as YH.
Word Study: YHWH—"LORD"
For thousands of years Jewish people have daily prayed these words which summarize the Bible’s call for faithfulness and devotion to God. We will explore all of the key words in this prayer and what they meant in their original language and historical context.
The Spelling of the Tetragrammaton
The spelling of the Tetragrammaton and connected forms in the Masoretic Hebrew text (vowel points in red):
The tetragrammaton (from Greek Τετραγράμματον, meaning “[consisting of] four letters,”) is the Hebrew theonym יהוה, commonly transliterated into Latin letters as YHWH. It is one of the names of God used in the Hebrew Bible. The name may be derived from a verb that means “to be,” “to exist,” “to cause to become,” or “to come to pass”.
Tetragrammaton, (τέτταρα, four, and γράμμα, letter), a term to designate the sacred name of the Deity, Jehovah, in four letters, יהוה. By the possession of this name the early Jewish opponents of Christianity declared that the miracles of Christ were performed. Tile mystical word Om of the Buddhists of India and Thibet is supposed to possess similar virtues to the present day.
I Am that I Am
I Am that I Am (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה, ehyeh ašer ehyeh [ehˈje aˈʃer ehˈje]) is the common English translation (JPS among others) of the response God used in the Hebrew Bible when Moses asked for his name (Exodus 3:14). It is one of the most famous verses in the Torah. Hayah means “existed” in Hebrew; ehyeh is the first person singular imperfect form and is usually translated in English Bibles as “I am” or “I will be” (or “I shall be”), for example, at Exodus 3:14. Ehyeh asher ehyeh literally translates as “I Am Who I Am.” The ancient Hebrew of Exodus 3:14 lacks a future tense as modern English does, yet a few translations render this name as “I Will Be What I Will Be,” given the context of Yahweh promising to be with his people through their future troubles. Both the literal present tense “I Am” and the future tense “I will be” have given rise to many attendant theological and mystical implications in Jewish tradition. However, in most English Bibles, in particular the King James Version, the phrase is rendered as I am that I am.
Jehovah (/dʒᵻˈhoʊvə/ jə-HOH-və) is a Latinization of the Hebrew יְהֹוָה, one vocalization of the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH), the proper name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible.
Names of God in Judaism
The name of God used most often in the Hebrew Bible is the Tetragrammaton (Hebrew: יהוה). It is frequently anglicized as Jehovah and Yahweh and written in most English editions of the Bible as “the Lord” owing to the Jewish tradition of reading it as (“My Lords”) out of respect.
Yahweh (/ˈjɑːhweɪ/, or often /ˈjɑːweɪ/ in English; Hebrew: יהוה) is the national god of the Iron Age kingdoms of Israel (Samaria) and Judah. His origins are mysterious, although they reach back to the early Iron Age and even the Late Bronze: his name may have begun as an epithet of El, head of the Bronze Age Canaanite pantheon, but the earliest plausible mentions are in Egyptian texts that place him among the nomads of the southern Transjordan. In the oldest biblical literature he is a typical ancient Near Eastern “divine warrior” who leads the heavenly army against Israel’s enemies; he later became the main god of the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) and of Judah, and over time the royal court and temple promoted Yahweh as the god of the entire cosmos, possessing all the positive qualities previously attributed to the other gods and goddesses. By the end of the Babylonian exile (6th century BCE), the very existence of foreign gods was denied, and Yahweh was proclaimed as the creator of the cosmos and the true god of all the world.