Month 8:27, Week 4:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year 5935:227 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Tuesday 22 November 2011
Who is Jehovah?
It isn't Our Heavenly Father's Name
Readers of the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible will have come across the word 'Jehovah'. It appears four times:
Even the Book of Mormon uses this word - twice - at 2 Nephi 22:2 and Moroni 10:34. However, that is no mystery, since its writer, Joseph Smith, copied the word directly from his copy of the KJV, which is the only one there was at that time. But where did the KJV get it from?
"And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH (Heb. 'YHWH') was I not known to them" (Ex.6:3, KJV).
"That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH (Heb. 'YHWH'), art the most high over all the earth" (Ps.83:18, KJV).
"Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH (Heb. 'Yah YHWH') is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation" (Isa.12:2, KJV).
"Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH (Heb. 'Yah YHWH') is everlasting strength" (Isa.26:4, KJV).
Not from the original Hebrew, at any rate. In all four references the KJV translators rendered the Hebrew word YHWH. In the hundreds of other scriptures were YHWH is used they referred to Him simply as 'LORD'...even though in the two Isaiah passages cited they rendered 'Yah' as 'LORD' and in hundreds of other passages translated 'Elohim' as 'God'. Not only that, where the Hebrew 'Adonai' appears (which really does mean 'Lord') hundreds of other times, they translate this as 'LORD' too.
||LORD or GOD|
||Mighty One(s) = God
So why did the KJV translators insert the word 'Jehovah' into today's four verses when the word is nowhere to be found in the Hebrew text? Who can say. They were pretty arbitrary in their translation of both the Divine Name as well as His titles too.
We do know where the word 'Jehovah' came from, though, and who invented it.
By the time of the end of the Jewish exile in Babylon, during which time many pagan notions had crept into the original faith to contaminate and corrupt it, a superstition had arisen that the Divine Name YHWH (which is unpointed in the Hebrew) was too sacred even to pronounce. So the rabbis took the word 'Adonis' (a loan word from Greek that originally referred to the pagan deity 'Adonis'), removed its vowels, and added them to the consonants of the Tetragrammaton, YHWH, giving the bastard word 'Yehovah' which has the unfortunate meaning, when translated literally, of 'Yah is Perverse'. The word is first attested by the 12th century AD by which time it had lost its 'Y' and had it replaced by the French 'J'.
Though Messianics dispute (sometimes with great passion) the actual pronunciation of YHWH (claiming it is, variously, Yahowah, Yehweh, Yehowah, Yahuwah, etc.), most scholars agree that it was originally pronounced YAHWEH, or to be even more accurate, YAHuWEH (with the 'u' virtually silent). We know this because we have our own equivalent of the Rosetta Stone which enabled scholars to decode ancient Egyptian because of a text which included a Greek translation, namely, Clement of Alexandria who rendered YHWH as iaoue and Theodoret who rendered it iabe...by this time the Greek 'b' had the pronunciation of 'v', making the word iave. Interestingly, similar changes had taken place in Hebrew, the letter 'w' (waw) sounding like 'v' (vav), and the letter 'b' (bet) sounding like a 'v' (vav) as well. Thus 'Avraham' and 'Dawid' mutated over time into 'Abraham' and 'David'. This is why Yahweh in classical (biblical) Hebrew is rendered in modern Hebrew as 'Yahveh', the letter waw even being renamed vav.
The Name Yahweh is connected with the Hebrew hayd meaning 'to be', or rather, a variant and earlier form of the root, hawa. That is why 'Yahweh' is sometimes rendered 'I AM', meaning that he is Self-Existent.
Strictly speaking, Yahweh is the only 'name' of Elohim (God). In Genesis, wherever the word shem ('name') is associated with the Divne Being, that Name is Yahweh. When Avraham (Abraham) or Yitschak (Isaac) built an altar 'he called on the Name of Yahweh' (Gen.12:8; 13:4; 26:25). This Name is personal, presenting Elohim (God) as a Person, not a mere force, and so brings Him into relationship with other, human, personalities. It beings Elohim (God) near to man, and He speaks to the Patriarchs in particular as one friend to another.
A study of the word shem ('name') in the Tanakh (Old Testament) reveals how much it means in Hebrew. The name is no mere label, but is significant of the real personality of character of him to whom it belongs. It may derive from the circumstances of his birth (Gen.5:29) or reflect his character (Gen.27:36), and when a person puts his 'name' upon a thing or another person the latter comes under his influence and protection.
The word 'Jehovah' (or 'Yehovah') is not only a non-name invented by men but an insult to the Creator, blaspheming His character. Modern translations of the Bible rightly drop it from the four passages where it is used, without any sort of warranty, in the KJV. Almost no orthodox Christian Bibles use the true name, with the exception of the Catholic Jerusalem Bible, but even that Catholic version has been ordered by the Vatican to remove it so as not to 'offend the Jews'. Today very few versions use it, and then mostly Messianic.
The Name of the Most High is so important that we are commanded to call upon it everywhere in Scripture, not on 'Lord' or 'God', and certainly not on 'Jehovah'. Indeed, the word 'Adonai' as a pretended name of Yahweh was, in most cases, substituited by the Jewish Masoretes in place of YHWH, who mutilated the text that forms the basis of most of our translations of the Tanakh (Old Testament) into English.
The 'Jehovah's Witnesses', of course, use 'Jehovah' liberally throughout their so-called New World 'Translation', but they are the only ones to do so, as far as I know. For people calling themselves 'The Truth' it is astounding (and yet not) that they should get the name of the God they worship so completely wrong...or did they actually get the name of their god right? The Mormons...well, they have no clue at all, believing that Yahweh's Name is 'Elohim' (it's a title, in fact) and that the name of their 'Jesus' is 'Jehovah'. How wrong can you get it!
Yahweh (or Yahuweh) is the only True Name of our Father in Heaven. Sophisticated arguments are advanced by people in the messianic community for variations of this but they all sound so alike it is not worth quarrelling over. One thing you can be 100% certain of, though, is that the Creator's Name is not 'Jehovah' and the KJV translators just got it plain wrong.
It's best left with the Jehovah's Witnesses whose god the name definitely belongs to.