Sunday, July 29, 2007

Jehovah or Yahwey (YHWH)

Posted for a Friend

This is from a book by William & Joan Cetnar,

they are ex-Jehovah's Witnesses

The name, “Jehovah,” comes from the mixing of two words. Charles was correct when he stated that Hebrew used no vowels, or nothing that could be translated into such in the Greek or English.

God’s name in the Hebrew was YHWH, but the Jews took the passage of taking God’s name in vain as applying to even just mentioning His name. So, in public readings, the Jews would use such words as ADONAI (or adhonay). As translations of the scriptures became common, the merging of the two words (YHWH and adonai) became warranted to allow vowels into the word.

Therefore, the letters a – o – a were taken from adonai and added to YHWH. The result for the English version of God’s name? Yahovah, or Jehovah. Now, the Jehovah Witness would say that Jehovah is the most correct form of God’s name. Unfortunately for them, it is a crude mixture of two.

By the way, what does YHWH mean? It is part of the root verb which means, “to be.” Remember Exodus 3:14 where God said I AM? This is also from the root verb “to be.” God is basically saying that He is eternal, beyond the time-space dimension in other words.

Back on track. Let’s see what some resources say about the name Jehovah:

  1. Jehovah – “False reading of Hebrew YAHWEH.” Webster’s College Dictionary

  1. Jehovah – “Intended as a transition of Hebrew YAHWEH, the vowel points of Hebrew ADHONAY (my lord) being erroneously substituted for those of YAHWEH; from the fact that in some Hebrew manuscripts the vowel points of ADHONAY (used as a euphemism for YAHWEH) were written under the consonants YHWH of YAHWEH to indicate that ADHONAY was to be substituted in oral reading of YAHWEH. Jehovah is a Christian transliteration of the tetragrammaton long assumed by many Christians [not this one] to be the authentic reproduction of the Hebrew sacred name for God but now recognized to be a late hybrid form never used by6 the Jews.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

  1. Jehovah – “is an erroneous form of the name of the God of Israel.” Encyclopedia Americana

  1. Jehovah – “the pronunciation ‘Jehovah’ is an error resulting among Christians from combining the consonants YHWH with the vowels of ADHONAY.” Encyclopedia Britannica

  1. Jehovah – “false form of the divine name YAHWEH” New Catholic Encyclopedia

  1. Jehovah – “is a mispronunciation of the Hebrew YHWH the name of God. This pronunciation is grammatically impossible. The form ‘Jehovah’ is a philological impossibility” The Jewish Encyclopedia

  1. Jehovah – “an erroneous pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton, or four-lettered name of God made up of the Hebrew letters Yod He Vav He. The word ‘Jehovah’ therefore is a misreading for which there is no warrant and which makes no sense in hebrew” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

  1. Jehovah – “is an erroneous form of the divine name of the covenant God of IsraelThe New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia

  1. Jehovah – “is an artificial form” The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible

  1. Jehovah – “the vowels of one word with the consonants of the other were misread as ‘Jehovah’” Encyclopedia International

  1. Jehovah – “is an inaccurate reconstruction of the name of God in the old testament” Merits Student Encyclopedia

  1. Jehovah – “When Christian scholars of Europe first began to study Hebrew, they did not understand what this really meant, and they introduced the hybrid name ‘Jehovah’… The true pronunciation of the name YHWH was never lost. Several early Greek writers of the Christian church testify that the name was pronounced ‘YAHWEH.’ This is confirmed, at least for the vowel of the first syllable of the name, by the shorter form Yah, which is sometimes used in poetry (e.g. Exodus 15:2)… The personal name of God of Israel is written in the Hebrew Bible with the four consonants YHWH and is referred to as the ‘Tetragrammaton.’ At least until the destruction of the First Temple in 586 B.C.E. this name was regularly pronounced with its proper vowels, as is clear from the Lachish Letters, written shortly before that date.” Encyclopedia Judaica

  1. Jehovah – “a supreme deity recognized and the only deity worshiped by Jehovah's Witnesses.” Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

On page 195 of the Jehovah Witness book, Reasoning from the Scriptures, it reads that the original form was lost, and that no one actually knows the correct pronunciation of the name Yahweh. As usual, misinformation and misrepresentation. But if page 195 in this book by the Watchtower disagrees with all the available evidence, the Jehovah Witness will clasp to the Watchtower’s understanding of truth.

Quickly I will note in this postscript that I do not believe that we must call God just by the name Yahweh. God has many different names in the Bible and throughout Jewish and Christian history. The point is is that we call on him! Whether its by the name "Counselor," "Creator," "Shepherd," "Judge," "Rock," whatever it is, as long as we are calling on Him with a healthy understanding of whom we are calling upon.

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