Jehovah or Yahweh

Since mainstream Judaism believed that the divine name of God was too sacred to be uttered, and Hebrew contained consonants but no vowels, the exact pronunciation of YHWH has been lost. However, there is consensus by scholars that God’s name was rendered as Yahuweh or Yahweh.

“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.”” New International Version: The Making of a Contemporary Translation CHAPTER 9: YHWH Sabaoth: “The Lord Almighty” Kenneth L. Barker

Jews recognise the divine name in modern times as Yahweh, with the Jewish Encyclopedia, published between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls, including Yahweh when translating into English.

The first letter was Y as the letter J did not exist in the Hebrew language. The Encyclopedia Americana contains the following on the J:

“The form of J was unknown in any alphabet until the 14th century. Either symbol (J,I) used initially generally had the consonantal sound of Y as in year.”

The first half of the Tetragrammaton is commonly used as an abbreviation for God’s name in the shorten form Yah. The New World Translation reference Bible states;

“Yah is the first half of the Tetragrammaton” Footnote to Psalm 68:4

The word Hallelujah (“Praise Yah”) shows that YH was pronounced as Yah. Likewise with the names Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah, all ending in Yah. On the other hand, Jehosaphat begins with the incorrect “Jeho” in place of Yah, thus carrying the same inaccuracy as Jehovah.

The pronunciation of the name of God has been preserved in a number of other languages that do contain vowels. Egyptian hieroglyphics contain written vowels. In Budge’s An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, page fifteen shows that the shortened form of YHWH was transliterated as “IA” or “YA”, supporting that God’s name begins with the sound Yah. In Jesus time the Greek transliteration of the divine name was Iaoue or Iabe.

The origin of the word Jehovah shows why it is incorrect. In an unfortunate stroke of the pen the Watchtower Society chose to adopt the rendition of YHWH that has least resemblance to the original name and incorporates the very reason the exact pronunciation is unknown.

In order to preserve the pronunciation of the Hebrew language, the Masoretes created a system for introducing vowels into the Hebrew language during the ninth century A.D. However, when it came to YHWH, rather than putting the correct vowel signs, they put vowel signs for Adonai (Lord) or Elohim (God), in order to remind the reader to use the word Lord or God instead of the name of God. It is generally accepted, as proposed by the 19th-century Hebrew scholar Gesenius, that mixing the vowels for Lord and God and consonants of Yahweh led to the manufacture of the hybrid word Jehovah.

“The form Jehovah is of late medieval origin; it is a combination of the consonants of the Divine Name and the vowels attached to it by the Masoretes but belonging to an entirely different word. The sound of Y is represented by J and the sound of W by V, as in Latin. The word “Jehovah” does not accurately represent any form of the Name ever used in Hebrew.” Revised Standard Version pp.6-7

The first time the Tetragrammaton appeared in an English Bible was on the title page of William Tyndale’s Bible translation of 1525, where it was written as Iehouah. The King James Version also originally used Iehouah, but changed the spelling to Jehovah for the 1762-1769 edition.

Combining YHWH with Adonai is referred to as interlacing, fusing or superimposing. It is neither accurate or respectful. The illogical fusion of the sacred Name with the vowel points of another name is shown in the preface to The J.B. Rotherham Emphasized Bible:

“To give the name JHVH the vowels of the word for Lord [Heb. Adonai], is about as hybrid a combination as it would be to spell the name Germany with the vowels in the name Portugal – viz., Gormuna. The monstrous combination Jehovah is not older than about 1520 A.D.”

The Watchtower argues that Jehovah is acceptable as it is a translation.

“”Yahweh” is obviously a transliteration, whereas “Jehovah” is a translation, and Bible names generally have been translated rather than transliterated.” Awake! 1973 Mar 22 p.27

As already seen, this is inaccurate, as Jehovah is also a transliteration, but of two separate words. By combining the consonants from YHWH with the vowels from Adonai or possibly Elohim the word Jehovah incorporates the very reason the original pronunciation was lost.

Advocates of the word Jehovah argue that it does not matter whether the word is accurate or not, what is important is that God is distinguished by a personal name. The Divine Name Brochure p.10, by the Watchtower Society states:

“Even though the modern pronunciation Jehovah might not be exactly the way it was pronounced originally, this in no way detracts from the importance of the name. While many translators favor the pronunciation Yahweh, the New World Translation and also a number of other translations continue the use of the form Jehovah because of people’s familiarity with it for centuries.”

When translating between languages the pronunciation of names change and so it may not be essential that in English the divine name is pronounced as God originally spoke it to Moses. However, it is ironic that the word Jehovah mixes God’s name with the very superstition that caused it to stop being used in the first place. Every time the word Jehovah is pronounced it is a reminder of this very superstition

Jehovah’s Witnesses claim Hebrew was the first language as given to Adam and Eve and that it will possibly be the language spoken in the New System. (g71 2/22 p.10) The Watchtower Society prides itself on possessing the pure language, on being the only religion to teach truth.

“Through the Theocratic organization of his anointed witnesses he has been clearing up the Bible truth more and more and thus purifying their speech. So now they talk and live in harmony with the language of the approaching new world. And here, in this year of 1950, his providence brings forth this New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures as a further purification of the speech of his people. He has graciously provided it as a further powerful means for turning to the peoples a “pure language”.” Watchtower 1950 Sep 15 p.320

One might assume then that the Watchtower would prefer to use the accurate version of God’s name, rather than the superstitious rendition. The word Jehovah is not an accurate form of the divine name. It can be argued that it is the common pronunciation in English and it is not important to use the name in its correct version. It is strange though that the version chosen actually incorporates the very reason that the divine name stopped being used in the first place.

12 thoughts on “Jehovah or Yahweh

  1. Wow, awesome blog layout! How lengthy have you been running a blog for? you make running a blog look easy. The total glance of your site is great, as smartly as the content material!

    • Thank you. The site has been around for a while, but I just relaunched it built with WordPress, which I have been very impressed with.

      • I and others have found that when we make a red-hot point, in comes a psoren (sometimes two) who use the old Theocratic Warfare tactic of spin-him-around-and-make-him-dizzy. Argue, argue, argue and driving him to distraction is the ploy.But in fact the passport copies that Marvin has present speak for themselves. “Fourheavens” has presented nothing that contradicts their realities. I would recommend that instead of the items being confined to just here, you (Marvin) consider encouraging others to feel free to also post copies.It’s obvious Watchtower is shrieking about these, so put them out there to where even more JWs and former JWs can find them. Who knows, but that copies might start showing up at conventions, assemblies and local kingdom halls or come through the mail to homes.The more the griping about them, the more you know you’ve got a sure-fired hit. Take the ball and run with it. Trust not just what I say, but what your own brain tells you. This is great. Use it even more, and come up with more of the same.

    • Knorr didn’t *really* pledge acnlgiaele to the United States! You should know that as well as I do. You know, as well as I do, that Knorr was never a patriotic person. Knorr signed the piece of paper so that he could leave the country in order to tend to his duty, as President of the Watchtower Society. It was either do that or sneak out of the country somehow, and then sneak back in when he returned. The Bible supplies examples of God’s faithful servants in the past making use of a similar strategy. Unfortunately, the children who endured hardships for refusing to pledge acnlgiaele to the flag had only one choice, as there was no strategy of any kind available to them. So they had to weather the storm, both them and their parents. In a similar way, neither did those in Malawi have a choice, because Banda and his cohorts had made an ISSUE out of it. And it was an issue comparable to those who faced being thrown into the fire unless they bowed down to the image that the King of Babylon set up. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Banda wanted everyone in their jurisdiction to see them as the supreme authority. Neither one of them got their wish. Did Knorr’s signing that passport document mean that he compromised and conceded that the United States government was the supreme authority? Of course not!Fourheavens (aka Friday)

      • What you are saying is completely unreasonable. The brothers that died in Malawi had as much choice as the Knorr. The difference was Knorr broke his standards because he did not want to be inconvenienced, yet demanded those in Malawi not break the same standards even at the risk of death. This is one of the most disgusting pieces of Watchtower history and I cannot believe you are standing up for it.

    • Mark Smith,For the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses this is a very iartpomnt topic, and your contribution by discussion is most appreciated. Though the Watchtower organization keeps statistics on a vast array or items, Watchtower has provided no mechanism to learn and publish whatever is the consensus among Jehovah’s Witnesses on this topic. This is the case with every doctrine taught by Watchtower. For example, in 1944 when Watchtower first taught that it was wrong to accept a transfusion of blood, Watchtower did not arrive at the teaching based on a consensus of belief expressed by the community of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Rather, Watchtower’s top leadership decided the teaching was correct, and that was that. Afterward Watchtower simply told the world that the belief was held by Jehovah’s Witnesses whether it was or not. Your experience and observation of showing this material to a Witness is precisely the typical reaction. It is a very rare person in the Witness community who has knowledge that Watchtower’s top leadership were all pledging the national oath of allegiance to the United States of America. Thanks for sharing your views. It takes discussion to learn what folks think, and to test the veracity of information and conclusions. Marvin Shilmer

  2. You really make it appear so easy with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I’d never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely wide for me. I’m looking forward in your next put up, I will try to get the grasp of it!

    • That reason you find it so hard to understand is that if you really look closely.. it does NOT make sense!
      If you substitute the vowels of Adonay[ANA] into YHWH; you get YA-howah ; Not Yehowah.

      See what a Real Hebrew Scholar Nehemia Gordon says about missing vowels of YHWH.

      And about the Aleppo Codex. The manuscript known as the Keter or “crown” of Aleppo is the oldest existant manuscript known to us of the complete Hebrew bible.

  3. before, it seems that some people aren’t sieasfitd unless they are making trouble for those who are trying their best to serve God. That would be YOU, and those who applaud what you’ve done here.It is also quite obvious that you have a problem with those who truly do serve God PROTECTING THEMSELVES.As for your rebuttal concerning Abraham and Issac having deceived certain ones, you are all too predictable. So you would say that since Abraham and Issac weren’t asked to sign an “oath” that it makes a lot of difference, huh? That is truly funny! LOLTo answer your question: Yes, I am aware of just about everything the Watchtower teaches, and I find no fault with Knorr signing his name to that document.Now perhaps you might wish to answer a few questions that I have: 1) Why do you allow this to bother you so much? 2) Why is it that you hate the Watchtower Society so much? 3) What makes you so determined to cause trouble for those who are trying their level best to serve their Creator while living amidst governments that all came into existence as a consequence of Adam’s disobedience?Fourheavens (aka Friday)

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