Is Jehovah the real name of God?

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YHWH is not the same as “Jehovah,” the proper pronunciation in Hebrew is unknown; it is ineffable

Around 500 BC, the Jews became very concerned with “not blaspheming” the name of the Lord. Although God’s name is spelled in English as “YHWH,” no one knows the correct way of saying His sacred name.

Rather than say “Yahweh,” the Jews say “Elohim,” which is Hebrew for “one God.” However, how do you say it when one comes across YHWH while reading the Scriptures?

YHWH pronunciation

Some rabbis noted that the letters YHWH represent two breathing sounds or aspirated consonants. When pronounced without (intervening) vowels, it sounds like breathing. YH (inhale): WH (exhale).

Like a baby’s first breath or a sigh, the breathing sound seems to speak of God’s name. Perhaps when we groan in our prayer, we are actually calling God.

The Hebrew word for breath is “Ruach”. The Greek word for breath is “pneuma”, which means “air, wind or breath.” The Hebrew word for Holy Spirit is “Ruach HaKodesh.”

YHWH, Elohim, Adonai, Yehovah to Jehovah

YHWH, JHVH, or YHVH (יהוה) or “YaHWeH” as a transliteration in English (vowels added) is God’s Hebrew name that was revealed to Moses in the book of Exodus.

When the name “YHWH” was to be read, Jews used the word “Adonay.” Adonai is a title, not a word. It literary means “My Lords” or a boy’s name.

Where did the name Jehovah come from?

In the Middle Ages, scholars began to read the consonants of “YHWH,” Yud, Hey, Vav, Hey, or Yod Heh Vav Heh. The vowel sounds are passed orally, and Hebrew scholars often do not know with absolute confidence how some Hebrew words were pronounced, such as YHWH.

By combining the consonants “YHWH” with the vowels “AOA” (from Adonai), the sound “YA, HO, WAH” or written as “Yehowah,” came to be. It is technically an attributed “vocal sound” of the Tetragrammaton that the Jews used to pronounce God’s name.

Tyndale and Luther Bibles

“Jehovah” first appeared in the William Tyndale Pentateuch English Bible in 1530. Unfortunately, his translations were condemned in England, banned, and copies burned.

In 1534, Martin Luther published his complete translation in the German language. Germans pronounce “Y” as “J” and “W” as “V,” that’s why we spell it as “Jehovah” in English. Although the Lutherbibel wasn’t the first German translation, after Gutenberg invented the printing press in Germany, this translation widely circulated and became most influential.

Germans pronounce “Y” as “J” and “W” as “V.” that’s why we spell it as “JehoVah.”

Jehovah manuscript

What is the actual name of God?

When Moses asked God’s name (Ex 3:14), He answered, “ehyeh’ ăšer’ ehyeh” (אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה) or “I will be who I will be.” There are no Hebrew words for “am, is, or are.” This is why “I am who I am” is not a correct translation but was added to make it grammatically correct. However, Jesus referred to Himself as “I AM.”

There is no way for us to know how to speak the actual name of God, written as YHWH in the Hebrew Bible (CARM). The proper name to use for God is “I AM” (Ego eimi or Ἐγώ εἰμί, literary means “I AM”). Jesus referred to himself as “I AM” seven times in the Book of John.

“Yeshua” is also the original Hebrew name of “Jesus,” which came into use sometime in the 1500s. Before that, it was the Latin translation, “Iesus.” This is why “INRI” means “Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum.”

Revelation 22:13
I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

Transliteration of the names of God

  • YHWH (יְהֹוָה)
  • Elohim (Word for God in general)
  • Adonai (Title of Lord)
  • YeHoVaH (Consonants of YHWH and vowels AOA from the word Adonai)
  • Jehovah (Latinization of Yehovah)

RELATED TOPICS:
Bible verses that say Jesus is God.
How the Bible is twisted by others.

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1 COMMENT

  1. The Germans do not pronounce Y as J. Quite the reverse. they pronounce J as Y.
    “Jehovah” is pronounced “Yehofa” in German.

    The likelihood is that, on seeing the J of Jehovah in Luther’s translation, English speakers pronounced in the English way, which gave us the J sound in the English pronunciation of Jehovah.

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