"And God said to Moses again, You shall say this to the sons of Israel, Jehovah (YHWH) the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My title from generation to generation."
Jehovah, or Yaweh, is claimed by many to be the actual Name of God. Unfortunately, this is not entirely true; while it is representative of God's Name, it is not His actual name. Nowhere in the original manuscripts of Old Testament will you find the actual name, Jehovah, Yehovah, or Yahweh. What you will find is a grouping of four Hebrew consonants, which are equivalent to YHVH, JHVH, or YHWH in the English language. This grouping is called by Bible Scholars, "the tetragrammaton." This set of four letters was used by the Hebrew people to signify the incommunicable Name of God. Wherever it appears in the original manuscripts, it refers only to the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, in other words, the God of Israel, the Great I AM. It was considered by the Hebrew people to be representative of the sacred, holy, name of GOD. Again, it was never used to represent anyone other than, the self existent, eternal, GOD.
The Names Jehovah, Yehovah, or Yahweh are merely a pronounceable rendering of JHVH, YHVH, or YHWH, none of the renderings are the actual incommunicable name of GOD. The KJV Bible, and other versions, render JHVH, YHVH, YHWH as, LORD. As we can see, none of these are the actual true name of GOD; but we can know that where they appear in the Bible they refer only to the Self Existent, Eternal One, GOD. Also we find that a contracted form of the name of God is used in scripture and is pronounced as YAH, which gives more credence to a rendering of the tetragrammaton as Yaweh instead of Jehovah.
Some history about the tetragrammaton
There are quite a few theories concerning how YHWH became JHVH. In fact there is doubt as to how YHWH was pronounced in Moses' time. Ancient Hebrew had no written vowels, or superscript/subscript vowel markings, it was just understood by the pre-captivity Hebrew what the sound of each of the four written consonants should be. Rabbinical Scholars tell us that after the Great Captivity, it was considered to be blasphemy to speak the name YHWH. Therefore, it is clear that the original pronunciation of the tetragrammaton has been lost. My further studies have indicated that there was no letter 'J' in the ancient Hebrew, hence there was no 'J' sound, which makes JHVH and the name Jehovah pretty unlikely. Even the names Yahweh, or Yehovah, are somewhat questionable, since they are dependent upon the insertion of the vowels from adonai. About the only clear certainty is that YHWH means in Hebrew, The Eternal, Self-Existent One, who was understood to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/ The God of Israel, the Great I AM. Most scholars attribute the beginning of shift from Yahweh to Jehovah, to the beginning of the use of superscript and subscript punctuation and vowel marks in Hebrew writing, and the translation of ancient manuscripts, in the 5th & 6th centuries A.D.
Yaweh, YHVH, YHWH
The name of God
page updated 03/26/2011.