His name is Jehovah

jw“But my Pastor (or the guy who knocked at my door the other day) says that his name is Jehovah.”

יהוה

The 4 Hebrew letters above represent the sounds that make up the name of the father.

Yod-Heh-Waw-Heh. YHWH.

How does the name Jehovah come from YHWH?  This leads to several questions…
(If you don’t have time for a lot of reading, read the bottom line, at the bottom)

1) Where does the “J” come from?

When the Hebrew scriptures were translated into Greek, the letter Yod was transliterated into the Greek letter Iota.  The both make the same sound.  (ee, as in teeth)

William Tyndale was one of the first people to translate the scriptures into English.  He transliterated both the Hebrew letter Yod and the Greek letter Iota into the English letter I (as pronounced in the word maid, ee as in teeth).  Again, the same sound.

Tyndale transliterated the name of the father as Iehouah.  EE-eh-ow-ah.  J was clearly not the first letter of his name.  In fact, the 1st edtition of the King James Bible (1611), transliterated his name as Iehovah.  EE-eh-ho-vah.  Again, no J sound or letter at the beginning of his name.  Even Indiana Jones knows this!

The letter J was not used to pronounce the “dg” sound (as in edge) in English until the early 1600’s.  This sound was often written as cg or cz.  The French language began use of the letter J for the sound, and some of those French words were borrowed into English.

Hallelujah is a perfect example of the strange usage of the letter J to transliterate the Hebrew letter Yod.  HalaluwYaH is a Hebrew word.  It means Praise you Yah.  Halal = Praise, uw is added to words to make them mean you, Yah = Yod Heh (the 1st 2 letters of the father’s name).  Even when we see this name written in English as Hallelujah, we say HalleluYah!

To sum up, the English J is a poor transliteration of the Hebrew letter Yod.  Y, I (when pronounced ee as in teeth), Ee are much truer to the sound of the Hebrew letter Yod.

2) Where does the “V” come from?

The Hebrew letter Waw has changed over time.  Modern Hebrew calls this letter Vav, and pronounces it with a V sound.  Ancient Hebrew, as well as most other Semitic languages, call this letter Waw and pronounce it with a “uw” sound.

As translators, such as Tyndale, transliterated the scriptures, they used Modern Hebrew as their guide in pronunciation.  When coming to the letter Waw, Tyndale transliterated it as a V sound, fitting modern Hebrew pronunciation.

In short, the letter Waw was pronounced by ancient Hebrew and most other Semitic languages as a “uw” sound.  The V sound for the letter Waw is used only ni modern Hebrew.

3) How do they get the vowels for Jehovah from JHVH?

Around the 5th Century AD, a group of Hebrew scholars called the Masorites were afraid that spoken Hebrew would die out, so they added vowel marking to the scripture.  These nikkud  were supposedly there to help the reader pronounce the words correctly (which is strange as both ancient and modern Hebrew do not have vowel marks, yet are completely understandable).

Since roughly the 2nd century BC, pronouncing the name of the father had been banned from usage.  Only the High Priest could say it on the day of atonement, as well as witnesses in trials of blasphemy.  When reading the scriptures, the practice of replacing the name of YaHuWaH with other words had become regular.  The words used to replace his name were Adonai (my Master) and Elohim (the Mighty One), and occasionally haShem (the Name).

The Masorites used vowel markings to make sure the reader would not pronounce his name. Under the YHWH, they put the markings that correspond with either the words Elohim or Adonai, so that the reader could avoid saying the name of YaHuWaH and instead say the replacement.

The Bottom Line

Jehovah is not the name of the father.

1) J and V do NOT represent the sounds of the letters Yod and Waw.  When Moses asked who he should say sent him, it was the name spelled Yod Heh Waw Heh that would be his memorial name for all generations.  J and V are substitution letters that are incorrectly transliterated.

2) Jehovah is a mix of JHVH (which is incorrect) and the vowels of another word meant as a substitution word for the name.  It would be like fitting the vowels from the word delicious into the word hot dog, but replacing h with v and d with c.  (veit ciousg?).  It is a nonsense word.

Also Read: How do I say his Name?

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