God? What’s in a Name?

God’s Name

Moses and the Burning  by Bush Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848-1933

Moses and the Burning
by Bush Louis Comfort Tiffany 1848-1933

If you have only read the English Bible you may not realize that God has a name.  One reason for this lapse in knowledge is because early translators continued a Jewish superstition of not pronouncing God’s personal name.  They would cite the third commandment as the source of this tradition. When reading in the Hebrew text, instead of pronouncing the name of God, Jewish readers will substitute God’s name with the title Adoni which means lord.   English translators have continued in this tradition by substituting God’s name with “the LORD” in all capitals so that the scholars will know that God’s name was used in the Hebrew.  Sometimes when lord and the personal name of God are together in the text they will translate using the word “GOD” all capitals. God’s personal name in the Hebrew is YHWH.  No one is quite sure what the vowels points should be.  It is usually transliterated as Yahweh.

FYI: Because of this superstition the Jews put the vowel points for lord under God’s personal name; this to remind them to say Adona when reading.  When Galatinus (1520) saw this word he did not know that the points were wrong so he transliterated the God’s personal name to Jehovah.

In short the transliteration of God’s personal name to Jehovah is the result of a mistake on the part of translators and the transliteration to Yahweh is just a best guess. The question you have to ask yourself is…. Does God really care?

“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.” Ex 20:7

Does this really sound like He is concerned with what you call Him?   Or maybe He is concerned with the manner in which you are calling upon Him.  Are you calling yourself a follower of God so that people will look on you with favor but in darkness and hiding you are full of sin?   Are you invoking the name of God when you make promises or vows such as in the marriage ceremony but cheating when no one is looking? God is concerned more with what is in your heart than whether or not you pronounce His name with just the right intonation and articulation.

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7 thoughts on “God? What’s in a Name?

  1. Pingback: JEHOVAH-JIREH | From the Congregation of Biet Sepher

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