Jehovah or Yehovah vs. Yahweh

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Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate

Jehovah or Yehovah vs. Yahweh


One of the wonderful things about our confessions is that we may take refuge in them in matters of controversy, and though we may be assailed for our views on certain topics – here I am referring to textual matters – if the confessions support us detractors will be found assailing them and not us, whatever they may say.

J. Gresham Machen coined a phrase he used in many applications – the necessity of Christian education to replace soul-killing scientific instruction, contra euthanasia, and contra political oppression – that phrase being, “the tyranny of experts”, and his refusal to be subject to such. I have found it useful myself on occasion as I refuse to be under bondage to “the tyranny of experts” of sorts who assert their views must be accepted as sound scholarship, and who proceed according to presuppositions and methodologies I do not subscribe to. I may consider their work and use their findings if I so choose, and I may not.

While supposed “experts” differ among themselves theologically or textually, the confessions are a safe shelter from such disputations, at least among those Reformed who honor them.

What I am referring to at the moment is the use of the divine name יהוה (YHWH), called the Tetragrammaton, and how it is to be pronounced.

In the Westminster Standards, the Larger Catechism at Q&A 101 we have this:

WLC 101 What is the preface to the ten commandments?

A. The preface to the ten commandments is contained in these words, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.1 Wherein God manifesteth his sovereignty, as being Jehovah, the eternal, immutable, and almighty God;2 having his being in and of himself,3 and giving being to all his words4 and works:5 and that he is a God in covenant, as with Israel of old, so with all his people;6 who, as he brought them out of their bondage in Egypt, so he delivereth us from our spiritual thraldom;7 and that therefore we are bound to take him for our God alone, and to keep all his commandments.8

1 Exod. 20:2
2 Isa. 44:6
3 Exod. 3:14
4 Exod. 6:3
5 Acts 17:24, 28
6 Gen. 17:7 compared with Rom. 3:29
7 Luke 1:74, 75
8 1 Pet. 1:15-18; Lev. 18:30; Lev. 19:37

_____


In the Canons of Dordrecht we have

First Head of Doctrine

Error 9 / Rejection – Jehovah twice named

Second Head of Doctrine

Error 1 / Rejection – Jehovah once named

_____


The framers of these Confessions, in the texts of their Confessions showed their view of the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton. It is sometimes said, they didn’t have access to some of the data that is now available and we see them now as somewhat ignorant – as though the Lord was remiss in providing reliable data for the Reformers’ use at the time of Reformation, and we their progeny must capitulate to Rome in their steads, as they erred! Sola Scriptura overturned! The Reformed communions thrown into disarray as their “Paper Pope” – the Masoretic Hebrew and Textus Receptus Greek – acknowledged by the expert scholars of our time to be inadequate exemplars of an intact and authoritative Bible.

This is actually what appears to be the case in our day! It would appear that, as regards textual matters, Rome has emerged victorious in overcoming Sola Scriptura as the Reformers framed it. The Reformed churches and their members are grievously divided as to what the genuine Biblical text is – a terrible wound in the body of Christ.

Does the Vatican exercise supervision over the UBS, and the Nestle-Aland Greek texts? See this:

United Bible Societies welcomes Pope Francis

The Introduction to the Nestle-Aland: Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th revised edition (2006) explicitly confirms this close relationship between the UBS and the Vatican:

“The text shared by these two editions was adopted internationally by Bible Societies, and following an agreement between the Vatican and the United Bible Societies it has served as the basis for new translations and for revisions made under their supervision. This marks a significant step with regard to interconfessional relationships.” (p. 45)​



Does the Vatican have a say in what Old Testament texts are used in its United Bible Societies editions? It was the Old Testament variants – and the issue of the vowel points – Rome used against the Reformation divines back in those days.

Interesting information:

EXPOSED – The Vatican “unites” with “separated brethren” through Bible versions. Stated goal since 1965.

The United Bible Societies and Rome

An argument for Jehovah, and examination of the issues, although this approach is not my basis in this post:

Who is this Deity Named Yahweh? -Dr. Thomas M. Strouse

_________


A related topic on the Confessions, which may be of interest to some:

The Johannine Comma (1 John 5:7) was cited a proof text for the Trinity in the following confessions and catechisms:

Westminster Confession of Faith 1646 2.3
Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 6
Westminster Shorter Catechism Q&A 6
The London Baptist Confession of 1689 2:3
The Belgic Confession of 1561, Article 9 quotes the passage: “There are three who bear witness in heaven– the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit– and these three are one.”
The Heidelberg Catechism of 1563, Lord’s Day 8, Q&A 25, footnote 5

-----


Is it to be supposed that the framers of these confessions were ignorant in this matter also, seeing as they didn't have access to some of the data and manuscripts that are now available to us in the 21st century? Or did the Lord God, in the providential preservation of His word, provide what He deemed necessary for these men to have available to them?

Many of us trust the Lord’s perfect providence for the Reformed divines over the expertise of scholars with a lot of data, particularly when the scholars look down on the Confessions.

Another article of interest, although – again – not my approach in this post:

Aren’t newer translations based on a better Greek text?
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Steve,
By all means let's avoid the tyranny of the experts, but it would be helpful if you could actually address their arguments, not raise straw men. To begin with, this discussion is quite separate from other legitimate issues, such as Critical Text vs Textus Receptus for the New Testament, the existence and form of the LXX prior to the NT, confessional subscription, the Johannine comma, or Roman Catholicism. Those are all red herrings.

In favor of the idea that Jehovah is a composite of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of 'adonai (Lord), with the latter being read in place of the former (a permanent kethib/qere) we have the following:

1) the argument raised by Eyedoc84: there are a number of places in the MT where we have the combination 'adonai YHWH (e.g, Isa. 49:22). In these cases, the masoretic vocalization is 'adonai yehvih - an impossible combination in Hebrew, as any first semester Hebrew student should be able to tell you (you can't have a vocal sheva in a syllable closed by a heh, nor do you ever have the combination vav chireq heh at the end of the word). The conventional explanation, going back at least to the time of the medieval rabbis is simple: to avoid reading adonai adonai, the second word is vocalized differently so you know to read it adonai elohim. This is precisely how the KJV translates it in Isaiah 49:22 and elsewhere ("Lord GOD"), proving that there is no modernist/papist agenda behind such a rendering.

2) Regardless of the prior existence or otherwise of something resembling an LXX, the NT itself follows the pattern of reading adonai and not Jehovah when it quotes the OT text and translates the tetragrammaton with kurios. In other words, THIS IS HOW Jesus READ THE OT TEXT!

3) in a few places the divine name is abbreviated and its vocalization maintained. In all of these it is rendered as Yah not Jeh (the J in Jehovah comes into English from Latin Iehovah and is demonstrably not how "yodh" was ever pronounced). See Exod 15:2 for an example.

4) The pronunciation of the first part of the divine name is preserved in literally dozens of theophoric names (names including the name of a deity), such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah etc. The last part - the theophoric element - is always "Yah" never "Yeh".

Take all of this evidence together and it is clear that the first part of the tetragrammaton was pronounced "Yah" in antiquity, and long before the NT it was not being pronounced when people read sacred Scripture. There is much less evidence to reconstruct the latter part of the divine name, and there are a variety of scholarly theories on that topic. I don't think that we can be dogmatic on this. But since my Savior was happy to render the divine name as "kurios", whenever he quoted the OT, I'm comfortable doing the same (the Lord). If you wish to use Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Yahveh, I don't think you are in sin, or that I need to correct you, any more than I need to change every potluck dinner to a pot-providence. If you wish to argue a different conclusion, please interact with the arguments above and avoid straying onto irrelevant side issues. I don't think the paper you cited addresses any of these, Steve. No experts required, though you do have to have a little Hebrew to follow the discussion, as you would expect.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
Steve,
By all means let's avoid the tyranny of the experts, but it would be helpful if you could actually address their arguments, not raise straw men. To begin with, this discussion is quite separate from other legitimate issues, such as Critical Text vs Textus Receptus for the New Testament, the existence and form of the LXX prior to the NT, confessional subscription, the Johannine comma, or Roman Catholicism. Those are all red herrings.

In favor of the idea that Jehovah is a composite of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of 'adonai (Lord), with the latter being read in place of the former (a permanent kethib/qere) we have the following:

1) the argument raised by Eyedoc84: there are a number of places in the MT where we have the combination 'adonai YHWH (e.g, Isa. 49:22). In these cases, the masoretic vocalization is 'adonai yehvih - an impossible combination in Hebrew, as any first semester Hebrew student should be able to tell you (you can't have a vocal sheva in a syllable closed by a heh, nor do you ever have the combination vav chireq heh at the end of the word). The conventional explanation, going back at least to the time of the medieval rabbis is simple: to avoid reading adonai adonai, the second word is vocalized differently so you know to read it adonai elohim. This is precisely how the KJV translates it in Isaiah 49:22 and elsewhere ("Lord GOD"), proving that there is no modernist/papist agenda behind such a rendering.

2) Regardless of the prior existence or otherwise of something resembling an LXX, the NT itself follows the pattern of reading adonai and not Jehovah when it quotes the OT text and translates the tetragrammaton with kurios. In other words, THIS IS HOW Jesus READ THE OT TEXT!

3) in a few places the divine name is abbreviated and its vocalization maintained. In all of these it is rendered as Yah not Jeh (the J in Jehovah comes into English from Latin Iehovah and is demonstrably not how "yodh" was ever pronounced). See Exod 15:2 for an example.

4) The pronunciation of the first part of the divine name is preserved in literally dozens of theophoric names (names including the name of a deity), such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah etc. The last part - the theophoric element - is always "Yah" never "Yeh".

Take all of this evidence together and it is clear that the first part of the tetragrammaton was pronounced "Yah" in antiquity, and long before the NT it was not being pronounced when people read sacred Scripture. There is much less evidence to reconstruct the latter part of the divine name, and there are a variety of scholarly theories on that topic. I don't think that we can be dogmatic on this. But since my Savior was happy to render the divine name as "kurios", whenever he quoted the OT, I'm comfortable doing the same (the Lord). If you wish to use Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Yahveh, I don't think you are in sin, or that I need to correct you, any more than I need to change every potluck dinner to a pot-providence. If you wish to argue a different conclusion, please interact with the arguments above and avoid straying onto irrelevant side issues. I don't think the paper you cited addresses any of these, Steve. No experts required, though you do have to have a little Hebrew to follow the discussion, as you would expect.
Dr. Duguid's reply is a perfect example, to me, of why there is great merit in modern Bible translations continuing. So much has been learned regarding the Biblical languages in the past centuries these are blessings too important to ignore. In my humble opinion. :graduate:
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dr. Duguid, are there not OT theophoric names starting with “Yeh” or “Y’h”?
Indeed there are. Names like "Yeho-shua" "Yeho-nathan" and so on. The difficulty for the traditional reading (which traces back to a medieval monk) is that it requires the vav to be a consonantal vav preceded by a cholem, which I think would be unparalleled elsewhere in Hebrew. This isn't really a new discussion. Samuel Mather is well aware of it in 1760, and while he comes down in favor of the traditional pronunciation (without actually answering why the Masoretes put different vowels under the divine name in different places), he pronounces it a matter of little import - as indeed I do myself. The issue is with describing the alternative as some kind of liberal/papist plot.
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
Yeah, the NT says “Lord” when quoting the name. That’s good enough for me.

I also say “Jesus” not “Y’shua”.

I find these discussions interesting, as it is God’s name after all, but it drifts into Gnosticism when one becomes more spiritual for saying it JUST the right way.
 

SavedSinner

Puritan Board Freshman
The Bible should be translated into English. Ministers should be able to read the original language, but the preaching should be in ENGLISH. I can only laugh at ministers, most who are not even bilingual, using Hebrew and Greek in their English sermons or Bible reading. Preach and read in the language of the people.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
I say "Jesus" and I say "Jehovah." I'm an American and I speak English. Any questions?
Well, yeah. You might spell it that way but do you pronounce it that way? ;)

Reminds me of first year Hebrew student I knew who pronounced the name of the sweet psalmist of Israel: "Daweed."
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
As someone whose name is routinely mispronounced, I'm confident that the Lord prefers to hear his name mispronounced by someone who loves him than to hear someone with perfect diction who despises that name.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
Steve,
By all means let's avoid the tyranny of the experts, but it would be helpful if you could actually address their arguments, not raise straw men. To begin with, this discussion is quite separate from other legitimate issues, such as Critical Text vs Textus Receptus for the New Testament, the existence and form of the LXX prior to the NT, confessional subscription, the Johannine comma, or Roman Catholicism. Those are all red herrings.

In favor of the idea that Jehovah is a composite of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of 'adonai (Lord), with the latter being read in place of the former (a permanent kethib/qere) we have the following:

1) the argument raised by Eyedoc84: there are a number of places in the MT where we have the combination 'adonai YHWH (e.g, Isa. 49:22). In these cases, the masoretic vocalization is 'adonai yehvih - an impossible combination in Hebrew, as any first semester Hebrew student should be able to tell you (you can't have a vocal sheva in a syllable closed by a heh, nor do you ever have the combination vav chireq heh at the end of the word). The conventional explanation, going back at least to the time of the medieval rabbis is simple: to avoid reading adonai adonai, the second word is vocalized differently so you know to read it adonai elohim. This is precisely how the KJV translates it in Isaiah 49:22 and elsewhere ("Lord GOD"), proving that there is no modernist/papist agenda behind such a rendering.

2) Regardless of the prior existence or otherwise of something resembling an LXX, the NT itself follows the pattern of reading adonai and not Jehovah when it quotes the OT text and translates the tetragrammaton with kurios. In other words, THIS IS HOW Jesus READ THE OT TEXT!

3) in a few places the divine name is abbreviated and its vocalization maintained. In all of these it is rendered as Yah not Jeh (the J in Jehovah comes into English from Latin Iehovah and is demonstrably not how "yodh" was ever pronounced). See Exod 15:2 for an example.

4) The pronunciation of the first part of the divine name is preserved in literally dozens of theophoric names (names including the name of a deity), such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah etc. The last part - the theophoric element - is always "Yah" never "Yeh".

Take all of this evidence together and it is clear that the first part of the tetragrammaton was pronounced "Yah" in antiquity, and long before the NT it was not being pronounced when people read sacred Scripture. There is much less evidence to reconstruct the latter part of the divine name, and there are a variety of scholarly theories on that topic. I don't think that we can be dogmatic on this. But since my Savior was happy to render the divine name as "kurios", whenever he quoted the OT, I'm comfortable doing the same (the Lord). If you wish to use Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Yahveh, I don't think you are in sin, or that I need to correct you, any more than I need to change every potluck dinner to a pot-providence. If you wish to argue a different conclusion, please interact with the arguments above and avoid straying onto irrelevant side issues. I don't think the paper you cited addresses any of these, Steve. No experts required, though you do have to have a little Hebrew to follow the discussion, as you would expect.
What's a very brief explanation of the "v" vs the "w" sound for the waw? My Hebrew professor always used the "v" sound, but I never asked him why. I tend to prefer the v sound myself -- because I just like the sound better, if that makes sense. :rolleyes:
 

Eyedoc84

Puritan Board Freshman
What's a very brief explanation of the "v" vs the "w" sound for the waw? My Hebrew professor always used the "v" sound, but I never asked him why. I tend to prefer the v sound myself -- because I just like the sound better, if that makes sense. :rolleyes:
Also a debate. Most scholars say it was w and became v through European (German) influence. But I’ve read there’s evidence it was v and became w through Arabic influence. W sounds awkward to me. No language is monolithic, at least since Babel .
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
What's a very brief explanation of the "v" vs the "w" sound for the waw? My Hebrew professor always used the "v" sound, but I never asked him why. I tend to prefer the v sound myself -- because I just like the sound better, if that makes sense. :rolleyes:
Here's a reasonable argument in favor of the "w" sound. Older grammarians tended to use "w": one of my professors at Cambridge, Prof Emerton always spoke of the "wow consecutive". But then he would probably have read Latin "v" as "w" as well. I think the more recent trend toward "V" owes more to the influence of modern Hebrew than to any clear linguistic data. It's clear that "yodh" would never have been pronounced with a J sound, however. That is largely due to the German habit of turning Latin "I" into "J".

 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
I think the more recent trend toward "V" owes more to the influence of modern Hebrew than to any clear linguistic data

That makes sense. I recently listened to lectures by Jewish scholar Benjamin Sommer and when he read Hebrew, it was a "v" sound. I also think that Michael Brown pronounces the "v" as well.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
To infer that because the WLC and CoD occasionally use the term Jehovah the authors are denying the plausibility of the term Yahweh is an example of the dicto simpliciter fallacy. For one thing, no philological issues are implied or under consideration in the limited places it occurs. Rather, the most that can be said for certain is that they used the most common vocabulary of their time.
 
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Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
It is possible that some are given to superstition in the manner in which they speak the name of God. It is also true that there be those who are ultra-orthodox in their manner of speaking the name lack the love of God that others who do not speak so correctly (or carefully) possess. It also true that the Reformers were men of their time and were not infallible in their nomenclature about God.

Yet while the scripture is exalted above God's name (Psalm 138:2) that very scripture reveals that name. It is especially true that scripture reveals that name as holy and, in so doing, a reverential manner (Psalm 103:1).

Moreover, the third commandment and its attendant applications in our catechism should, of itself, be sufficient to guard against any unscrupulousness as well as promoting a careful speaking of the name of the LORD, noting especially the warning that comes with it:

Westminster Larger Catechism Q.114. What reasons are annexed to the third commandment? A. The reasons annexed to the third commandment, in these words, The Lord thy God, and, For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain,[1] are, because he is the Lord and our God, therefore his name is not to be profaned, or any way abused by us;[2] especially because he will be so far from acquitting and sparing the transgressors of this commandment, as that he will not suffer them to escape his righteous judgment,[3] albeit many such escape the censures and punishments of men.[4]

1. Exodus 20:7
2. Leviticus 19:12
3. Ezekiel 36:21-23, Deuteronomy 28:58-59, Zechariah 5:2-4
4. 1 Samuel 2:12, 1 Samuel 2:17, 1 Samuel 2:22, 1 Samuel 2:24, 1 Samuel 3:13

This is especially true in our day and age where the culture at large teaches us these things do not matter, not only by their indifference but outright blasphemy and misuse of God's name. Brethren, I would assert that we have all the more reason to be scrupulous about these matters.

In light of these things, I believe we should welcome all attempts to parse and explain these things in as much detail of scripture as possible.
 
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Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
This is especially true in our day and age where the culture at large teaches us these things do not matter, not only by their indifference but outright blasphemy and misuse of God's name. Brethren, I would assert that we have all the more reason to be scrupulous about these matters.

In light of these things, I believe we should welcome all attempts to parse and explain these things in as much detail of scripture as possible.
Given this importance, have you reached a conclusion on the specific question at hand? If so, would you be willing to share and explain your thinking?
 

Douglas Somerset

Puritan Board Freshman
Steve,
By all means let's avoid the tyranny of the experts, but it would be helpful if you could actually address their arguments, not raise straw men. To begin with, this discussion is quite separate from other legitimate issues, such as Critical Text vs Textus Receptus for the New Testament, the existence and form of the LXX prior to the NT, confessional subscription, the Johannine comma, or Roman Catholicism. Those are all red herrings.

In favor of the idea that Jehovah is a composite of the consonants YHWH with the vowels of 'adonai (Lord), with the latter being read in place of the former (a permanent kethib/qere) we have the following:

1) the argument raised by Eyedoc84: there are a number of places in the MT where we have the combination 'adonai YHWH (e.g, Isa. 49:22). In these cases, the masoretic vocalization is 'adonai yehvih - an impossible combination in Hebrew, as any first semester Hebrew student should be able to tell you (you can't have a vocal sheva in a syllable closed by a heh, nor do you ever have the combination vav chireq heh at the end of the word). The conventional explanation, going back at least to the time of the medieval rabbis is simple: to avoid reading adonai adonai, the second word is vocalized differently so you know to read it adonai elohim. This is precisely how the KJV translates it in Isaiah 49:22 and elsewhere ("Lord GOD"), proving that there is no modernist/papist agenda behind such a rendering.

2) Regardless of the prior existence or otherwise of something resembling an LXX, the NT itself follows the pattern of reading adonai and not Jehovah when it quotes the OT text and translates the tetragrammaton with kurios. In other words, THIS IS HOW Jesus READ THE OT TEXT!

3) in a few places the divine name is abbreviated and its vocalization maintained. In all of these it is rendered as Yah not Jeh (the J in Jehovah comes into English from Latin Iehovah and is demonstrably not how "yodh" was ever pronounced). See Exod 15:2 for an example.

4) The pronunciation of the first part of the divine name is preserved in literally dozens of theophoric names (names including the name of a deity), such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah etc. The last part - the theophoric element - is always "Yah" never "Yeh".

Take all of this evidence together and it is clear that the first part of the tetragrammaton was pronounced "Yah" in antiquity, and long before the NT it was not being pronounced when people read sacred Scripture. There is much less evidence to reconstruct the latter part of the divine name, and there are a variety of scholarly theories on that topic. I don't think that we can be dogmatic on this. But since my Savior was happy to render the divine name as "kurios", whenever he quoted the OT, I'm comfortable doing the same (the Lord). If you wish to use Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Yahveh, I don't think you are in sin, or that I need to correct you, any more than I need to change every potluck dinner to a pot-providence. If you wish to argue a different conclusion, please interact with the arguments above and avoid straying onto irrelevant side issues. I don't think the paper you cited addresses any of these, Steve. No experts required, though you do have to have a little Hebrew to follow the discussion, as you would expect.
Just to respond to Iain's points with some questions and comments:

1) Is it always so that theophoric names of this type always have either "Jah" at the end or "Jeho" at the beginning?

2) What is the theory for the origin of "Jeho" (e.g. Jehoshaphat) if the Tetragrammaton is really Yahweh?

3) What is "the" Masoretic pointing for the Tetragrammaton in Isa. 49:22? Different Hebrew Bibles seem to give different pointing. The Wikipedia entry for "Tetragrammaton" lists six different pointings used for the Tetragrammaton at different places in the Leningrad Codex. It would be interesting to have the same information for the Aleppo Codex. Unfortunately the Jerusalem Crown Bible has standardised on this matter.

4) Have we lost the knowledge of the Divine Name? Was this something that Moses knew and we didn't? I don't feel that "I\J" and "v/w" are of much significance, given regional and historic variations in pronunciation, but the "o" seems to me more relevant.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Welcome to the board Douglas; though it seems redundant given choice of user name, per the board rules, see the link at bottom of page for fixing a signature that will clue folks more to who you are. Again, welcome to the board.
Just to respond to Iain's points with some questions and comments:

1) Is it always so that theophoric names of this type always have either "Jah" at the end or "Jeho" at the beginning?

2) What is the theory for the origin of "Jeho" (e.g. Jehoshaphat) if the Tetragrammaton is really Yahweh?

3) What is "the" Masoretic pointing for the Tetragrammaton in Isa. 49:22? Different Hebrew Bibles seem to give different pointing. The Wikipedia entry for "Tetragrammaton" lists six different pointings used for the Tetragrammaton at different places in the Leningrad Codex. It would be interesting to have the same information for the Aleppo Codex. Unfortunately the Jerusalem Crown Bible has standardised on this matter.

4) Have we lost the knowledge of the Divine Name? Was this something that Moses knew and we didn't? I don't feel that "I\J" and "v/w" are of much significance, given regional and historic variations in pronunciation, but the "o" seems to me more relevant.
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
4) The pronunciation of the first part of the divine name is preserved in literally dozens of theophoric names (names including the name of a deity), such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hezekiah etc. The last part - the theophoric element - is always "Yah" never "Yeh".
You've forgotten all the places where the divine name is at the beginning of a theophoric name: Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jehoiachin, Jehoiada, Jehoiakim, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jehoshua, etc.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
You've forgotten all the places where the divine name is at the beginning of a theophoric name: Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jehoiachin, Jehoiada, Jehoiakim, Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, Jehoshua, etc.
A bit out of my league here, but can't vowel value change in Hebrew when you add syllables to a word? And Hebrew stress usually falls on the last syllable, as I recall. Thus the vowel of the first syllable is more likely to be altered -- via shortening -- in a longish word than the last. If so, wouldn't "Yeh" more likely be a shortening of "Yah" rather than the reverse?
 

TylerRay

Puritan Board Graduate
A bit out of my league here, but can't vowel value change in Hebrew when you add syllables to a word? And Hebrew stress usually falls on the last syllable, as I recall. Thus the vowel of the first syllable is more likely to be altered -- via shortening -- in a longish word than the last. If so, wouldn't "Yeh" more likely be a shortening of "Yah" rather than the reverse?
It works both ways. "Yah" can be a lengthening of "Yeh" due to it being at the end of the word rather than at the beginning. That being the case, it makes no sense to go to the pointing at the end of "Isaiah" to know what the pointing would be if "yah" were at the front of a word instead of the end (as it is in the tetragrammaton).
 

iainduguid

Puritan Board Sophomore
It works both ways. "Yah" can be a lengthening of "Yeh" due to it being at the end of the word rather than at the beginning. That being the case, it makes no sense to go to the pointing at the end of "Isaiah" to know what the pointing would be if "yah" were at the front of a word instead of the end (as it is in the tetragrammaton).
Um....no. Seghol could be lengthened to a qamets in a pausal form, but that's not what we're talking about here. That would have to be the last word or the word marked with an atnach accent. Can you give me an example of the change you have in mind?

On the other hand, a qamets routinely shortens to a sheva in a distant syllable (distant from the accent, which in Hebrew is usually the last or second last syllable. So dabar (word) becomes debarim, etc. So yes an original "yahu" would be expected to become "yeho" when it prefixes a name. That is quite literally lesson 1 in Weingreen's Introductory Hebrew grammar.

Having said that a hypothetical Hebrew form "Yehovah" would show the same shortening, so it certainly wouldn't be "Yahovah"; but in a two syllable word the contraction wouldn't happen: hence Yahweh. At the end of the day, theophoric names are not decisive by themselves.

Douglas,
Isaiah 49:22 in the Leningrad codex is yehvih - an impossible form to pronounce in Hebrew (as is often the case with Kethiv/qere, where the vowels of one word are linked with the consonants of another. I don't know of any manuscripts that have anything else, but in any event this is just one of many places where this combination "adonai yhwh" happens. It is clear that the Massoretes intended you to read "adonai elohim" here, which should not be surprising since we all know that the Massoretes did not pronounce the divine name. So why would they put the vowels of a name that they never thought you should say.

Behind this question may be the idea that the vowel points were written by the original authors, rather than added later by the Massoretes. But this would actually be one of many pieces of evidence that for a long time the text was transmitted in unpointed script. That's a slightly different discussion, however.

I'm not sure why the "o" feels more important to you than the consonants. With my name, people mostly get the consonants right but vary wildly on the vowels. I still know who they are talking about.

Here's what we can say about the divine name:
1) we know for sure that it didn't begin with a J sound. The "yodh" is always a "y" sound and the monk who invented Jehovah in the Middle Ages would have written Iehovah in Latin; he also probably pronounced the Latin v as a "w", as most Hebrew grammarians believe the consonantal Hebrew vav/waw would have been.
2) Nowhere else in Hebrew (that I know of) is a consonantal vav preceded by a cholem (o sound). When vav's and cholem's occur together, either they are simply the vowel (o) or the vav comes first (Mitsvot). I'd be very interested if anyone can show me a counter example.
3) When the divine name occurs in its shortened form, it appears to have been pronounceable: in these places it is always "yah". (see Ex. 15:2)
4) There are a number of two syllable Hebrew nouns in which the second syllable begins with a consonantal vav: e.g. mitsvah, miqveh. These are often formed from verbs with a consonantal vav in the middle (tsavah; qavah), just as yahweh is formed from hayah/havah.
5) It's really hard to explain why the tetragrammaton - of all words - would ever be mis-spelled by the Massoretes, unless they were marking it as a kethib/qere word, to be read as a different word in different contexts.

So yes, I do think the exact pronunciation of the divine name has not been clearly preserved for us. It certainly wasn't Jehovah; it may or may not have been Yahweh. That's why I generally try to follow Jesus' example and call his Father "Lord" (kurios) or "Father." But I won't quibble with anyone who wants to call him Jehovah, any more than I quibble with people who call me Doogood or make it French "Du Gweed". I know who they mean. After all, we don't quibble over the name "Jesus," though that is equally certainly not what the disciples would have called their master.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Phil D. – dicto simpliciter fallacy: In a nutshell, drawing a conclusion from an over-simplistic statement of a rule; or, assuming that something true in general is true in every possible case.

Not talking about a “rule” here, Phil, just the usage – sparce though it be – of the framers of the WLC, and the CoD.

“For one thing, no philological issues are implied or under consideration in the limited places it occurs.” Granted. “and, the most that can be said for certain is that they used the most common vocabulary of their time.” “Common vocabulary”? It was the only vocalization of the Tetragrammaton used by these learned men. They were not country bumpkins.

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Hello Iain – my approach is “raising straw men”, and “red herrings”? I can see your saying that, as I bypass your – and much current Hebrew scholarship – in this. It boils down to this, I have confidence in the scholarship of the Reformation divines, and the textual materials providence gave to them, over my confidence in you, and your expertise, in this matter.

I’ll stand in the confessions of the Reformation, whatever you say.

Confidence in the LORD giving us a settled and sure Bible – the Hebrew and the Greek – has been shattered for many in our time. Regarding Rome: whatever their part in the Hebrew may not easily be discerned; in the Greek more easily. It remains – in glaring fact – that among Protestants we have generally capitulated to their view. Those with a strong faith in God’s word nonetheless, well and good; but the soft underbelly of modern Bibles (the plethora of variants) has been exposed, and many genuine believers are perplexed, dismayed. And many unbelievers rightly skeptical – and fortified against trusting God’s word. Yes, the Spirit of Christ may cut through that, but such doubt remains a terrible wound, except it be healed.

I will stand in the faith and the learning of our Reformation forebears – here on this confessional board.
 
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