The Name Jehovah

I am sorry that this is the first essay that I’ve placed as a “new post”.  I am new to blogging and did not understand how to post my essays.  So, you can find my other essays as comments in other sections.  Sorry for the confusion.  Anyway, here’s my post on the name “Jehovah”:

In the Judaism 101 article, “The Name of G-d,” the author wrote: “Some people render the four-letter Name YHVH as ‘Jehovah, but this pronunciation is particularly unlikely. The word ‘Jehovah’ comes from the fact that ancient Jewish texts used to put the vowels of the Name ‘Adonai’ (the usual substitute for YHVH) under the consonants of YHVH to remind people not to pronounce YHVH as written .”  The name, Jehovah, was created around the sixteenth century A.D. when Christian theologians were unsure with what to do with the Tetragrammaton, i.e. YHVH. Certain scholars, either through ignorance or by deliberate design, combined the consonants JHVH (or YHVH) with the vowels of the substitute word Adonay. This resulted in the creation of the name Jehovah.  According to my research, this  is the true origin of the name Jehovah.

                Many people in the modern church and world, however, use the name Jehovah on a regular basis.  But is anything wrong with using the name Jehovah for God. According to James E. Smith at Florida Chastain College, the word Jehovah is a nonsense name that has no biblical support.  In writing about the creation of the word “Jehovah,” Dr. Smith writes: “It is the result of an unholy wedding between the consonants of one word and the vowels of a totally different word.” Obviously he believes that using the word “Jehovah” is ignorant and wrong.  He goes on to say: “It is unnatural and unscholarly to combine the vowels of the substitute word and the consonants of the written word. . . . It is misleading to imply by usage that Jehovah is the name of God when in fact Jehovah is a nonsense name.”  Dr. Smith argues that God was very concerned about the proper use of His name in the Old Testament, and that calling Him by the man-created name of Jehovah is disrespectful. 

                In reading this article and the writings of Dr. Smith, I was wondering what the members of our class thought.  Does anyone else feel it is wrong to use the name Jehovah?  I understand that it was not the original name for God, but I really have not taken a side on the issue.   Just in case you were wondering, the NIV never uses the word , but other well-known English translations do.  The American Standard Version of 1901 and the King James version of 1611 both use the name Jehovah occasionally.   I have even had people argue that using the name Jehovah is proper because it is found in Scripture ( the King James Translation).  This just showed me how translations do not always capture the complete meaning of a foreign text.


3 Responses

  1. I have heard that “Yahweh” is a more accurate transliteration…

  2. I do not have trouble using either…

    In high school I decided to sanctify the word “awesome” in my vocabulary by using it only to describe God. That was an interesting trial that did help me to use that word with reverence. I can see how having reverence for the name of God could likewise be beneficial.

  3. I agree with Brian, I do not see a problem with using either but I am not sure that it should become anything less than a reverent term for God. I think if we used these terms it would shed a new light on how we spoke to God or about him and it may open up deeper meanings for us.

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