In the King James Bible, the name of God has been translated Jehovah, which is a hybrid term. No one is certain why the translators used it since there are no J’s in the Hebrew alphabet. Those names listed in the Bible using J are pronounced with a Y sound. And example would be Jesus which in Hebrew is Yeshua, meaning behold God is my salvation; in Hebrew Hineh El Yeshuati.
In the Tanakh, YHVH (God the Eternal) is the sacred name of God and his most frequent designation, occurring over 6,800 times in the manuscripts.
Tanakh is the canonical collection of Jewish texts, our source for the Old Testament. It is the Masoretic Text or Miqra, an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text’s three subdivisions: The Torah – five books of Moses; Nevi’im – books of the prophets; and Keturim – the writings.
YHVH is composed from the four Hebrew letters Yod, Hey, Vav, and Hey, also referred to as the Tetragrammaton which simply means “the four letters.”
When God commissioned Moses to be Israel’s liberator from the bondage of Egypt, Moses asked for God’s name in order to validate his God-given role [Ex 3:14]. God responded: “ehyeh-asher-ehyeh,” translated in the King James bible as “I Am That I Am,” derived from the imperfect first person form of the verb hayah: “I Will Be”, indicating a connection between the name YHVH and being itself. The name YHVH also bespeaks the utter transcendence of God. He is the Source and Foundation of all possibility of utterance and thus is beyond all definite descriptions.
Since ancient Hebrew did not use any vowel markings, the actual pronunciation of the sacred Name is not known, thus when reading the Torah, Jewish tradition is to not pronounce the sacred Name, but to substitute the word Adonai (my Lord) in its place. When not reading the Torah, most observant Jews refer to the sacred Name simply as Hashem, “The Name”. In the English the vowel “a” has been added in order to pronounce the name as Yahvah.
But throughout the Bible there are many different names used for the One True God, names that represent God in his relationship to mankind, such as
- Elohim, the God of Creation, used 2,700 times in the Bible with its first use in Genesis connected to creation.
- YAH, God in a special sense and relation as becoming our salvation.
- EL, the Almighty God in all his strength and power. God the omnipotent who wills and orders all and who is to be the only object of our worship.
- Eloyon, as the most High, not as the possessor of heaven and earth but as God who divides to the nations their inheritance – the dispenser of blessings in the world.
- Eloah, the living God who is to be worshipped, mostly used in contrast, whether latent or expressed, in relation to false gods or idols.
- Shaddai, the Almighty God of Grace, a giver of power to supply all the needs of his people.
- Adon, the Lord as ruler in the earth.
- Adoni, my Lord.
- Adomin, the plural of Adon, the Lord as ruler in the earth but with a greater sense.
- Elyon-El, the most High God.
- El Shaddai, God Almighty.
- YHVH-Jireh – God will provide.
- YHVH-Rophera – God that heals.
- YHVH-Nissi – God my banner.
- YHVH-Mekaddishkem – God that sanctified.
- YHVH-Shalom – God of peace.
- YHVH-Zebasth – God of hosts.
- YHVH-Zidkenu – God our righteousness.
- YHVH-Shammah – God is there.
- YHVH-Elyon – God most High.
- YHVH-Roi – God who sees.
- YHVH-Raah – God my Shepherd
- YHVH-Elohim – Lord God
- YHVH-Tsidkenu – God our Saving Grace.
Whatever name you choose when you call upon the name of God, remember to call in reverence and in love, for the word that expresses the essence of God in His intimate relationship with you, is LOVE.
“Our soul waiteth for the Lord: He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in His Holy Name. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.” Psalm 33:20-22