In the King James Bible, the sacred name of God was translated Jehovah, which is a hybrid term. There are no J’s in the Hebrew, Latin or Greek languages. The J, being the last of the 26 letters to be added to later date Latin based alphabets, was popularized by William Tyndale and other English translators as a Latinization of the Hebrew sacred name YHVH. Another example would be Jesus, which in Hebrew is the word Yeshua, “Hineh El Yeshati,” meaning behold God is my salvation.
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. The Tanakh, the canonical collection of Jewish texts, aka the Masoretic Text or Miqra, is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text’s three subdivisions: 1) The Torah, the first five books of Moses; 2) Nevi’im – the books of the prophets; and 3) Keturim – the writings. YHVH is composed from the four Hebrew letters Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey, also referred to as the Tetragrammaton which simply means “the four letters.”
When God commissioned Moses to be Israel’s liberator, 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,” which is derived from the imperfect first person form of the verb hayah: “I Will Be,” meaning I Will Be What I Will Be, which 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 English translations the vowel “a” has been added to YHVH in order to pronounce the name as Yahvah.
Throughout the Bible there are many different names used for the One True God, names that represent God in his relationship to mankind.
- 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