Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Name "Yahovah" in the Ancient Hebrew

Rabbi Shaul, or better known as the Apostle Paul, said in 2nd Timothy 2:15 MKJV “Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”  So as we continue to study the word of God, let’s take a closer look at the Bible from a slightly different point of view.  This point of view being from the original Hebrew language and its historic and cultural context.  It is this approach that I believe Rabbi Shaul was speaking of when he wrote “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”

The Bible was, for the majority of it, originally written in Hebrew.  But like all languages, Hebrew changed over time in both its written form and its spoken form.  The roots of Hebrew are very ancient.  Some have proposed that Hebrew might be the “original” language spoken by Adam and his descendants up until the confounding of languages at the tower of Babel.  This is a nice thought, but there is no evidence of it being the case.  Hebrew is however one of a family of ancient languages which shared a common alphabet and many common words, much the same way that modern Western European languages share a common alphabet and many common root words.

Hebrew is a very simple but precise language.  In ancient times, much like other languages in antiquity such as that found in Egypt, it was a pictographic language.  Each letter in the Ancient Hebrew was a picture or drawing of some kind and represented a meaning.  When words were constructed of the letters, the meanings of the individual letters combined to give a “picture” of a deeper meaning of the resulting word.  When a language so constructed is used in communications, either spoken or written, the parties understand this added deeper meaning, and it contributes as much to the communication of ideas as the words themselves.

Let’s look at one example of where this added meaning is of profound importance.  That would be with the name of God which first appears in Genesis chapter 2.

Genesis 2:4 MKJV 4 “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,”

The word LORD, spelled with all capitol letters, here and elsewhere in most English translations of the Bible is derived from the Hebrew word Yahovah.  It is number 3068 in the Strong’s Dictionary:

יהוה  Yahovah,  yeh-ho-vaw' from 1961; (the) self-Existent or Eternal; Jehovah, Jewish national name of God:--Jehovah, the Lord.

This name is also represented in a shortened form as found in Psalms 68:4 and translated as the English variation of Jehovah as opposed to LORD.  Psalms 68:4  MKJV “Sing to God, sing praises to His name; praise Him who rides on the heavens by His name JEHOVAH, and rejoice before Him.”  This shortened form of 3068 is number 3050

3050  יה  Yahh,  yaw, a contraction for 3068, and meaning the same; Jah, the sacred name:--Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Compare names in "-iah," "- jah."

Now let’s take a look at the name Yahovah in the Ancient Hebrew.  Again the four letters in Hebrew are:  יהוה The first letter (Hebrew is read right to left) is the letter Yood י. In the Ancient form is was a symbol resembling a hand .  The second and fourth letters are the same one, the Hey ה.  The ancient letter was written as  a symbol that representing a window.  The third letter is the Vav ו.  In its ancient form it resembled a  wooden peg or nail used to bind together various forms of construction.

The meaning of these letters are as follows:

Yood = י  = Hand
Hey = ה  = Reveal
Vav = ו  = Nail
Hey = ה  = Reveal

The deeper meaning of Yahovah is: The hand revealed, the nail revealed.  This gives a powerful picture of the crucified Messiah revealed in the very name of God, first written over 1500 years before his coming!

Yeshua and the disciples would have written and understood a variant of this ancient Hebrew text.  The modern form of Hebrew was not widely accepted until the Middle Ages, but throughout history, the Hebrew language has retained the ancient meanings of the letters.

Now we all remember the Apostle Thomas, the one who doubted and wanted to see the risen Yeshua for himself.  His encounter with Yeshua is recorded in the Gospel of John.

John 20:24-28 MKJV 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, We have seen the Lord. But he said to them, Unless I shall see the print of the nails in His hands, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. 26 And after eight days the disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, Peace to you! 27 Then He said to Thomas, Reach your finger here and behold My hands; and reach your hand here and thrust it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing. 28 And Thomas answered and said to Him, My Lord and my God!*

I believe that Thomas would have understood the deeper meaning contained in the Hebrew letters and in this passage it appears that he recognized this in his statement “My Lord and my God”.

Thomas recognized that Yeshua was truly the Son of God!  He most assuredly understood the deeper meaning of the name Yahovah and made the connection, linking Yeshua to the name of God.  The hand revealed the nail revealed!


שלום ברוך
Shalom and be blessed
Dan & Brenda Cathcart


*  The Greek word used in the manuscripts of this passage translated as “Lord” is “Kurios”.  It is number 2962 in the Strong’s Dictionary.

2962  κύριος  kurios,  koo'-ree-os.  From kuros (supremacy); supreme in authority, i.e. (as noun) controller; by implication, Master (as a respectful title):-- God, Lord, master, Sir.

The word translated as God is the Greek word Theos.

2316   θεός  theos,  theh'-os.  Of uncertain affinity; a deity, especially (with 3588) the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very:--X exceeding, God, god(-ly, -ward).

Both of these words are used in the context of the deity of Yeshua in the Gospel of John passage above.  Kurios can be translated as “master” but is not used in the Gospels in reference to Yeshua by the title of Master.  That word is διδάκτορας, number 1320 in the Strong’s and can also be translated as Rabbi in the sense of a teacher.

1320  διδάκτορας  didaskalos,  did-as'-kal-os.  From 1321; an instructor (genitive case or specially):--doctor, master, teacher.


4 comments:

  1. From Seeker of Truth

    This is most interesting. I've been searching the scriptures for the word, "Yahwey", but have not discovered this in any Masoretic Hebrew text in the old testament... all I have found is Yahovah. What is the origin of Yahwey? I orginally discovered the name "Yah" in Psalm 68:4 and then did a word search for this word via my Lexicon... it appeared in three verses in Isaiah. That's when I felt that a significant discovery had been made. This was in the NKJV of the Bible. But I only discovered two words that were used: Yah and Yahovah. Your translation is correct. The tetragrammon is not YHWH (there is no "W" sound in the Hebrew alphabet, only a "V" sound... which makes the tetragrammon YHVH. So where did Yahwey come from? I'm glad to see someone else has been involved with this study.

    Vernon Young

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  2. What about this name Exodus 3:14? dan carlisle Brookshire TX

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  3. Great comment Dan. I certainly agree that the accepted (or should be accepted) name of God is what God Himself said it was, which is found in Exodus 3:14. As for the other names, they are perhaps more of a title or a description of His attributes than they are a specific name. the use of LORD in our English Bibles is in deference to the Jewish tradition of not speaking, or writing His name directly except under certain circumstances. In the case of the Jewish tradition, Ha Shem (the name) is the substitute of choice. Some people object very strongly to the use of LORD and God, etc. in reference to the God of Israel perhaps because of their usage in the culture which originated these words. They often insist the these words retain their original, and perhaps ancient meaning even though the culture that originally used them is long gone. They just don't understand the dynamic nature of language.

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