Some people pronounce the divine name in the Bible represented by the four Hebrew letters, yud-hey-vav-hey, YHVH, יְהוָ֤ה, as “Yahweh”, but is that correct?
The following are some arguments in favor of Yehováh (accent marked on the last syllable to distinguish it from “Jehovah”) as the divine name.
- Benjamin Andreessen in a recent post to his Hebrew Shalom MeWe group noted that Nehemia Gordon found manuscripts with full vowel pointings and cantillation marks for the divine name Yehováh. He also gives a brief history starting with the Samaritans and leading to Gesenius for why Yahweh might even be considered today as a possible ancient pronunciation suggesting there is not enough evidence to support it.
- Navah provides an explanation favoring the Yehováh pronunciation and an explanation why the Hebrew letter vav would have been pronounced in ancient times with a “v” rather than a “w” sound as it is done by many Hebrew speakers today. He takes a different view of Gesenius than Gordon does.
- The following video summarizes Al Garza’s argument for Yehováh.
Here are arguments favoring “Yahweh”.
- Justin J. Van Rensburg created fifteen video responses to Gordon (see the Hebrew Gospels). His arguments are based on “ketiv qere perpetuum” explained in video 3, that some readings of the vowel pointings are gibberish explained in video 5 and a claim that the vav had a “w” pronunciation in ancient times in video 15.
- Brown-Driver-Briggs constructed vowel pointings for the Yahweh sound, but that assumes the vav had a “w” sound in ancient times and the visible vowel pointings in the Masoretic text were faulty. They also used the JEDP documentary hypothesis to classify the evidence. Since I maintain that Moses wrote most of the Torah, I find what they have to say suspicious.
If anyone has more information, or a strong opinion one way or the other, you are welcome to comment.
There is a third position presented by the International Alliance of Messianic Congregations and Synagogues Steering Committee (One Law, Two Sticks, 1-15-2014, page 10) : The problem with praying to God by His so-called “sacred name,” was that nobody was really quite sure what it was. Some said it was “Jehovah,” while others decided it was “Yahweh,” and there were other forms as well. This position would prefer a title such as Lord or Adonai than a specific name.
Until recently this third position was the one I followed saying “May the Lord bless you” rather than may Yahweh or Yehováh bless you. However, it raises the question: Should I be invoking a title when the Hebrew text offers an explicit name?
This issue concerns me because I have unwittingly believed things that I later wished I had not. Until I read Andreessen discuss the “Yahweh heresy” and its suspected origins in “liberal Theology” I had no problem with the ancient Yahweh pronunciation although I didn’t use it. Now I wonder whether the introduction of Yahweh a couple of centuries ago had been part of a larger deception. I don’t want to be fooled any more.
In the video below Nehemia Gordon provided evidence for the divine name being Yehováh citing 16 rabbis who explicitly stated that the correct vowels were sheva, cholam, and kamatz. He did not find anywhere in the database of historical Jewish documents the name Yahweh (about 29:00 in the video). This is the view I now favor.
Weekly Parashah Readings
Parashah: Tzav 16 Adar II, 5782 – March 19, 2022
Torah: Leviticus 6:1 – 8:36
Haftarah: Jeremiah 7:21-28; Jeremiah 9:22-23
Brit Chadashah: Hebrews 7:24 – 8:6
Resources: Chabad, Hebrew4Christians, Weekly Torah Readings, Calendar
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