THE NAME OF THE ALMIGHTY
The pronunciation of the Name of Yahweh should never be a contentious issue as we are all little children in His eyes and trying to pronounce His Set Apart Name could be likened to a child saying “dada” for the first time. The Name of the Almighty in modern Hebrew looks like this:
Hebrew is read from right to left, so the letters are as follows:
י– Yod, ה– Hay, ו– Waw, ה– Hay.
Like certain letters in the English language, a number of Hebrew letters have a vowel and a consonantsound and the majority of scholars and historians conclude that in the Name of YHWH, all the letters are sounded as vowels.
י= ee, ה= ah, ו= oo, ה= ay.
Put it all together and you get: ee-ah-oo-ay
Or phonetically: YAHWEHIt is generally undisputed that the first two letters – “yod” and “hay” sound out: YAH as in halleluYAH, or some of the prophets: IsaiYAH, JeremiYAH, etc.
As for the last two letters, searching through the Hebrew Scriptures, one example of a name that ends with “waw”, “hay”- the same last two letters as in the Name of YAH is the place known as Nineveh. It is common knowledge that the “v” sound has changed over the last thousand years and originally was a “w” or “oo” sound giving the pronunciation of: NineWEH.
So joining the “YAH” with the “WEH” we get the familiar “YAHWEH”.
On one hand it does not matter so much how we spell the Name using English letter as we are attempting to transliterate the Name of the Almighty to be pronounced correctly. Various spelling attempts are acceptable ie.
YAHWEH, YAHUEH, YAHWAY, IAUE, etc.
A less common pronunciation gives a consonant sound to the “h” sounding: Ya-hoo-ah.
This pronunciation is in error as we note that all ancient records show that the Name of the Almighty is comprised of four vowels. For example, Josephus the 1st century C.E Jewish historian raised in the priesthood writes:
“His head was covered by a tiara of fine linen, wreathed with blue, encircling which was another crown, of gold, whereon were emblazoned the sacred letters, to wit, four vowels (φωνήεητα τέσσαρα; phonhenta tessara).”
The noted pagan Greek historian Diodorus (1st century B.C.E.) says:
“Among the Jews, Moses referred his laws to the deity who is invoked as Ἰαώ”
Ἰαώ is pronounced Ya’oo. There is no appearance of a consonantal ‘h’ pronounced; all are Greek vowelsapproximating the Hebrew vowels יהו (ee, ah, oo). The same pronunciation appears in the 2nd century C.E ‘Prayer of Jacob’ and also the ancient writers Origen, Irenaeus and Theodoret.
Many people jump to assumptions on how the Name should sound based on the sound of individual letters, but as with English, the pronunciation of a word or name can change depending on the placement and order of the letters contained in that name or word. Take for example the word:
Just adding a “d” to the end changes the sound of the word to:
If we add a “t” instead of a “d” it changes yet again to:
The Ya-HOO-aH pronunciation is also based on the premise that the name given to one of the sons of Ya’aqob (Jacob) of the twelve tribes of Yisra’ĕl is Yahudah (Judah) and has similar spelling to YHWH; in Hebrew:
Yod, Hay, Waw, Daleth, Hay.
The assumption is, that by removing the Daleth, the pronunciation would be YaHUaH
As well as the grammar issues mentioned above, the “h” sound ‘hay'(ה) is often silent in Hebrew which is why our Anglocized version is pronounced “Judah” and not “Jahudah”. Even modern Hebrews pronounce this name “Yudah”.
Probably the most convincing evidence that the Name of the Almighty is pronounced YAHWEH is the support of ancient documentation, whereas there is not one source that supports the pronunciation: Yahuah.
Clement of Alexandria (140 AD – 215 AD) writes that the Sacred Name is Ἰαουέ and Ἰαουαί both forms approximating the pronunciation Yahweh. In various Jewish-Egyptian papyri it is most frequently written Ἰαωουηε but also appears Ἰαωουηι, Ἰαωουεη, Ἰαωουε and Ἰαωουεα (all approximating Yah-ou-ay). It should not go unnoticed that these Greek writers all use vowels to represent the Name of the Almighty.
Further evidence of the ‘h’ not being pronouced is found in the Septuagint. ישׁעיה (Yesha-yah [Isaiah]) is also found as ישׁעיהוּ (Yesha-yahu). The LXX renders Yasha-yahu Ἡσαία (Yesa-eeah), showing the intercangeability between יהו and יה; Ἰεσσίου (Yess-eeou); and Ἡσαίου (Yesa-eeou).
The other major problem with the pronunciation of Yahuah is that the accent is emphasised on the ‘hu’ – Ya-HOO-ah whereas the accent on Hebrew words is nearly ALWAYS on the LAST SYLLABLE therefore Yah-WEH is in accordance with the rules of Hebrew.
There is an erroneous claim being presented that the that the last vowel was changed from Yahwah to Yahweh by the Greeks due to the masculine form being Yahweh using Noah – Noe as an example. The masculine form of a name actually requires an ‘ς'(s) NOT an ‘ε'(e). For example: Joshua (Yahoshua) – Iesous, Matthew – Matthias, Eliyah – Elias, Jonah – Jonas, Jeremiah – Jeremias, etc… The name of Noah does not end with the Hebrew letter ‘hay’(ה), but ‘chet'(ח) ie. Noach and cannot be compared to any of the names ending with a ‘hay’(ה) let alone the Sacred Name of Yahweh when transliterated into Greek.
Another example of misinformation is that Hebrew words ending in ‘hay'(ה) by default end with an ‘ah’ sound. This is not at all the case and as well as Nineweh many famous names in Scripture (not to mention words) ending in ‘hay'(ה) end with ‘eh’ for example: Mosheh/Moses (משׁה), Manashsheh/Manasseh (מנשּׁה), Yephunneh/Jephunneh (יפנּה) etc.
Another example can be provided when Yahweh reveals Himself fully to Mosheh in the phrase:
“I AM THAT I AM” – Heb. אהיה אשׁר אהיה (AYEH ASHER AYEH)
The Hebrew word AYEH (אהיה)is derived from the word HAYAH (היה) originally HAWAH (הוה) yet in this grammatical form is, of course pronounced AYEH, therefore a ‘Hay’ at the end of a word does not automatically make an ‘AH’ sound.
Another fallacy being presented is that the Masorites vowel pointed the Name YHWH to read Yahweh to disguise it from being spoken… The opposite is the case! The Masorites were a group of Jewish scribes who, up to 1000 years after the Messiah indeed DID add vowel points to the Hebrew writings and DID disguise the pronounciation of the Name YaHWeH to be read as YeHoWaH (Adonai) or YeHoWiH (Elohim) and in the first instance (which is by far the more common) actually resembles YaHuWaH which we can conclude is the incorrect pronunciation.
To summarise all the above, we find through history that all the ancients knew the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty and approximated in their various languages the form: YaHWeH
It wasn’t till nearly 1000 years later that the Jewish scribes vowel pointed it to YeHoWaH. Are we seriously to believe the claims of some (often Christians defending their traditions) that the Almighty Yahweh hid His Name from the entire world for nearly 2000 years, only to reveal it to us in the last days… Or did He indeed preserve His Name through the earliest writings to reveal it to those who love Him and guard His Commands and diligently seek Him? The truth is, He promised He would reveal Himself to those who obey:
John 14:21 “He who possesses My commands and guards them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me shall be loved by My Father, and I shall love him and manifest Myself to him.”
Yahushua made known His Father’s Name to all those who would love Him:
John 17:26 “And I have made Your Name known to them, and shall make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me might be in them, and I in them.”
For an in-depth 300 page study on the Name of Yahweh with many historical references covering the use and abuse and pronunciation click the button below:
Pay close attention to Chapter 9
Note: Certain portions of the study are not necessarily the views of 2besaved.com
THE NAME OF THE MESSIAH
The Name of the Messiah also has a number of varying pronunciations among believers; some understandably diverse and some not so logical or factual.
The Name of the Messiah in modern Hebrew looks like this:
Reading from right to left, the letters are as follows:
The first three letters form part of the tetragrammaton from the Father’s Name YaHW. The Shin is vowel pointed with a Qibbuts giving us a Shu. And the final letter being an Ayin is vowel pointed with a Patach giving the Ah sound.
putting it all together gives: ee-ah-oo-shu-ah
Note: there is no emphasis in the ‘H’ in His Name as this appears in Hebrew as a vowel and is no mare than a breathing sound almost rendering the pronunciation: YAHWSHUA.
One of the more common errors of the pronunciation has been passed down from Jewish tradition of not being allowed to speak the Name of Yahweh thereby abbreviating Yahushua’s Name to Y’shua, which in English has been rendered Yeshua. Y’shua in Hebrew simply means ‘salvation’ and the error here is obvious. By obliterating Yah from the Name of the Son, this could be considered blasphemous. See article below:
Some favour the pronunciation:Yahusha assuming that because there is no waw between the shin and the ayin it cannot be Yahushua. Those who follow this premise are obviously not aware of “defective writing” in the Hebrew language. This phenomenon occurs with measured frequency in the Hebrew texts where sometimes a vowel letter is written without the contonant yod (י) or waw (ו). For example the name of Dawid occurs a majority of time in Scripture without the yod. For example here is an exerpt from ‘Basics of Biblical Hebrew’:
The word ‘sha’ does not exist as a stand alone word, whereas ‘shua’ (shin, waw, ayin or shin, ayin) exists in a number of forms and has various meanings ranging from ‘cry for help’ to ‘wealth’ with the root meaning of the word being ‘freedom’. Furthermore, there are a number of names in Scripture that end with ‘shua’ spelled either fully – shin, waw, ayin or defectively – shin, ayin. eg:
Elishua (אלישׁוּע – the full form of Elisha), Malkishua (לכּישׁוּע) , Abishua (אבישׁוּע), Bathshua (בּת־שׁוּע) and of course Joshua – properly Yahoshua (defective: יהושׁע or full: יהושׁוּע)
There is no other names in Scripture other than Elisha (the abbreviated form of Elishua) that end in ‘sha’ that have the meaning of ‘deliverance’ or ‘salvation’ or anything remotely close to the meaning of ‘shua’.
The Name of the Messiah contains the Father’s Name as Scripture says:
John 17:12 “When I was with them in the world, I was guarding them in Your Name which You have given Me…”
The Name of the Messiah means ‘Yahweh is salvation’ – Yahu-shua and is spelled in Hebrew exactly the same as the successor to Mosheh and יהושע (Yahoshua) the son of the High Priest in Zecharyah who was given this prophecy:
Zecharyah 6:11-12 “And you shall take the silver and gold, make a crown, and set it on the head of Yahoshua the son of Yahotsadaq, the kohen ha’gadol, 12 and shall speak to him, saying, ‘Thus said YHWH of hosts, saying, “See, the Man whose name is the Branch! And from His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the Hĕykal of YHWH.”
YAHUSHUA is the Branch prophesied from times of old.
WHAT IS HIS NAME – IF YOU KNOW IT?
by Chris Koster
We have always stood amazed and often critical at the denominations for being bound to their traditional doctrines, for their unwillingness to accept more light. In many cases, this rejection of new light is done for the sake of unity, and in the case of individuals, having the fear of being excommunicated or disturbing the unity of the assembly, loving the praise of men more than the praise of Elohim (Yoch. 12:42-43). Nobody wants to be out in the desert, all by himself. But this attitude of not accepting new light is in direct contrast with Scripture, for we read in Prov 4:18, “But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day”. (NASB). This passage is confirmed in Rev 22:11, “… and the righteous, let him do righteousness still, and the holy, let him be hallowed still,” (Marshall translation of Nestle Text). This word still (Greek: eti) is often rendered in the KJV as more or further, and has been translated in the sense of increase in Rev 22:11 in at lest five different translations.
As True Worshippers, we owe it to Him, who loved us first, Who has purchased our redemption, to walk in the light as He reveals it to us from time to time. When we first met Him and accepted Him as our only Saviour, our only Leader, and our only Teacher, He said: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now.” (Yoch. 16:12). He is the only One that brings more and more light in our lives, for He is our Light. If He brings more light into our lives, let us then walk therein. “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another,” (1 Yoch. 1:7). We need that fellowship!
Here in South Africa, as in the United States, differences have cropped up as to the correct transliteration of the Name. These differences have been the cause of an increasing amount of embarrassment and disunity. And this has compelled us to go right back and start our search all over again. We should not only believe in our Saviour, but we should believe His Word, His Promise in Yoch. 17:26, “… and I … will make it (Thy Name) known; that the (agape) love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.” (NASB). Are we seeking His agape love? Are we seeking this wonderful unity that He prayed for in Yoch. 17? Are we seeing the Fruit of the Light (Eph 5:9 NASB) i.e. goodness and righteousness and truth, in the Body of Messiah? If not, shall we not return to the Light of the world, and ask Him to let his light shine in his Body, even the light of the true Name, so that the agape love and the unity will become a reality in us?
The Grote Winkler Prins Encyclopedie, under the title “Jahwe” (the Dutch transliteration of Yahweh), says that the uncertainty as to the true pronunciation of the Name constantly causes embarrassment to Bible translators. This uncertainty as to the true pronunciation of the Name, although not always admitted, has been a major cause for sincere Bible scholars to remain satisfied with the traditional substitute for the Name, even although we might think that they have just been obstinate by not accepting that which we proclaim. Although we are seemingly content with the Name Yahweh, our elders to admit that we are not 100% sure. Some professor of Hebrew stated that we are 99.9% sure of the correctness of the form Yahweh. Many brethren and Hebrew scholars have expressed their openness to further light. But a truth that is only 99.9% correct cannot be the truth! If it is not 100% correct, it is a marred truth.
And we, like most of us, after ascertaining that the form Jehovah was incorrect, were content with the form Yahweh. But because of the little bit of uncertainty as to the 100% correctness, it left a gap, even though small, for the enemy to enter in and sow dissension and strife. The result was doubt, insecurity, embarrassment, dismay and discouragement. We need the Unity, we need the Love, therefore we need the Truth about His Name. And only our Saviour can reveal it! Let us open our minds to new evidence and search for more light.
From the evidence that was revealed to us, we came to the conclusion that the correctness of the form Yahweh is not 99.9%, but only 75%. Josephus, in his Wars of the Jews, Book 5, chapter 5, 7, was quite clear in stating that the Name “consists of four vowels.” Why then do we, who freely quote this statement of Josephus, accept the form Yahweh, which contains a consonant, W? In our search we discovered that this form Yahweh, originated right back in the year 1567. In G.H. Parke-Taylor’s book Yahweh: The Divine Name In The Bible, p. 79, we read that Genebrardus, in 1567, was the first to suggest the pronunciation, Jahve, largely on the strength of Theodoret’s assertion that the Samaritans used the pronunciation Iabe, subsequent to the time when pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton was stopped by the Jews. Bible scholars1 who made a study of the Tetragrammaton, concluded that the Samaritans were wrong with their rendering, Iabe, and Dr M Reisel states that the form Iabe is of no value. The form Iabe is of course inconsistent with Josephus’ statement that the Name consists of four vowels. We can thus see how the form Yahweh started on the basis of an erroneous form, Iabe. In 1815 Prof. Wilhelm Gesenius further promoted the form Yahweh, and this is how we have accepted it, and this has become a tradition amongst us.
Let us analyse the Tetragrammaton, יהוה
Y a vowel, is equivalent to the Greek I and to the English Y. That is accepted by everybody.
H used as the second and fourth vowel. It is ah in the second letter of the Name, as is accepted by most scholars. But in the fourth letter of the Name it is eh, equal to the Greek e, which is pronounced as the e in met, because of the Greek transliteration of the Name by Clement and in the Papyri2.
W the third letter, a vowel, according to Josephus, and rendered ou in the Greek transliteration Iaoue, and should therefore be rendered as U(pronounced oo) in the English, because the Greek ou is pronounced oo.
In other words, adhering to the directive of Josephus, the Name consists of four vowels, Y, H, W, H and has been transliterated by Clement as Iaoue = I-a-ou-e, pronounced I-A-OO-E, transliterated into English as Y-AH-U-EH (and not Y-AH-W-EH).
In our search, we found that Clement’s form Iaoue was supported by a form Iawouhe (Iaooueh), which was frequently found in the Papyri2. The reason why we were inclined to consider this form Iaoue and the other Greek form is this: We realised that both the Jews and the Greeks were guilty of using a surrogate title instead of the Name. But whenever the Greeks did use the Name, they had no motivation to disguisethe Name, as the Talmudic Jews were determined to do. We found that many eminent scholars, such as Field in his preface to Origen’s Hexapla, state that the W (waw) has the vowel sound of a u. Apart form the influence of the erroneous form Iabe, two other factors contributed to the confusion as to the W. The first is the well known erroneous pronunciation of the waw (W), which developed among the Ashkenazic Jews on the continent of Europe. The second is the earlier inconsistency of the Latin u and v. These were used interchangeably, and only lately have they decided to use the u consistently as the vowel and the v as the consonant. (See any encyclopaedia on “u” and “v’).
But the confusion and deception originated much further back with the Jews who were instructed in the Talmud to hide the Name3 and were determined that the Name must be kept secret4. This was done by substituting the Name, as we all know, but also by disguising it. Arnold, in his excellent Article The Divine Name in Exodus 3:14, J.B.L. vol. xxiv (1905), p. 144 quotes Tamid vii.2, “In the sanctuary they were accustomed to pronounce the Name as it is written; in the town BY DISGUISING IT.”5 (capitals mine). This admission by the Jews came as an important disclosure as to their modus operandi. In other words, these Jews were determined to substitute the Name, and also to disguise it (apparently they were usually too scared to delete and substitute it completely in the Scriptures). This explained to us why the Lamsa Aramaic Bible renders Exodus 3:14 as AHIAH whereas the Massoretes vowel-pointed it to become ehyeh. This also explained to us why the early Greeks transliterated the Name as AIA (Gesenuis and many scholars concluded that the Greeks found this from 2 Mosh. 3:14 and because many scholars mistakenly thought that ehyeh (ahyah) was His Name at some stage). We further discovered that the Murasu tests6from the 5th Century B.C.E. rendered the Yahwistic names starting with Yahu- instead of the Massoretic vowel-pointed Jeho-, e.g. Yahuzabad, instead of Jehozabad and Yahunatanu, instead of Jehonathan. And this finding caused us to propose that the vowel-pointing e o a under the Name, was done for the purpose of disguising, and not for the purpose of substituting the Name with Adonai, as has always been held. (We were never quite happy with the conflicting explanations as to why the e o a differed from the vowels of Adonai).
In our study of the Hebrew in the O.T., we saw that 30 of the O.T. prophets’ Yahwistic names ended with -yahu instead of the commonly translated -yah (or -iah). In fact, the ending -yahu outnumbered the ending -yah about 7:3. This finding disturbed us but also intrigued us. And when we found the evidence of the Murasu texts, as stated above, we started to see a clear picture of how the truth of the W, as a u, was an important revelation as to the correct form. It became obvious to us, that these first three letters of the Name, which were incorporated into the names of these prophets and others in the O.T., were an important clue as to the true pronunciation of the Name. (In the Hebrew text the 49 appearances of the short form YAH, is rendered correctly as such in the Massoretic Text). Further, we found that scholars were intrigued with the few appearances of ani Hu (I am He) in Yesh. 41:4, 43:10, 43:13, 43:25, 46:4 and 48:12. G.H. Parke-Taylor Yahweh: The Divine Name In The Bible pp.70-78, states that “the personal pronoun Hu is virtually a surrogate for the divine Name”. He also quotes P. Harner who sees ani Hu as an abbreviation of ani YHWH. We also read of the so called Trigrammaton, a shorter form of the Tetragrammaton, which is spelt WHY, which appears in the Elephant-papyri and in Mishnah Succah IV 57, transliterated as Yahu. All this evidence gives us firstly a clear indication of the pronunciation of the third letter of the full Name, W, as “u” (oo), and secondly, that the W should not be omitted, neither lose its precision, neither be neglected nor argued away. This becomes very important in the full rendering of our Messiah’s Name, which up to now, has suffered injustice by our traditional Yahshua (as the result of the Septaugint’s incorrect shorted form Joshua).
Further support came when we read in Dr M Reisel’s book, in three places8, that the Frenchman Basset, in 1896, proclaimed the French transliteration of the Name: YAHOUE (the French ‘ou” also being pronounced as “oo”), because of evidence found in the Ethiopian Apocrypha. Do we remember the Ethiopian in Acts 8:27-39 who carried the Glad Tidings back to Ethiopia, and Ethiopia calling themselves a chosen people, keeping the Sabbath up to the 17th Century, when Western “Christians” talked them out of keeping the Sabbath, and Haile Selassie being called: The Lion of Judah?
And the last two confirmatory witnesses finally convinced us;
1 In Grande Encyclopedie, under Jehovah, we read: “Yahveh … the pronunciation is probably more exactly reproduced by writing YAHOUEH.
2 The Oxford English Dictionary under Jehovah, reads: “It is now held that the original name was IaHUeH”. Unfortunately, it then continues and tries to deduct Jahveh or Yahveh from this admission that “It is now held that the original name was IaHUeH”.
To summarise our documentary evidence :
1 Josephus’s statement that the Name consists of four vowels, therefore V is incorrect.
2 The evidence that the Jews changed ahyah into ehyeh, and Yahu– (in names) into Yeho-, in order to disguisethe Name.
3 The Old Testament’s prophets’ names ending with -yahu in 70% of cases.
4 The incorrect rendering of Yahveh which started with the Samaritan’s erroneous form Iabe.
5 The scholars drawing our attention to the proposition that they make, vix the Hu (He) being a shortened surrogate of the Name, virtually an equivalent, thereby enhancing our conviction that the “u” is an integral and not-to-be-deleted part of the Name.
6 Clement’s transliteration of the Name Iaoue (pronounced: Yahueh with the “eh” pronounced “e’ as in “met”) which is strongly supported by other Greek papyri’s form Iawouhe.
7 The evidence of the Ethiopian Apocrypha, reported by Basset: YAHOUE.
8 The confirmation of Grande Encyclopedie: YAHOUEH.
9 The startling conclusion of The Oxford English Dictionary: IaHUeH.
Now that we have assurance of the Father’s Name, we can easily find the Saviour’s Name. All authorities, without exception, agree that Jesus was not the original Name. Most of these authorities render the original Name as Jehoshua or Yehoshua. But after the evidence we found, we can now for certain declare His Name as YAHUSHUA, because of the Scriptural proof we find in Yoch. 17:11 and 12 in all the translations, except for the KJV which used the less accurate Textus Receptus.
This revelation from authoritative sources was a confirmation of what the Spirit revealed to some of our brethren and sisters many years ago. We realised how we have resisted the guidance of the Ruach ha Qodesh, who revealed the Name Yahushua through a young little sister and her elder brother in 1942, speaking in tongues, here in South Africa. Later the Name Yahueh (Yahuweh) was revealed to another set-apart sister in the same house.
Finally, we would like to witness as to the wonderful way in which Yahuweh has blessed the proclaiming of this Truth. All the brethren who heard it here in South Africa have hitherto accepted it in a sweet spirit, which has seldom been experienced before. And now, for the first time can we look at the Hebrew spelling of the Name of the Father, and the Name of the Son, and KNOW that He has made His Father’s Name known to us! We now have the peace of mind that we no longer need to argue away or suppress any jot or title from His Name, or His Son’s Name. The veil that has disguised it, has been taken away. The veil that has blurred it, has been taken away!
1. Dr M. Reisel The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., pp. 56- 58.
2. a) ibid. pp. 36-37
b) B. Alfrink O.T.S., 1948, PP. 45-46.
c) F.G. Kenyon Greek Papyri in the British Museum London 1893 I. 80 no. 46, 469 ff.
3. Pesahim 50a.
4. Kiddushin 71a.
5. Arnold The Divine Name in Ex. 3:14 J.B.L., vol. XXIV (19t4.05).
6. a) Driver, Z.A.W. XLVI (1928) p. 12.
b) Stolper, American Schools of Oriental Research Bulletin (1976).
c) Reisel, The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., p. 43.
d) Coogan, West Semitic Personal names in Murasu Documents.
7. Reisel , The Mysterious Name of Y.H.W.H., p. 60.
8. ibid. p. 38, p. 40, p. 74.
9. Eerdmans O.T.S. (1948) p. 22.