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"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3(1611 King James Version)
"Jehovah" at Exodus 6:3
(1611 King James Version)

Jehovah (pronounced /dʒɨˈhoʊvə/) is an English reading of יְהֹוָה, the most frequent form of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, the name of God in the Hebrew Bible. It is a direct phonetic transliteration based on the Hebrew Bible text with vowel points handed down by the Masoretes. Jehovah is the English rendition of the Hebrew Yahovah. Many scholars use the name Yahweh over Jehovah claiming that it is closer to the original. Many names in the bible use 'Jeho' in them, proving that the Hebrews used the name Jehovah and not Yahweh.

The name Jehovah is translated into the King James Bible as the LORD, in capitals. The name Jehovee is GOD, in capitals. Elohim is God, and Adonai is Lord.


Early modern arguments

In the 16th and 17th centuries, various arguments were presented for and against the transcription of the form Jehovah.

Discourses rejecting Jehovah

Author Discourse Comments
John Drusius (Johannes Van den Driesche) (1550-1616) Tetragrammaton, sive de Nomine Die proprio, quod Tetragrammaton vocant (1604) Drusius stated "Galatinus first led us to this mistake ... I know [of] nobody who read [it] thus earlier..").[1]
An editor of Drusius in 1698 knows of an earlier reading in Porchetus de Salvaticis however.[2]
John Drusius wrote that neither יְהֹוָה nor יֱהֹוִה accurately represented God's name.[]
Sixtinus Amama (1593–1659)[] De nomine tetragrammato (1628) [3] Sixtinus Amama, was a Professor of Hebrew in the University of Franeker. A pupil of Drusius. [4]
Louis Cappel (1585–1658) De nomine tetragrammato (1624) Lewis Cappel reached the conclusion that Hebrew vowel points were not part of the original Hebrew language. This view was strongly contested by John Buxtorff the elder and his son.
James Altingius (1618–1679) Exercitatio grammatica de punctis ac pronunciatione tetragrammati

Discourses defending Jehovah

Author Discourse Comments
Nicholas Fuller (1557–1626) Dissertatio de nomine יהוה Nicholas was a Hebraist and a theologian. [5]
John Buxtorf (1564–1629) Disserto de nomine JHVH (1620); Tiberias, sive Commentarius Masoreticus (1664) John Buxtorf the elder [6] opposed the views of Elia Levita regarding the late origin (invention by the Masoretes) of the Hebrew vowel points, a subject which gave rise to the controversy between Louis Cappel and his (e.g. John Buxtorf the elder's) son, Johannes Buxtorf II the younger.
Johannes Buxtorf II (1599–1664) Tractatus de punctorum origine, antiquitate, et authoritate, oppositus Arcano puntationis revelato Ludovici Cappelli (1648) Continued his father's arguments that the pronunciation and therefore the Hebrew vowel points resulting in the name Jehovah have divine inspiration.
Thomas Gataker (1574–1654)[7] De Nomine Tetragrammato Dissertaio (1645) [8] See Memoirs of the Puritans Thomas Gataker.
John Leusden (1624–1699) Dissertationes tres, de vera lectione nominis Jehova John Leusden wrote three discourses in defense of the name Jehovah. [9]

Summary of discourses

In A Dictionary of the Bible (1863), William Robertson Smith summarized these discourses, concluding that "whatever, therefore, be the true pronunciation of the word, there can be little doubt that it is not Jehovah".[] Despite this, he consistently uses the name Jehovah throughout his dictionary and when translating Hebrew names. Some examples include Isaiah [Jehovah's help or salvation], Jehoshua [Jehovah a helper], Jehu [Jehovah is He]. In the entry, Jehovah, Smith writes: "JEHOVAH (יְהֹוָה, usually with the vowel points of אֲדֹנָי; but when the two occur together, the former is pointed יֱהֹוִה, that is with the vowels of אֱלֹהִים, as in Obad. i. 1, Hab. iii. 19:"[] This practice is also observed in many modern publications, such as the New Compact Bible Dictionary (Special Crusade Edition) of 1967 and Peloubet's Bible Dictionary of 1947.

Usage in English

The following works render the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah, either exclusively or occasionally:

  • William Tyndale, in his 1530 translation of the first five books of the English Bible, at Exodus 6:3 renders the divine name as Iehovah. In his foreword to this edition he wrote: "Iehovah is God's name... Moreover, as oft as thou seeist LORD in great letters (except there be any error in the printing) it is in Hebrew Iehovah."
  • The Authorized King James Version, 1611: four times as the personal name of God (in all capitals): Exodus 6:3; Psalm 83:18; Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:4; and three times in place names: Genesis 22:14; Exodus 17:15; and Judges 6:24.
  • Young's Literal Translation by J.N. Young, 1862, 1898 renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah 6,831 times.
  • In the Emphatic Diaglott, 1864, a translation of the New Testament by Benjamin Wilson, the name Jehovah appears 18 times.
  • The English Revised Version, 1885, renders the Tetragrammaton as JEHOVAH (in all capitals) 12 times, as the personal name of God, in all the places that the King James Version renders it, and also in Exodus 6:2,6,7,8; Psalm 68:20; Isaiah 49:14; Jeremiah 16:21; Habakkuk 3:19.
  • The Darby Bible, by John Nelson Darby renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah 6,810 times.
  • The American Standard Version, 1901, renders the Tetragrammaton as Je-ho’vah in 6,823 places in the Old Testament.
  • The Modern Reader's Bible, 1914, by Richard Moulton, uses Jehovah at Ps.83:18; Ex.6:2-9; Ex.22:14; Ps.68:4; Jerm.16:20; Isa.12:2 and Isa. 26:4.
  • The New English Bible, published by Oxford University Press, 1970: e.g. Gen 22:14; Exodus 3:15,16; 6:3; 17:15; Judges 6:24
  • The Living Bible, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Illinois 1971, uses Jehovah extensively, as in the 1901 American Standard Version, on which it is based.
  • The Bible in Living English, by Steven T. Byington, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1972, renders the word Jehovah throughout the Old Testament, as the proper name for God, over 6,800 times.
  • The Bible in Today's English (Good News Bible), published by the American Bible Society, 1976, uses The Lord in its translation, stating in its preface, "the distinctive Hebrew name for God (usually transliterated Jehovah or Yahweh) is in this translation represented by 'The Lord'." A footnote to Exodus 3:14 states, "Yahweh, traditionally transliterated as Jehovah."
  • The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, published by the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1961 and revised 1984: Jehovah appears 7,210 times, comprising 6,973 instances in the Old Testament, and 237 times in the New Testament where the Tetragrammaton does not appear in Greek.
  • Green's Literal Translation (1985) by Jay P. Green, Sr., renders the Tetragrammaton as Jehovah 6,866 times.

Recent English translations, including the New Jerusalem Bible (1985), the Amplified Bible (1987), the New Living Translation (1996), the English Standard Version (2001), and the Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004) use Yahweh, rather than Jehovah.

Following the Middle Ages, many Catholic churches and public buildings across Europe were decorated with the name, Jehovah. For example, the Coat of Arms of Plymouth (UK) City Council bears the Latin inscription, "Turris fortissima est nomen Jehova",[] derived from {{#if:| }}Proverbs 18:10.

Jehovah has been a popular English word for the personal name of God for several centuries. Christian hymns[] feature the name. Some religious groups, notably Jehovah's Witnesses[][] and the King-James-Only movement, make prominent use of the name.

Greek and Latin sources

Image:Bible Greek Vamvas Jehovah.JPG
Neophytus Vamvas (1770-1856), translation of the Bible into modern Greek

Under the heading "יהוה c. 6823", the editors of the Brown-Driver-Briggs Lexicon write that Template:Hebrew occurs 6,518 times in the Masoretic Text and that it is read as "Adonai" or "Elohim".[]

Greek transcriptions similar to "Jehovah"

  • Ιουώ (Iouō, Template:IPA-el): Pistis Sophia<rsup>[]</sup> (2nd century)
  • Ιεού (Ieou, Template:IPA-el): Pistis Sophia[] (2nd century)
  • Ιεηωουά (Ie-ee-ōoua): Pistis Sophia[] (2nd century)
  • Ιευώ (Ievō): Eusebius[] (c. 315)
  • Ιεωά (Ieōa): Hellenistic magical texts[] (2nd-3rd centuries), M. Kyriakakes[] (2000)
  • Ιεχοβά (like Jehova[h]): Paolo Medici[] (1755)
  • Ιεοβά (like Je[h]ova[h]): Greek Pentateuch[] (1833), Holy Bible translated in modern Greek by Neophytus Vamvas[] (1850)
  • Ιεχωβά (like Jehova[h]): Panagiotes Trempelas[] (1958)

Latin and English transcriptions similar to "Jehovah"

Image:JEHOVA Raymundus Pugio Fidei 1270 a.png
Excerpts from Raymond Martin's Pugio Fidei adversus Mauros et Judaeos (1270, p. 559), containing the phrase "Jehova, sive Adonay, qvia Dominus es omnium" (Jehovah, or Adonay, for you are the Lord of all).[]
Image:Tetragrammaton Lat JOVA Hexapla Prov 3 19.JPG
A Latin rendering of the Tetragrammaton has been the form "Jova", sounding very similar to "Jehovah".
(Origenis Hexaplorum, edited by Frederick Field, 1875.)</small>

Transcriptions of יְהֹוָה similar to Jehovah occurred as early as the 12th century.

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