God's private name of "Yahweh" meant "I am."

Thursday, 7/14/11

God told Moses that his name is Yahweh, which means “I am,” or they say maybe it is more like “He who causes others to be.”

I like thinking of two meanings for “I am.”

One is that he is a blank check that we must fill in. “He am good.” “He am just.” “He am wise.” “He am beautiful.

The other meaning of “I am” is that there is no “I was,” or “I will be.” He is changeless.

When the Book of Exodus was composed the Hebrews only wrote consonants, presuming that the reader would know the word well enough to supply the vowels.

That led to a difficulty with the name Yahweh. They wrote the Hebrew equivalent of Y H W H without ever pronouncing it, since the Commandments forbade their taking the name of the Lord in vain.

When they came to the Y H W H in reading, they just substituted a Canaanite name for a lord, which was Adonah. That led to a mistake.

Three hundred years ago our persistent German scholars set to work at finding how the Y H W H was originally pronounced. They theorized that since it was replaced with Adonah, that word’s vowel sounds must have fit n between the Y H W H. They concluded that the original name was Yahowa; but since they pronounced Ys like Js, and Ws like Vs they concluded that the original name was Jahova, or Jehovah: a name that never was.

A century after the Germans invented the name Jehova, scholars found Sumerian cuneiform tablets which gave the name "Yahweh." 

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