The Hebrew Bible had five names for God.

Thursday, 2/16/17

Let me speak for one more day on the way the parts of the Old Testament were assembled by the Israelites during their Babylonian captivity between 580 B.C. and 550 B.C.

The priest contributors, and the contributors from each of the twelve tribes had their different names for God. Those differences in the original Hebrew texts are represented by the different English names for God. In Chapter One he is simply called “God.” In Chapter Two and Three he is is the “Lord God.” In Deuteronomy Chapter Six he is called “Jehovah”. In some of the Psalms he is “The Almighty.”

Those English adaptions reflect the different Hebrew words actually used, like, “Elohim,” “Yahweh Elohim,” “El Shaddai.”    

A peculiarity of ancient Hebrew writing was that only the constinents were written. The reader had to guess which vowel sounds fit in. This can lead to misunderstanding, as with verse one of Deuteronomy, Chapter Six where the Hebrew is, “Schma, Israel. YHWH Elohim. YHWH acham!”

Because the First Commandment warned Israelites against taking God’s name in vain, they never openly pronounced the sacred name YHWH. Instead of pronouncing YHWH, they substituted “Adonai,” a simple word for any lord.

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