The English word Jehovah was used by the translators of the King James Version in referring to the Hebrew name for God. However, this word form was an improper interpretation which resulted from a lack of understanding regarding the Jewish scribal rules as practiced by the Masoretes.

The Masoretes, in an attempt not to profane God’s name, used an alternative or hybrid form of the word in order to preserve the holiness and sacredness of God’s name when pronounced.

This word derivative evolved by using the tetragrammaton YHWH  which are the four consonants of God’s name and combined them with the vowel signs  for Lord (Adonai) which resulted in the word “Y’howah”.

The name of God was further altered by using the English transliteration of the word Jehovah which was not always consistent in every scriptural reference and therefore the usage of this name had alternative forms as recorded in the Masoretic text.

So today when a Jew vocally reads from the Tanakh and he comes across the Hebrew name for God ( יהוה )  he will not pronounce God’s name but instead he will substitute the word for Lord(אדני) in its place.

Religious Jews whenever they invoke God’s name in a personal conversation will only say God, Lord, or HaShem(The Name). They wouldn’t even think of trying to pronounce God’s actual name or its hybrid form.

Also when Jews write the name of God they use the words L-rd / G-d instead of Lord or God out of respect for His name.

All these conceptual ideas originated and were practiced by the Jews who were the original bearers of the ancient Hebrew text. On this point an individual can differ on whether or not they are right in keeping with these scribal laws but one thing is for certain and that is that God’s name was never Jehovah and therefore no ancient Israelite would have ever used or understood this name when referring to God. In addition to this, there aren’t any ancient Hebrew consonants that would reflect a sound for the letter “J”.

Dr. Michael Brown, who has his PhD in Semitic languages, along with other leading scholars interpret God’s name as being Yahweh and to pronounce it in English it would sound more like Jahveh.

If a person really wants to more accurately speak God’s real name you would need to pronounce it according to its original Hebraic context which is definably more accurate based on the biblical text. The reason for the proper usage of names in Hebrew is because the words being uttered have symbolic meaning which in this case was relevant to God’s character. The name of God was never understood to have some type of meaning based on a mystical experience of uttering or chanting  meaningless sounds nor was it a matter of formulating a  phonetically or rhythmic style of wording that only had a sense of aesthetic value but  rather a name served as a purposeful or defining feature to the individual.

The etymology of God’s name based on the Hebrew word interprets His name as the causative form of the root” to be” which depicts Him as the One who causes things to be or who makes things happen.

Another example to the significance of using biblical names is reflected in the name of Jesus or Yeshua(ישוע) which is the Hebrew-Aramaic form of His name. Yeshua is a shortened form of the English word Joshua (Yehoshua) which means Yahweh is salvation.

In conclusion, if the accuracy of using God’s name holds a specific value due to its proper pronouncement and usage and therefore becomes a critical element in properly identifying God or representing a movement then the English transliterated word Jehovah only becomes a distortion  and an inaccuracy when pronouncing His name.

In reality I am not even sure if we precisely know how to pronounce God’s name so therefore the most correct use or proper way of handling God’s literal name is by avoiding the pitfalls of vocalization by keeping to the simplicity of the written word in designating God’s name as יהוה and even this is not completely adequate since the Hebrew script has undergone various transitional changes down through the ages of time.

Finally in being a witness of God’s name, it is far less critical in adjusting the fine tuning of semantics with all of its rigors of speech and script than it is to accurately portray a biblical concept of the grandeur of His glorious person and work which should leave us with a sense of awe beyond the confines of speech.


How to know God

Jehovah’s Witness Resources

More articles on Jehovah’s Witness

2 Responses to “Jehovah”

  1. Kouba says:

    Hmm… I read blogs on a similar topic, but i never visited your blog. I added it to favorites and i’ll be your constant reader.

  2. says:

    I agree, this is a best article.A successful blog needs unique, useful content that interests the readers

Leave a Reply