Christian Cyclopedia

About the Cyclopedia


(Yahweh; Jehovah). The Heb. consonants of this name of God are JHWH. Because of its sacredness, this name was usually not pronounced in ancient times; adonai (Heb. “Lord”) was substituted. Early Gk. versions of the OT use kyrios (“Lord”) for this name. Many Eng. translations use “the Lord.” Masoretes (see Masorah) added vowels to the Heb. text. The vowels of adonai were added to JHWH, resulting in JaHoWaH, “Jehovah.”

The name was revealed to Moses, Ex 3. Three consonants of 'eHJeH (Heb. “I will be,” Ex 3:12, where God's saving presence is promised; “I am,” Ex 3:14), namely HJH (older root form of the verb: HWH), run parallel to HWH in JHWH (Ex 3:15).

To call on the name of Jahweh (e.g., Jl 2:32) is to call on God Himself. To speak in the name of Jahweh or to bless or curse in His name is to invoke Him and His power. The 2d Commandment forbids taking the name “Jahweh” lightly or in vain. Men should rather use this name in praise (hallelu-jah, Heb. “praise-Jah[weh]”) and hallow it (cf. 1st Petition of the Lord's Prayer).

See also Hallelujah.

O. Grether, Name und Wort Gottes im Alten Testament (Giessen, 1934); J. A. Motyer, The Revelation of the Divine Name (London, 1959); A. Murtonen, A Philological and Literary Treatise on the Old Testament Divine Names (Helsinki, 1952); E. C. B. MacLaurin, “YHWH: The Origin of the Tetragrammaton,” Vetus Testamentum, XII (1962), 439–463. JHS

Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
©Concordia Publishing House, 2000, All rights Reserved. Reproduced with Permission

Internet Version Produced by
The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod

Original Editions ©Copyright 1954, 1975, 2000
Concordia Publishing House
All rights reserved.

Content Reproduced with Permission

Stay Connected! Join the LCMS Network:

Contact Us Online
(Staff Switchboard)
(Church Info Center)
1333 S Kirkwood Rd
Saint Louis, MO 63122-7226 | Directions


Featured Publication

The Lutheran Witness

LCMS Communications

Interpreting the contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.
Visit TLW Online