Dead Sea – Great Isaiah Scroll Isaiah 12:4

Today we begin Part Four of The Name Of God series. In previous episodes we looked at several verses which speak of praising the Name of the LORD, calling upon the Name of the LORD, and also punishment for blaspheming the Name or making vain oaths in the Name of the LORD.

We saw that God has only one proper Name, although we find many titles describing God’s character.

Psalm 83:18 That they may know that You alone, whose name is the LORD, Are the Most High over all the earth.

Isaiah 42:8 “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.

Jeremiah 33:2 “Thus says the LORD who made the earth, the LORD who formed it to establish it, the LORD is His name,

Hosea 12:5 Even the LORD, the God of hosts, The LORD is His name.

Amos 5:8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion And changes deep darkness into morning, Who also darkens day into night, Who calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the surface of the earth, The LORD is His name.

However, his Name is not found in English Bibles. In most mainline English translations the Name of God is translated as LORD, although this is not a translation but merely a substitution for the real Name of God. In an introductory paragraph of my New American Standard Bible the Lockman Foundation describes this translation quirk. They admit to the substitution and that they are not sure what the Name is.

To be precise we have the consonants in our Hebrew manuscripts but not the vowels for the Name, or do we. We may find some indication of God’s name by examining the names of other Biblical characters. Why is this? Because many individuals in the Old Testament were named after God, often times a characteristic of God. These are called theophoric names. Theophoric is a Greek term meaning “bearing god” and is a term used to describe a name that has embedded within it the name of a god, or in our case the Name of the God. Perhaps examining several of these names will give us a clue to to vowels of YHVH and the pronunciation. This is our goal in episode four.

We will examine two types of names, those with God’s name at the beginning and those with His name at the end. Nearly all names in our English Bibles have been transliterated into English, that is not translated but phonetically transcribed to duplicate the pronunciation. These pronunciations have become corrupted in English  but will will correct this based upon the Mastoretic nikudim.

Theophoric Beginning Names

Lets first look at examples of theophoric names that begin with God’s name. We will look at several names then summarize our findings. This first group names also includes the first three consonants of YHVH. As we pronounce these names it will helpful to reference this Hebrew Vowel chart.

Hebrew vowel points. nikud

Hebrew Vowel points, Nikud

Joshua

Joshua is the English transliteration of the Hebrew יהושע. Unfortunately this is a poor transliteration. Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹשֻעַ

Referencing the vowel chart, the correct pronunciation is Yehoshua. This is a compound word, YHVH and yasha, which means saves. The meaning then is YHVH saves. The pronunciation is indisputable, Yehoshua,  with Yeho being a shortened version of God’s name. You may have already guessed but Yeshua is simply a shortened version of Yehoshua.

Jehoshaphat

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹשָפָט

The correct pronunciation is Yehoshaphat. Another compound word, YHVH and shaphat, meaning YHVH judges.

You have likely noticed that every “J” has been changed to a “Y”. The “J” sound does not exist in Hebrew. The letter “J” has an interesting history which you may research yourself but as a quick summation the letter “J” is a modification of the Latin I and dates back with a separate value only to the 15th century. It was first used as a special form of an initial I, the ordinary form being kept for use in other positions. In many cases an initial i had the consonantal value of the English y. The symbol came to be used for the value of y, a value which it still retains in German: Ja, Jung, etc. Initially it is pronounced in English as dzh. The important thing to remember is that the letter “J” has nothing to do with YHVH or Jesus because both these names are of Hebrew origin and not English. Jesus is an English representation of Yeshua.

Jonathan

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹנָתָן

The correct pronunciation is Yehonatan. Another compound word, YHVH and natan, meaning YHVH gives.

Jehoiakim

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹיָקִים

The correct pronunciation is Yehoyakim. Another compound word, YHVH and koom, meaning YHVH raises up.

Jehozadak

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹצָדָק

The correct pronunciation is Yehotsadak. Another compound word, YHVH and tsadaq, meaning YHVH is righteous.

Jehoahaz

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹאָחָז

The correct pronunciation is Yehoachaz. Another compound word, YHVH and achaz, meaning YHVH takes possession.

Jehonadab

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹנָדָב

The correct pronunciation is Yehonadav. Another compound word, YHVH and nadav, meaning YHVH is willing.

Jehoiarib

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְהוֹיָרִיב

The correct pronunciation is Yehoyariv. Another compound word, YHVH and riv, meaning YHVH contends.

Theophoric Ending Names

Now lets turn to Biblical Hebrew names that end with God’s name. In this case including the last consonant of YHVH

Zechariah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

זְכַרְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Zecharyah. Another compound word, zachar and ya, with ya being a shortened version of YHVH. The name means ya remembers or YHVH remembers.

Uriah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

אוּרִיָה

The correct pronunciation is Ooriah. Another compound word, ore and ya, with ya being a shortened version of YHVH. The name means YHVH is light. This a good illustration of, in Hebrew, vowels change when a word is compounded or a prefix or suffix is added. The Hebrew word אור is pronounced or, but with the added letters and vowel the pronunciation changes.

Obadiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

עֹבַדְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Ovadya. Another compound word, avad and ya, with ya being a shortened version of YHVH. The name means servant of YHVH.

Hezekiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

חִזְקִיָה

The correct pronunciation is Chizkiya. Another compound word, chazak and ya. The name means YHVH strengthens.

Ahaziah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

אַחַזְיָהוּ

The correct pronunciation is Achazeyahu. Another compound word, achaz and ya, with ya being a shortened version of YHVH. The name means YHVH possesses. Here we see a personal suffix, ו. Literally then we would have YHVH himself possesses. There are many Biblical names with this ending, yahu.

Hananiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

חַנַנְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Chananeya. Another compound word, chanan and ya. The name means YHVH is merciful.

Jeremiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יִרְמְיָהוּ

The correct pronunciation is Yirmeyahu. Another compound word, rum and ya. The name means YHVH has appointed.

Nehemiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

נְחֶמְיָה

The correct pronunciation is Nechemya. Another compound word, nacham and ya. The name means YHVH comforts.

Isaiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

יְשַעְיָהוּ

This name has been poorly transliterated, the correct pronunciation is Yeshayahu. Another compound word, yasha and ya. The name means YHVH saves.

Mattithiah

Here is the Hebrew with the vowel points:

מַתִתְיָהוּ

Many Jewish names in the New Testament has been transformed into Greek and then English but originated in Hebrew. This is the Hebrew name of Matthew, and would no doubt have been pronounced this way in the days of Yeshua, Matityahu. Another compound word, matat and ya. The name means gift of YHVH.

These are just of few of theophoric in the Hebrew Bible. In addition to the ones we reviewed there are many other variations of theophoric names but these, of which there are many more, reference YHVH as Yehoxxx and xxxya. The forms we reviewed with God’s name at the beginning included the first three consonants, יהו, and those with God’s name at the end, the last consonant, ה. If we were to “plug” these vowels into His Name we would get:

יְהֹוָה

This would be pronounced as Yehovah, but this is not enough to make such a conclusion. We will need to gather more evidence to draw such a conclusion.

Lets look at another Biblical Hebrew word that may be of interest to you.

Hallelujah

הַלְלוּיָה

Haleluyah is another compound word made of halal and ya, which means praise YHVH, or most translations have “praise the LORD”.

I hope you are beginning to see that Yehovah is a possible pronunciation of God’s name. While the evidence thus far is not 100% these theophoric names have provided a very credible possibility.

However, I want you to be aware there are arguments for many other possible pronunciations, all of which I believe fall short. You may research these yourself if you chose to. During our next time together we will dig deeply into the Aleppo and Leningrad Codexes for additional clues.