During our last episode I provided many examples of Biblical names that contained shortened forms of YHVH either at the beginning or at the end. These names are called theophoric names. When combining the beginning and ending shortened forms we got Yehovah. Next week I will make a complete review of our findings but today I want to show to you historical examples of YHVH pointed as Yehovah or in Hebrew:
Before we go further I want to review the consonants and vowels one more time. Remember that we read Hebrew from right to left. The first Letter is a yod with a sheva underneath.
The yod is a Consonant and is pronounced as our “y”. The sheva is not technically a vowel but can act as a vocal vowel or be silent. The rules regarding a sheva are complex, but for our purpose we only need to know that when it begins a word it is vocal. The sound is a short “eh”. Together its “ye”.
Next we have a heh with a cholem above it.
The heh is a consonant pronounced as our “h”. The cholem is a vowel pronounced as a long “o”. Together its “ho”.
Next we have the consonant vav with a qamets.
The consonant vav is pronounced as a “v”. The qamets is a vowel pronounced as a short “a”. Together its “va”.
The last letter is another heh, which in this case is silent. Altogether we have:
Now that we understand the composition of the Name, lets look at more compelling evidence for this pronunciation.
The Leningrad Codex is the oldest complete manuscript of the Hebrew Bible. Codex is Latin for an ancient manuscript in book form. It was written in Cairo around the year 1010. It resides in the National Library of St. Petersburg, Russia. The Leningrad and Aleppo Codex are of the famous Ben Asher family of scribes who lived in Tiberias. The two manuscripts are regarded as the primary codices of the Masoretic tradition. Because the Leningrad Codex is the oldest intact, complete, edition of the Hebrew Bible, it is frequently used as the basis for modern editions such as the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia (BHS). It is the Leningrad Codex (BHS) that underlies most editions of the Modern English Bible including the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the English Standard Version (ESV), the New King James Version (NKJV), and the New International Version (NIV). However, all of these refer to other manuscripts as well for their translations.
There are 52 occurrences of יְהֺוָה (with the vowels) in the Leningrad Codex. Remember there are 6,828 occurrences of יהוה in the Leningrad Codex, yet 52 of these include the missing cholem vowel. Why is this? It’s anyone’s guess, perhaps out of the 6,828 occurrences 52 slipped by the Masoretes without removing one of the vowels. The first occurrence of YHVH with all vowels is Genesis 3:14.
Genesis 3:14 And the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly shall you go, And dust shall you eat All the days of your life; (NAS)
Here is an image of the Leningrad Codex of the same verse. I have circled the vowels in the Tetragrammaton. remember that Hebrew reads from right to left.
The first letter is the yod, י. Directly underneath the yod is a sheva, two vertical dots, which I have circled in red. The sheva, in this case, produces and “eh” sound, as in “yeh”. The next letter is a “heh”, ה. To the top left of the “heh” is a small dot called a “cholem”, again I have identified this vowel with a red circle. The “cholem” produces an “oh” sound. THus far we have “Yeho”. The next letter is a vav, ו. This is a consonant, a “v” sound. Directly underneath the “vav” is another vowel, a “kamatz”. The “kamatz” looks like a small capital letter “T”. This produces an “ah” sound. The last letter is another consonant, “heh”, as we had earlier and it is silent. The complete pronunciation is “Yehovah”.
All Leningrad references with cholem:
Gen. 3:14, 9:26, 18:17, Exod. 3:2, 13:3, 9, 12, 15, 14:1, 8, Lev. 23:34, 25:17, Deut. 31:27, 32:9, 33:12, 13, 1 Ki. 3:5, 16:33, Ps. 15:1, 40:5, 47:6, 100:5, 116:5, 6, Prov. 1:29, Jer. 2:37, 3:1, 13, 21, 22, 23, 25, 4:3, 4, 8, 5:2, 3, 9, 15, 18, 19, 22, 29, 6:9, 8:13, 30:10, 36:8, Ezek. 33:23, 44:5, 46:13, Hos. 10:3, Nah. 1:3
The Leningrad Codex, although complete, is not considered the best quality Hebrew manuscript. The Aleppo Codex ranks first among the Hebrew manuscripts and derives its name from the city in Syria where it had been located. The Codex can be viewed online at aleppocodex.org.
Regarding the Aleppo Codex I know of at least one occurrence of יְהֺוָה, Ezekiel 28:22.
Ezekiel 28:22 and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God, “Behold, I am against you, O Sidon, And I shall be glorified in your midst. Then they will know that I am the LORD, when I execute judgments in her, And I shall manifest My holiness in her. (NAS)
as you can see below YHVH has the same vowel pointing as in the 52 occurrences in the Leningrad Codex.
1611 King James
The King James Version (KJV), also known as Authorized Version (AV) or simply King James Bible (KJB), is an English translation of the Christian Bible for the Church of England begun in 1604 and completed in 1611.
It was first printed by the King’s Printer Robert Barker and was the third translation into English approved by the English Church authorities. The first had been the Great Bible, commissioned in the reign of King Henry VIII (1535), and the second had been the Bishops’ Bible of 1568.
The translation was done by 47 scholars, all of whom were members of the Church of England. In common with most other translations of the period, the New Testament was translated from Greek, the Old Testament from Hebrew and Aramaic, and the Apocrypha from Greek and Latin.
By the first half of the 18th century, the Authorized Version had become effectively unchallenged as the English translation used in Anglican and English Protestant churches, except for the Psalms and some short passages in the Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England. Over the course of the 18th century, the Authorized Version supplanted the Latin Vulgate as the standard version of scripture for English-speaking scholars. (Wikipedia contributors. “King James Version.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 13 Mar. 2017. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.)
The following is an image of the cover page of the 1611 King James Version. A the top of the page I have circled the Tetrgrammaton. Notice the cholem, above the first “heh” from the right. God’s name on this cover has the exact same vowel pointing as the few occurrences observed in the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices. There is no documented history, that I am aware of, as to why the early printings added the vowels as shown.
Here we have the 1611 King James cover page of the New Testament. Notice the same vowel pointing.
The First Bishops Bible
The Bishop’s Bible succeeded the Great Bible of 1539, the first authorized bible in English, and the Geneva Bible of 1557-1560. The Bishops’ Bible is an English translation which was produced under the authority of the established Church of England in 1568. It was substantially revised in 1572, and the 1602 edition was prescribed as the base text for the King James Bible that was completed in 1611. (Wikipedia contributors. “Bishops’ Bible.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.)
Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) in Vienna, Austria
Karlskirche (St. Charles’s Church) is a baroque church located on the south side of Karlsplatz in Vienna, Austria. Widely considered the most outstanding baroque church in Vienna, as well as one of the city’s greatest buildings, Karlskirche is dedicated to Saint Charles Borromeo, one of the great counter-reformers of the sixteenth century.
In 1713, one year after the last great plague epidemic, Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, pledged to build a church for his namesake patron saint, Charles Borromeo, who was revered as a healer for plague sufferers. An architectural competition was announced, in which Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach prevailed over, among others, Ferdinando Galli-Bibiena and Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt. Construction began in 1716 under the supervision of Anton Erhard Martinelli. After J.B. Fischer’s death in 1723, his son, Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach, completed the construction in 1737 using partially altered plans. The church originally possessed a direct line of sight to the Hofburg and was also, until 1918, the imperial patron parish church. (Wikipedia contributors. “Karlskirche.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 20 Jan. 2017. Web. 16 Mar. 2017.)
1617 Reformation Anniversary Medal
Karl IX 1/2 Ore, Sweden, Struck 1599
Denmark, 16 Skilling, 1644
1651 Biblia Sacra Vulgate Holy Bible in Latin
What I have attempted to show is that there are many examples, worldwide, of an understanding that God’s name is pronounced Yehovah. This of itself is not proof but does support the conclusion reached in our last podcast that Biblically, there is evidence for these vowel points and pronunciation. Of course the instances contained the Leningrad and Aleppo Codices offer the most compelling evidence. Next week we’ll put this all together as I summarize our findings.