Meaning of Yahweh

What is Yahweh:

Yahweh it is one of the names by which God is designated in the Bible of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

etymologicallythe word comes from the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHWHcomposed of four Hebrew consonants (iod, hei, vav, hei, respectively).

In fact, in the Exoduswhen Moses asks God what his real name is, the transcription of the answer in Hebrew is YHVH, which has been translated ‘I am who I am’ (Exodus, 3: 14). So this would also be the name that God gives himselfhis sacred name.

However, this name, written with four consonants, constitutes a problem for its pronunciation today. But why?

It turns out that in ancient Hebrew, the vowels of words were not written, but only the consonants, so that people had to know, by memory or by tradition, with which vowels they had to complete the pronunciation.

However, the original pronunciation of the word could not come down to us, since the Jews were forbidden to pronounce the true name of God. So, out of respect, to avoid enunciation, people said Adonay (meaning ‘the Lord’) when reading sacred texts or referring to God.

See also:

  • Adonai
  • God

Hence, hundreds of years later, the Israelites themselves have ended up forgetting the original pronunciation of the name of God, to the point that, for us, thousands of years later, it is practically impossible to determine for sure how the name of God was heard. God in Hebrew.

The most recent speculations and studies of scholars, however, have determined that the closest pronunciation would be Yahweh.

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The deep meaning, on the other hand, of Yahweh or, as it has been interpreted, ‘I am who I am’, would be related to the need to put an end to polytheism and idolatry, which at that time was the most common type of belief among the peoples, to pass to a monotheistic religion, which only accepts the belief of a single God, above the others. Theory reinforced by another of the affirmations of God in the Exodus: “You shall have no other gods before me” (20:3).

Yahweh or Jehovah?

Yahweh and Jehovah are names by which God is designated in the Bible. Both are derivations of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton YHVH. Because it was forbidden to pronounce God’s divine name among the Jews, the actual pronunciation of YHVH, written with four consonants but no vowels, was lost to time.

Yahweh it is, therefore, the pronunciation that, according to scholars, is considered closest to the original. Jehovah, for its part, would be a combination of the vowels of Adonay, an ancient denomination that the Jews also gave to God, and the consonants of YHVH. In addition to this, both designations for God differ in that Yahweh is the denomination used in the Catholic bibles and Jehovah in the evangelical ones.

See also Jehovah.