(Isa 64:2) The name was in fact known and used by pagan nations both in pre-Common Era times and in the early centuries of the Common Era. If so, this was poor reasoning, as it is obvious that the more mysterious the name became through disuse the more it would suit the purposes of practicers of magic. 326) It regularly presents the Tetragrammaton, written in square Hebrew characters, in each case of its appearance in the Hebrew text being translated. The Jewish Mishnah, a collection of rabbinic teachings and traditions, is somewhat more explicit.Just as the reason or reasons originally advanced for discontinuing the use of the divine name are uncertain, so, too, there is much uncertainty as to when this superstitious view really took hold. This theory, however, is based on a supposed reduction in the use of the name by the later writers of the Hebrew Scriptures, a view that does not hold up under examination. This papyrus is dated by scholars as being from the first century B. E., and thus it was written four or five centuries earlier than the manuscripts mentioned previously.—See So, at least in written form, there is no sound evidence of any disappearance or disuse of the divine name in the B. Its compilation is credited to a rabbi known as Judah the Prince, who lived in the second and third centuries C. Some of the Mishnaic material clearly relates to circumstances prior to the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 C. Of the Mishnah, however, one scholar says: “It is a matter of extreme difficulty to decide what historical value we should attach to any tradition recorded in the Mishnah.The purpose of words is to transmit thoughts; in English the name Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes. Many modern scholars and Bible translators advocate following the tradition of eliminating the distinctive name of God.They not only claim that its uncertain pronunciation justifies such a course but also hold that the supremacy and uniqueness of the true God make unnecessary his having a particular name.Taken for what they are worth, these traditional views may reveal a superstitious tendency to avoid using the divine name sometime before Jerusalem’s temple was destroyed in 70 C. Even then, it is primarily the priests who are explicitly said to have used a substitute name in place of the divine name, and that only in the provinces.
Non-Biblical Hebrew documents, such as the so-called Lachish Letters, show the name was used in regular correspondence in Palestine during the latter part of the seventh century B. However, Jehovah himself said that he would ‘have his name declared in all the earth’ (Ex ; compare 1Ch , 24; Ps 113:3; Mal , 14), to be known even by his adversaries. 119) Another claim is that the purpose was to protect the name from use in magical rites. Josephus, a Jewish historian from a priestly family, when recounting God’s revelation to Moses at the site of the burning bush, says: “Then God revealed to him His name, which ere then had not come to men’s ears, and of which I am forbidden to speak.” (II, 276 [xii, 4]) Josephus’ statement, however, besides being inaccurate as to knowledge of the divine name prior to Moses, is vague and does not clearly reveal just what the general attitude current in the first century was as to pronouncing or using the divine name.Still, there is by no means unanimity among scholars on the subject, some favoring yet other pronunciations, such as “Yahuwa,” “Yahuah,” or “Yehuah.” Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah” in favor of some other suggested pronunciation.If such a change were made, then, to be consistent, changes should be made in the spelling and pronunciation of a host of other names found in the Scriptures: Jeremiah would be changed to (as in Greek).1561, 1562.) The very frequency of the appearance of the name attests to its importance to the Bible’s Author, whose name it is. When a person puts his ‘name’ upon a thing or another person the latter comes under his influence and protection.”—) is applied to Jehovah, the true God, and also to false gods, such as the Philistine god Dagon (Jg , 24; 1Sa 5:7) and the Assyrian god Nisroch.Its use throughout the Scriptures far outnumbers that of any of the titles, such as “Sovereign Lord” or “God,” applied to him. Manley points out: “A study of the word ‘name’ in the O[ld] T[estament] reveals how much it means in Hebrew. (2Ki ) For a Hebrew to tell a Philistine or an Assyrian that he worshiped “God [he means Jehovah. The same is true of the Greek term for God, It was applied alike to the true God and to such pagan gods as Zeus and Hermes (Roman Jupiter and Mercury).Just what basis was originally assigned for discontinuing the use of the name is not definitely known.Some hold that the name was viewed as being too sacred for imperfect lips to speak. The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek ). (Isa 42:8; 54:5) Though Scripturally designated by such descriptive titles as “God,” “Sovereign Lord,” “Creator,” “Father,” “the Almighty,” and “the Most High,” his personality and attributes—who and what he is—are fully summed up and expressed only in this personal name.—Ps . “Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars.E., Jewish scholars introduced a system of points to represent the missing vowels in the consonantal Hebrew text.When it came to God’s name, instead of inserting the proper vowel signs for it, they put other vowel signs to remind the reader that he should say (Ge , ftn) Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation.