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The Blue Letter Bible

Don Stewart :: Why Is God Called Yahweh? (Jehovah)

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Don Stewart

The Hebrew words Elohim and Adonai are applied to something other than the true and living God. There is, however, one name that is unique to the God of the Bible. This name is Yahweh-an alternative transliteration is Jehovah. Yahweh refers to "the self-existent, eternal God" the name God revealed to Moses:

And God said to Moses, I AM WHO I AM. And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you' (Exodus 3:14).

Moses later wrote.

The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name (Exodus 15:3).

The prophet Isaiah declared.

I am the LORD; that is my name! I will not give my glory to another or my praise to idols (Isaiah 42:8).

Jeremiah wrote.

Therefore I will teach them - this time I will teach them my power and might. Then they will know that my name is the LORD (Jeremiah 16:21).

Jeremiah also wrote.

This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it -the LORD is his name (Jeremiah 33:2).

The prophet Amos wrote.

He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land - the LORD is his name (Amos 5:8).

In Amos it also says.

The One who builds his upper chambers in the heavens and has founded his vaulted dome over the earth, he who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth, the Lord is his name (Amos 9:6).

Therefore the name Yahweh or Jehovah (Lord) is the name that God uses of Himself.

All Capital Letters In English Translations

In English translations of the Old Testament, whenever we find the word Lord spelled LORD with all capital letters, it is the translation of the name Yahweh.

The Vowel Points Were Taken From Adon

The name Jehovah or Yahweh is taken from the consonants of the divine name and the vowels for the Hebrew word for master "Adon." The four letters that spell the divine name (YHWH or JHVH) are called the Tetragrammaton.

Yahweh Is The Sacred Name

The name Yahweh is sacred. The Jews considered as unpronounceable and incommunicable.

Yahweh Is The Covenant Keeping Name

Yahweh is the covenant-keeping name of God. When the creative aspect of God is recorded then the name Elohim is used (Genesis 1). However when there is a relationship involved with humanity the name Yahweh is used (Genesis 2). These differences are consistent throughout the entire Old Testament.

Yahweh Is Used With Other Names For God

Yahweh is used in combination with other names for God.


This is translated "the Lord God." This title is used of God relationship to humanity as the Creator, and Redeemer.

This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the LORD God made the earth and the heavens (Genesis 2:4).

Later, in the same chapter, we read.

So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh at that place (Genesis 2:21).

When Adam and Eve sinned, Yahweh-Elohim made them garments of skin.

The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them (Genesis 3:21).

This name is also used of God's relationship to Israel.

The Lord, the God of heaven, who took me from my father's house and from the land of my birth, and who spoke to me and who swore to me, saying, 'To your descendants I will give this land,' He will send His angel before you, and you will take a wife for my son from there (Genesis 24:7).

Moses also wrote.

God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, `The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations" (Exodus 3:15).

Adonai Yahweh

The combination of Adonai Yahweh is used. Moses said.

O Lord God, you have begun to show your servant your greatness and your strong hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as yours? (Deuteronomy 3:24).

Joshua wrote.

Joshua said, "Alas, O Lord God, why did you ever bring this people over the Jordan, only to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us? If only we had been willing to dwell beyond the Jordan" (Joshua 7:7).

Yahweh Sabaoth - The Lord Of Hosts

He is also known as the Lord of Hosts.

Now this man would go up from his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of hosts in Shiloh (1 Samuel 1:3).

This combination occurs at times with reference to warfare. It occurs mostly when the nation Israel is in some type of crisis. For example we read.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our stronghold (Psalm 46:7).

It also speaks of God' power and glory.

Who is this King of glory? The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory (Psalm 24:10).

The primary idea behind, "hosts" is the angels but the name also refers to the divine power that is available to meet the need of the Lord's people.

The Word Yahweh Implies A Relationship

He is Yahweh only to those who have a relationship with Him. The name Yahweh is used throughout the Old Testament with compound words that describe something of His character.

He Is The Lord Who Provides

Yahweh is the providing God.

And Abraham called the name of the place, The-Lord-Will-Provide (Genesis 22:14).

He Is The Lord Who Heals

He is the Lord who heals.

He said, "If you listen carefully to the voice of the LORD your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the LORD, who heals you (Exodus 15:26)

He Is Our Banner

He is called the Lord our banner.

And Moses built an altar and called it, The LORD is my banner (Exodus 17:15)

Yahweh Is Our Peace

The Lord is also our peace.

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it, The LORD is peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites (Judges 6:24).

He Is A Shepherd

The Lord is the Shepherd to believers.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want (Psalm 23:1).

Yahweh Is The Lord Our Righteousness

He is also the Lord our righteousness.

Now this is his name by which he will be called: THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6).

He Is The Lord Who Is There

When His kingdom comes to this earth, He is the Lord who is there.

The circumference of the city shall be eighteen thousand cubits. And the name of the city from that time on shall be, The LORD is There (Ezekiel 48:35).

Each of these names of the Lord shows how He meets the needs of humanity.

The Divine Qualities Are Stressed With His Name

There are also a number of the divine qualities or attributes of the Lord that is stressed. These include the following.

The Lord Is Mighty

The Lord is mighty.

The Lord shall go forth like a mighty man; he shall stir up his zeal like a man of war. He shall cry out, yes, shout aloud; he shall prevail against his enemies (Isaiah 42:13).

The Lord Is Our Maker

He is the Lord our Maker.

Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker (Psalm 95:6)

The Lord Most High

He is the Lord Most High.

I will praise the Lord according to His righteousness, and will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High (Psalm 7:17)

The Lord Is The Judge

Scripture says that the Lord is the Judge.

Therefore I have not sinned against you, but you wronged me by fighting against me. May the Lord, the Judge, render judgment this day between the children of Israel and the people of Ammon (Judges 11:27).


In the Old Testament the divine name is the Lord. The Hebrew word is pronounced Yahweh or Jehovah. In the English Bible it is spelled with all capital letters LORD. The name is also used in compound form with other divine names. This includes Yahweh-Elohim, Yahweh-Adonai, and Yahweh Sabaoth. The compound forms of the divine name emphasize the various ways in which the Lord relates to humanity. The name Yahweh is the covenant name between God and His people. It is not used of false gods.

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