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Bible Dictionaries

Fausset's Bible Dictionary

Jehovah

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Jahaveh or Υahaveh is probahly the correct form (the vowel pointing in Jehovah is derived from Α-d-o-n-ay ) from the substantive verb haawah (found only six times in the Bible; obsolete in Moses' time; retained in Chaldee and Syriac from a time anterior to the division of the Semitic languages), for the more modern haayah , to be; a proof of the great antiquity of the name: "I AM THAT I AM" is the key of the name (Exodus 3:14), expressing unchanging Being. The name was old and known long before; it appears compounded in Jo-chebed and Mor-iah, and simply in Genesis 2 and afterward. But its significance in relation to God's people was new, and now first becoming experimentally known. (See GENESIS; GOD; EXODUS.)

Exodus 6:2-3; "I am JEHOVAH, and I appeared unto Abraham,... by the name of God Almighty (Εl-Shaddai ), but by My name JEHOVAH was I not known": its full and precious import is only now about to be revealed. To the patriarchs He was known, when giving the promises, as GOD, Almighty to fulfill them (Genesis 17:1); to Moses as Jehovah unchangeably faithful (Malachi 3:6) in keeping them; compare Hebrews 13:8, which identifies Jesus with Jehovah. Εlohim can do all that He wills; Υahweh will do all that He has promised. Εlohim (the plural expressing the fullness of God's powers) is appropriate to creation (Genesis 1 - 2:3); JEHOVAH ELOHIM to paradise and to the covenant of grace at the fall; the combination identifies the Jehovah of the moral government with the Elohim of creation.

If JEHOVAH had been a name of more recent introduction, the whole nation would never have accepted it with such universal reverence. Elohim appears in the trial of Abraham's faith (Genesis 22); Jehovah, in its triumph. The last 19 chapters of Genesis, from Jacob's meeting the angels and Esau, have Elohim alone (except in the history of Judah and Pharez, Genesis 38; and Joseph's first entrance into Egypt, Genesis 39; and Jacob's dying exclamation, Genesis 49:18; the beginning and close of the long period of sorrow and patient waiting) to prepare by contrast for the fuller revelation to Moses, when Jehovah is made known in its full and experimental preciousness. "To be made known" (Exodus 6:3) means to be manifested in act (Psalms 9:17; Psalms 48:3-6), making good in fact all that was implied in the name (Ezekiel 20:9) (nodatiy ).

The name was not new to Israel, for it occurs before Exodus 6:3 in Exodus 3:16; Exodus 4:1. ELOHIM, from aalah "to be strong" (Furst), rather than from Arabic aliha , "astonishment", alaha , "worship" (Hengstenberg), the Deity, expresses His eternal power and Godhead manifested in nature, commanding our reverence; JEHOVAH the Personal God in covenant with His people, manifesting boundless mercy, righteousness, and faithfulness to His word. So "Immanuel" is used not of the mere appellation, but of His proving in fact to be what the name means (Isaiah 7:14). The "I AM" (Exodus 3:14) is to be filled up thus: I am to My people all whatever they want. Prayer is to supply the ellipsis, pleading God's covenanted promises: light, life, peace, salvation, glory, their exceeding great reward, etc. I am all that My word declares, and their threefold nature, body, soul, and spirit, requires. I am always all this to them (John 8:58). "Before Abraham began, to be (Greek) I am" (Matthew 28:20).

The Jews by a misunderstanding of Leviticus 24:16 ("utters distinctly" instead of "blasphemeth") fear to use the name, saying instead "the name," "the four lettered name," "the great and terrible name." So Septuagint, Vulgate, and even KJV (except in four places "Jehovah": Isaiah 12:2; Isaiah 26:4; Exodus 6:3; Psalms 83:18) has "THE LORD," which in CAPITALS represents JEHOVAH, in small letters Adonai. Maimonides restricts its use to the priests' blessings and to the sanctuary; others to the high priest on the day of atonement, when entering the holy of holies. The Samaritans pronounced the name Υabe (Theodoret); found also in Epiphanius; Υahu in such names as Obadiah (Obad-yahu).

So that Jahveh (or Υahveh or Υahweh ) seems the correct pronunciation. The Hebrew said the Elohim, in opposition to false gods; but never the Jehovah, for Jehovah means the true God only. Again, My God, Εlohay , but not My Jehovah, for Jehovah by itself means this covenant relation to one. Again, the Elohim of Israel; but not the Jehovah of Israel, for there is no other Jehovah. Again, the living Elohim, but not the living Jehovah; for Jehovah means this without the epithet. Jehovah is in Old Testament the God of redemption. The correlative of Elohim is man, of Jehovah redeemed man. Elohim is God in nature, Jehovah God in grace (Exodus 34:6-7).

Elohim is the God of providence; Jehovah is the God of promise and prophecy; hence, the prophets' formula is, "thus saith Jehovah," not Elohim. Elohim is wider in meaning, embracing the representatives of Deity, angels and human judges and rulers (Psalms 82:6; John 10:34-35). Jehovah is deeper, the incommunicable name. The more frequent use of the name Jehovah from Samuel's time is due to the religious revival then inaugurated, and to the commencement of the regular school of prophets. In the first four verses of the Bhagavat God says to Brahma, "I was at first ... afterward I AM THAT WHICH IS, and He who must remain am I." (Sir W. Jones).

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Jehovah'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/j/jehovah.html. 1949.

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