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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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יהוה , the proper and incommunicable name of the Divine Essence. That this divine name, Jehovah, was well known to the Heathens, there can be no doubt. Sanchoniathon writes Jebo; Diodorus, the Sicilian, Macrobius, St. Clemens Alexandrinus, St. Jerom, and Origen, pronounce Jao; Epiphanius, Theodoret, and the Samaritans, Jabe, Jave. We likewise find in the ancients, Jahoh, Javo, Javu, Jaod. The Moors call their god Jaba, whom some believe to be the same as Jehovah. The Latins, in all probability, took their Javis, or Jovis Pater, from Jehovah.

The Jews, after their captivity in Babylon, out of an excessive and superstitious respect for this name, left off to pronounce it, and thus lost the true pronunciation. The Septuagint generally renders it Κυριος , "the Lord." Origen, St. Jerom, and Eusebius, testify that in their time the Jews left the name of Jehovah written in their copies in Samaritan characters, instead of writing it in the common Chaldee or Hebrew characters; which shows their veneration for this holy name: and the fear they were under, lest strangers, who were not unacquainted with the Chaldee letters and language, should discover and misapply it. The Jews call this name of God the Tetragrammaton, or the name with four letters. It would be waste of time and patience to repeat all that has been said on this incommunicable name: it may not be amiss, however, to remind the reader,

1. That although it signifies the state of being, yet it forms no verb.

2. It never assumes a plural form.

3. It does not admit an article, or take an affix.

4. Neither is it placed in a state of construction with other words;

though other words may be in construction with it.

It seems to be a compound of יה , the essence, and הוה , existing; that is, always existing; whence the word eternal appears to express its import; or, as it is well rendered, "He who is, and who was, and who is to come,"

Revelation 1:4 ; Revelation 11:17 ; that is, eternal, as the schoolmen speak, both a parte ante, and a parte post. Compare John 8:58 . It is usually marked by an abbreviation, י , in Jewish books, where it must be alluded to. It is also abbreviated in the term יה , Jah, which, the reader will observe, enters into the formation of many Hebrew appellations. See JAH .

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Jehovah'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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