De Moor IV:6: The Plausibility of Pronouncing יְהוָֹה as "Jehovah"

C. Our AUTHOR thinks that it is preferable that this Name be pronounced by JEHOVAH, rather than by ADONAI, even if the Points be not Genuine;


α. So that the one Name might be distinguished from the other in hearing. For there is a different meaning, and often the greatest emphasis, in the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah, which is not contained in the Names אֲדֹנָי/Adonai and אֱלֹהִים/Elohim, and which is to be attended to by the hearers no less than by the readers, even for the verity of some sayings, comparing Exodus 6:3;[1] Psalm 83:18;[2] Hosea 12:5.[3]


β. So that the Letters might be retained: since it is preferable to retain some part of the written Name, even indeed the undoubtedly principal part, where that is able to be done, than to exchange that completely with another. But, if to the Points added to this Name, which are judged to be alien, you should add yet completely different Letters in reading, of which sort are אֲדֹנָי/Adonai, you now change the entire Name. Contrariwise, if even all the Vowel Points be alien or set in an alien place and order, and yet you retain in reading the Letters themselves, you now preserve not only one part, but the principal part, of the word; since from the Letters (and especially indeed the Radical Letters), which hence are also commonly wont to be written alone, words among the Hebrews and other Easterners are assessed, far more than from the Points, which are added in a variety of ways, not only in different dialects, but often in the same, with the sense of the words remaining the same. The situation is far otherwise than in Greek, Latin, and other European languages, in which the vowels are not Points but Letters, in which also, nevertheless, the same words among the various receive various vowels.


γ. In addition, it is worth noting for whatever sort of proper and distinct reading of the Letters יהוה, with whatever Points more or less genuine, as not constituting principally the Name itself; that certain parts of this Name occur in Scripture, to be pronounced entirely according to the Letters, whence it appears that it is possible to judge of the entire Name. Thus several Composite Names are given, which at their beginning have part of the Name יהוה, יְהוֹ/Yeho or by contraction יוֹ/Yo, for example, יְהוֹחָנָן/Jehochanan and יוֹחָנָן/Jochanan, יְהוֹיָדָע/Jehoiada and יוֹיָדָע/Joiada, יְהוֹיָכִין/Jehoiachin and יוֹיָכִין/Joiachin, יְהוֹנָדָב/Jehonadab and יוֹנָדָב/Jonadab, יְהוֹנָתָן/Jehonathan and יוֹנָתָן/Jonathan, יְהוֹשָׁפָט/ Jehoshaphat and יוֹשָׁפָט/Joshaphat, etc. All which Names are so manifestly compounded from יהוה, even from a comparison with other similar Name composed from אֵל/El at the beginning, אֶלְיָקִים/Eliakim, אֶלְנָתָן/ Elnathan, etc., that it is strange that learned Men are able to call it into question: it is no less certain that all those Names are pronounced entirely according to their Letters and Vowels together, so that in the place of יְהוֹ/Yeho the initial sound of אֲדֹנָי/Adonai is by no means substituted; wherefore it does no more appear that the same is to be done in a Name simple and whole.


δ. Apart from the fact that from manifold, although little congruous, Greek pronunciations of this word, concerning which above, it is sufficiently evident that this word was everywhere pronounced according to the Letters.

[1] Exodus 6:3: “And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH (יְהוָה) was I not known to them.”


[2] Psalm 83:18: “That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH (יְהוָה), art the most high over all the earth.”


[3] Hosea 12:5: “Even the Lord God of hosts; the LORD (יְהוָה) is his memorial.”

ABOUT US

Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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