De Moor IV:7: The Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah Proper to God Alone

F. Concerning this Name our AUTHOR observes that it is proper to God alone without Construction and Composition, in such a way that it is never communicated by analogy with creatures, as other Names are. This is proven, α. From the Signification of the Name just now set forth, which is such that it is suited to God alone; since it belongs to no one but God to be independently, most simply, eternally, immutabily; and hence also to stand infallibly to all His promises: but to who alone the Signification of this Name agrees, to Him alone also is this name able to be attributed. And the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah does not designate such Perfections as are able, although not as they are formally in God and univocally, to be attributed to creatures analogically: but the contrary of all these perfections, which the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah involves, Independence, Simplicity, Eternity, and Immutability, obtain in all Creatures.


β. From the Proper Meanings of the Proper Name, which it has, and which the Grammarians of the Hebrews express by the abbreviated word סרכיב. For, except that according to the custom of Proper Names it be formed by an Initial י/Yod; it does not admit either,


1. סמיכות/Government, in such a way that a substantive might follow after יהוה, on account of which it is to be altered according to the rules of Government or the construct state, for example, into יהות, as indeed it obtains in other divine Names; for example, thus אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת, God of hosts, because, of course, אֱלֹהִים/Elohim is not so proper a Name. Exception could be taken that, although יהוה is not changed into יהות, nevertheless it is sometimes constructed with appellative names, when in Sacred Scripture He is called יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah of hosts. Learned Men answer, that in such places a construction of the Name צְבָאוֹת/Sabbaoth with יְהוָֹה/Jehovah does not obtain; but an ellipsis of the other substantive אֱלֹהִים/Elohim; in such a way that יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah of hosts, appears to have been put in the place of יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵי צְבָאוֹת, Jehovah Elohe of hosts; while others maintain that יְהוָֹה/Jehovah and צְבָאוֹת/ Sabbaoth in the absolute state are conjoined through apposition: compare what things I taught in § 4.


2. It does not admit רבוי/Plurality; we do use אֱלֹהִים/ Elohim and אֵלִים/Elim, because these Names are not so proper to God, since they are sometimes attributed to creatures, but never יְהוִֹים/ Jehovim, as never יַעֲקוֹבִים/Jaacobim, etc.


3. Nor כנוי/Suffixes; for, as we do not write them on a proper Name, for example, יַעֲקוֹבִינוּ, our Jacob, so neither does any such thing obtain in the case of the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah; we do indeed rightly use אֱלֹהֵינוּ, our God.


4. Nor ידיעה, the mark of the demonstrative ה/He; for we never read הַיְּהוָֹה, as הָאַבְרָהָם, the Abraham, הַיִּצְחָק, the Isaac, are not wont to be used; we do indeed rightly use הָאֱלֹהִים, and הָאֵל, the God: indeed the ה/He is wont to be prefixed to make definite that to which it is prefixed; but proper Names do not need such a demonstrative ה/He, since they designate individuals sufficiently definite of themselves.


5. Nor, finally, בנין, motion, inflexion, or conjugation; just as BUXTORF enumerates among the properties of a proper Name, because no Verb is formed from it, Thesibus Grammaticis, book I, chapter VIII, page 72.


γ. From clear passages, Isaiah 42:8; Psalm 83:18; Hosea 12:5, in which rashly and without any authority of Codices or any other, VITRINGA the Younger[1] in the place of זִכְרוֹ, His memorial, reads זְכָרוֹ, remembers him, in Disserationibus Sacris, Dissertation I, chapter II, pages 23, 24; compare VRIEMOET’S Adnotationes ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, part I, chapter III, page 138: see also GERHARD TEN CATE’S Epistolam de Rebus Jesu Christi ex Prophetis ad Leonardum Offerhaus, after Offerhaus’ Spicilegiorum historico-chronologicorum, pages 830-832, who refers Hosea 12:5 specifically to God the Son, as an argument proving His true Deity; whence Jacob, in conducting himself as a prince against the Angel, is rightly said to have conducted himself as a prince with אֱלֹהִים/Elohim, verse 3; and God, because of the communion of the same divine Essence in the Son with the Father, with respect to the plurality of Persons in verse 4 speaks concerning Himself in the plural in עִמָּנוּ, with us.


δ. Add the same use of the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah in the Sacred Codex, which concerning men belongs to proper Names, 1 Kings 18:21;[2] Psalm 96:5.[3]


Various men hold the contrary. The majority of the Jews, as SPANHEIM observes in his Elencho Controversiarum, opera, tome 3, column 954. They do indeed maintain that the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah is Essential and proper to God: yet that it is also transferred to other things, by analogy and some similitude; either because things are denominated by the name of their Lord, or because they reveal God. The Scope/Goal of the Jews is to evade the Divinity of the Messiah, who is called Jehovah in the Prophetic writings; and to evade in general the plurality of Persons in the Deity.


With those Jews the Socinians make common cause, who contend that this Name is able to be communicated to various Creatures, and that in the Scriptures it is wont to be attributed to Angels and to Christ as Legates of God, since they suppose that One Sent is able to bear the name and person of the One Sending. That is, so that they might more securely deny the Deity of Christ, with this argument from the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah wrested from us, of which we are wont to make use in asserting the Deity of Christ: compare ANTONIUS HULSIUS’ Nucleum Prophetiæ, on Genesis 18:1, 2, § VII-IX, pages 159-162. But, as the Arminians are wont to flatter the Socinians upon all occasions, so also here they write, Apologia, chapter III, page 51b: “Nothing is more certain or clear, than that this Name (יְהוָֹה/Jehovah) is attributed everywhere in Scripture to Creatures also. The passages, whence this is evident, are so many and so manifest that he that dares to deny it ought to be judged shameless:” add Limborch’s[4] Theologiam Christianam, book II, chapter I, § 9. Conrad Vorstius[5] also, de Deo, Disputation II, § 19, and in his Notis on Disputation II, pages 169-171, contends that the Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah is attributed, albeit improperly, to Angels and other creatures, especially also to the Ark; compare TRIGLAND’S Kerckelycke Geschiedenissen, volume 4, pages 575, 603.


They Object, α. that this Name is attributed to Angels.


I Respond: Not to Angels in the plural, but to one particular Angel, who, from an inspection of the passages that they cite, it is evident is the Uncreated Archangel, the Son of God. But in their arguing our Adversaries here make use of this preposterous method, as TRIGLAND notes, Antapologia, chapter V, pages 84, 85. That is, the produce passages, in which the same, who is called Jehovah, is also called the Angel of Jehovah; when they conclude that the Name Jehovah is attributed to an Angel, which is a creature. But would God in His Word communicate that Name, which most properly expresses His Essence, to a creature, which of itself is nothing, and has all its being from Him? Neither God’s consummate Majesty, not His zeal, whereby borne unto His own glory, permit this. Whence Trigland teaches that it is rather to be argued in this way: The Angel is called Jehovah; therefore, that Angel is not a creature, but Himself true and eternal God, called an Angel, because He takes up the functions and office of an Angel among men, according to His own consummate and incomprehensible goodness.


They Object, β. that the Altar and Jerusalem are so called, Exodus 17:15;[6] Ezekiel 48:35.[7]

Responses: 1. It is one thing to inscribe a symbol on an Altar, as it is noted was done in Exodus 17:15, just as certain sentences are wont to be inscribed on palaces and temples: but it is another thing to impose some proper Name upon an Altar, in which manner in the passage cited it is not able to be understood. And indeed the Name, Jehovah Nissi, was inscribed on the Altar, with respect to the War just waged with the Amalekites and the victory brought home, because the Lord had furnished Himself in that War as the Banner of His people; this is not able to be said concerning this Altar, which at that time was not yet built; as neither are Altars wont to be used in the place of Banners in war. It is one thing to give a Name to an Altar, whereby you might affirm the Altar to be Jehovah; but it is another thing to impose a Name upon an Altar, whereby the Israelites were professing that Jehovah is their Banner. 2. It is one thing to be and to be called Jehovah; it is another thing for Jehovah to be and to dwell in some place: the latter is said concerning the Church in Ezekiel 48, not the former. 3. And so equally in these examples, as in the appellation, only composite from this Name, of men, that Name יְהוָֹה/Jehovah is always referred to God, and is not absolutely and in a direct case ever attributed to a Creature. While, as our AUTHOR advises in Exercitationibus textualibus XXIII, Part VI, § 13, page 802, the Most Illustrious LE MOINE[8] has additionally observed, that those Names of Altars are able to be read in the Genitive, of Jehovah my Banner and of Jehovah Peace,[9] in which manner the Gentiles also would speak of Altars, temples, etc.


They Object, γ. that the Ark of the Covenant was so called, Numbers 10:35, 36; 2 Samuel 6:2.


Responses: 1. In the former passage those words, Rise up, O Lord, etc., are not directed to the Ark itself, which was not fit for that worship; but to God, who was manifesting His gracious presence symbolically upon the Ark, and to whom it belonged to scatter His enemies. We do not read, therefore, that Moses thus spoke to the Ark; but, while the Ark was setting forward, that is, on that occasion, when the Ark was moving in place, Moses said, Rise up, O Jehovah. Hence also elsewhere in these prayers the Ark is expressly distinguished from Jehovah, Psalm 132:8, Arise, Jehovah, into thy rest, thou and the Ark of thy strength! where thou and the Ark is just the same as thou with the Ark: see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes textuales XII, Part VI, § 6. 2. In the latter passage, where the Hebrew text has, אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָ֣א שֵׁ֗ם שֵׁ֣ם יְהוָ֧ה צְבָא֛וֹת יֹשֵׁ֥ב הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים עָלָֽיו׃, whose name is called by the name of Jehovah of hosts that dwelleth between the cherubims, α. PETER MARTYR in his Commentario on 2 Samuel 6:2, does not quite follow the sense of the Sacred text, when he translates the words, it was called by the name of the Lord, and adds for the sake of explanation, “Such was the dignity and majesty of the Ark of the covenant, that it was called the God of Hosts.” Which expression he maintains to be metonymical and sacramental, by which the sacraments bear the names of the things that they signify: in which manner also he admits that the Altar is called God, and in Ezekiel he adds to be read, Jerusalem shall be the city: God shall be its name. Unto which understanding of this passage that most excellenct Man appears to have been drawn by his zeal to fight Transubstantiation. Whoever carefully examines the last discourse of Martyr on these words, in it will be faced with many ἀκυρολογίας, improprieties of speech, to be forgiven him all the more readily, because he, having been prevented by death, was not able to review this work. β. But, so that it might appear that the Name Jehovah Sabbaoth is not at all attributed to the Ark, it is to be observed that the final עָלָיו, upon it, is not to be tied with the closest noun הַכְּרֻבִים, the Cherubim, as if these were described, as located above it, namely, the Ark; nor with the participle יֹשֵׁב/dwelling, as if God were said to have His seat above it, that is, the Ark; nevertheless, the DUTCH translators understood the text in this way. But it is fitting that that עָלָיו, upon it, refers to that verb נִקְרָא, it is called, so that those conjoined,אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא שֵׁם עָלָיו, upon which is invoked or called the Name, might render the full sense, by a common pleonasm of the relative; with all the rest parenthetically interjected to describe the Name invoked or called. Which interpretation of this text our AUTHOR, in Exercitationibus Miscellaneis, presents as proven, 1. From this phrase found elsewhere in this construction, in 2 Chronicles 7:14, my people, אֲשֶׁ֧ר נִֽקְרָא־שְׁמִ֣י עֲלֵיהֶ֗ם, upon whom my Name is called. In Jeremiah 7:10, 11; 34:15, the house, אֲשֶׁר נִקְרָא שְׁמִי עָלָיו, upon which my Name is called. In Daniel 9:18, the city, אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָ֥א שִׁמְךָ֖ עָלֶ֑יהָ, upon which thy Name is called. 2. From the simple description of God, as inhabiting the Cherubim, יֹשֵׁ֥ב הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים, which is often found elsewhere, 1 Samuel 4:4;[10] etc.; without עָלָיו, upon it, added at the end, because the anterior verb, governing it there, is not present here. 3. From the two disjunctive accents, with Rebia (֗) superscripted over the first noun, שֵׁ֗ם/name, where the oration is stopped for a time, and then with Tipha (֖) subscripted unto the noun הַכְּרֻבִ֖ים, the Cherubim, where, with the intervening sense broken off, there is a return to the former intermitted speech. 4. From the necessity of עָלָיו, upon it, to supplement that, אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָ֣א שֵׁ֗ם, as it is commonly read, where others with the Dutch hold it to be necessary to understand ב/on or עַל/upon before אֲשֶׁר/which: but from the abundance in the other part of the speech, since it ought not necessarily to be added that the Cherubim are above the Ark, or that God inhabiting the Cherubim dwells above the Ark, as sufficiently noted. 5. From the simple and altogether suitable sense that hence arises: either that upon the Ark the Name of God is called, or it is given its name from God: or that before the Ark the Name of God is invoked, who willed His face to be sought there;[11] and from which He gave gracious responses; or that upon the Ark the same Name is invoked, to indicate more closely the seat of divine grace, where that might be found, above it, the Ark, so that the Ark might be a throne, as it were, which agrees both with the truth of the matter, and with the propriety of the signification. Therefore, the text is to be translated, upon which was invoked the Name, the Name of Jehovah of hosts sitting upon the Cherubim. Neither is it to be said that in this way that עָלָיו, upon it, is separated too far from its verb, since the description of the Name of God was set down here parenthetically in its only proper location, for greater elegance, distinction, and commendation. Now, in the parallel passage in 1 Chronicles 13:6, where it is found simply, אֲשֶׁר־נִקְרָ֥א שֵֽׁם׃, whose name is called: this sense, concise and less full, is to be completed from the fuller passage of Samuel, so that עָלָיו, upon it, is understood, or אֲשֶׁר/which is put in the place of בַּאֲשֶׁר, on which, or עַל אֲשֶׁר, upon which: see our AUTHOR’S Exercitationes Miscellaneas, textual Disputation VII, pages 287-292. And so VRIEMOET rightly advised, in Adnotationibus ad Dicta classica Veteris Testamenti, tome 1, chapter III, page 139, I am sorry that the most illustrious Theodore de Haze had surrendered this to them (the Socinians, etc.), although otherwise a complete stranger to their pleas, in his Dissertation concerning Ὁνολατρείᾳ, chapter IV, § 10, that it might be contended that at least the Ark of the covenant, but as a type of the person of Christ, is sometimes called יְהוָֹה/Jehovah: to which assertion he then opposes his own considerations also.

[1] Campegius Vitringa the Younger (1693-1723) was a Dutch Reformed theologian; he served as Professor of Theology at Franeker (1715-1723).


[2] 1 Kings 18:21: “And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if Jehovah be God (אִם־יְהוָ֤ה הָֽאֱלֹהִים֙), follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.”


[3] Psalm 96:5: “For all the gods of the nations are idols: but Jehovah (וַיהוָה) made the heavens.”


[4] Philip van Limborch (1633-1712) was a Dutch Remonstrant pastor and theologian, and Professor of Theology at Amsterdam (1667-1712).


[5] Conradus Vorstius (1569-1622) was a Dutch Arminian, condemned by the Synod of Dort and banished. It is reported that he openly embraced Socinianism at the end of his life.


[6] Exodus 17:15: “And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Jehovah-nissi (יְהוָ֥ה׀ נִסִּֽי׃, Jehovah my banner)…”


[7] Ezekiel 48:35: “It was round about eighteen thousand measures: and the name of the city from that day shall be, The Lord is there (יְהוָ֥ה׀ שָֽׁמָּה׃).”


[8] Etienne Le Moine (1624-1689) was a French Reformed Pastor and Theologian. He served as Professor of Theology at Leiden (1677-1689).


[9] Judges 6:24.


[10] 1 Samuel 4:4: “So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from thence the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth between the cherubims (יֹשֵׁ֣ב הַכְּרֻבִ֑ים): and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.”


[11] See Exodus 25:22; 30:6, 36; Numbers 7:89.

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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