The Divine Names and Titles.


By the Rev. Dr. Bullinger.

Taken from Things to Come Magazine, July, 1896


Many are the opinions as to the original pronunciation and essential meaning of this sacred Ineffable Name. No one can tell us what the original pronunciation of the word Yehovah was. The Jews have, from time immemorial, regarded it with the most profound reverence, and have invested the four letters י ה ו ה — Y H V H (hence called the Tetragrammaton, or four letters) with sacred awe. Throughout the Hebrew Bible, whenever the word יהוה occurs by itself, it has not its own vowel-points, but those belonging to the word ADoNal (Lord), thus, YeHoVaH. And when the two words, Adonai Yehovah, occur together, Yehovah has the vowel-points which belong to ELoHiM (God); thus, YeHoViH. In the English Bible the distinction is preserved by putting "Lord" for Adonai, and "God" for Yehovah (thus, "Lord God" frequently in Ezekiel).

Indeed, owing to this extreme reverence for the Ineffable Name, the ancient custodians of the Sacred Text not unfrequently endeavoured to further safe-guard it by actually substituting for Jehovah, in many instances, the word

Adonai1 or even Elohim! Amongst other instances may be noted the following parallel passages: —

2 Sam. v. 19 23 ------ 1 Chron. xiv. 10-16.

2 Sam. vi. 9-17 ------ 1 Chron. xiii. 12-14; xvi. 1.

Psalm xiv. ------ Psalm liii.

In all three cases the primitive reading was, without doubt, Yehovah.

Yehovah is a proper name, and should no more be called or translated "Lord'' than Samuel should be translated "Heard"; or Gershom, "Stranger"; or Ephraim, "Fruitful," etc.

Yehovah is the proper name by which God revealed Himself to His covenant people, and by which He was known to them as the one who had entered into covenant with them. It means not so much He who is, as is the case with YAH, as He who will be the Coming One, the one who will come to fulfil His original covenant promise which reaches to the end of all, viz.: the final crushing of the serpent's head, and the final salvation of His people. His name, Yehovah, is the pledge of all this.

Yehovah is, therefore, first, and emphatically the God of Israel, just as Chemosh was the god of Moab. He is not called Yehovah as the creator of the world, but as standing in a covenant relation to His people whom He had created: "Thou shalt say unto the children of Israel, Yehovah hath sent me unto you; this is My name for ever" (Ex. iii. 13, 15). "That they may know that Thou alone, whose name is Yehovah, art the most high over all the earth" (Psa. lxxxiii. 18). "I am Yehovah, that is My name" (Isa xlii. 8).

No wonder Pharaoh did not know Him. He says he did not. Yet he knew that the Israelites had a God, just as the Egyptians had. But he says, " Who is Yehovah? I know not Yehovah" (Ex. v. 2; viii. 10).

The name Yehovah contains no allusion to creation, power, lordship, mastery, or rule; nor, as we have said to the Self existent One; but it denotes the Coming One, He who will for ever be the hope of His people who know His name, and put their trust in Him. He is His own revealer of Himself in grace and redemption.

Hence, the name is never used by non-Israelites except in answer to an Israelite (as in Pharaoh's answer to Moses, taking up his words), or as indicating a belief in the true God (as in the case of Rahab, — Josh. ii. 9-12; Naaman, — 2 Kings v. 17, 18), or in contempt (as Sennacherib, — 2 Kings xix. 22, 25, 30, 32, 35), or for some other special reason.

Especially is the name used when Yehovah puts Himself in contrast with other objects of worship. See Ex. xx. 2, 3: "I am Yehovah thy Elohim, . . . thou shalt have none other gods before Me." (Compare Ex. xxxiv. 14; Josh, xxii. 22, xxiv. 23.)

Hence it is that a possessive pronoun can be used with Elohim, God, but not with Yehovah. It can be said, "My God," "Thy God," "Our God," but it could not be said, "My Yehovah," or "Our Yehovah," because Yehovah means "My God." So we have again and again: "Yehovah my God," "Yehovah thy God," "Yehovah our God," etc., etc. What does all this imply, if not this, that the person or persons who use these expressions stand in a very special relation to the God whom they thus know. How beautifully this comes out in Ps. c. 3. "Know ye that Yehovah, He is God: it is. He that hath made US, and His we are (margin), WE are His people." So also in Ps. cxliv. 15. "Happy is that people whose God is Yehovah."

Yehovah is the immutable one: "I am Yehovah, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed" (Mai. iii. 6). And His name expresses the continuity of His dealings with His people, it marks the unchangeableness of His promises, and contains the whole revelation of His goodness and mercy, His righteousness and judgment. All this gathers round the name Yehovah.

Now in Exod. vi. 3, God says to Moses, "I am Yehovah: and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob by the name of El-Shaddai, but by my name Yehovah was I not known to them."

Some are stumbled when they find that the Patriarchs did know and use the word Yehovah. But the explanation lies in the fact that the word rendered "know" in this verse means more than to know of or be acquainted with: it means to know by experience to feel, to be sensible of. And this was the fact. The patriarchs knew of the Name, and, of course, knew of God's covenant with them, but He had not taught them all that was involved in that name.

What is meant by thus making known the name Yehovah (Ex. vi. 6, 7; x. 2, etc.) may be seen from Judg. viii. 16, where Gideon "took the elders of the city and thorns of the wilderness, and briars, and with them he taught (margin, made them to know!) the men of Succoth," i.e., to experience the thorns!

In Gen. xviii. 19, "I know him that he will command his children, &c." Here the verb is causative, i.e., I have taught him, in order that he may, &c.

So Prov. x. 9. "He that perverteth his way shall smart for it," i.e., shall find out, and feel, and experience and be taught the bitter consequences of it.

Yes, the ungodly now, may know of the name Yehovah, they may be acquainted with the fact that there is such a word. But they have not been taught and made to know what it means by a blessed experience. It is the word used in Ps. cxliv. 3 " What is man that thou takest knowledge of him." It is the word in Prov. iii. 6. "In all thy ways acknowledge Him." It is the word used of Yehovah's knowledge of His people and of their knowledge of Him.

And now, for the purpose of marking your Bibles and knowing when and where we have this Ineffable Name, it will be sufficient to remember that in all cases where we have the word Lord, thus, in capital letters (except where we pointed out in our former paper it stands for JAH): and where we have the word God in capital letters it stands for Jehovah, and we are so to read it and understand it.


Continued in Part 4



1) Tho Manorah given & lint of 134 passages in which Adonai (Lord or my Lord) by itself denote Jehovah (or the LORD). They are as follow*: —

Gen. xviii. 3; xviii. 27, 30, 82; xix. 18; xx. 4. Exod, iv. 10, 13; v. 22; xv. 17; xxxiv. 9, 9. Numb. xiv. 17. Josh. vii. 8. Judg. vi. 16; xiii. 8. 1 Kings iii. 10, 16; xxii. 8. 2 Kings vii. 0; xix. 23. Isa. iii. 17, 18; iv. 4; vi. 1,8, 11; Wi. 14, 20; viii. 7; ix. 8, 17; x. 12; xi. 11; xxi. 8, 8, 18; xxix. 13; xxx. 20; xxxvil. 24; xxxviii. 14, 16; xlix. 14. Ezek. xviii. 26, 29; xxi. 14; xxxiii. 17, 29. Amos. v. 16; vii. 7, 6; ix. 1. Zech. ix. 4. Micah i. 2. Mal,. i. 12, 14. Psa. ii. 4; xvi. 2; xxii. 20; xxx. 8; xxxv. 3, 17. 22; xxxvii. 12; xxxviii. 0, 16, 22; xxxix. 7; xl. 17; xliv. 23; li. 16; liv. 4; lv. 9; lvii. 9; lix. 11; lxii. 12; lxvl. 18; lxviii. 11, 17, 18, 22, 26. 82; lxxiii. 20; lxxrii. 2,7; lxxviii. 65; lxxix. 12; lxxxvi. 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 15; lxxxix. 40, 50; xc. 1, 17; cx. 5; cxxx. 2, 5. 6. Dan. i. 2; ix. 8. 4. 7, 9, 16, 16, 17, 19, 19, 19. Lament, i. 14, 15, 15; il. 1, 2, 5, 7, 18, 19, 20; iii. 31, 30, 37, 58. Ezra x.3. Neh. i. 11; iv. 8. Job xxviii. 28.