Part III of VI
Part III - How It Is Pronounced
1.a. We are not saved by our knowledge of the true name of God. We are saved by the shed Blood of the Lamb. 1 Peter 1:18-19 KJV, "18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." There are some who teach a "sacred name". These misguided souls claim that if you do not pronounce, spell, and use this sacred name of God, it is tantamount to eternal damnation. That is not what is being taught here. Nevertheless, this is not going to be a popular teaching in most circles. No one is going to pat you on the back and congratulate you that you now know your Father's name. For the most part they will not even believe that it is true. If you do not believe it, when the teaching is finished, at least you will have made a more informed decision.
1.b. The accusations against this teaching and against you will be stereotyped, hurtful, and untrue. God's name is sacred, but it is also personal and intimate. And whether we ever know His true name or not, if we belong to Him, then we have the privilege of calling Him Father. He has let thousands of years go by without His name being commonly known and used, yet many of your predecessors in the Lord, have been saved, born again, and even brought the faith to you.
1c. Then there are some who will try to argue Hebrew grammar with you regarding the possible spelling and pronunciation of His name. Just because they have looked up a Hebrew word or two in a concordance, or taken Hebrew 101 in Bible college, does not make them an expert or scholar. As I have said, the enemies of His name, are many and varied, some are quite intelligent and educated. Do not be intimidated by their credentials. If the Holy Ghost is your teacher, you are not at a disadvantage. A genius with a fallen nature is out matched by a child with the Holy Ghost. 1 Corinthians 1:19-20 KJV, "19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. 20 Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?"
2.a. We left off the discussion in "His Name, Part II - Why We Need To Know" by claiming that His name has been purposefully hidden from us by those with less than pure motives. Even though there are many, let me offer some proof for just one such person. His name is King James of England, the very one who commissioned the translation of the King James Version of the Bible. The scholars who were commissioned to translate the King James Bible were given specific instructions about how they would and would not translate this Bible. The instructions did not uphold the integrity of the credentials of the scholars who did the work. I will quote from The Holy Bible, King James Version, A reprint of the edition of 1611. This reprint purports to use all of the original alphabetical letters and word spellings that were in vogue in 1611 A.D. It was the third printing of this Bible, dated January 2008, by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., P.O. Box 3473, Peabody, MA 01961-3473, USA. On page thirty-nine is a section called "The Rules to be observed in the Translation of the Bible". There were fifteen rules given, and I will quote rule number two. "2. The Names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used."
2.b. This rule is highly disturbing to the orderly and godly mind who desires to know His God and His God's name. I will point out that these scholars were ordered to use the vulgar names; that is, the names that had been in use by the common man in every day speech and life. No regard was to be given to the proper translation of the names of the Biblical characters, in fact, the proper translation was to be discarded in favor of compromised expressions that had developed in the society of that day and in previous translations. This rule is particularly disturbing in the light of the third Commandment as shown in Exodus 20:7 KJV, "Thou shalt not take the name of [ יהוה ] thy God in vain (Strong's H7723 shav)*; for [ יהוה ] will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Vain has several definitions and most of them apply directly to this commandment. Please check several different dictionaries. I am sure you will be satisfied with the definition I use here. The definition of vain that applies best in this situation follows: "In an irreverent or disrespectful manner." Failing to present God's name as it is written and pronounced, and favoring instead a vulgar rendition, is highly disrespectful.
*NOTE: The word vain can be looked up in Strong's Concordance, in the Hebrew section, number 7723. The Hebrew word is transliterated as shav. Strong's Exhaustive Concordance, by James H. Strong is a standard tool used in Bible study. As with any tool, this reference does not mean that James Strong is the final word or authority when it comes to the proper meaning of Hebrew words translated into English.
2.c. As explained in Part II of this treatise, we have come full circle as the Hebrews did about 2,800 years ago in Hosea 2:16 KJV, "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali." And it was still true 200 years later, as shown in Jeremiah 23:27 KJV, "Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal." The Hebrews were calling God Almighty (El Shaddai) by the name of Baal. Baal translates into lord. Baal was the name of a pagan deity. Why do we call Him lord, when He has very clearly told us His name in Exodus 3:15 and 6:3 - and it is not lord? Even this King James translation is compounding the problem (almost all other translations follow suit). When quoting God in Hosea 2:16, they do not use His name, which is clearly there in the Hebrew, they instead write LORD in all capital letters. Incredibly, what these King James translators are really saying is that the lord told us not to call him lord anymore. So, why in the name of all that is holy, would they throw this insult back into the face of the Almighty while He is rebuking them? Since they have used Jehovah four times in four other Scriptures, the least they could have done is use it a fifth time in this Scripture, so that it would read: "And it shall be at that day, saith Jehovah, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali."
2.d. In rule two it states "and the other Names". Who are these other names? Rule two already pointed out the prophets and the Holy Writers; the others names are all the others, including God's name. It is almost beyond belief that these scholars were instructed to obscure and ignore God's name. I suspect that there was some pushback by some of them. In the original King James of 1611, they did insert the proper shortened version of God's name in Psalm 68:4 KJV, "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name IAH (Strong's H3050 Yahh), and rejoice before him." But in today's modern version of the King James Bible they have changed the spelling of IAH to JAH. IAH with the "I" having a soft "Y" sound is the correct pronunciation. JAH with the "J" having the hard sound of "J" corrupts the pronunciation of His name. So, even though the 1611 translators left the shortened version of His name as Iah, the latter day printers changed it to Jah. These men have little or no fear of God. Not only that but group think has set in. The letter "J", with a sound of its own, distinct from the letter "I", was introduced into the English language circa 1634. Prior to that the letter "I" was sometimes written as "I" and sometimes as "J", but apparently not in 1611, because the 1611 King James Bible does not have the letter "J" as a separate letter from "I". But the next edition of the KJV, printed in 1672 shows that the letters of "I" and "J" are separate letters with separate sounds being used. English speaking society made the wrong choice when translating the name of God, they should have left the "I" in IAH as a "Y" sound; thereby making it sound like Yah. Or, they could have changed the "I" to a "Y" thereby preserving the proper pronunciation. It should not have been changed to a "J", making it Jah. I personally have the original copies of the King James Bible as printed in the original lettering of the 1611 version and in the original lettering of the 1672 version. I am about half way through reading the 1611 version and the letter "I" has only been written to look like a "J", very few times. There was a common practice in use at that time in history that allowed printers to elongate the letter "I" so that it looked like a "J" in certain cases. But it most definitely was not a "J". "J" did not exist in the English language in 1611 or prior to 1611.
2.e. So, the Hebrew letters of [ יה ] (Strong's H3050 Yahh) are used to bring out the pronunciation of the name of Yah. These same two Hebrew letters are also letters one and two of His full name - יהוה . In English, it is okay to replace the first letter of "I" with a "Y", because that does not change the sound or the pronunciation of the shortened version of God's name. It is common for us, in our day, to pronounce words with a "Y" and to spell it with a "Y". It is not a common thing for us to spell a word with the letter "I" and to pronounce it as a "Y". So, to be true to the pronunciation and sound of the shortened version of God's name, it is preferable to change the "I" to a "Y". The letter "J" can also be pronounced as a "Y", but this is not in common usage in today's English language. A German "J" is pronounced as a "Y", but that does not help an English speaking person. So, if a German Bible translation spells God's name as Jah in Psalm 68:4 that is okay. It is the pronunciation that is important.
3. It is easy to see where these changes and spellings and obscuring of God's name is going to take us. If the shortened version of His name is Yah, then why is the full version Jehovah? Now we have the first two letters that have been changed. What happened to Ya, now it is Je? There will be those that will wish to explain the etymology of the word and show that the main word or prefix Je means God. That may be true, but that is not the point in this teaching. We are trying to arrive at the correct pronunciation of His name as originally given to man by God. The spelling we need is the spelling that will assist us in pronouncing His name as He originally gave it to us. The name Yahweh does keep the first three letters in tact, but the rest of the pronunciation falls apart rather quickly.
4.a Moving onto the next syllable of Jehovah, we have ho. Ho is pronounced hoe, as when one hoes his garden. But the second syllable of יהוה is not ho. Instead it is hoo, as in boo hoo, or as in who. How do we know that this is the pronunciation for the second syllable? We can refer to a number of prophets, priests, kings, and other characters from the King James Old Testament. In many cases, their names reflected the God whom they served. Sandy and I wrote down over sixty such names and then quit. We felt we had more than enough to prove this point. You can find these names yourself by looking for every name that ends in "iah" or "jah" or "yah". However, even though these names are written in the translations with an ending of iah, jah, or yah, this is not the only ending for all such names in the Masoretic Text. The next paragraph will explain what I mean.
4.b. For one example, please refer to Strong's concordance for Jeremiah (Strong's H3414 Yirmeyah [ יה ] or Yirmeyahuw [ יהו ]) . Jeremiah means "Yah will cast forth*". As you can see, Jeremiah's name ends either in yah, which is the beginning of God's name, or Jeremiah's name can also end in yahuw, which is the first and second syllable of God's name. Yahuw is pronounced yah and hoo, exactly like the computer browser that goes by the name of Yahoo. This pronunciation can be confirmed in a number of ways. Try listening to a recording of a Hebrew class or Strong's concordance online. So, if the first three Hebrew letters of God's name [ יהו ] are needed to add the ending of yahuw onto Jeremiah's name (and others in the Bible text), then it is an easy step to conclude that these same three letters are pronounced the same when pronouncing God's name. There are multiple names in the Scriptures that, like Jeremiah, are ended with yahuw [ יהו ] and they all have definitions that include a reference to Yah.
4.c. So, the two Hebrew letters which form the name of יה (Strong's H3050 Yahh) are used to bring out the pronunciation of Yah. And, the Hebrew letters of יהו are used to bring out the pronunciation of Yahoo or as transliterated in the Strong's Concordance is it Yahuw. This is where the name of Yahweh fails to keep up. There is no hoo in the middle, whether one's spells it as ho or hoo or huw.
5.a. Now we will address the final syllable of wah. Jehovah pronounces it as vah with a hard vee sound. But the Hebrew soft sound of wahw or waw is what should be used. Yahweh has kept the soft sound of waw but changed the sound of the next two letters from "ah" to "eh". It is amazing how so few letters in Jehovah and Yahweh can be jumbled around to hide the correct pronunciation.
5.b. I will not quote any source, because I have checked a number of sources and those that have studied the languages seem to be in agreement as to why the Hebrew letter of ו, the third letter in the tetragrammaton, is sometimes pronounced as vav and sometimes as waw. If you do not own any lexicons of your own, there are several available online. Please search for this information there. You might need a textbook from a Hebrew class. If you need help, please ask me for some references. The ancient pronunciation is waw and the more modern is vav. At this time, I do not consider the year in which this change took place to be significant: The important fact is what God gave us to say. This is why Jehovah has been translated with the "v" being used and Yahweh is translated with the "w" being used. Depending on one's perspective or school of thought, both can be considered correct. But we are not interested in schools of thought and modern translations. What we are interested in is the correct pronunciation of God's name as He gave it to us. Obviously, He did not give it to us as a modern pronunciation, because man was living in the distance past when the name was given to us. So it is a fairly easy pick to go with the old sound of waw and not the newer sound of vav.
5.c. Now that we have arrived at the correct pronunciation of the letters up through waw [ ו ], we can continue with the last letter of hey [ ה ] and the entire last syllable. There are several names in Scripture that will help us arrive at the correct pronunciation of the final syllable of God's name. I will cite a couple of those names and their connection to the divine name as examples. First, Genesis 36:40 KJV, the name Alvah (Strong's H5933 Alvah) in Hebrew is spelled צלןה. Notice that the last two Hebrew letters of waw and hey are the same last two letters of God's name יהוה. Alvah means "iniquity: above is Yah*". Second, Nehemiah 7:43 KJV, the name Hodevah (Strong's H1937 Howdevah) in Hebrew is spelled הודוה. Notice that the last two Hebrew letters of waw and hey are the same last two letters of God's name יהוה. Hodevah means "glory of Yah*". With the "v" pronounced as a "w", the final syllable is pronounced in these names as "wah". Other examples are at 2 Chronicles 20:37, Dodavah, and Ezra 8:15, Ahava.
5.d. Just as we did in paragraph 4b above, we have shown again in paragraph 5c above, that each part of God's name used within the names of some of the people in the Old Testament, whether it be Yah, Ho, or Wah, are pronounced the same and have meanings in direct relationship with God. I have only used a very few examples here, but there are multiple names that can be used with the same result. God (Strong's H433 elowahh), reported to be used fifty-two times in the King James Old Testment for the one true God, is another example. Compare the pronunciation of the syllable wahh to the pronunciation of the syllable of yahh in Strong's H3050 in paragraphs 2e and 4c above. The double hh sound with the "a" in front is used to bring out the sound of "ah". Add a "Y" in front and you have Yah. If you were to add a "w" in front you would have wah (not vah, which is the modern pronunciation of the "w") and not a sound that would ignore the double hh. Please remember, I am using the Scriptures to show the proper pronunciation of His name. Also, I am using concordances, lexicons, and the helps given in modern Hebrew classes that show how sounds are determined. However, historical pronunciations also play an important role. The problem is that modern helps alone for determining pronunciations become very inconsistent whenever they get close to His name. The purposeful obscuring of the proper pronunciation of His name seems to never end.
*NOTE: The definition of these names were taken from A Dictionary of Scripture Proper Names by J. B. Jackson, printed by Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, New Jersey, USA, Copyright 1909, 3rd edition September 1957, 7th printing October 1980.
6.a Now we have the three syllables and the four Hebrew letters of the tetragrammaton sounded out. The first syllable and letter is yod [ י ]. Yod in conjunction with hey [ ה ] is pronounced Yah. When a doctor places a tongue depressor in your mouth he says, “Say ah.” Place a “Y” in front of ah and pronounce it with the same vowel sound. Ah rhymes with Yah.
6.b. The second syllable and letter is hey [ ה ]. Hey in conjunction with waw [ ו ] is pronounced hoo or who. Hoo rhymes with goo or sue. Some concordances, lexicons, and other sources may transliterate this part of His name as Huw or Hu. The spelling is not as important as the sound. Huw, Hu, hoo, who, and even the spelling I use of Ho are all pronounced the same. In fact, the spelling I use may even obscure the pronunciation slightly for a person who speaks American English if that one is not taught how to properly pronounce it. I prefer the spelling of Ho because His name actually has two syllables with an accent: Yah and Wah, the first and the last. Ho, when inserted in the middle, and His name is spoken quickly, can almost be silent, but not quite. Spelling the middle syllable with a double "oo" in the middle, Yahoowah; or with a "u" in the middle, Yahuwah might tempt one to linger too long or even accent the middle syllable when speaking His name.
6.c. The third syllable, formed by the third and fourth letters, is wah [ וה ]. The English vowel sound is a short "a" again as is ah. This time put a "w" in front of ah and say wah. Ah rhymes with wah.
6.d. Putting all three syllables and all four letters together in Hebrew and transliterating them into English, we now have Yah…hoo…wah. Putting it all together and spelling it the preferred way, we have Yahowah. My God's name. The name given to us in Exodus 3:15 and 6:3 to be used forever. Yahowah.
7. We welcome constructive input supported by Scriptures from the Bible. Please contact us by our email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2010 Richard Douglas Mauck and/or Sandra Faye Mauck. All rights reserved. This material is copyrighted to protect the integrity of this work. Permission is hereby granted to copy this treatise in its entirety as long as no editing is done, no charge is made to those with whom it is shared, and full credit is given to the authors.