What is The Most High [ELYOWN]’s real name?
The Jews say His name should not be pronounced and write it as the Tetragrammaton YHWH. There are some who pronounce the four-letter word Ehyeh or Ahyah (or something in between) and others who pronounce it Yahweh. The early Christian theologians ascribed the diacritic sounds of Adonay (Lord) to the consonants in YHWH, but also change the consonant sounds to JHVH and arrived at the name Jehova.
I can understand the frustration when this subject comes up for brothers coming into the knowledge of who we Bani Yisrael really are. Now before I try to answer, I must stress that
- Our way of thinking was different from the western Roman mind set.
- The Torah was written in one language; Hebrew.
There are some words in Hebrew that cannot really be translated correctly.
He then proceeded to give this Grammar Lesson:
Let us look at the account of Moses in Exodus 3:14 in the context of the following preceding and following ones (Exodus 3:13 & 15) because there are a lot of clues as to the constuction of God’s name in the latter.
Exodus 3:13: And Mosheh said unto the Elohim, ‘Look, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, “Elohey of your fathers hath sent me to you”; ‘and they will say to me, “What is His name?” ‘What will I say to them?’
ויאמר משׁה אל־האלהים הנה אנכי בא אל־בני ישׂראל ואמרתי להם אלהי אבותיכם שׁלחני אליכם ואמרו־לי מה־שׁמו מה אמר אלהם
Clearly, Moses is willing to do the task required of him. However, he would be more comfortable with the name of He Who was speaking to him so he could comfortably tell them Who He is.
Exodus 3:14: And Elohim said to Mosheh, ‘Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh’: and He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say to the sons of Israel, “Ehyeh (ahyah) hath sent me to you.”
ויאמר אלהים אל־משׁה אהיה אשׁר אהיה ויאמר כה תאמר לבני ישׂראל אהיה שׁלחני אליכם
Izrah ban Yahuda said at this juncture.
“We see that the name given to Moses in verse 14 is Ehyeh (Ahyah) אהיה.”
Then he says, “I find it interesting that we always see and hear other names of God, but never really ‘Ehyeh’. Yet right here in verse 14, we see the name Ehyeh (Ahyah).”
I find it interesting, too, and believe some kind of misunderstanding occurred between what Moses said to the Bani Israel and what was recorded in the Torah. Some might say EHYH is not the tetragrammaton that was meant; that the next verse (verse 3:15) gave the TRUE name.
Did God make a mistake? I do not think so. People read in these verses the words “Elohim”, “Elohey” and “Ha-elohim”, all referring to God and nearly every one of them they transliterate in an English text with a definite article, as in “The Elohim” or, when the definite article is there, sometimes leave the article out.
Only TWICE is the definite article used with Elohim in verses 3:13-16, yet the word for God is written in transliteration with the article for all of them but ONE, and that one has the article Ha in Hebrew. Even the author of the page I am largely quoting does it. Conversely, the Bible uses the word God without the article for all of them without distinguishing, and never the definite article when talking about Monotheistic Deity.
I propose to name Him as He names Himself, and I do not understand ‘Yahweh’ in verse 3:15 as God renaming Himself – or so I think. I think it is the rebellious and stubborn Jews whom he was sent to guide who just have to question everything Moses said, and then blame mistakes on him, that twisted it round.
However, my source suggested we examine the root of the name Eheyh. He quoted STRONG’S HEBREW CONCORDANCE:
“The root is היה H-Y-H (hayah), pronounced haw-yaw’.
“A primitive root (compare H1933); to exist, that is, be or become, come to pass (always emphatic, and not a mere copula or auxiliary): – beacon, X altogether, be (-come, accomplished, committed, like), break, cause, come (to pass), continue, do, faint, fall, + follow, happen, X have, last, pertain, quit (one-) self, require, X use.
If we conjugate the verb in the first person this, is what we get: אהיה (âhyâh)
– 1st person is Eh-yah (ahyah) אהיה: I exist, I am, I shall be.
As seen in Exo 3:14, the verb eh-yah literally means I exist; as seen in Gen1:3, it means something to come to pass:
Gen 1:3 “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
ויאמר אלהים יהי אור ויהי־אור
– 2nd person is T-h-yah (tahyah) תהיה: you exist, you are or thou shall be, as seen in Exodus 3:16
– 3rd person is Y-h-yah יהיה : He exists, he is, or he shall be, as seen in Exodus 3:16.
One of the differences between biblical Hebrew and English is that biblical Hebrew only has two tenses: the “perfect tense” and” imperfect tense.” “Ehyah” in verse 3:14 is in the imperfect tense.
Understand that the “perfect tense” is a completed action and an “imperfect tense” is an incomplete action. These tenses are related to action. Hebrew is a very action oriented language that centres around concepts that you can see, feel, smell, and taste. Our language is based on solid functionality. But English tenses are past, present, and future which are related to time.
Therefore, when you translate a Hebrew verb into English, you have to translate the verb from a language based on action into a language based on time, which brings obvious difficulties. And it doesn’t always work out the right way. This is the main problem with translations.
As stated above the “imperfect tense” is an incomplete action. This could be an action that was started but not finished, or an action that has yet to be started. So “Ehyah” can be translated as “I exist” (English Present Simple tense) or “I will exist” (English Future Simple Tense). We can also render it as “I am” (using the verb “to be”).
When students are reading the Bible in Hebrew and they understand these concepts, the translation problem does not exist because they are reading the Torah and Tanakh with a Hebrew mind and they are thinking in Hebrew concepts. However, if the student’s mindset is western, and he or she thinks in English, this Oriental Hebrew verb needs to be converted into an English vernacular in a way that makes Occidental sense. My source continues:
Look at the phrase in verse 14:
Ehyah Asher Ehyah
So we have Ehyah and Asher. Asher is a relative pronoun, and can be translated as: which, who, what, because, or that. The context is the determining factor in how it is translated. We can translate this as,
- I will exist because I will exist
- I exist because I exist
- I am who I am
- I will be who I will be
- I am what exists
When a translator is translating the text, he has to choose from these five translations which would be the best translation to put in the text.
However, because the Hebrew language is such a dynamic language, there is NO one right way to render this. Essentially ALL of these translations are right. In Hebrew, one word can mean 20 different things in English, and in English, one word can be said 20 different ways in Hebrew. It is about context of usage.”
Actually, the concept he describes if all these meanings he ascribes are meant to work together is quite easy to present in the English tense system. I would translate it (given this guidance) “I am Who will have always existed” or “I exist because I will have always existed.” (i.e. no beginning and no ending). He continues:
“Now let look at Exodus 3:15
– 1st person is e-h-wah: “I exist” or “I am”.
– 2nd person is T-h-wah: “you exist” or “you are”.
– 3rd person is Y-h-wah: “he exists” or “he is”. Notice that this is in the third person.
Exodus 3:15 And Elohim said Again to Mosheh, Thus, you will say to the sons of Israel, Yahwah Elohey of your fathers, Elohey of Abraham, Elohey of Isaac, and Elohey of Jacob, hath sent me to you: this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial unto all generations.
׃ ויאמר עוד אלהים אל־משׁה כה־תאמר אל־בני ישׂראל יהוה אלהי אבתיכם אלהי אברהם אלהי יצחק ואלהי יעקב שׁלחני אליכם זה־שׁמי לעלם וזה זכרי לדר דר
So Elohey gives his name again, but this time it is different (יהוה) YHWH. The two names YHWH and AHYH are related to one another.
First there is the verb היה Hayah, and now here is the Hebrew verb הוה Hawah. It is identical in meaning and usage. Therefore, let us look at the word Hawah.
It is important to know that all Hebrew names are words with meaning.
A good example would be Sarah, who was Abraham’s wife. Sarah, in Hebrew, is shrah (שׂרה). The root for this is shr (שׂר) which means a head person (of any rank or class): – captain (that had rule), chief (captain), general, governor, keeper, lord, ([-task-]) master, prince, ruler. Adding the “Ha” at the end would make this a feminine word giving you Shr-Ha, a mistress that is a female noble, princess or queen.
If endings are so important, let us consider. Haw-ha is the name of the first woman, so in her case, it has a feminine meaning: “I am (female)“.
So names like, yahua, yahueh, yehovah, or Jehovah etc., mean nothing at all because they are not Hebrew words. Elyown Elohim told Moses to give His name in the 3rd person, because Moses was going speak in the 3rd person. That is, Moses (a 1st person) was going to speak to Israel (a 2nd person) about Elohey, so he would speak in (the 3rd person).”
Do you find his argument convincing? It is not so convincing to me. A Proper Name (The Name) does not change in this way. For example,
- Shmiy h-r-miyah, = My name is Jeremy (hurmiya)
- Shmek t-r-miyah, = Your name is Jeremy (turmiya)
- Shmach y-r-miyah. = His name is Jeremy (yurmiya)
- HaShem (יִרְמְיָ֖הוּ) is ye-ra-me-ya-hu (he is aimed/caste/thrown/tossed [by] ‘O He is’)
Of course pronunciation might change due to a name’s relation to the word before it, and the vowel sound at the end may, too. But the letters of the name do not. Take the name Allah. It is written الله, but can be pronounced Illah, Ullah or Allah due to the ending sound of the word before it (the Alif is elided in pronunciation). If there is a particle before it, it stays the same (نالله, فالله, لالله, والله, and so on). Also the ending sound can be different according to the relation it has to the word following, like Allahu, Allahi, and Allaha or Illahu, Illahi, and Illaha or Ullahu, Ullahi, and Ullaha. The same spelling, but different diacritic marks.
Hence I think it actually the reason for the change from EHYEH to YAHWEH is exactly as my source tells it, but the name he is reported to have given the Iraelites was not how it was actually said by Moses. If God had not meant Moses to tell the Israelites His name was EHYEH, the Israelites, the ones who wrote the Torah, would not have known how God had said his name to Moses, only how he reported it. If God said his name was HYAH, or HWAH, I expect that was how Moses actually reported it. The name, perhaps, did not make sense as a name of a third person (God), so it got changed by the elders and scribes to the more comfortable rendering, and then (later) made forbidden to enunciate to hide the deed. Hence, now, the word HASHEM or ADONEY is substituted for the name when the Torah is recited.
Can you fancy that? God says, “Here, take my name!” “Call upon me with my name!” “Identify me by Name!” And then they refuse to say His name.
As a footnote: The Christians claim that Jesus gave himself the name HYH. And God (in the Quran) told Zakariya to name his son YHY. I am; He is.
The Prophet Zakariah’s son, Prophet Yahya, is said in the Quran to be a unique name, a name that no man has had before him. This is the name Allah gave to John the Baptist. If the meaning is as close to Yahwah as this analysis suggests, we have the peculiar situation where a man has a name with the same meaning as YHWH. Odd, to say the least.
The Quran says Yahya and Eissa are very similar to one another and that Yahya is described as:
O Zakariya! We give thee good news of a son: His name shall be Yahya: on none by that name have We conferred distinction before.”
He said, “My Lord, how will I have a boy when my wife has been barren and I have reached extreme old age?”
[An angel] said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, for I created you before, while you were nothing.’ “
So he came out to his people from the prayer chamber and signed to them to exalt [Allah] in the morning and afternoon.
Allah said, “O Yahya, take the Scripture with determination.”
And We gave him judgement [while yet] a boy; and compassion from Us, and purity, and he was God-fearing; and dutiful to his parents, and he was not insolent or disobedient; and peace be upon him the day he was born and the day he dies and the day he is raised alive.
Eissa is described similarly, but in the first person.
[The Angel] said, “I am only the messenger of your Lord to give you [news of] a pure boy.”
She (Mar-yam) said, “How can I have a boy while no man has touched me and I have not been unchaste?”
He said, “Thus [it will be]; your Lord says, ‘It is easy for Me, and We will make him a sign to the people and a mercy from Us. And it is a matter [already] decreed.’ “
So she pointed to him. They said, “How can we speak to one who is in the cradle a child?”
[Jesus] said, “Indeed, I am the servant of Allah. He has given me the Scripture and made me a prophet. And He has made me blessed wherever I am and has enjoined upon me prayer and due charity as long as I remain alive. And [made me] dutiful to my mother, and He has not made me insolent, or unblessed. And peace is on me the day I was born and the day I will die and the day I am raised alive.”
Is that a coincidence, or what?