Musings from a Christian author–
By now you are probably wondering in frustration what the Hebrew name, YHVH, means and how to pronounce it, or why I pronounce it, YaHavah.
The root of a word determines the meaning and pronunciation of the whole word. This is a universal law of grammar. Once the root is known, pronunciation of a word or name is said to be fairly easy. We shall see.
The accepted linguistic definition of a root word is — A root, or root word, is a word that does not have a prefix (in front of the word) or a suffix (at the end of a word). The root word is the primary lexical unit of a word, and of a word family (root is then called base word), which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_(linguistics)
YHVH is the Hebrew personal name of our Creator. The root word, HVH, pronounced hävah, means exist or be. Strong’s reference is H1933 and it appears six times in the OT. I pronounce YHVH phonetically, Yä-Hä-väh, based on the pronunciation of the Hebrew word, HVH, hävah.
If it is the name of our Creator, and it is in the Hebrew Scriptures, why isn’t it in English Bibles? (note: YHVH Elohim is in the Word of YHVH Bible)
The translators of the original Hebrew scriptures substituted the name (YHVH) and epithet (Elohim) of our Creator with the English words LORD God, even though the words, LORD and God do not convey the heart and meaning of our Creator’s Hebrew name and epithet.
From Adam, up to and during, the Egyptian captivity, the Hebrew people only knew their Creator as El Almighty or the Mighty El. They used other epithet Hebraisms to describe the actions of his presence, power, and knowledge. Those Hebraisms are listed in my Glossary of Common Terms in Section IV–Epithets (Titles/Names).
YaHavah’s title of deference, Elohim, was introduced in Genesis 1:1. His name, YHVH, was linked to this epithet of deference in the Hebrew Scriptures of Genesis 2:4 as YHVH Elohim.
YHVH is a tetragram, meaning a word comprised of four letters. Believing the name YHVH is too holy to speak, Jews sometimes use the term, “Four Letters”, instead. They have other substitutions as well, but I will not go into that now. Yet, I have to wonder, if his personal name is too holy, wouldn’t any name for him be too holy, also? Wouldn’t thoughts about him be too holy to think?
I have read many arguments about the pronunciation of YHVH, some delving into the depths of linguistic explanation. However, I prefer the simplicity of the Bible that always works well on a need to know basis; it tells us what we need to know. The true name of our Creator is something Christians really do need to know.
The origin of the Hebrew alphabet was as pictograph representations of things in the lives of the people. The pictographic version is pure and unsullied by modern alterations of his name or rules of Hebrew grammar.
In the Hebrew Scriptures, each chapter of Psalm 119 begins with a letter from the Hebrew alphabet. Each chapter has eight verses. The verses in the YHVH table correspond to the appropriate chapter and letter as noted.
Reading the symbols from top to bottom–the solution of speaking God’s Hebrew name, YHVH, is in its pictographic form, where the reason for it can be seen. Speaking His name says to the world, “YHVH is my Elohim, in whom I ask counsel, serve, and worship.”
What do the Four Letters, YHVH, mean to you?