If "Yahweh" is a better way of saying God's Name, why don't more English Bible translations use it?

"Yahweh...This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation." -- Exodus 3:15, Holman Christian Standard Bible (2004)

To be sure, a few "sacred name" versions use "Yahweh," and Rotherham's version of 1902 used "Yahweh" over 6,000 times.

However, most English Bibles relegate "Yahweh" to footnotes and even the HCSB uses it only a few times. Nevertheless, what the HCSB says in its Introduction is true: "the word LORD in English is a title of God and does not accurately convey to modern readers the emphasis on God's Name in the original Hebrew."

So why don't those scholars who prefer the form "Yahweh" use it consistently in their Bible translations?

17 Answers

  • 10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    "Because Yahweh requires a breathy sound to get it approaching the right vocalisation. You can't do breathy sounds on pieces of paper."

    ROFLOL!!! And all the other Hebrew names??? xD

    Truth is, the people who harp on against the JWs using God's Name with a non-Hebrew pronunciation just have an issue with God's name- period.

    A nameless God is easier to knead into a mysterious "Trinity".

  • 10 years ago

    In the Bible it only appears as consonants YHWH (otherwise known as the Tetragrammaton, link!). It is thought that some sects thought the name of God was too holy to even be written out. But here's the rub - nobody anymore remembers what the vowels are supposed to be. This means that the 'Yahweh' construction is purely hypothetical. I've seen others (like 'Jehovah') that connect it to other traditions. So either the former reason (it wasn't spelled out for a reason) or the latter (nobody really knows how to spell it out) is probably why it still gets excluded.

  • 10 years ago

    Ancient custom predating the time of Jesus holds that the Holy Name of God should not be written down except when absolutely necessary. The Holy Name is not used ONCE in all or the christian scriptures, as way of example. Publishers follow this practice out of respect, but use clear and unambiguous means to signal to readers those cases where The Holy Name was indicated in the manuscripts.

    The fact that the editors of a particular translation have an opinion does not make that opinion authoritative.

    • Gum6 years agoReport

      The name of God appears over

  • 6 years ago

    My guess is that Yahweh is deemed too weird for the general populace. I would prefer that it be just transliterated YHWH. But It is noted that the NT uses kyrios (Lord) for YHWH when referring to or quoting an OT passage that has YHWH. Yet the form of kyrios used may be nomina sacra, a specially abbreviated kyrios. The old ASV 1901 used Jehovah, but due to objections to "Jehovah," later translations abandoned it.

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  • 10 years ago

    In the second half of the first millennium C.E., Jewish scholars introduced a system of points to represent the missing vowels in the consonantal Hebrew text. When it came to God’s name, instead of inserting the proper vowel signs for it, they put other vowel signs to remind the reader that he should say ʼAdho‧nai′ (meaning “Sovereign Lord”) or ʼElo‧him′ (meaning “God”).

    The Codex Leningrad B 19A, of the 11th century C.E., vowel points the Tetragrammaton to read Yehwah′, Yehwih′, and Yeho‧wah′. Ginsburg’s edition of the Masoretic text vowel points the divine name to read Yeho‧wah′. (Ge 3:14, ftn) Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yahweh” as the most likely pronunciation. They point out that the abbreviated form of the name is Yah (Jah in the Latinized form), as at Psalm 89:8 and in the expression Ha‧lelu-Yah′ (meaning “Praise Jah, you people!”). (Ps 104:35; 150:1, 6) Also, the forms Yehoh′, Yoh, Yah, and Ya′hu, found in the Hebrew spelling of the names Jehoshaphat, Joshaphat, Shephatiah, and others, can all be derived from Yahweh. Greek transliterations of the name by early Christian writers point in a somewhat similar direction with spellings such as I‧a‧be′ and I‧a‧ou‧e′, which, as pronounced in Greek, resemble Yahweh. Still, there is by no means unanimity among scholars on the subject, some favoring yet other pronunciations, such as “Yahuwa,” “Yahuah,” or “Yehuah.”

    Since certainty of pronunciation is not now attainable, there seems to be no reason for abandoning in English the well-known form “Jehovah” in favor of some other suggested pronunciation. If such a change were made, then, to be consistent, changes should be made in the spelling and pronunciation of a host of other names found in the Scriptures: Jeremiah would be changed to Yir‧meyah′, Isaiah would become Yeshaʽ‧ya′hu, and Jesus would be either Yehoh‧shu′aʽ (as in Hebrew) or I‧e‧sous′ (as in Greek). The purpose of words is to transmit thoughts; in English the name Jehovah identifies the true God, transmitting this thought more satisfactorily today than any of the suggested substitutes.

    Importance of the Name. Many modern scholars and Bible translators advocate following the tradition of eliminating the distinctive name of God. They not only claim that its uncertain pronunciation justifies such a course but also hold that the supremacy and uniqueness of the true God make unnecessary his having a particular name. Such a view receives no support from the inspired Scriptures, either those of pre-Christian times or those of the Christian Greek Scriptures.

    The Tetragrammaton occurs 6,828 times in the Hebrew text printed in Biblia Hebraica and Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. In the Hebrew Scriptures the New World Translation contains the divine name 6,973 times, because the translators took into account, among other things, the fact that in some places the scribes had replaced the divine name with ʼAdho‧nai′ or ʼElo‧him′. The very frequency of the appearance of the name attests to its importance to the Bible’s Author, whose name it is. Its use throughout the Scriptures far outnumbers that of any of the titles, such as “Sovereign Lord” or “God,” applied to him.

    Noteworthy, also, is the importance given to names themselves in the Hebrew Scriptures and among Semitic peoples. Professor G. T. Manley points out: “A study of the word ‘name’ in the O[ld] T[estament] reveals how much it means in Hebrew. The name is no mere label, but is significant of the real personality of him to whom it belongs. . . . When a person puts his ‘name’ upon a thing or another person the latter comes under his influence and protection.”—New Bible Dictionary

  • 4 years ago

    John 8:58..."Before Abraham I was, I am." This is Jesus identifying Himself with the same individual that spoke at Sinai, to Moses. The Jews knew this, which is why they immediately picked up stones, to stone Him to death for blasphemy. However, when one takes into consideration all he other things Jesus said about Himself, and DID, the prophecies he fulfilled...(Do you know that there are over 115 distinct and separate prophecies about the Messiah? And that the statistical possibility of even a mere 20 of them coming to pass in one single individual has so many zeros at the end of it that most of us couldn't even vocalise the number if we saw it printed?)...it is quite clear that Jesus is God, and therefore also, the I AM...the Word made flesh, who was there from the very beginning of Creation - his birth is a reference to his INCARNATION - not to His essential existence. He existed long before Creation, because He is God.

  • 10 years ago

    You know what I found hilarious?

    The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible says "we have been consistent in translating the Divine Name by following the practice of the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version (i.e., the LORD for the Hebrew YHWH, and the LORD God for YHWH elohim)."

    Guess what section of their Introduction they put this in? The section entitled "Emphasizing Accuracy over Style."

  • 10 years ago

    Here is the reason why:

    "....We put 2 1/2 million dollars into this translation (NIV) and a sure way of throwing that down the drain....Immediately we would have translated for nothing....It is far better to get 2 million to read it .... and to follow the King James, than to have two thousand buy it and miss the grand truth in the Bible on every page because they are following an old fashion translation and have the correct translation of Yahweh"

    Edwin Palmer

    Translation committee of the NIV

  • 10 years ago

    The very reason God has a name different from others, even his son Jesus, is because there are many god's in the bible. Satan is even called a god of this system. So it is very important to make a distinction when we are praying to our God Jehovah, Yahweh. When we use his name it is personal to us.

  • 10 years ago

    Because they want to hide from the fact that Yahweh is a storm/war god who, along with the other gods of the Jewish pantheons....had "sons" (genesis 6).

    As a side note, some translations use capital letter 'G' when making reference to Yahweh, and small 'g' when making reference to gods...as in plural. Elohim is plural for "Gods"--in their embarrassment they have tried to change this fact, but it remains. "El" is the singular form as in "El Yahweh" El Baal" and so forth.

    • Gum6 years agoReport

      In Hebrew to be a "son of" is a figure of speech. If your were a murderer you might be called a "son of violence." How about being embarrassed for thinking that a formally plural ending must actually mean plural? Do u insist that "people" refers to 1 person because "people" is a singular noun?

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