Jehovah

The name of God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and consequently the God of Israel, was represented in written form by the four Hebrew consonants YHWH. Probably the first appearance in writing of the so-called Tetragrammaton took place when God carved out the two stone tablets upon which he wrote the Ten Commandments for the Israelites. There, chiseled in stone by the very finger of God, the name of God appeared eight times.

Over the course of 15 centuries as the Bible was compiled by various writers, ultimately the name of God appeared in the vellum and papyrus scrolls in nearly 7,000 places – more than any other proper name. Originally the name of God was freely spoken by the Jews and used in everyday language. Hebrews often named their offspring names that incorporated some form of the divine name. For example, the common name, John, is a shortened form of the Hebrew name, Jehohanan, which means “Jehovah has been gracious.”

Places were also named names that honored God’s name. For example, when God prevented Abraham from offering Isaac upon a makeshift altar and instead provided a ram as a substitute, a grateful Abraham named the mountain Jehovah-Jireh, which means “Jehovah will provide.” Incidentally, Jewish tradition has it that the place Abraham named Jehovah-Jireh was the site where Solomon’s temple was built almost 1,000 years later, and which became known as the place where Jehovah caused his name to reside.