QUESTION: A friend of mine has been talking to me about his faith and church, Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am trying to understand some of the things he is saying. In my research I came across a YouTube video of yours and you seem to have a lot of knowledge. I asked him this question, but have not received an answer. Perhaps you can tell me. When did the name Jehovah come into existence?


 

ANSWER: I assume you mean the English word. The name “Jehovah” is the most recent anglicized expression of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton – YHWH. According to the online user-edited encyclopedia, Wikipedia, the name in its recognizable present form did not come about until as recently as 400 years ago. That is because the word was originally spelled with an “I” instead of a “J”.

The name of God appeared as “Iehouah” in the very first English translation from the Hebrew, translated by William Tyndale and published in 1525. And the King James Bible, published in 1611, originally rendered the divine name as Iehovah. The reason it was spelled with an “I” is because that is how it appeared in Latin and the letter “J” had not been distinguished from the letter “I” at that time. Also, the letter “V” was not known in Old English.

So, just as the English language has gone through a developmental evolution over the centuries (no doubt as have all languages), so too the word “Jehovah” has undergone several revisions.

What is important is not the spelling or pronunciation, but that English-speaking people recognize that “Jehovah” is the most widely used and accepted form of the personal name of God – distinguishing him from all others, including Jesus.

Below is a list copied from an online Watchtower publication of how the YHWH is rendered in various languages.

CHIHOWA: Choctaw

IÁHVE: Portuguese

IEHOUA: Mer

IEHOVA: Gilbertese; Hawaiian; Hiri Motu; Kerewo; Kiwai; Marquesas; Motu; Panaieti (Misima); Rarotongan; Tahitian; Toaripi

IEHOVAN: Saibai

IEOVA: Kuanua; Wedau

IHOVA: Aneityum

IHVH: French

IOVA: Malekula (Kuliviu); Malekula (Pangkumu); Malekula (Uripiv)

JAHOWA: Batak-Toba

JAHUÈ: Chacobo

JAKWE: (Ki)Sukuma

JAHVE: Hungarian

JEHOBA: Kipsigis; Mentawai

JEHOFA: Tswana

JEHOVA: Croatian; German; Kélé (Gabon); Lele (Manus Island); Nandi; Nauruan; Nukuoro

JEHOVÁ: Spanish

JEHÔVA: Fang; Tsimihety

JEHOVAH: Dutch; Efik; English; Kalenjin; Malagasy; Narrinyeri; Ojibwa

JEOVA: Kusaie (Kosraean)

JIHOVA: Naga (Angami); Naga (Konyak); Naga (Lotha); Naga (Mao); Naga (Ntenyi); Naga (Sangtam); Rotuman

JIOUA: Mortlock

JIOVA: Fijian

JIWHEYẸWHE: Gu (Alada)

SIHOVA: Tongan

UYEHOVA: Zulu

YAHOWA: Thai

YAHVE: Ila

YAVE: Kongo

YAWE: Bobangi; Bolia; Dholuo; Lingala; Mongo (Lolo); (Lo)Ngandu; (Lo)Ntumba; (Ke)Sengele

YEHÓA: Awabakal

YEHOFA: Southern Sotho

YEHOVA: Chokwe; Chuana (Tlapi); (Ki)Kalanga; Logo; Luba; Lugbara; (Chi)Luimbi; (Chi)Lunda (Ndembu); (Chi)Luvale; Santo (Hog Harbor); Tiv; Umbundu; (Isi)Xhosa

YEHOVAH: Bube; Mohawk; Nguna (Efate); Nguna (Tongoa)

YEHOWA: Ga; Laotian; (Ki)Songe; Tshiluba

YEKOVA: Zande

YEOBA: Kuba (Inkongo)

YEOHOWA: Korean

YHWH: Hebrew

YOWO: Lomwe

ZAHOVA: Chin (Haka-Lai)

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