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Featured Why is YHWH translated as LORD in most English Bibles?

Discussion in 'General Theology' started by Leevo, Jan 31, 2017.

  1. Leevo

    Leevo Well-Known Member

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    I have notices that almost all the English translations of the Bible that I have read from, translate YHWH as LORD, with the exception of the HCSB. Even the HCSB's translators have reverted back to LORD in their upcoming revision of the HCSB, the CSB. I understand that some say this is due to respect most of the time but why would God give us His name if we aren't supposed to use it? Another thing that bugs me, people worry about mispronouncing God's Holy Name so they feel it better to use Lord but we translate Jesus's name, which would be just as Holy, no? Jesus's name is Yeshua in the original language, yes? If we are so worried about mispronouncing His name, why do we feel it okay to change Jesus's but not God the Father's.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
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  2. Hank77

    Hank77 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Young's Literal Translation says Jehovah. Adonai is translated Lord.

    It is only the Jews that do not pronounce God's name and even then the Karaite Jews do pronounce and write Yehovah. They are rather like Sola Scriptura Christians. They don't see anywhere in the scriptures that would lead them to believe they shouldn't.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  3. RaymondG

    RaymondG Well-Known Member

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    Because it was foretold that this would happen?

    "Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal."
    Jer 23:27
    Baal=the lord/Lord
     
  4. Ken Behrens

    Ken Behrens Well-Known Member

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    I do wish that there would be a better option. Lord is the proper translation of adonai, and it is terribly confusing. Just another reason to learn to read the original languages.

    Suppose that someone discovered the missing vowels in the name YHWH, and could prove that he was correct. He would not publish them or even let on that he knew them. There are legends from the last several centuries that Satanists believe that this name will cause the spiritual structure of the world to be upset, and placed under their magikcal control. Now I don't believe this is so, and I'm sure you don't either, but people have been killed for less.
     
  5. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

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    Since other religions say "Lord," think it should be clear to whom we are referring and honoring.
     
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2017
  6. DamianWarS

    DamianWarS Follower of Isa Al Masih Supporter

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    LORD is a common translation. The all caps is separates it from general "Lord". Adonai (which is actually is lord) was a common substitution for the word in ancient Jewish texts or when reading so it is somewhat fitting for it to be translated as LORD today.

    However I believe YHWH as a sacred name of God is a misnomer. The name came from Exodus 3:15 but in context God tells us the name in Exodus 3:14 where he tells Moses to say "I AM has sent me to you" And that's his name... "I AM" of course this isn't a name at all this is a state of being that is above all names so I think we miss the point when we exalt this name.

    In Hebrew the word for "name" is shem. Hebrew is an extremely concrete language and "name" is too abstract of a translation. the word is directly related to breath (neshamah) and is like saying the reputation, character or "breath" of God. Exodus 3:15 doesn't stop at YHWH and it says

    Exodus 3:15
    “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘[YHWH], the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is My [shem] forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations"​

    This is the "shem of God" not the name of God and it doesn't stop at the first 4 letters.

    YHWH is related to HYH (hayah). What is hayah? It is the "I AM" in verse 14 that was originally spoken as the name. YHWH can in fact be the 2nd person singular of Hayah (pronounced as "Yihweh")... so not "I AM" but "HE IS". So again this name is not a name at all, it is a state of being. God is above languages and names. His "shem" is the all existent, eternal one, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Jews, Christians and Muslims alike agree on this regardless of the words they use and it shows us that his character, his "shem" has transcended religions and cultures.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2017
  7. dysert

    dysert Member

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    Actually, I think the HCSB does translate YHWH as LORD sometimes. I never noticed it before but the HCSB uses both "Yahweh" and "LORD". Anyone know why?
     
  8. Leevo

    Leevo Well-Known Member

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    The head of the translation committee said they only do it in some places to keep from making people uncomfortable who have never heard it translated that way before. They have a revision of the HCSB coming out in March of this year that is just called the CSB, and they actually reverted back to just saying LORD instead of trying to translate it as Yahweh because it never really took off.
     
  9. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

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    That's a shame since it's so critical for people to understand which Lord.
     
  10. childofdust

    childofdust Newbie

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    Because the way people have read the Tetragrammaton for 2,000 years was “Lord.”

    God’s name hasn’t been used in thousands of years simply because no one knows what it is. It’s not an issuing of “not supposed to use” it’s an issue of “not being able to use.”

    People translate and pronounce Yeshua’s name because they know what it is (Yeshua). People don’t pronounce or translate God’s name (YHWH) because they don’t know what it is. Current scholarly opinion is that it was “Yahweh,” but that is a highly contested guess.

    Feel free to translate or pronounce the Tetragrammaton however you like.
     
  11. DrBubbaLove

    DrBubbaLove Roman Catholic convert from Southern Baptist Supporter

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    How many gods do we need?
     
  12. tturt

    tturt Senior Veteran Supporter

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    I'm not confused but that's not the case with some others.

    Yahweh's character is that He does not lie (Numbers 23:19). So He wouldn't tell one group to love others (Matt 22:39) while telling another group the opposite.
     
  13. DrBubbaLove

    DrBubbaLove Roman Catholic convert from Southern Baptist Supporter

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    I guess my point is the Trinity Doctrine is difficult enough to teach without adding more names for any of the Persons. And I am also assuming a Doctrine perspective the ancient writers lacked in his selection of words.

    Rather like that each Person Individually and all Three together could be properly addressed at various times or be understood as being addressed without insisting a particular case MUST mean only One of them, or ONLY all Three together. Am no doctor or for that matter expert in ancient language or degreed in any relevant studies (engineering and math), but it just seems too presumptuous to me in many cases/examples to insist we know more than we do about God or even that it often matters which Person is said to be Present in the OT. Some cases sure, but in OT especially the distinction seems less important than the acknowledging the Authority the given used word demands. It is God. Does that makes sense?
     
  14. Neogaia777

    Neogaia777 Disciple Supporter

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    It might also be because God's actual name in Hebrew, that can be YHWH or YHVH, and no one seems to know for sure which is correct, it seems... Let alone the correct way to pronounce it, is also hotly debated and basically, I think has been "lost" to antiquity and history unfortunately...

    Anyways, It may be also, is that it is not fully understood by anyone yet, so as to "define" his name and what it really means, so as to kind of be able to "put him in a box" so to speak... No one can do that right now... His name is made up of four consonants of the Hebrew language, which has been known and referred to as the "Tetragrammaton" which is still kind of shrouded in mystery...

    Wiki says this on it: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct...W3Rgjdu3qz9IqCcwQ&sig2=PyaIz3lsvrHWQbKFiAHGuQ

    We will probably never be able to know with certainty just "what" the actual name of God is supposed to mean other than just simply "God" or God's personal name, so as to to be able to define him as an "it" or "put him in a box" so to speak...

    Jesus will probably have to come back and tell us before we will be able to know for sure...

    God Bless!
     
  15. AnticipateHisComing

    AnticipateHisComing Newbie Supporter

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    Why is YHWH translated as LORD in most English Bibles?

    Because books, including the Bible aim to convey meaning. LORD in english is the closest common word we have to covey the meaning to Hebrew YHWH. As YHWH is not the formal name for God, it matters not what specific word any translation uses. The best word is the one common to most that speak that language. To insist on a literal transcribing of letters from one language to another language only confuses the message.

    As far as adjusting the name we use for Jesus in various translations, it is just as innocent as it is done for other names in scripture, ie the apostles. The thing to remember is that the Son of God is described with multiple names: Christ, Lord, Word, Angel of the Lord, teacher, mediator, lamb, shepherd, ... All these "names" ascribe meaning to the person of the Trinity. We wait to learn the proper name that is used in heaven for the Son of God.

    Jesus is his earthly name. It is not his heavenly name. It does not contain the full embodiment of what the Son of God is. As it does not have the full glory of his person, it is more a name of his function as God incarnate living as men with a man's name. Is it wrong for one to name their child Jesus?

    Note, no commandment to not say "Jesus" or take Jesus' name in vain, although we don't in respect for God.
     
  16. AnticipateHisComing

    AnticipateHisComing Newbie Supporter

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    Don't be so legalistic in your training. God instituted the varied languages. God is the author of scripture, despite various writers of various languages. Do you really think that the knowledge that God wishes to impart to us in his word, the scripture can not be translated to the various languages he instituted?

    The Bible while containing great depths of meaning, does so with the most simple of words. This is why God taught with parables. Hidden and complex ideas can be conveyed with simple and plain words.

    I cringe every time one promotes an importance of "original languages" as if that the only way to truth. Understanding scripture is enough of a challenge, why seminaries add foreign language studies at the reduction of studying the whole Bible befuddles me.
     
  17. AnticipateHisComing

    AnticipateHisComing Newbie Supporter

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    Now this is just dramatic speculative hyperbole.

    Your premise; YHWH with some missing vowels is a formal name for God with special meaning such that we can't/aren't allowed to say it.
    Do you really think that God speaks in Hebrew?
    Do you think that Adam spoke in Hebrew?
    Do you think that the angels speak in Hebrew?

    I say no to all, especially the last, as 1 Corinthians 13:1 says that the tongues of men are different than angels.

    This means that when God gave Moses the letters to write for him YHWH, it was already a translation from the native language used in heaven. This means it is impossible for it to convey all the glory of his heavenly name. So if God translated a name for him in Hebrew, there is no dire consequence for us to translate it to another word in English.
     
  18. Neogaia777

    Neogaia777 Disciple Supporter

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    There is a difference between "titles" ascribed to someone and their personal "name"... God's personal name is YHWH is Hebrew, Jehovah, in English, but his personal name, no one knows exactly what it means so as to define it, it remains still a mystery and probably will till Jesus comes back...

    God Bless!
     
  19. AnticipateHisComing

    AnticipateHisComing Newbie Supporter

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    Nice post.

    I would like to elaborate on the idea of names. Start at the beginning, in creation God made the animals according to their kind, Genesis 1:24-25 God then brought the animals to man to name, Genesis 2:19-20. This is the ancient practice to assign names based on what one is. This means a name describes the object and is not just some random letters.

    Now look at the name women and see how it was also formed based on a descriptive name for them. Genesis 2:23. Look throughout the OT to see numerous names for people and places based on descriptive features.

    So if names are meant to describe the person, how could we on earth comprehend and formulate a name that was adequate in describing the glory of God? If no man has seen or can see the face/glory of God, how can we give a descriptive name to him? It would be deceiving to give God the greatest heavenly being an earthly name. Nothing on earth compares to his glory. The closest we have is the Sun which the brightness of God is compared to.

    Paul when caught up to heaven saw "inexpressible" things, 2 Corinthians 12:4. Peter says God fills us with inexpressible joy, 1 Peter 1:8. The Angel of the Lord said his name was beyond understanding, Judges 13:18. How can we express a name for the inexpressible?

    Now this thread is concentrating on Exodus 3:13-15, but what about Exodus 33:12-23? Moses, despite having seen God in the burning bush and multiple other times, still asked to see God in his glory. Moses wanted an even greater glimpse of God's glory. Note how God answers back, Exodus 33:19. He says he will proclaim his name in his presence. Now despite what translation of the text you use, I even dare you to go back to the original text to look for YHWH, God said he would SAY his name. YHWH is not pronounceable, so obviously God said something different than what was recorded in scripture, even in the original language text. I further doubt God spoke in Hebrew. I would bet he spoke his name as called in heaven, in the heavenly language. This was truly a special honor bestowed on Moses. So God passed in front of Moses and Moses saw the back of God, this was more glorious then the fire of Ex 3 and the other "face to face" meetings he had with God. It is only because he saw God in his glory that he could hear his name. It follows that none can say God's name without seeing the glory that Moses saw. And so we make do with LORD until we meet in heaven.
     
  20. benelchi

    benelchi INACTIVE

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    Long before the 1st century, the Jews began the practice of verbally substituting the word ‘Adonai’ when they read the name ‘YHWH.’ Adonai like Elohim is plural and means ‘my Lords,’ and like Elohim, Adonai is used with singular verbs when it is used in reference to God. The practice is reflected in the LXX (2nd century BC Greek translation of the OT) where ‘kurios’ (Lord) is used as the translation of YHWH, this is also seen in every NT quote of the OT containing the name YHWH where ‘kurios’ (Lord) is used to translate YHWH. The practice of using ‘Lord’ instead of YHWH has a very long history that includes examples from the authors of the NT. If they believe that using Lord as a translation of YHWH was appropriate, this is something I too must accept that this is reasonable.



    The name ‘Jehovah’ is also a result of this practice of substituting ‘Adonai’ when reading ‘YHWH’ When the Masorites devised the vowel pointing system for Hebrew, they took the vowels from Adonai and placed them on letters YHWH to remind those reading the text to make this verbal substitution. To see how this works requires a little bit of understanding about the Hebrew vowel system and the usage of Adonai. Traditionally Adonai (My Lords) is written like this in Hebrew אֲדֹנַי; however, when it is used to refer to YHWH it is written with a slight vowel modification i.e. אֲדֹנָי. Second, we need to know something about the sheva (semi-vowel); it is written as two vertical dots under a letter like this בְ or יְ but certain letters, like the א cannot take a sheva alone, when a sheva is require a helper vowel must be added i.e. אֲ, Third, the long ‘O’ sound in Hebrew can be written either by using the letter ו as a vowel or by placing a dot at the top left of a letter i.e. תו and תֹ are both pronounced as ‘toe.’ Forth, the letter ו also functions as consonant that sounds like ‘w’ (‘v’ in modern Hebrew).

    With this information let’s now look at אֲדֹנָי, if we use its alternate expanded spelling, it looks like this אֲדונָי. Comparing אֲדונָי and יְהוָה we can see how the vowels transfer i.e. we see the expanded sheva when comparing יְ and אֲ, we see the long ‘o’ as ו and the ‘ah’ sound remains the same (it is the small ‘T’ under the letter). These vowels break the grammatical rules when applied like this to יְהוָה and were put there only as a reminder to pronounce this as ‘Adonai’. As it is pointed, we get ‘Yehowah’ which later became ‘Jehovah’
     
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