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The Names of God in the Old Testament

Discussion in 'Evidence & Prophecy' started by Chad, Aug 27, 2006.

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  1. The Names of God in the Old Testament

    "Let them praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory [is] above the earth and heaven." Psa 148:13

    In the Old Testament times, a name was not only identification, but an identity as well. Many times a special meaning was attached to the name. Names had, among other purposes, an explanatory purpose (e.g., Nabal, whose name means "fool," is the target of Abigail's explanation to David: "For as his name is, so is he; Nabal is his name, and folly is with him:" - 1Sa 25:25). Throughout Scripture God reveals Himself to us through His names. When we study these names that He reveals to us in the Bible, we will better understand who God really is. The meanings behind God's names reveal the central personality and nature of the One who bears them.

    Who is God to you?

    Is He your Most High God, All sufficient One, Master, Lord of Peace, the Lord Who Will Provide? Is He your Father? We must be careful not to make God into an "it" or a "thing" to which we pray. He is our Jehovah Raah, the Lord our Shepherd. God knows us by our name, shouldn't we know Him by His?

    Hallowed be Your name?

    To hallow a thing is to make it holy or to set it apart to be exalted as being worthy of absolute devotion. To hallow the name of God is to regard Him with complete devotion and loving admiration. God's name is of the utmost importance (Neh 9:5); therefore we ought reserve it a position of grave significance in our minds and hearts. We should never take His name lightly (Exd 20:7; Lev 22:32), but always rejoice in it and think deeply upon its true meaning.

    El Shaddai

    Strong's Reference: 7706

    El Shaddai in the Septuagint: theou saddai — God Shaddai; pantokratôr (for Shaddai) — the Almighty

    Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as "God" and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God's character. Another word much like Shaddai, and from which many believe it derived, is shad meaning "breast" in Hebrew (some other scholars believe that the name is derived from an Akkadian word Šadu, meaning "mountain," suggesting strength and power). This refers to God completely nourishing, satisfying, and supplying His people with all their needs as a mother would her child. Connected with the word for God, El, this denotes a God who freely gives nourishment and blessing, He is our sustainer.

    El Elyon

    Strong's Reference: 5945
    El Elyon in the Septuagint: ho theos ho hupsistos — the God most high

    Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as "God" and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God's character. Elyon literally means "Most High" and is used both adjectivally and substantivally throughout the Old Testament. It expresses the extreme sovereignty and majesty of God and His highest preeminence. When the two words are combined — El Elyon — it can be translated as "the most exalted God."(Psa 57:2)

    Adonai

    Strong's Reference: 0136

    Adonai in the Septuagint: kurios — Lord, Master

    Meaning and Derivation: Adonai is the verbal parallel to Yahweh and Jehovah. Adonai is plural; the singular is adon. In reference to God the plural Adonai is used. When the singular adon is used, it usually refers to a human lord. Adon is used 215 times to refer to men. Occasionally in Scripture and predominantly in the Psalms, the singular adon is used to refer to God as well (cf. Exd 34:23). To avoid contravening the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exd 20:7), sometimes Adonai was used as a substitute for Yahweh (YHWH). Adonai can be translated literally as, "my lords' " (both plural and possessive).

    Yahweh or Jehovah

    Strong's Reference: 3068

    Yahwehin the Septuagint: kurios — Lord, Master
    despotês — Lord, Master, denoting the omnipotence of God (TDNT), despot, absolute ruler

    Meaning and Derivation: Yahweh is the promised name of God. This name of God which (by Jewish tradition) is too holy to voice, is actually spelled "YHWH" without vowels. YHWH is referred to as the Tetragrammaton (which simply means "the four letters"). YHWH comes from the Hebrew letters: Yud, Hay, Vav, Hay. While YHWH is first used in Genesis 2, God did not reveal Himself as YHWH until Exodus 3. The modern spelling as "Yahweh" includes vowels to assist in pronunciation. Many pronounce YHWH as "Yahweh" or "Jehovah." We no longer know for certain the exact pronunciation. During the third century A.D., the Jewish people stopped saying this name in fear of contravening the commandment "Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain" (Exd 20:7). As a result of this, Adonai is occasionally a substitute for YHWH. The following compound names which start with "YHWH" have been shown using "Jehovah." This is due to the common usage of "Jehovah" in the English of these compound names in the early English translations of the Bible (e.g., the Geneva Bible, the King James Version, etc.).

    Jehovah Nissi

    Strong's Reference: 3071

    Jehovah Nissi in the Septuagint: kurios kataphugê mou — the Lord is my refuge

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Nes (nês), from which Nissi derived, means "banner" in Hebrew. In Exd 17:15, Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel's banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord our Banner). Nes is sometimes translated as a pole with an insignia attached. In battle opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point.

    Jehovah-Raah

    Strong's Reference: 7462

    Jehovah-Raah in the Septuagint: kurios poimainei me — the Lord shepherds me

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rô'eh from which Raah derived, means "shepherd" in Hebrew. A shepherd is one who feeds or leads his flock to pasture (Eze 34:11-15). An extend translation of this word, rea', is "friend" or "companion." This indicates the intimacy God desires between Himself and His people. When the two words are combined — Jehovah Raah — it can be translated as "The Lord my Friend."

    Jehovah-Rapha

    Strong's Reference: 7495

    Jehovah Rapha in the Septuagint: kurios ho iômenos se — the Lord your healer

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Rapha (râpâ') means "to restore", "to heal" or "to make healthful" in Hebrew. When the two words are combined — Jehovah Rapha — it can be translated as "Jehovah Who Heals." (cf. Jer 30:17; Jer 3:22; Isa 30:26; Isa 61:1; Psa 103:3). Jehovah is the Great Physician who heals the physical and emotional needs of His people.

    Jehovah Shammah

    Strong's Reference: 3074

    Jehovah Shammah in the Septuagint: estai to onoma autês — the name thereof

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Shammah is derived from the Hebrew word sham, which can be translated as "there." Jehovah Shammah is a symbolic name for the earthly Jerusalem. The name indicates that God has not abandoned Jerusalem, leaving it in ruins, but that there will be a restoration.

    Jehovah Tsidkenu

    Strong's Reference: 3072

    Jehovah Tsidkenu in the Septuagint: kuriou tou theou hêmôn elalêsen pros hêmas — the Lord our God spoke to us

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Tsedek (tseh'-dek), from which Tsidkenu derived, means "to be stiff," "to be straight," or "righteous" in Hebrew. When the two words are combined — Jehovah Tsidkenu — it can be translated as "The Lord Who is our Righteousness."

    Jehovah Mekoddishkem

    Strong's Reference: 6942

    Jehovah Mekoddishkem in the Septuagint: kurios ho hagiazôn humas — the Lord that sanctifies you

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Mekoddishkem derives from the Hebrew word qâdash meaning "sanctify," "holy," or "dedicate." Sanctification is the separation of an object or person to the dedication of the Holy. When the two words are combined — Jehovah Mekoddishkem — it can be translated as "The Lord who sets you apart."

    El Olam

    Strong's Reference: 5769

    El Olamin the Septuagint: [ho] theos [ho] aiônios — the everlasting God

    Meaning and Derivation: El is another name that is translated as "God" and can be used in conjunction with other words to designate various aspects of God's character. Olam derives from the root word 'lm (which means "eternity"). Olam literally means "forever," "eternity," or "everlasting". When the two words are combined — El Olam — it can be translated as "The Eternal God."

    Elohim

    Strong's Reference: 0430

    Elohim in the Septuagint: theos — the standard Greek word for god, "a transcendent being who exercises extraordinary control in human affairs or is responsible for bestowal of unusual benefits" (BDAG). It specifically refers to the monotheistic God of Israel.

    Meaning and Derivation: Elohim is translated as "God." The derivation of the name Elohim is debatable to most scholars. Some believe it derived from 'êl which, in turn, originates from the root word, 'wl (which means "strong"). Others think that Elohim is derived from another two roots: 'lh (which means "god") in conjunction with 'elôah (which means "fear"). And still others presume that both 'êl and Elohim come from 'eloah.

    Qanna

    Strong's Reference: 7067

    Qanna in the Septuagint: zêlôtês — jealous

    Meaning and Derivation: Qanna is translated as "jealous," "zealous," or "envy." The fundamental meaning relates to a marriage relationship. God is depicted as Israel's husband; He is a jealous God, wanting all our praise for Himself and no one else. (cf. Exd 34:14)

    Jehovah Jireh

    Strong's Reference:
    3070

    Jehovah Jireh in the Septuagint: kurios eiden — the Lord has seen

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Jehovah-Jireh is a symbolic name given to Mount Moriah by Abraham to memorialize the intercession of God in the sacrifice of Isaac by providing a substitute for the imminent sacrifice of his son.

    Jehovah-Shalom

    Strong's Reference: 3073

    Jehovah-Shalom in the Septuagint: eirênê kuriou — peace of the Lord

    Meaning and Derivation: Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Shalom is a derivative of shâlêm (which means "be complete" or "sound") Shalom is translated as "peace" or "absence from strife." Jehovah-Shalom is the name of an altar built by Gideon in Ophrah.

    Jehovah Sabaoth

    Strong's Reference: 6635

    Jehovah Sabaoth in the Septuagint: kurios sabaôth — the Lord of hosts (sabaôth: Gr. transliteration of Heb. "hosts")

    Meaning and Derivation: Jehovah is translated as "The Existing One" or "Lord." The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word Havah meaning "to be" or "to exist." It also suggests "to become" or specifically "to become known" - this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly. Sabaoth (s<SUP>e</SUP> bâ'ôt) means "armies" or "hosts." Jehovah Sabaoth can be translated as "The Lord of Armies" (1Sa 1:3). This name denotes His universal sovereignty over every army, both spiritual and earthly. The Lord of Hosts is the king of all heaven and earth. (Psa 24:9-10; Psa 84:3; Isa 6:5).
     
    Bendito and Br. Bear like this.
  2. Good reminder of Him who we serve, bro. Chad.


    His Name........as in the days of the Israel nation as they followed Him, so today......His Name........His Name tells us that He is all that we could ever want or need.

    Why do we pursue a drink from broken cisterns? When we can drink from the fountain head?
     
    Br. Bear likes this.
  3. Exo 34:14 For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

    Act 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
     
    Br. Bear likes this.
  4. Greetings,

    The following is added to the above and is well worth reading at least once.
    Taken from the Cambridge Bible for Schools and College.

    Bless you ....><>


    I AM
    ’ehyeh ’ăsher ’ehyeh

    And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
    Exodus 3:14


    I will be that I will be
    The words are evidently intended as an interpretation of the name Yahweh, the name,—which in form is the third pers. imperf. of a verb (just like Isaac, Jacob, Jephthah), meaning He is wont to be or He will be,—being interpreted, as Jehovah is Himself the speaker, in the first person. The rendering given appears to the present writer, as it appeared to W. R. Smith, and A. B. Davidson, to give the true meaning of the Heb. ’Ehyeh ’ăsher ’ehyeh: Jehovah promises that He will be, to Moses and His people, what He will be,—something which is undefined, but which, as His full nature is more and more completely unfolded by the lessons of history and the teaching of the prophets, will prove to be more than words can express. The explanation is thus of a character to reassure Moses. See further the separate note, p. 40.

    The following are the reasons which lead the present writer to agree with W. R. Smith1[109] and A. B. Davidson2[110] in adopting the rend.

    I will be that I will be for ’Ehyeh ’ăsher ’ehyeh. In the first place the verb hâyâh expresses not to be essentially, but to be phaenomenally; it corresponds to γίγνομαι not εἶναι; it denotes, in Delitzsch’s words, not the idea of inactive, abstract existence, but the active manifestation of existence. Secondly the imperfect tense used expresses not a fixed, present state (‘I am’), but action, either reiterated (habitual) or future, i.e. either I am wont to be or I will be. Whichever rend. be adopted, it is implied (1) that Jehovah’s nature can be defined only in terms of itself (‘I am wont to be that I am wont to be,’ or ‘I will be that I will be’), and (2) that, while He is, as opposed to non-existent heathen deities, He exists, not simply in an abstract sense (‘I am that I Amos 3[111]’; LXX. ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν), but actively: He either is wont to be what He is wont to be, i.e. is ever in history manifesting Himself anew to mankind, and especially to Israel4[112]; or He will be what He will be, i.e. He will,—not, of course, once only, but habitually,—approve Himself to His people as ‘what He will be’; as what is not further defined, or defined only in terms of Himself, but, it is understood, as what He has promised, and they look for, as their helper, strengthener, deliverer, &c.5[113] The two renderings do not yield a substantially different sense: for what is wont to be does not appreciably differ from what at any moment will be. I will be is however the preferable rendering. As both W. R. Smith and Davidson point out, the important thing to bear in mind is that ’ehyeh expresses not the abstract, metaphysical idea of being, but the being of Yahweh as revealed and known to Israel. ‘The expression I will be is a historical formula; it refers, not to what God will be in Himself: it is no predication regarding His essential nature, but one regarding what He will approve Himself to others, regarding what He will shew Himself to be to those in convenant with Him,’ as by His providential guidance of His people, and the teaching of His prophets, His character and attributes were more and more fully unfolded to them1[114].

    [109] In an interesting article in the Brit. and Foreign Evang. Rev. 1876, p. 163.

    [110] The Theology of the OT. (1904), pp. 46, 54–58; more briefly in DB. ii. 199b.

    [111] A translation, as Davidson remarks (p. 55), ‘doubly false: the tense is wrong, being present [i.e. a real ‘present,’ not the ‘present,’ as often in English, expressive of habit], and the idea is wrong, because am is used in the sense of essential being.’

    [112] So Delitzsch, Genesis, ed. 4 (1872), p. 26; in the New Commentary of 1887 (translated) towards the end of the note on Exodus 2:4 : Oehler, OT. Theol. § 39. Comp. the present writer in Studia Biblica, i (1885), pp. 15–18.

    [113] So W. R. Smith and A. B. Davidson, ll.cc.

    [114] The rend. will be is not new: it is at least as old as the Jewish Commentator Rashi (a.d. 1040–1105), who paraphrases, ‘I will be with them in this affliction what I will be with them in the subjection of their future captivities.’ And Ewald, in his last work, Die Lehre der Bibel von Gott, 1873, ii. p. 337 f., explains, ‘I will be it,’ viz. the performer of My promises; in v. 12 God says ‘I will be with thee’; v. 14 explains how: ‘I will be it! I (viz.) who will be it,’ will be viz. what I have promised and said. This, however, as W. R. Smith remarks, is a clumsy version: v. 14 is rendered far more naturally as is done above: I will be what I will be.

    I am] better, as before, I will be.
     

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