Did God’s People in the Old Testament Times Utter the Holy Name Aloud?

One claims that we cannot produce one manuscript where Moses wrote the name completely in Hebrew.

Actually, we don’t know of any Hebrew manuscript of the Old Testament that does not at all produce the Holy Name completely with all four of the Hebrew letters that represent the Holy Name; those letters are usually referred to as YOD HE WAW HE or JOD HE VAV HE. The commonly used Masoretic text produced after Christ not only has the four letters but also the added vowel points, which have been added, not just the Holy Name but each and every word in Hebrew Old Testament, since the original Hebrew had no written vowels at all for any word.

In a comparatively few instances, God’s Holy Name is presented in its shorten form with two letters YOD HE, usually rendered into English as YAH or JAH. However, in most instances, the Holy Name has all four letters.

Nevertheless, one could argue that the four letters of the God’s Hebrew name are shortened from the full name expressed in Exodus 3:14 as “I AM WHO I AM”. “I AM WHO I AM” is the first first person expression of the Hebrew active verb meaning “to be”. Yahweh gives his name in the first person as “I AM WHO I AM”, signifying that He cannot deny himself — He cannot deny who He is — and he cannot deny His promises. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was indeed proclaiming his name to be EHYEH ‘ASHER EHYEH, or, to use the short form, EHYEH. In Exodus 3:15, we find the third person singular form of the verb, HAYAH, which the World English renders as Yahweh, which has the basic meaning of “HE IS”, which, in turn, is short for HE IS WHO HE IS. Thus, Yahweh means HE IS WHO HE IS, or HE WILL BE WHO HE IS. He cannot deny Himself; what He says will be — His promises are certain. This is in harmony with the words of 2 Timothy 2:13,“he remains faithful — he can’t deny himself.”

We have been told to look to the Hebrew scriptures and the Tanakh for no Jew ever would utter the name of God out loud for fear of taking his name in vain and thereby breaking the commandment.

“Tanakh” usually refers to the Masoretic Hebrew text. We find no evidence at all in the Tanakh that no Jew would utter the name of God out loud, rather we find the very opposite. Let’s examine a few verses from the World English of the Tanakh.

Moses asked God:

“Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them,’The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me,’What is his name?’ What should I tell them?” — Exodus 3:13.

God responded:

“You shall tell the children of Israel this,’Yahweh, 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 name forever, and this is my memorial to all generations. Go, and gather the elders of Israel together, and tell them,’Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, has appeared to me.'” — Exodus 3:15,16.

Is it true that Moses could not possibly obey the command of God, since he could not utter the name?

God spoke to Moses:

“You shall tell Pharaoh,’Thus says Yahweh, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and I have said to you, “Let my son go, that he may serve me;” and you have refused to let him go. Behold, I will kill your son, your firstborn.'” — Exodus 4:22.

Moses and Aaron stated to Pharaoh:

“This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says,’Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.'” — Exodus 5:1.

That they actually did utter the Holy Name can be seen in Pharaoh’s response:

“Who is Yahweh, that I should listen to his voice to let Israel go? I don’t know Yahweh, and moreover I will not let Israel go.” — Exodus 5:2.

David said to Goliath: “You come to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a javelin: but I come to you in the name of Yahweh of hosts.” — 1 Samuel 17:45.

Did David simply pass over the Holy Name, so as to say, “I come to you in the name of of Hosts”? It should be obvious that David did indeed utter aloud the Holy Name to Goliath.

1 Kings 10:1
When the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of Yahweh, she came to prove him with hard questions.

How did the queen of Sheba know of the name of Yahweh, if the Jews did not utter that name out loud?

Elijah stated to the Baal worshipers:

1 Kings 18:24 WEB
Call you on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Yahweh; and the God who answers by fire, let him be God. All the people answered, It is well spoken.

Did Elijah not utter the name, in effect, actually saying: “I will call on the name of;”? That would make no sense.

When David spoke to the princes of Israel, did he not utter the Holy Name out loud?

Isn’t Yahweh your God with you? and hasn’t he given you rest on every side? for he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand; and the land is subdued before Yahweh, and before his people. 19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek after Yahweh your God; arise therefore, and build you the sanctuary of Yahweh God, to bring the ark of the covenant of Yahweh, and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of Yahweh.– 1 Chronicles 22:18,19.

If David did not utter the Holy Name out loud, then he would have said:

Isn’t your God with you? and hasn’t he given you rest on every side? for he has delivered the inhabitants of the land into my hand; and the land is subdued before, and before his people. 19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek after h your God; arise therefore, and build you the sanctuary of God, to bring the ark of the covenant of , and the holy vessels of God, into the house that is to be built to the name of .– 1 Chronicles 22:18,19.

We could go on with many more quotes similar to this, but this proves the point. Yes, the Tanakh does indeed give us every reason to believe that God’s people of Old Testaments times did indeed utter God’s Holy Name Aloud.

         
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1 comment to Did God’s People in the Old Testament Times Utter the Holy Name Aloud?

  • […] Actually, while many translations have the word “wonderful” in both places, the words in Hebrew are not exactly the same, although they are both taken from the root verb, Strong’s #6381. In Isaiah 9:6, the word translated “Wonderful” is Strong’s #6382. This word is usually used, not as a proper name, but as a common masculine noun to describe the works of Yahweh (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 77:11,14; 78:12; 88:10,12; 89:5; 119:129; Isaiah 25:1; 29:14), and it is used of Jerusalem in Lamenations 1:9. The word used by the angel is Judges 13:18 is not a noun at all, but an adjective. At any rate, the usage of similar words in both places does not prove the contention that either the name of God or of Jesus is ineffable, that is, too great to be uttered. The word translated “wonders” in the World English Bible of Judges 13:19 is Strong’s #6381, which is the root verb for the other two words already discussed. More than likely, however, the thought presented in the KJV of Judges 13:19 is correct, that is, that the angel was speaking of his name as a “secret”, possibly because Manoah may have wanted to use that name so as to give worship to the angel that should only belong to Jehovah for whom the angel was serving as a messenger (angel). See our studies: Should God’s Holy Name Be Pronounced? Did God’s People in Old Testament Times Utter the Holy Name Aloud? […]

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