"I am." The name by which God revealed himself to the ancient Hebrews. This name was spelled hwhy (the Hebrew equivalent of YHWH) and is known as the Tetragrammaton (meaning "four letters"). Since it was considered too sacred to pronounce, the Jews would substitute the Sacred Name (Ha-Shem) with the Hebrew word Adonai ("My Lords").
To indicate this substitution in the Masoretic Text, the Masoretes added the vowel points from the word "Adonai" to the sacred name. Early Christian translators mistakenly combined the vowels of Adonai (ă d ōnāy) with the consonants of YHWH, producing the word "YaHoWaH." When the Scriptures were translated into German during the Reformation (sixteenth century), the word was transliterated into the German way of pronouncing it: the "Y" as the English "J" and the "W" as the English "V" — or "Jahovah." In the early seventeenth century, the Scriptures were translated into English and the word was again transliterated, this time as "Jehovah."
It is generally translated in the Authorized Version (and the Revised Version has not departed from this rule) by the word LORD printed in small capitals, to distinguish it from the rendering of the Hebrew Adonai and the Greek Kurios, which are also rendered Lord, but printed in the usual type. The Hebrew word is translated "Jehovah" only in Ex. 6:3; Ps. 83:18; Isa. 12:2; 26:4.
It is never used in the LXX., the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Apocrypha, or in the New Testament.
Ex. 3:14, 6:2-3, 6:3.
- Holy Bible (King James Version). 1979. Nashville: Holman Bible Publisher.
- Easton, M.G. (1897). Easton's Bible Dictionary. New York: Harper & Brothers.