Jahweh – Jehovah

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In Exodus 3:14 God says: "I am Whom I am"; and in 6:1-3 He calls Himself "Jehovah." There, even the vocalization "Jahweh" seems to mean: "He is"; or "He causes to exist."

So too in Genesis 2:4f,       In John 8:58, Jesus says: "Before Abram was, I am."   And in Revelation 4:8 (cf. 1:4 & 1:8), the Lord God Almighty is called the One "Who was and is and shall be."   Indeed, from Genesis to Revelation – God’s name always has this same meaning.   

Professor Dr. John Calvin comments1 on Exodus 3:14 & 6:2: "The verb in the Hebrew is in the future tense, ‘I will be what I will be’….   It would be tedious to recount the various opinions as to the name ‘Jehovah.’  It is certainly a foul superstition of the [Post-Malachic Judaistic] Jews that they dare not speak or write it, but substitute the name ‘Adonai’…. 

"Without controversy, it [the word ‘Jehovah’ or ‘Jahweh’] is derived from the word havah….  He is called Jehovah, because He has existence from Himself….   Nor do I agree with th[os]e grammarians who will not have it pronounced….   Because its etymology, of which all confess that God is the Author, is more to me than an hundred rules."

Also Pfeiffer rightly observes in his own Dubia Vexata (on this passage Exodus 6:2): "The name Jehovah was not, strictly and literally, unknown to the fathers" before Moses.  "Now every difficulty will be removed, by reading it interrogatively – ‘And by My name Jehovah, was I not known to them?"   This rhetorical interrogative presupposes the answer: ‘Of course!’   For "this is both agreeable to the Hebrew idiom and to…the context."

The learned Lutheran Professor Hengstenberg, in his excellent Dissertation on the Names of God in the Pentateuch, can be consulted too.   He there points out that long before Moses – also the Patriarchs Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are represented as using the name Jehovah (Genesis 9:26 & 15:2,7 & 22:14 & 27:7 & 28:20f) – and that God Himself, in speaking to them, also makes use of it.  

Hengstenberg deduces the name Jahweh or Jehovah from the future tense of the verb haavaah (-yaah), meaning ‘to be.’  He regards2 this derivation of the name Jehovah as confirmed "by all the passages of Scripture in which a derivation of the name is either expressly given or simply hinted….   Every thing created, remains not like itself – but is continually changing under circumstances.   God only, because He is the Being, is always the same.   And, because He is always the same, is ‘the Being’ – ‘the Being,’ the existing One, or absolute Being….

"God is He Who is; that is, always the same; the unchangeable.   He is also the Being, or the absolute Being….   He is also the unchangeable – as it is inferred (Malachi 3:6) from ‘I am Jehovah; I change not.’   Every creature remains not like itself, but is continually changing under circumstances.   God only, because He is The Being, is always the same; and because He is always the same, is The Being."  

Similarly, also the founders of the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.   Thus the famous Rev. Dr. Donald McDonald: writes:3 "The origin of the name ‘Jehovah’…is almost universally acknowledged to be found in the root haavaah, an old form of haayaah, equivalent to the Greek

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phunai – to be….   Jehovah is thus the regularly-formed future, in Kal.   This etymology is placed beyond dispute by the passages of Scripture in which a derivation of the name is expressed or implied, particularly Exodus 3:14 [cf. John 8:58].   There Moses, having made inquiry after God’s name, received the answer, "I am that I am’ – ’ehyeh ’a:sher ’ehyeh (God speaking of Himself in the first person).   And He said, ‘Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel, "I am" (’ehyeh) hath sent me to you.’   In the next verse, this is changed into ‘Say to the children of Israel, Jehovah God of your fathers…hath sent me to you’….

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