Is Jehovah God's Name?

A concerned reader of this website emailed in and pointed out the fact that Jehovah is not God’s name. His “proof” of this was that the name was made up by a Catholic priest and cited the Aid to Bible Understanding as proof. The passage he quoted was this:

By combining the vowel signs of ‘Adho.nay and ‘Elo.him with the four consonants of the Tetragrammaton the pronunciations Yeho.wah’ and Yehowih’ were formed. The first of these provided a basis for the Latinized form “Jehovah(h).” The first recorded use of this form dates from the thirteenth century C.E. Raymundus Martini, a Spanish monk of the Dominican Order, used it in his book Pugeo Fidei of the year 1270. Hebrew scholars generally favor “Yeahweh” as the most likely pronunciation. –Aid to Bible Understanding. Watchtower Bible And Tract Society, 1971, pp. 884, 885

So the question is, is the name Jehovah legitimate? Well, actually, there’s a much simpler way to get the pronunciation “Jehovah,” simply by transcribing the Hebrew vowel points from the word Adonai אֲדֹנָי (which means “lord,”) onto the Tetragrammaton, יהוה to form יְחֹוָה “Yehowah.” So is this legitimate? The way in which we got the pronunciation may be questionable; however, there is reason to believe that Jehovah is a good English translation of the Divine name. Why is that?

First of all, the Hebrew letter yud is often translated into English as a “J”, which is why the English translation of ישוע is “Jesus” rather than “Yeshua.” Also, there is reason to believe that the original pronunciation of the Divine name was three syllables. This is because of other Bible names that incorporate the Divine name into it, such as Jehoshaphat. That name, incidentally, Jehoshaphat, provides us with the first two vowels of the divine name, “e” and “o” as in “Jeho…” So the only two questions that really remain are the last vowel and whether the Hebrew letter vav in the divine name should be read as a “v” or a “w” (vav can take on either pronunciation in Hebrew, depending on the word). So this is actually pretty close, and we don’t really know the answer to those last two mysteries. How important is that? Apparently not important enough for Jehovah to ensure the exact pronunciation of his name be preserved.

The fact is that the English translation “Jehovah,” is just that, a translation. There are languages that use “Yahweh” as the native translation into that language, and there are other languages that use close approximations because of the limitations of the language. The Japanese pronunciation, for example, is エホバ, “Ehoba”. The pronunciation itself isn’t as important as the meaning behind the name, as explained to Moses, “I Will Become What I Choose to Become” (Exodus 3:14).