Question: "What is YHWH? What is the tetragrammaton?"
The ancient Hebrew language that the Hebrew Scriptures were written in
did not have vowels. In the original Hebrew, God’s name is given as
"YHWH." This is known as the tetragrammaton. Because of the lack of
vowels, Bible scholars debate how the tetragrammaton “YHWH” was
Contrary to what some Christians (and at least one cult that uses this
name) believe, “Jehovah” is probably not the Divine Name revealed to
Israel. Due to the Jewish fear of accidentally taking God’s Name in vain
they basically quit saying it out-loud altogether. Instead, when
reading, they substituted the actual tetragrammaton (which is only the
consonants of the Divine Name “YHWH” since Hebrew is not usually written
with vowels included) with the word Adonai (Lord). Even in the
Septuagint (the Greek version of the Old Testament) the translators
substituted Kurios (Lord) for the Divine Name. Eventually the vowels
from Adonai (“Lord”) or Elohim (“God”) found their way into the
consonants YHWH, thus forming “YaHWeH.” But this does not mean that was
how God’s Name was originally pronounced.
Any number of vowel combinations are possible, and the Jews are as
uncertain of the real pronunciation as are Christians. “Jehovah” is
actually a much later (probably 16th century) variant in Latin. Here,
the “Y” is substituted with a “J” (Hebrew does not even have a “J”
sound), and the “W” with a “V,” plus another vowel combination,
resulting in “JeHoVaH.” This vowel combination is composed of the
abbreviated forms of the imperfect, the participle, and the perfect of
the Hebrew being verb (English “is”) - thus the meaning of Jehovah could
be said to be "he who will be, is, and has been."
So, what is God's name and what does it mean? The most likely choice for
how the tetragrammaton was pronounced is "Yahweh" or something very
similar to that. The name "Yahweh" refers to God's self-existence.
"Yahweh" is linked with how God described Himself in Exodus 3:14,
"God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' This is what you are to say to the
Israelites: 'I AM has sent me to you.'" God's name is a reflection of
His being. God is the only self-existent / self-sufficient Being in the
universe. Only God has life in and of Himself. That is the essential
meaning of the tetragrammaton / YHWH / Yahweh.
If I flee on morning wings (with Lyrics) performed by Fernando Ortega