God has a holy name … and he wants you to know it.

After the Exile to Babylon (c. 587-537 BC), the Jews stopped pronouncing the Divine Name YWHW altogether. Instead, they said “LORD” (Hebrew adonai), a practice reflected in the New Testament and continued in Christian tradition.

In Hebrew manuscripts of the Bible, Jews wrote (and still write) the consonants of the Divine Name (YHWH) with the vowels for adonai: the consonants represent the ancient written tradition (Heb. Ketiv), the vowels what is actually pronounced (Heb. Qere).

The King James translators misunderstood this Jewish custom and rendered the Divine Name in English as “Jehovah” in four instances. The word “Jehovah,” however, is a linguistic mistake. It is certainly not how the Divine Name was pronounced in ancient times.

The Apostles and Jesus himself did not pronounce the Divine Name: they said “Lord” (in Greek, kyrios). The Christian tradition has followed their example ever since. This is one reason I did not buy the arguments of the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

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