The Tetragrammaton

The Sacred Name appears in the Hebrew Scriptures as four Hebrew letters Yud,  hey, vav, hey, which is closest represented by the letters YHVH.  This format is  known as the Tetragrammaton.  According to Jewish tradition it is regarded as ‘not to be uttered’ in order never to profane it in any way.  In Judaism it is therefore pronounced as ‘Adonai’, meaning ‘Lord’. Notwithstanding this prohibition, the Sacred Name is acknowledged in its usage as part of the names of many Biblical characters, as referred to above – and as any Bible concordance or reference book will provide.

Because of these prohibitions, translations of the original Hebrew scrolls have, throughout the ages, replaced the Tetragrammaton with ‘the LORD’ (in capital letters) and the Sacred Name, in so doing, became ‘lost’ for many centuries.

Since the sixties, there has been a movement in modern theology and especially amongst sincere Bible students throughout the world, to restore the newly ‘rediscovered’ Sacred Hebrew Name.  Sacred Name publications which chose to restore the Sacred Name in the almost 7000 instances in the Bible, appeared one after the other and the ‘Sacred Name Movement’, towards the nineties and the turn of the millennium, became a flood which today literally engulfs the world…

Although there is no firm consensus on the actual pronouncement or spelling of the Tetragrammaton YHVH,  there are several representations or transliterations in use by theologians and Bible students.  Some of the more popular forms are YAHVEH, YAHWEH and Jehovah. A comprehensive list of the various usages that abound, are presented further down on this page.

For the purposes of this Web Site and out of respect for the Sacredness and sanctification of the Name, we will print the Tetragammaton form YHVH throughout the studies of this Web Site and leave the reader free to either substitute it or pronounce it in the way they find comfortable.

The mystery attached to the Name of the Almighty, is related to the verb ‘to be’ ( I am, I was, I will be) which is the Hebrew verb ‘Hoveh’  (the ‘v’ pronounced as in ‘victory’),  meaning “to be”, in the present tense.  YHVH therefore, means: “YAH Hoveh”, which means  “YAH is …” (YAH being His abbreviated (actual ?) name as reflected in Psalm 68:4 in some translations.

It is therefore quite possible that the correct rendering of the SH’MAH (the Greatest Commandment – Deut 6:4) should therefore read:


This is how it appears in the Hebrew Scrolls:

Read from right to left (so also the following)
Top line:
YHVH  Yisrael  Shmaa   <——-

Bottom line:
echad YHVH Eloheinu    <——-


In modern Hebrew grammar this matter is so serious and important, that the verb ‘to be’ (‘I am’) is not used in the present tense at all!  An Israeli will therefore state in Hebrew:  “I teacher … I clever”, omitting the verb ‘to be’ (I am) in the present tense.  Usage of the Hebrew verb ‘HOVEH’ (I am) would imply referring to oneself as being the Almighty!  This gives reason for serious contemplation.  The Almighty “is” everything good, without question. The human being, being exactly the opposite, is so easily inclined to self exaltation and self praise (often hidden under a false pretence of humility, love, care, etc.). The use of “I” and “I am” in the vocabulary of the proud and arrogant individual is a popular practice. The indwelling Spirit of the Almighty in the heart and soul of the believer, changes this selfish, haughty, deceiving attitude to an attitude of genuine humility, recreated in His Image, as the Almighty requires of us to possess. Volumes could be written on this subject.