Troublesome Topic: If You See the Name YHVH Say the Name Adonai

            The ancient Hebrews gave one of their names for God greater esteem, importance, and value than the others. This was the name YHVH.

Here are two examples that illustrate how much respect they had for this special name for God. When a scribe was copying a portion of Old Testament Scripture he would leave a blank and continue writing. After some time had passed, He would go wash his hands (I have heard that he would wash his hands 7 times, but I am not sure about that) and then he would go back and fill in all those spaces with the 4 letters YHVH. We do not know how they would have pronounced it because they never did pronounce it; they always substituted the name Adonai in its place when reading out loud or speaking these names. Both YHVH and Adonai mean “Lord,” but YHVH would have been a Lord with greater authority. The KJV differentiates the two names by rendering one as LORD and the other as Lord.

            I have placed the words (read Adonai) after every time that the name YHVH appears in the translation column of my two column system in order to remind the reader that if he is reading that column out loud he needs to substitute the name Adonai in order to do it the way the ancient Jews would have done it.

            How should my words “read Adonai” be taken? As past tense, meaning that is how they would have read it? Or present tense as in that is how we should read it today? My answer is YES. I can be both. It was how they would have read it and it is the way I suggest that we read it today, although I can’t pop out of your electronic device and force you to do it that way. 😊

The next lesson is YHVH or YHWH?