Names of God in the Hebrew Bible
Summary and Keywords
In everyday English parlance, God’s name is simply “God.” In the Hebrew Bible, however, the God of Israel has a personal proper name, similar to “Susan” or “Teddy”: the four-lettered name YHWH, also known as the Tetragrammaton (Greek for “four letters”). This name is by far the most common designation for God in the Hebrew Bible. Four texts within this body of literature give special attention to God’s disclosure of the divine name to humankind: in Gen 4:25–26 shortly after the creation of the first humans; and in Exod 3, Exod 6, and Ezek 20 at the time of God’s emancipation of the Israelites from their enslavement in Egypt. English translations obscure the prominence of God’s name by replacing Hebrew YHWH with the common noun “Lord,” written in small caps. As it turns out, this practice has an ancient pedigree: already in the Second Temple era, spoken recitations of the Hebrew Bible replaced Hebrew YHWH with the Hebrew word for “Lord,” adonay, and written manuscripts marked the name YHWH with special orthography. Later Christian copies of the Greek Old Testament would bring the oral tradition directly into the text itself, substituting Greek κύριος, “Lord,” for YHWH. These customs probably trace back to the influence of several other biblical texts, including the fourth commandment of the Decalogue (Exod 20:7//Deut 5:11) and Lev 24:16. The Talmud (Pes. 50a) also records a rabbinic interpretation of Exod 3:15 according to which God says “This [YHWH] is my name to conceal.”
But God has other names in the Hebrew Bible, too. Several names are formed by joining YHWH together with a second word, for example: YHWH ṣebaoth, a phrase that is usually translated into English as “the Lord of hosts”; or again, another example: YHWH elohim, translated “the Lord God.” The second part of this compound name is also an important name for God in its own right. The word elohim in Hebrew means “god” or “gods.” It is technically a plural noun, although most of the time in Hebrew it refers to a single divine agent. It is also typically a common noun similar to the English word “god”; that is, it signifies one among a class of divine beings. However, also as in English, Hebrew elohim occasionally functions as a proper name: capital-G God. Another Hebrew noun for god, eloah, shares a similarly dual purpose: mostly it is a generic word for divinity but sometimes it is the caption for the one God of Israel (i.e., YHWH).
These two names—YHWH and its compound forms as well as elohim in its usage as a name—cover the majority of instances when the Hebrew Bible names God. A few other divine titles are name-like but not, properly speaking, names. The first among these is the word Shadday, but also the series of so-called “el-epithets” found in the book of Genesis: El Elyon, El the Creator of Heaven and Earth, El Roi, and El Olam.
God Has a Name?
In monotheistic contexts, the word “God” is unusual. Like “dog” or “lollipop,” it can be used as a common noun to designate a class of objects—as indicated when it is printed in all lower-case letters as “god.” But since for monotheists the class it designates is populated by only one being, the word therefore often functions as a proper noun—a name. This “name” quality is especially pronounced when the first letter of the word is capitalized. In such cases, “God,” like “William Shakespeare,” refers to a specific, known individual, that is, the all-powerful creator and sustainer of the world.
It can come as a surprise, then, for some who live in a monotheistic context (or even a post-monotheistic one) to learn that God has a name; a name, that is, other than “God.” Such, at any rate, is the testimony of the Bible, and in particular, the body of biblical literature that Jews call the Tanak and Christians call the Old Testament. Indeed, this text corpus evokes God with several names, which this article considers.
God has a name—but one would not know this by consulting the Bible’s first pages. There one reads: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen 1:1a, NRSV). “God” in this sentence translates the Hebrew word elohim, which occurs another thirty-four times in the first chapter alone (Gen 1:1–2:4a). These instances of elohim present a number of difficulties. First, elohim is a plural noun. The -im ending, when placed on a masculine Hebrew noun, makes it grammatically plural. Elohim as a plural noun has a corresponding (rare) singular form, eloah, meaning “G/god” (on which, see paragraphs at the end of “Elohim”). But the Bible’s first chapter does not appear to intend multiple gods; it consistently pairs elohim with singular verbs. At the syntactic level, elohim in Gen 1 behaves like a singular noun, as it usually does elsewhere in the Bible: for example, “Chemosh your elohim” (Judg 11:24).1 Other, narrative elements in the chapter complicate the singularity of elohim: God sometimes speaks in first-person singular (“I have given”; 1:29, 30), but at other times in first-person plural (“Let us make”; 1:26). Other singular nouns in the chapter signal a collective meaning. God technically does not create birds and wild animals and humans but “bird” and “wild animal” and “human(kind).” One could thus imagine that elohim similarly gestures towards a multiplicity, even if its syntax communicates a single entity (e.g., “D/divinity” created).
If the number of elohim is complicated, its definiteness is no less so. In all instances in Gen 1, elohim lacks the Hebrew definite article (English “the”). This distinguishes it from the collective nouns in the chapter, which are often introduced without the article but receive it in subsequent iterations: God commands, literally, “let bird fly above the earth” (1:20b), but then blesses, “let the bird increase on the earth” (1:22b). Elohim, on the other hand, stays elohim throughout, and does not change to the elohim, in spite of the fact the latter is a live possibility for Hebrew grammar.2 Two compound phrases or construct chains also pose the issue of definiteness in Gen 1: the first in verse 2 says that a “spirit” or “wind” (ruaḥ) of elohim “swept over the face of the waters.” In Hebrew, the second component in a construction like this establishes the definiteness of the whole concept. Translations that read “a wind from God” are hence inconsistent: one can choose either to render the phrase, “a wind from god(kind)”/“a divine spirit”—or one can treat elohim as if it is a proper noun, and as such, definite. This decision results in the more familiar English translation: “the spirit of God”—“God” with a capital G, a specific, known individual; a name. Understanding elohim as a proper noun thus explains its appearance without the definite article throughout Gen 1, and it makes good sense of the two construct chains.3
It seems that in the first pages of the Bible, God has a name, and that name is God. That is to say: Hebrew contains the same ambiguity as English. The word elohim is a common noun that can refer to a class of beings, whether as a true plural or as a collective, singular noun (“gods” or “god”). But elohim can also be a proper noun—a name—and so it is in Gen 1.4 Because Hebrew elohim acts in (most) places like a common noun but sometimes acts like a proper noun, it can be difficult to determine which use applies in a given example, and so tallies of elohim as a name vary between scholars. A modest consensus obtains, however, that (anarthrous) elohim in its sense of capital-G “God” is relatively uncommon in the whole Hebrew Bible. Within the Pentateuch, the so-called priestly materials use elohim as a divine name up until Exod 6: in the creation story; the Seth genealogy (Gen 5:1); the flood story (Gen 6:13, 22; 9:1, 6, 8, 12, 16–17); the covenant with Abraham (17:3, 9, 15, 19, 22–23); and at the end of the Moses nativity (2:24–25). After Exod 6, the “priestly” strand no longer refers to God as elohim, but rather as YHWH (see “The name YHWH”).5 Non-priestly examples of elohim as a proper name occur seldom and debatably within the Pentateuch (Exod 18:1; 20:1; Num 21:5, 22:12; Deut 4:32). Outside the Pentateuch, elohim appears as a name only in the “Elohistic Psalter” (Pss 42–83),6 the book of Chronicles,7 and Jonah.8 These texts, in their canonical forms at least, are all relatively “late,” perhaps suggesting that the use of elohim as a proper name was possible only in a monotheistic context.9
The Hebrew word eloah—the singular form of elohim—occurs fifty-seven times in the Hebrew Bible; in biblical Aramaic texts, the equivalent word, elah, appears ninety-six times. Like plural elohim, eloah has a dual function as a proper name and as a common noun. Its use as a name clusters in the book of Job, which features it forty-one times. The reason for this preference is obscure, although some have speculated that it lends the book of Job a “foreign” flavor befitting its non-Israelite protagonist.10 Only three other places in the Bible use eloah as a name (Ps 50:22; 139:19; Prov 30:5; perhaps also Hab 3:3). In its remaining occurrences, the word acts as a common noun meaning “god,” whether intended positively and with reference to the true god YHWH (“who is eloah like YHWH?” Ps 18:32)—or pejoratively and in terms of other gods (“their strength is their eloah,” Hab 1:11; cf. 2 Chr 32:15).11
The Name YHWH
God’s name in the Hebrew Bible is sometimes elohim, “God.” But in the vast majority of cases, God has another name: YHWH. There can be no mistaking that these four Hebrew letters—also known as the Tetragrammaton (Greek for “four letters”)—constitute a proper noun; unlike elohim, they have no lower-case counterpart (“a yhwh”). YHWH occurs 6,828 times in the Bible, making it by far the commonest biblical designation for God.12 This name can, however, be difficult to spot in translation: most English versions do not spell out YHWH. Instead, they substitute “Lord,” or “the Lord,” in small caps. This custom of replacing God’s personal name with a general term drawn from the domain of sociocultural power (as in “Lord of the manor”) has a long history, which this section discusses; but since this practice emerged from the pressure of the biblical texts themselves, this section treats the latter first.
Four biblical texts give special attention to human knowledge of the name YHWH: Gen 4:25–26, Exod 3, Exod 6, and Ezek 20. The first of these passages is a postscript to the Cain and Abel story: it recounts how Eve named her third son Seth, who in turn begat Enosh. The next phrase reads, literally, “at that time it was begun (√ḥll) to call on the name of YHWH” (v. 26b). The plain sense of the sentence is that of a chronological notice: during the generation of the man Enosh, humans started to invoke this divine name. Yet this timeline stands in some tension with the rest of the chapter: Eve says already in Gen 4:1 that she acquired a son with YHWH, and the narrator’s voice indicates that Cain and Abel made offerings to YHWH. The notice in v. 26b also seems to diverge from Exod 6, which locates the beginning of invoking YHWH to a different and much later time. Various harmonizations arose in the history of interpretation to explain the discrepancy. Perhaps people began to “profane” (also √ḥll) this name, or to “hope” (√yḥl) to call on it, or to “preach” it publicly (another meaning of √qr’, “to call on”)—or perhaps the verse signals an intensification of devotion to YHWH and not its initiation.13 In context, Gen 4:26b explains the establishment of a basic human institution (worship), just as the chapter earlier explains the beginning of cities, music, and metalworking. It also associates the worship of YHWH with the lineage of Seth, from whom the Israelites ultimately descend.
Two other texts that attend to the name YHWH appear in Exodus. Although the canonical form of the book sets them in sequence, the two passages parallel one another: both include divine commissioning of Moses, Moses’s objection(s), divine response, and bequest of a sign or signs.14 In view of these similarities, many scholars have seen the chapters as two versions of one story. In the first version in Exod 3:1–4:17, set in Midian, YHWH calls to Moses from a burning bush. YHWH tells Moses that he has seen the sufferings of his enslaved people in Egypt, and he will send Moses to bring them out. Moses articulates four objections to this task; the second of these reads as follows: “Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the Israelites and say to them, “The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’” (Exod 3:13). God then makes three responses to Moses’s question, each introduced with Hebrew wayyomer, “he said.”
1. God (elohim) said to Moses, “I am who I am.”
2. He said, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘I am has sent me to you.’”
3. God (elohim) also said to Moses, “Thus you shall say to the Israelites, ‘YHWH, the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you’:
This is my name for ever,
and this my title for all generations.”
The relationship of each element in these verses to the others is enigmatic. Is Moses’s question in v. 13 a feint or in earnest? Does God answer his question, or refuse to answer, and which of God’s replies contains the name of God (“my name”)? In the history of interpretation, God’s first answer, “I am who I am,” has received the greatest weight, in particular because of the LXX rendering of this phrase: ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν, “I am the One who is.” Neoplatonism was ambient during the era of the early Christian church, and this divine self-description dovetailed nicely with Neoplatonic visions of the absolutely unconditioned One. The verse thus became a locus classicus for Christian reflection on the being of God; insofar as God has any name, “the One who is” counted as that for most of the Common Era.15 By comparison, YHWH’s third answer declaring that “this is my name forever”—apparently referring back to the Tetragrammaton—languished in relative obscurity among Christians. Only in the modern period of historical-critical investigation did the suggestion surface that God’s first response to Moses provides an anticipatory gloss for the personal name YHWH, perhaps even a “folk etymology” for it.16 Much as the Egyptian princess named the Hebrew foundling “Moses” (mošeh) because she “drew” him (√mšh) from the waters (Exod 2:10), so God explains the name YHWH in terms of the verb √hyh, “to be,” which it closely resembles. Whether the etymology is linguistically correct is unsettled, though most scholars accept that the name YHWH relates in some way to this verb. In narrative context, YHWH discloses his name to Moses to accredit him as spokesman to the Israelites. It is possible that God endows Moses with “insider knowledge” that Moses otherwise would not possess—but that the Israelites may already have.
The second version of this story takes place in Egypt after Moses’s initial bid to free the Israelites dead-ends; by scholarly consensus, this account belongs to the priestly materials. To Moses’s message, “YHWH says, ‘let my people go,’” Pharaoh replies, “Who is YHWH, that I should obey him? . . . I do not know YHWH” (5:2). Moses then complains to God, but the focus of his grievance has changed: where in chapter 3, Moses challenged God with the unbelief of the Israelites, now he focuses on Pharaoh’s resistance (5:23; also 6:12). God promises to deal with Pharaoh and to release the Israelites (6:1), and God makes the first of several self-introductions within this literary unit: “I am YHWH. I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as El Shadday, but by my name YHWH I did not make myself known to them” (vv. 2–3; other occurrences of “I am YHWH” at 6:6, 7, 8, 28; 7:5). In its literary environment, YHWH’s initial self-introduction bolsters the divine promise to liberate the enslaved Israelites—with the power and wonder of a new era of divine self-revelation. In faithfulness to Israel’s ancestors, God will effect a wholly unprecedented salvation; its sign and seal is the unheard-of name YHWH. In other words, God will address Pharaoh’s lack of knowledge and reveal a new dimension of the divine self to the Israelites; both of these form major themes of the plague narratives that follow (Exod 7–14).17 As noted, the name YHWH predominates from this point on in the Pentateuch.18
These priestly materials in Exodus relate closely to the fourth text that attends the knowledge of YHWH’s name, Ezek 20:5–9 (another priestly author). Like Exod 6, this text believes that God made the name YHWH known for the first time in Egypt, and also that this revelation faces towards Pharaoh and the Egyptians as much as it does towards Israel. Verses 5–6a and 9 are quoted below:
Thus says the Lord (adonay) YHWH: On the day when I chose Israel, I swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob—making myself known to them in the land of Egypt—I swore to them, saying, I am YHWH your God. On that day I swore to them that I would bring them out of the land of Egypt . . . I acted for the sake of my name, that it should not be profaned in the sight of the nations among whom they lived, in whose sight I made myself known to them in bringing them out of the land of Egypt.
Although this passage in Ezekiel refers to “the offspring of Jacob,” it does not develop a retrospective connection with the ancestors nearly so fully as Exod 6 does; nor does it propose that the ancestors knew the same God under a different name (El Shadday).19 In dating human knowledge of the name YHWH to the time of the exodus, both Exod 6 and Ezek 20 disagree with Gen 4:26, and apparently also with Exod 3, since it may suggest that Israelites are already familiar with the name, though Moses himself was not.
Regardless of the differences in their testimony, these passages concur that YHWH is God’s distinctive, proper, personal name. The book of Deuteronomy and the narrative materials that follow it underline the special status of this name through their use of “name formulae.” With these constructions, Deuteronomy associates the name of God with a single, specific, but undisclosed place of worship. Deuteronomy features the phrase “the place in which YHWH your god will choose to place his name” six times with one verb (√škn; 12:11, 14:23; 16:2, 6, 11; 26:2) and three times with another (√sym; 12:5, 21; 14:24). The latter usage also occurs in connection with Solomon’s temple (1 Kgs 9:3) and the city of Jerusalem (11:36; 14:21; or both: 21:4, 7; cf. also Jer 7:12, with reference to Shiloh).20 Scholars in the 20th century thought that these name formulae represent a stark alternative to theologies according to which God was directly present in the earthly temple: the sanctuary, according to them, held only the name of God, which was a token of YHWH and not YHWH himself.21 However, the name YHWH cannot be divided from the divine self: by placing his name within a terrestrial edifice, YHWH possesses it and binds his reputation to it—but not only that. As with ancient Near Eastern monumental inscriptions on which kings placed their names, the artefact extends and instantiates the monarch’s own person. So, too, the name YHWH extends and instantiates his person in Deuteronomy and elsewhere in the Bible.22
The specialness of the name YHWH was also known among non-Jews in antiquity.23 Greek magical papyri, for example, number in the thousands and date from the 3rd century bce to the 4th century ce. These spells invoke the name YHWH—or rather its transliterations into Greek as ιαω, ια, or even ιαβε/ιαβαι—profusely, mixing it indiscriminately with other Greek deity names.24 During some of this same period and earlier, it appears that Jews themselves pronounced the name YHWH, or wrote it out phonetically at any rate. Several ancient witnesses attest to this practice: a fragmentary 1st-century bce manuscript of Greek Leviticus recovered from Qumran (4QpapLXXLevb or 4Q120) spells out ιαω throughout (cf. also 4Qpap paraExod gr or 4Q127).25 While the Persian Empire occupied Egypt for the first time (525–404 bce), they stationed a garrison of Judeans and other Syrian peoples to guard their southern border with Nubia. Aramaic documents from this Judean community use a triliteral form of the name, YHW (likely pronounced Yaho), quite unselfconsciously.26
This early practice of speaking the name YHWH—and spelling it out with conventional vocalization and script—contrasts strongly with the later Jewish customs of refraining from both. The origins of this stricture remain unknown. Rabbinic tradition contains several memories about the cessation of pronouncing the name: the Talmud recollects an imposition from without: “the kingdom of Greece [i.e., the Seleucids, c. 312–110 bce] issued a decree against the Jews forbidding them to mention the name of Heaven on their lips” (Rosh Hash. 18b). Another passage points to an internal change, the loss of a luminously holy figure, the high priest Simon the Just: “Without the presence of Shimon HaTzaddik among them, the Jewish people were no longer worthy . . . following his death, his brethren, the priests, refrained from blessing the Jewish people with the explicit name of God in the priestly blessing” (Yom. 39b). The Mishnah records that the priests of the Second Temple continued to pronounce the name within the temple long after Jews in the provinces had desisted (mSot. 7.6).27 When reading the Hebrew Bible aloud, Jews began to say adonay, Hebrew for “Lord,” instead of YHWH. Early evidence for this tradition may include the book of Chronicles itself: scholars have long observed that in places where the source text in 2 Samuel features the Hebrew phrase adonay YHWH, the version in Chronicles never does. Instead it substitutes YHWH elohim, or, more often, simply YHWH. One explanation for this phenomenon is that the Chronicler pronounced adonay in place of YHWH, hence rendering the written phrase in 2 Sam redundant in its oral recitation: adonay adonay. To prevent this doubling up, the Chronicler systematically avoided writing adonay YHWH.28
Alongside the growth of a moratorium on voicing the name, late Second Temple literature also shows gradual changes in the practices of writing out YHWH. Biblical scrolls recovered from Qumran reflect a mixed practice; Hebrew manuscripts written in Aramaic square script sometimes write the divine name in that same orthography. Other times they spell YHWH in archaic paleo-Hebrew script, thereby making the name stand out boldly and oddly on the page. Some, but not all, sectarian texts from Qumran observe the same convention. Extant pieces of Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible from this period, otherwise written in standard Greek script, leave the four letters of the Tetragrammaton in Aramaic square script—or in paleo-Hebrew script. Jerome indicates that readers who were unaware of this special convention mistook the four Hebrew letters of the divine name for Greek ΠΙΠΙ (pipi; Ep. 25 Ad Marcellam). A scattered few Greek curses and apotropaic prayers from the pre-Christian era replace the Tetragrammaton with the Greek word for “Lord,” κύριος. These occasional substitutions, which likely reflect the oral reading tradition, anticipate the later, programmatic replacement of κύριος for YHWH that would characterize Greek Bibles in the Christian era.29 In many Aramaic documents from the Second Temple and in sectarian Hebrew compositions from Qumran, scribes employed various circumlocutions to avoid spelling out YHWH, whether by writing some other more generic divine epithet, inserting a pronoun (“He”), or simply making special dots called Tetrapuncta.
Regardless of the timeline of its development, this proscription on speaking the name, with its attendant written practices, probably arose from the pressure of specific biblical texts: first and foremost, the fourth commandment of the Decalogue, “You shall not make wrongful use of the name of YHWH your God, for YHWH will not acquit anyone who misuses his name” (Exod 20:7//Deut 5:11). The capital offense of “blasphem[ing] the name of the YHWH” in Lev 24:16 may also have played some role (cf. mSan 7:5). The Talmud (Pes. 50a) records the rabbinic tradition that God in Exod 3:15 does not say “This is my name forever [le’olam],” but rather “This is my name to conceal [le’allem].”30
Compound Names with YHWH
YHWH is the Bible’s commonest name for God. Besides occurring by itself, YHWH also appears as the first element of two important compound names: YHWH elohim, usually translated as “the Lord God,” and YHWH ṣebaoth, which English translations traditionally render as “the Lord of hosts.”
The first of these compound names meets the reader in the second chapter of Genesis; the first biblical occurrence of the name YHWH appears in this phrase. Gen 2:4b begins, “In the day that YHWH elohim made the earth and the heavens . . .” before going on to describe God’s molding of the first human from the soil. Gen 2–3 features YHWH elohim twenty times in total. After the final verse of chapter 3, this compound name does not feature again in Genesis, and nor either in Exodus until 9:30. As scholars have noted since the 18th century, this means that the flurry of YHWH elohim in Gen 2–3 stands banked by occurrences of elohim on one side (Gen 1) and of YHWH on the other (Gen 4 and following). Many commentators have thus explained the compound name as a kind of stylistic stitching: a literary tactic to ease what would otherwise be an abrupt transition from one divine name to another—a transition occasioned by joining together two documents.31 But it may be that this form of the divine name (YHWH elohim) plays a more robustly literary role. Within the “Primeval History” (Gen 1–11), the boundary between god(kind) and humanity is contentious and catalytic: God banishes Adam and Eve from the garden to prevent them from achieving divine immortality (3:22); the marriage of the “sons of elohim” to human daughters precipitates the worldwide flood (6:2); and the threat of united human power moves YHWH to sunder human language (11:6). At the beginning of these stories about the charged divine–human divide, and especially when God’s profile in these stories resembles humans’ so much, the compound name YHWH elohim could emphasize God’s divinity and keep divine difference in view.32
The compound itself is grammatically problematic. Many commentators take the second element (elohim) after YHWH as an appellative functioning as a postpositive modifier. The compound as a whole would then carry the sense, “YHWH, that is, the god,” much as the sequence “John, the baptizer” does in the New Testament.33 This is exactly the sense of the LXX, which translates the compound here and elsewhere as κύριος ὁ θεὸς, literally “Lord the God,” with κύριος substituting for the name YHWH. But this is not the most plausible reading of the Hebrew, given that the phrase “YHWH the God” is found in other passages (1 Chr 22:1, 19; 2 Chr 32:16), but not in Gen 2–3. Instead, and particularly in its literary context following immediately from Gen 1, the phrase in Gen 2–3 should probably be understood as a sequence of two proper names, as in Everett Fox’s translation: “Yahweh, God.”34 It is truly a double name.
YHWH elohim occurs as a double name a total of thirty-eight times in the Hebrew Bible, making it quite rare; outside of its twenty appearances in Gen 2–3, its occurrences cluster in two other places: Chronicles (nine times) and Psalms, mostly in the Elohistic Psalter (six times: Ps 59:6 ; 72:18; 80:4 ; 80:19 ; 84:8 , 11 , although three of these are part of a larger, tripartite compound: Yahweh elohim ṣebaoth).35 All of the occurrences in Chronicles are located in direct speeches addressed to God—that is, prayers (1 Chr 17:16, 17; 28:20; 29:1; 2 Chr 1:9; 6:41 [2x], 42)—except for the final example in 2 Chr 26:18, when Azariah and eighty other priests admonish King Uzziah for illegitimately burning incense. This concentration of the double name in Chronicles constructs something of a symmetry in the whole Hebrew Bible, at least in the Jewish form of the canon, with YHWH elohim noticeable at the start (in Genesis) and also at the finish (in Chronicles). It is likelier, however, that the Chronicler’s use of the double name has to do with the influence of David’s memorable prayer in 2 Sam 7:25 than with a deliberate attempt to create a canonical balance.36
The other compound name that includes YHWH is YHWH ṣebaoth. It is more than six times more common than YHWH elohim, occurring in 240 places altogether in the Hebrew Bible; closely related forms occur forty-six times. The second element of this phrase, ṣebaoth, is usually taken as a near relative to the Hebrew verb √ṣb’, which appears only fourteen times in the Bible and means “to fight” or “to serve in the army”; the singular noun ṣaba’ appears, correspondingly, to refer to an army. ṣaba’ commonly serves as the second element in the fixed expression “commander of the army” (sar-ṣeba’): a title, for example, of Saul’s right-hand man Abner (1 Sam 14:50; 17:55; 26:5; 2 Sam 2:8; 1 Kgs 2:32) and David’s man Joab (1 Kgs 1:19; 11:15, 21; also 2 Sam 19:30). The plural form of ṣaba’ is ṣebaoth, as can be seen from plural variations on the aforementioned title: “commanders of (the) armies” denotes human, military leadership in Deut 20:9; 1 Kgs 2:5; 1 Chr 27:3.37
On the face of it, then, YHWH ṣebaoth would seem to mean “YHWH of armies.” This supposition gains force from the contexts in which this divine name occurs. YHWH ṣebaoth is entirely absent from the Pentateuch, Joshua, and Judges. It first appears in 1 Sam 1:3 in connection with the Shiloh sanctuary, where Hannah and her family make their annual trip to worship; it afterwards occurs in close collocation with the ark, also housed at Shiloh, and which played an important military role in Israel (1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2, 18). David’s challenge to Goliath directly parallels this compound name with a Hebrew word meaning “armies”: “David said to the Philistine, ‘You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of YHWH ṣebaoth, the God of the armies (ma’arkot) of Israel, whom you have defied’” (1 Sam 17:45). The stories of Elijah and Elisha also use it (1 Kgs 18:15; 2 Kgs 3:14); there and elsewhere, it is clear that the armies associated with YHWH include celestial as well as human forces, for example, the “hills full of horses and chariots of fire” in 2 Kgs 6:17. In addition to acclaiming YHWH’s military might in the Psalms (fifteen times), this epithet appears most often in prophetic materials: eighty-two times in Jeremiah, sixty-two in Isaiah (mostly in Isa 1–39), fifty-three in Zechariah, twenty-four in Malachi, fourteen in Haggai, nine in Amos, and occasionally in Nahum, Zephaniah (twice each), Hosea, Micah, and Habakkuk (once each). These places, too, fit an understanding of YHWH ṣebaoth as emphasizing God’s martial power. The Old Greek (LXX) probably supports the direction of this interpretation: in 102 instances it translates YHWH ṣebaoth with κύριος παντοκράτωρ, literally, “Lord all-ruler.”38 Greek παντοκράτωρ mediates the sense of might that Hebrew ṣebaoth conjures up. But it is also more abstract than “armies”; such abstraction could represent a theological tendency of the Greek translator—or a different understanding of the Hebrew, with the –ot ending of ṣebaoth signifying not a plural noun but an abstract noun.
But the translation of Hebrew YHWH ṣebaoth as “YHWH of armies” may not be so straightforward. The Hebrew syntax of several biblical texts suggests that its writers understood ṣebaoth as a proper name and not as the plural form of a common noun (“armies”). Psalm 80:8, 15 features the two-part title elohim ṣebaoth, and Psalms 59:6, 80:5, 20, and 84:9 show the tripartite compound YHWH elohim ṣebaoth. What is interesting about elohim in these constructions is that its form is absolute: the noun is not, in other words, inflected in a way that makes it translatable as “God of armies” (as it is, for example, in many other passages that read elohey [haṣ-]ṣebaoth).39 Rather, in these psalms, ṣebaoth is appositional to elohim, and the phrase can therefore only be translated: “God, Armies,” with Armies as a capital-A name; or better, “God, Sebaoth.” The LXX often interprets YHWH ṣebaoth in just this way, preferring to transliterate rather than to translate the second element: by one count, κύριος σαβαωθ appears forty-two times in the LXX, and the New Testament uses it twice (Rom 9:29; Jas 5:4).40 Greek magical papyri frequently call on σαβαωθ as its own, distinctive deity name. Origen explains the situation in Contra Celsum 6.32:
Now the names which they took from Scripture are epithets of the One and Only God, but these enemies of God did not understand this, as they themselves admit, but thought that Iao was one god, Sabaoth (σαβαωθ) another and a third besides this was Adonaios (whom Scripture calls Adonai) and yet another was Eloias (whom the prophets call in Hebrew Eloai).
Properly speaking, God has no other names in the Bible besides elohim, eloah, and YHWH—and, to paraphrase the apostle Paul, the first of these is YHWH. The word ṣebaoth in the compound name YHWH ṣebaoth may present a partial exception. In a similar way, the designation Shadday is mostly translated adjectivally and not as a proper name: occurring forty-eight times in the Bible, it is almost always rendered into English as “the Almighty” or “God Almighty,” which are, of course, not names but descriptors. This translation choice reflects an ancient custom: in place of Hebrew Shadday, the LXX usually features θεός, “God,” and sometimes also παντοκράτωρ, “all-ruler.” Only rarely does LXX take Shadday as a name and simply transliterate it, for example, Ezek 10:5, which reads θεὸς σαδδαΐ. Other early witnesses, though disparate in their interpretations, reinforce the semi-descriptive character of Shadday: an inscription from the Iron Age Transjordan (Deir ‘Alla) sets shaddayin, plural of Shadday, in parallel with “the gods.” The Talmud explains Shadday as a form of Hebrew dai, “enough” (Hagg. 12a), and the Greek translations by Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion translate similarly with ἱκανός, “sufficient.”41 Genesis 49:25 makes a wordplay with shadday and shaddayim, “breasts.” El Shadday, a compound title found exclusively within the priestly stratum of the Pentateuch, occurs seven times (Gen 17:1; 28:3; 35:11; 43:14; 48:3; Exod 6:3). This makes it the most common of the “El Epithets” that appear in the book of Genesis: these divine titles are formed by conjoining the Hebrew word for “God” (el) with a second element. The others are El Elyon, El the Creator of Heaven and Earth, El Roi, and El Olam. Despite their outsize role in Jewish and Christian devotion, these epithets are not, technically, names for God.42 Each is, rather, adjectival: Elyon derives from Hebrew ‘al, meaning “height,” and so functions as a superlative, “Most High,” while Creator, Roi (Hebrew for “one who sees” or “see-er”), and Olam (= “eternal”) are also descriptors.
Review of Literature
Modern scholarship on the names of God falls into two main types, though of course each type interacts and relies on the other. The first is historical in interest, and it dates as such to the beginning of the modern period. One of its inaugural figures is Jean Astruc (1684–1766), a Parisian professor of medicine and the personal surgeon to Louis XIV. In 1753, Astruc published an anonymous work that sought to delineate the documentary sources that Moses used to compose the Pentateuch. One of Astruc’s main criteria for discerning the boundaries of these documents was their alternation in the names of God; Astruc proposed to set down in one column all the texts that call God Elohim, and in another column, all those that call God YHWH.43 Astruc’s procedure would grow more sophisticated; both he and his scholarly successors recognized that accounting for the Pentateuchal data required a more than twofold division of sources. Following work by Karl Ilgen, the German Orientalist Hermann Hupfeld in 1853 determined that two Pentateuchal sources used the name Elohim and not just one. But Astruc’s apparatus—the so-called Gottesnamenskriterium or “divine name criterion”—would exert a massive influence on subsequent Pentateuchal research.44
Julius Wellhausen (1844–1918), respected as one of the foremost biblical critics of the modern era, basically accepts Astruc’s discrimination: “there is every reason for adhering to this primary distinction as the basis of further historical research.”45 Wellhausen’s major addition to Astruc (and Hupfeld) was to join observations about the divine name to other literary considerations: the source that Wellhausen called the Grundschrift or “main stock,” “formerly also called the Elohistic document on account of the use it makes of the divine name Elohim up to the time of Moses . . . is [also] distinguished by its liking for number, and measure, and formula generally, by its stiff pedantic style, by its constant use of certain phrases and turns of expression which do not occur elsewhere in the older Hebrew.”46 In time, these idiosyncrasies of theological vocabulary and interest would come to play a larger role than names in the study of Pentateuchal composition, especially because the study of actual manuscripts suggests that ancient scribes were inconsistent and harmonizing in their transmission of divine names; consequently, the distribution of names in the canonical form(s) of the Pentateuch offers an unreliable index to their authorship.47
Astruc and his successors in the study of the Pentateuch sought to reconstruct the emergence of a composite text. But another branch of study that falls under the historical type of scholarship on divine names addresses the history of religion in ancient Israel and Judah. Prominent scholars here include Albrecht Alt and Frank Moore Cross. In 1929, Alt published a book on the “God of the fathers,” which took departure from the various deity names in the book of Genesis. Instead of answering literary questions, Alt arranged these names into religio-historical strata: the el epithets (El Elyon, etc.) belonged originally to Canaanite gods worshipped at ancient Palestinian shrines. Nomadic proto-Israelite tribes invoked the anonymous “God of the fathers” in connection with a human ancestor figure such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; this god eventually merged with the local el deities.48 Lastly, the proper-named God of the Mosaic tradition, YHWH, joined this religious medley. In his landmark book Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic (1973), Frank Moore Cross enriched this same kind of name stratification with a wealth of information from ancient inscriptions. He re-envisioned the biblical el epithets in terms of the high god Ilu known from Ugaritic texts; or he interpreted the name YHWH as a causative verbal form on analogy with Amorite deity names recovered from Mari.49
The importance of God’s names for history of religion has received fresh engagement in the early 21st century. In several publications, the Swiss exegete Albert de Pury argues that the priestly layer of the Pentateuch presents a theological innovation: there and nowhere else is (anarthrous) elohim used programmatically as a name of God.50 As such, it is a breakthrough in the history of monotheism. De Pury’s proposal has been accepted in some quarters,51 though Erhard Blum has mounted a counterargument to the effect that “[t]he Israelite God has but one name (the Tetragrammaton), whereas ’elohim, ’el, and so on constitute appellatives . . . Therefore, YHWH and elohim stand in the same linguistic relationship to each other as David and hlmk [the king] or as Necho and [Pharaoh].”52
The second type of scholarship on the names of God is constructive and theological. It does not seek to uncover literary or religious history but to render a viable proposal for current-day religious discourses, including those of living faith communities, whether Jewish or Christian. For both these traditions, the so-called dialectical theology of the early 20th century represents a signal moment: among others, both Franz Rosenzweig on the Jewish side and Karl Barth on the Protestant and Christian side reoriented their theological language back towards the particularities of the Bible.53 Both men hence galvanized something of a recovery of awareness of and interest in the divine name YHWH. In his magnum opus the Star of Redemption (1921), Rosenzweig posits that this name realizes and figurates the presence of Revelation in the world.54 Barth makes a similarly basic claim: in the first volume of his Church Dogmatics (1932), he writes that the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is “nothing other than an explanatory confirmation of the name, Yahweh-Kurios” (CD I/1: 400).55 This insight quickly faded in Barth’s own work, but others after him would pursue it more intensively, and perhaps none more influentially than the Dutch theologian Kornelis Heiko Miskotte. Miskotte was at once a serious student of Rosenzweig and a friend and disciple of Barth: his writings make the Name of God (YHWH) the “A” of the biblical ABCs and the primordial event of God’s self-revelation to humankind.56
Another lesser-known Christian thinker whose work would motivate subsequent, constructive reflection on the Name of God is a Swiss missionary to Indonesia, Hellmuth Rosin. His 1956 book The LORD is God offers an interpretation of the book of Jonah that demonstrates the theological irreversibility of “YHWH” and “God.”57 Both Miskotte and Rosin have inspired later generations of Christian theologians, including especially R. Kendall Soulen. His 2011 volume The Divine Name(s) and the Trinity builds on a series of articles in which he explores the relationship between the Tetragrammaton and the Trinity.58 Soulen proposes that the Christian Bible, Old and New Testaments, shows three patterns of divine naming, each of which corresponds to one person of the Trinity. The first pattern, most appropriate to the First Person of the Triune God, orbits around the name YHWH. Indeed, Soulen argues that this name is not a product of God’s works ad extra; it is in some way proper to God’s own inmost, immanent life.59
The primary source for the study of God’s names within the Hebrew Bible is the Hebrew Bible itself. As noted, certain passages within the Hebrew Bible dedicate specific attention to the matter of God’s name and its importance; these are Gen 4:25–26, Exod 3, Exod 6, and Ezek 20. The book of Genesis features a relative density of divine epithets and therefore repays close reading with these in mind. The book of Deuteronomy, with its distinctive “theology of the name,” also deserves consideration.
English translations of the Hebrew Bible observe age-old customs of substituting common nouns and descriptors for divine names in Hebrew: “Lord” for YHWH, “God Almighty” for El Shadday, and so forth. Because of this translation practice, it can be difficult if not impossible for English readers to gain a full appreciation for the presentation of God’s names in this literature. One recourse is for students to consult translations that seek to carry over into English as many of the formal qualities of the Hebrew text as possible, such as, for instance, Everett Fox’s translation, which transliterates YHWH instead of replacing it with “Lord.”60 Another helpful resource for studying the divine names is the Names of God Bible, although it and other, comparable Bible versions are not peer-reviewed or scholarly in their approach.61
Baumgärtel, Friedrich. Elohim ausserhalb des Pentateuch: Grundlegung zu einer Untersuchung über die Gottesnamen im Pentateuch. BWAT 19. Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1914.Find this resource:
Dalferth, Ingolf U., and Phillip Stoellger, eds. Gott Nennen: Gottes Namen und Gott als Name. Religion in Philosophy and Theology 35. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008.Find this resource:
Link, Christian. “Die Spur des Namens: Zur Funktion und Bedeutung des biblischen Gottesnamens.” Evangelische Theologie 55 (1995): 416–438.Find this resource:
Mettinger, Tryggve D. In Search of God: The Meaning and Message of the Everlasting Names. Translated by Frederick H. Cryer. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1988.Find this resource:
Miskotte, K. H. Biblical ABCs: The Basics of Christian Resistance. Translated by Eleonora Hof and Collin Cornell. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books/Fortress Academic, 2020.Find this resource:
Parke-Taylor, G. H. Yahweh: The Divine Name in the Bible. Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1975.Find this resource:
Rose, Martin. “Names of God in the OT.” In The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 4. Edited by David Noel Freedman, 1001–1011. New York: Doubleday, 1992.Find this resource:
Rosin, Hellmuth. The LORD is God: The Translation of the Divine Names and the Missionary Calling of the Church. Amsterdam: Nederlandsch Bijbelgenootschap, 1956.Find this resource:
Soulen, R. Kendall. The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity. Louisville, KY: WJK, 2011.Find this resource:
van Kooten, George H., ed. Revelation of the Name YHWH to Moses: Perspectives from Judaism, the Pagan Graeco-Roman World, and Early Christianity. Themes in Biblical Narrative. Leiden: Brill, 2005.Find this resource:
Wilkinson, Robert J. Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century. Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 179. Leiden: Brill, 2015.Find this resource:
Zimmerli, Walther. I Am Yahweh. Translated by Douglas W. Stott. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.Find this resource:
(1.) Only about 100 occurrences of elohim are true plurals; Graham Davies, “‘God’ in Old Testament Theology,” in Congress Volume Leiden 2004, edited by André Lemaire, VTSup 109 (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 175–194, here 178; the remaining ~2,470 instances are singular in meaning. See also “elohim,” in The Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, ed. David J. A. Clines, 8 vols. (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1993), vol. 1, 277–286.
(2.) By one count, articular elohim, “the god(s)” occurs 376 times in the Hebrew Bible, accounting for about 15 percent of all times that elohim appears; Herbert David Phillips, “The Meaning of ha-elohim” (ThD diss., Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, 1982), 12.
(3.) The other compound phrase that uses elohim in Gen 1 is “the image of God/god(s)” (v. 27); see Albert de Pury, “Wie und wann wurde ‘der Gott’ zu ‘Gott,’” in Gott Nennen: Gottes Namen und Gott als Name, ed. Ingolf U. Dalferth and Phillip Stoellger, Religion in Philosophy and Theology 35 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008), 121–142, here 137n90.
(4.) See the arguments of Albert de Pury, “Gottesname, Gottesbezeichnung und Gottesbegriff: ’Elohim als Indiz zur Entstehungsgeschichte des Pentateuchs,” in Abschied vom Jahwisten: Die Komposition des Hexateuch in der jüngesten Diskussion, ed. Jan Christian Gertz, Konrad Schmid, and Markus Witte, BZAW 315 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2002), 25–47. For the argument that elohim is never a proper name, even in the “P-Komposition” and Gen 1, see Erhard Blum, “Der vermeintliche Gottesname ’Elohim,’” in Gott Nennen, 97–119.
(5.) For a comprehensive list of priestly texts, see the classic work of Theodor Nöldeke, “Die s.g. Grundschrift des Pentateuchs,” in Untersuchungen zur Kritik des Alten Testaments (Kiel: Schwers, 1869), 1–144; see also Gerhard Lohfink, “The Priestly Narrative and History,” in Theology of the Pentateuch: Themes of the Priestly Narrative and Deuteronomy, trans. Linda M. Money (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994), 136–172, here 145n29.
(6.) Joel Burnett, “The Elohistic Psalter: History and Theology,” in The Psalter as Witness: Theology, Poetry, and Genre, Proceedings from the Baylor University–University of Bonn Symposium on the Psalter, ed. W. Dennis Tucker Jr. and William H. Bellinger Jr. (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017), 133–154.
(7.) Friedrich Baumgärtel, Elohim ausserhalb des Pentateuch: Grundlegung zu einer Untersuchung über die Gottesnamen im Pentateuch, BWAT 19 (Leipzig: Hinrichs, 1914), 68–74; and Sara Japhet, The Ideology of the Book of Chronicles and its Place in Biblical Thought, trans. Anna Barber, BEATAJ 9 (Frankfurt am Main: Lang, 1989), 27–30. Japhet also observes (29n61) that indeterminate elohim appears as a proper name three times in Nehemiah (5:15; 6:12; 13:26; also, with preposition, 12:46; 13:25).
(9.) See Konrad Schmid, “Differenzierungen und Konzeptualisierungen der Einheit Gottes in der Religions- und Literaturgeschichte Israels,” in Der Eine Gott und die Götter: Polytheismus und Monotheismus im antiken Israel, ed. Manfred Oeming and Konrad Schmid, AThANT 82 (Zürich: TVZ, 2003), 11–38, here 33–36; see also Christoph Levin, “Integrativer Monotheismus im Alten Testament,” Zeitschrift für Theologie und Kirche 109 (2012): 153–175.
(10.) Helmer Ringgren, “elohim,” in Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, ed. G. Johannes Botterweck and Helmer Ringgren, trans. John T. Willis, 15 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1974), vol. 1, 267–284, here 272; and Choon-Leong Seow, “God, Names of,” in New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katherine Doob Sakenfeld, 5 vols. (Nashville: Abingdon, 2006), vol. 2, 588–595, here 589.
(11.) Dennis Pardee, “eloah,” in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, ed. Karel van der Toorn, Bob Becking, and Pieter W. van den Horst, 2nd rev. ed. (Leiden: Brill/Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 285–288, here 287.
(12.) This count is by Choon-Leong Seow in “God, Names of,” 590. Other counts differ: G. H. Parke-Taylor numbers 6,823 occurrences in Yahweh: The Divine Name in the Bible (Waterloo: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 1975), 5; Henry O. Thompson, “more than 6000 times,” in “Yahweh,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary, ed. David Noel Freedman, 6 vols. (New York: Doubleday, 1992), vol. 6, 1011; and Raymond Abba, “5321 times in the Old Testament and a separate short form of the divine name [yah] 25 times” in “The Divine Name Yahweh,” Journal of Biblical Literature 80 (1961): 320–328, here 320.
(13.) Samuel Sandmel, “Genesis 4:26b,” Hebrew Union College Annual 32 (1961): 19–29.
(14.) Brevard S. Childs, The Book of Exodus: A Critical, Theological Commentary, OTL (Louisville, KY: WJK, 1974), 111, following Joseph F. Wimmer, “Tradition Reinterpreted in Ex 6,2–7,7,” Augustinianum 7 (1967): 405–418; cf. also Thomas Römer, “The Revelation of the Divine Name to Moses and the Construction of a Memory About the Origins of the Encounter Between Yhwh and Israel,” in Israel’s Exodus in Transdisciplinary Perspective: Text, Archaeology, Culture, and Geoscience, ed. Thomas E. Levy, Thomas Schneider, and William H. C. Propp, Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences (New York: Springer, 2015), 305–315.
(15.) For some account of this history within a truly massive literature, see Paul Ricoeur, “De l’interprétation à la traduction,” in Penser La Bible, ed. André LaCocque and Paul Ricoeur, La Couleur des idées (Paris: Seuil, 1998), 346–385; and Robert J. Wilkinson, Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God: From the Beginnings to the Seventeenth Century, Studies in the History of Christian Traditions 179 (Leiden: Brill, 2015).
(16.) Barry J. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” Trinity Journal 1 (1980): 5–20.
(17.) See the recent literary and theological interpretation by Andrea D. Saner, “Too Much to Grasp”: Exodus 3:13–15 and the Reality of God, JTISup 11 (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015), 109–164.
(18.) See the analysis by Koog P. Hong, “Elohim, the Elohist, and the Theory of Progressive Revelation,” Biblica 98 (2017): 321–338, here 330; cf. also Konrad Schmid, Genesis and the Moses Story: Israel’s Dual Origins in the Hebrew Bible, trans. James D. Nogalski, Siphrut 3 (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2010), 177.
(19.) On the similarities of Ezek 20:5–9 with Exod 6, see Thomas Römer, “From the Call of Moses to the Parting of the Sea: Reflections on the Priestly Version of the Exodus Narrative,” in The Book of Exodus: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, ed. Thomas B. Dozeman, VTSup 164 (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 121–150, here 138–139.
(20.) On this translation instead of the more common, older rendering, “the place in which YHWH your God will cause his name to dwell,” see Sandra L. Richter, The Deuteronomistic History and the Name Theology: lešakkēn šemô šām in the Bible and the Ancient Near East, BZAW 318 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2002), 96–120; see also Michael Hundley, “To Be or Not to Be: A Reexamination of Name Language in Deuteronomy and the Deuteronomistic History,” Vetus Testamentum 59 (2009): 533–555. A parallel construction employs the verb √hyh, “to be”: “in order that my name might be there” (1 Kgs 8:16; also 8:29; 2 Kgs 23:27).
(21.) Oskar Grether, Name und Wort Gottes im Alten Testament, BZAW 64 (Giessen: Töpelmann, 1934), 31–35; and Gerhard von Rad, “Deuteronomy’s ‘Name’ Theology and the Priestly Document’s ‘Kabod’ Theology,” in Studies in Deuteronomy, trans. David Stalker, SBT 9 (London: SCM, 1953), 37–44.
(22.) In this sense, Tryggve Mettinger’s influential interpretation according to which the name is something of a divine “hypostasis” is not entirely mislaid; The Dethronement of Sabaoth: Studies in the Shem and Kabod Theologies, ConBOT 18 (Lund: Gleerup, 1982), 129–132. Cf. Hundley, “To Be or Not to Be.”
(23.) George H. van Kooten, “Moses/Musaeus/Mochos and his God Yahweh, Iao, and Sabaoth, seen from a Graeco-Roman Perspective,” in Revelation of the Name YHWH to Moses: Perspectives from Judaism, the Pagan Graeco-Roman World, and Early Christianity, ed. George H. van Kooten, Themes in Biblical Narrative (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 107–183.
(24.) Wilkinson, “The Tetragrammaton among Gnostics and Magicians in Late Antiquity,” in Tetragrammaton, 155–177.
(25.) Anthony R. Meyer, “The Divine Name in Early Judaism: Use and Non-Use in Aramaic, Hebrew, and Greek” (PhD diss., McMaster University, 2017), 220–226. See also Hartmut Stegemann, “Religionsgeschichtliche Erwägungen zu den Gottesbezeichnungen in den Qumrantexten,” in Qumrân: Sa piete, sa theologie et son milieu, ed. M. Delcor, BETL 46 (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1978), 195–217, and Patrick Skehan, “The Divine Name at Qumran, in the Masada Scroll, and in the Septuagint,” Bulletin of the International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies 13 (1980): 14–44.
(26.) Martin Rose, Jahwe: Zum Streit um den alttestamentlichen Gottesnamen, ThSt 122 (Zürich: TVZ, 1978). Meyer: “the Elephantine texts show active written and spoken use of the divine name throughout the fifth century BCE, in Upper Egypt, and in their diplomatic efforts abroad” (“The Divine Name in Early Judaism,” 54).
(27.) Parke-Taylor, “The Tetragrammaton within Judaism,” in Yahweh, 79–96; Wilkinson, “The Tetragrammaton in Jewish Hebrew Mishnaic, Talmudic, Hekalot, and Biblical Texts in Later Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages,” in Tetragrammaton, 178–212.
(28.) Koog P. Hong, “The Euphemism for the Ineffable Name of God and Its Early Evidence in Chronicles,” Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 37 (2013): 473–484, esp. 481–484. Cf. Japhet, Ideology, 23.
(29.) Meyer examines Ach70, Ach71, 4Q126, and P. Fouad 203 (“The Divine Name in Early Judaism,” 248–254).
(30.) Samuel S. Cohon, “The Name of God: A Study in Rabbinic Theology,” Hebrew Union College Annual 23 (1950–1951): 579–604, here 583.
(31.) Jean L’Hour summarizes and critiques this interpretation in his “Yahweh Elohim,” Revue Biblique 81 (1974): 525–556.
(32.) Ellen A. Robbins, The Storyteller and the Garden of Eden (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012), 16–17.
(33.) Blum, “The Jacob Tradition,” in The Book of Genesis: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation, ed. Craig A. Evans, VTSup 152 (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 181–212, here 200.
(34.) Everett Fox, The Five Books of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, A New Translation with Introductions, Commentary, and Notes (New York: Schocken, 1995). See his comments “On the Name of God and its Translation,” xxix–xxx.
(35.) Other places: Exod 9:30; 2 Sam 7:25; Jonah 4:6 (“elohim,” in DCH).
(36.) I owe this insight to Matthew Lynch (personal communication). See his book, Monotheism and Institutions in the Book of Chronicles: Temple, Priesthood, and Kingship in Post-Exilic Perspective, FAT 2/64 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014).
(37.) Choon-Leong Seow, “Hosts, Lord of,” in ABD 3: 304–307; Hans-Joachim Zobel, “ṣebaoth,” in TDOT 12:215–232.
(38.) Zobel, “ṣebaoth,” 217.
(39.) 2 Sam 5:10; 1 Kgs 19:10, 14; Jer 5:14; 15:16; 35:17; 38:17; 44:7; Amos 4:13; 5:14, 15, 16, 27; 6:8.
(40.) Zobel, “ṣebaoth,” 217.
(41.) Georg Bertram, “Hikanos in den griechischen Übersetzungen des ATs als Wiedergabe von schaddaj,” Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 70 (1958): 20–31.
(42.) See, for example, the KJV Names of God Bible, ed. Ann Spangler (Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2014); or Nathan J. Stone, Names of God, Moody Classic (Chicago: Moody Bible, 2010); for devotion involving the seven divine names in Judaism, see J. F. McLaughlin and Judah David Eisenstein, “The Names of God,” in Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. Isidore Singer, 12 vols. (New York: Funk and Wagnells, 1906), vol. 9, 160–165. See also Valentina Izmirlieva, All the Names of the Lord: Lists, Mysticism, and Magic (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008).
(43.) Conjectures sur les mémoires originaux dont il paroit que Moyse s’est servi pour composer le livre de la Genèse: avec des remarques, qui appuient ou qui éclaircissent ces conjectures (Brussels: Fricx, 1753).
(44.) Rudolf Smend, From Astruc to Zimmerli: Old Testament Scholarship in Three Centuries, trans. Margaret Kohl (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007), 1–14.
(45.) Julius Wellhausen, Prolegomena to the History of Israel, trans. W. Robertson Smith, repr. ed. (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1994), 8.
(46.) Wellhausen, Prolegomena, 6.
(47.) David M. Carr, “Textual Fluidity and Source Critical Indicators,” in The Formation of the Hebrew Bible: A New Reconstruction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 105–110.
(48.) Albrecht Alt, “The God of the Fathers,” in Essays on Old Testament History and Religion, trans. R. A. Wilson (New York: Doubleday, 1967), 3–100.
(49.) Frank Moore Cross, Canaanite Myth and Hebrew Epic: Essays in the History of the Religion of Israel (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1973), 44–75.
(50.) de Pury, “Gottesname, Gottesbezeichnung und Gottesbegriff”; de Pury, “Wie und wann wurde.”
(51.) Schmid, “Differenzierungen und Konzeptualisierungen der Einheit Gottes”; Levin, “Integrativer Monotheismus.”
(52.) Blum, “The Jacob Tradition,” 200; cf. Blum, “Der vermeintliche Gottesname.”
(53.) Heinrich Assel, “God (Names and Epithets): Reformation to Modern Times,” in Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception, ed. Hans-Josef Klauck et. al., 13 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 2015), vol. 10, 462–467, esp. 466–467.
(54.) Barbara E. Galli, “Rosenzweig and the Name of God,” Modern Judaism 14 (1994): 63–86.
(55.) R. Kendall Soulen, “YHWH the Triune God,” Modern Theology 15 (1999): 25–54, here 36–41.
(56.) Kornelis Heiko (K. H.) Miskotte, Bijbels ABC, 8th edition (Utrecht: Kok, 2016), 40. For more on Miskotte’s theology of the divine name in relation to Rosenzweig and Barth, see Sören Petershans, Offenbarung des Namens und versöhntes Leben: Eine Untersuchung zur Gotteslehre bei Kornelis Heiko Miskotte, Arbeiten zur Systematischen Theologie 11 (Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2016), 67–96.
(57.) Rosin, The LORD is God.
(58.) R. Kendall Soulen, The Divine Name(s) and the Holy Trinity (Louisville, KY: WJK, 2011); and R. Kendall Soulen, “Hallowed be Thy Name! The Tetragrammaton and the Name of the Trinity,” in Jews and Christians: People of God, ed. Robert W. Jenson and Carl Braaten (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2003), 14–41.
(59.) Soulen: “the tetragrammaton belongs on God’s side of the distinction between eternity and time” (“Hallowed by Thy Name,” 21); “What can we say about YHWH’s eternal life? Perhaps only that it transpires as the blessing of this name, such that YHWH is the One named, the Name, and the Blessing of this naming” (“YHWH the Triune God,” 50).
(60.) Fox, The Five Books of Moses.
(61.) KJV Names of God Bible; cf. Sacred Name Bible, YHVH, YESHUA (Syracuse, NY: Olive Press, 2013).