While it is generally undisputed that the first two letters of the Name of יהוה are phonetically expressed as ‘YAH’, coming from the ‘yod’(י) and ‘hey’(ה) letters, what has become a divisive issue of late is the debate over the phonetic sound of the last two letters – ‘waw’ (ו) and ‘hey’ (ה).
There is a fast growing move that is teaching that the correct pronunciation of the Name of יהוה is ‘YAHUAH’, yet when we seek to determine what is the best known transliteration and phonetic sound that can and should be rendered we cannot find a Scriptural or scholarly backing for the erroneously taught phonetic expression of ‘YAHUAH’.
What we do take note of is that the more accurate and widely accepted way of expressing the Name of יהוה can be transliterated as YAHWEH, with the phonetic sound of YAH and WEH being the most accurate as deduced from the use of the proper rules of Hebrew grammar, which is also confirmed along with a couple of Scriptural witnesses that reveal to us the clear ‘WEH’ sound when seeing words that end with the letters ‘WAW’ and ‘HEY’.
I will reveal 3 witnesses from Scripture that can prove that the correct way to express the last two letters ‘WAW’ and ‘HEY’ is as a ‘WEH’ sound in The Name of יהוה, as we take a look at 3 examples from which we are correctly able to use as a confirmation due to the proper Hebrew grammar rules being used as they should.
The first example I want to highlight is in regards to the name of the city of Ninewĕh – נִינְוֵה – Strong’s H5210
The name of this city that Yonah was sent to call to repentance is used 17 times in Scripture and is a word that ends with the letters ‘waw’ and ‘hey’.
This city is spelled as follows: נִינְוֵה – With the letters (from right to left) nun (נִ) – yod (י) – nun (נְ) – waw (וֵ) – hey (ה)
In the paleo script this word is rendered as and the reason I am highlighting this is to show that the ending is the same as that of יהוה which is rendered in the paleo script as .
As you can see the are both used to end the name of the city of Ninewĕh – (נִינְוֵה) and The Name of YHWH – (יהוה).
What becomes clear, is that for the average person who does not understand the Hebrew language and the rules of grammar, these words in the paleo script would be very difficult to pronounce, especially with there being no vowels to give us guidance.
How the name of this city is pronounced is not something that is widely disputed as it is clearly accepted that this city is called Ninewĕh or even Nineveh as we take note that the ‘w’ sound of the letter ‘waw/vav’ came to be pronounced as a ‘v’ sound by some and it is widely accepted as having either the ‘w’ or ‘v’ sound.
Let us take a look at this word with its vowels as written in the Modern Hebrew:
In The Besorah translation of the Scriptures, where the Name of YHWH is rendered in the paleo script as: , it is also taught from their introductory notes that the Name of YHWH is pronounced as YaHUaH. However we also see that the name of this city we are looking at is translated in the Besorah as: Ninewĕh (as follows):
Now, if by following their own assumed rules of deduction on how they claim that is pronounced as YaHUaH then it would make sense that they should certainly have transliterated as NiNUH or NiNUaH – if their deduction was in fact true!
In order for us to establish the correct pronunciation of the Name of our Creator – in the paleo text or יהוה in the ‘Modern Biblical’ text or ‘block lettering’, we must be able to reconcile our reasoning based on clear evidence that we have in Scripture and make sure that we are indeed keeping in line with grammatical rules that scholars have carefully given to us to follow through dictionaries and lexicons and grammar workbooks in order for us to understand the language and communicate in a proper manner.
Before I go further, I would also like to put to rest the debates that often arise over the Biblical text that is used in the dictionaries that we have available, as there are some who are claiming an immature allegiance and attachment to the ‘paleo text’ as being the only true authentic text. To claim this simply reveals a clear lack of knowledge of the Hebrew language, as their attack on the Biblical/Modern text is as though it were a different language.
It is a known fact, that Ezra the scribe wrote the Torah into the Modern Hebrew text that we use today and in doing so he made it plain for all Yisra’ĕl to understand; and so to discard the Modern Biblical Hebrew texts is simply an absurd thing to do.
In the Hebrew text we find another two clear examples of a word that ends with the letters:
The first example I want us to look at is from:
Tehillah/Psalm 19:2 “Day to day pours forth speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.”
In the Hebrew text it is numbered as verse 3:
יוֹם לְיוֹם יַבִּיעַ אֹמֶר וְלַיְלָה לְּלַיְלָה יְחַוֶּה־דָּעַת׃
The word that I am highlighting here is translated as ‘reveals’ and for most this would certainly go unnoticed, especially because it is not a name of a person or place that has been transliterated but is a word that has been translated into English!
In the paleo text this verse is written as follows:
The word we are looking at is which is seen in the Modern text as יְחַוֶּה – which can be transliterated as ‘yᵉḥăw-wě(h)’ and comes from the root word חָוָה ḥawah/ḥavah – Strong’s H2331 which means, ‘to tell, declare, explain, reveal, show’.
In the above verse it is written in the ‘Pi’el’ form which usually expresses an “intensive” or “intentional” action. It is written in the masculine singular as יְחַוֶּה – yᵉḥăw-wě(h) which can be understood as ‘he declares’ or ‘it declares’.
This word is spelled as follows: יְחַוֶּה – With the letters (from right to left) yod (יְ) – ḥet (חַ) – waw (וֶּ) – hey (ה)
As you can see from the paleo text the are both used to end this word!
Let us take a look at this word with the various vowels that help us get the proper phonetics of how it is to be read/spoken (as you can see below – I have highlighted the various vowels with their names and relevant sounds)
From this word we are able to see that the ‘weh’ sound is clearly reflected.
Let us now take a look at one other example in Scripture, which is from:
Iyoḇ/Job 32:10 “Therefore I have said, ‘Listen to me, let me also make my opinion known to you.’”
In the Hebrew text it is written as follows:
לָכֵן אָמַרְתִּי שִׁמְעָה־לִּי אֲחַוֶּה דֵּעִי אַף־אָנִי׃
The word that I am highlighting here is translated as ‘make known’ and for most this would once again go unnoticed, especially because it is not a name of a person or place that has been transliterated but is a word that has been translated into English!
In the paleo text this verse is written as follows:
The word we are looking at is which is seen in the Modern text as אֲחַוֶּה – ăḥăw-wě(h) and this too comes from the root word חָוָה ḥawah/ḥavah – Strong’s H2331 which means, ‘to tell, declare, explain, reveal, show’.
It is written in the ‘piel, imperfect, first person, singular’ and can render the meaning, ‘I declare’ or ‘I reveal’
This word is spelled as follows: אֲחַוֶּה – With the letters (from right to left) aleph (אֲ) – ḥet (חַ) – waw (וֶּ) – hey (ה)
As you can see from the paleo text the are both used to end this word!
From this word we are able to see that the ‘weh’ sound is also clearly reflected as it can be correctly transliterated as ăḥăw-wě(h), or in the shorter form of aḥaweh.
In order to understand some of the basics of Biblical Hebrew grammar, we can and do learn from the rules that are applied to verbs how we are to pronounce words in the proper way and in the following chart we can see the application of verbs that end with a ‘hey’ when written in their various forms and the relevant vowel that are to be correctly applied:
I Have inserted below a verb chart that shows us how the vowels that are used in the various forms in relation to the ‘Hey’ verb and teaches us how to correctly use the verbs in verbs ending with the letter ‘hey’.
You will also see that I have highlighted some of the words on the chart as these are the forms that we are addressing in this brief study and can be seen in the words we are looking at as presented below the chart!
While the above chart may seem odd for some, the reason I have put it here is to highlight how these words that we have looked at follow the grammatical rules for Hebrew and we take note that the verb we looked at from Tehillah/Psalm 19:2 – יְחַוֶּה – yᵉḥăw-wě(h) – is written in the ‘piel, imperfect, 3rd person, masculine, singular’ form.
Now if you look at the verb chart, in the second half ,where the ‘imperfect’ verbs are listed under 3rd column which is the ‘piel’ column, and the first line of the ‘imperfect section’ which is 3ms (3rd person masculine singular), you will see the verb for ‘reveal’ being written as follows: Which I have highlighted on the chart as follows:
Bearing in mind that this verb chart is given to teach us what verbs apply with the verbs ending with the ‘hey’ letter and when looking at this compared to the word in Tehillah/Psalm 19 we see the same verbs being used, showing us a clear pattern of it being written properly when following basic Hebrew grammar rules:
Let us now take a look at the second verb that we looked at in Iyoḇ/Job 32:10 – אֲחַוֶּה – ăḥăw-wě(h) – which is written in the ‘piel, imperfect, first person, singular’ form. Now if you look again at the chart under the ‘imperfect’ section (bottom half) and look under the ‘piel’ column (3rd) and the 4th line of the ‘imperfect’ section (1cs – first person singular) you will see the following word which I have highlighted on the chart:
Let us now take a look at the verb used in Iyoḇ/Job 32:10:
Can you see the verbs that are clearly marked according to proper grammatical rules!
What we must take note of when considering the Name of יהוה is that we know that the Name of יהוה –Strong’s H3068 comes from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961. When יהוה said to Mosheh ‘I am that which I am’ we take note that the root verb הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 is used for ‘I AM’ and is written in the ‘qal, imperfect, first person, singular, absolute’ form and looks like this in the Hebrew text:
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה וַיֹּאמֶר כֹּה תֹאמַר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶהְיֶה שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם׃
From this you can see that I have highlighted the two words that are translated as ‘I AM’ in the phrase:
‘I AM that which I AM’.
In the paleo text this verse looks like this:
As you can see from the words that I have highlighted that this word is written as in the paleo text.
In the Biblical Hebrew this word אֶהְיֶה is transliterated as ‘ě·hᵉyě(h)’ – or in the simpler form of ‘ehyeh’
With this being written in the ‘qal, imperfect, first person, singular’ form we can see from the chart that it follows the grammatical rules of Hebrew as we see the word from the chart under the first column (Qal) and under the 1cs (4th line of the imperfect section) we see the following (as highlighted on the chart):
Understanding this rule of verbs we can see from the verb that is translated as I AM written as follows:
Once again we can see the clear adherence to grammar rules.
When it comes to the Name of יהוה we know that the vowel pointing’s were either omitted or substituted with the vowel pointing’s for Adonai and Elohim in an attempt to disguise the proper pronunciation and hence deliberately went against Hebrew rules of grammar in an attempt at keeping people from speaking the Name of יהוה:
Below we can see how the vowels of both Adonai and Elohim are being used in the Name of יהוה:
What becomes more evident by this is that we are perhaps able to see how the form of YaHUaH came into existence as it is an offshoot of the vowel pointing’s for Adonai that have influenced this misguided pronunciation that does not follow the rules of Hebrew grammar.
What we must also make very clear is that we cannot simply add or take away letters from certain words in order to assume a pronunciation of a word that has similar letters to that word. For example, many are being taught today that the reason why the Name of יהוה should be expressed as ‘YaHUaH’ is that when you remove the ‘dalet’ letter from the name of Yehuḏah – יְהוּדָה – Strong’s H3063 which means, ‘praised’ you are left with the 4 letters of the Name of יהוה and should therefore get the sound of ‘YaHUaH’.
This is how they present it: They claim that when you remove the letter ‘דָ’ (dalet) from the name of יְהוּדָה that you are left with the four lettered Name of יהוה and then they proceed to teach that this is a ‘significant revelation’, as the ‘dalet’ letter in the ancient pictographic script is pictured as a ‘door’ – – and we know that Messiah is The Door, hence if you ‘drop’ the ‘d’ sound in the name of Yehuḏah – יְהוּדָה then you get the sound of YaHUaH or Yahuwah.
While this may sound very nice and tickle the ears of many who have no understanding of the Hebrew language we must recognise that no matter how nice the false theologies that are attached to this presentation may appear, it does not follow correct rules of grammar in the Hebrew language and therefore cannot be an accepted interpretation.
Some, in their teachings, claim that all one needs to know is the Hebrew alphabet and the numerical values of each letter and that the recognition of the pronunciation of YaHUaH will come by revelation and not by scholarly presentation!
Once again, this may sound true, yet to assume that it is correct to simply take letters from one word to help you pronounce another is actually applying rules of some kind – which can best be described as ‘rules of vain imagination’ as they do not follow these made up rules for other words in Scripture, showing that those who promote this have no consistency in their presentation of their interpretation or transliteration of the Biblical Hebrew text.
Many today may love to say that the Name of YaHUaH was revealed to them by the Spirit and not taught to them by man, yet what we are able to see through proper testing of this ‘revelation’ against the witness of the Word is that it does not line up with proper rules of grammar and therefore we are able to see that somebody did in fact teach them this ‘assumed revelation’.
Our Elohim is an Elohim of order and we certainly learn each week on the Sabbath how we are to follow His right-ruling according to His Word and so too then we must recognise that His language has rules that must be properly applied in order for correct communication of His Word to be effective in maturing His Bride.
How we are able to properly validate any ‘revelation’ is by seeing if it lines up with the Word, and as we have clearly presented here from various examples in Scripture, the proper vocalisation of verbs that end with the letter ‘hey’, shows us that the Name of יהוה cannot be vocalised as YaHUaH!
The name of Yehuḏah – יְהוּדָה – Strong’s H3063 comes from the root word יָדָה yaḏah – Strong’s H3034 which literally means ‘to throw, shoot or cast, to confess, laud with praise, extol, i.e., make a public confession of the attributes and acts of power of a person’ and comes from the word יָד yaḏ – Strong’s H3027 which means ‘hand’ and so the expression of giving thanks is understood in the Hebrew as ‘extending the hands in praise’.
As already mentioned, the Name of יהוה –Strong’s H3068 comes from the root word הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 which means, ‘to be, exist, become, happen’.
All Hebrew words come from a root verb and when looking at the name of Yehuḏah – יְהוּדָה and the Name of יהוה we are clearly able to see that they come from two completely different root verbs, which does not render the teaching of removing the dalet from יְהוּדָה to get the Name of יהוה as valid, but simply highlights this as being an error in teaching by those who do not apply proper rules of grammar.
Let us therefore examine what the Name of יהוה ought to look like if the correct vowels were added, according to proper grammatical rules.
To do that we must take note that the verb הָיָה hayah – Strong’s H1961 which means, ‘to be, exist, become, happen’, from which the Name of יהוה is derived cannot be written in the ‘first person, imperfect singular’ form as it is us who speak His Name and therefore it is widely agreed, by most scholars, that this verb is written in the ‘3rd person, hifil, masculine, singular’ form.
The ‘hifil’ form is the ‘causative verb form’ and therefore, we are able to understand that when we say יהוה we are declaring, ‘The I AM causes me to be’!
According to the verb chart we take note of the verb in the hifil column under the 3ms (first line of imperfect section) is written as follows:
When applying these rules to the Name of יהוה we can therefore correctly render the following:
As we break this down we can see the following:
As we look at the Name of יהוה we can see that by applying proper Hebrew grammar we are able to recognise the most widely accepted pronunciation among the majority of Hebrew scholars that identify that the Name of יהוה being written in the ‘hifil, 3rd person, imperfect’ form, can correctly be rendered as יַהְוֶה – and transliterated as YAHWEH or YAHVEH
Therefore from this brief study we can clearly deduce from the example that we are given in terms of a name (Ninewěh) and the 2 examples that we have in terms of verbs in their various forms, is that the ‘weh/veh’ sound at the end of these most certainly clarifies the question around the correct pronunciation of the Name of יַהְוֶה – YAHWEH/YAHVEH!!!
יַהְוֶה (YAHWEH) bless you and guard you;
יַהְוֶה (YAHWEH) make His face shine upon you and show favour to you;
יַהְוֶה (YAHWEH) lift up His face to you and give you shalom!