Back to Hebrew names?

There is a group of people who change every proper name in English Bible into Hebrew transliterated names. There is nothing wrong for certain words that are clearly representing another name and correcting them is accepted. For instance, the all caps LORD actually means יהוה‎ (YHWH). However, transliterating every single name to Hebrew is madness.

Law was written in Phoenician Script

Most people think that the law was written in Hebrew, but no. They are written in Phoenician Script. It is commonly referred as Palaeo-Hebrew alphabet but it’s actually a variant of Phoenician alphabet. The name of the LORD is actually written in Phoenician (𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄) in all the manuscripts.

A text from Qumran, containing the Tetragrammaton in Phoenician script alongside Hebrew text 1

In the above image of a manuscript from Qumran, YHWH was still written in Phoenician script.

A fragment of the Septuagint dated between 50 BCE and 50 CE. The fragments is part of the “Nahal Hever Minor Prophets” collection, containing fragments of Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah and Zechariah found in the Nahal Hever cave, south of Qumran. The Tetragrammaton in Phoenician script is indicated with the large black arrow; the rest of the text is Greek 1.

In the above image of a manuscript of Septuagint, YHWH was still written in Phoenician script. Hence, even during the days when Jesus walked on earth, the name of the LORD was not only revered as holy, but also preserved exactly as it was written by Moses which was in Phoenician script.

Phoenician and Greek alphabet comparison 2

 

Many write the name of the LORD (𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄) as YHWH. What they don’t realise is, even YHWH is completely wrong. The correct alphabet to alphabet translation of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 or יהוה‎ is IEFE not YHWH. YHWH is only a transliterated version of the actual IEFE.

Yeshua is Incorrect too!

Now, let’s look at the name of our Messiah (יהושׁע) Jesus, Joshua or Yeshua. The apostles themselves who were direct eyewitness of Jesus (Matthew & John) who lived and walked with Jesus, called Him as (G2424 Ἰησοῦς Iesous). The Hebrew alphabets (יהושׁע) translates to Ιεϝσο and Ἰησοῦς is used by the apostles used, not Yeshua. The word Yeshua, just like Yahweh is based on vowels which was invented nearly a thousand years after Christ lived and walked on this earth.

Mark 14:70 But he denied it again. And a little later those who stood by said to Peter again, “Surely you are one of them; for you are a Galilean, and your speech shows it.”

Do we rely on the Greek manuscripts which can act as a rosetta stone or based on Hebrew vowels introduced much later? The gospels themselves shows that accent of Galileans were different from those from Jerusalem. So, the Hebrew vowels were based on whose accent?

English didn’t even exist when Jesus walked on earth and Y was borrowed from Greek ‘Upsilon’. Yeshua in English, along with recent Hebrew vowels, is a very modern name.

Conclusion

The people who transliterate everything to Hebrew need to stop their stupidity. Knowing God’s name is, is not about how to spell or pronounce (Ezek 39:7) but knowing who He is. He is same in any language no matter how we pronounce it. It is important to note that a different pronunciation due to language barriers to represent the name accurately is not an excuse to use a completely different name.

Dan 5:26 “This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God [H426 אֱלָהּ ‘elahh] has numbered your kingdom, and finished it;

Prov 30:5 Every word of God [H433 אֱלוֹהַּ ‘elowahh] is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.

Muslims call God as ‘Allah’ in Arabic, which is same word for God in Aramaic (H426 אֱלָהּ ‘elahh) which has it’s Hebrew counterpart in the Bible mentioned as elowahh. Does that mean Allah and the God of the Bible are same because they use the same word in different language? Absolutely not! Muslims started using the generic word for ‘god’ into a proper name of their god. The word ‘Allah’ to refer a generic name for ‘god’ is still used by  Arab Christians 3. Does this give an excuse for non-Arab Christians to call on God as Allah? Absolutely not! But it does give an excuse for Arab Christians who have no other word for ‘god’ in their language. When a Muslim calls on ‘Allah’, he knows he is calling to a pagan deity. However, when an Arab Christian calls on god as ‘Allah’, he is not calling to a Muslim god but to the God of the Bible.

The same way, if a Hindu mentions about praying to ‘god’ he is not referring to the God of the Bible, even though he used ‘God’ which is mentioned in the Bible. For heaven’s sake, even the word ‘god’ is from Proto-Germanic ǥuđan, which derived from Proto-Indo-European (Sanskrit) form ǵhu-tó-m was based on the root * ǵhau(ə)-, which meant either ‘to call’ or ‘to invoke’ having pagan origins. Does that mean we are to stop using the English word ‘god’ and start using ‘El’ from Hebrew?

For the record, El is the chief god of the Canaanites and the supreme god of the Mesopotamian Semites in the pre-Sargonic period, long before the Israelites started using El as a generic name for god. Just like the Canaanites and the ancient Mesopotamian Semites using El as the name for their chief god, Muslims today are using the generic word for god as a proper name for their god. Hence, knowing the God of the Bible is neither about knowing how to exactly pronounce it nor about how to spell it but rather, knowing who He is and His true nature. This is addressed in the post, Name of the LORD is not known. It is a personal relationship with Him.

1Pet 3:12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”

John 10:27 “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.

God knows His children who call upon Him. He listens to them and they listen to His voice. There is no pronunciation problem for God to either misunderstand the prayers of His children or for us to not listen to Him. God never said, I shall hear from you no more until you pronounce my name correctly. When I say, Jesus of Nazareth died on the cross, does it sound to you like Joshua, son of Nun to you? Even though Jesus and Joshua are same names, you know exactly, who I am referring to. Even the Jews don’t know how to pronounce 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄 correctly.


1 Michael Everson. “Final proposal for encoding the Phoenician script in the UCS” Std.dk, 3 Jun. 2004, http://std.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/wg2/docs/n2746.pdf. Accessed 25 Sept. 2017.

2 “Alphabet (Early Greek).” Brown.edu, https://www.brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/greekpast/4739.html. Accessed 12 Oct. 2017.

3 Wikipedia Contributors. “Allah.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, 9 Oct. 2017, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allah. Accessed 13 Oct. 2017.