JEHOVAH, je-ho'va: An erroneous form of the divine name of the covenant God of Israel which appears first about 1520 A.D. The error arose from the fact that the utterance of the divine name, in original quadrilateral form (the tetragrammaton) YHWH, became unlawful in Jewish usage as early as the third Christian century and probably much earlier, at least outside the sacred precincts (cf. Ex.xx. 7; Lev. xxiv. 16, the Septuagint of which reads "name the name" for "blaspheme the name"). Consequently in reading the sacred text, "Adonai" (Heb. Adhonai, "my lord") was pronounced instead of it (or "Elohim" in case the collocation Adhonai Yhwh occurred) and the consonants of


Adhonai were often written in the margin of the manuscripts. When the vowel punctuation was added, the vowels of Adhonai were written in the text with the tetragrammaton, which thus appeared to read Yehowah (rarely Yehowih), or, according to an older system of transliteration, Jehovah. This form, with anglicized pronunciation, entered the English Bible and so came into general use in warship and theology as one of the names of God, connoting especially his majesty and greatness. For the derivation, meaning, etc., of the Hebrew form, see YAHWEH.

In Christian theology since the Reformation "Jehovah" has become an expression inclusive of the three persons of the Trinity. In the case of the Third Person this is rather tacit than explicit; in the case of the Second Person, the inclusion is explicit. Thus C. Hodge remarks: "This manifested Jehovah [i.e., the Malakh Yahweh or "Angel of Yahweh"], who led his people under the Old-Testament economy, is declared to be the Son of God, the 26yoS, who was manifested in the flesh" ((Systematic Theology, i. 485; cf. "Christ is represented . . . as the Jehovah of the Old Testament, who led the Israelites through the wilderness," p. 512). Similarly Shedd first identifies the Malakh Yahweh with Yahweh and then says: "The Jehovah in the theophany was the same trinitarian person who is in the incarnation " (Dogmatic Theology, i.110, New York, 1888). To the same purport may be cited A. H. Strong (Systematic Theology, p. 146 New York, 1902), A. A. Hodge (Popular Lectures on Theological Themes, i. 263, Philadelphia, 1887 S. Harris (God the Creator and Lord of All, i. 315, New York, 1896), W. F. Gess (Das Dogma van Christi Person and Werk, pp. 244-246, Basel, 1887), and dogmaticians in general. Church covenants not infrequently use the term "Jehovah-Jesus" to emphasize the deity of Christ.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: See literature under YAHWEH.


CCEL home page
This document is from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library at
Calvin College. Last modified on 10/03/03. Contact the CCEL.
Calvin seal: My heart I offer you O Lord, promptly and sincerely