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Meaning and etymology of the name Jehovah


This pronounceable form of YHWH was introduced in 1520 by Galatinus but immediately strongly contested. Because the Hebrew script only has consonants, the vowels had to be inserted when the text was read out loud. When the language ceased to be used, the Masoretes devised an ingenious vowel-notation system to preserve the pronunciation. However, the name YHWH was deemed so holy that it shouldn't be pronounced. In stead, the reader would say adonai (adonai), meaning My Lord, from the untranslated root adon ('adon). Another derivation of this same root is the noun eden ('eden a, not to be confused with Eden, the name Eden), meaning pedestal.

Hence the Masoretes superimposed the vowel-notation of adonai onto YHWH and the word Jehovah was born.



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