🔼The name YHWH-jireh: Summary
- Yah Sees
- From (1) יהוה (yhwh), the name of the Lord, and (2) the verb ראה (ra'a), to see or understand.
🔼The name YHWH-jireh in the Bible
The name YHWH-jireh (or Jehovah-jireh) occurs in only one location in the Bible, but the phrase is repeated once (or twice). When Abraham is about to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, the angel of YHWH calls out to him and stops him (Genesis 22:11-12). Then Abraham raises his eyes and sees a ram in the thicket. He catches it and offers it instead of his son.
Thus Abraham called the place יהוה יראה, so that it is said until today that in the mountain יהוה יראה (Genesis 22:14).
The other time that this phrase occurs in the narrative of the Bible is in 1 Samuel 16:7, where we are told that "YHWH looks" at the heart.
🔼Etymology of the name YHWH-jireh
The name YHWH-jireh obviously consists of two elements, the first one being YHWH, the name of the Lord. Please see our article on that name for a look at the meaning and etymology. The second part of our name is an active form (a third person singular) of the verb ראה (ra'a), meaning to see:
The verb ראה (ra'a) means to see, and by extension to understand. It may mean to become visible (of, say, an angel) or to become understandable (of, say, a theory). Noun ראה (ro'eh) means either seer, or prophetic vision, and noun מראה (mar'a) means either vision as means of revelation, or mirror. Nouns ראית (re'ut) and ראות (re'ut) mean a looking. Nouns ראי (ro'i) and מראה (mar'eh) mean sight or appearance. Adjective ראה (ra'eh) means seeing.
Translations and commentaries usually interpret this particular occurrence of our verb ראה (ra'a) with to provide ("seeing to" something) but in Hebrew this verb simply doesn't mean that. Instead the name YHWH-jireh appears to be on a par with names like Beer-lahai-roi, meaning The Well Of The Living One Who Sees Me, and marks a quality of the Lord as observed by man. It means Yah Sees.