Psalm 83:18, How do you say Jehovah?

That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.

//How do you pronounce the name of God? Most scholars sneer at the common pronunciation of “Jehovah” and opt instead for “Yahweh.” Why?

It’s a long story. It helps to understand that the name of God (or any god) in antiquity is sacred. It dare not be spoken aloud. It helps also to understand that ancient Hebrew did not include vowels. Thus we have only YHWH in the written record, and the tradition that it should never be spoken out loud. Readers of scripture would actually substitute the word Adonai, meaning “my Lord,” when reading. Small wonder that today we no longer know how to pronounce God’s name.

Here’s part of the problem. Maybe you’ve heard of the Masoretic Text, the authoritative Hebrew text of the Old Testament used between the 7th and 10th centuries. When the Masoretes transcribed the original Hebrew, they went back and added vowels to the consonants. However, they had a conundrum. If they put the correct vowels in place for YHWH, people would pronounce the name of God; a sin to be avoided at all costs. So, as the story goes (and it is probably true), they took the vowels from the word Adonai and inserted them into YHWH. That way, if you tried to pronounce God’s name, you would be wrong. Adding these vowels produced the English word Jehovah.

So how do you pronounce the name of God? Well, we don’t know for sure, but the one thing we do suspect is that it could be anything but Jehovah.


  1. Jim Grimes

    I recently had a conversation with a acquaintance ( Jehovah’s Witness ) and he directed me Psalm 8318 to answer my question, ” What does Jehovah mean? ”
    I found your explanation/opinion helpful. I was schooled by Roman Catholic Nuns and I recall being taught that Yaweh was appropriate when I referred to MY LORD and GOD and for that matter MY SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.
    I have not begun to Blog on a serious level but would be interested in a free review copy of Lee Harmon’s books mentioned on this site.
    Please contact me via email or Mail to:
    Jim Grimes
    1241 Greentree lane
    Penn Valley, PA 19072-1219

    Jim Grimes

    • I have been studying with the Jehovah’s witnesses for over a year. From what I remember, Jehovah means “causes to become”. In the kjv version of the Bible, Jehovah appears 4 times… You would think that if good did not want his name to be spoken, it would not appear in the bible at all. In the original version of the Bible, God’s name appeared over 7000 times. I can show you the other locations of God’s name, in the Bible if you want, I could also explain his name more.

  2. So, I guess Psalm 83:18 Isa 12:2 and Isa 26(I think 26) are all incorrect when they all read ‘Jehovah’?

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