What is the name of God according to Exodus 6:2-3 based on the Hebrew Old Testament and the Septuagint? [Editor’s note: this is the early Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible in the late third century BC]


God has many names in the Bible, as I assume you know.  He is called El, Elohim, Adonai and YHWH and others.  The first three “names” are really more like descriptions. El and Elohim essentially mean “God.”  Adonai means, essentially, “Lord.”  These are more like titles than names.  However, in Exodus 6:2-3 Moses asks for a name from God.  God tells him to tell the people YHWH sent him. This can be translated from Hebrew to English as I AM.  This name is often given vowels (there were no vowels in the ancient Hebrew script), and written as Yaweh.  In German it was transliterated as Jehovah, which explains why this name is sometimes used in English. YHWH, Yaweh or Jehovah are the closest to a “name” for God in the Scripture, although there are many other titles given to him.   In the Septuagint translation of the Hebrew Old Testament into the Greek, the Jews, out of a perhaps misplaced reverence, refused to say or even copy the word YHWH, so, rather do that, they put the world Adonai, or Lord into the Old Testament in most places where YHWH was found in the original.  However, in the Septuagint of Exodus 6:2 they used the Greek word ego which means, literally, I AM.   Even today, may Jews do not write the word God.  Instead they wrote G_d.  So, the answer to your question is that the original of Exodus 6:2-3 has the name of God being the four Hebrew consonants YHWH.

John Oakes









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