Take the 2-minute tour ×
Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I have often been told that "name" in the Old Testament has much more weight than it does to us today. Then I noticed this passage recently:

See, the Name of the Yahweh comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire. —Isaiah 30:27

Is "The Name of Yahweh" a name for him? How ought I to understand this phrase? Is the extra degree of separation an indication of thrice-holiness, like using הַשֶׁם for יהוה? What kind of implications does it have for understanding the concept of name in the Bible, particularly the Old Testament?

share|improve this question

3 Answers 3

שׁם for name also means 'fame' or 'reputation'

שׁמם which is considered a different root, but has the same form as the plural of םשׁ means 'desolate' or 'to make desolate'. Since שׁם is in שׁמם, the one who makes desolate gets a reputation for doing it.

The context of Is 30.27 is suggestive of the linked meaning:

See, the "reputation for making desolate" of Yaweh comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.

share|improve this answer

I was doing research on something very similar to this question and found a bunch of information. The first of which is pieces taken from what I think are a documentary.

Pronouncing the Creators name part 1

Pronouncing the Creators name part 2

Our Creator Has A Name And It's Not Jesus

Yahweh is thought to be the proper pronunciation of Jehovah or YHWH. God, Lord, Adonai, Hasheb, so on are only titles. They are not the name of god. Those titles came about from Jewish superstition that Yahweh's name is too holy to come from the mouth of an imperfect man.

The name Yahweh, is what was given to Moses early in the Exodus. There are many ways to interpret it. Some say it means I am, I am that I am, I shall prove to be, or I exist. It could be all of these. Some more information for anyone who wants it.

Was the New Testament written in Aramaic or Greek?

share|improve this answer

Generally names described their bearer in that time (and on many places today) . It was supposed to convey most important characteristic of a person.

God's name 'Yahweh' mean 'I'm'. That define God is not bounded by time and exist outside of time. It also means he does not change. His declarations and promises are thus eternal. This is source of security and trust we could put to Him.

In Bible names are important and many times they contain part of a message/story. Take time to understand a name and possible implications for such characteristic. It helps to understand related part.

share|improve this answer
יהוה does not mean "I'm" or even "I am". It can however mean "he is". –  fdb Apr 21 at 23:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.