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

up vote 4 down vote accepted

"The name of YHVH comes from afar" seems puzzling; YHVH may come from afar, but what does it mean for his name to do so? Rashi, the medieval compiler of rabbinic tradition, writes the following:

the Name of the Lord: His might, which will be for Him as a name, viz., what He will do to Sennacherib.

He does not give a source, but this interpretation is consistent with the context of these verses:

27 Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, with His anger burning, and in thick uplifting of smoke; His lips are full of indignation, and His tongue is as a devouring fire;
28 And His breath is as an overflowing stream, that divideth even unto the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction; and a bridle that causeth to err shall be in the jaws of the peoples. [...] 30 And the LORD will cause His glorious voice to be heard, and will show the lighting down of His arm, with furious anger, and the flame of a devouring fire, with a bursting of clouds, and a storm of rain, and hailstones. (etc)

"Might" is consistent with anger, devouring fire, sifting the nations with a sieve of destruction, and so forth.

Please note: This answer was written for a neutral, academic audience and is not intended to be interpreted in the context of a religious belief or doctrine.

share|improve this answer

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
The plural of שׁם is שְׁמוֹת. Whatever שׁמם is, it's not that. –  Gone Quiet Nov 29 '13 at 2:11

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

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.