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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?

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3 Answers 3

No, traditional English translations render שֵׁם־יְהוָה correctly as a phrase: e.g. “Look! The name of Yahweh comes from afar ...” (LEB). Though name and YHWH are linked in the Masoretic text by a maqqef or 'Hebrew hyphen', this indicates to speakers that the second word is accented, not the first. It’s a function of pronunciation, not meaning. The hyphenated word is not a compound name.

On names in the Bible generally: The literal meaning of many biblical names is well-known, and scholars also note apparent charactonyms and examples of nominative determinism, suggesting allegorical and other literary intent behind many biblical names. Abram, for example, means ‘exalted father’ – likely not a given name but an appropriate epithet for the father-figure in the nation’s founding mythology. Whether early Jewish writers were influenced by gemetria, true name magic, or other forms of mysticism in their naming I leave for others to consider.

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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?

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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.

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