According to Strongs H3050, there are 48 occurrences in the Hebrew Bible where God's name is rendered as יָהּ (Yah). Most of these are found in the Psalms. This suggests it is a poetic form. However, the un-contracted form of His name is also used in the Psalms. Is there anything suggested by the rhythm of these passages and their contexts in the Hebrew that that calls for this form?

Is there anything else intrinsic to these passages or their context that would cause the writers to choose this form. Is there anything that ties these occurrences together?

I am endeavoring to discern if these forms are truly inter-changable or if they are in some way unique?

  • Thank you James. While both these questions are in regard to the same form of the name of God, they are separate and distinct. The first deals with the Hebrew construction and grammar, how the contraction came into existence and technically which letters are dropped, etc. This question deals with meaning of the two forms of God's name and any distinctions in meaning that may or may not exist between them.
    – user2027
    Sep 21, 2014 at 19:54
  • You might want to review the answers at judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/23463/… Oct 1, 2014 at 19:37
  • The link you provide appears to convey rabbinic law in regard to this most holy and divine name; but it does not address matters of meaning or reason for the contracted form. I assure you that, while I am not Jewish, nor under rabbinic authority, I do revere our Creator and hold His name in utmost reverence. It is in a spirit of worship and an effort to hallow His name that I make my inquiries, that I might bring glory to His name, for He is exalted above all and His name is above all names in heaven or on earth.
    – user2027
    Oct 3, 2014 at 13:50
  • NASB, Jeremiah 23:27 - who intend to make My people forget My name by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers forgot My name because of Baal? It is ironic that Scripture - and even Jews today - say that the name of God has been forgotten, but somehow people presume to know how "The Name" of God was actually spelled, and even know how it was pronounced in Ancient Israel. (For example, the Yemini's likely have preserved Hebrew the most accurately - but their pronunciations are very, very, different). Aug 24, 2017 at 3:52

3 Answers 3


For the most part the reason for the use of this form arises from common local usage in 4th Century BCE Persian province of Yehud. There may be specific instances in Psalms where the name Yah is also used for it's numerical value as part of mathematical calculations in the text, but this is not the primary reason for it's usage. It's simply that the people were using that name at that time by common convention, similar to the popular use of the name 'Hashem' in modern times.

This is established by excavations in the region that showed the most frequent seals used were yh seals.

Percy Stuart Peache Handcock 1 writes:

Pages 297,298
A number of stamped jar handles were also found at Jericho. These are probably to be dated in ‎the fifth century b.c. Ten of these later seals bear the name Yah, and three the name Yahu.

Charles E. Carter 2 writes:

Page 162
J.R.Bartlett, who provides the best discussion of the date of these seals places the yh seals in ‎either the fifth or fourth century BCE.

Page 161
During the Sellin and Watzinger excavations ten YH and three YHD seals were discovered and dated by ‎the excavators to the fourth century.

Pages 151,152
Ramat Rahel was rich in epigraphic finds. 69 Yh seals which date generally from the Persian ‎period .
The seals, then, represent the most significant evidence of Persian period occupation at ‎Ramat Rahel. Most of the pottery found in the same fills with the seal impressions dates generally ‎to the fifth or the fourth centuries BC, though some dates to the sixth century.

Note – the Yh seals from Ramat Rahel were the most numerous type found.

1 The Archaeology of the Holy Land, by Percy Stuart Peache Handcock.

2 The Emergence of Yehud in the Persian Period: A social and demographic study, by Charles E. Carter.

  • 3
    Bethsheba, since you weren't a resident in the Persian province of Yehud in the 4th Century, you are either referencing material or making this up. It is unlikely you are making it up, so please cite the material you are using.
    – enegue
    Aug 23, 2017 at 11:50
  • 1
    Apologies. I'll pull my socks up. How's it looking now Enegue? Aug 23, 2017 at 15:40
  • 1
    Welcome to the Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange. We are glad you are here! Thank you for taking a moment to take the site tour. This is an excellent improvement to your answer as it now follows our "show your work" guideline. This, and several other topic are discussed in the FAQs. You may also be interested in our sister Stack Exchange Mi Yodeya as well. Again, welcome! We are constantly looking for knowledgeable new users to contribute to the site! Aug 23, 2017 at 15:56
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    +1 Thanks, Bethsheba. I have edited to move the quotes into the body of your answer, with the standard quote formatting to set them apart from your own words. The format is not meant to be prescriptive, just an example of how it might be done.
    – enegue
    Aug 24, 2017 at 3:30
  • 1. I fail to see how this post comes close to actually answering any of the questions that the OP asks. 2. The "numerical" uses that you claim are not considered rigorous scholarship. No academic takes these seriously. 3. The connection between YH in some of the Ramat Rachel seal impressions that were mostly associated with taxes, and YH in the vernacular of the time is unsubstantiated, as is the connection with the use of YH in Psalms. 4. Please substantiate the claim that most of the seal impressions were YH.
    – user17080
    Aug 24, 2017 at 6:23

The moniker Yah (יה) in the MT is used only in poetry. It does not occur in prose, although there is no reason why it couldn't.

If we discount the use of Yah in "hallelujah" then there are 24 occurrences of Yah, 18 of which are in Psalms. Of the 18 occurrences in Psalms, four are in Psalm 118, two occurrences in each of Psalm 68 and Psalm 104 and Psalm 115, and one each in Psalms 77, 89, 102, 122, 130, 135, and 150.1

Besides the usage in Psalms, Yah is used in Exodus 15:2 and in the early chapters of Isaiah, 12:2, 26:4, and 38:11, suggesting pre-exilic use.

There are three duplicate uses of Yah in the phrase עזי וזמרת יה, "The Almighty is my strength and my song" [my translation] which exact phrase occurs in Exodus 15:2, Isaiah 12:2 and Psalms 118:14.

The moniker Yah is an appellation, not a proper name. It is never used in the MT with the preposition ל, meaning "for" or "to", as are the other appellative names such as אלהים and צור. This indicates that Yah is probably not a contraction or shortened form of the tetragrammaton, but a distinct appellation that is not interchangeable, either with the tetragrammaton or with other appellative names.2

The suffix yah is used in Song of Song 8:5 (שלהבתיה) to indicate "an almighty flame", and in Jeremiah 2:31 (מאפליה) "from an almighty darkness", which indicates that appellation Yah should be translated as "Almighty" rather than "Lord", and that "hallelujah" should in fact be translated "Praise the Almighty" rather than "Praise the Lord".2

The syllable yah is used as an expletive [in the linguistic sense] in both Hebrew and Arabic, which might stem from an earlier use as an appellative name of God in the sense of "almighty" or "great".

The MT use of Yah does not appear to serve a metric function, although it is used alliteratively, particularly in Psalm 118. It does appear to serve a semantic purpose, to denote the aspect of greatness or all powerfulness of God's presence.

1. Even Shoshan concordance
2. This is my opinion. I do not have a supporting reference.


Is there anything else intrinsic to these passages or their context that would cause the writers to choose this form. Is there anything that ties these occurrences together?

Intrinsic - belonging naturally; deep-rooted, deep-seated, existing in something as a permanent, essential, or characteristic attribute. In the Hebraic mindset a name is honor, authority, character, exclusive and perfect.

Exo 3:14 RNV And Alohiym said to Mosheh, "I AM THAT I AM." I AM - H1961 THAT - H834 I AM - H1961 = Ayah Asher Ayah - To breathe, self existence, who, which, what.

This is Not His name but only the revelation that leads to it in verse 15 'This is My name forever and this is My memorial (MY MARK) to all generations.'

Rev 4:8 - YAHUWAH Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

The Father's name is intrinsic because its the name pertaining to the Everlasting Covenant that holds the key & the marriage contract written by His own finger between Him and us. The Sabbath within itself has His seal - name - title & jurisdiction.

Last but least Psalms 119 has 22 chapters for the 22 Hebrew letters. He is not also the alpha and omega but the Aleph and the TAV from Genesis to Revelation, Amein.

Is there anything that ties these occurrences together? "Your city and Your people are called by Your name." Daniel 9:19 All the Prophets and apostles have Yahu - AL - Yah and Wah is only on Eve's name.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, so that I might display My power in you, and so that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (Ex. 9:16)

John 17:11 “And I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Set-apart Father, guard them in Your Name which You have given Me, so that they might be one,1 as We are. Footnote: 1See 10:30. “I and My Father are one.”

John 17:12 “When I was with them in the world, I was guarding them in Your Name which You have given Me, and I watched over them, and not one of them perished except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be filled.

I am endeavoring to discern if these forms are truly inter-changable or if they are in some way unique? Ayah Asher Ayah is interchangeable and that's how we get YAHUWAH. I have that info if interested.

Acts 2:38 Then Kepha (Peter) said to them, "Repent and let every one of you be immersed in the name of Yahushua the Anointed Messiah for the forgiveness of sins and you shall receive the gift of the Set Apart Ruach (Spirit).

Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

Acts 2:21 and Joel 2:32 - it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of Yahuwah shall be saved.'

The letter is on 400 years old so Joel did not know Jehovah - it was Yahuwah's name whom the Jews by tradition under the penalty of death have hidden to this very day. His most beautiful and powerful name should be proclaimed as you yourselves have read.

Pray about it and seek Him on this very important matter. I bless Yahuwah's name because of Him not me but through His Son Yahushua (Salvation of Yahuwah) He has redeemed me from the power of sin and given me life in Him Always and in Love, Shalom.

  • 1
    Welcome to BHSE! We're a little different here, please read our site directives before asking and answering questions. You are attempting to answer the question, and I applaud your effort. You make some good points, and with some editing, there is a valid answer. The last paragraph is prescriptive, and as such is outside of our site guidelines. With some editing and eliminating the last paragraph, this would be a worthwhile answer that should attract +1's. Thank you!
    – Tau
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:03

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