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There have been several people asserting on this site that in obvious places such as Matt 22:44 the sacred name of "Jehovah/YHWH" or equivalent should be used giving a version like, "Jehovah said to my Lord ... " (Eg, NWT).

Is such a practice justified from the Greek? That is, do most translators render this and similar verses incorrectly?

Are there other places in the NT where this sort of thing occurs, or is this one of the very few?

The usual English translation is "The Lord said to my Lord ... " which appears to blur the distinction being made in the conversation from Ps 110:1.

  • Up-voted (and your answer up-voted also). This is an excellent way of dealing with something that has been continually raised and has seen divided opinion. – Nigel J Jul 5 at 18:55
  • Assuming Jesus spoke Aramaic, what exactly did He say? – Tony Chan Jul 5 at 21:38
  • We do not know because it is not recorded. We only have the inspired words of the prophets in Greek. I think it become tricky to try and back-guess what Jesus might have said other than what is recorded. – Dottard Jul 5 at 21:42
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I will post an answer here to begin the discussion and hope others will contribute.

First, Matt 22:44 is not alone in quoting Ps 110:1. It is also quoted in Mark 12:36, Luke 20:42, Acts 2:34. In all cases the Greek is almost identical and reads:

Εἶπεν Κύριος τῷ Κυρίῳ μου ... (= said Lord to the Lord of me ...)

Notice that in both cases, we have the same word but in a different case namely, Κύριος (= Lord, nominative) and Κυρίῳ (= Lord, dative). Thus, based on the Greek text, an honest translation has no choice but to translate in the normal way something like, "The Lord said to my Lord ... ".

This means that when the inspired writers Matthew, Mark and Luke quoted Ps 110:1 they chose to translate the Tetragrammaton יהוה (YHWH) as Κύριος or "Lord"; they also translated אדֹנִ֗י (Adoni) as Κύριος or "Lord" also!!

This is not unique to these few passages. In fact, every time the inspired NT writers quote an OT passage containing the Tetragrammaton, יהוה (YHWH) it is almost always translated as Κύριος or "Lord", and occasionally by θεός (theos) = "God".

Here is a longer list of when this sort of thing happens - that is the when Tetragrammaton in the OT is translated by "Lord" (unless noted otherwise) in the NT. There are no exceptions to this rule.

  • Matt 4:7 quotes Deut 6:16
  • Matt 4:10 quotes Deut 6:13
  • Matt 5:33 quotes Num 30:2 & Deut 23:21
  • Matt 21:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 21:42 quotes Ps 118:22
  • Matt 22:37 quotes Deut 6:4, 5 & 10:12
  • Matt 22:44 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Matt 23:39 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Matt 27:9, 10 quotes Zech 11:12, 13
  • Mark 1:3 quotes Isa 40:3
  • Mark 11:9 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Mark 12:10, 11 quotes Ps 118:23
  • Mark 12:29 quotes Deut 6:4
  • Mark 12:30 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Mark 12:36 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Luke 3:4-6 quotes Isa 40:3-5
  • Luke 4:18 quotes Isa 61:1
  • Luke 4:19 quotes Isa 61:2
  • Luke 10:27 quotes Deut 6:5
  • Luke 13:35 & 38 quotes Ps 118:26
  • Luke 20:37 quotes Ex 6:3
  • Luke 20:42 quotes Ps 110:1
  • John 1:23 quotes Isa 40:3
  • John 6:45 quotes Isa 54:13 but uses θεοῦ for היְהֹוָ rather than Κυρίου.
  • John 12:13 quotes Ps 118:26
  • John 12:38 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Acts 2:20 quotes Joel 2:31
  • Acts 2:21 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Acts 2:25 quotes Ps 16:8
  • Acts 2:34 quotes Ps 110:1
  • Acts 3:22 quotes Deut 18:15
  • Acts 4:26 quotes Ps 2:2
  • Acts 7:31-34 quotes Ex 3:4-7
  • Acts 7:48-50 quotes Isa 66:1, 2
  • Acts 13:47 quotes Isa 49:5, 6
  • Acts 15:17 quotes Amos 9:12
  • Rom 4:3 quotes Gen 15:6 but uses θεῷ instead of κυρίῳ.
  • Rom 4:8 quotes Ps 32;1, 2
  • Rom 9:28 quotes Isa 10:22, 23
  • Rom 9:29 quotes Isa 1:9
  • Rom 10:13 quotes Joel 2:32
  • Rom 10:16 quotes Isa 53:1
  • Rom 11:3 quotes 1 Kings 19:14
  • Rom 12:19 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • Rom 14:11 quotes Isa 45:23
  • Rom 15:11 quotes Ps 117:1
  • 1 Cor 1:31 quotes Jer 9:24
  • 1 Cor 2:16 quotes Isa 40:13
  • 1 Cor 3:20 quotes Ps 94:11
  • 1 Cor 10:9 quotes Num 21:5, 6
  • 1 Cor 10:26 quotes Ps 24:1
  • 2 Cor 6:18 quotes 2 Sam 7:8
  • Eph 5:19 paraphrases Ps 30:4 & 92:1
  • Heb 10:30 quotes Deut 32:35, 36
  • 1 Peter 2:3 quotes Ps 34:8, 9
  • 1 Peter 3:12 quotes Ps 34:15, 16

(I hope I have not made too many typos. Corrections welcome.) Thus, if the inspired NT writers thought it acceptable to translate the Tetragrammaton as the Greek equivalent of "Lord" then it is good enough for me.

| improve this answer | |
  • The fact of the matter is we can not be sure what the original "inspired" NT writers wrote. There are no original writings. The Tetragrammaton however we know was not disrespected. There are thousands of copies of the Christian Greek Scriptures in existence today but most of them were made during or after the 4th Cent., these, often "uninspired", copyists generally for one reason or another, decided that it would be prudent to replace the "name" of God (Tetragrammaton) with the disingenuous "title" of Lord (kyrios), or even just God (Theos), which was nothing short of apostasy...... – Olde English Jul 8 at 20:30
  • @OldeEnglish - Apostasy only according to whom? The fact remains that there is not one scintilla of evidence to support your position. The very earliest copies from the second century all have kyrios or theos as above. Now, if you want to proffer some evidence, then please do so; otherwise, stop saying what there is no evidence to support! – Dottard Jul 8 at 21:10
  • @Dottard- EXCUSE ME! Apostasy: the abandonment or renunciation of a religious belief. It is no "secret" that God's name (YHWH or JHVH) represented by these four consonants, appears almost 7000 times in the original OT, or Hebrew Scriptures. It is also no "secret" that God's name appears eight times in the original Ten Commandments (Ex, 20:1-17). Consequently, the name was of "unique" importance. It is also no "secret" that.. "The very earliest copies from the second century all have kyrios or theos" (your statement), as an imprudent/heretical, exception. BUT, these were COPIES, not ORIGINALS. – Olde English Jul 9 at 23:01
  • @AlexBalilo - And your point is? My name was originally in the NT as a person who would be truly great, but it was removed by evil copyists and no originals proving my greatness now exit. Such a shame! Are you saying that is also what happened to Jehovah's name in the NT? – Dottard Jul 9 at 23:09
  • Well of course, given, if only a little, surrounding contextual evidence, it stands to reason, that that would have been the case, but they would not have been evil, just ignorant. Also, some of the inspired NT writers knew Jesus intimately. They would have known/heard about Jesus' visit to the synagogue, where he read from, Isaiah 61:1,2, where God's name appeared more than once (see Luke 4:16-21). To have NOT pronounced God's name would have meant following the unscriptural tradition of the Jewish religious leaders. Would it not??? You mistakenly addressed Alex by the way, instead of me. – Olde English Jul 10 at 4:27

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