Talk:Names of God in Judaism

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Plurals of majesty:[edit]

I changed the word "fact" to "hypothesis" in the statement that plurals of majesty only appear in late Hebrew. They may only have become common in late Hebrew, but they do appear occasionally in biblical Hebrew- i.e. "Behemoth" would mean "animals," but as it is used in the Book of Job, it refers to a single animal of immense size. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 2005 June 27 (UTC)


Judging by the sources stated at Elah, that name should be included on this page. I know practically no Hebrew and so cannot judge whether it should be included under El or Elohim, or as a separate section. Please would someone merge the info here. The entry at that page should then be linked to sourced information here, and the refs removed since that is a disambiguation page. - Fayenatic (talk) 17:22, 2 June 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Speaking of Zion as a Goddess, the bride of Christ Joseph:

"related who a Goddess from out besides mine to Yahweh? and who is a refuge but my Elohey ours?"
Psalm 18:31 (18:32) כי מי אלוה מבלעדי יהוה ומי צור זולתי אלהינו׃

Eloah is feminine, Goddess, but both the Article misquotes the number of Usages, used 59 Times in the Westminster Leningrad Codex, but the Aramaic Targums and Greek LXX and Latin Vulgate, made from the Aramaic, all use Masculine Nouns in their mistranslations, and

Deuteronomy 32:15 וישמן ישרון ויבעט שמנת עבית כשית ויטש אלוה עשהו וינבל צור ישעתו׃
2 Chronicles 32:15 ועתה אל־ישיא אתכם חזקיהו ואל־יסית אתכם כזאת ואל־תאמינו לו כי־לא יוכל כל־אלוה כל־גוי וממלכה להציל עמו מידי ומיד אבותי אף כי א‍להיכם לא־יצילו אתכם מידי׃
Nehemiah 9:17 וימאנו לשמע ולא־זכרו נפלאתיך אשר עשית עמהם ויקשו את־ערפם ויתנו־ראש לשוב לעבדתם במרים ואתה אלוה סליחות חנון ורחום ארך־אפים ורב־ וחסד כ (חסד ק) ולא עזבתם׃
[Other untranslated Hebrew examples commented out below:]

2001:558:6014:31:1174:DC89:7267:6449 (talk) 16:12, 11 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

To preserve readability, I've commented out most of the very long list of untranslated Hebrew above. It's still available by clicking "edit section". — LlywelynII 01:30, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Ehyeh-Asher-Ehyeh citation requests[edit]

I want to clarify exactly why I have felt it so important to mark two sections of this section as needing citation. In the first instance the article makes the strong claim that "usually" such and such but without any real grounds for saying this. Given the fact that there are some significant theological differences between [religious] traditions [...] over this issue it becomes important for NPOV to be sure of what we are saying and why. In the second instances the very strong statement says that "better renderings might be" without saying who considers them better or why. In the interests of accuracy, good citation and NPOV I have flagged these for editorial action. --Lord Matt (talk) 08:17, 10 May 2010 (UTC) [edited by author to remove irrelevant points --Lord Matt (talk) 11:09, 12 May 2010 (UTC)]Reply[reply]


The vowels only respresent the hebrew name of HaShem when read backwards, *as if it were in hebrew* I A O A.

Ih-Ah-Oh-(Omitted - Hebrew is a phonetic language, regardless of how it is spelled/Transliterated in English, the phonetic must remain constant and perpetual, this is the nature of the Pheonician/Hebrew language - cross referrence Sefer Yetzirah)

This should be clarified in the main article.

As the vowel order in the english - Adonai - To not represent the vowels of Adonai, moreover, the Nikkud depicted in the Double Yiddish Yod - which is spoken as Adonai - does not actually translate to *adonai* the word depicted in the article (similar to the man named Adoni-ah (written as Aleph,Dalet,Nun,Yod,Heh,Vav) in I Kings(which is not represented by the Yiddish double yod (with Nikkud - spoken "Adonai").

The name: ADONAI - meaning Lord differs from that represented in text containing the prayers/invocations of HaShem(Heh, Shin-Mem sofit). So this is very confusing as labled in the main article, as Adonai is (Alev, Dalet, Nun, Yod), each of those containing their own Nikkud, and as such the name "Aleph,Dalet,Nun,Yod" bears little resemblence to the actual name of God, other than being attributed by definition "Lord".

When the Adonai referred to that is HaShem (again two words, as stated above, and should be represented to accord as such in English Transliteration for clarities sake as Two seperate words, if not divided by more than a capital letter.) HaShem appropriate when referred to as Adonai, again is represented in Hebrew by the Yiddish Double Yod, with appropriate nikkud for the two vowels (after Yod, and after Waw/Vav - the Heh/Ha in itself is fairly well self evident in prononciation.

This should be clarified by a more one with greater patience and understanding than I. [Special:Contributions/|]] (talk) 11:28, 9 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source comparison: prayers used in service, in addition to the Torah, Kethuvim, crossreferenced the spoken/verbally invoked - and that which is read from. In otherwords the information in the main article is definately misleading, unless one is unawares of context/syntax, In addition the actually Spelling of that which is Spoken. Peruse carefully writing composition is not my strong suite. (talk) 11:28, 9 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Post Script/Afterthough/Clarity.

The name mentioned from Kings contains the root "Adonai" (Adoniyah in Kings is not a representation of the name respresented by the (Heh-Shin-Mem Sofit (HaShem), but is a name of the person who is obviously tied to the Ruler/King/Lord (connected with David as well as HaShem, (Aleph-Dalet-Nun-Yod & Hah-Waw (a name of God)) (talk) 13:39, 9 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"Adonai"(אֲדוֹנָי) translates into the English as "lord of me" i.e. "my lord", which derives from the word "Adon"(אָדוֹן), meaning "lord".AurumSpiral1235813 (talk) 21:33, 20 May 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Transliteration of the Tetragrammaton?[edit]

Is is YHVH or YHWH? It appears with both spellings in the first section without discussion of the difference - this should be clarified. Hugetim (talk) 18:07, 22 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Whoops, I see the discussion now. I will standardize the use of YHVH throughout the appropriate sections since that seems to be the predominant version. Hugetim (talk) 18:10, 22 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On the contrary, the Biblical Hebrew page lists the relevant letter as 'waw,' so I'm going with W instead of V (which seems to be the modern way to pronounce the letter). — Preceding unsigned comment added by Hugetim (talkcontribs) 18:26, 22 December 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Posterity; the letter as VAV is a modern re-interpretation, however in biblical times the letter was a WAW. The people who most commonly use the tetragammaton in any context outside of strictly written work are 'hebrew-israelites' and 'messianic jews', both organizations being compromised in their education due to strong preconceived biases and general ignorance due to the extreme lack of scholarly research, and so they use the phonetic 'YHWH' because that is how the name would have been used by the kohen gadol during the temple era and before, if the name was even in use before then. Therefore they see this interpretation as the most correct. Side note; typically people who are educated refrain from using phonetics or interpretations of the tetragrammaton as it is considered an extreme sign of disrespect to the ethnic religions of all hebrew peoples, as it was only permitted to be used by the kohen gadol during the holiest day of the year on the foundation of the holy temples. As such, there is no competition to the mis-used representation of 'YHWH' as the default, which is compounded by the overwhelming use of 'YHWH' in both spoken and written works by the previously mentioned groups, even though there is no known correct pronunciation of this name. Cakiva (talk) 10:41, 16 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Original Qere-Kativ as Sh'ma rather than Adonai[edit]

I have heard some remarks that the original Qere-Kativ substitution for the pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton may have been Sh'ma (in the Aramaic meaning of His Name rather than the usual Hebrew meaning, given that Aramaic was prevalent when the original ban on speaking the Name in public began. This would explain the most common set of vowels in the Aleppo, WLC, and Cairo codices, which are grammatically improper because they lack a vowel for the first hey in the Name. If the original substituted pronunciation were Sh'ma, the vowels agree and the missing vowel is explained. However, all of my sources on this are anecdotal. Is anyone aware of sources which support or refute this view? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:24, 22 May 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Work needed[edit]

This article looks like a stomach-churning essay type of writing. As time allows, I'll clean it up, removing no cited facts or significant facts. Please comment here on the talk page with any input or with other issues. Otherwise, what are these talk pages meant to do for us?Djathinkimacowboy(yell) 02:54, 1 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This article reads like a religious tract, not an objective presentation of data, concepts or issues.
Phrases such as the one true God used in "Elah is used to describe both pagan gods and the one true God." need to be restated in ways that don't make them sound so preachy, for example, by italicizing the debatable allegations of oneness and trueness (and removing the capital letter from "God", which doesn't make sense in this phrase, as capitalized "God" is a proper name and [other than in such proselytizing statements] doesn't take the definite article), or by stating it in such a way that it is clear that such a belief/statement is related specifically both to the context from which it was drawn and to the article in which it appears.-- (talk) 15:14, 2 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Agreed, but I can feel the arguments coming even now. You need to find a better way to restate your ideas: this is an article with a solely religious basis. As I say, I agree with all your points. But I've run into these battles in the past on other articles. We are not likely to win....Djathinkimacowboy(yell) 15:55, 2 January 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's also extremely repetitive.Costesseyboy (talk) 00:48, 8 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

On Elohim's likelihood as Plural usage by function, not fun, and noting that it solves 2 creations inconsistency problem as well as "Nod" and the "other people" lacking origin in any possible way other than with plural Elohim.

I would point out that it is highly likely the Hebrews originally believed in polytheism. That's how religion is, going from complex to simpler. This is more the nature of "his people", as each god had his or her own people, and they had their god. THis was true with greeks and romans as well. The Hebrews did indeed believe they were the people of the Head god-that of thunder of course, YHWH. What I wanted to mention is that the plural form of Elohim is very unlikely just an accidental exception to the rules of the language-but of course was used as a qualifer for when not just YHWH but other gods were involved. Only the obvious nature of "Elohim" (Plural at times by neeed) explains the problems monotheism has with Genesis. That is: There WERE two creations. The first is by elohim (plural-all the gods created WITH YHWH), so that should be indicated as plural, and it implies YHWH was involved, but only a part, with the other gods in creating "everything" that genesis defines that as ("Universe" is a stretch). Then the 2nd creation, is different because it IS different. That one is JUST YHWH creating a special place for JUST his people to protect them from the less friendly world. This is why the sequences don't match and why he can jump straight to man (ie day 6 if it were redundant, yet is obviously not, redundancy is of the least likelihood considering how drastically different they are. But if you picture the creation of "stuff" (matter) and then of YHWH's Garden Project by those merits, chapter 2 reads very smoothly with no confusion-everything fitting into the puzzle. Pretending YHWH just appeared as the first monotheism is much harder idea to swallow. Especially when the Hebrew creation is clearly modeled after it's neighbor, Egypt. They too had a god that created through sound, and made the first man from dirt/clay, etc.... and they too like everyone else had polytheism. This is why different connotations are used for plants-those in the garden of a "garden" nature the 1st creation plants not, more wild, self sustaining. Lastly, this also explains when god banished Cain, Cain went to "Nod" and found "the other people". WHere did they come from? There are no rational answers until you pair it and the 2 creations the multiple implications of "godS" in the Torah & bible, and the obvious nature of gods=they reflect ignorance: The more we don't know, the more gods we had. The more we know, the less we need any. Not willing to do the research, but I know some has been done on the topic of the Elohim with this being the outcome that fits the best and most logical for what is known about the ancient Hebrews and the remnants of the culture today. Here's a reference that reveals just "too many" parallels between Egyptian Creation and Hebrew Creation. It should also be noted that in egyptian, the primary god tends to create themself, different than the brilliant idea of "uncreated creator", and first makes other gods-to help him create, so perhaps both START as monotheisms, but by the time man is created, it's already polytheism. Also, of interest perhaps to humanists: The Egyptian Creator (well, their gods argue over who did what-kind of hilarious, I think it was Ra) is bi-sexual, such to take on both roles and I believe gives birth to the other first gods, even though he is a "he". I would say the christian bible is well behind the egyptian stories that preceded it, at least on the issue of gender equality, and apparently innate sexual nature recognition....the Egyptian Gods were not trying to crawl in bed with people-how very cool lol. 1 (talk) 12:30, 20 February 2013 (UTC)Brendan Murphy98.127.96.62Reply[reply]

No W in Hebrew[edit]

The Hebrew letters are Yodh, He (letter) and Waw (letter). Editor2020 (talk) 00:18, 9 February 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The Hebrew letter is Vav now. When it was waw, it was a /w/. — LlywelynII 08:13, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Adonai appears twice[edit]

"Adonai" is listed under both "The Tetragrammaton" and "Other names and titles of God". Can the content from the "Other..." section be merged into the "Tetragrammaton" section? — Twas Now ( talkcontribse-mail ) 23:17, 7 July 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fixed. — LlywelynII 08:12, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Influence of names in daily Jewish speech[edit]

I think there should be a section explaining how the names of God in Judaism influenced the speech among Jewish people. Yah is a vocative particle in Arabic and I don't think Arabic-speaking Jewish people would utter that specific name. (Or maybe I'm wrong.) Komitsuki (talk) 15:50, 21 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I deleted the section on Jehovah - this name is never used by Jews or in Jewish writings. PiCo (talk) 06:47, 14 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

According to the Jehovah article, it's used in Karaite Judaism. StAnselm (talk) 07:04, 14 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I find that a bit hard to believe. The spelling with a letter J and a letter V is German, where the J represents the sound we use Y for in English and the V is pronounced as a W sound - so Jehovah pronounced the English way is a mispronunciation of the German. The German word in turn, I believe, is an attempt to fill in the vowels of YHWH (JHVH in German). Neither has any connection with Judaism, whether Karaite or other. I think, if we want to ask someone (I'm no expert), then user AnonMoos would be the one - he seems very knowledgeable. He hangs out a lot in the article YHWH. PiCo (talk) 07:15, 14 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"gutteral throat-clearing"[edit]

Since this note is included on the page to be "more accurate", we may as well avoid this folk-y "gutteral throat-clearing" and give the exact sound so people can look it up and hear it for themselves. I assume this is either the [glottal stop] or the [voiced pharyngeal fricative]. Can anyone confirm it? Flipping Mackerel (talk) 01:54, 28 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Polytheists? Really?[edit]

How does one get Polytheism from the imperatives, " “I am Jehovah your God, who have brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slaves. You must not have any other gods against my face." and "“YOU must not fear other gods, and YOU must not bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them"? (Exodus 20:2,3;2 Kings 17:35) Maxximiliann (talk) 00:29, 14 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Posterity edit, because it makes reference to there being other gods that can be worshiped, and through this recognition it can be seen that they acknowledged other gods, which seems to be enough Cakiva (talk) 10:45, 16 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

7 names of god[edit]

The sections on writing names of deity and the 7 names of god contain errors (8 names listed not 7), redundancies, and contradictions. These paragraphs should be merged and cleaned up.Serkul (talk) 02:33, 28 August 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Correction of all 7 names[edit]

There are still 8 names listed, and even the 7 names are not the correct ones. According to Maimonides (Mishna Torah, Yesode HaTorah §6:2):

ושבעה שמות הן--השם הנכתב יוד הא ואו הא והוא השם המפורש, או הנכתב אלף דאל נון יוד, ואל, ואלוה, ואלוהים, ואהיה, ושדיי, וצבאות. כל המוחק אפילו אות אחת משבעה שמות אלו, לוקה.

There are seven names: the Name written yod he vav he, and this the shem hamforash, [the name] written aleph daled nun yod, "El", "Eloah", "Elohim", "Ehyeh", "Shaddai", and "Tzeva'oth". One who erases even one letter of these seven names is whipped. (Translation mine.)

Accordingly, the page should be updated properly. MannyWolfe (talk) 07:52, 2 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Eloah doesn't "appear to be a singular feminine" (this would be Eloha), it's simply a singular of Elohim, the "a" being a detail of pronunciation before a pharyngeal or glottal consonant (cf. Arabic 3inda, which to a Westerner may sound like "aynda"). I don't have good sources ready at hand, though. (talk) 22:10, 8 June 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Agreed. According to at least one online dictionary (, it's masculine. I'm going to remove "feminine". (talk) 16:01, 19 November 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If this article was called Names of God in the Hebrew Bible then we could more easily include material that relates to the widely held academic view that the names of God used often reflect the source of the material i.e. P and J in the Documentary Hypothesis or supplementary theories. There is also considerable evidence that the names of God reflect the polytheistic origins of the various HB texts. These views are held by Jewish writers and academics as well as non Jewish writers. This article restricts itself by largely reflecting religious views. I doubt that a change of title will be accepted, so I would like to add an additional section that describes the widely held views that relate to the names of god reflecting sources of Biblical texts, and a section on names of god reflecting polytheistic origins of what is now JudaismBaal is my Lord and Master 16:50, 5 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Theredheifer (talkcontribs)

OR in Lead[edit]

This sentence is original research, based on the source. El (god), Elohim (god, singular and plural form, depending on the context), El Shaddai (god almighty), Adonai (master), Elyon (highest) and Avinu (our father) are regarded by many religious Jews not as names, but as epithets or titles highlighting different aspects and 'roles' of God.[1] The RS actually states that the two names of God YHWH/Adonai and Elohim are related to the sources J and E. It is due to Rabbinic tradition that they are considered to denote different aspects of God. The RS makes no reference to the beliefs of individual Jews, or to the other names of God. I will re write to reflect what the RS actually states.Baal is my Lord and Master 08:34, 7 November 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Theredheifer (talkcontribs)

Further reading[edit]

is almost always a bad idea since Wikipedia (by design) is not a place where we have experts curating such things. Kindly reinclude these sources as they are used to support points in the text of the article:

  • Harris Laird, Archer, Gleason Jr. and Waltke, Bruce K. (eds.) Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vol., Moody Press, Chicago, 1980.
  • Hoffman, Joel M. In the Beginning: A Short History of the Hebrew Language, NYU Press (2004). ISBN 0-8147-3690-4.
  • Joffe, Laura, "The Elohistic Pslater: What, How and Why?", Scandinavian Journal of the Old Testament, vol 15-1, pp. 142–169 Taylor & Francis AS, part of the Taylor & Francis Group., June 2001.
  • Kearney, Richard, "The God Who May be: A Hermeneutics of Religion", Modern Theology, January 2002, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 75–85(11)
  • Kretzmann, Paul E., Popular Commentary of the Bible, The Old Testament, Vol. 1. Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, Mo. 1923.
  • Shaller, John, The Hidden God, The Wauwatosa Theology, vol. 2, pp. 169–187, Northwestern Publishing House, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1997.
  • Stern, David. Jewish New Testament Commentary, Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc., Clarkville, Maryland, 1996.
  • Strong, James, The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York and Nashville, 1890.
  • Swart, Jacobus G. The Book of Sacred Names, Sangreal Sodality Press, Johannesburg, 2011. ISBN 978-0-620-50702-8
  • Tov, E., "Copying a Biblical Scroll", Journal of Religious History, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 189–209(21), Blackwell Publishing, June 2001
  • Vriezen, Th. C., The Religion of Ancient Israel, The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, 1967.

 — LlywelynII 01:27, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Sources for future article expansion[edit]

See above. Also, these texts were listed in the #Bibliography section

  • Albright, W.F. (1935), "The Names Shaddai and Abram", Journal of Biblical Literature, No. 54, pp. 173–210.
  • Driver, S.R. (1885), "Recent Theories on the Origin and Nature of the Tetragrammaton", Studia Biblica, vol. Vol. I, Oxford {{citation}}: |volume= has extra text (help).
  • Mansoor, Menahem (1983), The Dead Sea Scrolls, Grand Rapids: Baker.

but were entirely unused by the article itself. Kindly reinclude them as they are used to support points in the text of the article. — LlywelynII 01:46, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


This edit established the usage of the page as BC/AD which was changed without discussion by an anonymous editor. I can see how BCE/CE would be sensible for a Judeocentric article but afaict there's no actual policy on that so I'll restore the original usage pending a new consensus here. — LlywelynII 03:24, 31 August 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Jewish Publication Society[edit]

I removed this from the #YHWH section

The Jewish Publication Society translation of 1917, in online versions, uses YHWH once at Exodus 6:3.

since it seems like a completely non-WP:NOTABLE point. The KJV has had profound importance in English religion and might merit mention of its translations but is there anything particularly important about this one? (If so, that's fine but kindly include mention of its importance and link to its article should you reïnclude it.) — LlywelynII 06:34, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes, as Jews typically do not write the phonetics or transliterations of the tetragrammaton out of respect, unless it's a secular piece that simply needs to use it for reference. By having this interpretation of the tetragrammaton included in a Jewish-printed religious context, it provides clarity that this term has been used by at least some Jews. Cakiva (talk) 10:49, 16 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


If there were a single valid pronunciation, it'd be worth including that since someone seeing it for the first time might come up with some variants. Since the OED lists no less than 7 major variants, though, I've removed the (single, unsourced, American variant) pronunciation that was previously given. Anything an English-speaking reader would come up with on their own is already acceptable and we can leave it for Wiktionary to laundry list the others. — LlywelynII 07:22, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


I like that it's here and includes commentary but surely it's one of the uncommon names as well. Similarly, Ishi and El Roi seem to just be mentioned in single biblical verses. Are they really in common use? — LlywelynII 08:27, 1 September 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Ruth 2:4[edit]

I have reverted and restored (for the time being) the material removed by @Garry SF: (diff), making the claim that Ruth 2:4 showed the tetragrammaton being vocalised (rather than substituted) in everyday greeting, at least as of the time the book was written.

From his edit summary, I infer that Garry's objection is that (i) since it is only the written YHWH that appears in the Hebrew, we cannot be certain as meaning to indicate that Boaz actually pronounced the tetragrammaton -- perhaps the author meant that Boaz would actually have said "Adonai", but merely recorded it as YWHW; and also (ii) that, per WP:PSTS, an inference like this should not be made on the basis of a primary sources alone, but rather we should be citing how such a proposition has been discussed and analysed by secondary sources.

I am sure (at least, I am hoping) that there are people on this page better placed to take this forward than I am, both in terms of knowledge, and access to sources. But a quick search on Google Books suggest that (at least some) Jewish sources do interpret that Boaz was to have been understood to have actually vocalised the name. So for example,

  • Louis Ginzburg at al (1909), Legends of the Jews, notes on Vols 3 and 4, p191, certainly seems to assume this, and that such use continued in greeting for some time (discussing a Midrash as to why this should have been allowed).
  • Étan Levine (1973), The Aramaic Version of Ruth, p68 & 69 -- see footnotes 4.1 to 4.4


  • Steven Ortlepp (2011), Pronunciation of the Tetragrammaton: A Historico-Linguistic Approach, p74, notes that Boaz's use is picked up in the Mishnah at Berakoth 9:5, that one should "greet one's fellow man with the Name".

the same line in the Mishnah is also cited by

  • Robert J. Wilkinson (2015), Tetragrammaton: Western Christians and the Hebrew Name of God, p180 reviewing early Rabbinic-period usage.

I think these all broadly support the thesis, even if they are not quite as direct as what we have written, or what is often written on websites:

  • "Early in Israelite history few if any had difficulties in saying the name of God-- YHWH-- as evidenced in direct speech in narratives (cf. Ruth 2:4)." [1]
  • "At one time, “Yahweh be with you” was an everyday greeting (as in Ruth 2:4)" [2].

The fact that the usage in Ruth 2:4 does come up on websites means I think it is something it is appropriate for WP to raise and analyse (either here or at Tetragrammaton). But I agree it would be good to find better scholarly sources; which might lead to a more nuanced view, or a more extended discussion of how pronounciation of the Name fell out of use. Jheald (talk) 17:25, 6 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia article "Names of God" is one text that does cite Ruth 2:4 directly for the previous regular use of the name of God, if we can still accept it as reliable as a source:

It became the custom at an early period to use the name of God in personal greetings, as "The Lord be with thee," or "The Lord bless thee" (Ruth ii. 4; Ber. ix. 1; comp. Mak. 23a). The Greek inquisition in Judea prohibited the utterance of God's name, but when the Hasmoneans became victorious they decreed that the Name should be mentioned even in notes and documents. The formula began: "On . . . in the year of the high priest Johanan, the servant of the Most High God." The sages, however, opposed this innovation, as they thought the Name would be defiled when the notes were canceled and thrown away as useless. Consequently on the third day of Tishri following, the record says, the Rabbis forbade the mention of God's name in documents (Meg. Ta'anit; R. H. 18b).

It also makes the interesting note that the Name was regularly previously used

in the common formula of an oath, "ḥai Yhwh" (= "as Yhwh lives"; Ruth iii. 13; I Sam. xiv. 45; etc.).

The current Britannica article "Yahweh" also notes that the name was formerly widely used (though without citing Ruth):

After the Babylonian Exile (6th century bce), and especially from the 3rd century bce on, Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh for two reasons. As Judaism became a universal rather than merely local religion, the more common noun Elohim, meaning “God,” tended to replace Yahweh to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel’s God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered; it was thus replaced vocally in the synagogue ritual by the Hebrew word Adonai (“My Lord”), which was translated as Kyrios (“Lord”) in the Septuagint, the Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures.

Jheald (talk) 17:44, 6 January 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

As far as I know (though I cannot cite any sources at the moment), the understanding within Judaism is that the Tetragrammaton was never in common usage, except in the Temple. The common pronunciation was then, as today, "Adonai". This would be true throughout the Bible, unless perhaps when the speaker is directly addressing God. The citation from Ruth is unpersuasive; nowadays, even Adonai is not used except during prayers. The Talmud is referring to Boaz's using Adonai in greeting. I would suggest that the edit removing that comment was, indeed, correct. MannyWolfe (talk) 07:31, 2 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

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Abir and Adir[edit]

The article contained the word 'Adir' as a name for the Hebrew god and translated it as 'mighty one'. Though 'Adir' relates to strength, it doesn't mean 'mighty one' and it isn't used as a title of the Hebrew god. I originally replaced it with the with 'Abir', which does translate as 'mighty one' and is used as a name of the Hebrew god.

When I returned to this page, 'Adir' was back with an edit note saying, 'Adir, also. Don't necessarily assume what's here is wrong.' I didn't assume it was wrong, I looked up the word and found that it doesn't mean what the article said it did, and that it isn't used as a title for the Hebrew god. It's applied to kings, gods other than Yahweh, and only a handful of times as a description of Yahweh not a title. See H117 - 'addiyr - Strong's Hebrew Lexicon (KJV).--Jcvamp (talk) 18:23, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Please just leave it. The line between names and descriptors is not necessarily a clear, bright one. StevenJ81 (talk) 19:28, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
...and please keep in mind, the title of the page is Names of God in Judaism, not Names of God in the Bible. There is use of it in later writings. StevenJ81 (talk) 19:30, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I didn't claim the article was Name of God in the Bible, the link you provided was to Blue Letter BIBLE using the The Westminster Leningrad Codex, which is in Hebrew, but which still outlines the usage in English. I linked to Blue Letter Bible using the King James Version, which is in English, to further demonstrate the way that context in which the word is used.
My criteria for removing the link were: 1, it had the wrong definition, 2, it was unreferenced, and 3, the definition it gave fit a similar word, 'abir', for which I could provide an adequate reference (on Blue Letter Bible, it actually says, 'strong, mighty - used only to describe God' and 'the Strong - old name for God (poetic)' and shows the Gesenius' Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon entry that also says, 'used of God'). In light of these facts, I assumed that it had been a typographical error.
As it stands, 'adir' still has the wrong definition in the article, the reference you provided to Blue Letter Bible doesn't substantiate that it's is applied to God in any way, and it uses the WLC text is Hebrew, so there are aren't even verses from which one might infer that the term is applied to God. You've provided a citation that proves that 'adir' is in the Bible (though transliterated with a different spelling) and means 'mighty'. That's it.
If the term is used in later writings as a title of the god of Israel, why don't you add a citation that demonstrates that? The fact that the descriptors aren't necessarily clear should mean that we are more diligent when it comes to finding good citations. Any citation added to an article on Wikipedia should be a credible source substantiating the information in the article.
I'm not going to edit the page and risk starting an editing war, but I stand by my reasons for removing the term.--Jcvamp (talk) 20:38, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I recognise that you're editing the page in good faith too, I'm sorry if my response comes across as acerbic.--Jcvamp (talk) 20:51, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Fair enough. I do have a better citation, from the holiday siddur or machzor. But I need to go home so that I can actually create a proper citation from a published text instead of just doing it off the top of my head. StevenJ81 (talk) 22:09, 7 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sounds good. Cheers.--Jcvamp (talk) 00:11, 9 December 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Add a section for the abbreviation יְיָ found in prayer books?[edit]

I think it would be great to include an explanation for why יְיָ is used in place of יהוה. That term is found in many written Hebrew prayers and blessings, but I do not see any explanation for it on Wikipedia. As I understand, יְיָ is based on a Kabbalistic symbol for God’s name that consists of two yuds with a sideways vav above them. The numerical sum of those three letters is 26, which is the same as God’s name (יהוה). Printers had trouble representing the sidewise vav. The symbol was thus simplified into the two yuds alone. (Source: It would be great to have a primary source on this, or at least scholarly sources to back it up. And I'd appreciate an explanation on why the vowels Shva and Kamatz are used under each respective yud. I have been unable to find an explanation for those particular vowels. DAK4Blizzard (talk) 18:49, 1 April 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Kabbalistic use[edit]

I did not write this paragraph and not really qualified to defend its contents. That said, I did try to make it more coherent, and "complete", in particular to people who are not familiar with Hebrew (which is presumbly most readers.). Kabbala is a esoteric mystical system, so obviously it doesn't hold itself to modern academic or encyclopaedic standards, though It Is systematic. So Warshy, if you could point out to spelution I made compared to 03:27, 21 December 2019 (before I started editing this part) that fair enough, I just want to point out that this is an inherently speculatory subjetct by nature.

--Nngnna (talk) 10:34, 15 February 2020 (UTC) [edit:10:39]Reply[reply]

I have no idea what "spelution" may mean. Regardless, it is indeed a highly speculatory subject, and so we do not need to make it even more so in a article that is not only about kabbalah. These speculatory details are already described in those specific WP articles that are dedicated to the subject. Thank you. warshy (¥¥) 21:27, 15 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
English is my second language so I might occasionaly make slight mistypes in a conversation context, "thank you for being understanding". I was asking what are the speculation you are concerned about? Becouse I thought I was only making the paragraph more clear.--Nngnna (talk) 12:01, 18 February 2020 (UTC) [edit:12:17]Reply[reply]
Keep in mind, as I said, that this is NOT an article about kabbalah specifically (even though kabbalists have always a ball with this subject). Therefore the amount of speculative kabbalistic detail needed here, in this specific page, should not go too far. The reader will find that level in kabbalah specific pages, if interested, I am sure. Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 18:30, 19 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Ok. That's a different consideration, but a fair one. I'll see, when I have time, if I can abstract or flat out remove any problematic detail rather then elaborate on it.--Nngnna (talk) 09:25, 22 February 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]


@Zhomron I was looking at the Hebrew, not the English. The translation simplifies the text, conflates the variants into just Elohim. GordonGlottal (talk) 19:04, 28 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Aside from the translation issue -- unless you're in one of the sections with a great manuscript (Taharot, mostly) lists in the Mishneh Torah are unreliable. It's common to see (like here) a numbered list where the list exceeds the number. This (Frankel) should be your first resource, but anyway not a translation. TBH it shouldn't be your first option for what "Rabbinic Judaism" thinks on law anyway, because it's rarely original and always superseded; theology is another story. GordonGlottal (talk) 19:21, 28 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Seven names of God[edit]

The Seven names of God section should only have seven names. Editor2020 (talk) 22:54, 15 April 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I haven't gone deep in the edit history but I bet the issue is that lists in the Mishneh Torah (which is the source of the "seven names") are often expanded by copyists. A great many lists, especially in the less popular and less well-preserved sections, are longer than the number given. A particularly excruciating example is in hilchos chagigah, where a list that should be seven is at least eight in every MS and eleven in printings. I linked to the relevant bit of the Frankel critical apparatus in an earlier discussion, and you can see there that Eloah, El, Elohei, and Ehyeh only appear in some manuscripts. All MSS agree there are seven but it's not clear which are included so the effective list is longer. Separately, the list is copied from two Talmudic lists, which don't themselves match perfectly and are further confused by MSS differences. IMO the sections should follow the list I put in the lede, which is the authoritative one: YHWH (inc. Yah), Adonai, El, Elohim (inc. Elohei etc.), Shaddai, Tzevaot, and maybe Ehyeh. No variant is problematic because (a) the number is an invention of Maimonides and (b) you can easily get to seven by counting Yah or a variant of Elohim separately even if you don't include Ehyeh. Which is a separate question but academic because all moderns are stringent here. GordonGlottal (talk) 01:05, 13 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I agree that the "seven names" concept originates in the Mishneh Torah, and therefore it is an invention of Maimonides. But Maimonides is certainly a good, reliable source for Jewish halacha. The section should make all this very clear. And the seven names given in it should follow as close as possible a legitimate version of the Mishneh, for example the Sefaria online version of the Hilchot in question. Other names that are popular and relevant can be added/given in other sections. Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 16:00, 13 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
It's more complicated than that. One, the difficulty lies in ascertaining Maimonides' intent (and the Talmud's), not in deciding whether or not to follow him. Two, to modern Rabbinic Jews, the Mishneh Torah is a good but fundamentally superseded work of halakha. The elements which are binding for ritual practice are those which have made it into successor codes (e.g. the Beit Yosef). The same is true, for example, of most of the Mishnah (totally separate work) because, while being totally authoritative and incredibly important, it has been superseded by Talmudic texts. The window to decide halakha based on Maimonides directly mostly closed 500 years ago. In extreme cases and always controversially, decisors can try to revert halakha to an earlier stage, but in this case manuscript corruption makes even that faint possibility impossible. The Frankel critical apparatus, BTW, is a standard reference work for Orthodox Jews, not an academic attack on the same. This is separate from theology and "dead" areas of law (like temple practice) where Maimonides' is still the single most authoritative work.
Also, the number in Maimonides is descriptive. He counts seven in the Talmud, and includes the number to try and prevent copyists from expanding (rarely works). GordonGlottal (talk) 20:40, 16 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I had once studied the passage in the Mishneh, and did not see/notice a number/count problem there. I'll have to look again now, trying to take into account all your points above, to try and understand better the problems you allude to. Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 21:56, 16 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Well, the Chabad version we currently point to *does not'* include Ehiyeh. If you consider that Adonai is not a separate name, but just the written (and pronounced) form of the Tetragrammaton (as the text implies), then you have seven flush, no? I once considered replacing the Chabad version with the Sefaria one, but did not go through with it... Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 22:15, 16 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So sidenote I'd advise against saying "Mishneh" because of potential for confusion with "Mishnah". Actually I think the Chabad version is a good example. The list in their version has eight: YHWH/Adonai/El/Eloah/Elohim/Elohei/Shaddai/Tzvaot. They know that, and try to fix it by pretending Adonai and YHWH are the same one. They're not. It doesn't really work grammatically on the Hebrew side, it's obvious that the Talmud saw them as separate, and the Bible used Adonai even back when YHWH was still pronounced! There's also a logic issue with saying Eloah/Elohim/Elohei are separate ones, because why not Elohekha? Or any of the other possible declensions. The Yerushalmi lists five versions of this and if you counted them all you'd have a total of eleven! It doesn't make any sense, but you have to do something because the list is the wrong length. If they counted those as one, even if they count Adonai separately they're at six because Ehyeh is missing, which is the real issue, because Ehyeh is in most manuscripts of Maimonides and all versions in the Talmud.
Menachem Mendel Krakowski opens a very long essay on this subject as follows:
"And these are the seven names": We do not know whence Maimonides took this number, as in the many Talmudic sources it is never mentioned. Now, Abraham ben Isaac of Narbonne records that Saadia Gaon taught that "There are six names which if written accidentally are not erased, including YHWH, Yah, El, Elohim, Shaddai, and Ehyeh," and that he asked Hayy Gaon about this, and he said that "In the Hilkhot it is mentioned Eloah and Adonai are also not erased" and, though this brings the number to eight, perhaps Eloah is not counted separately from Elohim . . . but, counting Tzevaot, we are left with no source that lists seven (because Yah is counted separately, giving at least eight. This is IMO a simple issue because no early source includes both YHWH and Yah. When Yah appears it's to stand for YHWH; like, the Yerushalmi lists "Yah and Ad" meaning YHWH and Adonai). Furthermore there are many different versions of Maimonides' list, and the authorities disagree on which is to be trusted . . ."
There's no good answer here, and it doesn't matter because successor codes without these difficulties are more important. The list in the Tur, for example, includes all these possibilities. Also Elijah of Vilna gets it exactly right IMO:
"Some include Ehyeh . . . this is the correct version, as it is listed in the Talmud and is certainly a holy name. And although some lists are very long, they really only include seven names . . . Eloah is counted within Elohim as it is only a plural, and similarly the other declensions . . . and Yah is counted within YHWH, as proved when the Talmud never counts it separately . . ."
Sorry that this is kind of stream-of-consciousness :( GordonGlottal (talk) 01:35, 17 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So, since the matter of the number/count of "seven" (names) is not straightforward, and there seem to be plenty of halachik pilpulim also included in the issue, I think the text should say explicitly that that number comes from Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah, but that there is no halachik consensus about it after him. My own conclusion from the matter, is that for me Ehyeh is not really a name, but a good explanation of the name (possibly the best one). Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 15:21, 17 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I tend to agree that on the merits Ehyeh is not properly a name, but I have seen far too many amulets, incantation bowls, etc. with it repeated endlessly to think the ancients agreed :) Plus, you know, the lists on this include it.
To be clear -- do you have a problem with the current list/note? GordonGlottal (talk) 19:37, 17 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thank you. No, not really. With time I will still look into the feasibility/advisability of replacing the Mishneh Torah direct reference from the Chabad one to the Sefaria one I have mentioned a couple of times. Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 21:33, 17 May 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Singular of Elohim[edit]

Contrary to the existing text, אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) is not the plural of אֵל (El), but rather of the cognate אֱל֙וֹהַ֙‎ (Eloah). I'm not sure whether to mention Eloah in #El. add an Eloah section or only mention Eloah in #Elohim.

Both El and Eloah are masculine singular; Elohim is masculine plural but is treated as masculine singular when used as a proper noun. Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 14:39, 4 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I have not re-read the article, and I probably should, by my recollection is that Eloah is already mentioned in it? I thought there is already a separate section on Eloah? If not, I think there should be. Thank you, warshy (¥¥) 15:34, 4 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The only places that mention are footnotes from the lead and from #Seven names of God.
@Chatul The current version doesn't bother me. I guess you can misunderstand that sentence but there's a note clarifying. The reader is always right about these things so I encourage you to rework it if necessary. GordonGlottal (talk) 19:16, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
How about changing

A common name of God in the Hebrew Bible is Elohim (אלהים, ʾĕlōhīm). Despite the -im ending common to many plural nouns in Hebrew, the word Elohim when referring to God is grammatically singular,[citation needed] and takes a singular verb in the Hebrew Bible. The word is identical to the usual plural of el meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'lhm found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods,


A common name of God in the Hebrew Bible is Elohim (אלהים, ʾĕlōhīm), the plural of אֱל֙וֹהַ֙‎ (Eloah). When Elohim refers to God in the Hebrew Bible, singular verbs are used. The word is identical to the usual[a] plural of el meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'lhm found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods,

in #Elohim? --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 20:20, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
@Chatul Oh, I see -- I thought you meant the lede, sorry. I haven't edited this section and you're right. I suggest, instead of your last sentence, "The word is identical to elohim meaning gods or magistrates, and is cognate to the 'lhm found in Ugaritic, where it is used for the pantheon of Canaanite gods". Also remove the cantillation marks: אֱלוֹהַ‎. Happy editing! GordonGlottal (talk) 21:05, 5 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, those ar niqqud (vowel markings) rather then cantillation marks. Unless someone objects I'll use your wording.
@Chatul the niqqud is fine, I was referring to the pashta on eloah, which I'll remove. 02:01, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Sorry, I thought that was a poorly rendered Mappiq; my software doesn't handle Hebrew very well. Woiuld it be too much trouble to add a Mappiq? Thanks. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 14:38, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No problem :) GordonGlottal (talk) 20:51, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. BTW it turns out that there are actually a bunch of places where it's spelled without one in Leningrad. (BHS is NOT reliable on this!!!!) GordonGlottal (talk) 21:16, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ The plural form Elim is never used as a proper noun in the Hebrew Bible.


Given that this is an English wiki, with many readers who are not fluent readers of Hebrew, should Hebrew words be shown with niqqud (vowel marks) or, as is customarry in Hebrew publications, without them? Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 06:08, 7 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, in Hebrew text without niqqud, should text be given in כְּתִיב מָלֵא (ktiv male, transl.full spelling) or in כְּתִיב חָסֵר (ktiv ḥaser, transl. defective spelling)? --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 15:30, 21 August 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Names of God in Judaism Question[edit]

Hi, I was hoping for some clarification regarding the revert to my edit. User Chatul said "Proper nouns do not take an article; in Judaism there is only one god" Thanks DNocterum (talk) 09:45, 26 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

In English, except at the beginning of a sentence, an initial capital letter designates a proper noun and does not take an article, so names of their God is grammatically incorrect. Contemporary[a] Judaism is monotheistic, not henotheistic. Beginning the sentence with Judaism considers some names of their god would be grammatically correct but misleading as it would imply that Judaism considers there to be more than one god. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 11:20, 27 September 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ There is no record of ancient Judaic theology.

The Title of this Page is Misleading[edit]

The word "God" itself, with a capital 'G' is simply a translation of El. It gives the impression that "El" is somehow more real or legitimate, the default. There is inherent bias in treating a category like a proper name. A god is a type of thing, and the Jewish one has several names. The page should be titled "Names of the Jewish god," with "god" lower-case. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:8C0:601:4CA0:39F3:1812:9F8C:CDF6 (talk) 17:23, 4 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Etymology is not semantics. The names אֵל (El), אֱלֹהַּ (Eloah) and אֱלֹהִים (Elohim) may derive from the name of a deity in the Canaanite pantheon, but in most contexts they are divorced from that origin and refer to the single god of Jewish theology. Contemporary Judaism is not henotheistic. --Shmuel (Seymour J.) Metz Username:Chatul (talk) 10:31, 6 November 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]