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The Hebrew Name for God - YAH

Hebrew Names of God

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YAH Constructs given in Tanakh

Shem HaMeforash

Introduction

It is generally thought that YAH is a shortened form of YHVH. This Name of God occurs about 50 times in the Tanakh. In Psalm 68:4 [5, H] this Name is particularly stressed. The Name YAH is also found in the construct word “hallelu-YAH,” which means “you [pl.] praise the LORD,” as well as in many Biblical proper names (e.g., Eliyahu).

The first occurrence of the Name YAH occurs in Exodus 15:2, where Moses and Israel sing a song regarding their deliverance from Pharoah’s horsemen:

Exodus 15:2a (BHS)

The LORD is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation.

YAH  and YAH Constructs
For each name in the list below, I provide the following information:

  1. The Hebrew text for the name
  2. The most common English transliteration (in italics)
  3. A definition for the name, references to the Tanakh, and frequency information
  4. Additional comments, if applicable.
     



Yah

YaH



Yah. [The basic form. Note the Mappiq at the end of this Name.]
An abbreviated, an often poetic form of the Name YHVH. This Name appears over 50 times in the Tanakh, and is first used in Exodus 15:2 (see Ex. 15:2; 17:16; Psalm 68:5, 19; 77:12; 89:9; 94:7, 12; 102:19; 105:45; 106:1, Isa. 12:2; 26:4; 38:11, etc.).




Hallelu-Yah





Hallelu YAH.
Plural imperative to praise Adonai Ps. 104:35; 105:45; 106:48; 111:1; 112:1; 113:1, 9; 115:18; 116:19; 117:2; 135:1, 3, 21; 146:1, 10; 147:1, 20; 148:1, 14; 149:1, 9; 150:1, 6). Note that the sheva under the first Lamed is vocal (even though it is preceded by a short vowel) since it immediately precedes the same Hebrew letter in the word.




Hallelujah

Halleluyah



Halleluyah.
Plural imperative to praise Adonai (variant spelling). Note that the verb halal is in the piel imperative and therefore does not mean “praise the Lord!” (as an individual expression of thanks) as it is commonly used in many evangelical churches.




Elijah

Eliyahu



Eliyahu.
“Yah(u) is my God”; the name for Elijah the Tishbite (1 Kings 17:1).
Other names that include reference to YAH include:

  1. Adonijah (26) [Yah is my Lord]
  2. Abijah (20) [Yah is my father]
  3. Achijah  (20) [Yah is my brother]
  4. Urijah (11) [Yah is my light]
  5. Malchijah  (6) [Yah is my king]
  6. Hodijah  (5) [Yah is my majesty]
  7. Tovijah  (3) [Yah is my goodness]
  8. Yiriyahu (2) [Yah sees me]




Isaiah

Yeshayah



Yeshayah.
Salvation of Yah. Name for Isaiah the prophet. Also Yeshayahu.




Jeremiah

Yirmyah



Yirmyah.
“Whom Yah has appointed.” The prophet Jeremiah. Also Yirmyahu.



Yod and the Olam Habah

The Talmud states that God used the letter Hey to create the present world (olam hazeh) and Yod to create the world to come (olam habah). The sages derive this idea from the Name (yah) found in Isaiah 26:4:

Isaiah 26:4 (BHS)

Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD GOD is an everlasting rock.

How did the sages come up with this? Well, they consider b’yah in the text as meaning “with Yod-Hey” instead of referring to the Name Yah.

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