Tuesday, May 24, 2011


"And Abraham said, 'My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering': so they went both of them together...and Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son. And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the Lord it shall be seen" (Gen. 22:8, 13-14).

Jehovah-jireh (YaHVeH-YiReH) in the Hebrew, יְהוָה יִרְאֶה, is said to mean "the LORD will provide." Since this is the only time in the Bible where this name appears, and the context clearly shows God providing the ram for Abraham to sacrifice in the place of his son, modern day "scholars" decided "the LORD will provide" is another name for God. However, the text says, "Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh." The context also seems to be saying the place where the altar stood was still there when Moses wrote Genesis (Gen. 22:9).

JiReH, (יִרְאֶה) is never translated "provides" in the Old Testament. It is translated "fear" (42 times), "fearfulness" (once), and "dreadful" (once). In other words, the place where the altar stood, the place where Abraham attempted to follow God's instructions out of fear or reverence, was a holy place worthy of great respect. Perhaps a better definition would be "the place where the LORD is to be feared."

Other words connected to the name Jehovah are similar in that they appear only once in the Bible, and they also refer to an altar. "Jehovah-nissi" (נִסִּי) in Exodus 17:15: "NiSSi" does not appear by itself anywhere else in the Scriptures, and although it is commonly defined as "banner," it is clearly the altar Moses built to praise God for victory in battle. It is a place of reverence.
The final example is "Jehovah-shalom" (שלום) in Judges 6:24: "SHaLoM" is translated "peace" 172 times, and because the LORD greeted Gideon by saying, "Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die" (Jud. 6:23), "Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovah-shalom: unto this day it is yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites" (Jud. 6:24).

While I would never assume that I am wiser than those who view these three terms as names for God, in this case, the Bible context and the text itself, says the terms each apply to a specific alter in a specific location. Our LORD said His name was YaHVeH (יְהוָה), and it has been translated "I Am" in Exodus 3:14. He may indeed be our "provider," our "banner," and our "peace," but His name is Jehovah!

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