I was thinking about YHWH today and realized an early on name for God might have been the sound of breathing as God breathed life into us, then imagined how you might write that and realized YHWH, if pronounced, is an onomatopoeia of the sound you make when you breath.

If I was tasked with writing the word for the sound of breath, in English, it would likely come out something like heehoo or something similar—perhaps with the Hebrew alphabet yhwh (יהוה) is a more probable attempt.

Is it possible that YHWH could be the full name intended, and it on purpose has no vowels; or is there strong evidence that it is an actual word, not an onomatopoeia, and vowels were omitted for some other purpose (I think I was told that once).

Curious to learn more!

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    "it on purpose has no vowels": There is nothing significant about this. In Hebrew (and Arabic), there are no vowels in any words. The vowel marks you sometimes see on Hebrew text are later additions to make pronunciation more obvious. Coincidentally, the vowels that appear with "YHWH" are deliberately wrong so that people won't accidentally try to say the Name. The vowels from Adonai (A, O, A) are substituted instead, as a reminder to say "Lord" when reading out loud. In the King James Bible (and others), when you see "GOD" and "LORD" in all capitals, this is an instance of "JHVH". – Ray Butterworth Mar 12 '19 at 13:08
  • It wasn't just YHVH, none of the words had vowels. – Revelation Lad Mar 12 '19 at 13:20
  • @RayButterworth Good information, thank you! – Albert Renshaw Mar 12 '19 at 20:39
  • Since no one can say how the name sounded in ancient Hebrew we cannot answer. that makes this an opinion based question which is off topic for this site. – Kris Mar 14 '19 at 12:12
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    @Kris The answers so far have been good and factual. I don't think this is an opinion based discussion but if you want to classify it as such so that you can close it then do so. So far this has all been beneficial to me and my learning, hopefully others who visit as well. – Albert Renshaw Mar 14 '19 at 18:17

As a Hebrew speaker, I can tell you that יהוה comes from the verb "be". It is pronounced Yahweh and it is kind of an onomatopoeia for the verb "be", but nobody says it.

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    Unlike things like "rustling", "tinkling","marching" etc., "be" is a non-aural verb - an onomatopoeia for it simply isn't possible. – bruised reed Mar 14 '19 at 6:51
  • @bruised reed - I think he was talking about the Hebrew word for "be", not the English word. "To be" in Hebrew or not in Hebrew "to be", that is the question. – Andrew Shanks Apr 14 '19 at 15:42

The Hebrew word YHWH is not a name but a description. You cannot pronounced the Hebrew word YHWH pertaining to the Name of God. Moses was given a scene in the burning bush a man cruficified.

Although in the English language the term onomatopoeia means "the imitation of a sound", the compound word onomatopoeia (ὀνοματοποιία) in the Greek language means "making or creating names". For words that imitate sounds, the term ὴχομιμητικό (echomimetico) or echomimetic) is used. Onomatopoeia - Wikipedia https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onomatopoeia

The word YHWH is the origin why a God given name had a meaning or a mission attached to it. Starting from Jesus Christ, Mary and Prophets and Patriarchs and Old Testament names had a corresponding meaning and mission that defines the life of the bearer of the name.

YHWH tetragammanton means "Behold the Hand, Behold the Nails".

This means, Moses was able to see the pre-figurement of Jesus at the Foot of the Cross as the means of God Salvation. They are pronounced, in Hebrew, "Yod Hey Vav Hey," when you read them in the Hebrew manner from right to left.

The four letters in God's name in Hebrew have the following meanings:

Hey = Behold

Vav = Nail

Yod = Closed Hand

When read in English from left to right, it says:

"BEHOLD THE NAIL, BEHOLD THE HAND!" Or, "Behold the nailed hand."


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The greatest mystery behind the Hebrew word YHWH is the word "BEHOLD"

Behold means to gaze. and Moses was given the chance to BEHOLD that Man Crucified at the Cross.

Jesus at the Foot of the Cross uttered the word "BEHOLD" to the Woman and to St.John the beloved Apostles.

"When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home."(John19"26-27)

God commanded Moses to BEHOLD and Jesus commanded the Woman to BEHOLD.We either represents St.John or the other Mary's and we too are commanded by Jesus to BEHOLD His sacrifice "At the Foot of the Cross". But we can only BEHOLD the Crucified Christ and understand the meaning of the Cross of Christ if each one of us welcome Mary in our home, meaning allowing Mary to be our own Mother too as the greatest gift of Jesus Christ to all of us.

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