I was reading the NWT translation just a few moments ago and I notice that throughout all of Genesis chapter 1, God is specifically used 32 times (there are 31 verses in Genesis 1).

We do not see the word Jehovah inserted in the NWT translation until verse 4 of Chapter 2. Why is that?

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    I imagine the downvote is for a lack of research. If you were to look at the Hebrew, the name יְהוָֹה does not appear until Gen. 2:4. It is the first occurrence of the word/name in Hebrew.
    – agarza
    Feb 14, 2023 at 2:00
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    Notice that this coincides with the first occurrence of LORD in the Kjv? What is the reason for kjv switching from God to LORD in gen 2:4?
    – Kris
    Feb 14, 2023 at 2:48
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    The KJV is very precise and very consistent in regard to the translation of Divine names, using capitals and the names God and Lord to convey exactly what is in the Hebrew. Once one has learned how the KJV uses the terms, one can appreciate the underlying original language.
    – Nigel J
    Feb 14, 2023 at 4:45
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    Does the use of "inserted" imply a deliberate addition of something that wasn't in the original? ¶ If not, why would one expect the explanation from a JW to be any different from that from a Baptiist or an Atheist? Feb 14, 2023 at 13:50
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    @RayButterworth. The word insert does accuse nwt of nefarious intention. Also referring to the divine name Jehovah as a mere word is antagonistic
    – Kris
    Feb 14, 2023 at 16:38

1 Answer 1


There is a very lengthy article entitled "Jehovah" in the Jehovah's Witness "Insight on the Scriptures", Volume II book, published in 1988, running to 16 pages. Fortunately, there is a heading, "Known by the first human pair" and this is where Genesis 2:4 is first detailed. It says:

The name Jehovah was not first revealed to Moses, for it was certainly known by the first man. The name initially appears in the divine Record at Genesis 2:4 after the account of God's creative works, and there it identifies the Creator of the heavens and earth as "Jehovah God". It is reasonable to believe that Jehovah God informed Adam of this account of creation. The Genesis account does not mention his doing so... Much communication undoubtedly took place between Jehovah and his earthly son that is not included in the brief account of Genesis.

Eve is the first human specifically reported to have used the divine name. (Ge 4:1) Page 13

However, I could find nothing about why the divine name was never used in writing in either the Hebrew or the Greek languages in the Bible prior to Genesis 2:4. That is hardly surprising, though, given that the Jehovah's Witnesses are in agreement with all other translations that likewise don't use the divine name until then. There is no difference between the New World Translation and all other translations with respect to not translating 'Jehovah' or its equivalent (e.g. YHWH, Yahweh) until ch. 2 vs. 4.

Another English translation (nearly 100 years older than the New World Translation of the Hebrew Scriptures) likewise reads:

"These are [births] of the heavens and of the earth in their being prepared, in the day of Jehovah God's making earth and heaven." Young's Literal Translation

All Hebrew manuscripts of Genesis only start having YHWH in the text from 2:4 onwards. So, all translations have exactly the same reasons for not using 'Jehovah' until then, for that would be an unwarranted insertion if they used it from 1:1 till 2:3. There is no issue here, no clash between translations.

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    Good job here. You may also like to include info from nwt appendix on 2:4. jw.org/…
    – Kris
    Feb 14, 2023 at 21:14
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    @User14, that's a good reference, thanks. (I'd disagree with one minor part: "By that time, though, many Jews had the superstitious idea that it was wrong to say God’s personal name out loud, so they used substitute expressions.". It's more likely that they knew it was wrong to use God's name in vain, and that by never saying the name regardless of the circumstances they could guarantee that they would never break that specific commandment. This is known as a "rabbinical fence", and was responsible for many of the added laws that Jesus complained about.) Feb 14, 2023 at 22:14
  • @RayButterworth the rabbinical fence is a superstitious idea! So no disagreement really
    – Kris
    Feb 14, 2023 at 22:27

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