My wife is not RC but she serves as Music Director in a local parish. Recently she introduced a song with “Jehovah” in a verse and was surprised to hear a few in the parish complained about it. I’m Lutheran and have tried to research this but I’ve not found much on this issue. Surely it must be a translation issue but I’d like to know more (if indeed this is an issue).

Thanks! David

I don’t know why anyone would complain.

It’s a bad transliteration of the Tetragrammaton, but the most familiar one from the KJV for example. It’s probably pronounced something more like Yahweh, but “Jehova” certainly has nothing to do with just the Jehova’s Witnesses, or whatever, if that’s why the people are complaining. It just means I AM WHO AM in hebrew, the proper divine name. Perhaps some people in the parish don’t like that spoken out loud? But we aren’t Jews, we don’t speak the Name only once a year, or write God as “G-d,” or anything like that.

Though people may be unfamiliar with it because, except in a few places where it makes sense to actually have the proper Name, we usually translate it as LORD (all caps), because the Jews would read “Adonai” instead wherever “YHWH” appeared. Wherever “Adonai” appears naturally in the text (actually written, not just read as a replacement of Yahweh) we usually translate Lord with not all caps, and “El” is usually translated just as God.

Thanks. That is pretty much what I thought. One person’s response, from the parish, was conderning the “Jehovah’s Witness” concern, but certainly there is no “dogma” which precludes the use of the name “Jehovah”. I should point out that the parish Pastor asked my wife not to use the song anymore. Yet that might be purely for avoiding controversy. Hmmm.


Thanks. That is pretty much what I thought. One person’s response, from the parish, did address the “Jehovah’s Witness” angle, but certainly there is no “dogma” which precludes the use of the name “Jehovah”. I should point out that the parish Pastor asked my wife not to use the song anymore. Yet that might be purely for avoiding controversy. Hmmm.


wrong forum?

No. It’s valid. Prior to Vatican II the use of Jehovah was a sure sign that someone was a Protestant. I can’t recall any hymns with Yaweh being used but we were certainly taught Yaweh in our religion classes in high school. I don’t remember Yaweh being used in the Baltimore Catechism.

My cathedral choir has sung some Anglican anthems in which Jehovah is used via the KJV. Our elderly parishoners always make comments about it as well. And, while I am not uncomfortable with it, the use of Jehovah in a Catholic church is out of the ordinary.

Thanks to you all (sorry about the un-edited response). So most likely any objections to the use of “Jehovah” would come from older tratitional Catholics? Or maybe in its closeness to JW terminology? One more question: Why would the use of Jehovah indicate Protestant leanings? If there is a better forum, please point me in the appropriate direction.


Jehovah comes straight from the King James Version. I don’t have my Douay-Rheims handy and a search for Jehovah in the online Douay-Rheims doesn’t come up with anything. You have to remember that prior to Vatican II the KJV was anathema to Catholics.

I did a search, and it shows up exactly four times in the KJV. On the basis of that scanty evidence, mighty arguments have taken place. :stuck_out_tongue:

(I have always found the origin of this mis-pronunciation interesting. Hebrew was written with consonants only until several centuries after Christ, when the scribes added the vowel points below or above the letters to aid in pronunciation. However, because for centuries the Jews had been using the word “Adonai” for the word Yahweh (written JHVH in Hebrew), the scribes put the vowel points for Adonai under the letters JHVH. This led to the mis-pronunciation “Jehovah.”)

Oh, yes, indeed! But, I can take one look at my local yellow pages and the number of protestant schools named Jehovah-Jireh, etc. is amazing. The Douay-Rheims translates it as The Lord.

I learned about the tetragrammatron in my junior year in Catholic high school in 1967 when we went through the Bible from cover to cover. :bigyikes: following the story of salvation. It was never supposed to be pronounced, and, because of the KJV scholars who gave it the itteration Jehovah, it was automatically considered “protestant”.

Prior to Vatican II, although I am fairly sure that scholars did, for the bulk of us, the KJV was firmly beyond the pale. You start adding in “ye” and “saveth” and that was not what we found in our St. Joseph Missals in 1962. Epistles and Gospels were in modern English not Shakespearian.

Worse yet, it first showed up in Luther’s 1534 version of the Old Testament.

Hence the use if the ‘J’ for the begining of the tetragammaton. In German, the “J” is pronounced as “yAH”.

Tyndale then used it in his 1540 Bible as “Iehovah.”

So, yes, not only is it bad illiteration, but it’s very Protestant as well.

It also shows up as part of place names additional 3 times.

Genesis 22:14, Exodus 17:15 and Judges 6:24

It only appears in 4 verses in the KJV.

Exo 6:3 And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by the name of God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them.
Psa 83:18 That men may know that thou, whose name alone is JEHOVAH, art the most high over all the earth.
Isa 12:2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.
Isa 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

You forgot the additional three times I listed above, where the word ‘Jehova’ is used as part of a place name.

Let me add my point here if I may. My opinion is this. the name, “Jehovah” is not God’s personal name and never has been, nor will it ever be. In looking into this further, I came across a book that was written by Jason Evert entitled “Answering Jehovah’s Witnesses”

We aren’t going to get into the jw issue here, just the name, “Jehovah”. Here is what he says about that in chapter 7, titled: “Is God’s name Jehovah?” on page 94-95, he says:

"numerous reference works, such as the Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Judaica, Webster’s Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Britainica, Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, Encyclopedia Americana, Encyclopedia International, The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, and The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, agree that the rendering “Jehovah” is erroneous and was never used by the Jews. So where does the name Jehovah come from?
James Akin explains:

When the LORD appears in Scripture, it will be in the Old Testament and is translating the Hebrew word for the name of God - YHWH, or JHVH ( biblical Hebrew has no vowels, only consonants.) Any vowels later added are not a part of the original text. The Ten Commandments forbid anyone to misuse the name of Yahweh, stating: “You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not hold anyone who misuses his name guiltless” ( Ex. 20:7; cf, Deut. 5:11).

It goes on to say in same chapter on page 97, “There is absolutely no trace of that name’s being used in the oldest manuscripts.”

Most translations simply say LORD in all capital letters when referencing the Divine Name in the Old Testament.


From a Catholic website

A Hebrew website

Thankyou. I’ve visited those sites already but I do appreciate your time. I have a friend who walks with a Rabbi here in Florida. This Rabbi does not have trouble with “Jehovah” other than it should not be spoken except on certain occasions (probably the day of atonement?). I have lunch a couple days a week at my wife’s work and often parish Priests dine with us. I have to say this has caused some lively discussion. It has been fun to discuss and research. I’m a Lutheran, but I’ve not been dismissed as “a protestant” (a 10 letter word!). I recommend others to look into this.


One more thing. I’ve noticed your are from the State of Washington. I grew up outside of Puyallup. Where abouts in the Evergreen State do you live?


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