I recently was shared an article about the new "oldest usage" of the tetragrammaton.


Note: The website is a Christian apologetics website. Their goal is to "prove" the historicity of the Bible.

However, what the article doesn't really discuss is that it's not the tetragrammaton, but one of its forms. The form is יהו and it's used repeatedly as part of a curse so they are deliberately using that form of the name.

When I was studying Aramaic at UCLA I read some of the works of the Jews of Elephantine Island and also saw that their tetragrammaton was also יהו.

Do we have any consensus for certain groups of Jews/Israelites using יהו instead of י-ה-ו-ה? For example I've noticed a lot of names of prophets end with Yahu as the end of their name. Whereas others use Yah as their ending. At first I just assumed that it was more a matter of language/grammar that one person would add Yahu to their name instead of Yah. But now that I'm seeing consistency in the usage of Yahu as its own name I'm wondering if some groups of Jews didn't have a tetragrammaton but instead only had a 3 letter name for God.

  • Is it possible that the three letter name י-ה-ו was pronounced the same as the Tetragrammaton? After all, the final Heh of the Tetragrammaton is presumably a mater lectionis.
    – Joel K
    Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 17:54
  • @JoelK Sure it's possible. One can even make the argument that's it's actually a consistent censoring of the name (preserving pronunciation while leaving the spelling defective)
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 18:28
  • 1
    Short answer: No consensus.
    – Harel13
    Commented Jul 16, 2023 at 19:03
  • “I'm wondering if some groups didn't have a tetragrammaton but only had a 3 letter name for God.” What does this mean? By this time anyone who could read knew Hashems name is 4 lettered. Commented Jul 17, 2023 at 15:15
  • I'm implying that maybe we just happened to inherit a tradition in which they spelled God's name with 4 letters. Perhaps in other areas of Israel their tradition had God's name as only 3 letters.
    – Aaron
    Commented Jul 18, 2023 at 3:23


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