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THEOLOGY > God > Names of God > YHWH and the Compounds 


YHWH is used with other words as names of places or to specify an event. And these combinations make a statement or declaration about God; they also serve as designations of God.

YHWH Jireh (YHWH will Provide) is the name that Abraham gave to the place where he was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac, but God stopped him and provided a ram for the sacrifice instead of Isaac (Gen. 22:14). During the journey to the place of sacrifice Isaac had asked his father: “Where is the lamb for a burnt offering?”  Abraham had responded: “My son, God will provide for Himself a lamb for the burnt offering” (Gen. 22:7-8).

The God of Scripture is the God who is capable of providing for His people; the believer, however, like Abraham, should be more occupied with personal obedience rather than with potential provision. Abraham was determined to obey God, regardless of the action of God, even while his confidence was in God to provide according to His gracious sovereignty (see: God is Sovereign).

YHWH Nissi (YHWH is My Banner) is the name that Moses gave to the altar he built after God gave the victory over the Amalekites (Ex. 17:15). Victory is not of men, might, and armies, but victory is of God. The hands Moses raised to God were testimony to this fact and also petition to God for the victory that He did give.

YHWH Shalom (YHWH is Peace) is the name that Gideon gave to the altar he built after his experience with the Angel of YHWH (Jud. 6:24). When Gideon realized that he had seen the Angel of YHWH face to face, he was overwhelmed; God spoke to him and said: “Peace be with you; do not fear. You shall not die” (Jud. 6:23)—thus the name of the altar. God is one who brings serenity to His people, casting out fear and dread of the future.

YHWH Sabbaoth (YHWH of Hosts) does not occur in the Pentateuch but is common in the Prophets, occurring eighty-eight times in Jeremiah, fourteen times in Haggai, and frequently in Zechariah and Malachi. This title is first used in connection with sacrifice at Shiloh (I Sam. 1:3), and evidently the designation was associated with the worship at the Tabernacle.

What does the word “hosts” mean? Several suggestions have been made:

        One, it is a reference to the stars;
        Two, it is a reference to the armies of Israel (I Sam. 17:45);
        Three, it is a reference to the angels (I Sam. 4:4).

If the angels, then the name refers to all of the heavenly beings that praise the LORD and wait to do His bidding.

The NIV translates “YHWH of hosts” and “God of hosts” as “the LORD Almighty” and “God Almighty” respectively. Sabaoth and Shaddai, therefore, are both translated “Almighty,” but Shaddai is always footnoted so the reader will know which Hebrew word is used in the text.  

YHWH Tsidkenu (YHWH our Righteousness) is the name of the “righteous Branch” God is going to raise up to David (Jer. 23:5-6). The “Branch” is a King who “shall reign and prosper, and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth” (v. 5). Thus, the designation has messianic implications and, perhaps, even eschatological anticipations. The Promised One in the text is in contrast to the shepherds who were destroying and scattering the sheep of God’s pasture during the days of Jeremiah (v. 1).

YHWH Shammah (YHWH is There) is the name of the city in Ezekiel’s vision (Ez. 48:35). These are the last words of the book of Ezekiel and culminate the description of a future city and temple. Either this passage is literal in its depiction, or it is symbolic of God’s ultimate and final dwelling with His people.

It is interesting to note that YHWH ( translated as LORD) is used frequently in compound form with Elohim (God). Examples are Genesis 2:5, 7, 8, 9, 15, 16, 18, 19, 21, and 22. In combination the words speak of “the Self-existent, Strong One.” Properly understood, Elohim is a generic word for deity, while YHWH is the name of the Deity who is the one and only true God.

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