Jehovah was the sacred name of the God of Israel, used especially with reference to His being the covenant God of His people. The name itself is spelled by only four letters in Hebrew, YHWH. The Canaanites and other nations never used this name for their gods. Due to the holy awe connected with the name from antiquity, both the Bible copiers and readers refrained from even speaking it aloud; therefore its exact pronunciation has been lost to us. Today, most prefer the form Yahweh over Jehovah.
The literal meaning of the name seems to be “He is.” It is similar to the “I AM” name by which God calls Himself when speaking to Moses (Exodus 3:14). It thus conveys the fact that “He Is”—the eternal, personal, first-casual, self-existing Being. Added to this the Bible reveals His attributes of holiness, goodness, justice, love, and mercy, as well as His omnipotence (He is all-powerful), omniscience (He is all-knowing), and omnipresence (He is everywhere). The New King James Version consistently translates YHWH as “the LORD” or “GOD,” using small capital letters.
So sacred was the name YHWH that when the Hebrews used letters representing numbers to number the psalms, since the number 15 was made by YH (Y=10, H=5), they preferred to use the letters TV (9+6) for Psalm 15. They gladly named their children for Jehovah, but out of respect used only the abbreviation, never the full spelling, in such names—e.g., Adon-i-jah, “Lord-my-(is) jah” (1 Kings 1:25).
Exodus 6:3 has puzzled some —“I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My Name LORD [Jehovah] I was not known to them”—because of Abraham’s use of the name Jehovah in Genesis 22:14. This Exodus verse, however, speaks not of simple identification but of the attributes by which these patriarchs knew their God. To Abraham, God appeared as El Shaddai, “the Almighty God,” working powerfully in His individual and family affairs. Now in Exodus 6:3, to Moses and to the nation of Israel, God was about to reveal Himself as Jehovah, the self-existing covenant God of the nation, unbounded and unfettered by all earthly limitations; about to work mighty miracle after miracle for those who trusted Him.
The compound names of Jehovah are especially revealing as they wonderfully show to us
1) How God intervened to aid His Old Testament people at crucial moments of need;
2) The various covenant benefits that we, His people, today derive from our faith relationship to Him;
3) Character traits of God which are revealed in Christ our Lord and in the eternal Jehovah, who would save His people from their Egypt of sin, and then make with them a New Testament even more wonderful than the testament made at Sinai (1 Corinthians 11:25).
4-1 Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide
God promised Abraham that from him He would make a great nation; and He ordered Abraham to leave his homeland, the ancient moon-God city of Ur (Genesis 12:1, 2). Abraham was 75 and Sarah 65 at this time, already old for moving and pioneering. Yet by faith they obeyed God, packed up, and struck out for faraway Canaan.
Twenty-four years later, when Abraham was 99 and Sarah 89, God promised that they would soon have a son named Isaac, who would be Abraham’s covenant heir (Genesis 17:19). Months later, when Abraham was 100 and Sarah 90, by a miracle of Almighty God, Sarah gave birth to Isaac (Genesis 21:1-7).
Then the great test came some years later. God commanded Abraham to take the young Isaac (his only child by Sarah, his heir, his sole hope of the future fulfillment of God’s promise that Abraham would be a father of many nations) and offer him as a burnt offering on Mt. Moriah, later the site of Jerusalem (Genesis 22:2). In trust and innocence Isaac asked his father, “But where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” Abraham’s classic reply of faith and compassion was simply, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering” (Genesis 22:7, 8).
One of the most moving moments in Bible history occurred when God’s call stopped Abraham’s hand from slaying his son, and a ram for the sacrifice was seen caught by his horns in a nearby thicket. Abraham called that place Jehovah-Jireh, “The-Lord-Will¬ Provide (Genesis 22:9-14).
1) Abraham trusted God. He considered “that God was able to raise him [Isaac] up, even from the dead” (Hebrews 11:19). He believed that God, who had miraculously brought Isaac into the world, would raise him from the dead, even if the boy were sacrificed.
2) God did not fail Abraham. He restrained Abraham’s hand and provided a ram instead.
3) Isaac, as a type, or illustration, of the submissive Christ, went to this same Moriah the site of the temple and near to Calvary—in obedience to the Father’s will.
4) Christ was the true Lamb of God provided by Jehovah (John 1:29, 36; cf. Revelation 5:6; 6:1). In this instance the Father did not stop the sacrifice at Calvary; but in His love for us and desire for our salvation, He allowed His only Son’s Life to be taken. Christ’s coming and His atoning death were the fulfillment of the name Jehovah-Jireh (John 3:14-18).
5) Jesus said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw it and was glad” (John 8:56). Jesus was referring to the day that Abraham offered Isaac and saw, in a typical way, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29; cf. 1 Peter 1:18, 19).
This great episode should teach us to trust God daily for His provision in every test of life. God is Jehovah-Jireh, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.”
4-2 Jehovah-Ropheka: The Lord Your Healer
God delivered the children of Israel from Pharaoh, took them dry-shod through the Red Sea, and there drowned their wicked pursuers in their own chariots (Exodus 14:1-3 1). Israel then entered the wilderness and for three days found no water. On the fourth day they reached the waters of Marah, but the water was bitter and they could not drink (Exodus 15:22, 23). They complained to Moses, and the Lord showed him a tree which, when cast into the water made it sweet and drinkable (Exodus 15:25). At this wonderful event a miracle of instantaneous chemical purification, the Lord revealed His name as Jehovah-Ropheka, “The-Lord-Who-Heals-You” (v. 26).
From this come the following lessons:
1) God is the great healer. He “healed” the bitter waters so that Israel could drink and live.
2) God is also the healer of the body, soul, and spirit of man (Isaiah 53:5; cf. 1 Peter 2:24).
3) Man can wound his fellow man, and he can clean and sew a wound; but true healing comes from Jehovah-Ropheka. God can use any means to heal, as He did here, calling upon Moses to cast a tree into the waters.
4) It is important to note that just as God turned bitter water into the sweet water of life for God’s people by means of a tree, so also Christ turned the bitter wages of sin into sweet life by His death for us on “a tree” (Acts 5:30). God cast this “tree” (the cross) into the midst of a bitter world, and gave life and joy to all who by faith will receive Christ as personal Savior (John 1:12; cf. 2 Peter 1:4).
5) When Jehovah-Ropheka returns to the earth at Christ’s second coming, He will again heal the bitter waters of this world (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
6) When Jesus changed the water into wine at Cana (John 2:1-11), He showed the same ability to instantaneously and miraculously work a great chemical change among liquids. Similarly, Jesus’ touch healed His people, showing that He as Messiah possessed the power of Jehovah-Ropheka (Matthew 8:1-4).
This particular episode should teach us not to complain so quickly, as did the children of Israel. We are to trust God, who will turn our bitter trials to sweetness by means of a tree, the Cross. He is Jehovah-Ropheka: “The Lord Who Heals You.”
4-3 Jehovah-Nissi: The Lord Is My Banner
After the Israelites had been delivered from Egypt and Pharaoh, during their wilderness journey a new enemy, the Amalekites, arose “and fought with Israel in Rephidim” (Exodus 17:8). At Moses’ command Joshua formed an army and led it against Amalek, while on a nearby hill Moses held the staff of God over his head. So long as Moses held up the staff of God, Joshua prevailed; when his arms grew heavy and he lowered the rod, Amalek would prevail. Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands until Israel was victorious. Joshua defeated Amalek, and the Lord announced that He would “have war with Amalek from generation to generation” (vv. 9-16). Moses built an altar there and called it Jehovah-Nissi, “The-Lord-Is-My-Banner” (v. 15).
From this incident we may observe the following:
1) Like Aaron and Hur, we should hold up the tiring hands of our pastors, teachers, evangelists, missionaries, and all who fight the good fight of faith (2 Timothy 4:1-8; cf. Ephesians 4:11, 12).
2) Amalek is an illustration of the flesh to the Christian. After leaving Egypt and crossing the Red Sea, Israel encountered a new enemy—Amalek—who is a picture of the flesh (the old sinful nature of man). The war between Amalek (the flesh) and the believer has raged on for almost two thousand years, and will continue until Jesus comes. This warfare with the flesh is perpetual, but will be won as long as we look to Jehovah with uplifted arms, seeking His strength. Paul speaks of this war against the flesh and warns the believer (Galatians 5:16, 24).
3) Isaiah 11:12 looks prophetically into the future millennial age, following Christ’s return, and gloriously announces, “He [God] will set up a banner for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel.” This standard to which both the nations and Israel will flock will be the Lord Jesus Christ.
4) The cross of Christ is our banner, and we must hold it high (John 12:32, 33; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:2).
5) Christ is ashamed of those who fail to hold Him high before a lost world (Mark 8:38).
We learn from this incident that, in the battles of life, the believer’s strength comes not from himself but from Jehovah Nissi, “The-Lord-Is-My-Banner.”
4-4 Jehovah-Shalom: The Lord Is Peace
During part of the period of the judges, the Midianites held Israel in subjugation and made raids against Israel’s farming communities. God, through the angel of the Lord, called upon Gideon, a seemingly fearful man, to lead the fight against Israel’s oppressors (vv. 1-16). When Gideon, haltingly, asked for a sign—the first of three he would request to confirm his call (vv. 17, 36-40)—the Angel touched the altar with his staff. Fire at once sprang from the altar, consuming the sacrifice, and the Angel of the Lord suddenly vanished (vv. 17-21). At this miraculous event Gideon was afraid, realizing that he had seen the holy face of the Angel of the Lord, and that he might be about to die (v. 22). God spoke, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die” (v. 23). Then Gideon built an altar to God and named it Jehovah-Shalom, “The Lord Is Peace” (v. 24).
From the above account we observe:
1) The holy, almighty presence of the lord can be a fearful sight to any mortal person—whether an angel, archangel, or Christ Himself in a Christophany (and Old Testament appearance of Christ) who appeared to Gideon (Luke 24:13-35).
2) But when God Himself says to us, “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die” (v. 23), then we are safe and secure, and all fear may be dismissed.
3) Christ, before His death, said to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you” (John 14:27). He was vitally concerned that His followers have peace
a) with God;
b) among themselves;
c) within their individual souls and minds.
His peace passes all human understanding (Philippians 4:7).
4) Christ’s coming kingdom will be a kingdom of peace (Romans 14:17).
5) His peace is God’s gift, to be received when the sinner accepts Christ as personal Savior. He or she is then justified by faith and has “peace with God” (Romans 5:1).
We should learn, as did Gideon, that our true peace can only come from Jehovah Shalom, “The Lord Is Peace.”
4-5 Jehovah-Tsidkenu: The Lord Our Righteousness
Jeremiah prophesied until the time of the Babylonian exile. He warned Israel that because of her sins, God was going to allow the Babylonians to invade, destroy Solomon’s temple, and lead them away into a seventy-year captivity—one from which many would never return, not even their children. Babylon’s first invasion came in 606 B.C., the second in 597 B.C., and the third in 586 B.C. Then Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed, and the people were deported.
God blamed the idolatrous and faithless kings and the false religious teachers for leading Israel into sin, causing Him to send the people into captivity. To them He exclaims, “You have scattered My flock” (Jeremiah 23:2). He then looked far into the future, to the end-times and the millennial kingdom, when Israel shall praise the Lord for returning them from captivity among the nations (v. 8), Here Jeremiah proclaims that the final return of the children of Israel will coincide with God’s raising up the Messiah—“I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness” (v. 5). Next he adds that “Israel will dwell safely” (v.. 6).—signifying that in the messianic age the existence of Israel in the Middle East is guaranteed by God; no longer will nations threaten to destroy her. The Messiah’s name is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (v. 6). There is much to be gleaned from this.
1) Paul, writing the letter to the Romans 650 years later, echoed Jeremiah, and declared that unbelieving Israel is still hunting for her righteousness, while Jehovah-Jesus is “righteousness to everyone who believes” (Romans 10:1-4).
2) Israel will yet know Jesus who is her righteousness in the millennial age to come (Romans 10:1-4; 11:25-27; cf. Matthew 25:31-34).
3) Our own efforts at being righteous—trying to be upright and free from sin—are called “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6).
4) The psalmist says that God’s search for a righteous person ended in His declaration that “there is none who does good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:2, 3).
5) The parable of the wedding feast, told by Christ, shows that no one will be allowed into heaven wearing his own good deeds for righteousness. God (the King) orders the dismissal of the one who refused the pure garment of righteousness (Christ), which He had provided for all guests to wear (Matthew 22:11-13).
That perfect moral uprightness, demanded by God’s holy standards, is provided only by God Himself, through faith in Christ; for it is He who is Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS” (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21).
4-6 Jehovah-Rohi: The Lord My Shepherd
The name Jehovah-Rohi is the Hebrew beginning of Psalm 23. It is both a name of God and an affirmation of faith. David, out on the hills of Bethlehem in the cool nights, watched the sheep, knowing that bears, wolves, lions, and thieves menaced his flock and himself He was the shepherd who watched for the sheep’s welfare. But David affirms that Jehovah-Rohi watched over the shepherd’s own needs and safety. “The Lord My Shepherd” was present to protect, lead, and provide pasture for David.
This marvelous truth leads us to the following conclusions:
1) Just as David’s Shepherd was Jehovah, so today every parent, as well as every spiritual, business, and political leader should realize that Jehovah is their Shepherd.
2) We belong to God’s flock by faith in Christ. Jesus made it clear that those who rejected Him took the devil to be their father and were not part of His flock (John 8:42, 44).
3) Christ declared, “I am the good shepherd.” As proof, He spoke of His coming death: “The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
4) Christ specifically denied that all other religious leaders who became founders of religions were also shepherd of humanity. He calls them “thieves and robbers” (John 10:8).
5) Christ spoke of having “other sheep” who would “also” come and “be one flock.” Here He prophesied of the worldwide call of the Gentile believers to join with the Jewish believers in “one flock”—His true church (John 10:16).
6) All of the wonderful and happy benefits described in Psalm 23 belong to the believer, by virtue of his belonging to Christ—his wonderful, strong, thoughtful, and caring Shepherd.
When we need guidance, food, protection, or comfort, let us, like David of old, look beyond the hills to Jehovah-Rohi, “The Lord My Shepherd.”
Master Outline 4 – The Names of God
 What was the sacred name of God of Israel?
 What is the spelling of Jehovah in the Hebrew language?
 The literal meaning of the name “Jehovah” is?
 What are the eight (8) attributes this lesson lists of God?
 To Abraham, God appeared as what name?
 The compound names of Jehovah reveal what three (3) things?
 The name “Jehovah – Jireh” means what?
 How old was Abraham and Sarah when they left the land of Ur?
 What mountain did God tell Abraham to take Isaac to?
 What was Abraham’s classic response to Isaac’s question, “But, where is the lamb for the burnt offering?
 Why did Abraham call the place Jehovah – Jireh?
 What two (2) things did Abraham illustrate when he took his son to the mountain?
 What did Isaac illustrate for us?
 The name of Jehovah – Ropheka means what?
 What does this lesson teach us?
 The name “Jehovah – Nissi” means what?
 How should we as believers imitate Aaron and Hur?
 Amalek in this scripture is an illustration of what? Explain.
 We learn from this incident that our strength comes from who?
 The name of “Jehovah – Shalom” means what?
 Why did Gideon build an alter?
 When God says, “peace be with you, do not fear, you shall not die,” what three (3) things do we know?
 What does the name “Jehovah – Tsidkenu” mean?
 What were the three (3) dates of the Babylonian invasions?
 Whom did God blame for this judgment?
 The perfect moral uprightness demanded by God’s holy standards is provided only by whom?
 The name “Jehovah – Rohi” means what?
 David knew that “The Lord my Shepherd” was present to do at three (3) things. Name them.
 How does this passage relate to Christ?
 When we need these four (4) things, let us like David of old look to “Jehovah – Rohi”.