When the Name was recalled and Why it is no longer Done so.
Ten Tribes and the Holy Name. Duration 23 minutes.
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2. Early Use of the Name
3.The Ten Tribes and the Holy Name
4. Judah Exiled to Babylon and the Second Temple.
5. Misuse of the Name
6. The Case of Luther
7. Restriction of the Name
8. Biblical Sanction to Hide the Name
9. Do Not Take Unnecessary Risks.
10. The Bible Tells us to Look After Ourselves!
12. More Reading
The Holy Name refers to the four-lettered name of God also known as the Tetragammaton and the Ineffable Name. The Name is probably derived from the word-root HOVEH meaning "to be". The name has numerous possible meanings including "HE WHO IS " and "HE WHO MAKES ALL THAT IS TO BE".Â This name is said to be found 6,828 times in the Hebrew Bible. Other names that are developments of the Tetragammaton, or suggested pronunciations of it,Â also exist and both these and the name itself Â should not be uttered.
At present no-one can pronounce the name of God even if they want to since we do not known how it was sounded. We are not sure which consonants and vowels were used (I or Y; V or W) or what the vowels were.Â PeopleÂ who claim to know how the Name was sounded are either bluffing or misguided.
In Biblical Times however the name wasÂ used. In the Messianic Era it will be used again.
Historically, atÂ first the name was used quite freely, then its use was restricted, and finally it was forbidden.
What was the History of this Name and was there a Biblical Justification for forbidding its Use?
2.Â Early Use of the Name
The name was not known to the Patriarchs (Exodus 6:2)
God spoke to Moses and said to him, I am Hashem. I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as El Shaddai, but with My Name Hashem I did not make myself known to them- Exodus (Shemot) 6:2-3
Since the name was not known to the Patriarchs there must have been a reason for this?
The Name was revealed to Moses by the Almighty (Exodus 3:15).Â When the Israelites came out of Egypt they used the name. Also throughout the early History of the Prophets etc the name was freely used.
According to tradition at one stage the name had stopped being used very much. Boaz (the future husband of Ruth) who was a Judge of Israel instituted the practice that the name should be used as part of an every-day greeting (Shabat 113;b).
4 Now behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, The LORD be with you!
And they answered him, The LORD bless you!
Archaeologists have found inscriptions bearing the name.
3.Â The Ten Tribes and the Holy Name.Â Simeon andÂ Samaria
The Israelites split into two different sections; Ten Tribes were in the north in the Kingdom of Israel centered around Samaria. Judah, Benjamin, most of Levi and minority segments of the other Tribes were in the south in the Kingdom of Judah centered on Jerusalem.
Evidence exists that the Ten TribesÂ also used the name. They seem to haveÂ deliberately pronounced the Yah section of it however as Yam or Yim. We also find traces of this practice in Judah. We have Abiyah the son of Jeroboam King of Northern Israel (1-Kings 14:1); and King Abiyam son of Rehoboam (1-Kings 14:31, 15:1). Abiyam King of Judah is also referred to as Abiyah (1-Chronicles 3:1, 2-Chronicles 11:22, 12:16, etc). Here we have the theophonic element "yah" replaced by "yam". We also have evidence from Ras Shumra (Ugarit) on the North Syrian coast. Immanuel Velikovsky ("Ages in Chaos") proved that findings from this area date from the Monarchical period in Israel. Ras Shumra was closely associated with the Isle of Cyprus and also with Northern Israel. It was either a city of Israelites who had been heavily inlfuenced by Canaaanites or Canaanites who had come under Israelite influence. In Ugarit we find a god with a name similar to yah applied to a pagan god who is also known as yam. The Northern Israelites did not use the name of God as it was written. They referred to God as Yam instead of Yah.
The Northern Ten Tribes centered on Samaria Â must have had a tradition that the name was not to be pronounced as it was spelled. They also did not usually spell the four-letter name as it is in the Bible but used a shortened form "Yaho" (Ahituv).
The Ten Tribes were in the north. Judah was in the south.Â The Tribe of Simeon was also in the south, in fact far to the south reaching into Sinai and what is now eastern Egypt. Nevertheless Simeon is counted as part of the Ten Tribes. Simeon was taken into Exile with the Ten Tribes. It will be remembered that the northern Kingdom of Israel included areas east of the Jordan. It seems that the territory of the kingdom of Israel extended to east of the Jordan and from there stretched southward passing Moab, Ammon, and Edom and linked Â up to Simeon south of Judah.
The Ten Tribes wereÂ exiled because they adopted the pagan ways of the Gentiles around them, they also invented things about God that were not so and apparently created a syncretistic system of Biblical Belief and that of the pagans.
We find an inscription far to the south of Ancient Israel.
At Kuntillet Ajrud, in southern Israel, in the former territory of Simeon are depiction's of "YHVH" with a consort goddess along side an image of the Egyptian god Bes. For Dever, the inscriptions prove that "in Israel Yahweh could be closely identified with the cult of Asherah, and in some circles the goddess was actually personified as his consort" (1984:31). David Noel Freedman: "worship of a goddess, consort of Yahweh, was deeply rooted in both Israel and Judah in pre-exilic times, in spite of vigorous prophetic protests and strenuous efforts by reforming kings" (1987:249). Similarly, Rainer Albertz remarks: "The popularity of the worship of a goddess alongside Yahweh throughout the whole pre-exilic period can hardly be overestimated" (1994:86; also see Gilula 1978- 1979: 135).
Kuntillet Ajrud being subject to the northern Kingdom is also the opinion of Shmuel Ahituv (HaKetav VeHaMiktav - Handbook of Ancient Inscriptions from the Land of Israel and the Kingdom Beyond the Jordan from the Period of the First Commonwealth, Jerusaelm 2005). Ahituv points out that this ties in with the co-operationÂ between King Ahaziah of Samaria and King Jehoshaphat of Judah in equipping a fleet to sail from Ezion-Geber (near present-day Eilat) in the southeast.
48 Jehoshaphat made merchant ships to go to Ophir for gold; but they never sailed, for the ships were wrecked at Ezion Geber. 49 Then Ahaziah the son of Ahab said to Jehoshaphat, Let my servants go with your servants in the ships. But Jehoshaphat would not.
35 After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted very wickedly. 36 And he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion Geber. 37 But Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the Lord has destroyed your works. Then the ships were wrecked, so that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
An inscription in Kuntillet AjrudÂ refers to:
`YHIH of Samaria,' (depicted in the form of a calf) 'and his consort Asherah"
Here they use the full form of the name and not the shortened Yaho version usually employed in Samaria.
From this inscription we can deduce:
1. Simeon though in the south was probably subservient to the northern kingdom ("Samaria") as hinted at by the Bible and included in the Ten Tribes who were exiled by Assyria.
2. The worship of the God of Israel was paganized and mixed up with pagan notions. The prophets refer to this and frequently condemn it but do not go into most of the details probably due to respect.
There is also a reference to YHIH HTMN understood to mean YHIH of The Teman (cf. Zecharaiah 9:14) . Teman was a family of Edom known for their valor (Obadiah 1:8) and wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7, cf the Wisdom of Edom in general (Obadiah 1:8), cf. Eliphaz the Temanite in Job 2:11).
The Ten Tribes were taken into exile according to conventional dating in about 740-720 BCE. The Ten Tribes were exiled for going in the pagan ways of the nations around them and for creating a synthetic system of belief combining both Hebraic and foreign elements.
5 Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years. 6 In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
7 For so it was that the children of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and they had feared other gods, 8 and had walked in the statutes of the nations whom the Lord had cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made. 9 Also the children of Israel secretly did against the Lord their God things that were not right, and they built for themselves high places in all their cities, from watchtower to fortified city. 10 They set up for themselves sacred pillars and wooden images[a] on every high hill and under every green tree. 11 There they burned incense on all the high places, like the nations whom the Lord had carried away before them; and they did wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger, 12 for they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, You shall not do this thing.
13 Yet the Lord testified against Israel and against Judah, by all of His prophets, every seer, saying, Turn from your evil ways, and keep My commandments and My statutes, according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by My servants the prophets. 14 Nevertheless they would not hear, but stiffened their necks, like the necks of their fathers, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 And they rejected His statutes and His covenant that He had made with their fathers, and His testimonies which He had testified against them; they followed idols, became idolaters, and went after the nations who were all around them, concerning whom the Lord had charged them that they should not do like them. 16 So they left all the commandments of the Lord their God, made for themselves a molded image and two calves, made a wooden image and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 And they caused their sons and daughters to pass through the fire, practiced witchcraft and soothsaying, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke Him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; there was none left but the tribe of Judah alone.
19 Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God, but walked in the statutes of Israel which they made. 20 And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight. 21 For He tore Israel from the house of David, and they made Jeroboam the son of Nebat king. Then Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord, and made them commit a great sin. 22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they did not depart from them, 23 until the Lord removed Israel out of His sight, as He had said by all His servants the prophets. So Israel was carried away from their own land to Assyria, as it is to this day.
The Ten Tribes were taken away by the Assyrians and lost consciousness of their ancestry. Their descendants stayed together and eventually all moved to the west.
Eventually the Ten Tribes shall return and re-unite with Judah. There will be a rule of the Messiah and the Name shall once again be in use.
9 And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.
In that day it shall beÂ
"The Lord is one,"
And His name one.
4. Judah Exiled to Babylon and the Second Temple.
Meanwhile the Kingdom of Judah with the Temple in Jerusalem remained independent.
The Assyrians were replaced by the Babylonians. The Babylonians destroyed the First Temple and exiled the Jews to Babylonia in ca. 587 BCE (conventional dating).
The Persians replaced the Babylonians and allowed the Jews to return. Small numbers began to come back and gradually rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple and re-established the Province of Judah.
Meanwhile other peoples such as the Samaritans who were descended from non-Israelite Babylonians (2-Kings 17:24-40), and the Philistines, and Canaanite people were also in the area. They all spoke languages similar to Hebrew and used the old Hebrew (Palaeo-Hebrew or Canaanite) alphabet. These peoples had begun to pronounce the Hebrew letters in incorrect ways. [Even now the Arabs use B instead of P and F instead of V]. Since the Jews were a minority and intermixed with these peoples there was a danger that they too would forget the correct usage of the Alphabet. A form of the Babylonian Alphabet was therefore introduced. There is an opinion that this Babylonian Alphabet, known as Ashurit i.e. from Assyria, was in fact the original Hebrew one and that the old one had been substituted for it.
This Ashurit Alphabet is the one used by the Jews for the Hebrew Bible today.
5. Misuse of the Name
Not only was the old Hebrew Alphabet being used by pagans but so was the name of God, or rather forms and mispronunciations of it.
We find Egyptians, and Greeks, and Jewish pagans using the name inappropriatedly.
Even now we find amongst people who try to use the holy Name would-be magicians, all kinds of nut-cases, and enemies of God and the Jewish People.
6. The Case of Luther
The Ineffable Name of God in Hebrew is sometimes referred to as the Shem Ha-Meforash literally the Enunciated Name.
Luther wrote an anti-Jewish tract using this as the title.
There is a short Wikipedia article on the subject.
Vom Schem Hamphoras
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
#Vom Schem Hamphoras, full title: Vom Schem Hamphoras und vom Geschlecht Christi (Of the Unknowable Name and the Generations of Christ), was a book written by German Reformation leader Martin Luther in 1543, in which he equated Jews with the Devil and described them in vile language.
#Schem Hamphoras is the Hebrew rabbinic name for the ineffable name of God, the tetragrammaton. Luther's use of the term was in itself a taunt and insult to Jewish sensitivities. He wrote the tract several months after publishing On the Jews and Their Lies.
#In the book he wrote:
"Here in Wittenberg, in our parish church, there is a sow carved into the stone under which lie young pigs and Jews who are sucking; behind the sow stands a rabbi who is lifting up the right leg of the sow, raises behind the sow, bows down and looks with great effort into the Talmud under the sow, as if he wanted to read and see something most difficult and exceptional; no doubt they gained their Shem Hamphoras from that place..."
#Luther argued that the Jews were no longer the chosen people but "the devil's people". An English translation of Vom Schem Hamphoras was first published in 1992 as part of The Jew In Christian Theology by Gerhard Falk. Historians have noted Luther's writings contributed to antisemitism within the German provinces during his era. Historical evidence shows that the Nazi Party in the 1930s and 1940s used Luther's writings to build up antisemitism under their rule, by exerting pressure on schools to incorporate it into the curriculum, and the Lutheran church to incorporate it into sermons. Whether or not Luther's writings were a leading force for antisemitism in Europe over the past 500 years is currently being debated by historians. Nevertheless, it is clear that his writings were used extensively by the Nazis. #
#Luther began his activities in Wittenberg in East Germany. Thisc area is still a hotbed of Nazi Sympathies.
What connection Luther saw between the name and his anti-Jewish sentiments is not clear Â BUT it does illustrate the fact that very often Holy Name people have wicked secret agendas of their own. They are not friends of ours.Â Luther in effect depicted the Rabbis looking for the Holy Name up the backside of a female pig. The scatological imagery used by Luther tells more than we need to know as to what he really was.
Luther founded the Lutheran Church that a lot of Protestants still belong to. At first Luther had been friendly to the Jews but when they refused to convert to his version of Christianity he got nasty and showed his true colors.
7. Restriction of the Name
Using the name had always entailed a degree of risk.
Someone who cursed using the name was to be put to death, as we find in the case of the man with an Egyptian father and a mother from the Tribe of Dan who was
executed by stoning (Leviticus 24:10-15, 23).
"You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain" (Exodus 20:7).
Using the Name of God had positive and minus aspects to it from the beginning.
Eventually it was decided that the minus aspects had become greater than the positive ones.
In the early Second Temple Period the Holy Name was only pronounced once a year by the High Priest in the Temple on the Day of Atonement.
Eventually it was forgotten altogether.
" the Name is printed in many Hebrew manuscripts (particularly in the Dead Sea Scrolls) in a Paleo-Hebrew script, even when the rest of the text comes from a later period and is not written in Paleo-Hebrew. It is also pointed out that in the earliest manuscripts of the Septuagint the Name is written in Hebrew, not Greek. "
The fact that the name was kept separate in the Greek Translation (Septuagent) of the Bible and in the Dead Sea Scrolls would indicate that even groups that were outside of mainstream Judaism
8. Biblical Sanction to Hide the Name
Moses had delegated authority to local officials (Exodus 18:24). Moses was told to establish a council of seventy elders (Numbers 11:16). This became the Sanhedrin.Â
Rabbinical Authority. Rabbinical Consensus is a continuation of the authority given to the Sanhedrin by Moses.
The Sages and the Sanhedrin had the authority to decide what should be done in matters of religion when the need arose.
Even if one disagreed with the decisions the Bible commands us to obey them. The penalty for disobedience is death.
8 Â If a matter arises which is too hard for you to judge, between degrees of guilt for bloodshed, between one judgment or another, or between one punishment or another, matters of controversy within your gates, then you shall arise and go up to the place which the Lord your God chooses. 9 And you shall come to the priests, the Levites, and to the judge there in those days, and inquire of them; they shall pronounce upon you the sentence of judgment. 10 You shall do according to the sentence which they pronounce upon you in that place which the Lord chooses. And you shall be careful to do according to all that they order you. 11 According to the sentence of the law in which they instruct you, according to the judgment which they tell you, you shall do; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left from the sentence which they pronounce upon you. 12 Now the man who acts presumptuously and will not heed the priest who stands to minister there before the Lord your God, or the judge, that man shall die. So you shall put away the evil from Israel. 13 And all the people shall hear and fear, and no longer act presumptuously.
The Sages had the authority to decide onÂ matters of Scripture whenever there was a need to do so. They decided that the time had come that the name needed to be hidden.
This had been foretold in Scripture.
When the NAME was revealed to Moses he was told:
Hashem the G-d of your forefathers, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob has dispatched me to you. This is my name forever, and this is My remembrance from generation to generation.
- Shemot (Exodus) 3:15 - Artscroll Tanakh
Rabbi Nechemiah Bar Yitschak said...Scripture says this is my name forever [Hebrew: le-olam], the text says "to be hidden" (Hebrew: "le-elam"). Rava opined that the textual reading in this place needs to be applied...The Sage said "to be hidden" is what is written (Kiddushin 71;a).
When the Cohen [High Priest]Â on Yom Kippur [in the Temple Service] was recalling the Name, those who heard would not move from there until it was hidden [forgotten] from them, Scripture says, This is my name forever [Hebrew: le-olam], the text says "to be hidden" (Hebrew: "le-elam") (Yerushalmi Yoma 3:7).
This is my Name forever, and this is My remembrance from generation to generation.
Rabbi Avina declared, it is written "This is my Name"Â and it is written "this is My remembrance". God said, I am not to be read as I am written... (Kiddushin 71:a).
The Hebrew Script (Exodus 3:15) says literally :
Hashem the G-d of your forefathers, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob has dispatched me to you. This is my name to be hidden [Hebrew: le-elem], and this is My remembrance according to each generation [Hebrew: le-dor dor].
We read the letters that spell to be hidden (le-elam) as "forever" (le-olam) because the tradition transmitted by the Sages says we Â should BUT the same tradition also said that the primary written meaning was also to be applicable when the situation required it.
It also says, "This is my name ... and this is My remembrance"
i.e. This is my name forever [to be hidden], and this is My remembrance according to the generation.
Wherever in the Hebrew Bible (48 places) we find the combination "This is my name ... and this is [Hebrew: "ve-zeh"]" it ALWAYS refers to TWO DIFFERENT subjects.Â This is a strong hint that the Name and how it was recalled were two different things.
In other words, Scripture already contained an inbuilt contingency plan to hide the Name when it became necessary!
9. Do Not Take Unnecessary Risks.
Sometimes things happen to us unexpectedly when they do not need to, or should not do so.
You might be driving in your car one day. Maybe you drank a glass of wine at work and it is sneaking up on you. Or may be you were worried about putting pressure on your bladder and you did not drink an extra cup of coffee or glass of water when you should have.
Suddenly out of no-where you have an accident. Maybe someone gets hurt. Or maybe you have a very near miss. This happens to everyone at some time or other. You do not need it. We all have more problems and worries than we think we need. We do not want anymore.
This is an example of things that do not have to happen and should not happen.
It is one thing to do something because you were overtaken by passion or greed. You should not have done it but you can understand why you did it.
It is another thing to do something that has serious consequences but for which you do not even have a chance of getting anything out of it.
We all believe in God.
We all believe in the Bible.
You may not be convinced by what we have said above about not trying to say the Holy Name.
But why take chances?
10. The Bible Tells us to Look After Ourselves!
17 The merciful man does good for his own soul,
But he who is cruel troubles his own flesh.
Metsudat David: Someone who does well by his body to fulfill its needs and give it what it wants to stay alive and maintain its health is a good person. In the same way as such a person takes care of himself so will he have pity on others. On the other hand he who trouble his flesh and starves himself to save money will be even more cruel towards other people.
One should look after oneself and ones fellow.
17 'You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor, and not bear sin because of him. 18 You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.
Looking after oneself means Fear of Heaven.
Do not take chances.
The Bible is your book. Take heed of it.
The Name of God is in the Bible. Historically it was used, then its use was restricted. At present its use is forbidden. In the Messianic Age it shall be permitted. Historically circumstances explain what happened. Â Biblical Passages show us that the Almighty inserted the option in the Bible to stop using the name if circumstances warranted it. No-one knows how to pronounce the name today. Attempts to do so may be harmful. The Bible does not want us to harm ourselves. On the contrary, God requires us to do as well for ourselves and for others as we can.
Our previous articles on this subject explained the above subject in some depth.
Queries on the Holy Name. Question about the Prohibition to utter the Ineffable Name
Holy Name? Uncovering the Misconception Behind Attempts to Utter the Sacred Name of the Almighty
Name Hidden. The Ineffable Name of the Almighty and the Injunction not to attempt to Pronounce it
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