Unlike Yiddish, which modern Jews speak, the Hebrew language that was spoken by Abraham and Moses and that is preserved in the Scriptures does have the “j” sound. From ancient times, the “j” sound has been represented by the letter jod (in ancient Hebrew , and in Biblical Hebrew י). Although Ashkenazi Jews have changed the pronunciation of jod to the “y” sound, the Sephardic Jews have retained the original pronunciation of jod as “j.” The Sephardic phonetic system is acknowledged by scholars
as to the most accurate representation of the ancient Hebrew. [Sephardi Hebrew is the pronunciation system used by most Biblical Hebrew grammars.]
Sephardim pl. n. Hebrew (seh-far-DEEM) The name given to those Jews who lived in Spain, Portugal, the Mediterranean Basin, North Africa, and the Middle East, and their descendants. Sepharad is the Hebrew name for Spain, where most of these Jews lived before their expulsion in 1492. Sephardim are distinct from—and smaller in number than—the Ashkenazim, the Jews of Central and Eastern Europe and their descendants. Most of the world’s Jews can trace their ancestry to one of these two groups. … The State of Israel has adopted the Sephardic pronunciation of Hebrew words, as have Jews in the United States.
As are all languages, Hebrew letters are classified according to the organs of speech by which they are sounded. Sephardic grammarians have divided the Hebrew letters into five classes of sound: gutturals, labials, palatals, linguals, and dentals. These classifications were recognized as the standard for pronouncing the letters of the Hebrew alphabet long before Tyndale transliterated יְהֹוָה to be read as Jehovah in 1530 A.D.
Notice that the Hebrew letter י ( jod) is classified as a palatal.
Palatals are consonants voiced with the aid of the palate. There are three different types of palatals:
The first type is made when the part of the tongue just behind the tip is raised against or near the hard palate. The English y in “yes” or the German ich are made in this manner.
The second classification of palatal is the fricative sound, which is made on or near either the hard or soft palate. Fricative palatals produce the sounds sh and zh.
The third type of palatals is the affricative sound. The English j and ch are affricative palatals. Affricative palatals produce a sound by the slow release of a consonant followed immediately by a fricative. Examples are the sound of ch in batch and the j sound in badge.
When Tyndale translated the Biblical Hebrew text into English, he followed the phonetic system of the Sephardic Jews, who had preserved the original pronunciation of the Hebrew letters. All Hebrew grammars in Tyndale’s day used the Sephardic phonetic system, which classifies jod as an affricative palatal. That is why Tyndale gave the Hebrew letter י (jod) the
sound of “j.”
Most Jews today have been taught that the Hebrew alphabet has no letter for the “j” sound. European Jews who have grown up speaking Yiddish have been taught to pronounce the letter i (jod) as “y”, believing that this has always been the sound of jod. But this Ashkenazic pronunciation of jod, used by all Jews of German and Polish descent, is not the original pronunciation of this Hebrew letter. As Gesenius attests, “The pronunciation of Hebrew by the modern German Jews [Ashkenazi], which partly resembles the Syriac and is generally called ‘Polish’, differs considerably from that of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews [Sephardic], which approaches nearer to the Arabic. The pronunciation of Hebrew by Christians follows the latter [Sephardic] (after the example of Reuchlin), in almost all cases.” (Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar).
In the days of Gesenius, no reputable scholar challenged the authenticity of the Sephardic pronunciation of jod as “j”. Reuchlin, recognized as the leading authority of that era, followed the Sephardic pronunciation of this Hebrew letter. When Tyndale transliterated the jod in JHVH with the “j” sound, to be read as Jehovah, he did so after the example of Reuchlin. This document was used by permission from the Christian Biblical Church of God Website at: http://www.cbcg.org/ (By © Carl D. Franklin December 9, 1997) Some small tweaking and a couple additional thoughts were added by Edward D. Andrews in square [ … ] brackets. All that lies below is by Edward D. Andrews.
The greatest indignity of modern translators is their rendering of the Father’s personal name as a title “LORD” or “GOD,” removing or the concealing of his special personal name. Before moving on, let us say that Yahweh is not an appropriate rendering of the Father’s personal name. First, the Father’s personal name, the Tetragrammaton (יהוה), has three syllables (Je·ho·vah) not two syllables (Yah·weh). Second, many Hebrew kings and others used by God personally in Bible times used part of the Father’s personal name in their name, like Jehoash, Jehoram, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, Jehoram, Jehohanan, Jehonadab, Jehoahaz, and even the wife of High Priest Jehoiada; daughter of King Jehoram of Judah, Jehosheba, among many more. We notice that the beginning of the Father’s personal name is used in every one of these cases. Does anyone find it a bit troubling that the Bibles (JB, LEB, HCSB), which choose to use the so-called scholarly “Yahweh” rendering still spell the above names with Jeho? Why do these same translations not spell Jehoash “Yahash”? We will look at how the Holman Christian Standard Bible (and the HCSB revision, the 2017 Christian Standard Bible) and the Lexham English Bible render the Father’s personal name and then how they render Jehosheba, Jehoram, and Jehoash.
The Father’s Personal Name
NOTE: The 2017 Christian Standard Bible is simply an updated version of the 2009 Holman Christian Standard Bible. Note that the updated HCSB, the CSB has removed God’s personal name.
Isaiah 42:8 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
8 I am Yahweh, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another
or My praise to idols.
|Isaiah 42:8 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
8 I am Yahweh; that is my name, and I do not give my glory to another, nor my praise to the idols.
|Isaiah 42:8 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
8 I am the LORD. That is my name,
The Father’s Personal Name Used In Bible Person’s Names, Especially Kings
2 Kings 11:2 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)
2 Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly rescued Joash son of Ahaziah from among the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. So he was hidden from Athaliah and was not killed.
|2 Kings 11:2 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
2 Jehosheba, who was King Jehoram’s daughter and Ahaziah’s sister, secretly rescued Joash [Jehoash] son of Ahaziah from the king’s sons who were being killed and put him and the one who nursed him in a bedroom. So he was hidden from Athaliah and was not killed.
|2 Kings 11:2 Lexham English Bible (LEB)
2 But Jehosheba the daughter of King Joram [Jehoram] and sister of Ahaziah took Jehoash the son of Ahaziah, and she stole him from among the sons of the king who were being put to death, putting him and his nurse in the inner bedroom. So they hid him from the presence of Athaliah, and he was not killed.
Remember, it was the Jewish Pharisees, who rejected Jesus and were told by him: “So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.” (Matthew 15:6; Mark 7:13) One of their traditions was not to pronounce the personal name of the Father. Thus, is it not a bit foolish for modern translators to follow in the footsteps of the very men, who were condemned and rejected by Jesus? Substituting the personal name of the Father for a title truly weakens the Word of God.
 Joyce Eisenberg and Ellen Scolnic, Jewish Publication Society, The JPS Dictionary of Jewish Words (Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society, 2001), 143.
 Friedrich Wilhelm Gesenius, Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar, ed. E. Kautzsch and Sir Arthur Ernest Cowley, 2nd English ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1910), 32.
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