The translation of the Hebrew name “Yahweh” which is the personal name of God whose meaning was revealed to Moses. It emphasises that God is the one who is eternal, unique, unchangeable and always actively present with his people. It expresses God’s role as Israel’s Redeemer and covenant Lord.
The name of God, the Lord
The Lord is the personal name of GodIsa 42:8“The Lord” is the NIV rendering of the Hebrew “Yahweh”.
The name’s meaningEx 3:14-15This forms part of God’s explanation of who he is. “I Am” (in Hebrew closely resembling “Yahweh”) expresses the ever-present, unchanging, totally dependable character of God.
The name is revealed to MosesEx 6:2-3The name had been used previously (e.g., Ge 4:26) but its meaning was not fully understood until God revealed it to Moses in the context of the exodus from Egypt.
The name is not to be misusedEx 20:7 pp Dt 5:11The misuse referred to here is swearing falsely by God’s name. See alsoLev 19:12; Lev 24:11,15-16 The Jews came to believe that just uttering the name “Yahweh” was an offence and as a result its exact pronunciation has been lost. What merited the death penalty here was using God’s name as a curse.
God reveals the relevance of his name the Lord by his actions
In creationJer 33:2See alsoIsa 42:5; Isa 43:15 “The Lord” is Creator of the universe but also the Creator of the people Israel; Isa 45:18 Human beings are the purpose of God’s creation; they know God as “the Lord”.
In the restoration of his peopleEze 36:36See alsoPs 102:15-22; Isa 60:15-22; Eze 37:6,13-14 The theme “then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord” (with slight variations) runs throughout the book of Ezekiel and is connected to divine acts of judgment and restoration.
He enforces the moral codeLev 18:1-5The phrase “I am the Lord” occurs over 40 times in Leviticus chapters 18-26 and is the authority behind the moral law given to God’s people. See alsoLev 11:44-45; Lev 19:2
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.