Table of Contents
Overview – Name of Yahweh
In the times of the Exodus, God revealed His name to Moses, it was Yahweh. This was the revealed name of God in Exodus 3.14. The direct translation of His name is ‘I Am who I Am.’ It is a direct correlation to one of the attributes of God as the self-existing one.
God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.– Exodus 3.14
Origin of the Name of Yahweh
Secular archaeologists and scholars have been puzzled for decades over the name of Yahweh. The reason is because archaeologists have found the name of Yahweh to have appear very suddenly in the desert region at the time of the Exodus in the 15th century b.c.e. No evidence for other pre-existing Israelites worshipping a deity with such a name. However, the Bible gives us the answer and reason why we do not find Gods name previously in history. The God of the Bible did not previously reveal His name to anyone until He spoke with Moses in Exodus.
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” 14 God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”
15 God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations – Exodus 3. 14-15– Exodus 3 . 14 – 15
Tablet from Mt. Ebal
The Tablet of Mount Ebal was an artifact less than 1 inch was discovered at Mt. Ebal, which is near the city of Palestine Nablus. The discovery was announced by Scott Stripling the Director of Archaeological Studies Institute at the Bible Seminary in Katy Texas on March 24th, 2022. This artifact dates to at least 1200 b.c. and could be as old as 1400 b.c. Its inscription was deciphered by Gershon Galil of the University of Haifa, it pronounces a curse:
Cursed, cursed, cursed — cursed by the God YHW. You will die cursed. Cursed you will surely die. Cursed by YHW – cursed, cursed, cursed. – Mt. Ebal Tablet Inscription
This artifact with its inscription and reference to the name of Yahweh YHW (the letters for Yahweh) directly correlates to God’s name and the Biblical account from Deuteronomy about the curse of Mount Ebal. In ancient Hebrew the vowels were removed from their words, therefore the name ‘Yahweh’ would be written as ‘YHWH or YHW.’
When the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, that you shall put the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal – Deut 11.29
Shasu – Land of Yahu Inscriptions
There are two inscriptions in the Egyptian New Kingdom that references the Land of the Shasu of Yahweh, that date back to the 14th century b.c.e. One is on a column in Soleb, in current day Sudan, but was a part of the Egyptian kingdom in ancient times; and the other is at Amarah-West. According to modern Egyptian theories, this would put the timeframe in or around the reign of Pharaoh Amenhotep III.
This means that Pharoah and his associated must have heard about Yahweh by this time. This is significant as we find in the account of Exodus, at first Pharaoh did not recognize the name Yahweh, however after Moses returned many times, Pharaoh acknowledged Yahweh.
“Who is Yahweh that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do know not Yahweh and besides I will not let the Israelites go.” – Exodus 5.2
“Thus says Yahweh, ‘by this you will know that I am Yahweh, behold I will strike the water that is in the Nile with the staff that is in my hand, and it will become blood.” – Exodus 7.17
This strongly suggests that the Exodus should date no later than 1400 b.c.e because Pharaoh would have clearly heard about Yahweh by then.
Column in Soleb
The column in Soleb, modern day Sudan contains the hieroglyphs that reference the name of Yahweh. The direct translation of the hieroglyphs on the column is ‘Land of the Nomads of Yahweh’
The Bar is the hieroglyphs for ‘Land’
The next three make the word ‘Shasu’ with the bird and reef meaning ‘Nomads’
And the last four sounds out a name:
- The Feathers – Y
- The House – ah
- The Noose – W
- The Bird – H
References of the Name of Yahweh in Midian Territories
Some secular scholars question why the name Yahweh also appears in various southern regions in Midian around this same timeframe. This answer is also given in the Biblical account of Moses residence in the desert with the Midianite people before he returned to set his people free from Pharoah’s authority.
Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters, and they came and drew water and filled the troughs to water their father’s flock. – Exodus 2.16
And Moses was content to dwell with the man, and he gave Moses his daughter Zipporah. She gave birth to a son, and he called his name Gershom, for he said, “I have been a sojourner in a foreign land. – Exodus 2.21-22
The priests of any nation where very influential people. After Moses had an encounter with God, the Midianite people learned very quickly who the true God was, the God of Moses, Yahweh. They did not turn form their other gods completely, but the fame of Yahweh spread after the plagues of Egypt and so did His name among their people and others.
For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth– Romans 9 . 17