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Yahweh (y"a'we) is the proper name in the Old Testament for the God of Israel and Judah whom they consider "the One True God. " It is a modern reconstruction of YHWH, the ancient Hebrew ineffable, unutterable name for God, not to be spoken because of its sacredness. Other forms are Jah, Jahve, Jahveh, Jahweh, Jehovah, Yahve, Yahveh, and Yahwe. Jehovah is its English equivalent. The name is attested to both in the archaeological record and in the Hebrew Bible, where it is written as the four Hebrew consonants, YHWH; the form Yahweh is a modern scholarly convention. The name "Yahweh" appears nearly 7,000 times in the Old Testament and also many times in the New Testament where it is usually translated L when it directly quotes or paraphrases passages from the Old Testament containing God's name. Although the name "Yahweh" does not appear in the text of most popular English Bible translations on the market today, Christians worship the same God as Father of their Lord Jesus Christ.

The most likely meaning of the name may be "He Brings Into Existence Whatever Exists," but there are many theories and none is regarded as conclusive. The Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh after the Exile (6th century BC), and most especially from the 3rd century BC on. when they came to regard God's name as too holy to be spoken. In the Hebrew Bible Yahweh is the one true God who delivered Israel from Egypt and entered into a covenant with his chosen people: "Then God spoke all these words. He said, 'I am Yahweh your God who brought you out of Egypt, where you lived as slaves. You shall have no other gods to rival me. '" Yahweh revealed himself to Israel as a God who would not permit his people to make idols or follow gods of other nations or worship gods known by other names, "I am Yahweh, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, or My praise to idols. "

Yahweh demanded the role of the one true God in the hearts and minds of Israel, "Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is one: and you shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. " To declare their belief that Israel's God was universal sovereign over all others as well as Israel, the more common noun Elohim, meaning "god," tended to replace Yahweh. Modern biblical scholars have used source criticism to interpret different character attributes of Yahweh. The documentary hypothesis employs source criticism to interpret different character attributes as originating in four distinct source documents of the Torah. For example, anthropomorphic descriptions, visits from Yahweh and use of the personal name prior to Exodus 3 are attributed to the Jahwist source. Use of the generic title, Elohim, and descriptions of Yahweh of a more impersonal nature (for example, speaking through dreams and angels rather than personal appearances) are attributed to the Elohist source. Descriptions of Yahweh as particularly concerned with whether Judah's kings were good or bad and with centralized temple worship are attributed to the Deuteronomist source. Passages that portray Yahweh as acting through the Aaronid priesthood and temple-based sacrificial system are described as originating with the Priestly source. Historians of the ancient near east describe worship of Yahweh as originating in pre-Israelite peoples of the Levant rather than in a divine revelation to Moses.

Theophoric names, names of local gods similar to Yahweh, and archaeological evidence are used along with the Biblical source texts to describe pre-Israel origins of Yahweh worship, the relationship of Yahweh with local gods, and the manner in which Yahweh worship evolved into Jewish monotheism. In contrast, scholars who employ methods allowing for supernaturalism and divine inspiration continue to interpret the Biblical portrayal of Yahweh in a manner consistent with faith-based views. Worship of Yahweh alone is a central idea of historical Judaism. Much of Christianity views Jesus as the human incarnation of Yahweh. The importance of the divine name and the character of the "one true God" revealed as Yahweh are often contrasted with the significantly different character of rival deities known by different names in the traditional polytheistic religions. Some scholars, including William G. Dever, have asserted that the Asherah was worshipped as a consort of Yahweh, until the 6th century BCE, when strict monolatry of Yahweh became prevalent in the wake of the destruction of the temple. However, the consort hypothesis has been subject to debate with numerous scholars publishing disagreement. Jews ceased to use the name Yahweh in the intertestamental period, replacing it with the common noun Elohim, "god", to demonstrate the universal sovereignty of Israel's God over all others. At the same time, the divine name was increasingly regarded as too sacred to be uttered, and was replaced in spoken ritual by the word Adonai ("My Lord"), or with haShem ("the Name") in everyday speech.

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