Stephen Pidgeon's Blog

Blog: Blog

< Back     Join the Discussion

Yehovah - Examining the nikkud

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Friday, May 17, 2019 at 12:00 AM


Recently, there has been a controversy growing about the pronunciation of the tetragrammaton in English.  It is my intention to write the Nascent Sanhedrin to get a determination whether saying “Yehovah” will invoke the death sentence.  Maybe it is worth knowing in advance.

In the meantime, it is time to examine the nikkud (Masoretic vowels sounds) that have been placed on the tetragrammaton (adding to, if you will, the yods and the tittles) to see if they do in fact spell Yehovah.

Here is the example:


First, let’s see if we can determine how the yod is to be pronounced.

In the word Israel, spelled (יִשְׂרָאֵל) the nation-state of Israel pronounces the word you see in Hebrew here as Israel.  They have used this pronunciation repeatedly since the nation-state was form.  We can then assume that the yod which begins this word is pronounced ih, and not yih.


Now, of course we see a slightly different vowel marker, indicating an ih sound, rather than an eh sound found as the mark beneath the yod in the tetragrammaton, but it is reasonable to conclude that the yod in the tetragrammaton, given the modern usage is Israel, is eh, and not yeh.

Now the hey is most often pronounced as merely ah, like in the name Sarah (שָׂרָה), or in the word Torah (תּוֹרָה), but here we have a marker saying not ah, but oh. Interesting and unusual. But let’s take it as it stands.

The vav here is also reconstrued out of its normal context.  For instance, in the word Torah, we see the vav sounding exclusively as oh.


One does not say To-vo-rah; One says Torah.

We have a similar disposition with the word shalom (שָׁלוֹם), where the vav sounds exclusively as oh.


One does not say Sha-lo-vom; one says shalom.

Therefore, we can conclude that the vav sounds here exclusively as ah, not vah.

Of course, this leaves the unmarked hey to sound as all other unmarked forms of hey, namely as ah.

So, the vowel sounds marked on the tetragrammaton indicate as pronunciation of Eh-oh-ah-ah, given the common construct. Ehoa’ah would be one way of writing it, making it a four-vowel sound consistent with the Yocephus proclamation found in Wars, Book 5, Chapter 5, paragraph 7.  One wonders if this will generate vociferous inveneration. However, note that if the nikkud on the vav is a distortion or marks the sound of the hey, then the vav would be pronounced in its usual form either as oo or oh. If oo, then the word would be E’oh’u’ah.

Consider the Hopi term for Yah – Iowa.  If the I in Iowa is pronounced ee, rather than aye, then the pronunciation is E’oh’u’ah (the w being captured in the pronunciation as oowah). If it was pronounced this way, how would you spell it in English?

Consider the American pronunciation of the English words Zechariah (זְכַרְיָה) and Obadiah (עֹבַדְיָהוּ).

In the modern “church” Zechariah is pronounced Zek-a-rye-ya; Obadiah is pronounced Oh-bad-aye-ya.  These pronunciations are consistent with the pronunciations of Iran and Iraq where Iran is pronounced as aye-ran and Iraq is pronounced as aye-rak, respectively.  Of course, the worldwide accepted pronunciations are ear-’rawn and ear-’rawk, respectively.

So, the better pronunciation of Zechariah in the English, would use the schwa in the first syllable Zǝ pronounced zuh.  The second syllable will of course be pronounced using the K for the ch; i.e., not char as in charcoal, but char as in kar. However, the iah is the issue here.  Really, it should be pronounced ee’ya, not aye-ya.

So we see the pronunciation of Zechariah as Zuh-kar-ee-ah. Z’char’yahˊ.

Let’s look at Obadiah again for a moment:


When giving meaning to the nikkud, we find the ayin sounding as oh, the beyt sounding with the vowel ah, the dalet sounding with the vowel eh, the yod sounding with the vowel ah, the hey unmarked, therefore sounding as the vowel ah, and the vav marked sounding as the letter oo

O-bah-dah-yah-ah-oo. Obade’yahu.

So, as we finish this discussion, consider that the word E’oh’u’ah is but one vowel sound away from E’ah’u’ah (Yahuah). Something to think about as we stumble through this world.

< Back     Join the Discussion



Get Stephen's posts in your inbox.

  • I am the א (Aleph) and the ת (Tav), the beginning and the ending, says Yahuah Elohiym, which is, and which was, and which is to come, Yahuah Tseva’oth.
    CHIZAYON (Revelation) 1:8
    Read More
  • For they shall behold the world which is now invisible to them and they shall behold the time which is now hidden from them: And time shall no longer age them.  
    BARUK SHENIY (2 Baruk) 51: 8-9
    Read More
  • Be ready to the reward of the Kingdom, for the everlasting light shall shine upon you forevermore.
    EZRA REVIY`IY (4 Ezra / 2 Esdras) 2:35
    Read More
  • Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse; את eth-A blessing, if ye obey the command­ments of Yahuah Elohaykem, which I command you this day: And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of Yahuah Elohaykem, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other elohiym, which ye have not known. 
    DEVARIYM (Deuteronomy) 11:26-28
    Read More
  • For in six days Yahuah made את eth-the heavens and את eth-the earth, את eth-the sea, and את eth-all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore Yahuah blessed את eth-the day of Shabbath, and hallowed it.
    SHEMOTH (Exodus) 20:11
    Read More
  • In the beginning Elohiym created את eth the heavens and את eth the earth.
    BERE’SHIYTH (Genesis) 1:1
    Read More
  • How are you fallen from heaven, O Heylel, son of the howling morning! how are you cut down to the ground, which did weaken the nations!
    YESHA`YAHU (Isaiah) 14:12
    Read More
  • Behold, the days come, says Yahuah, that I will cut a Renewed Covenant with the את eth-house of Yashar'el, and with the את eth-house of Yahudah. 
    YIRMEYAHU (Jeremiah) 31:31
    Read More
  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with את eth Elohiym, and Elohiym was the Word.
    BESORAH YOCHANON (Gospel of John) 1:1
    Read More
  • For Yah so loved את eth-the world, that he gave את eth-his את eth-yachiyd, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
    BESORAH YOCHANON (Gospel of John) 3:16
    Read More
  • He that has my commandments, and guards them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. 
    BESORAH YOCHANON (Gospel of John) 14:21
    Read More
  • These are the feasts of Yahuah, even holy assemblies, which ye shall proclaim in their appointed times.
    VAYIQRA (Leviticus) 23:4
    Read More
  • And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Yahusha: for he shall save his people from their sins.
    BESORAH MATTITHYAHU (Gospel of Matthew) 1:21
    Read More
  • Give us this day our daily את eth-bread. And forgive us our transgressions, as we forgive those who trans­gress against us. 
    BESORAH MATTITHYAHU (Gospel of Matthew) 6:11-12
    Read More
  • Yahuah bless you, and guard you: Yahuah make his face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you: Yahuah lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. 
    BEMIDBAR (Numbers) 6:24-26
    Read More
  • That at the name of Yahusha every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Yahuah is Yahusha Ha'Mashiach, to the glory of Yah the Father.
    PHILIPPIYM (Philippians) 2:10-11
    Read More
  • YAHUAH is my Shep­herd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. 
    TEHILLIYM (Psalm) 23:1-2
    Read More
  • He that dwells in the secret place of El Elyon shall abide under the shadow of El Shaddai. I will say of Yahuah, He is my refuge and my fortress: my Elohiym; in him will I trust. 
    TEHILLIYM (Psalm) 91:1-2
    Read More
  • Here is wisdom. Let him that has understanding calculate the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is χξς .
    CHIZAYON (Revelation) 13:18
    Read More
  • For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of Yah, which is in Yahusha Ha'Mashiach our Adonai.
    ROMAIYM (Romans) 8:38-39
    Read More
  • Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
     QORINTIYM RI’SHON (I Corinthians) 13:13
    Read More
  • Make the attempt, then, O tyrant; and if you put us to death for our faith, think not that you harm us by torturing us. For we through this ill treatment and endurance shall bear off the rewards of virtue. But you, for the wicked and despotic slaughter of us, shall, from the divine vengeance, endure eternal torture by fire.
    MAKKABIYM REVIY`IY (4 Maccabees) 9:7-9
    Read More
  • And at that time shall Miyka’el stand up, the great prince which stands for the children of your people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the cepher.
    DANIY'EL (Daniel) 9-12
    Read More
  • A great destruction therefore shall come upon all the earth; a deluge, a great destruction, shall take place in one year. This child which is born to your son shall survive on the earth, and his three sons shall be saved with him. When all mankind who are on the earth shall die, he shall be safe.
    CHANOK (Enoch) 105: 14-15
    Read More
  • And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out את eth-my Ruach upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.
    YO’EL (Joel) 2:28
    Read More