Monday, February 11, 2013

Nehemia Gordon and the Name of Yehovah


We are living in the information age, with the internet giving the opportunity to anyone and everyone who desires, to post whatever information they want to, whether it be written articles, audio teachings or even video teachings. The problem that arises, is that many people post so many 'things' on the internet that are not factual,things which are even downright lies and falsehood. There is not really any control over this, this situation is beyond control. Also, many people, who call themselves scholars, have the opportunity to teach their own personal doctrines, topics and opinions,as if the absolute truth, and that without any restraint at all. Two such people who have taken advantage of the wide audience of the internet is Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson who claim to teach the only correct pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty, even make lots of money by doing so.

This article has been written to test the so called “proofs” of Nehemia and Keith, and see if it is in fact true or not (factual or opinionated). This article is in no way an attack on Nehemia or Keith and I certainly do not want to speak any bad things about them. It is written purely to bring the truth to the light and to hopefully encourage others to test everything that they hear, no matter who they hear it from. This article is also not intended to diminish anyone’s faith and I am certainly not trying to make anyone believe what they do not wish to believe. Everyone has a right to do and believe whatever they want to. All I will be doing is to provide evidence and facts on this topic, and then it is up to the reader to do with it whatever they like.

The topic of this article is to see whether the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty is “Yehovah,” as Nehemia and Keith proclaim it is, or not. Keith Johnson has written a book trying to “prove” or justify this pronunciation and the book is endorsed by Nehemia who taught Keith that the Name if pronounced is “Yehovah.” Both Keith and Nehemia influence thousands of people by touring the world and speaking, through their books and even through internet radio and other forms of communication, and try to convince them all that this is the only correct pronunciation and that the other people are all wrong. They do this, all while making a lot of money in the process. That is why I am writing this article, to give an objective look at their theory for other people to see the whole truth and not just a snippet taken out of context, which Nehemia has done as we will see below.

Now, to get to the explanations…

While listening to a recording that Nehemia and Keith did on an internet radio station, called Truth2u with Jono Vandor, about the Torah portion, “Beshalach – Exodus 13:17-17:16”. Nehemia explained in short why he teaches that the Name is to be pronounced as “Yehovah.” His explanation might sound clever and impressive to anyone who does not know any Hebrew grammar rules. But to anyone who has a good understanding of the Hebrew grammar rules, will see that Nehemia contradicted himself and actually rendered his theory to be false, as will be explained in detail below.

I am attaching a short MP3 file of Nehemia explaining it, for you to listen to it and analyze it for yourself. (It is attached below). I will be analyzing what Nehemia says and compare it according to the facts and grammar rules to see if he is telling the truth or not. I suggest that you listen to the audio MP3 (less than 3 min) before you carry on reading this article. Then after reading the rest of this article, you can listen to it as many times as you want and compare it to the facts for yourself.


(Listen to audio below before you carry on reading).

In order to download the MP3, right click the play button and then choose the first option, "download document".

Okay, now let us break it down and tackle what Nehemia said piece by piece. I have transcribed the audio to text and will now analize it piece by piece. I am also going to color code it for ease of reading and understanding. Keith’s words will be the color of  green, Nehemia’s words will be in the color of blue and the reply will be in the color of red.

Keith: The second issue I want to bring up, is for all of my brothers and sisters out there that say, “well now Keith, you should change your pronunciation. Here it clearly says, Nehemia Gordon, the great Hebrew scholar, just said, the way you pronounce this two letter name, is what Nehemia… how do you pronounce it?

Reply: Here Keith admits that many people have challenged him about the Name of the Almighty. He also sees Nehemia Gordon as “Great” Hebrew scholar. The fact of the matter is that Nehemia is more than competent in the Hebrew language, but there are many people who are far more advanced in the knowledge of the Hebrew language than Nehemia is.

Nehemia: Yah

Reply: Regarding the name, “Yah” one does not need a Hebrew expert to know that it is written and spelled as Yah and cannot be anything else. There is absolutely no dispute about this word at all.

Keith: Yah, so that’s why we should call Him Yahweh. And I am not going to move from this until you can help us understand, Nehemia, What is this YAH…

Nehemia: … Well, I mean, so look, the poetic form, if you can call it that, of the name Jacob in some languages is James. Does that mean…..

Reply: I do not want to argue this statement too much, but James is not a poetic form of Jacob. It is merely a result of the confusion of a language (English) which is made up of mixed multitude of other languages. This often results in many words, often totally different from one another, having the same or similar meaning. This is what has happened with James and Jacob… the one is not a poetic form of the other.

Nehemia: Lets take the example of Michael (which in Hebrew is Micha’el, where the English name is Michael), but what’s the nickname for Michael, Its Mickey. Does that mean that really… lets say that I didn’t have the vowels of the word Michael but I knew it was Mickey, would I then call him Michal? I guess I would call him Michal, Michi’el.

Reply: Here Nehemia did not say anything that has anything to do with his case. Theoretically, the statement he just made is more proof of the opposite of what he is trying to teach. But this is not where the problem is. We will see, when we get to the Hebrew grammar, where Nehemia makes his errors.

Nehemia: So that’s the type of logic that they’re implying when they say that YAH as the poetic form, therefore, it means that the full form is Yahweh, um, I mean there’s absolutely no connection there.

Reply: Firstly, I am not saying that the pronunciation of, “Yahweh” is perfectly correct. This article is about testing the pronunciation of Yehovah. So I am not going to get into why Yahweh is not perfectly correct.

To say that “Yah” has absolutely no connection to the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty is not true at all. We will see this below when we get into the grammar rules.

Nehemia: Its, uh, you know, YAH… and actually the significance of YAH is that it almost always appears at the end of a word, like HalleluYAH. That’s the form you will normally find.

And even in Ex 15:2 (
g¡I Z¡X¥N¦F¥E I¦i¡R – Ozi v’zimrat Yah) and that word Yah is attached toward zimrat which is called smuchut, or the construct case. Its attached to the previous word.

Reply: The question is, is the short form of the Name of the Almighty, “Yah” (spelled yud hey) ever pronounced differently when it is not attached to another word? No it is not, it does not ever have to be attached toward another word for it to be pronounced as Yah. (Ex 15:2; 17:16; Ps 68:4 & 18; 76:11; 89:8;)

Nehemia: And that’s very similar to what we would find when we have, “Yud hey vav”, the three letters of the full name in a larger name, as a compound name, for example, Isaiah, is YeshaYAHU, Elijah is, EliYAHU. So we always have YAHU, which is exactly what we find with YAH, the poetic form.

Reply: The Hebrew grammar rule teaches us that, in a “compound” word (as Nehemia calls it) the suffix (end part of the word) ALWAYS keeps its original form and pronunciation of the word it is using as the suffix, where the prefix (beginning of the word) ALWAYS shortens its syllables whenever possible. Nehemia and Keith so conveniently “forget” to quote the whole grammar rule and only part of it to try and justify their theories.
Nehemia: Now here’s the thing, whenever Yud Hey Vav appears at the beginning of a word its never YAHU, or YAH, its always Yeho, Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav.

Reply: Remember that what the Hebrew grammar rule says, the prefix (beginning) always shortens its original syllables whenever possible. Let us look at a simple example. (Please note that this is also true according to ALL Hebrew grammar books. You can look it up for yourself)

Lets use the “Compound” name of Yehonatan (which is Jonathan in the English). It is constructed by joining two words together. The two words are Yahu (from the Name of the Almighty) + natan (give)

Yahu + natan = Yehonathan

Now lets join these two words together but in the opposite order, namely, natan + Yahu. If we do so, then we get the following:

Natan + Yahu = Netanyahu (Nethaniah in the KJV)
Notice how 'natan' shortened its 'vowels' and became 'netan' when used as a prefix.

(found in 2 Kings 25:23, 2 Kings 25:25, 1 Chr 25:2, 1 Chr 25:12, 2 Chr 17:8, Jer 36:14, Jer 40:8, Jer 40:14-15 (2), Jer 41:1-2 (2), Jer 41:6-7 (2), Jer 41:9-12 (4), Jer 41:15-16 (2), Jer 41:18)

As you can see, according to the Hebrew grammar rule, the suffix (end of the compound word) always keeps its original form and pronunciation of the word used for the prefix and that the prefix (beginning part) always shortens its syllables whenever possible.

Let us look at another example quick:

Yasha (to save, be saved, be delivered) + Yahu (from the Name of the Almighty) = Yeshayahu (Isaiah in the KJV)

Notice once again that the prefix shortened its syllable and that the suffix keeps its original pronunciation.

So if the prefix shortens and the suffix keeps its original form and pronunciation, then …yahu at the end of a word is the original form and pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty.

Nehemia: Now here’s the question you have to ask, In the Father’s Name (yud hey vav hey) are those three letters at the beginning of the Name, like in Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav, Yehochanan, etc. Or are they at the end of the Name, like in, YeshaYAHU, EliYAHU etc. Obviously they’re at the beginning of the Name.

Reply: This is Nehemia’s explanation on why the Name must be “Yehovah”. As you can see by the above Hebrew grammar rules concerning “compound” words (two words joined to create one word/name), that the Name of the Almighty cannot be Yehovah as Nehemia professes to be true (the Almighty's Name is not a compound word). Now ask yourself, is Nehemia ignorant concerning Hebrew grammar, or is he purposely hiding this rule from you in order to promote his theory (which would be an outright lie)? (Remember that the Almighty's Name is not a compound word).

Once again, the Hebrew grammar rule proves that the original form of yud hey vav, the three letters of the Name of the Almighty, is Yahu and NOT Yeho

But it does not end here, there are a couple more problems with the pronunciation of Yehovah and also with what Nehemia said about it. He really does like to contradict himself a lot, which is the result of not standing by the truth.

Now, Nehemiah said above, that because the three letters, yud hey vav, are at the beginning of the Name, like that of Yehoshua, Yehonatan, Yehonadav etc. proves that it must be pronounced as Yehovah. But there is a very obvious problem with his statement. All the other names that Nehemia compared it to are all “compound names” (as Nehemia called them). The question you need to ask is, is Yud hey vav hey (the full Name of the Almighty) a “compound word”? And if it is, then from what word does the final “hey” come from and what is its meaning?

The fact of the matter is that the Name of the Almighty is NOT a “compound” word comprised of two or more words (as I mentioned above). Therefore, the grammar rule that Nehemia twists to try justify his pronunciation does not and cannot apply to the Name of the Almighty.

Now let us look at another Hebrew grammar rule that does not apply to “compound” words. In Hebrew, the general rule is that the accent falls on the final syllable. The syllable that is accented always keeps its original form and so does the syllable that directly precedes the accented syllable. So, the general rule is that the last two syllables of a word keep their original form (when the accent falls on the final syllable).

In Nehemia’s pronunciation of Yehovah, the accent falls on the final syllable. That means that the last two syllables must keep its original form. This is NOT the case in the pronunciation of Yehovah. Once again, it has failed to meet the Hebrew grammar rules.

Let us look at such an example of a similar type of word and see what the result is.

The Name Y’hudah is a “compound” word which is a combination of the two words, Yahu and yadah. Leah named her son Y’hudah because she, “gratefully praised YHVH” (Gen 29:35).

The accent falls on the last syllable of the name of Y’hudah. That means that the final syllable retains its original form and so does the syllable directly before it. That is why the name is Y’hUdah and not Y’hodah.

Now we have to apply this grammar rule to the Name of the Almighty too. If the accent falls on the final syllable, then the syllable directly before it has to keep its original form as it does in Y’hudah. Therefore, if Nehemia is correct, then the Name should be Yehuvah and cannot be Yehovah.

So once again we have proved the pronunciation of Yehovah to be false.
But we can even go a step further. And this is a clincher.

Nehemia outrightly admitted that the first three letters of the Name of the Almighty, when in the beginning of a word, is “Yeho...” Now if this is the case, all we are left with is the single letter, “hey”. Now the question that you have to ask yourself, once again, is, “is it ever possible to get the pronunciation of “…vah” from a single hey?”

The fact of the matter is that it is never possible and that what Nehemia teaches is false and has been proven to be a lie.

We once again need to ask ourselves the question, is Nehemia Gordon ignorant of these Hebrew grammar rules? Or is he outrightly lying to thousands, if not millions, of people? If he is lying, what is his reason for doing so?

The problem that Nehemia has gotten himself into is that his only audience, and the only people who buy his books and support him are the Christians and Messy-anics. Nehemia does not have any Hebrew following at all. For that reason, he is seen as a leader and makes a very pretty penny on the book sales and support from such people.

After realizing how Nehemia so blatantly lies about such an important topic, how then can he be trusted with anything else? Yes, many of the things that Nehemia teaches is truth, but the problem is that he mixes a lot of falsehood in-between. Everyone has the duty to test everything that they hear.

Every time that I have asked Nehemia about all this, He simply ignores me and has even deleted me as a friend on Facebook. If someone makes such a declaration, like he does, then is it not fair to give explanations and answer questions? Maybe he is unable to answer them without contradicting himself?


I posted a comment on the website where this teaching of Nehemia comes from. Jono Vandor, the owner of the website, has still not moderated my comment for others to see. It seems as if Jono is very biased and does not like anyone to speak against the doctrines of Nehemia, even if he speaks falsehood.

The comment I left was on 27 Jan 2012 and Jono has still not approved it as a comment.

I will post that comment in the comments section below for you to read for yourself.

May the Almighty open all our eyes to the truth of His Word.

5 comments:

  1. Shalom Jono and to all your listeners too.

    While listening to this broadcast about this Torah portion, Nehemia Gordon made a very straight forward statement about the pronunciation of the Name of the Almighty. I know that Keith also follows this belief as he himself states that Nehemia taught him the Name and the Nehemia is his Hebrew teacher.

    Please note that I am not trying to put anyone down here or trying to ridicule anyone. I am only interested in truth am shedding light onto untruths for those who are also interested in truth.

    Nehemia stated that when the first three letters of the Name of the Almighty (yud hey vav) are at the end of a word, it is pronounced as “….yahu” as in YeshaYAHU, but when these same letters are at the beginning of a word, it is pronounced as “Yeho…” or “Y’ho…” as in Y’HOnatan or Y’HOshua etc. He then goes on to say that this is proof of the pronunciation of “Yehovah” because the letters are in the front of the Name.

    There is a problem with his statement as he is only telling a “half” truth. Only those who do not know or understand Hebrew grammar rules will fall for this statement that Nehemia made, which is not entirely true.

    The part that Nehemia left out is that this only works with a conjunction word (which is when two words/names join to create a single word/name. In this case, the Hebrew rule is that the word/name which comes at the end of the composite word (suffix) always keeps its ORIGINAL form and pronunciation, where the beginning word/name (prefix), shortens its syllables wherever possible.

    Some examples of “yud hey vav” as a prefix:
    Yahu + shue (from yeshua) = Y’hoshua
    Yahu + natan = Y’honatan
    Some examples of “yud hey vav” as a suffix:
    Yasha + Yahu = Yeshayahu
    Natan + Yahu = Netanyahu

    Because the suffix (end of the word) keeps its ORIGINAL form and pronunciation, means that, because “yud hey vav”, at the end (as a suffix) is pronounced as YAHU… that means the original pronunciation is YAHU.

    The last letter of the Name of the Almighty (the “hey”) is NOT a suffix which causes the prefix to shorten, it is simply the last letter of the full Name.

    Another point… if Nehemia were correct, in regard to the above statement, then the Name “Yehovah” cannot be true. If the last letter “hey” was a suffix and had the accent and was able to shorten the syllables of the first letters. Then the Hebrew rule stands that the syllable which has the accent and the letter preceding it, both keep its original form. Only the second syllable and further from the accented syllable, then shorten their syllables.
    Lets use an example:

    Yahu + dah (from yadah) = Y’hudah (notice that the second syllable did not shorten.

    So using the Hebrew grammar rules (assuming that the last letter of the Name is a suffix and retains the accent and Nehemia is correct) then the Name could possibly be “Y’huvah” using Nehemia’s logic. Not even this could be correct as that would mean that the letter “vav” would have to be used as a consonant and a vowel at the same time, which is not possible in the Hebrew language. This also counts for Nehemia’s pronunciation of “Yehovah”

    I have asked Nehemia about this and he simply ignores my questions, and all my friends who ask him the same thing, and even deletes us as friends. I believe that if someone makes a statement and ridicules others who do not agree with the statement made (like Nehemia has done) then that person is obliged to answer any questions presented to him and prove that his statement is true (which Nehemia has NOT done).

    It seems as though Nehemia prefers to run away from any situation that might put him in a bad light rather than admitting that he might be wrong and apologies to the people who he might have influenced negatively. The least he can do is debate one of us on this subject (which does not have to be a public affair).
    The truth will one day be revealed.

    I did not want this comment to be so long, but it is almost impossible to get all this information in a shorter comment, so I apologize for that.

    Shalom
    David

    ReplyDelete
  2. But he say he found YHWH with full vowels in aleppo and leningrad codex. What do say about this?

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is true, however, it is a half truth. Nehemiah purposefully deceives the people who do not In fact, all our Jewish publications that contains the Tetragrammaton, also has a note in the front few pages that explain that the vowel pointings that are added to the Tetragrammatonare the vowels of either the words of Adonai or Elohim because us Jews are not allowed to pronounce the Name of HASHEM as it is written. Below is an excerpt that explains it a little better:

    “The original consonantal text of the Hebrew Bible was, several centuries later, provided with vowel marks by the Masoretes to assist reading. In places that the consonants of the text to be read (the qere) differed from the consonants of the written text (the ketiv), they wrote the qere in the margin as a note showing what was to be read. In such a case the vowels of the qere were written on the ketiv. For a few frequent words, the marginal note was omitted: these are called qere perpetuum.

    One of the frequent cases was the tetragrammaton, which according to later Jewish practices should not be pronounced but read as "Adonai" ("My Master"), or, if the previous or next word already was Adonai, as "Elohim" ("Mighty One"). The combination produces יְהֹוָה and יֱהֹוִה respectively, non-words that would spell "Yehovah" and "Yehovih" respectively.”

    (Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, Volume 3), (Norbert Samuelson (2006). Jewish Philosophy: An Historical Introduction)

    Nehemiah knows this all too well, but he does not share that with his non-Hebrew speaking followers. This is deceitful and evil.

    ReplyDelete