וַיֹּאמֶר עוֹד אֱלֹהִים אֶל־מֹשֶׁה
כֹּה־תֹאמַר אֶל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל
יהוה אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵיכֶם אֱלֹהֵי אַבְרָהָם אֱלֹהֵי יִצְחָק
וֵאלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב שְׁלָחַנִי אֲלֵיכֶם
זֶה־שְּׁמִי לְעֹלָם וְזֶה זִכְרִי לְדֹר דֹּר׃
God, furthermore, said to Moses,
"Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel,
'יהוה, 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 this is My memorial-name to all generations."
- Exodus 3:15 (NASB 1995)
וַיְדַבֵּר יהוה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר׃
דַּבֵּר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶל־בָּנָיו לֵאמֹר
כֹּה תְבָרֲכוּ אֶת־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אָמוֹר לָהֶם׃
יְבָרֶכְךָ יהוה וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ׃
יָאֵר יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ׃
יִשָּׂא יהוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם׃
וְשָׂמוּ אֶת־שְׁמִי עַל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וַאֲנִי אֲבָרֲכֵם׃
Then יהוה spoke to Moses, saying,
"Speak to Aaron and to his sons, saying,
'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel. You shall say to them:
"יהוה bless you, and keep you;
יהוה make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you;
יהוה lift up His countenance on you, And give (שׂים) you peace."'
"So they shall invoke (שׂים) My name on the sons of Israel, and I then will bless them."
- Numbers 6:22-27 (NASB 1995)
יהוה gave His people His name to know Him by, to remember Him by, and for them to be blessed by.
But instead of knowing and calling Him by His name, we often refer to Him by a title or a function: "(The) LORD."
While some people are insistent on using "Yahweh" or some other contrived or derived pronunciation of יהוה for God's name, it seems to me that we already pretty much use the word "God" as God's name.
And I wonder if we ought to be doing it more often.
For it seems to me that our frequent use or overuse of the term/title "(The) LORD" in conversation or prayer is probably mainly because we're so used to seeing and reading "The LORD" for the English translation of יהוה in our Bibles.
But when we say, "(The) LORD," we're not only not saying His name or even His title, but a translation of a title that was substituted for His name.
And that doesn't seem to be what יהוה wants His people to do.
There's also this from VanGemeren, W. (1998). Vol. 4: New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (NIDOTTE) (1296–1297). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House:
The “translation” LORD (capitalized in the RSV/NRSV/NIV) is something of a problem, from various perspectives. LORD obscures the fact that Yahweh is a name and not a title or an epithet. The use of LORD is based on the post-OT Jewish practice of reading אֲדֹנָי (Lord) for Yahweh, because of an increased sense of holiness associated with Yahweh, followed by the LXX’s κύριος (#3261). To facilitate this reading, the vowels for the Aram. word meaning “the Name” (which became synonymous with Yahweh in postbiblical Judaism) have been superimposed on the consonants for Yahweh in the Heb. text; or, these are the vowels for אֲדֹנָי, though the initial “a” vowel is not accounted for in this. With the phrase אֲדֹנָי יהוה (305×, Gen 15:2), the vowels of אֱלֹהִים are used with יהוה; in these cases, many translations (e.g., NRSV) use the phrase “Lord GOD” (implicitly recognizing that the meaning of יהוה is not Lord, otherwise the rendering would be “Lord LORD”). In view of this reality, it could be argued that, as with other personal names, we simply transliterate what the original Heb. was thought to be—Yahweh (this pronunciation is only an educated guess, constructed largely from early Christian references).Some background from Alexander, T. D., & Baker, D. W. (2003). Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch (364–365). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.:
The transliteration of the present Heb. form, “Jehovah,” does not represent any known ancient pronunciation; such a form did emerge in the Middle Ages, however, and has had a hallowed usage in Christian hymnody (also in the ASV). An alternative would be to follow the NT practice of using “God.” This would also meet the concern of some that the word Lord brings into thousands of texts a masculine metaphor that is not present in the original Heb. (see “Yahweh,” ABD 6:1012).
3. What does the divine name-giving mean for Israel? Two extremes should be avoided. On the one hand, the import of a name is not a mere badge of identity; on the other hand, it does not belong to the sphere of magic, as if by knowing or pronouncing the name one has control over the deity. The oft-cited Gen 32:29, where Jacob’s request for the name of his assailant is not granted, is not pertinent here, for God had already given Jacob his name in 28:13.
Divine name-giving entails several dimensions. It entails distinctiveness; it sets God off from others who have names, incl. gods. Moreover, anyone whose name is known becomes a part of the community that has names; God thereby chooses to join the historical community. Even more, to give the name Yahweh with reference to the God of the fathers ties this God to a certain history. God’s own history is thus integrated with the history of this people, and in this text God makes a commitment to be a part of the history of Israel.
Furthermore, giving the name entails a certain kind of relationship; it opens up the possibility of, indeed admits a desire for, a certain intimacy in relationship. A relationship without a name inevitably means some distance; naming the name is necessary for closeness. Naming makes true communication and encounter possible. Naming entails availability. By giving the name, God becomes accessible. God and people can now meet and address each other. Yet, because name is not person or identity or character (an oft-repeated mistake), there remains an otherness, even a mystery about the one who is named.
Naming also entails vulnerability. In becoming so available to the world, God is to some degree at the disposal of those who can name the name. God’s name may be misused and abused as well as honored. For God to give the name is to open himself up to hurt. Naming entails the likelihood of divine suffering (cf. Exod 3:7). This is probably a factor that undergirds the giving of the commandment regarding the name of God (Exod 20:7). On the above, see T. Fretheim, Exodus, 63–65.
When fear of misusing God’s name, Yahweh (cf. Ex 20:7; Deut 5:11), arose at the end of the pre-Christian era, it was replaced by ʾădōnay, which became for all practical purposes a proper noun (cf. Mettinger, 15–19). Some suggest that the actual Masoretic Text (MT) was changed in light of this practice, substituting one for the other (Baudissin, 1.559, 2.81–96; Eichrodt, 1.204), but this does not appear likely, since both ʾădōnay and Yahweh remain in the numerous verses mentioned (cf. Jenni 1997b, 1.28). This phenomenon is evident in the MT, however, where the Tetragrammaton, which should not be pronounced lest it be profaned, is revocalized. Sometimes it is to be read as ʾădōnay, with this word’s vowels appended to the consonants yhwh (i.e., yĕh[ō]wāh, from which we get “Jehovah” through the more archaic English pronunciation of the letters; e.g., Gen 2:4; Yeivin, 58–59). At times it revocalized as yĕh[ō]wih with the vowels from ʾĕlōhîm (e.g., Gen 15:2, 8). This practice of substitution carries over into the Septuagint, where yhwh is routinely rendered by kyrios (“lord”), a practice carried on in the NT (e.g., Mt 4:7, quoting Deut 6:16). This continues in most contemporary English translations (except for the Jerusalem Bible), where yhwh is rendered LORD.