Blog Archive

Friday, July 31, 2009


For July, each post examines an Old Testament name of God.

Friday Freelance: FAMILIARITY

Set me as a seal upon Your heart,
As a seal upon Your arm.
For love is strong as death,
Jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are arrows of fire,
the very flame of YAH.
Song of Solomon 8:6 (author)

One of the idioms of Hebrew is usage of "to know" in reference to physical intimacy between a man and his wife. When a man thus knows his wife, no part of her—body, heart, mind, and soul—should not become familiar to him in a way no one else will know her.

In more common usage of the word "know," surely no one knew the Lord better than Moses. He repeatedly held the power of God in his hands with his staff. Twice Moses spent forty days fasting on Mt. Siani in communion with YHWH. The Bible records Moses spending more time in direct contact with God than any other man except Jesus Himself.

When Moses comes to know YHWH so well, no wonder he desires to behold God's full glory—to see Him as fully as YHWH sees Moses. In seemingly contradictory passages of Exodus 33, verse 11 first says, "So YHWH spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." Yet YHWH asserts in verse 20 that no man may see His face.

The Hebrew word for face, paneh, can also mean "before," as in "before your face." The voice of YHWH was heard by various patriarchs, His presence was visible to the Israelites in the pillars of cloud and fire. Moses alone was given the privilege of coming before YHWH’s visible and intimate presence in a one-on-one intimacy that man had not enjoyed since the garden—but which still excluded the full, unveiled revelation of the divine face.

When Moses begged, "Please, show me Your glory" (verse 18), his Lord graciously granted fuller knowledge and manifested His glory—but withheld from Moses the fullest knowledge that yet awaits each of us on the other side: "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known." (1 Corinthians 13:12)

Webster’s Dictionary: vehement: marked by forceful energy:
POWERFUL: as a: intensely emotional: IMPASSIONED, FERVID:
b1: deeply felt 2: forcibly expressed 3: bitterly antagonistic.

Oxford’s Dictionary: vehemet: showing strong feeling, forceful,
passionate, intense; ORIGIN Latin vehemens : impetuous, violent.

According to Strong's Hebrew Dictionary, YAH is a contracted form of the sacred name YHWH, and its meaning is defined as YHWH "most vehement."

This emphatic and personal name of God occurs 51 times in Scripture, and is usually translated "LORD" (as YHWH is, with small caps; or, KJV: JAH).

The Psalms use YAH 25 times in the imperative phrase "Hallelu YAH." That phrase is usually translated "Praise [ye] the LORD," and is familiar as "Hallelujah" or the Greek "Alleluia." Halal is a Hebrew word for a clear, shining, showy, celebratory praise—most fitting to evoke the intensity which is consistently connected to the name YAH.

YAH first appears in Scripture immediately after the powerful and clearly miraculous deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea. Thereafter, YAH appears exclusively in poetic contexts, where the speaker is giving testimony to or exhorting praise for the power of God with which the speaker has become familiar. It is because one has personally witnessed the power of YAH, extended on his or her behalf, that one is compelled to praise Him.

Perhaps the similarity of the name YAH to the Hebrew yada ("to know") is not accidental. New Covenant believers who belong to Jesus Christ experience unthinkable physical intimacy with divinity and its power: the Holy Spirit takes up residence in mortal vessels of flesh. Such familiarity is beyond amazing.

In light of the strength, passion, praise, and intimacy of knowledge associated with YAH—as well as the fact that it is the sole pronounceable form of the divine name YHWH, and the only name for God which retains the Hebrew pronunciation when translated into English—YAH is this student’s favorite name for our mighty and intensely personal God.

You will keep in perfect peace
The one stayed upon You
Because he trusts in You.
Trust in YHWH forever,
for YAH, YHWH, is the Rock of Ages.
Isaiah 26:3-4 (author)

Feedback appreciated! Post to "Comments" or e-mail to Copyright 2009, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.


  1. You are such a wealth of Biblical knowledge. Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a way to end your current project. Love it.

  3. I used Strength & Song as a potential memoir title on my blog today (and linked it to your post).

    You inspire me daily.
    ~ Wendy

  4. Thank you, Denise, for your blessing.

    Eileen, the Bible is my favorite topic to share about. My thanks to you for the opportunity to share!

    Ralene, I'm glad you love the ending. Now how am I going to keep things interesting around here?

    Wendy! What a lovely title to include on your list, and I'm so glad to be a channel of the Lord's inspiration. It may take me a few days to figure out the answer to the question posed on your post, but when I have one I'll comment there.


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