Hebrew Names: Joel

indexJoel (יואל) – This neat name is a short statement on the identity of God with constituents that we have previously seen: ‘jo’ (yhwh=the LORD) and ‘el’ (elohim=God). We have also looked at the verbless nominal clause in Hebrew with subject and predicate which renders this name “the LORD is God”.

Whereas ‘el/elohim’ is the generic word for God in Semitic (Arabic ‘allah’ being a version of this), the name that the living God revealed in the Bible was YHWH, traditionally pronounced adonai in Hebrew as the name of God was considered too holy to pronounce. This is carried over into most English Bible translations as ‘the LORD’ with capitals.

Adonai really means  ‘my lords’ (plural!). Deuteronomy 10:17 is an instance when this word in the plural is used for God. Note that plural adonai as well elohim nevertheless take singular verbs. Why? Because God is Trinity.

Returning to yhwh. In Exodus 6:3 God says to Moses: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD [YHWH] I did not make myself known to them.” Earlier in the same conversation Moses says to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” Then God replies: “God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:13-14)

This is interesting because the Hebrew for ‘I am’ is likely to be related to the name yhwh. The letters for ‘I am’ in Hebrew are ehyh. The initial y in yhwh is a 3rd person masculine singular prefix (he) whereas the initial e in ehyh is a 1st person common singular prefix (I). Further, in verbal roots where the middle radical is a y this is often interchangable with w (the y in Hebrew being very similar to w), *hwh = *hyh.

The very name yhwh thus mean (with the appropriate vowels applied!) “he is” or “he is being” – him being the very source of all being – the one and only living creator God.

Is then naturally said of God in Revelation 4:8: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”

‘Joel’ is a very powerful statement as to the identity of our God!

Biblical references for ‘Joel’: 1 Sam. 8:2
1 Chr. 4:35; 5:4, 8, 12; 6:28, 33, 36; 7:3; 11:38; 15:7, 11, 17; 23:8; 26:22; 27:20; 2 Chr. 29:12; Ezr. 10:43; Neh. 11:9; Joel 1:1; Acts 2:16

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