SPECIAL TOPIC: "THE NAME" OF YHWH (OT)

The use of "the name" as a substitute for YHWH Himself is parallel to the Exod. 23:20-33 use of "angel," who is said to have "My name is in him."  This same substitution can be seen in the use of "His glory" (e.g., John 1:14; 17:22).  All are attempts to soften the personal anthropomorphic presence of YHWH (cf. Exod. 3:13-16; 6:3).  YHWH is surely spoken of in human terms, but it was also known that He was spiritually present throughout creation (cf. 1 Kgs. 8:27; Ps. 139:7-16; Jer. 23:24; Acts 7:49 quotes Isa. 66:1).

There are several examples of "the name" representing YHWH's divine essence and personal presence.

1. Deut. 12:5; 2 Sam. 7:13; 1 Kgs. 9:3; 11:36

2. Deut. 28:58 

3. Ps. 5:11; 7:17; 9:10; 33:21; 68:4; 91:14; 103:1; 105:3; 145:21

4. Isa. 48:9; 56:6

5. Ezek. 20:44; 36:21; 39:7

6. Amos 2:7

7. John 17:6,11,26

The concept of "calling on" (i.e., worshiping) the name of YHWH is seen early in Genesis.

1. Gen. 4:26, the line of Seth

2. Gen. 12:8, Abraham

3. Gen. 13:4, Abraham

4. Gen. 16:13, Hagar

5. Gen. 21:33, Abraham

6. Gen. 26:25, Isaac

and in Exodus:

1. Exod. 5:22-23, speak in Your name

2. Exod. 9:16, proclaim My name through all the earth (cf. Rom. 9:17)

3. Exod.20:7, do not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (cf. Lev. 19:12; Deut. 5:11; 6:13; 10:20)

4. Exod. 20:24, where I cause My name to be remembered (cf. Deut. 12:5; 26:2)

5. Exod. 23:20-21, an angel ("since My name is in him")

6. Exod. 34:5-7, Moses calls on (or "called out") the name of the Lord.  This is one of a handful of texts that describe YHWH's character (cf. Neh. 9:17; Ps. 103:8; Joel 2:13)

Knowing someone by name implies an intimacy (cf. Exod. 33:12); Moses knows YHWH's name and in 33:17, YHWH knows Moses' name.  This is the context where Moses wants to see God's glory (cf. v. 18), but God allows him to see "His goodness" (v. 19), which is parallel to "the name" (v. 19).

The Israelites are to destroy "the names" of Canaan's gods (cf. Deut. 12:3) and call on Him (cf. Deut. 6:13; 10:20; 26:2) at the special place He causes His name to dwell (cf. Exod. 20:24; Deut. 12:5,11,21; 14:23,24; 16:2,6,11; 26:2).

YHWH has a universal purpose involving His name.

1. Gen. 12:3

2. Exod. 9:16

3. Exod. 19:5-6

4. Deut. 28:10,58

5. Micah 4:1-5 

 

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