The Names of God
There are a wide variety of names/titles ascribed to God. Hebrew makes no linguistic distinction between a "name" and a "title". Both are called a "shem" (שם) in Hebrew. One of the most complete descriptions of the various names can be found in "The Gates of Light" by Yoseph Gikatilla, written in the 13th century. In the following, I will summarize some thoughts on the various names, as described in Jewish tradition, and as reflected in many different ancient writings.
Three of the commonest titles in Hebrew are;
= Eloha / Eloah
Many other names are formed from these. Each of these mean "mighty one" and are generally translated into English as "God", but they carry different shades of meaning according to tradition.
El is said by tradition to come from the attribute of Chesed - A Hebrew word that means "Mercy" or "Loving Kindness". Thus we see the scriptures say in Micah 7:18
"Who is EL like you, forgiving iniquity and passing by the transgression".
Some would say He is called EL in this verse, not ELoHIM, because He is being described as showing mercy in this verse. Other places where we see this are...
- "YHWH, YHWH, EL of mercy and grace..." (Exodus/Shemot 34:6)
- "For YHWH, your God, is a merciful EL." (Deut/Dev 4:31)
- "And You, YHWH, merciful and pardoning EL..." (Ps/Teh 86:15)
The details of this are too complicated to get into for a short lesson like this, but there is more to this. And in Numbers 12:13, we understand Moses is appealing to God's mercy by calling Him "EL", saying..
"EL, I beg You, heal her"
And whenever it describes God as a "Jealous God", it's always "Jealous EL", not "Jealous Elohim" (Exod/Shem 20:5, 34:14, Deut/Dev 5:9, 6:15).
Elohim may also mean "Might One" or "The Power(s)" and implies power and is said to refer to Him as the Creator or Judge or Lawgiver or other references that hint at the fact that all power flows from Him as the ultimate source. It takes POWER to create the Universe, thus Genesis/Bereshit 1:1 tells us "In the beginning ELOHIM created the heavens and the earth". Elohim, and not El may have been used here because it is describing God in the act of creation, which requires power.
If you notice a verse describing God as Elohim, while at the same time discussing His mercy, this might imply how He is merciful, DESPITE those attributes of Him that desire justice. While EL, as used in Micah 7:18, would imply that mercy eminates from His very nature.
The Zohar gives an interesting etymology for "Elohim" via R. Eleazar, saying the term is derived from ELeH (אלה), meaning "these" and MI (מי), meaning "Who". The letters for "Who" (MI=מי) are reversed (ים) in the Name "Elohim" (אלהים) as if to be ANSWERING the question "Who?" The Zohar says we say "What" to the lower heaven and "Who" to the higher heaven and then offers a correlation between Lam 2:13 and Deut/Dev 30:19 as proof of this, but Lam 2:13 is quoted in the Zohar differently than I have it in my Masoret text. Anyway, perhaps this is an attempt to say that G-d's existance is ascertained from what He has created. It talks how Jacob asked "Who (MI) created these"? indicating that they are saying that "Elohim" means "these (things of creation)" are of "IM" (ים) or the answer to "Who" (MI=מי)?. So "Elohim" might be read "These are from Him Who is". Several other writers in the Zohar give different explanations, but with the same basic end result of it deriving from "these" and "who".
ELOHA or ELOAH (אֱלוֹהַּ)
Eloah/Eloha is said to draw from both the attributes of Mercy (El) as well as Justice/Creation (Elohim). Eloah describes the "God of Wonder". The God who conceals and reveals and traditionally, the God who works miracles. We see Him revealed this way in Hab 3:3 , which says, "ELOAH shall come from Teman (Yemen), the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covers the heavens and his praise filled the earth." In this verse, we see God referred to as One who will reveal Himself from a hidden place/mystery. Isa/Yesh 44:8 is another place where Eloah is described as revealing Himself through a witness. Many other verses exist as well connecting "Eloha" to mystery.
"Elyon" (עֶלְיוֹן) means "Most High" and is said to be associated with the attributes of God that are pure in compassion and mercy. This will have to be explained more later. The phrase "Most High" might sound as if it's speaking to us of His Sovreignity. El Elyon (אֵל עֶלְיוֹן) is therefore "God Most High" or "God in the Highest".
Now when we start to put these together with others words to form "El Shaddai", Elohim Tzevaot", etc., we can read more detailed shades of subtleties when we first understand what why "El" verses "Elohim" are used. For example, "El Shaddai" is usually translated "God Almighty", but that's not a very good translation. "Shaddai" refers to His ability to provide and nurture. If "El" refers to His sense of love and compassion, then "El Shaddai" speaks to us of a God who takes care of us because He loves us. Whereas "Elohim Shaddai" might be used when one is trying to describe a God who CAN do such things, but is acting more from a standpoint of justice or judgement.
El Shaddai is "אֵל שַׁדַּי" and can be broken down as אל ש+די , interpretting the Shin (ש) as a preposition separating EL (God) from DaY (enough), and would thus mean, "God that is enough".
YHWH and EHYH
EHYH (אֶהְיֶה) most famously appears in Exodus 3:14, where G-d tells Moses "I AM (EHYH) who I AM (EHYH)" or it might also be translated "I will be who I will be". Tradition says this is the highest form of God's Name(s) - the one that most directly eminates from Him. Giketilla describes EHYH as being the "Upper Name" that eminates from God and YHWH as being the "Lower Name" or as the "Middle Name" with "Adonai" as the "lower Name". This sure gives a lot of sacred namers fits who insist you're hell-bound if you don't call Him "Yahweh" or "Yahuweh" or "Yehowah" - or whatever way THEY pronounce it. Hmmmmm.
YHWH (יהוה) also speaks to us of God's existence, and may be derived from a permutation of "existence" or "He Will Be" or "He who Is" or more fully "He will be the one Who Is". (Documented by Rashbam on Exodus 3:14, Philo in On Abraham, 121) Perhaps this helps explain why EHYH might be considered the form of His Name that more directly eminates from God, since EHYH is first person, while perhaps YHWH may hint at being an attemp to say the same thing as EHYH, but in the second person. Aryeh Kaplan, in his commentary on the Bahir, says that Elohim calls Himself EHYH (אהיה) while we call Him YHWH (יהוה).
One verse offered as proof of YHWH as the "Middle Name" is 1 Chron 29:11, but you will have to not only read this in Hebrew to see it, but be familiar with certain "recieved traditions" to understand why this would map this way.
- HYH (היה) means "was"
- HWH (הוה) means "is" and
- YHYH (יהיה) means "will be"
In Revelation 1:4, 8, 4:8, Yeshua (Jesus) is called,
"He who was, and is, and is to come"
There are places in the Tanakh where both the Father and Son are called, "YHWH" (See last section).
Is the Name "ineffable"? How is it pronounced?
What do people mean when they say "YHWH" is an "ineffable" Name? Some claim that means it shouldn't be pronounced. Others, that it can't be pronounced. What could we mean by the idea that it CAN'T be pronounced? In Zohar on B'Midbar, 146b-147a, it talks about how the Name of "YHWH" may have had multiple meanings, and the priests, when pronouncing it, just focused on one of the several multiple pronunciations it may have had. It says,
"The Divine Name has both a revealed and an undisclosed form. In its revealed form it is written YHWH, but in its undisclosed form it is written in other letters (Adonai, Elohim)......Even the revealed form of the Name (YHWH) is hidden under other letters...For it behooves the priest, to concentrate on the various permutations of the Divine Name, and to call down the mercies of all the Attributes through the two Crowns of mercy. In these letters of this Name are concealed 22 attributes of mercy...but they combine in one composite Name, on which the priest concentrates his mind when he spread forth his hands...at the time when the Name was disclosed, the priest would concentrate his mind on its deep and inner meaning, and he would utter the Name in such a way as to accord with that meaning."
So perhaps in order to pronounce "YHWH" in its fullness, one might need, according to the Zohar, a chorus of many people, each of whom are pronouncing a different aspect of the Name, so that the full meaning of the Name can be heard in the chorus of people speaking various flavors/pronunciations of the Name. Pronounce "יהוה" one way and it means "He Who Is". Pronounce it another and it means "He Who Causes to Be". Pronounce it all possible meaningful ways, and you get a chorus of pronunciations with a chorus of meanings. God just isn't as simple as you and me. He is far more complex than us, and His Name is far more complex than the type of names we have.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. " (Isa/Yesh 55:9)
And so is His Name higher than ours and it's pronunciation higher and more complex than ours. This might explain why it is called such a blessing for Moshé (Moses) to hear the Name of YHWH spoken out loud in Exodus/Shemot 33:18-19, where it says,
"Now show me your glory."
19 And the Lord said,
"I will cause all my goodness to pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, YHWH, before you"
Philo (20 BC - 40 AD) says God is called, ""He that is" as His proper Name..." (On Abraham, 121).
The Name YHWH (יהוה) is sometimes written in short form as simply YaH (יה), most often in poetry (The Psalms/Tehilim) or people's names (Eliyahu/Elijah, Yahshua/Joshua, etc). Some people who are not too familiar with Hebrew pronounce it "Jehovah", which cannot possible be correct. For one, there's no "J" sound in Hebrew. The closest you can get to "Jehovah" is "Yehovah". But it's not a "v" either, because it's well known that the letter Waw, while pronounced like a "V" in modern Hebrew, was pronounced like a "w" in ancient Hebrew. This comes through several old writings, the most prominent might be Sefer Yetzirah, written within a few hundred years of the first century AD, which describes somewhat how the sound was formed. So the closest you get to "Jehovah" would be "Yehowah".
The Bahir gives this explanation for how to pronounce the Name:
"What is the meaning of the verse,
"May YHWH bless you and watch you.
May YHWH make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
May YHWH lift His face to you and give you peace." (Num 6:24-26)?
This is the explicit Name of the Blessed Holy One. It is the Name containing 12 letters, as it is written "YHWH YHWH YHWH". This tells us that God's Name consists of 3 troops. Each troop resembles the other, and each one's name is like [the other's] named. All of them are sealed with Yud Hey Vau Heh." (The Bahir, 107, Aryeh Kaplan's translation)
The Bahir 110 tells us that all 72 of Elohim's names are "sealed with YHWH".
"...What is the meaning of the verse, 'God (YHWH) is a King, God (YHWH) was King, God (YHWH) will be King forever and ever.'*? This is the Explicit Name (Shem HaMePoresh) for which permission was given that it be permuted and spoken. It is thus written ... "And they shall place My Name upon the children of Israel, and I will bless them." This refers to the Name containing twelve letters. It is the Name used in the Priestly Blessing "May God bless you..." It contains three names [each having four letters] making a total of twelve. Its vowel points are Yapha'al (יִפָעָל) Y'pha'oel (יְפוֹעֵל) Yiph'ol (יִפְעוֹל) ." " (Bahir, 111, Kaplan. *The footnoted quotation is from )
This would suggest that the 12 letter Name of YHWH YHWH YHWH is to be pronounced, "YiHaWaH, Y'HoWeH, YiHoWH". The Hebrew version looks like this;
Transfer vowels to YHWH
Transliterate to English
יִפָעָל יְפוֹעֵל יִפְעוֹל
יִהָוָה יְהֺוֵה יִהוֹה
YiHaWaH Y'HoWeH YiHoWH
From the Babylonian captivity forward, Jews quit pronouncing The Name. Some speculate when pagans began using His Name in vain, they didn't want gentiles to hear it pronounced. So they only pronounced it in the temple, where gentiles were not allowed. So when they read the scriptures, and they got to "YHWH", they would say "Adonai" (Lord) or "Elohim" (God) instead of "YHWH" or use some other euphemism.
The Bahir continues on to cite two "explicit names"; one containing 12 letters (3 pronunciations) and one containing 72 letters, or 18 pronunciations. And while the Bahir gives the three pronunciations in the 12 letter name it does not give the 18 pronunciations for the 72 letter Name. Some people have the misperception that there is only one right way to say the Divine Name, but that is not correct. There are multiple ways to say it, and I have another writing that delves into this issue on another page.
When applying this line of thought to scripture, keep in mind that sometimes mercy and judgement are mixed together. For example, If a judge sentences a thief to pay a penalty, that would be justice. But would it also not be merciful? After all, the punishment would teach him a lesson, and that is certainly loving kindness. To let him off totally free would not only be unjust, but unloving, for how would he ever learn to reform his ways if he was not taught what his responsibilities are? But indeed, pain has a way of making people understand!
But suppose a thief comes forward and says, "I'm so sorry....I will pay back 10 times to my victims...I have learned that this was wrong." To let him off with a light sentence could also be considered just in this case, even if it is more mercy than justice. For what does it profit anyone to sentence a man who has learned his error and payed back for his wrongs and is no longer a threat to anyone? Yet despite that elements of both justice and mercy may be present here, it is not hard to see that one or the other dominates both situations, with the first being principally an administration of justice, with mercy present, and the second being the reverse of that.
So indeed, sometimes justice and mercy are mixed, and cannot be separated. At other times, maybe they can be pure, mostly one without the other. Elyon is said to refer to G-d from the highest form of mercy and compassion that has no justice mixed in with it.
There are many other names for Elohim that appear in scripture as well - YHWH of Hosts, Elohim of Hosts, EL Elohim YHWH, El Shaddai, etc. Each of them have different shades of meaning that build upon the meanings mentioned above. For example, "El Shaddai" not only speaks of God as a provider, but implies that we don't deserve the bountitude in which He blesses us. It speaks of how He provides for us because He loves us, whereas "Elohim Shaddai" would imply a God who provides out of His strength, speaking more to us about the CAPACITY G-d has to provide, rather than the Love or Mercy involved in providing. The best single collection of discussing these names is probably found in "The Gates of Light", but some of the other traditional ancient sources can be usefull in this regard as well. But it's also difficult to go into detail on many of them without laying another foundational understanding of various concepts that would be rather detailed for a short discussion like this.
History of the Use of the Name
When you read the Tanakh, you get the impression the Name "YHWH" (יהוה) was spoken quite a bit. According to the Talmud, it was a little after the Babylonian empire that the priest stopped using the Name in the blessings (b.Yoma 49b). A lot of people think the ban during the first century AD was that it was only used on Yom Kippur. That is not true. the ban was based on a PLACE, not a TIME. The Talmud tells us in the Mishnah section (m. Sotah 7:6 II C),
"In the sanctuary, one says the Name as it is written, but in the provinces, with a euphemism"
The justification for this was the verses in the scripture that called the Temple
"to the place the LORD your God will choose as a dwelling for his Name--there you are to bring everything I command you" (Deuteronomy 12:11, and other similar verses in many other places in the Torah).
The Name was used not only in reading scripture during first century AD, but also in personal greetings at the temple. We are told in the Mishnah,
And they ordained that an individual should greet his fellow with [The] Name, in accordance with what is said, "And behold Boaz came from Bethlehem; and he said to the reapers, ‘YHWH be with you!’ And they answered, ‘YHWH bless you" (Ruth 2:4)
The Pharisees enforced their ban on the use of the Name with the penalty of death, but only if they spoke the whole Name (YHWH), not the short form of "Yah" (See the Mishnah, Beit Din 7:5). The Essenes simply banished people from the community (See "The Community Rule" in 4Q256, page 107 of "The Complete Dead Sea Scrolls in English"). The Pharisaic ban is recorded in the Mishnah and also reflected in how they mis-translated scripture.
Lev. 24:16 says,
And whoever blasphemes the name of YHWH shall surely be put to death…
However when the Pharisees translated this into Greek circa 250 BC, they translated it like this;
And he that names the name of the Lord, Let him die the death…(Lev. 24:16 LXX)
The most common euphemisms are "LORD" and "GOD" (in English) or "HaShem" (which literally means "The Name" in Hebrew). In modern Jewish society, "HaShem" is used most of the week, but "Adonai" is used on Shabbat.
The Masoret scribes even changed the Name "YHWH" to "Adonai" (Lord) or "Elohim" (God) im many places in scripture. There is a list of which verses in which it was changed given as the following;
Gen. 18:3,27,30,32; 19:18; 20:4 Ex. 4:10,13; 5:22,; 15:17; 34:9,9 Num. 14:17 Josh. 7:8 Judg. 6:15; 13:8 1Kings 3:10,15; 22:6 2Kings 7:6; 19:23 Isa. 3:17,18; 4:4; 6:1,8,11; 7:14,20; 8:7; 9:8,17; 10:12; 11:11; 21:6,8,16; 28:2; 29:13; 30:20; 37:24; 38:14,16; 49:14 Ezek. 18:25,29; 21:13; 33:17,29 Amos 5:16; 7:7,8; 9:1 Zech. 9:4 Mic. 1:2 Mal. 1:12,14 Ps. 2.4; 16:2; 22:19,30; 30:8; 35:3,17,22; 37:12; 38:9,15,22; 39:7; 40:17; 44:23; 51:15; 54:4; 55:9; 57:9; 59:11; 62:12; 66:18; 68:11,17,19,22,26,32; 73:20; 77:2,7; 78:65; 79:12; 86:3,4,5,8,9,12,15; 89:49,50; 90:1,17; 110:5; 130:2,3,6 Dan.1:2; 9:3,4,7,9,15,16,17,19,19,19 Lam. 1:14,15,15; 2:1,2,5,7,18,19,20; 3:31,36,37,58 Ezra 10:3 Neh.1:11; 4:14 Job 28:28.
in the Massorah. Since the Dead Sea Scrolls have the original Name (YHWH) in these places, these changes are verified by the oldest available Hebrew scriptures. Another place where we see the possibility of this in scripture is that Psalms 14 and 53 are nearly identical except Ps 14 uses YHWH in several places where Psalm 53 uses ELOHIM.
Why was the ban enacted? Some have theorized it was to prevent people from using the Name in vain. It may have been due to law, since the Talmud teaches us that the Greek government baned the use of the Name. Rosh HaShanah 18b says,
R. Aha b. Huna raised an objection [from the following]: ‘On the third of Tishri the mention [of God] in loan bonds was abolished: for the Grecian Government had forbidden the mention of God's name by the Israelites, and when the Government of the Hasmoneans became strong and defeated them, they ordained that they should mention the name of God even on bonds, and they used to write thus: ‘In the year So-and-so of Johanan, High Priest to the Most High God’,
Now why would the Greek government ban the mention of the Name if this was already the practice by the Jews themselves? The Zohar gives this explanation for the ban on the Name;
"We have learned that when reverence was prevalent among mankind, the ineffable Name was openly enunciated in the hearing of all, but after irreverence became widespread it was concealed under other letters" (Zohar on b'midbar, 146b, Vol V Page 195 Socino edition)
The ban on speaking the Name seems to contradict scripture which teaches;
"My Name shall be declared in all the earth" [not just the temple] (Exod/Shem 19:6)
"My people shall know my Name" (Isa/Yesh 52:6)
"Let them praise the Name of YHWH" (Ps/Teh 148:13)
"I will declare your name to my brothers" (Ps/Teh 22:22)
And when we refuse to speak the Name, we are treating it the way Elohim told us to treat the name of pagan gods, when He said,
"the name of other gods ye do not mention; it is not heard on thy mouth." (Exod/Shem 23:13)
The Talmud taught that the Name could be pronounced now and then in order to keep knowledge of the pronunciation alive. Kiddushin 71a states:
Rabbah b. Bar Hanah said in R. Yochanan's name: The [pronunciation of the Divine] Name of four letters the Sages confide to their disciples once every seventy years others state, twice every seventy years. Said R. Nachman b. Isaac: Reason supports the view that it was once every seventy years for it is written, "This is my name for ever [le'olam] (Exodus 3:15) which is written le'allem (to be kept secret)
A Common Misconception
It has been erroneously taught by many Christians that "YHWH" was only pronounced in the temple once a year and only by the High Priest and only on Yom Kippur. As we've seen in the above quote from the Mishnah, this was not true. Where did this come from? We say the Shema every week in synagogue as "Sh'ma Yisrael, Adonai, Eloheynu...", but on Yom Kippur, it was said by the high priest as "Sh'ma Yisrael, YHWH Eloheynu..." in front of the crowd. The Name was actually pronounced in this blessing. (See the Talmud, Yoma 35b) On this day only, it was followed by "Baruch HaShem, kavod...". Now many modern synagogue, we say this second line EVERY week, but in ancient times, this was not the case. It was only said when the Name "YHWH" was actually pronounced and it was not added when the Shema was recited as "Shema Yisrael ADONAI..." The theory here is that by praising/blessing the Name immediately after it was spoken, you eliminate the possibility that you just used the Name in vain because it's never vain to praise the Name of the Lord. This is why many Jews, if they speak His Name or a title (Elohim, Adonai, etc) would say "The Holy One, Blessed He be..." or "Elohim, blessed He be..." as if adding the "blessed he be" would exonerate them from using the Name in vain since it is never vain to praise the Name of G-d.
But anytime one was in the temple and reading scriptures, the Name was pronounced and you'd get into trouble for saying "Adonai" or "HaShem" there instead of the actual Name.
Did Early believers use the Name?
Speaking the Name was considered "blasphemy" in first century AD. Paul said that when he was persecuting believers via "I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme" (Acts 26:11). Would a believer "blaspheme" (speak evil) the Name? Hard to get them to do that!!! So how did he "compel" them? If you consider speaking the Name to be "blasphemy", and you know they practice speaking the Name under certain circumstances, then it he may have tried to get them to speak the Name so he could take them to the Beit Din (Sanhedrin) and have them executed. It is likely then, that the early believers desired to get back to the more original tradition of speaking the Name even in greatings, rather than following the more recent tradition of avoiding the use of the Name.
This is one example of how looking up words in a concordenance isn't enough to tell you what the disciples were trying to communicate. The literal definition of "blasphemy" simply means "speak evil", but there is terminology and phraseology that exists at a level above word definitions in the way words were used in Jewish culture that one has to understand. Sometimes, in order to catch all the details of what they are say, we have to understand that culture and submerge ourself in that culture to properly understand what they were trying to communicate with the words they chose.
The Saviour's Name
Originally, in long form, the Savior's Name is YeHOShUa (יְהוֹשֻׁעַ), meaning "Yah/He is Salvation". This is the form used for "Joshua" in the book of Yehoshua/Joshua. After the Babylonian captivity, when names containing "Yah" were no longer pronounced for a while, it was usually shortened to "Yeshua" meaning "Salvation". (Though in later times, the use of "Yah" in people's names came back in vogue.) Thus, many references in the post Babylonian books of scripture refer to "Joshua" as "Yeshua". In Aramaic, it was shortened to "Yeshu" which might be pronounced "Eeshoo". This is close to the Greek pronunciation, which was "EE-AY-SOO". Many modern Messianic believers write the Name as "Y'shua" as in indicator of either "Yehoshua" or "Yeshua" without specifying a preference.
The original English translation of the Name "Yeshua" was not "Jesus" but "Iesus", which probably differed both in spelling and pronunciation from the modern "GeeZus" and was most closely influenced by the Old Latin spelling and pronunciation. After a few hundred years, "Iesus" evolved to "Jesus", which is less evolution than many other words in the English language have undergone in that time frame. Consider this from the 1611 King James;
Luke 4:1-3 "And Iesus, being full of the holy Ghost, returned from the Iordane, and was led by the spirit into the wildernesse, being fourtie dayes tempted of the deuil...he afterward hungred. And the deuil saide vnto him, if thou be the Sonne of God..."
There are no "typos" (mistakes) in the above quote. The evolution of "Iordane" to "Jordan" is more radical than "Iesus" to "Jesus", yet consistant with that evolution of "I" moving to "J". Note the evolutions here. Y'shua or Jesus is "Iesus". We have "holy Ghost", with little "h" and big "G", but we also have big "G" in "Ghost" contrasted with little "s" in "spirit". We have "hungred" not "hungered" (bet you thought that was a typo, huh? Nope - that's exactly as it appeared as "proper English" in 1611!!!) not to mention a lot of other variances. And today it would be considered bad grammar to say "he afterward hungered".
More than one YHWH, yet YHWH is One
Many early Christian writers (Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and others) noted that the scriptures seem to talk of two "YHWH"'s. (YHWH is God's Name, not just the Name of the Father or the Son.)
calls YHWH "Father".
- Isaiah 63:16
Genesis 3:22 says, "And YHWH ELOHIM said, "Behold, the man has become like one from US" Isaiah 44:6 says,
"Thus says YHWH, King of Israel, and his redeemer, YHWH of hosts, 'I am the first and I am the last; Besides me there is no ELOHIM.'"
Note that YHWH's redeemer is also called "YHWH". Who is the redeemer of Father YHWH? That of course is the Son, aka YHWH, aka Emmanuel, aka Prince of Peace, aka the Word / Mamre / Deber of the Father. Isaiah 48:14-18 is another similar example where the speaker is YHWH, and He says YHWH has sent Him. Also, not that two people here say "I" in unison. For this says;
"Thus says <both YHWHs>...'I am the first and I am the last; Besides me there is no ELOHIM.'"
...so the two of them both say "I am" at the same time in unison.
In Ps 110:1...5 we have "YHWH said to my Adonai, 'sit at my right hand"..."YHWH is at Your right hand"
[Note: this is one of the 134 places in the Tanak where the Name YHWH was replaced with "Adonai" in the Masoret text. This is quoted from the Dead Sea Scrolls version.]
Now some people have a hard time with this idea. It seems normal to me, but then I was named after my father as well. I have exactly the same name as my father. George Bush is almost a Jr (but a different middle name than his Dad). So this is not so far out.
So we have more than one "YHWH", yet we're told in Deut 6:4
"Hear, O Israel: YHWH our God, YHWH is one"
So we see more than one "YHWH", yet we are told, "YHWH is one". In Isa/Yesh 6:1...5 says,Now who did Isa/Yesh see? It wasn't the Father, since:
"...I saw also YHWH sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
3 And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is YHWH of hosts...
5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, YHWH of hosts."
"you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." (Exod/Shem 33:20)
No one can see the face of the Father, but many have seen the face of the Son. Gideon and Jacob both saw the face of the Angel of YHWH:
"When Gideon realized that it was the angel of YHWH , he exclaimed, "Ah, Sovereign YHWH ! I have seen the angel of YHWH face to face!" " (Judges 6:22)
"I saw God face to face" (Gen/Ber 32:30)
Both of these men saw the "Angel of YHWH" who is the Son. The NT explains this by telling us, "No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father." (Yoch 6:46) since the Father "lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. " (1 Tim 6:16)
Respect for the Name
Jewish traditions teaches to revere the Name and that the Name may not be erased after it is written. The Talmud (Beit Din 65a) teaches,
These are the Names which may not be erased, such as: ‘El’, ‘Eloha’, ‘Elohim,’ ‘your God,’ I am that I am,1 ‘Alef Dalet’, ‘Yod Hay’, ‘Shaddai’, ‘Tzevaot;’ these may not be erased; but the Great, the Mighty, the Revered, the Majestic, the Strong, the Powerful, the Potent, the Merciful and Gracious, the Long Suffering, the One Abounding in Kindness these may be erased!
It is for this reason that many modern day Jews will write "God" in English as "G-d", because they have determined that "God" cannot be erased, but "G-d" can. Of course to me, if "G-d" refers to the same thing as "God", seems to me it should be treated the same way, but that's the tradition.