By His Name Jah

Side note: One of the posters on Tzetzes, called it a conflict between Jah and Allah. I don’t think that’s at all right, since I think only one side wants it to be a religous war. But another poster says that Jah is a Rastafarian term for God.

That’s news to me. But I can confirm that Jah is very much an appropriate term for the Christian God. It is a shortened form of Jehovah or Yahweh (in the Hebrew, YHVH) used often in names and in songs or praise. Curiously, no one can seem to agree just how to pronounce the full name of Jehovah, or Yahweh, or Yahveh, (your pick), but the shortened form seems to be pretty safely pronounced as “Yah”.

The only place in the Authorized or King James Version where JAH appears is in Psalm 68, verse 4:

Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

So one would think it wrong to say the name JAH is used often in praise. However, that’s just because it is usually translated as God in the book of Psalms. In the one exception noted above, the verse says, “by his name JAH”, so it really would not make much sense to translate it there as, “by his name the LORD”.

We do see the word used in many Hebrew names, e.g. Isaiah, Jeremaiah, Hezekiah, Obadiah, and even Micah (a contraction of Micaiah). In such cases, the word shows up spelled with an I, but apparently still pronounced as “Yah”.

The most obvious use of the name JAH, though, is in the word, “Hallelujah.” Or, “Hallelu” to “JAH”


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