The following is another chapter from my disinformation book, 50 Things You’re Not Supposed to Know: Volume 2, published in 2004. For more on me go to The Memory Hole or follow me @RussKick on Twitter.
There’s an old joke that says God’s name is Harold, as in: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be thy name…”
The strange thing is, that’s not too much off the mark, only the truth is even weirder. The Lord does indeed have a name, kind of like Andrew or Beth or José.
It’s right there in the Bible, at Exodus 34:14. Moses has trudged up Mount Sinai with a second pair of stone tablets, on which God will write the Ten Commandments. Moses and the Big G engage in some repartee, then God says:
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”
This is straight out of the King James Version. God reveals “his” own name: Jealous.
In the original Hebrew, the key words in this verse are shem and qanna’. According to one of the standard reference works in this area — A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible by James Strongs — shem is a noun meaning “name.” One of its specific denotations is “the Name (as designation of God).” The word qanna’ means “jealous” and is applied only to God.
Other English translations say the same basic thing as the King James Version. The New International Version gives it as: “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” The English Standard Version phrases it parenthetically: “(for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God).” The New International Readers Version gives God a more relaxed feel: “Do not worship any other god. I am a jealous God. In fact, my name is Jealous.”
Why isn’t this mentioned in Sunday school? Perhaps because it could lead to children pledging, “One nation, under Jealous,” people cursing, “Jealous damn it!” or the government stamping on currency: “In Jealous we trust.”
But if you’re going to accept the Bible, then you have to accept it when God reveals his own name, no matter how odd or silly.
May Jealous have mercy on my soul.
Reference: God’s Name. Various translations of the Bible. § A Concise Dictionary of the Words in the Hebrew Bible by James Strongs. Online at Blue Letter Bible [blueletterbible.org].
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