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Moreover there is much in the contents of the Mishnah that moves in an atmosphere of academic discussion pursued for its own sake, with (so it would appear) little pretence at recording historical usage.” (translated by H. xiv, xv) Some of the Mishnaic traditions concerning the pronouncing of the divine name are as follows: In connection with the annual Day of Atonement, Danby’s translation of the Mishnah states: “And when the priests and the people which stood in the Temple Court heard the Expressed Name come forth from the mouth of the High Priest, they used to kneel and bow themselves and fall down on their faces and say, ‘Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever!
’” (7:5 states that a blasphemer was not guilty ‘unless he pronounced the Name,’ and that in a trial involving a charge of blasphemy a substitute name was used until all the evidence had been heard; then the chief witness was asked privately to ‘say expressly what he had heard,’ presumably employing the divine name.
Its use throughout the Scriptures far outnumbers that of any of the titles, such as “Sovereign Lord” or “God,” applied to him. Manley points out: “A study of the word ‘name’ in the O[ld] T[estament] reveals how much it means in Hebrew. (2Ki ) For a Hebrew to tell a Philistine or an Assyrian that he worshiped “God [he means Jehovah.
Noteworthy, also, is the importance given to names themselves in the Hebrew Scriptures and among Semitic peoples. The name is no mere label, but is significant of the real personality of him to whom it belongs. He speaks of the God of Israel, but never of the Jehovah of Israel, for there is no other Jehovah.
Taken for what they are worth, these traditional views may reveal a superstitious tendency to avoid using the divine name sometime before Jerusalem’s temple was destroyed in 70 C. Even then, it is primarily the priests who are explicitly said to have used a substitute name in place of the divine name, and that only in the provinces.He speaks of the living God, but never of the living Jehovah, for he cannot conceive of Jehovah as other than living.” It was applied alike to the true God and to such pagan gods as Zeus and Hermes (Roman Jupiter and Mercury).