My pastor said some of the books of the Bible don't mention God's name. Which books are these? Also, he said they was a "telra" something?


There are two books that don't "directly" mention God's name in them: Esther and Song of Solomon, though in Song 8:6 the NASB and ESV translate the last few letters of the word salhebetyah as LORD. However, both books should be read in context with God's covenant with Israel. The events of Esther are the reason for the Jewish holiday of Purim. The Song speaks about love and marriage. Some of the prophets (Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Hosea) see God's relationship to Israel as one of marriage. For instance, compare Song 7:10 with Ezekiel 16:8.

Both books have a tetragrammatons meaning "consisting of four letters." See "Is God in Esther?" below. The four Hebrew letters are: yodh, he, waw, and he. They spell out YHWH, an abbreviated form of Yahweh. In English, we translate this as LORD. This tetragrammaton has been found numerous times in the Dead Sea scrolls and is used over 6,800 times in the Old Testament (its first appearance being, Gen 2:4). The name of God YHWH is often associated with Exodus 3:14 - "I AM WHO I AM." God is the self-existent One, the I AM, who is worthy of all worship and honor.

Though the name of God is to be celebrated (Psa 68:4), Jewish tradition forbids saying YHWH, due to the fear that God's name may accidentally be taken in vain (Lev 24:16). Instead, the name Adoni (LORD) was/is substituted. Over time the vowels of Adoni and Elohim found their way inbetween the consonants of YHWH producing YaHWeH.

Though the cult called, Jehovah Witnesses, would like us to think otherwise, the word Jehovah is a much later variant. Jehovah comes from a three-syllable version of YHWH, YeHoWeH. In 1278 a spanish monk, Raymundo Martini, wrote a Latin work called Pugio Fidel (Dagger of Faith), in which he used the name of God, as Yohoua. Later reprints of the same work appeared with the spelling, Jehova. The etymology changed in 1303 and again in 1518, until 1530 when it first appeared in an English Bible - the Tyndale edition.


Some make the point that in Song 8:6 the name of God is used. They point to the word "yah" (or "jah") as an abbreviation of Jehovah. However, the covenant name Yahweh does not actually appear in the Hebrew. Rather, it's only inferred from the "yah" ending on the Hebrew word for flame (sal·he·ḇeṯ·yah). The word is probably better translated as a "God-like flame." In context, since God's love for us is deep and enduring, so must our love be for our spouses.

Related Topics

Is God in Esther?
Confused by Jehovah's Witness Eschatology

Answer by Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr.

Dr. Joseph R. Nally, Jr., D.D., M.Div. is the Theological Editor at Third Millennium Ministries (Thirdmill).