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A Few Remarks on Dr. Wise’s Ideas on the Tetragrammaton.

Jewish theologians and philosophers have indeed often made the assertion, that the quadriliteral name of God, also called the Tetragrammaton, can only refer to God, wherefore it is also called the שם המפורש, from פרש, to separate, therefore the separate exclusive name, which only belongs to the Eternal Being. Nevertheless, an objection can <<30>>be made to this assumption, from the fact that in several Bible passages, this holy name is also applied to angels, nay, even to several other species of beings. In Exod. xiii. 21, we are told that ′ה “The Eternal went before the people with a pillar of cloud by day;” ib. xiv. 19, “The angel of the Lord who went before the camp of Israel, removed from before and went behind them.” Abraham called the name of the place where Isaac was bound (Gen. xxii. 14), ה′ יראה; Moses, that of an altar (Exod. xvii. 15) ה′ נסי; Gideon, a similar structure (Judg. vi. 24), ה′ שלום; Jeremiah (xxiii. 6), that of the Messiah ה′ צדקנו; Ezekiel (xlviii. 35), that of Jerusalem ה′ שמח.

In the wonderful appearance of the burning thorn-bush (Exod. iii.), there occur alternately the names ′אלהים ,ה′ ,מלאך ה, and again ה. In the divine revelation vouchsafed to Gideon, there alternate the terms מלאך and ה.

From this, and several other passages, it would appear clearly and uncontrovertibly, that the Bible, which loves to express itself in human phraseology, has applied this most holy name also to the ambassadors of God, in the same manner as human beings pay the same honour to royal ambassadors, which they show to the kings themselves. In this sense are places and spots where the glory of God manifested itself in a particular manner, designated by the same name. That which has been clearly discerned as the will of the Eternal Being, is, therefore, designated as proceeding from ה׳, though it be not performed immediately by Him, but through the means of an agent. (Compare with Ikkarim Division ii, chap. xxviii.)

Note by the Editor.—Even the strictures of Dr. Schlessinger seem to confirm to our mind the ideas which he combats; the Shem Hameforash only refers to God, inasmuch as its application to his messengers is solely because they represent Him, not as being a part of himself; and when given to places in a compound noun, as ה′ נסי, it simply means “The Lord is my banner;” not that the banner is called Lord, or designated as the Deity, or a part thereof. So also the Messiah’s name, ה′ צדקנו, the Lord is our righteousness; not that the Messiah is Lord, as little as the name צדקיהו, Zedekiah, meaning exactly the same, referred to a divinity inherent in the last king of Judah.—The subject requires, however, probably more elucidation than it has yet received, and we invite to it the attention of our learned correspondents; and we would ourself go deeper into the matter, but that a simple note is hardly the proper vehicle to treat on so great and holy a theme as its importance, deserves, and one, by the by, which is not unimportant in a doctrinal point of view.