Jah or Yah (Hebrew: יהּ Yah) is a short form of
consonantal spelling YHWH Hebrew: יהוה, called the
Tetragrammaton), the proper name of God in the Hebrew Bible. This
short form of the name occurs 50 times in the text of the Hebrew
Bible, of which 24 form part of the phrase "Hallelujah", which is
actually a two-word phrase, not one word.
In an English-language context, the name
Jah is now most commonly
associated with the Rastafari. It is otherwise mostly limited to the
Hallelujah and theophoric names such as Elijah. In the King
James Version (1611) there is only a single instance of JAH
(capitalised), in Psalm 68:4.
An American Translation
An American Translation (1939) follows
KJV in using Yah in this verse. The conventional English pronunciation
Jah is /ˈdʒɑː/, even though the letter J here transliterates
the palatal approximant (Hebrew י Yodh). The spelling Yah is designed
to make the pronunciation /ˈjɑː/ explicit in an English-language
context (see also romanization of Hebrew).
1 Hebrew names of God:
Yahweh and Yahu
3 In the Old Testament
4 In the New Testament
5 Jewish and Christian Bibles
5.1 In music
6 See also
Hebrew names of God:
Yahweh and Yahu
Main article: Yahweh
Yahweh is a name of God in the Hebrew language. Yahu is a
well-attested short form of the full or extended name Yahweh. The
short form is preserved primarily in theophoric names such as Elijah
("my god is Jah"),
Malchijah ("my king is Jah"), and (Adonijah) "my
lord is Jah", etc. as well as in the phrase Hallelujah. The name
"Joel" is derived from combining the word
Jah with the word El.
Haile Selassie I
My Life and Ethiopia's Progress
The Promise Key
Royal Parchment Scroll
of Black Supremacy
in the U.S.
Twelve Tribes of Israel
Lion of Judah
Rastafari use the terms "Jah" or sometimes "
Jah Jah" as a term for the
Lord God of Israel and/or Haile Selassie, who some Rastafarians regard
as the incarnation of The God of the
Old Testament or as the
Jesus Christ who is also known by the title
In the Old Testament
Occurs 50 times: 43 times in the Psalms, one in Exodus 15:2; 17:16;
Isaiah 12:2; 26:4, and twice in Isaiah 38:11.
In the New Testament
At Revelation 19:1-6, Jah—a contraction of the name Yahweh—is
embedded in the phrase "hallelujah" (Tiberian halləlûyāh), a Hebrew
expression that literally means "Praise Jah". The short form "IA"
Jah (יה)) in the phrase hallelouia (Ἁλληλουιά) is
transcribed by the Greek "Ia", as "Ehyeh" is represented by "Aia".
Jewish and Christian Bibles
King James Version
King James Version of the Christian Bible, the Hebrew יהּ
is transliterated as "JAH" (capitalised) in only one instance: "Sing
unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the
heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him". An American
Translation renders the Hebrew word as "Yah" in this verse. In the
1885 Revised Version and its annotated study edition, The Modern
Bible which uses the Revised Version as its base text also
transliterates "JAH" in Psalms 89:8 which reads,"O LORD God of hosts,
who is a mighty one, like unto thee, O JAH? and thy faithfulness is
round about thee".
With the rise of the Reformation, reconstructions of the
Tetragrammaton became popular. The Tyndale
Bible was the first English
translation to use the anglicized reconstruction. The modern letter
"J" settled on its current English pronunciation only around 500 years
ago; in Ancient Hebrew, the first consonant of the Tetragrammaton
always represents a "Y" sound.
Bible includes 49 uses of Jah. In the Sacred
Scriptures Bethel Edition Bible, the Jerusalem Bible, and the New
Bible (prior to 1998) the name "YHWH" and its abbreviated
form "Yah" is found. The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures,
used primarily by Jehovah's Witnesses, employs "Jah" in the Hebrew
Scriptures, and translates
Hallelujah as "Praise Jah" in the Greek
Scriptures. The Divine Name King James
Bible employs "JAH" in 50
instances within the
Old Testament according to the Divine Name
Concordance of the Divine Name King James Bible, Second Edition.
The Spanish language
Bible employs "JAH" in 21 instances
Old Testament according to the Nueva Concordancia Strong
Exhaustiva. The Darby Bible, Young's Literal Translation, The Jubilee
Bible 2000, Lexham English Bible, The Complete Jewish Bible, Names of
God Bible, The Recovery Version, Green's Literal Translation, the New
Jewish Publication Society or
NJPS Tanakh and World English Bible
includes "Jah" (Yah in the Lexham English Bible, Complete Jewish
NJPS Tanakh and the World English Bible) numerous times
Old Testament (as well as in the
New Testament or New
Covenant as is the case in Christian and Messianic Jewish Bibles) as
"Hallelujah!" or "Alleluia!" (Praise
Jah or Yah in either instance)
which is also employed throughout the
Old Testament of these Bible
"Hallelujah!" or "Alleluia!" is also used in other
Bible versions such
as the Divine Name King James Bible, American Standard Version, the
Recovery Version, The Tree of Life Version, Amplified Bible, God's
Word Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, International
Standard Version, The Message, New American
Bible Revised Edition, The
Jerusalem Bible, The New Jerusalem Bible, NJPS Tanakh, The first JPS
translation, The Living Bible, The
Bible in Living English, Young's
Literal Translation, King James Version, The Spanish language Reina
Valera and even in
Bible versions that otherwise do not generally use
the Divine Name such as the New King James Version, English Standard
Version, J.B. Phillips New Testament, New International Version,
Douay-Rheims Version, God's Word Translation, Revised Standard
Version, New Revised Standard Version, The Jubilee
Bible 2000, New
American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New International
Reader's Version and several other versions, translations and/or
editions in English and other languages varying from once to numerous
times depending on the
Bible version especially and most notably in
Revelation Chapter 19 in Christian and Messianic Jewish Bibles.
Jah is referenced in many reggae songs. The popularity of this music
form associated with the
Rastafari has spread the name "Jah" (derived
from the KJV Psalms 68:4) beyond the West Indies.
For example, it is referenced in Bob Marley's "Is this Love", in the
line: We'll share the same room, for
Jah provide the bread. It appears
in the title of Third World's hit song "Try
Jah Love." The Mighty
Diamonds song "Pass the Koutchie" has the following lyric: Cause the
spirit of Jah, you know he leads you on. Similarly, Mystic Roots "Pass
The Marijuana" contains the words Pass the marijuana, give
and praise today. Also Stevie Wonder's ode to Marley, "Master Blaster
(Jammin')", contains the following verse lyric: We've agreed to get
together, joined as children in Jah. P.O.D.'s Song "Strength Of My
Life" contains the words If
Jah is for me, tell me whom I gon' fear?
(no I won't fear), and
Jah of Jacob, deserving of my love. Also, Jah
is referenced many times in Damian Marley's song Road to Zion and in
the songs of Costa Rican singer Noah, such as "If you don't believe in
Jah, we can not be together." Additionally,
Jah has been linked to
acid-reggae music. For example, the name can be heard in Thievery
Corporation's song "The Outernationalist." Hardcore Punk/
Bad Brains' first album contains the songs "
Jah Calling" and "I Luv I
Jah." The use of
Jah in music is also evident in the reggae band
Jah Army, also known as SOJA.
Jah also appears in The
Lonely Island's Ras Trent as well as being the subject of "Mount Zion"
by the MC Young Zeus.
Jah also appears in Massive Attack's song "A
Prayer for England":
Jah forgive us for forgetting, Oh
Jah help us to
Jah is also mentioned in the lyrics in "Prayer in C."
Also of note is the 1991 release by American ska-punk band Sublime,
Jah Won't Pay the Bills."
"Jah" sometimes appears in other Christian music genres as well.
P.O.D. recorded the song "Without Jah, Nothing," and the first line of
Camper Van Beethoven's song "Take the Skinheads Bowling" is Every day,
I get up and pray to Jah.
Major Lazer released a song in 2012 called
Jah No Partial."
^ a b Abbreviated
Tetragrammaton in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
^ Chanting Down Babylon: The
Rastafari Reader - Page 333, Nathaniel
Samuel Murrell, William David Spencer, Adrian Anthony McFarlane - 1998
^ G. Lisowsky, Konkordanz zum hebräischen Alten Testament, Stuttgart
1958, p. 1612. Basic information about the form Jāh, see L. Koehler,
W. Baumgartner, J.J. Stamm, Wielki słownik hebrajsko-polski i
aramejsko-polski Starego Testamentu (Great Dictionary of the
Hebrew-Aramaic-Polish and Polish Old Testament), Warszawa 2008, vol 1,
p. 327, code No. 3514.
^ Gerard Gertoux. The Use of the Name (YHWH) by Early Christians
(PDF). International Meeting Society of Biblical Literature.
^ Crawford Howell Toy, Ludwig Blau (1906). Tetragrammaton. Jewish
^ Psalm 68:4
Names of God
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I Am that I Am