What did Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob Call Elohim (God)?

They called him El Shaddai meaning God Almighty.

Exo 6:2-3 CJB

(2)  God spoke to Moshe; he said to him, “I am Adonai .

(3) I appeared to Avraham, Yitz’chak and Ya`akov as El Shaddai, although I did not make myself known to them by my name, Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh ( י ה ו ה ) [Adonai].”

El Shaddai is a title or description of one of Elohim’s (God’s) characteristics.  Here Elohim announces that he is introducing to Israel His Name, called here Adonai.

Adonai is a substitution for the Hebrew tetragrammaton, יהוה (Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey; YHVH), which is used to avoid saying the name of Elohim for several reasons.  One is that it has been so long since Elohim’s name has been used that no one is certain how it is actually pronounced, and another is to avoid using the name of Elohim lest a person accidentally take His Name in vain.  Jews sometimes substitute HaShem, meaning “The Name”, or AdoShem, and combination of Adonai and HaShem.  The Authorized Version (KJV) continues this practice, by replacing YHVH with “LORD” in all caps to indicate that the tetragrammaton is in the Hebrew text.

There are a few places in the KJV where the Name of Elohim is actually transliterated Jehovah.  I believe a more correct rendering would be YeHoVaH.  Of course part of the point of this blog is to make the point that it is not necessary to have the exact correct Name of Elohim as long as we, like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob know Him.

In a previous post I postulated that Yeshua (probably) used His Father’s name when speaking.  Even though I believe Yeshua used His Father’s Name I don’t believe from this and other scriptures (See also Genesis 17.1; 28.3; 35.11; 48.3) that it can be established that all the patriarchs, specifically Avraham, Yitz’chak, and Ya’akov, knew Elohim’s name (or if they DID know it they did not use it).  The important conclusion I would come to based on the fact that the patriarchs did not know (or use) His Name is that knowing His Name is not necessary for salvation, worship, or service of Elohim, YeHoVaH.

That does not preclude the use of His Name, YeHoVaH, either.  When YeHoVaH appeared to Moshe in the wilderness they had this discussion:

Exo 3:13-15 CJB

(13)  Moshe said to God, “Look, when I appear before the people of Isra’el and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you’; and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what am I to tell them?”

(14)  God said to Moshe, “Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh [I am/will be what I am/will be],” and added, “Here is what to say to the people of Isra’el: ‘Ehyeh [I Am or Will be],” has sent me to you.’ ”

(15)  God said further to Moshe, “Say this to the people of Isra’el: [YeHoVaH] ‘Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh (י ה ו ה ), the God of your fathers, the God of Avraham, the God of Yitz’chak and the God of Ya`akov, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever; this is how I am to be remembered generation after generation.

Moshe was told to tell them that “YeHoVaH” had sent him unto them; not Adonai, HaShem, the LORD, etc, but “YeHoVaH”.

We see YeHoVaH calling down from Mount Sinai in the hearing of all the children of Israel saying:

Exo 34:6 CJB

(6) Adonai passed before him and proclaimed: “YUD-HEH-VAV-HEH!!! Yud-Heh-Vav-Heh ( י ה ו ה ) [Adonai] is God, merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in grace and truth;

You can pretty much be sure that YeHoVaH was not spelling out his name as this reference from the Complete Jewish Bible, but we see that He called it and His Ten Commandments out in such a thundering manner that it struck fear and dread into the hearts of the children of Yisrael.

We also ought to call upon His name, YeHoVaH, with reverence and the fear of Elohim as we have been commanded in His Word.

For those who for conscience say avoid saying HaShem I show deference to them.  If El Shaddai was good enough for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob it is good enough for me.  We should have respect for those who love Elohim, and not be caught up in divisions over something none of us can be 100% certain about.

Joh 13:34-35 CJB

(34) “I am giving you a new command: that you keep on loving each other. In the same way that I have loved you, you are also to keep on loving each other. (35) Everyone will know that you are my talmidim by the fact that you have love for each other.”