“Then began men to call upon the name of the LORD” (Genesis 4:26).
The name of Israel’s covenant God, YHWH (or YHVH), comes from the Hebrew verb “hayah,” “be,” or “become.” The third person singular of this verb is “yhyh,” “He is.” However, in earliest times, Hebrew “yod” (y) was “vav” (v). We see this in Adam’s wife’s name, “Chavah,” meaning “live.” She is the “mother of all living” (Genesis 3:20). But “live” in modern Hebrew is “chayah.” Thus Chavah (not Chayah) is a very ancient form of the verb “live.”
It follows, then, that YHWH’s name is also a very ancient form with a “W” (double “V”) in Hebrew signifying that this was His name long before Moses’ time. In fact, as we see in our text which deals with the days before the Flood, believers worshipped (“called upon”) the Lord by His name “YHWH”
Another indication the name was known very early is its use in Exodus 6:3. This verse should be a question put to Moses, “By my name JHWH was I not known to them [the patriarchs]?” There are many places where questions are asked without using the interrogative pronoun: Genesis 18:12; 27:24, for instance. Jonah 4:11 (in Hebrew) reads as though the Lord had no concern for Nineveh. As in this case, the tone itself indicates a question (we also do this in English).
For further confirmation that the patriarchs knew Him by His name JHWH very early, see: Genesis 9:26; 12:7; 14:22; 15:7,8; 18:14; 28:13. The machinations of scholars who insist Israel “discovered” JHWH’s name quite late are unacceptable.
It was YHWH who was the Savior of Israel, and as YHWH He saves sinners today. His name now is “Yeshua” (YHWH saves). DPL