Was The Name of God Ever Unknown?

Leningrad Codex, Page 69, column 3 – Exodus 3:15 – showing the pronunciation of Yehôvâh

Almost every English translation of Exodus 6:3 gives something like “and I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name YHVH I was not known to them.” As a result another myth about the NAME exists that there was a point in time where humankind did not know the Heavenly Father’s Name. By simply reading the book of Genesis this is obviously not true, as the following verses will show. So does the Bible contradict itself or is something else going on?

The Hebrew language does not include commas, question marks or similar punctuation, so how to render a phrase in English must be derived from the context of the text. Since we have numerous examples to show that people did in fact know His Name, there must be a way to render this verse that does not cause conflict with the rest of Scripture. The International Standard Version (ISV) does exactly that by recognizing that the phrase was, in fact, a rhetorical question. They render Exodus 6:3 as “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob as God Almighty, and did I not reveal to them my name ‘LORD’?

The following verses show how most people knew the Name and used it regularly.

(verses given in the Young’s Literal Translation)

Eve (Havah) knew His name – Genesis 4:1
“And the man knew Eve his wife, and she conceiveth and beareth Cain (Kayin), and saith, `I have gotten a man by YHVH;'”

Seth & Enos (Shet & Enosh) taught in His name – Genesis 4:26
“And to Seth, to him also a son hath been born, and he calleth his name Enos; then a beginning was made of preaching in the name of YHVH.”

Lamech (Lemekh) knew the name – Genesis 5:29
“and calleth his name Noah (Noach), saying, `This [one] doth comfort us concerning our work, and concerning the labour of our hands, because of the ground which YHVH hath cursed.‘”

Noah (Noach) knew the name – Genesis 9:26
“And he saith: `Blessed of YHVH my God [is] Shem, And Canaan is servant to him.”

The people of the time knew the name – Genesis 10:9
“he hath begun to be a hero in the land; he hath been a hero in hunting before YHVH; therefore it is said, `As Nimrod the hero [in] hunting before YHVH.'”

Avraham (Avram, Abram, Abraham) preached, acted, named, took oaths and prayed in the name – 

Genesis 12:8
“And he removeth from thence towards a mountain at the east of Beth-El, and stretcheth out the tent (Beth-El at the west, and Hai at the east), and he buildeth there an altar to YHVH, and preacheth in the name of YHVH.”
Genesis 13:4
“unto the place of the altar which he made there at the first, and there doth Abram preach in the name of YHVH.”
Genesis 14:22
“and Abram saith unto the king of Sodom, `I have lifted up my hand unto YHVH, God Most High, possessing heaven and earth –“
Genesis 15:2
“And Abram saith, `Lord YHVH, what dost Thou give to me, and I am going childless? and an acquired son in my house is Demmesek Eliezer.'”
Genesis 15:8
“and he saith, `Lord YHVH, whereby do I know that I possess it?'”
Genesis 21:33
“and [Abraham] planteth a tamarask in Beer-Sheba, and preacheth there in the name of YHVH, God age-during;”
Genesis 22:14
“and Abraham calleth the name of that place `YHVH-Jireh,’ because it is said this day in the mount, `YHVH doth provide.'”
Genesis 24:3
“and I cause thee to swear by YHVH, God of the heavens, and God of the earth, that thou dost not take a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanite, in the midst of whom I am dwelling;”
Genesis 24:7
“YHVH, God of the heavens, who hath taken me from the house of my father, and from the land of my birth, and who hath spoken to me, and who hath sworn to me, saying, To thy seed I give this land, He doth send His messenger before thee, and thou hast taken a wife for my son from thence;”
Genesis 24:40
“and he saith unto me, YHVH, before whom I have walked habitually, doth send His messenger with thee, and hath prospered thy way, and thou hast taken a wife for my son from my family, and from the house of my father;”

Sarai (Sarah) used the name
Genesis 16:2
“and Sarai saith unto Abram, `Lo, I pray thee, YHVH hath restrained me from bearing, go in, I pray thee, unto my handmaid; perhaps I am built up from her;’ and Abram hearkeneth to the voice of Sarai.”
Genesis 16:5
“And Sarai saith unto Abram, `My violence [is] for thee; I — I have given mine handmaid into thy bosom, and she seeth that she hath conceived, and I am lightly esteemed in her eyes; YHVH doth judge between me and thee.'”

Angels (messengers) spoke the name to Lot – Genesis 19:13
“for we are destroying this place, for their cry hath been great [before] the face of YHVH, and YHVH doth send us to destroy it.'”

Lot repeated the warning using the name – Genesis 19:14
“And Lot goeth out, and speaketh unto his sons-in-law, those taking his daughters, and saith, `Rise, go out from this place, for YHVH is destroying the city;’ and he is as [one] mocking in the eyes of his sons-in-law.”

Avraham’s servant knew the name
Genesis 24:12
“And he saith, `YHVH, God of my lord Abraham, cause to meet, I pray Thee, before me this day — (and do kindness with my lord Abraham;”
Genesis 24:27
“and saith, `Blessed [is] YHVH, God of my lord Abraham, who hath not left off His kindness and His truth with my lord; — I [being] in the way, YHVH hath led me to the house of my lord’s brethren.‘”
Genesis 24:35
“and YHVH hath blessed my lord exceedingly, and he is great; and He giveth to him flock, and herd, and silver, and gold, and men-servants, and maid-servants, and camels, and asses;”
Genesis 24:42
“`And I come to-day unto the fountain, and I say,YHVH, God of my lord Abraham, if Thou art, I pray Thee, making prosperous my way in which I am going –“
Genesis 24:44
“and she hath said unto me, Both drink thou, and also for thy camels I draw — she is the woman whom YHVHhath decided for my lord’s son.”
Genesis 24:48
“and I bow, and do obeisance before YHVH, and I bless YHVH, God of my lord Abraham, who hath led me in the true way to receive the daughter of my lord’s brother for his son.”
Genesis 24:56
“And he saith unto them, `Do not delay me, seeing YHVH hath prospered my way; send me away, and I go to my lord;'”

Laban (Lavan) knew the name
Genesis 24:31
“And he saith, `Come in, O blessed one of YHVH, why standest thou without, and I — I have prepared the house and place for the camels!'”
Genesis 24:50
“And Laban answereth — Bethuel also — and they say, `The thing hath gone out from YHVH; we are not able to speak unto thee bad or good;”
Genesis 24:51
“lo, Rebekah [is] before thee, take and go, and she is a wife to thy lord’s son, as YHVH hath spoken.'”
Genesis 30:27
“And Laban saith unto him, `If, I pray thee, I have found grace in thine eyes — I have observed diligently that YHVH doth bless me for thy sake.'”
Genesis 31:49
“Mizpah also, for he said, `YHVH doth watch between me and thee, for we are hidden one from another;”

Issac (Yitz’chak) names wells and blesses in the Name
Genesis 26:22
“And he removeth from thence, and diggeth another well, and they have not striven for it, and he calleth its name Enlargements, and saith, `For — now hath YHVHgiven enlargement to us, and we have been fruitful in the land.'”
Genesis 26:25
“and he buildeth there an altar, and preacheth in the name of YHVH, and stretcheth out there his tent, and there Isaac’s servants dig a well”
Genesis 27:7
“Bring for me provision, and make for me tasteful things, and I do eat, and bless thee before YHVH before my death.”
Genesis 27:27
“and he cometh nigh, and kisseth him, and he smelleth the fragrance of his garments, and blesseth him, and saith, `See, the fragrance of my son [is] as the fragrance of a field which YHVH hath blessed;”

Abimelech, Ahuzzath and Phichol spoke the Name – Genesis 26:28-29
“And they say, `We have certainly seen that YHVH hath been with thee, and we say, `Let there be, we pray thee, an oath between us, between us and thee, and let us make a covenant with thee; do not evil with us, as we have not touched thee, and as we have only done good with thee, and send thee away in peace; thou [art] now blessed of YHVH.”

Jacob (Ya‘akov) speaks and takes oaths in the Name 
Genesis 27:20
“And Isaac saith unto his son, `What [is] this thou hast hasted to find, my son?’ and he saith, `That which YHVH thy God hath caused to come before me.'”
Genesis 28:16
“And Jacob awaketh out of his sleep, and saith, `Surely YHVH is in this place, and I knew not;'”
Genesis 28:21
“when I have turned back in peace unto the house of my father, and YHVH hath become my God,”
Genesis 30:30
“for [it is] little which thou hast had at my appearance, and it breaketh forth into a multitude, and YHVH blesseth thee at my coming; and now, when do I make, I also, for mine own house?'”
Genesis 32:9
“And Jacob saith, `God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, YHVH who saith unto me, Turn back to thy land, and to thy kindred, and I do good with thee:”
Genesis 49:18
“For Thy salvation I have waited, YHVH!”

Leah (Le’ah) names her children with the Name
Genesis 29:32
“and Leah conceiveth, and beareth a son, and calleth his name Reuben, for she said, `Because YHVH hath looked on mine affliction; because now doth my husband love me.'”
Genesis 29:33
“And she conceiveth again, and beareth a son, and saith, `Because YHVH hath heard that I [am] the hated one, He also giveth to me even this [one];’ and she calleth his name Simeon.”
Genesis 29:35
“And she conceiveth again, and beareth a son, and saith this time, `I praise YHVH;’ therefore hath she called his name Judah; and she ceaseth from bearing.”

Rachel naming Joseph (Yosef)
Genesis 30:24
“and she calleth his name Joseph, saying, `YHVH is adding to me another son.'”

YHVH tells Moses (Moshe) to use the Name
Exodus 3:15
“And God saith again unto Moses, `Thus dost thou say unto the sons of Israel, YHVH, God of your fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, hath sent me unto you; this [is] My name — to the age, and this My memorial, to generation — generation.”
Exodus 3:16
“`Go, and thou hast gathered the elders of Israel, and hast said unto them: YHVH, God of your fathers, hath appeareth unto me, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, saying, I have certainly inspected you, and that which is done to you in Egypt;”
Exodus 3:18
“`And they have hearkened to thy voice, and thou hast entered, thou and the elders of Israel, unto the king of Egypt, and ye have said unto him, YHVH, God of the Hebrews, hath met with us; and now, let us go, we pray thee, a journey of three days into the wilderness, and we sacrifice to YHVH our God.”
Exodus 4:1
“And Moses answereth and saith, `And, if they do not give credence to me, nor hearken to my voice, and say,YHVH hath not appeared unto thee?'”
Exodus 4:22
“and thou hast said unto Pharaoh, Thus said YHVH, My son, My first-born [is] Israel,”
Exodus 5:1
“And afterwards have Moses and Aaron entered, and they say unto Pharaoh, `Thus said YHVH, God of Israel, Send My people away, and they keep a feast to Me in the wilderness;'”
Exodus 5:3
“And they say, `The God of the Hebrews hath met with us, let us go, we pray thee, a journey of three days into the wilderness, and we sacrifice to YHVH our God, lest He meet us with pestilence or with sword.'”


When Moshe comes before Pharaoh in Exodus 5:2 this is the FIRST recorded time we find someone who doesn’t know the name. and Pharaoh saith, `Who [is] YHVH, that I hearken to His voice, to send Israel away? I have not known YHVH, and Israel also I do not send away.'”

However the Sons of Israel in Egypt did know the Name
Exodus 5:21
“and say unto them,`YHVH look upon you, and judge, because ye have caused our fragrance to stink in the eyes of Pharaoh, and in the eyes of his servants — to give a sword into their hand to slay us.'”


For all of this Scripture to be true, we must conclude that the Father told Adam and Eve His Name in the Garden and it was known and spoken throughout the times of the Bible. 

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