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From the Dead Sea Scrolls
  The oldest known form of Israel's Covenant name of God,
(As found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, read right to left above blue arrow).

Note the difference between the old Hebrew script of the Name and the square Jewish script on either side. The later square script arose from Aramaic [Gentile] influence.
God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM." And He said, Say this to the people of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you'.
Say this to the people of Israel, The LORD
[YHWH], the God of your fathers,
the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.'
This is My name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
(Exodus 3:14-15)
name Yahweh (sometimes translated as Jehovah or LORD) is the principal name used for God in the Old Testament/T'nach writings.
A Basket of Faith
It is uniquely Israel's name for God. It was used for God before Moses (as its abbreviation as component יו in the name of Moses' mother יוכבד/Jochebed indicates, Exodus 6:20). And was used for God even further back among the Hebrews from whom Abraham was descended, as Laban's own words show (Genesis 24:31), but it was not a vehicle of God's self-revelation until God called Israel out of Egypt into a national covenant relationship with Himself.
'Jochebed' means
'the glory of Yahweh'
or 'Yahweh is glory'
God explained to Moses in Exodus 6:3 –
"I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty [El Shaddai],
but by My name, Yahweh
(YHWH), I did not make Myself known to them."
The Hebrew script did not indicate vowels until about the ninth century AD and so there has been some conjecture about the pronunciation of YHWH, but Clement of Alexandria in the second century AD used the form Yahweh and other Greek transcriptions also indicate this same pronunciation. 
The pronunciation had been confused by the technical reverence that developed in synagogue reading from about the third century BC of saying adhonai (master/lord) when reading YHWH. (Ignorance of this led the translators of the 1611 King James Version of the Bible in error to translate the consonants of Yahweh with the vowels of Adonai to produce the name 'Jehovah'). Today this same technical avoidance of taking the Lord's name in vain is often seen in spelling of God as G-d. This is not quite what this Sinai commandment had in mind.
the absence of Hebrew vowels associated with YHWH do not indicate that it was not spoken aloud as some mistakenly think today. Ancient Hebrew in its origin from the Canaanite language did not write any vowels. So the lack of vowels associated with the name do not indicate that it was not spoken but simply that reverence for its reference to God simply kept it as originally written, as all words were originally written in the ancient Canaanite and Hebrew languages.
Strangely, scholars of the last two centuries have based a whole theory of the origin of the Old Testament scriptures on these two principal terms for God in Israel's Bible. The so-called Yahwist sources (which used the term Yahweh) and the Elohist sources (which used the term Elohim). On the basis of this presupposition then the Bible is divided up in an attempt to find the scraps of supposed previous documents on which the sacred Scriptures are conjectured to have been based.
A nonsense
theory of origin
the simple difference of emphasis provided by these two terms (Yahweh/LORD and Eloihim/God), rather than being competing synonyms from different sources, is well illustrated in the Bible's own report on how a king cried to God in desperation and was helped. The term Yahweh is used with reference to God's personal relationship, and the term Elohim is used with reference to God's sovereignty over all in this example of the Hebrew parallelism in Semitic thought:
"Jehoshaphat cried out and Yahweh helped him; 
and Elohim moved them to depart from him"
2 Chronicles 18:31.
this reason, the term Elohim is used in Genesis to describe the overall creative acts of the Most High (Genesis 1), and the term Yahweh is used or added as an alternative when the acts of God involve a personal relationship (Genesis 2). These two terms are simply complementary and never indicate competing narratives.
Our ignorance of the pre-Israelite history of the Hebrews has lost any certainty for us concerning the primary grammatical significance of YHWH, but the manner of its use by God in communicating its special significance to Moses, cited above, together with aspects of Hebrew grammar, gives us a clue which seems confirmed in our New Testament.
The probable origin of the term Yahweh is –
•  a combination of the Hebrew word 'was' (HYH);
•  plus the present tense additive (W) to produce HWH;
•  to which is then added the future prefix (Y) to produce YHWH.
In other words, in YHWH is simultaneously the past, the present, and the future! Or, as the French translation gives – l'Eternel.
So, a legitimate translation would be the "Ever-Present-One",
or as the Bible itself describes:
Revelation 1:4.
was often abbreviated as 'Yah' or 'Jah' (Psalm 68:4, "His name is Jah"). Sometimes used (poetically) in conjunction with the full term, as in the first reference to the Lord in Exodus 17:16 ("throne of Jah").
However, Jewish scribes, first in Palestine and later in Babylon gradually dropped the 'dagesh' accent in the audible 'h' in its short form (central 'h' in its full form) so that it became inaudible and was no longer treated as a separate word-equivalent of Yahweh (Ginsburg, Massorah vol.4,p.472,§160).
This probably occurred as part of the process of sacralizing the term Yahweh to its exaggerated status in Judaism and in the pseudo-Christian 'Sacred Name Movement', as almost worthy of worship in itself: another bizarre twist in the human history of spiritual deviance.
See: Israel Heresy
sad influence continues in various forms of Judaized Christianity today in which the Hebrew characters of 'Yahweh' are inserted into English text of the Bible without translation or even transliteration (by the Institute for Scripture Research 1998 translation) as though it were some special mark of reverence.
equivalent in its short form however appears in human names as a devotion (Moses' mother, etc..);
in the worship word usually transliterated into English as 'hallelujah'; and
even in a place name 'Bizyothjah' ("contempt of Jah"), a city in Judah (Joshua 15:28).

History of the English Bible Israel's Right to Canaan/Palestine The Israel Heresy

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