Jah (pronounced:ˈdʒɑː) is the shortened name for God YHWH, and Jehovah most commonly used in the Rastafari movement and the world wide preaching of Jehovah's Witnesses in upwards of 500 languages. It comes from the Hebrew יָהּ = Yah [jah].
Jah is often used as a shortened form of the Tetragrammaton. The Tetragrammaton is often translated (especially in older English versions of the Bible) by use of the term "LORD", and the word "Hallelujah" by the phrase "Praise ye the LORD" (Psalm 104:35 KJV and footnote). Thus, partially translated and partially transliterated, the term could be rendered "Praise Jah."
In the original text of the Hebrew Bible, "Jah" occurs 50 times, 26 times alone and 24 times in the term "Hallelujah" (see footnote to Psalm 104:35). In the King James Version of the Bible it is transliterated as "JAH" i.e. all capital letters, in only a single instance: "Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him." (Psalm 68:4). An American Translation renders the Hebrew word as "Yah" in this verse. The complete Tetragrammaton is not always rendered as Jehovah. Rotherham's Emphasised Bible includes 49 uses of Jah. Masoretic Tanach: Psalms 68:19, יָהּ אֱלֹהִים - Yah Elohim.YHWH
Jah, derived from the term "Hallelujah", is also echoed in the Arabic "Wa who wa ḥayyu-Allāh" from the Kalimah Tawheed (unity). Translated it reads "And for Him (Allah) is the Praise". Thus Jah is literally translated to Allah.
In the West Indies, the recent popularity of Reggae, and the Rastafari movement's referring to Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as "Jah" or "God," has led to the use of the names "Jah" and "I and I" in Rastafari circles. This term is also used in Hip-Hop demonstrating the evolution of reggae to hip-hop from the dance hall in Jamaica to rhyme, by such artists as Pigeon John of LA Symphony in California, and Seph1 of Tempo Valley in Hawaii. Used also in popular Rastafari terms such as "Jah" among young Rastas. According to the band P.O.D., they use such terms to refer to elements of the Bible in songs such as "The Messenjah" from Satellite, "Freedom Fighters" from Payable on Death and "Praise Jah & Live". Sizzla explicitly used common Rastafari terms to describe elements of Christianity and Judaism.
The Assemblies of Yahweh use the term Yah, which they believe sounds more accurate and would comply with the Name of YHWH. In the Sacred Scriptures Bethel Edition Bible the Name YHWH and abbreviated form Yah is found. The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures, a Bible translation used and distributed by Jehovah's Witnesses, features the word "Jah" in all 26 places in the Hebrew-Aramaic Scriptures, commonly known as the Old Testament, and translates the Hebrew 'Hallelujah' as 'Praise Jah, you people' in all 24 occurrences of that expression in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in all four occurrences of the corresponding Greek expression in the Book of Revelation 19:1, 3, 4 and 6 in their Christian Greek Scriptures
Due to the frequent use of the word, in some parts of the world, notably South Africa, a Rastafari is colloquially referred to as Jahman.
- ↑ http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=165&letter=T Abbreviated Tetragrammaton.
- The Way home or face The Fire ISBN 0-9583011-0-7
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