If Ps. 24:7–10 involves part of the ritual of a solemn entrance ceremony that was observed on Zion (cf. Comm. on this passage) then we are justified in regarding(Yahweh Sebaoth) as the solemn, cultically legitimate name of the God who was present in the sanctuary of Jerusalem and honored there. This divine name, especially the name (Yahweh), points back to the traditions of ancient Israel. In the Psalter the name occurs about 650 times (according to Lisowsky, 1958, who used Kittel’s Biblia Hebraica as the basis; according to Jenni, THAT 1:704, it occurs 695 times). It should be kept in mind that in the Elohistic Psalter (see Comm., Intro. §3) instead of the original name (Yahweh) the divine name (Elohim) is found. In the Psalter the shortened form or is found 43 times (50 times in the entire Old Testament, according to Jenni). For Israel (Yahweh) was purely a name, without any components of meaning that were to be explained etymologically or symbolically. The well-known “definition” of the name Yahweh in Exod. 3:14 presents a theological etymology, but not a philological one, and has no apparent relevance for the Psalms. No less irrelevant are all the attempts to arrive at some “original meaning” of the tetragrammaton by means of philological etymology. Such attempts begin with the question, is the word (Yahweh) a nominal or a verbal form? If, as is usually assumed, a verbal form is involved, we would be led to think of form in the imperfect. But what root is involved? For the various hypotheses, see von Rad (1962) and L. Kohler (1957). But does not the short form which occurs 43 times in the Psalter, represent the more ancient name of Israel’s God? G. R. Driver advanced this view (1928). His starting point was the shout of praise (“hallelujah”), and he thought he could explain the short form as a shout of ecstatic excitement which has an air of originality about it, and which then later, in connection with the events of the exodus from Egypt, was expanded to the longer form (Yahweh). But there is no basis for this explanation. It is much more likely to assume that the shorter form came into use later in shouts during worship and in songs of praise.
The problems in the area of history of religion which are connected with the possibility of discovering the origin of the name Yahweh in the ancient world