The Name YHVH Applied to Two Indivisible Persons

If we look at Zechariah 2:12-13 (Hebrew) 2:8-9 (English), we will encounter additional support for understanding the nature of our God as that of a complex, indivisible unity.

For thus said the LORD of Hosts-He who sent me after glory-concerning the nations that have taken you as spoil: “Whoever touches you touches the pupil of his own (My) eye. For I will lift My hand against them, and they shall be spoil for those they enslaved.” Then you shall know that I was sent by the LORD of Hosts.[1]

In verse 12 of Tanakh (verse 8 in English), YHVH #1 is the speaker. He speaks about the value of Israel using the word picture of the pupil of the eye. Israel is personal and valuable and protected by God as the eye of a man is personal, valuable, and protected by him. He is extremely personal here using the term “My eye.” Then in verse 13 (9), YHVH #1 says that He is being sent to accomplish a task by YHVH #2. One YHVH is sending another YHVH to perform a specific task. “Hold on,” you say. “You have mistranslated the verse. Verse 12 reads ‘His own eye,’ showing that this is not a reference to God.” Are you sure of that?

Let us look at the Soncino Books of the Bible referring to that verse:

According to Jewish tradition, the original reading in this verse was “the apple of My eye.” It was corrected by the Scribes so as to remove the daring anthropomorphism implied.[2]

The original reading supports the position that the LORD of Hosts #1 is speaking and that He is being sent by the LORD of Hosts #2. The word “corrected” is probably not the best word to use to describe the change introduced into the text by the Scribes. Why does the commentator say that the anthropomorphism is “daring”? Anthropomorphisms are frequent in the Bible. What is so daring about God saying “My eye” and “The LORD is in His holy palace”? For example what do we find in Psalm 11:4, but this quote:

the LORD-His throne is in heaven;
His eyes behold, His gaze searches mankind?[3]


“You whose eyes are too pure to look upon evil?” (Hab. 1:13)[4]

An anthropomorphism seems to be a poor reason to correct the text. The word “correction” was not due to anthropomorphism but rather because God is speaking, and He uses His personal name. The commentator admits that the Scribes wanted to tone down the impact of the verse. As a result they changed the verse to blunt its impact. This correction also raises the question of authorization. What authority did the Scribes have to change the inspired Word of God? They do not possess the authority to change the Holy Scriptures just because they don’t like the implications of a verse. If God is speaking, and He is, then God has sent God to perform a specific task. The debate about complex, indivisible unity in the Godhead is still open.

  1. ^ Tanakh: The Holy Scriptures: A new translation of the Holy Scriptures according to the traditional Hebrew text (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1997, c1985), Zechariah 2:12-13

  2. ^ Cohen, Rev. Dr. A (Ed.), Soncino Books of the Bible, The Minor Prophets (New York: The Soncino Press, 1985), p. 278

  3. ^ Tanakh: The Holy Scripture, Psalm 11:4

  4. ^ Ibid, Habakkuk 1:13