2 God spoke further to Moses and said to him, ‘I am the LORD;
3 and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them …’

NASBu  Exodus 6:2-3

SAB contradiction 93 (by book)

88 Instances

‘Did people before Moses know the name of God?’ a visitor asked. Indeed this is a rather strange text, isn’t it? It suggests that the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob didn’t know the name Jahwè, LORD. Those who start counting occurrences of the name LORD previous to this text, will come to 88 instances with the name LORD. What, then, to do with texts such as:
– To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:26)
– And the LORD said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, saying, “Shall I indeed bear a child, when I am so old?” Is anything too difficult for the LORD? …’ (Genesis 18:13-14)

Confirmative or interrogative translation

With regard to the phrase ‘but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them …’, it is right to question: ‘Is this is a correct translation?’ And the answer must be loud and clear: ‘No, this is very wrong.’ The translation should be: ‘… and by My name, LORD, didn't I make Myself known to them?’ The clause is just interrogative now; the conjunction ‘but’ suggests an antithesis, however the Hebrew word 'wuh' (wauw) is usually translated: ‘and’. It is absolutely correct to translate interrogatively where the context makes that plain. A few examples:
– Job: ‘Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?’ In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:10) One may translate: ‘We shall indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity.’
– Jonathan: ‘Far be it from you! For if I should indeed learn that evil has been decided by my father to come upon you, then would I not tell you about it?’ (1 Samuel 20:9) Literally one may translate: ‘then I would not tell you about it.’
More examples in the famous Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of Koehler and Baumgartner (1953) s.v. Lo (not), 10.

No punctuation marks in old texts

The Hebrew text doesn’t make use of punctuation marks and the prophetical writers were of course aware of possible misinterpretations that could arise from this. One of their precautions was that in the case of a clear context they felt free to write the spoken word just as it happened. Of course there was no question to them that the name of God was known from mankind onwards, as it was already revealed to Adam and Eve. (Genesis 2:4, 4:1)


Critical theology has made this text into one of their keys for the evolution of the image of God in Old Israel. Abraham would not have known the name of God and it was only to Moses that this name was made known. This position means that the image of God is not that important, as Abraham didn’t know already his name and also that the name LORD would have been laid on the lips of the patriarchs later on. And, of course, this would mean that it is not so important to know the LORD God through Jesus Christ. Moreover we have also the right to not read what we read, but to ‘read’ what we like instead of what God has said.

Right to know

It is a pity and a shame that modern Bible translations don’t present in this important instance a loud and clear translation. The people have the right to know.

No Bible Contradiction