“Yahweh” is a song by rock band U2 and the eleventh track on their 2004 album How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb. It was mainly recorded in one take, and was performed live by the band during the Vertigo Tour. The song received mixed reviews from critics.
“Yahweh” was written by U2 and recorded by How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb producer Chris Thomas. Prior to the song’s initial recording, the band’s lead guitarist The Edge had the ideas for the music already planned. Lead vocalist Bono later added the vocals spontaneously during the song’s first take. The original vocal take by Bono was so inspiring with “soaring and brilliant” melodies that it carried “Yahweh” in a dramatic new direction from what The Edge had previously envisioned. Moreover, most of what was recorded by the band and Chris Thomas during the initial take survived production. Subsequent recording attempts of “Yahweh” were made by two other producers for the album, Daniel Lanois and Steve Lillywhite, with Lanois even adding a mandolin in one take of the song. Ultimately however, the original Thomas recording of “Yahweh” was left mostly untouched.
During its first take, Bono came up with the “Yahweh line” almost immediately. Afterwards, the band decided that “it was one of those songs that had to be written”. When talking about ideas for the song’s theme Bono remarked, “I had this idea that no one can own Jerusalem, but everybody wants to put flags on it.” he explained, “The title’s an ancient name that’s not meant to be spoken. I got around it by singing. I hope I don’t offend anyone.”
“Yahweh” (יהוה) is the name of the Judeo-Christian God in both the Hebrew Bible (sometimes referred to as the Old Testament), and in the Christian-Greek Scriptures (sometimes referred to as the New Testament).
The oldest Hebrew manuscripts present the name in the form of four consonants, commonly called the Tetragrammaton (from Greek te·tra-, meaning “four,” and gram′ma, “letter”). These four letters (written from right to left) are יהוה and may be transliterated into English as YHWH (or, JHVH). “Jehovah” is the best known English pronunciation of the divine name, although “Yahweh” is favored by most Hebrew scholars.
Although, it is often believed that the name does not appear in the Christian-Greek Scriptures or New Testament, the oldest fragments of the Greek Septuagint do contain the divine name in its Hebrew form. The Tetragrammaton was later replaced by “kyrios” in the Septuagint copies.
For some of the Jewish faith, the name “Yahweh” is associated with taboos against pronouncing it.