Foreground: one modern translation, the Christian Standard Bible, at least sometimes (about 75 times, out of over 6000 occurrences of Yahweh) uses the actual name God gave Himself (Exodus 3:13-16).
Now, I basically like the CSB. It is hard to get used to the contractions, but while I generally read the ESV, I appreciate that the CSB is occasionally willing to strike out with a fresh rendering that better captures the Hebrew or Greek text. For instance, years ago I very closely studied, and translated, the book of Colossians. In doing so, I had to part company with more standard translations here and there to represent the Greek text more accurately. Now I see some of those same renderings in the CSB.
So, back to this particular. My philosophy is, "Some is better than none." So I'm glad the CSB uses "Yahweh" at least some times.
However, their rationale just makes no sense, and it sometimes makes for zany nuttiness. The translators say that "The HCSB® uses Yahweh, the personal name of God in Hb, when a text emphasizes Yahweh as a name: His name is Yahweh (Ps 68:4)." So... why? How can you tell? God decided to use it some 6823 times in the Torah (according to BDB). How do you decide that almost 6750 of those times is not emphatic enough? This strikes me as yet another example of unintentionally trying to be smarter than God.
With that kind of wackiness, you end up with renderings like Exodus 15:3:
The LORD is a warrior;Huh? Notice "LORD" in the first stich, "Yahweh" in the second. But in the Hebrew, the exact same word.
Yahweh is His name.
Okay, so... if "Yahweh is His name," then why don't we use it?
Same thing here:
5 The LORD came down in a cloud, stood with him there, and proclaimed His name Yahweh. 6 Then the LORD passed in front of him and proclaimed: Yahweh-- Yahweh is a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in faithful love and truth.... (Exodus 34:5-6)"The LORD came down... and proclaimed His name Yahweh." His name Yahweh, that we won't use most of the time. I just can't see how that can do other than baffle an English reader who thinks about it at all.
Or again, here:
So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it Yahweh Shalom. It is in Ophrah of the Abiezrites until today. (Judges 6:24)Or here:
"Answer me, LORD! Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God and that You have turned their hearts back" (1 Kings 18:37)Or here:
For I am the LORD your God who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar-- His name is Yahweh of Hosts (Isaiah 51:15; again, it's His name... but we mostly won't use it)Or here:
So they called out to the LORD: "Please, Yahweh, don't let us perish because of this man's life, and don't charge us with innocent blood! For You, Yahweh, have done just as You pleased" (Jonah 1:14)Or here:
At that time those who feared the LORD spoke to one another. The LORD took notice and listened. So a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who feared Yahweh and had high regard for His name (Malachi 3:16)I defy anyone to make any sense of any of that.
So, unfortunately, that leaves only one modern translation that consistently uses the name—and it's Roman Catholic (New Jerusalem Bible). And one older (Rotherham). And some odd, fringey, cultish knockoffs. And as usual, when the church holds back on some Biblical truth, cults come in and make that one thing mean everything, and over-obsess. Nonetheless, it's hardly a badge of pride for "Protestant" translations that we continue to prop up this indefensible old relic.
I had one very well-known, very well-studied prof reprove me in seminary for regularly using "Yahweh" when I translated texts that used "Yahweh." He said it's what the liberals say. Really.
Well, I imagine liberals occasionally brush their teeth and comb their hair, too; and I'm not going to refrain from either simply because I fear false association with them.
Ay yi yi , the slavery of traditions. Not good.