YHWH Is My Banner / YHWH Is My Refuge
Pronounced Yä-wá' (or Yod-Há-Väv-Há') Nee-see', the compound name "YHWH-Nissi" appears in the Old Testament only once in Exodus 17:15 "Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Yahweh our Banner [YHWH-Nissi]." Moses had built the altar to memorialize that YHWH was Israel's banner under which they had defeated the Amalekites.
The noun "nissi" derives from the Hebrew "nês", which means "banner" or "flee for refuge". "Nês" is also sometimes translated as "standard", a pole with an insignia attached. In battle, opposing nations would fly their own standard at each of their respective front lines to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a point of focus.
Combined with God's personal name, "YHWH", the name becomes "YHWH Is My Banner" or "YHWH Is My Refuge". This is what God is to us: a banner of encouragement to give us hope and a focal point.
In addition to the single employment of the compound name in Exodus 17:15, the single word "nissi", meaning "banner", appears in...
- Psalm 60:4 "You have given a banner [nissi] to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah." (WEB)
- Song of Solomon 2:4 "He brought me to the banquet hall. His banner [nissi] over me is love." (WEB)
- Isaiah 5:26 "He will lift up a banner [nissi] to the nations from far, and He will whistle for them from the end of the earth. Behold, they will come speedily and swiftly." (WEB)
- Isaiah 31:9 "'And he shall pass over to his stronghold for fear, and his rulers shall be afraid of the banner [nissi],' says Yahweh, whose fire is in Zion, and His furnace in Jerusalem." (WEB)
- Isaiah 49:22 "Thus says the Lord Yahweh, 'Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and set up my ensign [nissi] to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders." (WEB)
- See also Numbers 1:52, 2:2, 3, 18, 25; Isaiah 11:10, 12, 13:2, 18:3, 62:10; Jeremiah 4:6, 21, 50:2, 51:12, 27; Zechariah 9:16.
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