Question:

What are the differences between the three names of God in Psalms 136:1-3?


Answer:

"Give thanks to the LORD, for He is good, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the God of gods, For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords, For His lovingkindness is everlasting
" (Psalms 136:1-3).

"LORD" is a translation of the Hebrew word, yahweh. There is some debate as to its meaning. It is related to the Hebrew phrase "I am", so it describes God as eternal and self-existing, but given that Jesus translated this word as "lord" also tells us it also refers to God being the ruler. Translators write it in all capitals to let readers know that it is different from the usual word for "lord" in the Hebrew.

Yahweh is a name that God first used with the Israelites. "God spoke further to Moses and said to him, "I am the LORD; and I appeared to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name, LORD, I did not make Myself known to them" (Exodus 6:2-3). It can be abbreviated and found at ends of words or names, such as hallelu Yah (praise Yahweh) or Isaiah (Yahweh has saved). It also is found at beginning of names, such as Joash (Yahweh has come to help) -- in older English and Germanic languages, "j" makes a "y" sound.

"The God of gods" is a phrase that means that God is the only real God in a crowd field of false gods. "For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the LORD made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before Him, strength and joy are in His place" (I Chronicles 16:25-27).

"The Lord of lords" means that God rules far above all the other rulers in the world and controls them. "Daniel said, "Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, For wisdom and power belong to Him.
It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding
" (Daniel 2:20-21).

All three names also appears in: "For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality nor take a bribe" (Deuteronomy 10:17).