Q. If names don’t change from language to language, what about Absolom in 2Chronicles 11:21 being the same as Abishalom in 1Kings 15:2? And what of Ishtar, the Assyo-Babylonian goddess known to the Hebrews as Astoreth, and to the Canaanites as Astarte in English, Easter. Do you still insist names stay the same from one language to another? The important thing is what the person’s name represents.
A. To answer your first question, Absalom and Abishalom derive from the Hebrew Abiyshalowm, which means “father of peace.” You could compare it to the way the names Katy and Kathy derive from Katherine. The shorter designations are simply “nicknames” or abbreviated forms of the latter, and no more represent a translation or change into another language than the abbreviation “Tenn.” Does “Tennessee.”
Ishtar, Astoreth, Astarte, and Easter are only variant forms of the same name, owing to slight nuances traceable to analogous letters of the corresponding alphabets. Note how close they remain in sound. Now take the sacred Name “Yahweh.” Does it even remotely sound like the title “god”? Can god possibly be just another equivalent “name” for Yahweh?
A closer look reveals that the two forms have no kinship whatsoever, but are about as far apart as the North and South Pole.
You mention that the important thing is what the name represents.
“Yahweh” embodies the very verb of existence in Hebrew—haYah. It has the highest meaning any name could possibly have—that of causative actuality. He makes all things come into being—Yahweh.
On the other hand, etymology shows that “god” derives from the ancient root gheu, which means “to pour, as in a molten image” (Oxford English Dictionary). Do we want to call our Creator by a title that refers to worship of pagan images? Or should we submit humbly to the Name He tells us to use?
Your name remains the same no matter where on this globe you travel. You wouldn’t get off the plane in Moscow and say to yourself, Let’s see, my name is John Doe. So what do I change it to now that I’m in Russia? I wonder what I’ll call myself when I get to France?”
Neither does Yahweh allow us to change or translate His great Name no matter who we are, when we live, where we live or what language we speak.
He thunders, “I am Yahweh: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” (Isa. 42:8) No allowances. No excuses.
He’s not willing to change His Name. Certainly we lack the right to do it for Him!