-Yod or yud was anciently portrayed as a symbol of a hand [yad in Hebrew]. This is the entire hand, or closed hand [in contrast with the letter kaf, which comes from the pictograph of the palm of the hand]. The closed hand denotes power and, figuratively, ownership.
-Yod is masculine. In the sacred name Yahweh, it is representative of the Father.
-Yod is the seminal letter of the Hebrew alphabet. It cannot be divided into component parts, like other letters can. It signifies the oneness of Elohim.
-The yod is the smallest [and most humble] letter. From it, the other letters originate. It is symbolic of creation.
-The letter hey is feminine, and represents femininity and gentleness. The first hey in the Name is representative of the Mother / Holy Spirit / Eloah.
-Hey means ‘behold’, ‘to show’ or ‘to reveal’.
-Vav is also masculine in gender.
-Vav signifies a nail, peg, or hook. It also conveys the meaning of being nailed or bound together.
-The numerical value of vav is 6.
They are pronounced, in Hebrew, "Yod Hey Vav Hey," when you read them in the Hebrew manner from right to left.
The four letters in God's name in Hebrew have the following meanings:
Hey = Behold
Vav = Nail
Yod = Closed Hand
When read in English from left to right, it says:
"BEHOLD THE NAIL, BEHOLD THE HAND!"
Or, "Behold the nailed hand."
"And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn." (Zechariah 12:10)
"Dogs have surrounded me; a band of evil men has encircled me, they have pierced my hands and my feet." (Psalm 22:16)
"Clearly, this is no ordinary, every-day name. But wait, there's more: Yahushua (often Yeshua or Yahshua, the Hebrew name of Jesus, similar to Joshua), the Hebrew name of the Messiah, the son of Yahweh, means "YHWH is salvation." Therefore, you can take that a step further and see it as "Behold, the nailed hand is salvation." This not only powerfully illustrates Yahushua's role as Savior, but also His divinity (as Yahweh incarnate) and His relationship to Yahweh as His only begotten son. As Yahushua Himself said, "I have come in my Father's name (John 5:43)." Just as His life and character point us to His Father (John 14:6 - "no one comes to the Father but by me;" see also John 17:23-26), so also does His name point us to the sacred Name of Yahweh. He even instructed us to pray: "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name . . . (Luke 11:2)."
You have no doubt heard most or all of the following descriptive terms and/or titles that have often been applied to Yahweh: El (meaning "mighty one,"), Elohim (the plural form of El), El Shaddai ("almighty one"), and Adonai ("my lord"), among others. While those words, like the commonly used English terms "Lord" and "God," can certainly express different aspects of the character of Yahweh, they are merely generic titles and descriptions. None of them is His Name.
When the Scriptures were being transcribed, it was believed by the Jewish scribes performing the task that they should not pronounce the sacred Name of YHWH, for fear of violating the third commandment ("Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain . . . " - Exodus 20:7). This led to the use of other words, generic titles (such as "Adonai"), as substitutes for the true name, Yahweh. Therefore, if you were to compare a typical, modern English translation of the Bible with the original Hebrew texts, you would see how YHWH (which can be found a total of 7,038 times in the original Hebrew Old Testament) was replaced by "the Lord" or "God."
The form Jehovah did not exist as a Hebrew word. It is actually a conflation (blend, fusion) of two Hebrew forms that came about through a peculiarity of the Hebrew writing system. The Hebrew name for God, the consonants of which are transliterated YHWH, was considered so sacred that it was never pronounced and its proper vowel points were never written. In some texts the vowel points for a completely different word, Adonai, "lord," were written with YHWH to indicate that the word Adonai was to be spoken whenever the reader came upon the word YHWH. YHWH was never intended to be pronounced with the vowels of Adonai, but Christian scholars of the Renaissance made exactly that mistake, and the forms Iehovah (using the classical Latin equivalents of the Hebrew letters) and Jehovah (substituting in English, J for consonantal I) came into common use.
A New Standard Bible Dictionary (1936 edition) states, "The form 'Jehovah' is impossible, according to the strict principles of Hebrew vocalization."
So, it is clearly no secret that Jehovah is not the true Name of our God. But don't worry - this doesn't mean that the wonderful suffixes normally attached to Jehovah (as in Jehovah Jireh, Rapha, Nissi, etc.) are also wrong. Those transliterations are for the most part correct, and when added to the name Yahweh (as in "Yahweh Yireh" - "Yahweh the Provider"), they can serve as powerful expressions of certain attributes and characteristics of our Lord Yahweh."
You might reply, "So what? Who cares what the exact Name may or may not be? Why should it matter?"
"When someone begins a relationship with you, one of the first things they learn is your name. As the relationship develops, they begin to learn more and more of your character, and eventually, if they want to, they will know you very well and will be devoted to your relationship. However, the relationship would most likely not last very long if they kept referring to you as "man" or "woman," "sir" or "madam." Such a thing would keep a certain amount of distance between the two of you, and would surely not be a good way to create and maintain intimacy and love.
They might tell you over and over again that they love you dearly, but would you really believe them if they kept addressing you by an impersonal title or description? The same applies to our relationship with our wonderful Creator, Yahweh. To continually apply generic terms like "Lord" and "God" to Him would be like a husband constantly calling his spouse "Wife" or "Woman."
I'm not saying that its wrong to refer to Yahweh as 'God' or 'Lord.' But, for a Christian who wants to increase their intimate relationship with their Lord, shouldn't you want to learn more about His Name (as well as other biblical references to Him) and what it means?
(some portions of information are from):