Jehovah shalom is one of three names for God that was actually given to an altar. It happened when the angel of Yahweh (the LORD) visited Gideon to recruit him as a new judge over Israel to deliver the nation from the Midianites. Gideon thought that he would die because he had seen the angel. God spoke to Him and said, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die” (Judg. 6:23 NIV). The incident made such an impression on Gideon that he built an altar in Ophrah and gave it the name Jehovah shalom. Altars made of uncut stones lasted for centuries in the relatively dry climate of Israel.
Shalom is not just an absence of noise or strife. The word shalom speaks of wholeness and harmony with oneself and others, and of completion and fulfillment. As Jesus said, it is a peace far beyond the world’s peace (John 14:27; 16:33). The ultimate peace is peace with God.
The Bible contains a promise about God’s peace: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee” (Isa. 26:3 KJV). Peace comes to us when we focus our lives on God and trust Him. In order to feel peaceful about a God who is perfect and vastly superior to us we must change as Gideon did. Gideon’s initial fear of God was laid aside when he heard God speak peace to Him instead of killing him.
Zacharias said that part of John the Baptist’s ministry was to prepare for the sunrise from on high who would shine and “guide our feet into the way of peace” (Luke 1:78-79). One of the things that the angels announced to the shepherds near Bethlehem was “peace among men” (Luke 2:14). Peace with God can only come through the reconciliation that Jesus (Yeshua‘) accomplished on the cross (Col. 1:20-22).
The Lord is Peace in Hebrew:
Jehovah shalom or Yahweh shalom
Strong’s Concordance numbers: 3068, 7965
Bible reference: Judg. 6:24 (KJV uses the name Jehovah shalom)
Lord of peace in Greek:
Ho Kyrios tēs eirēnēs
Strong’s Concordance numbers: 2962, 1515
Bible reference: 2 Thess. 3:16
Paul’s final blessing to the church in Thessalonica was a prayer for peace:
Now the Lord of peace himself give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. (2 Thessalonians 3:16 KJV)
Similar names for God are found throughout the Bible. He is the God of peace and Paul called Jesus “our peace,” though it is not exactly a name of Jesus. Even so, Isaiah had prophesied that the Messiah child would share several of the names of God, one of which would be Prince of peace (Isa. 9:6). Jesus was the ultimate fulfillment of the truth about God that was stated prophetically for many years to anyone who happened to pass by Gideon’s altar.