YHVH = haShem

Ben Crick ben.crick at argonet.co.uk
Tue Aug 24 15:11:57 EDT 1999

On Tue 24 Aug 99 (00:08:40), gs02wmr at panther.gsu.edu wrote:
> [snipped]         I think and am pretty
> sure ha-Shem you are talking about is used mostly on Tfeel'Ah(prayer), and
> in that sense it takes a very significant theological role, and it DOES
> reflect one of the TITLES(but not a *name*) for The Creator(e.g. Baruch
> HaShem YHWH UL). 

 Dear Wondell,

 I am no expert; but to me YHWH *is* the Personal Name, and not the *Title*
 of God. Exodus 6:3 seems to classify El Shadday as the Title; and YHWH as
 the personal Name (SheMiY YHWH). In spite of Exodus 6:3 implying that
 God was "not known by my name YHWH"; yet from the birth of Enos to Seth
 in Genesis 4:26, "then began men to call upon the Name of YHWH" LiQ:Ro'

 When I was in west London, I went to some Passover lectures by the Rabbi
 at Ealing synagogue. He consistently used the word HaShsheM as a Q:re'
 for YHWH when reading from or referring to the TeNaCh (not 'a:DoNaY).

> On a related topic, can anyone explain how Shem can also be used for
> 'Semite' !(ben'ey Shem). How did this derivation from Noah's son come to
> mean both Semetic people as well as a term defined as "the name." ? Was
> this some kind of odd mixup with the Hebrew or is it from some other
> greater reasoning?

 Again I'm not an expert: but there may be a simple homophone here. The
 root Sh-M-H provides us with the dual noun ShaMaYiYM, the skies, or
 heaven. Hence, could HashSheM denote "the Heavenly One"?

 The root Sh-M-` (ayin) means to hear, to obey. So Hannah called her son,
 the answer to her prayer, Sh:MuW`:'eL or Sh:MuW'eL (Samuel); implying
 "God has heard" (her prayer).

 There is a theory that the name Shem is a variant of Sumer, the Akkadian
 name for certain tribespeople (the Sumerians).

 Noah's son Shem may be a simple eponym; I mean such as some people use
 the word "Password" when they are required to enter a password in say a
 computer program. So not knowing what name to give the boy, they simply
 called him by the name "Name". So SheM is used as a proper noun for a

 Or Shem may be prophetic. His progeny would include Eber and Abraham
 and his Seed of promise. The Eberites "Hebrews" would bear God's "Name"
 as a witness to the Gentiles. Jerusalem would be the place where God
 would put his "Name" (1 Kings 9:3; 11:36). This place and its priesthood
 would be QoDeSh L:YHWH (Exodus 28:36; 39:30). Israel too (Jeremiah 2:3).
 Domestic as well as Temple vessels will be holy (Zechariah 14:20-21).
 "Cursed be Canaan"; but, on the contrary, "Blessed be the LORD God of Shem,
 and Canaan shall be his servant" (Genesis 9:24-15).

 No doubt our resident "gurus" will find a much more cogent explanation
 for you than this.

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 <ben.crick at argonet.co.uk>
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

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