[b-hebrew] Re:hwh in Hifil

Peter Kirk peter.r.kirk at ntlworld.com
Tue Aug 12 16:02:35 EDT 2003

On 12/08/2003 12:18, Joe Sprinkle wrote:

> As for the vowels, it is true that HAYAH as vocalized by the Masorets 
> does not use the A vowel for imperfect preformatives Y, T and N for 
> the Qal imperfect despite the guttural H first consonant.  I am not 
> sure that the biblical writers as opposed to the Masorets didn't use 
> the A vowels. You can't tell in an unvocalized text.  In any case, 
> even the Masorets do use A vowels for preformatives of some First He 
> forms such as the Qal imperfect of HALAM in Psalm 74:6 and Qal 
> imperfect forms of HAPAK.  The form of Yahweh is personal names seem 
> to confirm an A vowel under the initial yod.  If Yahweh is a verb (I 
> cannot prove it is, but if it is), I can explain the A vowel as 
> influenced by the first guttural as was in the case of these verbs.  I 
> would then posit that Hebrew by the time the Masorets vocalized the 
> text ceased to use the A vowel for preformatives of HYH, but that 
> archaic (perhaps pre-Biblical) Hebrew was using the A vowel 
> preformative when it created the form YAHWEH off of the verb HWH.
> I only claim a plausible case for this view, not an airtight one.
> Joe

Joe, as far as I can tell (from BDB, Gesenius and Lambdin) the A vowel 
is in fact common, almost the norm, for the first vowel in the Qal 
"imperfect" or YIQTOL form of verbs with H as the first root consonant. 
At least Lambdin (pp. 305, 309) lists this as the paradigm for HPK, HRH 
and HRG, notes that A or E apprears with HRS, and lists HDR, HGH and HMH 
as using E regularly. Only HYH is listed as using I, and this could be a 
deliberate change to avoid saying something too similar to the divine 
name; or perhaps also by analogy with XYH which may use I in the Qal to 
avoid confusion with the Hiphil, which would presumably be YAXYEH though 
this is actually unattested in the "imperfect" - possibly Piel is used 
instead to avoid sounding like the divine name.

Peter Kirk
peter at qaya.org (personal)
peterkirk at qaya.org (work)

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list