[b-hebrew] DWD or DWYD, YHDH or YHWDH

Yigal Levin leviny1 at mail.biu.ac.il
Mon Jun 28 08:23:01 EDT 2004

> Also the place name Yehud is found in the Hebrew Bible in Joshua 19:45
> (only), and without the Vav! Interesting, although its relation to the
> name Yehuda is uncertain.

The Yehud of Josh 19:45 is a town in the territory of Dan, whose name was
preserved to modern times by the village of Yahudiyeh, near Lod. True, the
name is probably not related to the name of the tribe/kingdom of Yehudah,
since it's very much on the fringes of that kingdom, even at its greatest
extent. There do seem to be other places in the country with similar names;
see, for example, "Judah-upon-Jordan" (Yehudah Hayyarden) in the allotment
of Naphtali (Eastern Galilee) in Josh. 19:34. Of itself, this is not
surprising. There are lots of toponyms that are repeated in diferent parts
of the country. The site of the battle between David's men and Absalom's was
"The wood of Ephraim" (2 Sam. 18:6), although it was obviously in

However, the ARANAIC name of the Persian-Period province "Yehud" appears
several times in the Aramaic parts of Daniel and Ezra, and is well known
from papyrii, stamps, bullae and coins.

> Part of the distinction could be phonological. In later times (and even
> in modern Hebrew I think), although apparently not in the time of
> Hezekiah, a long U was almost always written with a Vav and a short U
> almost always without. Yehuda must be pronounced with a long U in an
> open syllable. Yehud may be pronounced with either short or long U in a
> stressed closed syllable. So Yehud without Vav is a valid spelling, but,
> with that convention, Yehuda without a Vav is an anomalous one.
> Peter Kirk

This makes sense, though I'm not sure that it's correct. BTW, the modern
Israeli New Shekel coin has YHD (with no W!) on it in paleo-Hebrew letters,
copied from a Perisan-Period coin.


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