[b-hebrew] YHWH & Elohim - A Bit More

tladatsi at charter.net tladatsi at charter.net
Sun Aug 7 00:53:26 EDT 2005


I was actually thinking of personal names rather than place 
names.  Sorry I was not clear. My note was just an initial 
observation and a thought, it is not in opposition to much 
of anything yet.

Here are my initial thoughts in regards to your email.  

1) What is the point of shortening the full formal personal 
name to begin with?  The ancient Israelites did not seem 
particularly adverse to having long formal personal names.  
Obviously shortened nick-names were probably quite common 
but those only make sense relative to the full formal name.  
I would expect in the context of the OT, the authors would 
have naturally favored the more formal names over nick-
names.  Even if some of these names are nick-names surely 
there should be at least some theophoric names that were 
not shortened?  There should be a few personal theophoric 
name that include YHWH or Elohim if shortening were the 

2) If one wished to shorten a theophroic name, I do not see 
any particular motive to shorten the divine portion of a 
theophoric name.  It seems to me that the only point of 
having a theophoric name is to include God?s name.  
Shortening the divine element of a person?s theophoric name 
seems to defeat the entire purpose of having a theophoric 
name. Why not shorten the non-divine elements?

3) If the names were shortened, they were not shortened by 
much, if at all in many cases.  For example Yahu-natan(Yahu 
gave)is no shorter than Yahweh-natan when spoken (four 
syllables each)and only one letter shorter when written.  
Yesha ? Yah (Yah saved)is but one syllable shorter than 
Yesha ? Yahweh.  Shama-El is significantly shorter than 
Shama-Eloah or Shama-Elohim.  

> From: Peter Kirk <peterkirk at qaya.org>
> Date: 2005/08/06 Sat PM 06:43:33 EDT
> To: tladatsi at charter.net
> CC: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
> Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] YHWH & Elohim
> On 06/08/2005 23:20, tladatsi at charter.net wrote:
> >... 
> >Even more interesting, YHWH and Elohim never occur in 
> >theophoric names, at least I found none. ...
> >
> There is Gibeath-haElohim or Gibeah of God in 1 Samuel 
> ...
> >The logic of lengthening a short name to a longer name 
> >pretty obvious.  It is both visually more impressive and 
> >sounds better. ...
> >
> I see your point. But isn't there an even more obvious 
logic to 
> shortening a long name, especially when it is 
incorporated within a 
> compound name? In that case YHWH and Eloah/Elohim would 
have been the 
> original full forms, and YH/YHW and El abbreviated 
versions used largely 
> in names and (perhaps where it fits the "metre" better) 
in poetry.
> So why is your suggestion better than my tentative one?
> -- 
> Peter Kirk
> peter at qaya.org (personal)
> peterkirk at qaya.org (work)
> http://www.qaya.org/

Jack Tladatsi

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