[b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

Patrick J. Emsweller patrick at clubgraves.com
Thu Jul 21 06:48:05 EDT 2005


Per your request James: Pls note that this is taken out of context somewhat,
this paragraph is part of a bigger discussion, out of the Cuneiform
Decipherment section of the book.  Hope this may be of some value to you.

 

-patrick

 

We read in the annals of the Assyrian kings of their wars and conquests-what
countries they subdued, what peoples they carried away into captivity, and
with what kings they made covenants and alliance.  To every lover of the
Bible it must be a source of great satisfaction to find mentioned made in
the Assyrian inscriptions of Tyre and Sidon, and Jerusalem and Gaza, and
Samaria (sometimes called Omri).  And not only names of Biblical places, but
of Biblical persons are to be found there; as Hezekiah and Jehoahaz, Ahab
and Jehu, and Hazael, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Nebuchadezzar.  Under
this head of scriptural illustration will come the deeply interesting fact,
that we now obtain evidence of the true pronunciation of the sacred and
incommunicable name of God.  It is, we believe, generally admitted among
Hebrew scholars, that the name Jehovah, as the designation of the supreme
God, is incorrect.  The Jews never pronounced this name. (see note)  You
never meet with it in the New Testament; showing that even at that time
either the true pronunciation was lost, or it was considered unlawful to
pronounce it, which is the statement of Philo Judaeus, confirmed by
Josephus.  Some Hebraists contended for Yahveh as the lost pronunciation,
but with little proof.  We learn, however, from an Assyrian inscription of
Sargon's that the correct pronunciation of the most sacred name of God
amongst the Semitic people was Ya-u, or Yahu.  In the Cyprus Inscription of
Sargon we read of a certain Ya-hu-bidi, king of Hamath.  Now as this king's
name is preceded by the sign indicating a god, it is evident that his name
is a compound of some divine name, such as Yahu's servant, in which it
resembles the Hebrew name Jehoahaz, more correctly Yeho-ahaz-"one who holds
to Yeho," or Jehovah.  In the book of Psalms, too, we are told to praise God
by his name Yah, which is an abbreviated form of Yahu.

            That this was the most sacred name of God as taught in the
mysteries we learn from Macrobius and Plutarch.  We may assume, therefore,
from the vary accurate mode of Assyrian vocalization, that we have here the
correct pronunciation of a Semitic name as found in an Assyrian inscription,
and the Ya-hu, or Ya-ho, and not Jehovah, is the correct pronunciation of
what has been called "the ineffable name" of the Most High.

 

(note: See on this point the excellent observations of Dr. Ginsburg, in pp.
22 and 23 of The Moabite Stone, 4to, Reeves & Turner, 2nd edition, 1871.)

 

Preston Cory and E. Richmond Hodges (1876). Cory's Ancient Fragments of the
Phoenician, Carthaginian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Other Writers (pp.
xxviii-xxx). Reprinted by Kessinger Publications 2003. ISBN 0-7661-5809-8

 

  _____  

From: Read, James C [mailto:K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk] 
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 2:58 PM
To: Patrick J. Emsweller; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

 

Yes please.
I would be most grateful.


-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Patrick J. Emsweller
Sent: Wed 7/20/2005 6:25 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

James,



Yes, I believe in a chapter or in the prologue discussing recently
interpreted hieroglyphic and cuneiform texts.  I would have to pull it off
my shelf to be sure, but I could do that and type up the text for you if you
would like.



-patrick



  _____ 

From: Read, James C [mailto:K0434995 at kingston.ac.uk]
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 12:58 PM
To: Patrick J. Emsweller; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: RE: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation





Thanx. Do you know if yhwh is attested in these texts? And if so where?

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org on behalf of Patrick J. Emsweller
Sent: Wed 7/20/2005 5:49 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation


James wrote:

Does anyone know of extra biblical Semitic texts which attest to the divine
name as a foreign god?

Reply:

I don't know if this has been mentioned or if you are already familiar with
it, if so I apologize.  If not, you might want to pick up "Cory's Ancient
Fragments of the Phoenician, Carthaginian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Other
Writers".  ISBN 0766158098.  This is a rare and expensive book, however
Kessinger Publishing has reprinted it at a reasonable price with I think
some added notes.  It is available through Amazon, or probably any online
book store.

Anyway just thought I would throw it out there for you.

-patrick

-----Original Message-----
From: b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-hebrew-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Read, James C
Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 11:14 AM
To: Harold R. Holmyard III; b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] yhwh pronunciation

I sometimes wonder, but maybe I am just paranoid, if
there are modern day Hebrews in high standing who keep
the real pronunciation and meaning of yhwh as a closely
guarded secret and pass them down from generation to
generation to keep them alive.
I noticed before that someone mentiones that Josephus
commented that 'it was no longer lawful' for him to
pronounce the name, implying that it happened in his
lifetime and that the current pronunciation was known to
him. Does anyone know where exactly he says that? I
should be very interested in reading the account.
It was also questioned before why ehyeh (hyh) is related
to yhwh (hwh). I have reason to believe that as the name
had already been widely accepted as being pronounced in
certain way at the time of the penning of the Torah that
this is why yhwh remained as it was even though the common
usage in the Hebrew of that time was to use the hyh form.
The reason I have come to this conclusion is the patterns we
see in scripture before the widespread of the superstition
which banned its usage.
1) Early MSS of the LXX show a hebrew tetragrammaton amongst
Greek writing
2) DSS, in places, show archaic lettering of yhwh amidst the
by now widely accepted aramaic lettering of the rest of the
manuscripts
These factors led me to believe that the behaviour was to preserve
its ancient pronunciation against the flow of evolution of the
rest of the language. Thus Moshe wrote ehyeh as the normal way
of saying the verb form in his day while he wrote yhwh which had
already by now been written in stone (so to speak).

Does anyone know of extrabiblical semitic texts which attest to
the divine name as a foreign god?

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