[b-hebrew] What do you think of these ideas on "YAHWEH" and "RUACH"? (Travis Jackson)

Peter Kirk peterkirk at qaya.org
Thu May 26 06:36:27 EDT 2005

On 26/05/2005 06:39, trepp at telus.net wrote:

>first poster again:
>_______ wrote: 
>but what about the prefix Yi? Where do you obtain the phonetic 'i'? 
>The Y is the prefix used in the third person in this particular tense (usually 
>thought of as future, but that's not exactly accurate) in every single verb in 
>the Hebrew language, no exceptions. When the verb is of the simple 
>construction, as is the case here, then the first vowel is i except in some 
>special cases, which I don't want to get into here, because H's name is not one 
>of those special cases. 
No, it is one of those "special cases". The argument here seems to be 
that the divine name is the qal "imperfect", third person masculine 
singular, of HWH. But according to the regular rule for verbs with a 
guttural first radical, the first vowel is patah (a) rather than hiriq 
(i). Admittedly there seems to be some variation when the first radical 
is he: in HYH but apparently no other case the first vowel is hiriq; in 
some others e.g. HGH, HDP, HMH the first vowel is segol (e); whereas 
others e.g. HPK, HRG, HRH, HRS, HLK when not contracted follow the rule 
for gutturals, with patah. So, we can conclude that we cannot be sure 
what form the qal "imperfect", third person masculine singular, of HWH 
would take, but the chances are that it would be either YAHWE or YEHWE 
(each with a final he mater lectionis), and the only reason for thinking 
it might be YIHWE is an assumption that HWH would be irregular in the 
same way as HYH just because the verbs are apparent synonyms.

I note for completeness that the *hiphil* "imperfect", third person 
masculine singular, of HWH would also be YAHWE, and thus this 
pronunciation, the one preferred by many scholars, might mean either "he 
is" or "he causes to be". I understand that "first poster" prefers the 
non-causative sense, apparently because of the parallel with the 
unambiguously (as pointed) non-causative first person form 'EHYE "I am" 
of Exodus 3:14.

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

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