[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Fri Jan 6 09:47:29 EST 2006

      The question of pronouniciation can not answered with certainty; for one thing, as mentioned here before, the pronounciation of the Divine Name as of all other words changes over time. And here we are dealing with a period of at least a millenium.
    As for the origin of YHWH, I agree with those who see it in the Aramaic imperfect 3rd sing. from HWH,  check in KAI. A few traces of this can be found in the HB. The idea that it must  have a causative, Hif(il form was strengthened by Albright and others to give it a theological resonance  "* he who caused ..." [the creation of....]. Whereas another interpretation regrads it as a Qal and  a hypocoristicon, an abbreveation, of an original longer  compound Personal Name. This longer form was lost  long before the oral tradtions of the HB were recorded. Such PNs are common in the HB and also in Hebrew  extra-biblical inscriptions. This is the opinion of De Moor in his important  book The Rise of Yahwism.
    The meaning of such a name depends on the componment added to the divine prefix; e.g. Yehoyaqim  "Yahweh is/will be established".
     As for the divine suffix, the diachronic process in  pronounciation occurred there too.It should be noted that it is found thus" --YW "in Northern inscriptions e.g.  YD(YW   Yeda'yau   from the Northern kingdom. This is read by many as a diphthong with a ponounciation  closed to *-- Yau.
  I cannot help but notice, however, that when the theophoric is first, it is 
usually "Yeho" as in Yehosef, Yehoykim, Yehoash..but when the theophoric is 
last, it is usually "Yahu" as in Yeshayahu. Yirimyahu so there is some form 
of lexical play with the waw.  I have always thought that YHWH was the 
Hiph'l of the Aramaic (HWH) for of HYH ane perhaps sounded YeHAWA but I am 
having second thoughts that the sounding of this name for God may not be in 
Hebrew usage (which it predates) at all but in earlier Canaanite and perhaps 
even Akkadian.


Jack Kilmon
San Marcos, Texas 


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