[b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sun Jan 8 01:55:18 EST 2006

Dear Kelton,

Arguments in favor of a particular pronunciation of a word can be tricky, 
because pronunciation change through time, and even at the same time there 
may be different ways of pronouncing the same word. For example, the 
Norwegian word for snow is pronounced as "sne," "snö," and "sny" in 
different parts of the country. However, the pronunciation of YHWH may have 
been preserved when the pronunciation of other words changed, because of its 

In any case, what we can learn regarding syllable number and pronunciation 
must come from Hebrew sources, and not from Greek and Latin or other 
languages. Not even Aramaic, that is so close to Hebrew, is a good 
candidate, because of the phonological differences between the two 
languages. So we must go to the text of the Tanach and see what we find - 
and we find names.

In the ANE a name often was a whole sentence, and therefore the study of 
names can tell us something regarding the verbal system of the language and 
about the gods. Hebrew names often were clauses as well, so to study Hebrew 
names in order to learn something about divine names is clearly legitimate. 
(See J.D.Fowler (1988)."Theophoric Personal Names in Ancient Hebrew A 
Comparative Study") According to Fowler there are 132 different names with 
prefixed forms of YHWH and 507 with suffixed forms.

The prefix JO evidently is an abbreviation of JE:HO and the suffix YFH is an 
abbreviation of YAHU. The important point is that a plene O occurs in the 
second syllable when the first part of the divine name is not abbreviated. 
That the vowel O occurs in the first syllable of an abbreviated form does 
not lead us is another direction, because pronunciation should be construed 
on the basis of the full form. The evidence of theophoric names is not 
conclusive, but it is the best we have. And it suggests that the divine name 
had at least three syllables and that the vowel of the second syllable was 

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

----- Original Message ----- 
From: <kgraham0938 at comcast.net>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Saturday, January 07, 2006 11:05 PM
Subject: Re: [b-hebrew] Theophoric Name: Y:HOWYFQIYM

> @Rolf,
> Sorry I am coming in on the tail end of this one, so excuse me if I am 
> off.  But I always wondered why people try to figure out YHWH name based 
> off the other Hebrew names since not all the Hebrew names, that contain 
> the divine in them have the W as the second syllable.  Some have it as the 
> first syllable, like say Joah.
> Also there are other names like Jehu where the W is not a holem/vav but 
> rather a shureq.  Personally, I think the Hebrew names are too 
> inconsistant to try to figure it out.
> --
> Kelton Graham
> KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net

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