[b-hebrew] YHWH is Aramaic?

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Wed Jun 28 20:06:47 EDT 2006

On 6/28/06, Uri Hurwitz wrote:

> Yitzhak Sapir  wrote:
> >   "I am not sure why someone thinks that "yhwh" is Aramaic.
> >  It could just as well be Hebrew.  I understand (based on
> >  memory of past discussions here) that neither "hwh" nor
> >  "yhwh" are attested or known prior to the 1st millenium  BCE."
>     One can find HWH as the verb 'to be' in an Aramaic
> inscription in a ninth/eigth  BCE century Aramaic inscription.  Check
> it in the KIA (remember, the editorial language is German) under
> Aramaic Inscriptions; whereas in the Hebrew inscriptions the verb
> is HYH.

The root HWH/HYH can be seen as a basic root *HWH that developed
features similar to "?YH" verbs (such as XYH "live") as a result of the
nearby initial H.  Generally, "?WH" verbs seem rather stable in the
Hebrew of the Bible, for example $WH ("equal"), LWH ("lend").  Both
of these have Hiphil forms with the use of a waw, and it is definitely
possible that the waw was retained in this form (assuming the verb
ever had an Hiphil).  This shows just how oddball the HYH/HWH verb
can be that it is hard to make any conclusions from it.  Similarly, the
name YHWH may not necessarily be derived from HWH.  It could just
as easily be derived from an otherwise unknown root *YHW.  Together,
all these special cases make it impossible to categorize YHWH as
a name of Aramaic origin.

Yitzhak Sapir

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