[b-hebrew] HYH vs. HWH

Uri Hurwitz uhurwitz at yahoo.com
Thu Jun 29 11:54:34 EDT 2006

Yitzhak Sapir wrote,

"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."

   Sorry, every single sentence, except the last, in the above paragraph 
  states a groundless speculation. Just a few examples  --   you create 
  an imaginary root *HWH, when a such real root is thoroughly attested 
  in Aramaic;  you create an imaginary "stable'"root of "?YH" to which one 
  can only respond with "WHAT?"; and so forth.
     Having built an imaginary foundation you then groundlessly decide:
  " how oddball the HYH/HWH verb can be that it is hard to make any 
  conclusions from it." Apparently you missed a paragraph in my 
  previous post on this subject when I pointed out the obvious, namely 
  that  there is an overwhelming preponderence of HYH in camparison 
  with HWH in the HB : roughly 2000 to 6. And this decisively 
  demonstrates that in biblical Hebrew there is a clear cut distinction
   between these two roots: HYH is the standard root for the verbal
   'to be', HWH is not. Nothing "oddeballish"  about these two roots,
   as is crystal clear from their verbal use in the HB.
     The DN (divine name) YHWH was debated here many times, and apparently is being debated again, but that would require a different discussion altogether. 
   Uri  Hurwitz

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