[b-hebrew] Can YHWH at Genesis 3:14 [ in Codex L. ] be "correctly"read as"Yehowah"? [ RE-TITLED MESSAGE]

Yitzhak Sapir yitzhaksapir at gmail.com
Sun Jun 27 20:11:39 EDT 2010


Various answers have been provided to you over the years.
You never tell us why they don't satisfy you.

There is actually a whole lot of evidence that the Masoretes read
the name as Adonai.

First, the vocalization changes whenever the word is nearby the
word Adonai.  This would be easy to explain if the vocalization of
the Tetragrammaton is Adonai, but not if it were something else.

How else would you explain the vocalization change next to the
word Adonai?

Why doesn't this answer satisfy you?

Also, the schewa joins up differently with prefixes under the
letter yodh.  If a word that begins with a vocal schewa under
yodh takes a prefix with a vocal schewa itself, both the
schewas and the yodh disappear and the prefix takes a long

Some examples:
ידי yade Gen 24:30 -
וידי vide - Ex 17:12,
בידי bide Ps 141:6,
כידי kide Gen 27:23
מידי mide Gen 49:24

יהי yihi Gen 1:6
ויהי vihi Gen 1:6
(This is a conjunctive waw different from vayhi which is a conversive waw)

This also happens in proper names:
יהואחז yoho)aHaz 2 Ki 13:8
ליהואחז liho)aHaz 2 Ki 13:7

יהודה yuhuda Gen 37:26
ויהודה vihuda Gen 35:23
ביהודה bihuda Jud 10:9
ליהודה lihuda Gen 38:24

Now, in the word Adonai, the prefix becomes a patah:
אדוני adonai Jud 13:8
ואדני vadonai 2 Ki 7:6
לאדני ladonai Gen 18:30

Now, Dave, the tetragrammaton behaves exactly like the
word Adonai when taking a prefix, but never like a word
that begins with a yodh -- even a theophoric name that
begins with YHW.

It is also important to understand that a schewa under the yodh would
not be read by the Masoretes as Jehovah.  It would be read as [yohov@].
Jehovah is a late European reading of the Masoretic schewa and vowels,
but not how the Masoretes themselves read it.  The Masoretes when
reading a letter with a schewa followed by a guttural such as He would
read the letter with the same vowel as the guttural.  So above we have
yoho)aHaz, not yeho)aHaz, and yuhuda, not yehuda.

You can see this already in the LXX.  The name YHWRM is read in the
Tiberian tradition as [yohor at m] and the name YHWNTN is read in the
Tiberian tradition as [yohon at th@n] and this vocalization of the initial
syllable is already seen in the LXX.  There these names are transcribed
IWRAM and IWNAQAN.  This is why you get transcriptions such as
Joram or Jonathan.  You even have IOUDA in the LXX.  All these show a
long o: and u:.  Because the He was not transcribed in Greek, this turns
out to be almost the exact same pronunciation as the Masoretes!  (The
difference is actually in the qamats which the Masoretes pronounced
differently from a patah.  This is not germane to this discussion so I've
not differentiated it in the transcriptions above).

Why would you continue to write Jehovah if it is clear that the first vowel
under no circumstance could be -e- and the first consonant could not be
-j-?  (For what it's worth, the Masoretes did pronounce the waw as a [v]
except when adjacent to an [u] vowel).

The Talmud already explicitly deals with the issue in a quote attributed to
Rabbi Avina several centuries prior to the Masoretes:
רבי אבינא רמי, כתיב 'זה שמי' וכתיב 'זה זכרי'. אמר הקדוש ברוך הוא,
לא כשאני נכתב אני נקרא, נכתב אני ביו'ד ה'י ונקרא באל'ף דל'ת
Rabbi Avina said - It is written "This is my name" and it is also written
"This is my mention."  The Holy One is saying - I'm not called the same
way as I'm written.  I'm written with Yodh-He but read with Aleph-Daleth.

Why is this quote from the Talmud not sufficient for you, Dave?

Why are you skeptical about the evidence that has been provided?

Simply because one has hataf patah and one has a schewa?  But a schewa
was normally pronounced like a hataf patah (except for some exceptions
such as when followed by a yodh or a guttural as described above).  From
the Masoretic point of view they were the same.

Because sometimes you don't have the holam?  But the only point the
Masoretes had to specify for the word was whether it was to be pronounced
Adonai or Elohim, and this depended only on the vocalization of the last
vowel - qamats or hirik.  Also, we have additional documents from the
Masoretes and in these the Masoretes spell the name of God as three
yodhs arranged in a pyramid, two on the bottom and one on top, with a
circle around them.  Since there is only room for two vowels, they give
the first and last vowel.  This practice is what you apparently see now
when the holam is missing.  But it is just a scribal convention for
specifying the vocalization Adonai.  It is like one person would write
an essay and dot the lowercase j's only in some places.  That doesn't
mean that the words with dotted lowercase j's are different variants from
the ones without them.  It is just what the scribe felt like using from a
variety of equivalent representations for the same pronunciation.

Why are you skeptical about the evidence provided?  Why doesn't the
evidence satisfy you?

Yitzhak Sapir

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