[b-hebrew] Biblical Names Ending in -YH

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Mon Dec 31 17:34:46 EST 2012

1.  You  wrote:  “In Tanakh there are stories  of non-Israelites who 
believed and followed YHWH, and so would have no problem  naming their children in 
honor of YHWH. One of the most famous was Caleb, a  contemporary of Joshua, 
whose family settled around Hebron. His nephew (TNY)L  was the first judge 
who saved Israel from a foreign oppressor  (Judges 3:10).” 
Yes, that’s fine as far as it goes.  But Karl, you left out the most  
important part.  Caleb is a  Kenizzite, that is, a Hurrian.  So  Caleb does not 
have a west Semitic name with the ultra-derogatory meaning of  “Dog”, as 
scholars would have it.  No way!  Rather, Caleb has a  fine Hurrian name, 
Kelip, which means “Pleasing to the Divine”. 
And Yes, since Kelip the Hurrian threw in his lot with  the Hebrews, it 
would not be surprising that he has a nephew with a Hebrew  name. 
If you would agree that Caleb is a fine Hurrian name of a  
Hurrian/Kenizzite, rather than being a derogatory west Semitic name, then I  would agree 
with everything you said there. 
2.  You  wrote:  “Therefore, without any  proof, you cannot claim that 
)WRYH, David’s soldier, was not from one such  family, therefore was not named 
in honor of YHWH.” 
What is your Hebrew analysis of the name )WRYH?   
My Hurrian analysis is very straightforward.  )W-R is the Hurrian word 
ev-ri, meaning “lord”.  -Y is the standard Hurrian theophoric  suffix -ya, 
meaning “the  divine”.  The final -H is a  Semiticization of this Hurrian name, 
in recognition of the fact that, per Joshua  15: 63, Hurrian families had 
remained in, and dominated, Jerusalem from the Late  Bronze Age.  So I see 
the name as  being )W-R  -Y   [-H] : ev-ri  -ya Semiticized. 
Uriah is said to be a XT -Y : Xu-ti -ya : “Hittite”, where Xuti-ya is one 
of the most  frequently-attested Hurrian names at the Hurrian province of 
Nuzi in Late Bronze  Age eastern Syria.  So for every  person whom the Bible 
describes as being a “Hittite”, we should expect that  their name will be a 
Hurrian name, and will not be a west Semitic/Hebrew  name.  For example, the 
name  “Ephron” as the name of a “Hittite”/Hurrian in chapter 23 of 
Genesis is not a  west Semitic name meaning “Fawn”, but rather is a fine Hurrian 
name meaning  “[Hurrian] Lord”.  The same applies  to every other 
individual whom the Bible identifies as being a  “Hittite”. 
So Uriah the “Hittite” should rightly have a Hurrian  name, and he does! 
3.  You  wrote:  “You have absolutely no  evidence about the background of 
%RYH, David’s scribe. Therefore your  assumptions can be considered as 
off-the-wall. Do you have evidence that %RYH  was not one of the 400–600 men who 
joined David while he was fleeing Saul? Or  that he wasn’t David’s scribe 
when David ruled in Hebron, before taking Jerusalem?” 
There’s no mention of David ever having a scribe until  King David took 
over Jerusalem.  $RYH is constructed like the names )WRYH  and )RWNH, all of 
whom are contemporaries in King David’s Jerusalem in II  Samuel.  Per Joshua 
15: 63, we  rightly expect that King David will have to deal with people of 
Hurrian ancestry  in Jerusalem, so we’re not surprised to find 5 vintage 
Hurrian names of such  people in II Samuel:  [1]  )W-R  -Y   [-H] : Ev-ri -ya 
Semiticized : “Teshup Is  Lord”;  [2] XT -Y : Xu-ti  -ya : “Praise Teshup”;  
[3] )R-W -N   [-H] : Er-wi -na Semiticized : “[Teshup] Is The  Lord”;  [4] 
Y-B-W-S  -Y : A-bu-u-$e  -ya : “Teshup Saves”;  and [5] $R -Y   [- H] : 
$ar-ri -ya Semiticized : “Teshup Is  King”.  All five are vintage Hurrian  
4.  You  wrote:  “You ignore that the endings  -YH and -YHW were used 
interchangeably, both referring to YHWH, so that MYKYHW  in Judges 17:1, 4 is the 
same as if he had spelled it MYKYH, so that name fits  your criteria.” 
I agree.  But  some scholars see -YHW as being the old southern Judah way,  
whereas -YH is the later, northern way.  As to substantive meaning, I agree 
with you. 
5.  You  wrote:  “You do sample biasing,  ruling out earlier evidence just 
because its record survives only in a book that  was written later. That 
book was written when the Israelite genealogy tables  were still extant (burned 
in 70 AD when the temple was burned) so there’s no  reason to assume that 
(ZRYH 1 Chronicles 2:8 is not an accurate record of  someone who preceded 
Well, I Chronicles 4: 18 gives a Hebrew name to a  daughter of Pharaoh:  
BTYH.  That’s a bit disconcerting, isn’t  it?  By sharp contrast, all  
Egyptians in the Patriarchal narratives have bona fide Egyptian names, straight  
out of the Amarna Age. 
6.  You  wrote:  “And now someone has pointed  out that )BYH was one of the 
sons of Saul.” 
I guess I even screwed that up.  )BYH at I Samuel 8: 2 is a son of Samuel  
[not a son of Saul].  My apologies  for that. 
7.  You  wrote:  “It’s true that names change  in popularity, but you have 
no evidence that David invented a whole class of  names.” 
Yes, I probably overstated my case a bit.  Let me amend it to say that King 
David  was the one who popularized giving Hebrew sons names that end in 
-YH, which  honor YHWH in that particular way.  Such names are a dime a dozen 
beginning with I Kings, while being scarce  before then. 
Jim Stinehart 
Evanston,  Illinois
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