[b-hebrew] Hiram Hirom Huram

JimStinehart at aol.com JimStinehart at aol.com
Tue Jul 17 13:04:38 EDT 2012

Yigal Levin:
You wrote:  “As far as Hiram, it is usually considered to be a shortened 
form of Ahiram, a fairly common Phoenician and Hebrew name, literally meaning 
"my brother is exalted", where "brother" is an epithet for the deity, 
similar to

"Ab(i)ram", "Ah(i)ab" and so on.”
Why do you think that the interior yod/Y in Ahiram or Abiram or Abisalom or 
Abishai is a possessive, instead of being a name divider?
In cases where the same individual has his name spelled in these two 
different ways, doesn’t it seem clear that the two versions of the name have the 
identical meaning, and only differ as to their spellings, with an interior 
yod/Y being an optional name divider that has no impact whatsoever on the 
meaning?  Thus compare )B$LM and )BY$LM at II Chronicles 11: 20-21 and I Kings 
15: 2, 10, and )LPL+ and )LYPL+ at I Chronicles 14: 5 and II Samuel 5: 16.
Consider also MLKY)L at Genesis 46: 17, which I see as being MLK - Y - )L, 
where the interior yod/Y is a mere name divider.
Biblical Hebrew had no punctuation whatsoever, including not having a dash. 
 Where we would use a dash today if we wanted to separate the two component 
parts of a name that consists of two words, in Biblical Hebrew an interior 
yod/Y could be used for that purpose.
Consider further that Abiram, with an interior yod/Y, is attested out the 
wazzoo in non-biblical sources, but the birth name of Patriarch #1, Abram [or 
Abrum], with no interior yod/Y, is extremely rare in non-biblical sources.  
For west Semitic native speakers who cannot pronounce consonant clusters, 
isn’t )BRM a bit of a tongue-twister?  Native English speakers mispronounce 
the name by using a consonant cluster, A-bram, which makes the name very easy 
to pronounce in English, but it certainly was not pronounced that way by 
native Hebrew speakers.  Isn’t )B – RM a bit clumsy for Hebrew pronunciation? 
 By sharp contrast, )B – Y – RM is easy to say for native speakers of any 
Don’t you think it’s suspicious that the birth name of Patriarch #1 is a 
tongue-twister in Hebrew?  Especially since the non-biblically attested 
version of this name usually has, not surprisingly, an interior yod/Y for ease of 
Finally, do you pronounce the bet/B in )BRM as English B, or as English V?  
If it’s pronounced like English V, doesn’t that imply that a vowel sound 
followed the bet/B, to make the bet/B inter-vocalic and hence pronounced like 
English V?  That is to say, the normal, non-biblically attested spelling is 
)BYRM, with the unorthodox Biblical spelling of Abraham’s birth name being 
a shortened form of this, namely )BRM, but with no change in meaning 
whatsoever [that is, there’s  never a meaning of “my” in there, regardless of the 
Why is it that you never see an interior yod/Y in any of the above cases as 
being a mere name divider, which has no substantive meaning [such as “my”] 
at all? 

Jim Stinehart
Evanston, Illinois

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