[b-hebrew] Theophoric names

Jack Kilmon jkilmon at historian.net
Fri Feb 22 15:44:54 EST 2013

-----Original Message----- 
From: Uri Hurwitz
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2013 1:56 PM
To: b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [b-hebrew] Theophoric names


   What about Moses' mother YKBD, Yocheved, where the theophoric element of 
the name is the prefix?  By tradition David and his court follow Moses by 
many centuries.

The prefix YW- or YHW is quite common in such names, though in most 
yahwistic personal names the  divine name appears as a suffix. It does not 
change the meaning. Cf.  Jonathan and N'tanyahu.

  The suffixes -YHW or -YH  have the same meaning; the first suffix is most 
prevalent in pre-exilic inscriptions such as seals or bullae. The second is 
exclusive in post-exilic inscriptions.

  A similar trend appears in biblical texts, but more gradually.

Uri Hurwitz

Hi Uri
I have always been interested in the custom of theophorics and what appears 
to be a pattern.  During the 1st temple period, there was no problem voicing 
the name of God.  When the theophoric was a prefix to a name, it appears to 
have been  יְהֹו "Yeho" (yod-tsere) such as Yeho-shua, Yeho-nathan, 
Yeho-sef, Yeho-Yakhin, and as a suffix, Yirmi-yahu, Yesha-yahu, Hizqi-yahu. 
Inscriptions on bullae or LMLK impressions reveal the full suffix 
theophoric, i.e.    חִזְקִיָּהוּ hzqyhw while the Biblical translations are 
"HezekYAH.  I think the 2nd temple prohibition on the Shem haMeforash 
resulted in truncations, such as Ye-shua for Yehoshua, Yo-sef for Yeho-sef, 
Yesha-ya for Yesha-yahu (Isaiah).  Does anyone else see this pattern for 
theophoric use and its altered praxis post-exilic?  Does the prefix YE-ho 
and suffix YA-hu tell us anything about the actual voicing of YHWH?

Jack Kilmon

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