[b-hebrew] Theophoric names

Chavoux Luyt chavoux at gmail.com
Mon Feb 25 09:17:02 EST 2013


From: Will Parsons <wbparsons at alum.mit.edu>
To: jkilmon at historian.net
>Hi Jack,
>On Fri, 22 Feb 2013 14:44:54 -0600, "Jack Kilmon" <jkilmon at historian.net>
>> 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.
>> Inscriptions on bullae or LMLK impressions reveal the full suffix
>> theophoric, i.e.    חִזְקִיָּהוּ hzqyhw while the Biblical translations
>> "HezekYAH.  I think the 2nd temple prohibition on the Shem haMeforash
>> resulted in truncations, such as Ye-shua for Yehoshua, Yo-sef for
>> 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?
>The shwa in the prefix form could be the result of a reduction of /a/,
> then we must compare /yaho-/ and /-yahu/.  But /yaho-/ can be derived
> from /yahu-/ by positing (following Joshua Blau):
>1) /yahu-/ optionally contracting to /yaw/ according to speech tempo
>2) /yaw/ monophthongizing to /yo:/
>3) uncontracted /yahu/ remodelled to /yaho:/ by analogy with the short
>   form
>4) final reduction of /a/ to shwa
>(Perhaps (4) should come before (3).)
>I see no need to assume that prohibition against pronouncing the full
>form of the Shem had anything to do with this.  The reductions of both
>prefix and suffix forms can be explained by simple phonetic
From: Uri Hurwitz <uhurwitz at yahoo.com>
>The way it is used in the Lakhish and Arad letters,
>for instance, seems to support this, but does prove it.
>On the other hand, I think that the spelling of
>theophoric additions can not help here since names
>like Yehonatan are also spelled Yonatan in quite a
>few chapters in the text. As if to emphasize this point
>the two forms appear in one verse 1 Sam. 19:1!

Just to add another point, it also appears from some archaeological finds
that even during the first temple period, the Northern tribes (Israel) used
the shorter theophoric names (-Yah instead of -Yahu and Yo- instead of
Yeho-) cf (
I am not sure if this might also be visible anymore as a difference between
the prophetic books from Israel vs those from Judah, because of later
scribal changes, but it might be worthwhile to look up for those of us with
the right kind of software?

Chavoux Luyt
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