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Yah - Hovah = The God of Wickedness?
There appears to be a constant war against the simple Hebrew context of the Bible – especially
where the name of our Heavenly Father is concerned. There seems to be a conflict in modern
acceptance of clear Biblical facts - among our brothers and sisters. We find people commonly saying
particular words were added and removed from the Bible, which would be fine IF there were older
Bibles we could point at to prove this. Since, in most cases, there is no Biblical proof many are forced
into unending circles of confusion, debate and reliance on interpretations of men, some of our brothers
will experience until the day of their deaths. Therefore my reasoning will be to help brothers who are
truly willing to consider that they MAY just be wrong about some things (as we all are) and to strengthen
the hand of those who are already correct. Let’s begin:
Today we address the accusation that the four letter name of God “YHWH” ‫( י ְהֹו ָה‬Yeh’owah – as
I prefer to pronounce it) is a combination of the word ‫“ י ָהּ‬Yah” (H3050) (The shortened version of
YHWH’s name) and the word ‫“ הַ וָּה‬Hawah (H1942)” which is translated as calamity, desire, mischief etc..
The accusers (and there are many) allege that these two words ‫“ י ָהּ‬Yah” and ‫“ הַ וָּה‬Hawah” are the roots
from which we get the four letter name of God ‫י ְהֹו ָה‬, and combine to mean “God of mischief” or
“Mischievous one”. All it takes is a slight understanding of Hebrew nouns and verbs to destroy such a
teaching, birthed out of ignorance to the Hebrew of the Bible – Let’s begin:
Error #1: Yah means God
Yah is a proper noun (Name) – the Name of “God”. It DOES NOT mean God (though it REFERS to
God), nor is Yah ever translated as “God” in the Bible. The Hebrew words translated as “God” in the
Bible are El, Eloah, Elohim, etc… So even if the accusers were correct in saying YHWH roots from Yah
(H3050) and Hawah (H1942), it still wouldn’t mean “God of calamity” – it would mean Yah [of] Calamity
or Yah [is] Calamity for the record (if they were correct on YHWH’s etymology anyway).
Error #2: Assuming the contraction YAH is in YHWH.
The proper noun Yah ‫ – י ָהּ‬according to the Strong’s, is a CONTRACTION of YHWH ‫( י ְהֹו ָה‬H3068).
H3050
‫יהּ‬
yâhh
yaw
Contracted for H3068, and meaning the same; Jah, the sacred name: - Jah, the Lord, most vehement. Cp. names in
“-iah,” “-jah.” (Strong’s)
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What is a contraction?
a word formed from two or more words by omitting or combining some sounds; "`won't' is a contraction
of `will not'"; "`o'clock' is a contraction of `of the clock'"
wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
In current English usage, contraction is the shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of
internal letters.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contraction_(grammar)
In the English Language a Contraction is a word COMPRESSED by the omission of internal letters. What
does this mean? The word YaH ‫ י ָהּ‬is achieved, not by the omission of the ending letters of YHWH ‫י ְהֹו ָה‬
(ex: YH - - or - - ‫) י ָהּ‬, but rather by the omission of the internal letters (ex: Y- - H or ֹ ‫ה‬- -‫)י‬. Therefore it is
ridiculous to assert, as many of our brothers have done ignorantly, that the name YHWH contains a
contraction of itself (Yah) at the beginning. Since YaH (YH ‫ )י ָהּ‬is indeed a contraction of YHWH ‫י ְהֹו ָה‬, if the
accusers were correct, this would mean that YaH itself would mean Yah [of] Calamity, which would
defeat the entire purpose of placing it as the first two letters of YHWH’s name – since the definition of
YHWH is found within the contraction Yah itself. This, if it were true, would be utter redundancy; simply
put, YAH (the contracted form of YHWH) is NOT the first YH—but the first and last Y—H. The ONLY time
“YAH” is found as part of a name (not alone) is in names of Biblical characters ex:
Yeshayah = Yah has saved
Obadyah = Servant [of] Yah
Adonyah = Yah [is] Master
Abiyah = Yah [is] my Father
Notice whenever YAH is found in a name (and not alone) it describes an attribute of Yah. This shows us
two things, the first being that individuals who have the two letter contraction YaH (YH ‫ )י ָהּ‬in their name
have names given to glorify or describe attributes of YAH, and second that individuals with the
contraction YaH (YH ‫ )י ָהּ‬in their name are NOT Yah.
Error #3: The assumption that Hawah (H1942) is the same as Hawah (H1933)
The feminine noun Hawah (H1942) – not to be mistaken for the masculine verb Hawah (1933), is just
what I described it to be – A FEMININE NOUN, as denoted in the Strong’s:
H1942
‫הוּה‬
havvâh
BDB Definition:
1) desire
1a) desire (in bad sense)
2) chasm (figuratively of destruction)
2a) engulfing ruin, destruction, calamity
Part of Speech: noun feminine
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A Related Word by BDB/Strong’s Number:
from H1933
Same Word by TWOT Number: 483a
The noun hawah – does possibly root from the verb form hawah, which means to exist (as we will
explain shortly), however the name YHWH DOES NOT root from hawah, the feminine noun – despite the
similar spelling, as we shall prove.
Simple reasons why YHWH does NOT root from the feminine noun Hawah:
In order to understand why it is impossible for the name YHWH to come from the feminine noun
Hawah we must first understand the meaning of YHWH’s name. YHWH ‫( י ְהֹו ָה‬meaing He will exist) comes
from a masculine verb Hawah (spelled the same as the feminine noun Hawah ‫ )הַ וָּה‬which means “to
exist”. This can easily be proven when examining the Hebrew of Gen 27:29:
‫ יעבדוך עמים וישׁתחו לך לאמים הוה גביר לאחיך וישׁתחוו לך בני אמך ארריך ארור‬Gen 27:29
‫ומברכיך ברוך׃‬
Gen 27:29 Let peoples serve you, and nations bow down to you. Be (hawah ‫ )הַ וָּה‬master over your
brothers, and let your mother’s sons bow down to you. Cursed be those cursing you, and blessed be
those blessing you!” (The Scriptures)
Yitschak (Isaac) tells Ya’aqob his son “exist/be” (hawah ‫ )הַ וָּה‬master over your brothers. Obviously this
masculine verb Hawah has absolutely no relation to the feminine noun hawah (calamity) in this instance,
therefore to assume such for the set apart one’s name – YHWH (which means He will be/exist), is quite
preposterous – No?
Now that we know the root of YHWH is a masculine verb HWH (hawah ‫)הַ וָּה‬, which means to “exist”,
and not a feminine noun HWH (hawah ‫)הַ וָּה‬, that allegedly means “calamity”, where does the “yod” (or
the Y) come in to give us (Y)-HWH? There is a rule we should learn about Hebrew verbs – which will
prove, without the shadow of a doubt, that the word YHWH contains HWH (hawah ‫ )הַ וָּה‬the verb that
means to exist, and NOT the feminine noun HWH (hawah ‫ )הַ וָּה‬which means “calamity”. When any VERB
in Hebrew is prefixed by a “Yod” (or a “Y”) it means “He” will do or is doing the verb for example:
Take the verb hayah ‫ היה‬HYH (the root form of Ehyeh ‫ ) אהיה‬which means “to exist”. When we place a
“yod” (or a “Y”) before the verb “hayah” HYH ‫( היה‬to exist) we get the word yihyeh YHYH ‫ יהיה‬, which
means “HE will exist” as in the following:
Gen 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all
the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
(KJV)
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The phrase translated “to you it shall be for meat” is Y’hyeh L’oklah ‫יהיה לאכלה‬, which literally means
“he shall exists to food”.
HYH ‫“ = היה‬to exist”
YHYH ‫“ = יהיה‬he will exist”
In like manner when we place a “yod” (or a “Y”) before the verb (hawah HWH ‫ )הַ וָּה‬we get YHWH ‫י ְהֹו ָה‬,
which means “He will exist”:
HWH ‫“ = הַ וָּה‬to exist”
YHWH ‫“ = י ְהֹו ָה‬He will exist”
Remember when we place a “yod” (or a “Y”) before a Hebrew VERB (or action) we are indicating
that one will do or is doing the action (a simpler way to understanding the third person imperfect verb).
Since this ONLY applies to VERBS, it is impossible for the feminine noun (hawah HWH ‫)הַ וָּה‬, which means
“calamity”, to be prefixed with “yod” and preserve its meaning – it would change the word ENTIRELY.
There is NO SUCH THING as a “yod” prefix in nouns; therefore, not ONLY does YHWH NOT contain the
feminine noun (hawah HWH ‫)הַ וָּה‬, the noun HWH itself would be meaningless if prefixed by a “yod” (or
a “Y”). In Hebrew there are RULES which apply to nouns and RULES which apply to verbs. These rules
help us to identify the meaning of words and how they are being used – when we do not learn these
rules and are subjected to teachers who do not understand these rules we run the risk of making
erroneous assumptions like these.
Error #3: The assumption that the SAME SPELLING means the SAME WORD:
A key to the deception involves the false notion that because a word is spelled the same exact
way as another it is the same exact word. This, as many Hebrew studiers know, is false. For Example:
Take the word EL ‫ אל‬, NOT EL as in YisraEL (power or “God”), but EL in Deut 27:9:
Deu 27:9 And Mosheh and the priests, the Lĕwites, spoke to ‫ אל‬all Yisra’ĕl,
The word “EL”, in this context, means “to” and does not refer to “God” or “power”. This is similar to
what in English is called a homonym – same spelling/different meaning. This applies to multiple words in
Hebrew. The same applies to the noun Hawah and the verb Hawah. The same spelling doesn’t make it
the same word, and ANY Hebrew reader would know this!
Why do Hawah (H1942) and Hawah (H1933) appear to have an etymologic connection?
1st and foremost the word Hawah (H1942) means desire or lust (in a bad sense) not calamity.
Now it can IMPLY calamity or disaster but ultimately it means desire (as Greediness). Keep that in mind.
The Strong’s DOES clearly indicate a connection between the words - stating (H1933) is the root form of
(H1942), though some disagreement amongst Lexicons exists for example:
Though the Strong’s traces the noun Hawah (H1942) back to the verb (H1933) the Ancient Hebrew
Lexicon traces the noun Hawah back to the masculine verb Haw, which means to sigh (as from a disaster
or calamity). That makes more sense in my eyes, however this still doesn’t undermine the possibility
that the feminine noun Hawah (H1942) may be etymologically connected. The Hebrew verb Hawah,
though it implies existence, literally means “to breathe” as also denoted in the Strong’s:
H1933
‫הוה הוא‬
hâvâ' hâvâh
haw-vaw', haw-vaw'
A primitive root (compare H183, H1961) supposed to mean properly to breathe; to be (in the sense of
existence): - be, X have.
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When we read the book of Psalms and elsewhere we can easily see why a “breath” could be associated
with existence for example:
Psa 33:6 Through the Word of YHWH the heavens were made; and all their host were made by the
breath of His mouth. (LITV)
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The “breath” of Elohim is strongly associated with the existence of all things via creation! Not only is
breath associated with existence in the Hebrew Bible, but it is associated with desire (as cravings). This is
also seen when we examine the Hebrew noun Naphesh ‫נפשׁ‬, which means a breathing [one] (an existing
[person]) but is also used to describe desire or passion (in a good or bad sense) also:
Gen 2:7 And ‫ יהוה‬Elohim formed the man out of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils
breath of life. And the man became a living being (Naphesh ‫)נפשׁ‬.
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The same word is translated as lust in the following verse:
Psa 78:18 And they tried Ěl in their heart By asking food according to their desire (Naphesh ‫)נפשׁ‬.
Another example is the word ruakh ַ‫( רוּח‬normally translated as spirit) literally means breath, but is also
associated with desire as denoted in Isa 26:9:
Isa 26:9 With my soul (Naphesh ‫ )נפשׁ‬have I desired (awah ‫ )אוה‬Thee in the night; yea, with my spirit
(ruakh ַ‫ )רוּח‬within me have I sought Thee earnestly; for when Thy judgments are in the earth, the
inhabitants of the world learn righteousness. (JPS)
Here Yeshayahu says with His spirit (ruakh ַ‫ )רוּח‬and soul (Naphesh ‫ )נפשׁ‬he desires (awah ‫ )אוה‬YHWH.
Coincidently not only does the verb awah ‫( אוה‬which also has etymology connected to the verb and
noun forms of Hawah) mean to desire/covet something (in a good or bad sense), it also means to sigh
(i.e. a deep breath) as denoted in the BDB:
1) desire, incline, covet, wait longingly, wish, sigh, want, be greedy, prefer (BDB)
Here we have it. Three Hebrew words which can be used to refer to breath, YET have a strong
connection with the desires of an individual. If breath is not only associated with existence, but DESIRE
(in Hebrew Culture), it is easy to see how the feminine noun Hawah (which ultimately means
desire/greediness in a negative sense) could root from a verb (Hawah) that means literally to breathe.
Conclusion
Nobody has ALL the answers where Hebrew etymology is concerned, however the tools are
readily available to anyone who has the heart to seek the knowledge of YHWH’s word in its purest form.
Hopefully the reader, through this article, will know how to EASILY evade such heresies, as the one
discussed above. The Name of YHWH is blasphemed on a daily basis on account of ignorance, but
knowledge of Elohim’s word can deliver us from such error. Shalom
Psa 89:8 O ‫ יהוה‬Elohim of hosts, Who is mighty like You, O Yah? And Your trustworthiness is all around
You. (The Scriptures)
Obadyah Benyamin