Back to Bible Papers

 

Personal Names Before Exodus 6:2-3

With Emphasis on the Personal Names in Genesis 1-11

 

Updated: 15 December 2014

 

 

Mark S. Haughwout

M.A. The Bible and the Ancient Near East

Hebrew University Jerusalem

 

 

 

Copyright 2010 Mark S. Haughwout all rights reserved
Table of Contents

 

Introduction

 

1.      Tables Of Names In Chapters 1-11

a.      Names Of People

b.      Names Of Ethnic Groups

c.      Names Of Cities, Lands, And Rivers

2.      People Groups v Personal Names

3.      Etymologies of The Names

a.      Adam – Noah, Observations on the Names

b.      Matriarchal Naming Of Children

c.      Compound Names / Suffixes

d.      Duplication of Names

                                               i.      Seth v Cain Genealogies - Non-Identical

                                              ii.      Sheba and Havilah

                                            iii.      Sheba and Dedan

e.      Chronicles v Genesis

f.       Conclusion About the Names in Genesis 1-11

4.      Names In Genesis 12 - Exodus

a.      Moses As An Egyptian Name

5.      Suffix Yah

a.      Non Use Of Suffix YAH In All The Names

b.      Use of ‘el’ as a Suffix or Prefix

c.      Shaddai

d.      Possible Exceptions:

                                               i.      Moriyah (Mt. Moriah)

                                              ii.      Yahudah (Judah)

                                            iii.      Yahoshua (Joshua)

e.      Earliest mention of YHVH outside the bible

 

Conclusion

 

Bibliography

 

 


Introduction

               Source criticism seeks to account for the seemingly repetitious stories in the Bible, and especially beginning in the book of Genesis.  The initial ‘unraveling’ of the so-called multiple sources/stories, as Herbert Brichto points out, was a result of comparing which names for God were used in these stories (Brichto xi).  In this paper I will discuss not only the use of the divine names, particularly EL and YHWH, but also the names of individuals, people groups, places, and other proper nouns.  My aim is two-fold.  First the names can teach us something about the origins of the book of Genesis, both in terms of place of composition and date of composition, or at least of the underlying sources thereof.  Secondly, as will be shown below, the non-divine names can tell us a significant amount about the use of the name Yahweh in Patriarchal times.  The key verses in this discussion are Genesis 4:26 compared to Exodus 3:15ff and particularly Exodus 6:2-3.  In the former it appears as though the author is claiming that men began to invoke the name of YHWH even in Adam’s lifetime, yet in the later passage it is written that God did not reveal himself to the patriarchs this way but rather “in El-Shadai”.

Tables of Names in Chapters 1-11

               Genesis chapters 1-11 contain 144 proper names belonging to different people, people groups and places.  Several names including Lamech, Enoch, Nahor, Sheba and others pertain to more than one person.  This duplication of names will be discussed further below.  The tables following are my own construction and are provided as a simple reference for the names found in Genesis 1-11.

               In addition to the personal names, there are also names of places and names of people groups, which are listed in the 2nd and 3rd tables, further below.  Following is the list of personal names of people, according to their first appearance in the text. 

Personal names in Genesis 1-11:[1]

1.      

יהוה

YHWH[2]

2:4

 

2.      

אדם

Adam

3:17

First mention of Adam[3]

3.      

חוה

Eve

3:20

 

4.      

קין

Cain

4:1

 

5.      

הבל

Abel

4:2

 

6.      

חנוך

Enoch

4:17

also in Seth's line 5:18

7.      

עירד

Irad

4:18

 

8.      

מחויאל (מחייאל)

Mehujael

4:18

note the ‘el’ suffix

9.      

מתושאל

Methushael

4:18

note the ‘el’ suffix

10.                        

למך

Lamech

4:18

also in Seth's line 5:25

11.                        

עדה

Adah

4:19

 

12.                        

צלה

Zillah

4:19

 

13.                        

בלי

Jabal

4:20

 

14.                        

יובל

Jubal

4:21

 

15.                        

קין תובל

Tubal-Cain

4:22

 

16.                        

נעמה

Naamah

4:22

sister of Tubal-Cain

17.                        

שת

Seth

4:25

 

18.                        

אנוש

Enosh

4:26

Seth's son

19.                        

קינן

Cainan

5:9

 

20.                        

מהללאל

Mahalalel

5:12

note the ‘el’ suffix

21.                        

ירד

Jared

5:15

 

22.                        

חנוך

Enoch

5:18

also in Cain's line 4:17

23.                        

מתושלח

Methuselah

5:21

 

24.                        

למך

Lamech

5:25

also in Cain's line 4:18

25.                        

נח

Noah

5:29

name explained here

26.                        

שם

Shem

5:32

 

27.                        

חם

Ham

5:32

 

28.                        

יפת

Japheth

5:32

Last name before the flood story

29.                        

כנען

Canaan

9:18

Also a place name[4]

30.                        

גמר

Gomer

10:2

 

31.                        

מגוג

Magog

10:2

Place/people name in Ezekiel

32.                        

מדי

Madai

10:2

 

33.                        

יון

Javan

10:2

Also the name of Greece

34.                        

תבל

Tubal

10:2

 

35.                        

משך

Meshech

10:2

 

36.                        

תירס

Tiras

10:2

 

37.                        

אשכנז

Ashkenaz

10:3

 

38.                        

ריפת

Riphath

10:3

 

39.                        

תגרמה

Togarmah

10:3

spelt תוגרמה in 1st Chron. 1:6

40.                        

אלישה

Elishah

10:4

 

41.                        

תרשיש

Tarshish

10:4

תרשישה in 1st Chron. 1:7

42.                        

כתים

Kittim

10:4

notice the plural endings

43.                        

דדנים

Dodanim

10:4

[5] see דדן below. 1st Chr 1:7 = רודנים

44.                        

כוש

Cush

10:6

Ethiopia

45.                        

מצרים

Mizraim

10:6

Egypt

46.                        

פוט

Put

10:6

 

47.                        

סבא

Seba

10:7

 

48.                        

להחוי

Havilah

10:7

same name below 10:29

49.                        

סבתה

Sabtah

10:7

סבתא in 1st Chr. 1:9

50.                        

רעמה

Raamah

10:7

רעמא in 1st Chr. 1:9

51.                        

סבתכא

Sabtechah

10:7

 

52.                        

שבא

Sheba

10:7

10:28

53.                        

דדן

Dedan

10:7

see דדנים above

54.                        

נמרד

Nimrod

10:8

נמרוד in 1st Chr. 1:10

55.                        

צידן

Sidon

10:15

also a place צידון in 1st Chr. 1:13

56.                        

חת

Heth

10:15

Possibly a people group - Hittites?

57.                        

עילם

Elam

10:22

Also a people group

58.                        

אשור

Asshur

10:22

Also a people group/place

59.                        

ארפכשד

Arphaxad

10:22

Possibly also a place name

60.                        

לוד

Lud

10:22

 

61.                        

ארם

Aram

10:22

Also a people group

62.                        

עוץ

Uz

10:23

Place name in Job 1:1

63.                        

חול

Hul

10:23

 

64.                        

גתר

Gether

10:23

 

65.                        

מש

Mash

10:23

משך in 1st Chr. 1:17

66.                        

שלח

Salah

10:24

 

67.                        

עבר

Eber

10:24

 

68.                        

פלג

Peleg

10:25

 

69.                        

יקטן

Joktan

10:25

 

70.                        

אלמודד

Almodad

10:26

 

71.                        

שלף

Sheleph

10:26

 

72.                        

חצרמות

Hazarmaveth

10:26

 

73.                        

ירח

Jerah

10:26

 

74.                        

הדורם

Hadoram

10:27

 

75.                        

אוזל

Uzal

10:27

 

76.                        

דקלה

Diklah

10:27

 

77.                        

עובל

Obal (Ebal)

10:28

עיבל in 1st Chr. 1:22

78.                        

אבימאל

Abimael

10:28

note the ‘el’ suffix

79.                        

שבא

Sheba

10:28

also above 10:7

80.                        

אופר

Ophir

10:29

 

81.                        

חוילה

Havilah

10:29

same name diff. person than 10:7

82.                        

יובב

Jobab

10:29

 

83.                        

רעו

Reu

11:18

 

84.                        

שרוג

Serug

11:20

 

85.                        

נחור

Nahor

11:22

see 11:26

86.                        

תרח

Terah

11:24

 

87.                        

אברם

Abram

11:26

 

88.                        

נחור

Nahor

11:26

also 11:22, two different people

89.                        

הרן

Haran

11:26

 

90.                        

לוט

Lot

11:27

 

91.                        

שרי

Sarai

11:29

 

92.                        

מלכה

Milcah

11:29

 

93.                        

יסכה

Iscah

11:29

 


Race/Nation names in Genesis 1-11:

 

94.                        

הנפלים

giants

6:4

The Nephilim

 

 

95.                        

לודים

 

10:13

children of Mitzraim

 

 

96.                        

ענמים

 

10:13

children of Mitzraim

 

 

97.                        

להבים

 

10:13

children of Mitzraim

 

 

98.                        

נפתחים

 

10:13

children of Mitzraim

 

 

99.                        

פתרסים

 

10:14

children of Mitzraim

 

 

100.                   

כסלחים

 

10:14

children of Mitzraim

 

 

101.                   

פלשתים

 

10:14

from the Casluhim

 

 

102.                   

כפתרים

 

10:14

from the Casluhim

 

 

103.                   

היבוסי

 

10:14

 

 

 

104.                   

האמרי

 

10:16

 

 

 

105.                   

הגרגשי

 

10:16

 

 

 

106.                   

החוי

 

10:17

 

 

 

107.                   

הערקי

 

10:17

 

 

 

108.                   

הסיני

 

10:17

 

 

 

109.                   

הארודי

 

10:18

 

 

 

110.                   

הצמרי

 

10:18

 

 

 

111.                   

החמתי

 

10:18

 

 

112.                   

עבר בני

sons of Eber

10:21

cf. Gen 10:24, 11:11, 14

113.                   

 

Chaldeans

11:28

 

 


Place Names (cities, lands, rivers, etc...)

114.                   

עדן

Eden

2:8

 

115.                   

פישון

Pishon

2:11

 

116.                   

החוילה

Havilah

2:11

 

117.                   

גיחון

Gihon

2:13

also the name of a spring in Jer.

118.                   

שכו

Cush

2:13

 

119.                   

חדקל

Hiddekel

2:14

 

120.                   

אשור

Assyria

2:14

 

121.                   

פרת

Euphrates

2:14

 

122.                   

נוד

Nod

4:16

 

123.                   

חנוך

Enoch

4:17

a city named after Cain's son[6]

124.                   

אררט

Ararat

8:4

mountains of Ararat

125.                   

בבל

Babel

10:10

 

126.                   

ארך

Erech

10:10

 

127.                   

אכד

Accad

10:10

 

128.                   

כלנה

Calneh

10:10

 

129.                   

שנער

Shinar

10:10

 

130.                   

נינוה

Nineveh

10:11

 

131.                   

עיר רחבת

Rehoboth Ir

10:11

maybe two names

132.                   

כלח

Calah

10:11

 

133.                   

רסן

Resen

10:12

 

134.                   

צידן

Sidon

10:19

 

135.                   

גררה

Gerar

10:19

 

136.                   

עזה

Gaza

10:19

 

137.                   

סדמה

Sodom

10:19

 

138.                   

עמרה

Gomorrah

10:19

 

139.                   

אדמה

Admah

10:19

 

140.                   

צבים

Zeboiim

10:19

 

141.                   

לשע

Lasha

10:19

 

142.                   

משא

Mesha

10:30

 

143.                   

ספרה

Sephar

10:30

 

144.                   

 

Ur

11:28

 

 

 

People Groups v Personal Names

               Please note that several of the names in this first list may actually be names of people groups or even places, and thus actually belong in the second table.  It is also possible that they are personal names of the ancestors of various groups.  (i.e. Aram might be the ancestor of the people of Aram).  I have only included names in the second table that are plainly people groups based on the names being in the plural or adjectival form.  Richard Hess gives a good explanation of the techniques for identifying personal names and comes to the conclusion that there are 42 different personal names in these chapters (Hess p7-8).  He also does not include the divine name in his list.  For the purposes of this paper, there is a need to include all types of names, particularly for the discussion on the use of Yah/Yahu as a suffix or prefix.

Etymologies of the Names

               Several of the names in the tables above are discussed below.  I have limited myself to names that have a significant impact on the discussion of the origin and date of the book of Genesis or the underlying documents thereof.

#1 – YHWH

               The name of YHWH has its first occurrence in Genesis 2:4: “These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,” (KJV).  Because of the mention here of YHWH, scholars who have been trained in the source critical method (particularly that referred to as the Documentary Hypothesis) tend to assign the later half of this verse to the story that follows.  This is because in their eyes one author states that the name YHWH was not known until Exodus 6 in God’s revelation to Moses, while another author at Genesis 4:26 states that after Seth was born men began to call upon the name of YHWH.  Thus because of the use of the generic name for God – Elohim in the first chapter and the personal name YHWH in the following chapters, and because of the seeming duplication of the stories, DH scholars concluded that the ‘Elohist’ writer (either P or E) produced 1:1-24a and the ‘Yahwist’ writer produced 2:4b and following[7].  However this is against significant evidence that the entire verse 2:4 belongs to the preceding story.  It is well known that תולדות אלה ‘these are the generations’ is a statement that occurs frequently throughout Genesis and serves as an introduction to the story that either follows or precedes the statement.  It can be shown that in the early stories of Genesis these 'toldot' statements follow the stories to which they pertain.  It is also well known that verse 2:5 begins in a very typical Biblical Hebrew prose sort of fashion – first introducing the setting and then initiating the actual events of the story with a vav-consecutive.[8]  Here the story actually begins in 2:7 with the v/c וייצר ‘and He formed’.  Thus all of verse 5 and 6 are merely setting up the scenario in which the story begins. 

               Also the content of verse 2:4b refers to the creation of the Heaven and the Earth, which thing was just recorded in 1:1-2:3.  What follows is not the creation of the Heaven and Earth, but rather the creation of mankind in particular and in passing, that of animals and plants.  By ignoring the plain context and understanding of the text and by adhering to their methodology instead, the DH school has misinterpreted the text.  If there is any doubt to my claim here, one need only look at 5:1-2: “This [is] the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.” (KJV)  This ‘colophon’[9] clearly refers to the preceding chapters and not to what follows.  To argue against this is simply untenable for only in chapters 1 and 2 is Adam created, therefore these verses can only be referring back to one or both of those chapters and not to what follows.  One might try to argue that they refer to the genealogical list that follows, but that list refers to Adam as a proper name and not to mankind – male and female created in the image of God “in the day when they were created”.  Nothing that follows has anything to do with the ‘image of God’ or ‘the day they were created’ nor ‘and he blessed them’.   God blessed them back in 1:28 (and possibly also 2:24).  In fact every single phrase in these two verses contains information that can only refer to previous verses.

               While it is not my purpose here to analyze the text, it became necessary to do so in-part to demonstrate how presuppositions about the use of the name YHWH can mislead one into complete misinterpretation of the text. Indeed, if the name Yahweh was not found in 2:4b, source critical scholars would likely have to come to the same conclusion I have arrived at here.

               Reinterpreting texts is not the only problem created by the DH.  As Brichto points out, anytime such a DH scholar encounters a text or word that does not fit their schemes, they simply claim it was a later addition or scribal error (Brichto p7).  In Genesis this becomes obvious in places such as Gen 20:18 where the appearance of YHWH is found outside of so-called J.[10]

               The appearance of the name of YHWH in Genesis does not contradict Exodus 6, simply by its appearance, since the author himself knew the name and was free to use it.  Nor do verses such as Genesis 13:4 – “Unto the place of the altar, which he had made there at the first: and there Abram called on the name of the LORD.”  The fact that Abram, by some means, called upon the God whose name a later author knew as YHWH, does not mean that Abram used that name to call upon the God represented by that name.  In other words, Abram called upon the person YHWH by his name El-Shadai.

               One must observe Genesis 16:11 “And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou [art] with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.  Though the text records the angel using the name of YHWH in discourse, the angel tells Hagar to name the child Ishmael, not Ishmayah! 

               Also Gen 16:13 – “And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?” In this verse and the previous, it is almost as though the name YHWH is being used in a generic sense, in the same way Elohim is used, and not as a proper name.  Also the prhasing in this verse, though lacking the prefixed bet to the word ‘name’ (שם instead of בשם), may help in understanding how at 13:4 Abram called ‘on the name of YHWH’. 

               Further evidence to support my explanation is found at Genesis 21:33 – “And [Abraham] planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” Here the KJV should capitalize ‘everlasting’ for that is part of the proper name by which Abraham invoked YHWH.  This verse shows clearly that when the ancients ‘called on the name of the LORD’ they did so not by the name YHWH, but by El-Shadai, El-Roi, or in this case El-Olam.  Compare also 24:3,7,12, 27, 42, which also support this idea in the same fashion as 21:33 discussed here.

               A bigger problem occurs first in Genesis 15:2 when Abram says in direct discourse “lord YHWH, what will you give me...”.  Similarly the name is invoked in discourse in 15:8 by Abram and in 16:2,5 by Sarai.  This might be explained by the author not directly quoting what Abraham said, but rather relaying the meaning of what Abraham said.  It is obvious that even by taking the conservative stance that Moses wrote Genesis, one must admit that Abraham who lived about 500 years earlier spoke a very different language or at least dialect than Moses.  Thus a direct quote seems unlikely. 

               However Genesis 22:14 creates a real problem for this theory – “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovahjireh: as it is said [to] this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen.  This verse is truly the hardest to get around.

               Gen 49:18 is also a problem due to the antiquity of this poetry.

               Exodus 3:18/5:3 is a problem because YHWH is referred to as the God of the Hebrews.  This may indicate that the name of YHWH was known to the larger nomadic group descended from Eber.  By contrast Exodus 4:5 seems to indicate the need for an explanation to the people of Israel as to who YHWH is – namely the God of their fathers.

               More about the name will be discussed below.

#2- Adam

               Adam is not actually called by name until at least 3:17.  In that verse only the Masoretic vowel pointing indicates that it is a proper name.  However with different pointing (under the lamed) phrase would read ‘to the man’ instead of ‘to Adam’.  In 5:2-3 we read that God called their name ‘Adam’ in the day they were created.  Here the NKJV translates אדם as "Mankind".[11]  Thus for the first four chapters of Genesis, אדם – ‘adam’ is not used as a personal name for the male individual created by God but rather is used simply to mean “mankind” or “the man” (האדם).  One way of discerning when Adam is used as a personal name is the use of the definite article which cannot be connected to a personal name.  However even when ‘adam’ appears without the definite article, it still may not be a personal name, as noted above, for it can also simply mean ‘mankind’.

               The etymology of the name Adam is both interesting and important.  Hess shows that “as a common noun, אדם is at home throughout the Semetic world of the third to first millennia B.C.” (Hess p19).  The root can take the definition of  “red” “person” “land” and several other related meanings in languages such as Akkadian, Sumerian, Aramaic and Arabic.  However as a personal name, Hess shows that it is “more at home the earlier one goes.  It is quite rare in the late second and in the first millennia B.C.” (Hess p19, 61, 72).  It only occurs as a personal name before 1200 B.C. (Hess p35).    It does occur as a place name in the Jordan valley recorded in Joshua 3:16.  The place name is not heard of again and though apparently a well know place to the author of that text, it disappears from latter recognition.  Pointing to both the antiquity of the use of the name and the antiquity of the account in Joshua.

               Only a few names in Genesis are explained by the author and Adam's is not one of them! In Gen 3:19 the man is made from "dust" עפר and not from "ground" אדמה in this verse.   Compare Job 34:15 “...and man would return to dust.”  Here the word for dust is the same used in the Genesis account - עפר.  Thus the author of Job (which is considered by some scholars to be extremely old[12]) also relates the term אדם with עפר and not directly with אדמה.  The later would be the natural association in Hebrew and is indeed alluded to in the text, but primary connection is between אדם and עפר.  Similarly, Job says to God “Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay(חמר)[13].  And will You turn me into dust (עפר) again?” (Job 10:9).

               Joan Comay points out that the belief of man being created out of the ground or out of clay was not limited to the Israelites: “There were similar stories among the ancient Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks, and parallel folk legends among primitive tribes in many other parts of the world, including Australian aborigines, Maoris, Africans, American Indians and Eskimos.” (Comay p38).

               Hess also points out that Adam could be Sumerian ‘a’ = arm/side and ‘dam’ = spouse. (Hess p18). 

               Interestingly only Job 31:33 refers to a person called Adam: “If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom”.  However in this verse too, Adam could simply be translated as ‘a man’.[14]

#3 - Eve           

               Eve is a name that the Biblical author clearly connects to the Hebrew root “to live” (Gen. 3:16) and is supported by the existence of the root in multiple ancient Semitic languages spanning the first two millennia B.C. (Hess p24).  Interestingly, Hess states “the verb ‘to enliven’ is designated by the logogram TI in Sumerian.  This reading is also a homonym of the word for ‘rib’” (Hess p20).  Though he discounts this as a possibility for a source used by the Biblical author, this coincidence should be examined further.

#7 – Irad

               Many try to rearrange Genesis 4:17-18 to indicate that Enoch instead of Cain built a city and named it after his son Irad, thus connecting the story to the first Sumerian city of Eridu. However it is possible that Cain built a city and named it after Enoch.  Dillman provides several examples of other ancient cities that may be tied to the name of Enoch instead of to Irad (Dillman p198), thus allowing for a natural reading and understanding of the text.  Yet this does not preclude another city being built and named after Irad.

               Greenberg states “the Mesopotamians made Eridu the city of the god Enki” (Greenberg p72).  He then goes on to point out the similarities between the names Enoch and Enki.  If this connection is correct, then the name Irad points to a very early time for the origin of this passage, for it is highly unlikely that the passage came into being during the Babylonian exile.  Therefore it was probably taken from before the time when Abraham left Mesopotamia for Canaan.

               “Kate Fielden reports "The earliest village settlement (c.5000 BC) had grown into a substantial city of mudbrick and reed houses by c.2900 BC, covering 8-10 ha (20-25 acres). By c.2050 BC the city had declined; there is little evidence of occupation after that date.”[15]  Similarly Jean-Claude Margueron shows that the city had its beginnings around the 6th millennium BC and was “more or less deserted in the 2nd Millenium BC” (ABD II p573 “Eridu”).  This fits well with the time Abraham left Mesopotamia according to biblical chronology.[16]

#9 – Methushael

               Driver points out that this name is Babylonian in origin – mutu-sha-ili – meaning ‘man of God’ (Driver p69).

#10 – Lamech

               Lamech has an unknown etymology even though it consists of the three letter root so common in Hebrew (see above and Hess Lamech) – which is significant, since it would be highly unlikely for an Iron Age author(s) to twice include a name that was completely unfamiliar in his time and with no known meaning.  Interestingly this name consists of three of the middle letters in the Hebrew alphabet – למך. The letters can be rearranged so spell ‘king’ and are each individually used as prepositions.  Also in both genealogies Lamech is the only one whose speech is recorded after Cain’s words.  Likewise, Cain’s Lamech speaks of being avenged “seventy and sevenfold” (KJV) and is the seventh generation.  Seth’s Lamech lives 777 years.  The number 7 seems connected to these names. 

               Hess states, “Lamech has no West-Semitic connection other than consisting of three consonants.  Possibly it is the same as Akkadian lamakku” (Hess, Lamech p23).

#13, 14 - Jabal and Jubal

               The root of these two names is the same – יבל.  Although the root is well attested in the 1st millenium, it is only used as a personal name before the 1st millennium and was popular in early 2nd millennium Amorite, where it is followed by a divine name. (Hess pp 49-52).

#15 - Tubal-Cain

               Tubal-Cain apparently also shares the same root as Jabal and thus it too belongs to the early second millennium B.C. (Hess pp 49-52).  Tubal does occur as a place name in Ezekiel 27:13 in the lamentation (קינה) about Tyre.

#20 - Mahalalel

               Mahalalel has the obvious etymology of “praise God”.  In the Bible the name occurs as late as Nehemiah 11:4 as one of Nehemiah’s contemporaries.  Similar forms occur elsewhere.  However, outside the bible the name has an onomastic environment belonging to the 3rd and early 2nd millennium (Hess pp 68-69).

#26, 27, 28 - Shem, Ham and Japheth       

               Hess shows that Shem, Ham and Japheth are etymologically connected to the lands they are credited with settling in the bible (Hess p29) and thus appear authentic.         

#52, 53 – Sheba and Dedan

               These descendants of Ham have the same names as descendants of Abraham in Gen 25:3

#79,80,81 – Sheba, Ophir, Havilah

               These three are also names of places famous for gold in the Bible.

#67/112 – Eber / Sons of Eber

               Eber is likely related to eber nari in Akkadian, meaning ‘beyond the river’.  It is very likely this name is connected to the term Hebrew in the Bible and also to the Habiru (apiru) of the Armana letters.  Notice how the root is used at Genesis 18:5 עברתם – “ye shall pass on” (KJV).   Possibly indicating a nomadic tendency of the people of Eber.  Abram is called a Hebrew in Genesis 14, thus the term refers to a larger group or groups of people who were called Hebrews. 

               In Genesis 10:21 ‘all the sons of Eber’ is likely a reference to the people group descended from Eber who is later mentioned as a person in 10:24 and 11:14[17].  In these later verses Eber is not the son of Shem but rather a later descendent of his.  The context of 10:21 is that of describing nations.  In the previous verses we have the descriptions of the nations that descended from Japheth and Ham and in the following verses, through the end of the chapter, the table of nations continues with those that descended from Shem. 

               It is significant to point out that 10:21 is completely unnecessary to the table of nations and is added by the author to point out the significant connection between Shem and the Hebrews.  It is also important to point out that he could have instead made the connection between Shem and Terah or Shem and Abram, but he doesn’t.  Thus the author’s point here is not God’s choosing of Abram, but rather that he is concerned with the people group called the Hebrews.  It is important to question why he is so concerned.  In a similar way the author points out that Canaan is the son of Ham.  The point there seems obvious – Canaan was cursed[18] and was also the enemy of the Habiru (the descendents of Eber)! 

               Further, from the above argument it must be asked what is the author’s explanation for Eber?  Notice that Eber’s son Peleg has one of those rare names, in these early chapters, which is explained – ‘in his day the earth was divided’.  The significance intended by the author should not be ignored.

               The term ‘Hebrew’ is first used in the bible at Genesis 14:13 - "Abram the Hebrew".   It is obvious in this passage that it refers to a larger people group than just the Israelites.  In Genesis 39:14,17 Joseph is called a Hebrew by Potipher’s wife.  Later when in Prison Joseph says he was taken from the land of the Hebrews (Genesis 40:15).  Then in Genesis 41:12 Joseph is referred to as a Hebrew when the chief cupbearer speaks to Pharaoh.  Whatever a ‘Hebrew’ was, it obviously does not specifically refer to a descendant of Abraham at this point, since even Pharaoh and other notable people in Egypt already had a concept of what a Hebrew (read: Habiru) was and what the land of the Hebrews was.  Note that Joseph’s brothers refer to themselves as coming from the land of Canaan and NOT as Hebrews (Genesis 42:13,32).

               In Genesis 43:32 it has become an abomination for the Egyptians to eat with Hebrews.  Apparently the Egyptians did not initially despise the Hebrews, based on the treatment of Joseph in chapter 41.  Joseph was even given an Egyptian wife.  In Genesis 46:34 Shepherds are also called an abomination to the Egyptians.  So there is some equating of Shepherds and Hebrews.  Thus the term Hebrew may refer to someone who passes over the land back and forth like a Shepherd or nomad - consistent with the description of Habiru.

               In the Bible the term Hebrew is virtually never used after Saul’s time (see 1st Samuel 13:3,7,19; 14:11,21; 29:3).  1st Samuel 14:21 refers to ‘Hebrews’ who pertained to the Philistines.  It is not entirely clear who these Hebrews were – whether Israelites that had for a long time been part of the Philistines or if they were other descendants of Eber.  1st Samuel 29:2-3 is instructive for the use of the root עבר and the term Hebrew.  In this passage עברים refers to a movement that both the Philistines and David performed.  In fact, it is unclear if David and his men are being called Hebrews or simply those who also ‘passed over’. 

               The only later uses of the term are found in the books of Jonah and Jeremiah.  Jonah uses the term in reference to himself when talking to foreigners.  Jonah could have been using the term to say that he was a “wanderer” for he could have just as easily said he was an Israelite.  He uses the term to answer these questions “…What is your occupation? And where do you come from? What is your country? And of what people are you?” (Jonah 1:8)  To all this Jonah says I am a Hebrew and I worship YHWH (1:9).

               Jeremiah 34:9,14 uses it concerning a reference to the Torah where the Israelites were not to enslave their Hebrew brothers.  The reference is to Deuteronomy 15:12 and the parallel passage in Exodus 21:2, though neither is directly quoted in Jeremiah.

               1st Chronicles 24:27 has an individual from the time of David or earlier with the name עברי.  He is a descendant of Levi.

               It is also important to point out that the term ‘Hebrew’ is not used in the bible to refer to the spoken language.  The language of the Israelites (especially in the south) was יהודית ‘Yahudit’.  See 2nd Kings 18:26,28 with parallel passages in Isaiah 36:11,13 and 2nd Chronicles 32:18.  The Assyrians speaking in these passages might actually be former Israelites who were deported from the North[19].  Even after the exiles return from Babylon we find Nehemiah complaining that their children didn’t speak Yahudit (Neh. 13:24).

               The fact that the term ‘sons of Eber’ is a people group, this would provide significant evidence for the Israelites belonging to a larger people group called the ‘Eberim’ who are likely to be identified with the Habiru and probably also the Shasu and Hyksos.

#59 - Arphaxad

               ארפכשד – the last three letters of this name likely have a connection to the Babylonian Chasdim.  The first part of the name has been tenatively connected to Arrapha – a city mentioned frequently in the Nuzi texts, thus indicating a Hurrian etymology.  The name does not have a West Semitic onomastic environment (Hess pp 77-78).

#93 – Iscah

               Iscah has been proposed to be Sarai – Abram’s wife.  Brichto gives an interesting defense of this idea (p348ff).  Coincidentally Iscah and Milcah her sister, have names with the same numerical value.

#101 – Philistines

               Both the author of Genesis and the Chronicler have the Philistines descending from the sons of Ham and specifically from Egypt!  This is in stark contrast to archaeology, which has the Philistines coming form Greece, or beyond and only arriving as part of the Sea peoples starting in the 12th century[20](Hoerth p232ff).  It may be that Ramses III settled them in Canaan after his victory over them, and thus they could be perceived as pertaining to Egypt.

               Genesis 21:32 is the earliest mention of an interaction between a biblical character (Abraham) and the Philistines.  It is important to note that in this passage there is only a reference to the ‘land of the Philistines’ (21:32,34) and not to the Philistine people themselves.  Though later in Genesis 26 we have a very similar account of Isaac and Abimelech and in that passage, Abimelech is called ‘king of the Philistines’.  All of this might be explained as the work of a later scribe in using a current term to describe where Abraham was dwelling and with whom Isaac interacted.   Notice that this whole scene is begun in Genesis 20:1.  There we read of Abimelech king of Gerar.  His name, which is probably a title, and the place name of Gerar are both west Semitic in origin and are probably not from the original language of the Sea Peoples, though little is known about their original language.  Most likely Abimelech was not one of the Sea Peoples.  In any case, the use of the term ‘philistine’ by the author of Genesis points to this edition of Genesis coming into form in the late Judges or even into the period of the monarchy.

               It is possible that the bible uses the term ‘Philistine’ to refer to two different groups of people:  “And the Avim, who dwelt in villages as far as Gaza – the Caphtorim, who came from Caphtor, destroyed them and dwelt in their place.” (Deut. 2:23)[21]

The Talmud (Chullin 60b) notes that the Avvites were the Philistine people in the days of Abraham. Their capital city was Gerar and their king both in the days of Abraham and Isaac bore the name Abimelech. These Philistines are mentioned several times in Genesis. The Table of Nations in Genesis 10 and 1 Chronicles 1 lists them as a people distinct from the Caphtorites noting that they were an offshoot of the Casluhites. Genesis Rabba 26:16 states that they were related to the Rephaites.

The Talmud explains that originally the Israelites were not entitled to conquer the land of the Avvites because of an oath that Abraham had sworn to Abimelech[22] but that this oath no longer applied after the Caphtorites had destroyed them. This view is reiterated in Rashi's commentary on Deuteronomy.

(Wikipedia contributors. "Avvites (of Philistia)." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 24 Sep. 2009. Web. 9 Jan. 2010.)

This Talmudic account is interesting since it was written hundreds of years before modern archaeological discoveries. 

#136/7 Sodom & Gomorrah

               Sodom & Gomorrah are mentioned in Genesis 10:19 as though they were still in existence or at least still had well known locations.  In this verse they are mentioned along with the Philistine cities of Gerar and Gaza as being the border of the land of the Canaanites.

Compound Names / Suffixes

               Most of the names are not compound.  This stands in contrast to many of the later names found in the bible.  As early as Chapter 12 we have compound names occurring often.  Abram is the first example ‘great father’.  Other examples are Reuben ‘see a son’: Ishmael ‘God hears’; Israel ‘struggles with God’. 

Matriarchal naming of children

               Eve, the first person given a name is the name giver of the first sons - she names Seth in 4:25 and by implication Cain in 4:1.  Seth names his son Enosh.  Thus either parent can name a child.  Similarly we have Rachel naming Benoni and Jacob calling him Benjamin.  However, Jacob’s other eleven sons are all named by their mothers.  In Genesis 38:1ff Judah names his first two sons and his wife names the third.  In the N.T. we have the parents of John the Baptist both participating in the naming of their child (Luke 1:59ff).  In Matt 1:25, Joseph names Jesus, as commanded by the angel in 1:21. (likewise with John's father Luke 1:13).  We see that there is no prejudice against women here in the right to give names, throughout the entire Israelite history and before.   

Duplication of names:

Seth v Cain Genealogies - Non-Identical

               Similar names in the genealogies of Seth and Cain are not as significant as some scholars claim (such as Driver p80 and others).  Similar names also occur within the genealogies of Noah's sons in chapter 10.  In fact only two names – Lamech and Enoch occur in both Seth’s line and Cain’s line.  

               Similarities, without other supporting evidence, are no evidence at all.  Comparison must be made to the lists of the kings of Israel and Judah, who often had the same names, or similar names.  For example Joram(יורם) king of Israel and Jehoram(יהורם) king of Judah reigned at the same time (2nd Kings 8:16).  Both in the book of Kings and Chronicles these two sometimes have the exact same spelling (see 2nd Kings 9:24 and 2nd Chr. 22:5-7).  Likewise, Jeroboam(ירבעם) and Rehoboam(רחבעם) also have similar names, the difference being just one letter and they reigned at the same time, yet they are clearly different people. Therefore the argument that Irad(עירד) and Jared(ירד) are the same person is nullified (Gen. 4:18 and 5:15).  Likewise Cain(קין) and Cainan(קינן).  Had these names occurred in the same place in both genealogies, the argument would be a little stronger, but they do not, thus the argument is weaker than a hypothetical argument that would claim the above mentioned kings of Israel and Judah are the same.

               As Brichto (p xiv) points out, these stories are different and complimentary – Seth’s line was to that through which all of humanity to this day is descended and Cain’s line was that which was to end with the great Flood.  Within the story of Cain we see civilization advancing from a technological perspective, with the housing, metallurgical and musical discoveries attributed to his descendants and the city building attributed to himself.   On the other hand, Seth’s line, down to Abraham and beyond are never attributed with technological advancements or city building.  In fact the author of Genesis seems to show favor to pastoral peoples and disfavor to city dwellers, and he does so by means of contrasting the two[23].  Thus for the single author of both the genealogy of Seth and Cain, the two stories are necessary in order to produce the desired contrast.  The story of Cain’s line serves to represent the people who were murderous and thus displeasing to God (note that this is the only law God gives to the people after the flood, in the sense of a legal civil code).

               To say that these two genealogies originated out of the same original story by two different authors is not logical, for what would be the purpose of the record of Cain’s line if it stood alone at one time in the past.  If one would claim that Cain’s line at one time ended with Noah and the story of the ark, there is not text to support this, plus it would have Noah coming from a murderous line rather than being ‘perfect in his generations’. 

               To say that one author created both of these genealogies out of a single earlier genealogy and thereby attempt to explain similarities is also illogical.  The argument for this would be that an author in the time of the Monarchy was trying to make the early chapters of Genesis appear old and authentic, but only knew of a handful of ancient names and therefore reused them in the second genealogy, changing the spelling of a few so as not to be so obvious.          

               The logical reason for two names that are the same in both genealogies is mere coincidence, as shown above in the example concerning the kings of Israel and Judah.[24]

Sheba and Havilah

               These two names which appear together in 10:28-29 as sons of Joktan, son of Eber, also appear as descendents of Ham in 10:6-7, but a generation apart.  The two names are associated with gold in the Bible – The queen of Sheba brought a huge amount of gold to Solomon and the Pishon river went around the land of Havilah in Genesis 2:11, which is said to have good gold.

Sheba and Dedan

               Sheba and Dedan are said to be the sons of Raamah, son of Cush, son of Ham in Genesis 10:7.  Yet the same pair of names appears in Genesis 25:3 as the sons of Jokshan, son of Abraham by Keturah.  One must also notice the similarities in Hebrew between the name Jokshan here and in Joktan in 10:26ff who is the father of another Sheba.  The letter Shin and Tet may be attempts at transliterating into Hebrew the same sound.

Chronicles v Genesis

               Many of the names in Genesis are repeated in 1st Chronicles in the Genealogical lists there.  Occasionally there are differences in spelling.  The Chronicler was likely using Genesis as a source.  The Chronicler repeats the names found in Genesis 10 and 11 – the Table of Nations, followed by the Ancestors of Abraham, though he does so in brief.  Often the Chronicler uses ‘plene’ spellings – typically the addition of a vav.  Sometimes he substitutes final aleph for final hey (see notes in the charts above).  The use of additional letters is presumably to help with pronunciation.  This points to a reasonably large difference in time between the writing of Genesis and that of Chronicles.

Conclusion about these names

               Hess points out that most of the names in Genesis 1-11 are single element names and that forms of the name יהוה are completely missing.  This point combined with his other observations point to an onomastic environment before the monarchal times of Israel.  Many of the names in the first 5 chapters of Genesis fit well into a lexical environment outside of the borders of Israel.  If an Iron Age author(s) was creating names for his story, he likely would have chosen ones that the Israelites could have related to in this later time period.  Rather the evidence points to an authorship for at least these first few chapters much earlier than the Iron Age – even to the early to mid 2nd millennium.  Geographically, the author(s) would have been located in or at least been well acquainted with the area of Mesopotamia in this time period. (Hess pp 71-72)

               That the stories in Genesis 1-11 also do not appear to be of Canaanite origin, is pointed out by Hamilton, "Another evidence pointing against Canaanite origins is the lack of Baal names anywhere in Genesis..." (Hamilton p69)

               Additionally the author of Genesis seems much more concerned with explaining names in the later chapters than he does in chapters 1-11.  Driver points out that “...in many cases the meaning is uncertain; for we do not know what was the vocabulary of the Semitic language from which they were derived, at the time when they were formed...in the process of naturalization in Israel, they may easily have been Hebraized.” (Driver p69).  This fact points strongly to an early date for the origin of these names and thereby of these stories.  Certainly they must date to before the time of the United Monarchy, since they cannot be understood in the Hebrew context of that period.

Names in Genesis 12 – Exodus 6:2-3

(This section reserved for future study on these names)

(discussion may include the Egyptian origin of the name Moses.  The Semitic/Hebrew names of the Hyksos rulers.  The significance of recording of Egyptian names, especially in the Joseph story, but never of Pharaoh.)

(names in these chapters must be compared to 1st Chronicles’ genealogies)

Moses as an Egyptian Name

(reserved)

 

Suffix YAH

Non use of suffix YAH in all the names

               None of the names in the bible up until the time of the generation born after the Exodus include the suffix יה or יהו (Yah or Yahu).  This is consistent with the Biblical account in Exodus 6:2-3, where God reveals the name יהוה to Moses:  "And God spoke to Moses and said to him:  "I am the LORD.  I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by My name LORD I was not known to them."   This must of course be compared to Exodus 3:14ff where God answers Moses' question about what God's name is.  In that passage, the implication seems to be that when Moses says the LORD has sent him, the elders will recognize the name, rather than having the reaction of wondering what this new name for God is.

               The name עדה Adah is the name of one of Lamech’s wives in Gen. 4:19.  It is thought to come from עדי – ‘ornament’ (Dillman p200) or ‘to deck oneself / to ornament’ (Job 40:10)[25].  This name occurs in several other places in the bible.  In Genesis 36:2, Adah, is the wife of Esau[26].  However only later, after the Exodus, is the suffix יה or יהו added, such as in 2nd Kings 22:1; Ezra 10:29.  1st Chronicles 9:36 has יהועדה who is born well into the monarchal times.  By Comparison, in 1st Chronicles 7:20, in the period before the Exodus[27] we have the name of a great-great grandson of Eprhaim named אלעדה and also one named אלעד.  The prefix in these names is אל instead of ויה and is consistent with being before the Exodus.

               "Although often dismissed as apologetic, the old suggestion that Exod. 6:2-3 teaches a deeper revelation of Yahweh to the post-Mosaic age than to the pre-Mosaic age is by no means unsatisfactory." (Hamilton p70)

               ABD VI p1012 shows that the name YHWH appears as early as 1400 BC in Egyptian texts.  It does not appear in cuniform texts and is debated at Ebla.

               Jacob asks the name of the one with whom he struggles yet is refused.  Then his name is called Israel, not Israyah!  This refusal to give the name of YHWH is completely consistent with the name being revealed to Moses first.

               Rendsburg points out that “the absence of Yahwistic names in Genesis reflects the antiquity of the traditions.  They must antedate the United Kingdom, when they presumably were compiled into their present form more or less.”  He also points out that the names used to refer to God are mostly unique to Genesis.  Names such as ‘the fear of Isaac’ in 31:42,53 and the ‘mighty one of Jacob’ in 49:24.  Also the “God of my/your/his father” (Rendsburg p115).  He also points to the various EL names of God being largely unique to Genesis – עליון אל  14:18; ראי אל 16:13; עולם אל 21:33 and ישראל אלהי אל 33:20.  Also to a lesser extent שדי אל which occurs primarily in Genesis (17:1, 28:3, 35:11, 43:14).  Though the name שדי does occur in other books – especially Job and Ruth – it only occurs in Genesis in combination with אל. 

Use of ‘el’ as a suffix or prefix

In Contrast to the non-use of ‘yah’/’yahu’, we do find ‘el’ (‘God’) used as a suffix and prefix.  In Genesis 1-11 five different names have the ‘el’ suffix.  They are Mehujael and Methushael in 4:18; Mahalalel 5:12; Elishah 10:4; Abimael 10:28.

               Later, the generation born before the Exodus is still using the EL suffix and prefix.  Notice the names of Aaron’s cousins in Leviticus 10:4 – Mishael and Elzaphan, sons of Uzziel Aaron’s uncle.  Still later in Numbers 34:18ff we see this suffixed continues in its popular use.  Indeed this suffix is used throughout Israelite history, even to the present day.  However the suffix/prefix YAH only is used with the generations born after the Exodus.

Shaddai

               God’s name ‘Shaddai’ is first revealed to Abraham in Genesis 17:1 as El Shaddai.  It is use in the generations born before the Exodus – See Numbers 1:5ff.  Two names have this name as a suffix – Zurishaddai of the tribe of Simeon (Num. 1:6/2:12 Shaddai is my rock) and Ammishaddai of the tribe of Dan (Num 1:12/2:25 – People of Shaddai).  Interestingly these are the only two people with this suffix in the entire bible.  It is also important to note that they are from the furthest north tribe and the furthest southern tribe.  This provides evidence of a strong and early ethical and religious tie between the tribes of Israel.

Possible Exceptions to Yah suffixes or prefixes:

Moriah

               Genesis 22:2  "...and go to the land of Moriah..." המריה -This might be the first example of the suffix יה being attached to a name.  This is significantly connected with the place of the future temple of YHVH.  Notice 22:14 "And Abraham called the name of the place, The-LORD-Will-Provide; as it is said to this day, 'In the Mount of the LORD it shall be provided." ( יראה  יהוה ).  Gesenius Lexicon also has the name Moriah as a contraction with the suffix YAH.  However other suggestions have been advanced which indicate that the last two letters are not part of the name YHWH.[28]

               The mention of "to this day" could be understood in several ways.  One of which is to say that this verse was written after the construction of the temple, but was inserted into an older text.  But it must be remembered that the temple is not actually mentioned and the question remains as to who 'will be seen' in the Mount of the LORD.

Judah

               The name of Jacob's son Judah is of special interest - see Gen. 29:35. Judah יהודה is spelt as the Tetragrammaton with a Dalet inserted.  Dalet is the 4th letter of the Hebrew alphabet and Judah is the fourth son born to Jacob.

               The etymology of the word has been suggested to be Yah + the first person future of “to praise” or “to thank”.  But more likley it is simply the future tense of form of the word “to praise”, however with a yud as a first letter, it would appear thus to be a 3rd person masculine. 

               Comparison must also be made with יהודית the wife of Esau in Gen. 26:34. 

Joshua

               As Gesenius points out in his Lexicon, Joshua (יהושוע  - Yahoshua) means Jehovah is Salvation.  However, it is important to note that Joshua’s original name is Hoshea, but Moses, the man to whom the name of YHWH was revealed, called him Joshua (Yahoshua) in Numbers 13:16.  Thus the name Joshua only reinforces the fact that the name Yahweh was not known to people before the Exodus.

Jochebed

               Gary Rendsburg points to Jochebed יוכבד as a possible Yahwistic name (Rendsburg p114).  Jochebed is the mother of Moses and Aaron, and is found as such in Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59. Gesenius’ Lexicon gives the definition: “whose glory is Jehovah”. 

               This is a serious problem for my thesis that the personal names before the Exodus do not contain a YAH suffix and thus show that the name was indeed unknown to the patriarchs.

               I would like to argue that the yud and vav are just a verbal prefix, but unfortunately, the name pertains to a woman and such a prefix is masculine.  Additionally the three root letters are all strong (caf-bet-dalet).  A woman can take a masculine verbal form for a name as shown in יהודית the wife of Esau in Gen. 26:34.  Her name is plainly a derivative of Judah, which has been shown to be a 3rd person masculine prefix form.  Thus we have an example of a woman with a name that uses the yud prefix.  However the second problem of three strong root letters is unavoidable.

               The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia states “The theory has been advanced that the Jochebed is of Egyptian origin” (UJE Vol. 6 p159).

Yah prefixes in the Torah and beyond

               The use of the first and third letters out of the name YHWH as a prefix to personal names is curious.  We do see Saul’s son Jonathan being spelt two different ways – יונתן and יהונתן  (1st Sam 13:2-14:4 and 1st Sam 14:6,8 respectively).  The shorter spelling of Jonathan is used consistently up until chapter 18, except in the two verses mentioned.  But those are also the only verses in that section where Jonathan is speaking to someone else.  In 14:29, he does speak, but to no one in particular and thus the shorter spelling occurs.

               The longer spelling of the name Jonathan does occur in Judges 18:30, but this verse is a much later gloss: “Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.  (NKJV).  In fact this person is never mentioned by name in the story.  Further complicating the matter is that his short genealogy in this passage seems unconnected to anything.  However the NUN in Manasseh is suspended.  If the nun is removed completely then the name becomes Moses![29]  Thus he becomes a descendent of Moses through Gershom.[30]  Regardless, the statement ‘until the day of the captivity of the land’ could only refer to the Assyrian captivity of the Northern tribes, thus showing a late addition, at least of the later part of the verse.  The fact that the author makes the Levite deliberately anonymous even though he is a central figure in the story makes it seem very suspicious that this verse was part of the original text.

               Also in this same passage in Judges we see the name Micayahu (Judges 17:1,4) but throughout the rest of the story he is simply called Micah.[31] 

               Actually, with the exception of Joshua, Jonathan (see above) and Micayahu (Judges 17:1,4) we don’t see a single original use of the prefix יהו ‘yahu’ throughout the entire first 7 books of the bible.  Not until the occurrence mentioned above at 1st Sam 14:6,8.  Likewise we do not see it used as a suffix at all until much later.  Additionally we do not see the prefix or suffix יה ‘yah’ used until 1st Sam. 8:2 ( אחיה ).  We only encounter the suffix יו (yo) starting in Judges 6:11 with יואש which later in the bible is spelt often as יהואש.  The two letters (yud-vav) do occur together in names such as יובב and יובל (Gen 36:33 and 4:21), but those are clearly not derived from the divine name.

               To summarize, we see that starting around 1st Samuel 18 there is an explosion of the use of the letters of the divine name as suffixes and prefixes.  This is the time of the rise of David.  Before that we only see the yud-vav prefix used and only occasionally.

And even that prefix is not used at all in the Torah except in the one case of the name of Moses’ mother discussed above.

 

יו (yud-vav) as a prefix before 1st Samuel 18

יוכבד

Jochebad

Exodus 6:20 and Numbers 26:59

יואש

Joash

Judges 6:11 ff

יותם

Jotham

Judges 9:5,7,21,57

יואל

Joel

1st Sam 8:2

יונתן

Jonathan

1st Sam 13:2 ff

 

יהו (yud-hey-vav) as a prefix before 1st Samuel 18 (unattested as a suffix)

יהושע

Joshua

Exodus 17:9 ff (but originally called Hoshea – see above)

מיכיהו

Micayahu

Judges 17:1,4 (but spelt as Micah in the rest of the story)

יהונתן

Jonathan

Judges 18:30 (post 722BC gloss ), 1st Sam 14:6,8

 

יה (yud-hey) as a suffix before 1st Samuel 18

אביה

Abijah

1st Sam 8:2 (Joel’s brother)

 

After 1st Samuel 18 Jonathan is always spelt the longer way except at 19:1, before that it is always spelt the shorter way except 14:6,8.  (Chronicles not included.)

As these tables show, there are no uses of the divine name as a suffix or prefix in Genesis. (see Appendix 1 for a complete list of 341 names in Genesis 12-50).  In the first six books of the Bible we see only Joshua with the divine name clearly as a prefix.  We do see the mother of Moses with the prefix yud-vav, which seems to begin to be used as a prefix from of the divine name in the time of the Judges.

Conclusion

               The names in Genesis 1-11 do not appear to be created from the imagination of an author for he rarely uses any kind of play on words, rarely adds suffixes and when he does they are suffixes, which do not strengthen the unique worship of YHVH. 

               If the author was not recording the names of actual people, he was at least using a collection of names that was popularly known and widespread only in the Early 2nd Millennium BC or before.  This has been especially shown by Hess with the names Adam and Methuselah, but also with Jabal and his brothers. 

               The suffix Yah and Yahu are nowhere to be found, with the possible exceptions noted above, anywhere before the generation born after the Exodus.  This is a great difficulty to explain in the Documentary Hypothesis, which would claim that the J author was promoting the use of the name YHVH from the time of Seth onward.

               While it does appear the author was willing to change the original name used for God by the patriarchs to YHWH – even in direct discourse occasionally, he seems to be completely unwilling to add that name as a suffix or prefix to any of the names in Genesis.  This indicates that the names are original / authentic.

 

For Further Research:

Earliest mention of YHVH outside the bible:

First mention of YHVH outside the bible is 15th century from Egypt: (wikipedia)

Shasu is an Egyptian term for nomads who appeared in the Levant from the fifteenth century BCE all the way to the Third Intermediate Period. The name evolved from a transliteration of the Egyptian word š3sw, meaning "moving on foot", into the term for Bedouin-type wanderers. The term first originated in a fifteenth century list of peoples in the Transjordan, with one of the Shasu territories described as "Yhw in the land of the Shasu"

 

In a tablet attributed to the 14th century B.C. which Sellin found in the course of his excavations at Tell Ta'annuk (the city Taanach of the O.T.) a name occurs which may be read Ahi-Yawi (equivalent to Hebrew Ahijah); Footnote #6 from Page 313 of the 1911 E.B. reads: "Denkschriften d. Wien. Akad., L. iv. p. 115 seq. (1904)


Appendix 1

Table of names in Genesis 12-50

This table is a combination of people, places and things – all proper names – a total of approximately 341 different names.  Several different people have similar or the same names, though often generations apart or from different genealogies. 

 

1.      

shechem

12:6

a place

2.      

Moreh

12:6

maybe a diety

3.      

Bethel

12:8

a place – El suffix

4.      

Ai

12:8

a place

5.      

pharaoh

12:15

a title

6.      

Canaanites

13:7

a people

7.      

Perizzites

13:7

a people

8.      

Jordan

13:10

place

9.      

Sodom

13:10

place

10.                        

Gomorrah

13:10

place

11.                        

Zoar

13:10

 place

12.                        

Mamre

13:18

person see 14:24

13.                        

Hebron

13:18

place

14.                        

Amraphel

14:1

person

15.                        

Shinar

14:1

place

16.                        

Arioch

14:1

person

17.                        

Ellasar

14:1

place

18.                        

Chedorlaomer

14:1

person

19.                        

Elam

14:1

place

20.                        

Tidal

14:1

person

21.                        

nations(goyim)

14:1

people

22.                        

Bera

14:2

person

23.                        

Birsha

14:2

peson

24.                        

Shinab

14:2

person

25.                        

Admah

14:2

place (possibly Adam in Joshua)

26.                        

Shemeber

14:2

person

27.                        

Zeboiim

14:2

place/people

28.                        

Bela

14:2

place – also called Zoar

29.                        

Siddim

14:3

place (salt sea)

30.                        

Rephaim

14:5

people

31.                        

Ashteroth

14:5

place

32.                        

Karnaim

14:5

place (possibly compound name with above)

33.                        

Zuzim

14:5

people

34.                        

Ham

14:5

place in this context

35.                        

Emim

14:5

people - more giants

36.                        

Shaveh Kiriathaim

14:5

place

37.                        

Horites

14:6

people – cf singular  at 36:20

38.                        

Seir

14:6

place – cf place 36:20

39.                        

El(Eil) Paran

14:6

place (not an El name)

40.                        

En Mishpat

14:7

place

41.                        

Kadesh

14:7

place

42.                        

Amalekites

14:7

people

43.                        

Amorites

14:7

people – cf singular 48:22

44.                        

Hazezon Tamar

14:7

place

45.                        

Eshcol

14:13

person

46.                        

Aner

14:13

person

47.                        

Dan

14:14

place – cf person 30:6

48.                        

Hobah

14:15

place

49.                        

Damascus

14:15

place

50.                        

Shaveh

14:17

place (explained as kings valley, indicating this source predates monarchal times)

51.                        

Melchizedek

14:18

person

52.                        

Salem

14:18

place

53.                        

El Elyon

14:18

God

54.                        

Eliezer

15:2

person – El prefix

55.                        

Kenites

15:19

people

56.                        

Kenezzites

15:19

people

57.                        

Kadmonites

15:19

people

58.                        

Hittites

15:20

people

59.                        

Girgashites

15:21

people

60.                        

Jebusites

15:21

people

61.                        

Hagar

16:1

person

62.                        

Shur

16:7

place

63.                        

Ishmael

16:11

person

64.                        

God-who-sees

16:13

God

65.                        

Beer Lahai Roi

16:14

place

66.                        

Bered

16:14

place

67.                        

Abraham

17:5

person

68.                        

Sarah

17:15

person

69.                        

Isaac

17:19

person

70.                        

Moab

19:37

person

71.                        

Moabites

19:37

people

72.                        

Ben-Ammi

19:38

person

73.                        

Ammon

19:38

people

74.                        

Shur

20:1

place

75.                        

Gerar

20:1

place

76.                        

Abimelech

20:2

person

77.                        

Beersheba

21:14

place

78.                        

Paran

21:21

place

79.                        

Phichol

21:22

place

80.                        

Philistines

21:32

people

81.                        

El-Olam

21:33

God

82.                        

Moriah

22:2

place – Yah suffix??

83.                        

Jehovah-Jireh

22:14

rare instance

84.                        

Huz

22:21

person

85.                        

Buz

22:21

person

86.                        

Kemuel

22:21

person

87.                        

Aram

22:21

person

88.                        

Chesed

22:22

person

89.                        

Hazo

22:22

person

90.                        

Pildash

22:22

person

91.                        

Jidlaph

22:22

person

92.                        

Bethuel

22:22

person – El suffix

93.                        

Rebekah

22:23

person

94.                        

Reumah

22:24

person

95.                        

Tebah

22:24

person

96.                        

Gaham

22:24

person

97.                        

Thahash

22:24

person

98.                        

Maachah

22:24

person

99.                        

Kirjath Arba

23:2

place

100.                   

Heth

23:3

person cf 10:15

101.                   

Ephron

23:8

person

102.                   

Zohar

23:8

person

103.                   

Machpelah

23:9

cave

104.                   

Laban

24:29

person

105.                   

Keturah

25:1

person

106.                   

Zimran

25:2

person

107.                   

Jokshan

25:2

person

108.                   

Medan

25:2

person

109.                   

Midian

25:2

person – cf people 36:35

110.                   

Ishbak

25:2

person

111.                   

Shuah

25:2

person

112.                   

Sheba

25:3

person – see note below

113.                   

Dedan

25:3

person – see note below

114.                   

Asshurim

25:3

people

115.                   

Letushim

25:3

people

116.                   

Leummim

25:3

people

117.                   

Ephah

25:4

person

118.                   

Epher

25:4

person

119.                   

Hanoch

25:4

person

120.                   

Abidah

25:4

person

121.                   

Eldaah

25:4

person – El prefix

122.                   

Nebajoth

25:13

person Ishmael’s firstborn

123.                   

Kedar

25:13

person

124.                   

Adbeel

25:13

person – El suffix

125.                   

Mibsam

25:13

person

126.                   

Mishma

25:14

person

127.                   

Dumah

25:14

person

128.                   

Massa

25:14

person

129.                   

Hadar

25:15

person – cf 36:39 diff. person?

130.                   

Tema

25:15

person

131.                   

Jetur

25:15

person

132.                   

Naphish

25:15

person

133.                   

Kedemah

25:15

person

134.                   

Syrian

25:20

people

135.                   

Esau

25:25

person

136.                   

Jacob

25:26

person

137.                   

Edom

25:30

person

138.                   

Esek

26:20

a well

139.                   

Sitnah

26:21

a well

140.                   

Rehoboth

26:22

a well

141.                   

Ahuzzath

26:26

person

142.                   

Shebah

26:33

a well

143.                   

Judith

26:34

wife of Esau

144.                   

Beeri

26:34

person

145.                   

Basemath

26:34

person

146.                   

Elon

26:34

person – cf 46:14 diff. person

147.                   

Padan(ah)

28:2

place

148.                   

Mahalath

28:9

person

149.                   

Luz

28:19

place

150.                   

Rachel

29:6

person

151.                   

Leah

29:16

person

152.                   

Zilpah

29:24

person

153.                   

Bilhah

29:29

person

154.                   

Reuben

29:32

person

155.                   

Simeon

29:33

person

156.                   

Levi

29:34

person

157.                   

Judah

29:35

person

158.                   

Dan

30:6

person – cf place 14:14

159.                   

Naphtali

30:8

person

160.                   

Gad

30:11

person

161.                   

Asher

30:13

person

162.                   

Issachar

30:18

person

163.                   

Zebulun

30:20

person

164.                   

Joseph

30:24

person

165.                   

Gilead

31:21

place

166.                   

Jegar Sahadutha

31:47

thing – heap of stones

167.                   

Galeed

31:47

thing – heap of stones

168.                   

Mizpah

31:49

thing – heap of stone

169.                   

Mahanaim

32:2

place

170.                   

Jabbok

32:22

river

171.                   

Israel

32:28

person – El suffix

172.                   

Peniel

32:30

place –El suffix

173.                   

Penuel

32:31

place – El Suffix

174.                   

Succoth

33:17

place

175.                   

Shechem

33:18

place

176.                   

Hamor

33:19

place

177.                   

El Elohe Israel

33:20

thing – altar

178.                   

Dinah

34:1

person

179.                   

Hivite

34:2

people

180.                   

El Bethel

35:7

place – el suffix

181.                   

Deborah

35:8

person

182.                   

Allon Bachuth

35:8

thing – tree

183.                   

Ephrath

35:16

place

184.                   

Ben-Oni

35:18

person

185.                   

Benjamin

35:18

person

186.                   

Tower of Eder

35:21

place – possibly not a proper name

187.                   

Adah

36:2

person cf 4:19 –diff person

188.                   

Aholibamah

36:2

person

189.                   

Anah

36:2

person – cf 36:24 – gender problem her a woman their a man

190.                   

Zibeon

36:2

person

191.                   

Eliphaz

36:4

person – El prefix

192.                   

Reuel

36:4

person – El suffix

193.                   

Jeush

36:5

person

194.                   

Jaalam

36:5

person

195.                   

Korah

36:5

person

196.                   

Teman

36:11

person – cf 36:40 maybe same

197.                   

Omar

36:11

person

198.                   

Zepho

36:11

person

199.                   

Gatam

36:11

person

200.                   

Kenaz

36:11

person

201.                   

Timna

36:12

person

202.                   

Amalek

36:12

person

203.                   

Nahath

36:13

person

204.                   

Zerah

36:13

person – probably same as 36:34

205.                   

Shammah

36:13

person

206.                   

Mizzah

36:13

person

207.                   

Seir

36:20

person – cf place 14:6

208.                   

Lotan

36:20

person

209.                   

Shobal

36:20

person

210.                   

Zibeon

36:20

person – cf 36:2

211.                   

Anah

36:20

person – here a son cf 36:2

212.                   

Dishon

36:21

person

213.                   

Ezer

36:21

person

214.                   

Dishan

36:21

person

215.                   

Hori

36:22

person

216.                   

Hemam

36:22

person

217.                   

Alvan

36:23

person

218.                   

Manahath

36:23

person

219.                   

Ebal

36:23

person

220.                   

Shepho

36:23

person

221.                   

Onam

36:23

person

222.                   

Ajah

36:24

person

223.                   

Anah

36:24

person – cf 36:20 diff person but perhaps the same as 36:2 – but diff gender!

224.                   

Hemdan

36:26

person

225.                   

Eshban

36:26

person

226.                   

Ithran

36:26

person

227.                   

Cheran

36:26

person

228.                   

Bilhan

36:27

person

229.                   

Zaavan

36:27

person

230.                   

Akan

36:27

person

231.                   

Uz

36:28

person

232.                   

Aran

36:28

person

233.                   

Bela

36:32

person – cf the place 14:2

234.                   

Beor

36:32

person

235.                   

Dinhabah

36:32

place

236.                   

Jobab

36:34

person

237.                   

Bozrah

36:34

place

238.                   

Husham

36:34

person

239.                   

Temanites

36:34

people

240.                   

Hadad

36:35

person

241.                   

Bedad

36:35

person

242.                   

Midian

36:35

people – cf person 25:2

243.                   

Avith

36:35

place

244.                   

Samlah

36:36

person

245.                   

Masrekah

36:36

place

246.                   

Saul

36:37

person

247.                   

Baal-Hanan

36:38

person – notice Baal prefix

248.                   

Hadar

36:39

person – cf 25:15 diff person?

249.                   

Pau

36:39

place

250.                   

Mehetabel

36:39

person – El suffix

251.                   

Matred

36:39

person

252.                   

Mezahab

36:39

person

253.                   

Timnah

36:40

person – cf 36:11 maybe same

254.                   

Alvah

36:40

person

255.                   

Jetheth

36:40

person

256.                   

Aholibamah

36:41

person – cf 36:2 maybe same

BothTimnah and Aholibamah were women above but here are either leaders or names of family groups

257.                   

Elah

36:41

person – El prefix???

258.                   

Pinon

36:41

person

259.                   

Kenaz

36:42

person – cf 36:11 maybe same

260.                   

Teman

36:42

person

261.                   

Mibzar

36:42

person

262.                   

Magdiel

36:43

person – El suffix

263.                   

Iram

36:43

person

264.                   

Dothan

37:17

place

265.                   

Ishmaelites

37:25

people

266.                   

Potiphar

37:36

person

267.                   

Adullamite

38:1

people

268.                   

Hirah

38:1

person

269.                   

Shua

38:2

person – a canaanite – ‘salvation’??

270.                   

Er

38:3

person

271.                   

Onan

38:4

person

272.                   

Shelah

38:5

person

273.                   

Chezib

38:5

place

274.                   

Tamar

38:6

person

275.                   

Timnah

38:12

place – dif. Heb. than 36:12/40

276.                   

Perez

38:29

person

277.                   

Zerah

38:30

person – cf Esau’s line 36:13,34

278.                   

Zaphnath-Paaneah

41:45

person – Joseph’s Egyptian name

279.                   

Asenath

41:45

person

280.                   

Poti-Pherah

41:45

person

281.                   

On

41:45

person or diety

282.                   

Manasseh

41:51

person

283.                   

Ephraim

41:52

person

284.                   

Goshen

45:10

place

285.                   

Hanoch

46:9

person

286.                   

Pallu

46:9

person

287.                   

Hezron

46:9

person – cf 46:12 diff. person

288.                   

Carmi

46:9

person

289.                   

Jemuel

46:10

person – El suffix

290.                   

Jamin

46:10

person

291.                   

Ohad

46:10

person

292.                   

Jachin

46:10

person

293.                   

Zohar

46:10

person

294.                   

Shaul

46:10

person

295.                   

Gershon

46:11

person

296.                   

Kohath

46:11

person

297.                   

Merari

46:11

person

298.                   

Hezron

46:12

person

299.                   

Hamul

46:12

person

300.                   

Tola

46:13

person

301.                   

Puvah

46:13

person

302.                   

Job

46:13

person

303.                   

Shimron

46:13

person

304.                   

Sered

46:14

person

305.                   

Elon

46:14

person – cf 26:34 diff. person

306.                   

Jahleel

46:14

person – El suffix

307.                   

Ziphion

46:16

person

308.                   

Haggi

46:16

person

309.                   

Shuni

46:16

person

310.                   

Ezbon

46:16

person