By Theo. G. Pinches.

[Extracted from Proceedings of The Society of Biblical Archaeology, vol. 15, pp. 15-7]

In the Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology for Nov., 1885, I pointed out (pp. 27, 28) that the group [cuneiform], when not standing for the Moon-goddess as consort of the Sun-god, was not to be read Malik, as had been done with common consent, but A or Aa, and that, in certain names, it interchanged with [cuneiform], Ya, (= Jah), as, for example, [cuneiform], Ya-ha-lu, which is also given under the form of [cuneiform], A-a-ha-a-lu (Yahalu or Aahalu).

Since that time, I have accumulated a large amount of material tending to confirm this identification, and among the many names containing the divine element Ya may be quoted the following:

[cuneiform], Bel-ya-u, "Bel is Ya" (S + .390; S + .3791), ancestor of a man named Nergal-epus, father of Ea-ibni, who, in his turn, was father of a woman named Gula-ka'isat. (Apparently a genuine Babylonian family.) Bel-Yau corresponds with the Heb. בעליה, the name of one of David's sons (1 Chron. xii, 5).

[cuneiform] Na-ad-bi-ya-a-u,2 an Assyrian officer bearing the title of [cuneiform] in the eponymy of Mannu-ki-Assur-idu, 709 B.C. This is the Hebrew נדביה,

[cuneiform], (D.PP.) Ya-da-3, a not uncommon name, of which [cuneiform], Aa'-da-' (Aa'u-da'u) is evidently a variant. The Rev. C. J. Ball is of opinion that this name is, in all likelihood, the same as [cuneiform], and related to Beeliada or Eliada as Nathan to Elnathan.


[cuneiform],4 (D.PP.) A-u-na-'-di (Au-na'idi), apparently = Yau-na'idi, "Ya is glorious." Eponymy of Barkurimani.

[cuneiform], Gab-ri-ya (Gabri-Ya), a parallel to גבריאל, Gabriel.

[cuneiform],5 Nu-ur-ri-ya (= Nuri-Ya), a Babylonian parallel to the Hebrew נריה, Neriah.

The number of names compounded with the divine monosyllable Aa or Ya is 100 great to be quoted here, but the examples given above will probably suffice to prove its existence—if proof be needed. It will be noted that all these forms (Ya, Yau, Yau, Aa, Au, Aa'u) correspond with the Hebrew terminal forms יה and יהו (unless, as is possible, the terminal ו of the latter be not the nominative ending corresponding with the u of the forms Yau, Yau, Au, Au).6

All the above cited forms are both early and late; but there is another form (found in names occurring during the captivity) which is of the highest interest, and may prove to be of importance. The earliest tablet known to me containing this form is 82-9-18, 4215, dated in the 10th year of Darius Hystaspis. The name in which it occurs is as follows:

[cuneiform], Ga-mar--ya~a-ma (or -wa).

This name is given as the father of a witness (whose name is lost) to the sale of a slave.7
On another tablet (82-7-14, 550), probably of about the same date, there occurs, among a list of workmen, the name:

[cuneiform], Na-ta-nu-ya-a-ma (or -wa).

This same tablet also gives a form without the [cuneiform] i or [cuneiform], ya):—

[cuneiform] Ba-na-a-ma (or -wa).


The tablet 82-7-14, 4175, rev., 1. 4, gives also the very interesting form [cuneiform] Su-bu-nu-ya-a-ma (or wa), the Hebrew שבניה. My opinion concerning these names I have already expressed in a paper read before the Philological Society on Feb. 1st, 1889.8 They seemed to me to be Hebrew names compounded with יהוה instead of יה or יהו, parallel to [Heb.] and [Heb.] (or the corresponding forms ending in יהו). I did not like to put this forward too emphatically, however, because, though convinced in my own mind that my assumption was correct, there was still the possibility that -yama might be a termination of an entirely different nature.

Two more examples of this ending having come to light, however, I am now in a position to state that the termination is really to be read -yawa, and that it is a synonym of ilu and ya (= Jah). The new name proving this, which occurs on 82-5-22, 1394 (reign of one of the Artaxerxes) is as follows:

[cuneiform], A-ka-bi-ya-wa (Akabi-Yawa).

This is a parallel to the names [cuneiform], Akabu-ya (83-1-18, 1739) and [cuneiform], Akabi-ilu (Transactions of the Society of Biblical Archaeology, Vol. VIII, pp. 284, 285, and 295), the last being probably the name of a Syrian.10 The defective writing of [cuneiform], ya-wa, for [cuneiform], ya-a-wa (see above), makes no difficulty. The Rev. C. J. Ball tells me that the Heb. form of this name occurs in Aboth iii, i, as עקביה, thus clinching the matter.

The occurrence of the above-mentioned names adds one more testimony to the true pronunciation of יהוה and shows that, during the time of the Persian rulers of Babylon, the Jews had no objection to pronouncing the name which is now generally read as Jehovah.

To the speculations as to the origin of יהוה may be added the question whether it is not a derivative from יה, formed, by analogy, upon a real or supposed etymological connection between אל and אלוה.


1 10th and 11th years of Nabonidus (Strassmaier, nos. 461 and 508).

2 W. A. I. III, pl. 49, no. I, 1. 30

3 Tablet S. 30.

4 W.A.I. III, pl. 47, no. 3. 1. 3.

5 82-9-18, 4074.

6 In view of the above, the question naturally arises whether, in the name [cuneiform] Nabu-ya-a-su (82-3-23, 3170), we have the same divine name. If this be the case, the translation would be "Nebo is his God" (Nabu-Ya-Su).

7 Another witness to the transaction is [cuneiform] Ba-ri-ki-ia = Berechiah.

8 See the Academy, Feb. 19th, 1889. Cf. Records of the Past, N.S. Vol. IV, p. 107.

9 Strassmaier, Nahonidus, No. 542.

10 The text in which the name Akubi-tlu occurs relates to a family the father of which was a Syrian, who in his native country, must have borne the name of Ben-Hadad-nathan, but who was called by the Babylonians Abil-Addu-natanu.