Some misconceptions on the Infallible Name
There are people who claim that the infallible Name of the Creator derives from the verbs הַיָּה hayyah or הַוָּה havvah. According to the partial knowledge they have of the Hebrew grammar, they have come up with “names” with distorted meanings that have nothing common with the infallible Name.
And there are a lot of people who study the beautiful Hebrew language in order to know more about the Creator YHVH Elohim, His infallible Name, and ultimately to learn more as to how to serve Him.
However, when there is no proper understanding in basic grammar and phonetic rules, the confusion comes.
Such a confusion is the misunderstanding of two Hebrew words, which we will explain in this short study; we will examine them with their corresponding Strong numbers.
The first Hebrew word is הָיָה, pronounced hayah, (Strong number H1961), which means “to be” or “to exist” but more literally “to breathe”. The idea is that when one breaths, he exists. The variant of הָיָה, hayah, is הָוָה havah (H1933) with the same meaning.
But the words in question that create the confusion are הַיָּה, pronounced hayyah, (H1962) and הַוָּה havvah (H1942). It is very important for our study to notice the subtle yet substantial difference between them: they are both written with double consonants; simply put, the dot in letter יּ yud doubles the sound, and the same grammar rule applies for letter וּ vav.
Now, the important thing: according to Strong Dictionary, הַיָּה hayyah means “ruin”, “calamity”; and הַוָּה havvah means: “(in the sense of eagerly coveting and rushing upon; by implication of falling); desire; also ruin: calamity, iniquity, mischief, mischievous (thing), naughtiness, naughty, noisome, perverse thing, substance, very wickedness.”
A related Hebrew word to הַוָּה havvah: is הֹוָה hovah, (H1943), which means “mischief”, “ruin”, “evil”, according to Strong Dictionary.
So, what we learn from Strong is that היּה hayyah and הַוָּה havvah (with double consonants) mean “mischief”, but הָיָה hayah and הָוָה havah (with single consonants) mean “to exist, “to be”.
Notice also another substantial difference between the two groups of words, namely, that היּה hayyah and הַוָּה havvah are nouns meaning “mischief”, while הָיָה hayah and הָוָה havah are primitive verbs.
As we learned from the foresaid articles, the infallible Name of the Creator is a verb in third person singular with the meaning “He who exists forever”, “The Everlasting One”. In Hebrew, the prefix yud of a verb turns a verb into third person singular: הָוָה havah, “to exist” becomes יְהֹוָה Yehovah, “He who exists” or “The Self Existent”.
We should also recall for the purpose of our study that Hebrew is a verb-based-action-oriented language. What it means is that the Hebraic “nouns” derive from primitive verbs, not the other way around.
Therefore, it is impossible that the Name of the Creator (which is a verb with a meaning of “He who exists forever”) derives from the nouns היּה hayyah, הַוָּה havvah, or from הֹוָה hovah; the prefix yud of a noun turns the noun into a grammatical impossibility.
In other words, the infallible Name יְהֹוָה Yehovah does not derive from הֹוָה hovah, even though the former sounds like it is derived from the latter.
Let us again emphasize here that from the primitive verbs hayah and havah the two personal Names of the Creator of the universe are derived.
These are the plain grammatical rules that cannot be altered.
It is true, however, that Strong connects הַוָּה havvah with הָוָה havah, and so does Brown-Driver-Briggs (BDV) Dictionary, saying that havvah is another form for havah.
And even though, hayyah and havvah from the one hand and hayah and havah on the other hand have different meanings and services in the sentence yet they are related. Notice the identical spelling without the vowel points: היה and הוה respectively.
As we have stated in other places the best way to determine the meaning of a Hebrew word is to examine the immediate context wherein the word is used.
And היּה hayyah and הוּה havvah, which both mean “calamity”, “mischief”, have never been used with the meaning of הָיָה hayah and הָוָה havah, “to breath”, “to exist”, “to be”. The difference between them is like day and night.
How could that be?
Now, remaining faithful to the well establish practice in Time of Reckoning Ministry (TORM), we will examine the occasions (to name a few) wherein hayyah and havvah are used.
Oh that my vexation were but weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances altogether! (Job 6:2 JPS)
Note: hayyah is used only in this verse wherein Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) shows both: havvah and hayyah as a variant.
ל֗וּ שָקֹ֣ול יִשָּׁקֵ֣ל כַּעְשִׂ֑י וְהַיָּתִוְהַוָּתִ֗י בְּֽמֹאזְנַ֥יִם יִשְׂאוּ־יָֽחַד׃ (Job 6:2 WLC)
In a case, when a word is used in only one place, is is very difficult to derive its meaning, as opposed to when a word is used in different contexts. In our case of hayyah, where it is not even in the Hebrew text but given as a variant, its rendering is a pure speculation. The dictionaries do not help much, since they face the same textual and linguistic problem. The only reason hayyah is in Strong is because this word is given in WLC as a variant.
If such a word exists at all, its meaning must have been lost. The present author is not an exception, as he is also faced with the same challenge.
Lo, this is the man that made not God his stronghold; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness. (Psa 52:7 (52:9) JPS)
Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things? (Job 6:30 KJV)
As for הֹוָה hovah, it is only used in two verses,
Yet shall evil came upon thee; thou shalt not know how to charm it away; and calamity shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it away; and ruin shall come upon thee suddenly, before thou knowest. (Isa 47:11 JPS) See also Eze 7:26.
Note: notice how “calamity” הֹוָה hovah parallels to “evil” רָעָה ra’ah.
Now, while hovah has only two applications, ra’ah on the other hand has many, and all of them with the meaning of “evil”, “destruction”, “calamity”, “wickedness”, “trouble”, “affliction”, etc.
In conclusion, again, how are we to reconcile two seemingly opposing concepts of היה and הוה? The concept of “monotheism of good and evil” is a heavy subject to discuss that deserves a study of its own in the future. But it will suffice for now to say that יְהֹוָה Yehovah the Creator indeed created good and evil in the very beginning of the world (Gen 2:9) but He also said,
Do not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for in the day that you eat of it you shall certainly die. (Gen 2:17)
The mankind ate and indeed died.
May we merit seeing the coming of our Mashiach speedily in our days.