Chapter 7

Next Letter

U, V or W?

Was the sixth Hebrew letter waw developed from two uu's put together? Of course not! However, it is true that our English W developed from two uu's or vv's put together; this is why it is called double u. But we English speaking people have to use this letter W to convey the ancient sound of waw in Hebrew and w_arabic in Arabic etc.

The Oxford English Dictionary lists two columns worth of information about the English W, explaining how it developed from two uu's put together, then a statement toward the end: "1869 ELLIS E.E. Pron, I. iii. 187 In Europe (w) is thought to be peculiar to England... In Arabic however (w) is quite at home."

". . . the sound of waw, a long time ago, wasn't 'vav' at all; but 'w', and 'w' is weak. . . The Yemenite Jews of Arabia, who retain an ancient, correct and pure pronunciation of Hebrew, still pronounce the waw as 'w' -as does Arabic, the close sister language of Hebrew." How the Hebrew Language Grew p. 29, 30

Why do many Jews today contend that the sixth letter of the Hebrew alphabet is a V? According to the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, and other reference materials, it is because of German influence. "The German (Ashkenazic) influence arose within the last 1800 years, after the Jews were dispersed in 135 CE. As Jewish communities gradually developed in Eastern, Central and Western Europe, German influence eventually made its mark on the Hebrew language." The Sixth Letter is Waw (study by Voy Wilks 3/3/96)

There are, generally speaking, two main pronunciations: the Ashkenazi, or German, originated by Central and Eastern European Jews, carried to all countries to which those Jews have emigrated (Western Europe, America, etc.): and the Sephardi, or Spanish, used by the Jews of Spanish or Portuguese stock in Europe and America and also by Jews from Oriental countries. In all the universities and throughout Israel, the Sephardic pronunciation has been adopted, since it is generally believed that this is the pronunciation nearest to the original...." Biblical Hebrew p. 33 by Menahem Mansoor

The shape of the letter V came from the design on the back of the cobra.

But when did the sound "V" come into use? Consider the following argument! The original set-apart name was pronounced Yahuwah (which we will seek to prove in the continuation of this book). Clement of Alexandria (c. 150-c.215) transliterated from the original set-apart name of the Hebrew language into Greek as Iaoue (Iaoue), the Greeks had a tendency to put an "e" on the end of names, as seen in the New Testament, which only the KJV points out. Names like Noe (Matt. 24:37), Osee (Rom 9:25), Jude (NT Book), Core (Jude 11) etc; which, according to the Old Testament, were Noah, Hosea, Judah, and Korah. But obviously Clement was transliterating from the Hebrew at a time when the waw had a W sound. Later on, Theodoret (c.390-455) and Epiphanius (c.315-404) transliterated the set-apart name as Iabe (Iabe); a couple of hundred years had passed since Clement, and they must have been transliterating at the time that the Hebrew had adopted the V.

Original Hebrew Name: YAHUWAH

Clement transliterates into Greek: iaoe

Later Theodoret & Epiphanius:        iabe

Probably transliterating from Hebrew with "v": YAH VAH

"From Latin v, which was at first bilabial (voiced like 'b' using the lips), but became labiodental (using the bottom lip to the teeth) in the 2d century A.D."4

So, from the quote above, we learn that even in Latin the V did not come into use until the second century, and also comparing Clement with Theodoret and Epiphanius, using Iaoue and labe, we can see when this change of V came in. But the question we must ask is: What pronunciation did waw have when the Creator spoke the ten commandments from Mt. Sinai? What about the Hebrew that Abraham spoke? Or Noah? Or Adam, which he had learned from YHWH Himself? Obviously, it was the more ancient pronunciation that our English W conveys, which even the American Indians retained in their language from the original; for at one time, "the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech." (Gen 11:1). Place names in America bare this out, such as Waxahachie Tex, Nowata Ok, Hiawassee Ga, Wewoka Ok, Iowa etc.

"... The Hebrew letter waw waw can function as a consonant or a vowel. When the waw is a consonant, it sounds like w, as in water, and usually has a vowel sign under it. . . When the waw functions as a vowel, it has the sound of o as in row or oo as in pool. With a dot above it, the waw sounds like o as in row: waw_oh. With a dot in its center, the waw sounds like oo as in pool waw_oo. Note: This dot in the center of the waw is not a daghesh (a dot in the center that indicates that the letter is doubled, in such a case a vowel mark is also beneath that letter)... When a waw functions as a vowel, sounded o or oo, it does not have the sound of w as in water. The yod, like the waw, can be both vowel and consonant." A Simple Approach To Old Testament Hebrew, p. 9

"The Semitic waw and yod are certainly, by usage, consonants; although by nature they are vowels, viz. u and i and consequently are consonantal vowels." Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar p. 26

There is a structural system in Hebrew, depending on the arrangement, whether it was a vowel or a consonant; which existed before vowel points were used, also during the time when the paleo-waw waw_paleo was used.

The point to be made is this: Was our Creator influenced by the German (Ashkenazi) speech, when He delivered His name on Mt. Sinai? Of course not! Man is notorious for altering that which has gone out of the Creator's lips (Review Ps. 89:34). He made it plain, "I change not." Malachi 3:6, thus we understand that the Creator was not the one who changed the waw_paleo to a vav. In the Father of lights, there "is no variableness, neither shadow of turning." James 1:17; likewise with His only begotten Son "YAHUSHUA the Messiah the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Hebrew 13:8.

Not only did the Jews change the waw (W) to vav (V), but in recent times have also changed the Hebrew B to V as well. Therefore, Abraham becomes Avraham, and Yacob becomes Yacov, Tel Abib becomes Tel Aviv, and everyone gets confused. Did we really need two v's in Modern Hebrew?

So far, using Scripture and history, we have established YaHuW. But, the question might be asked, "Can the waw sustain the 'u' and the V all in the same letter?" Consider the following illustration with the words Phuvah, (more accurate Phuwah) or should it be Puah? The same Hebrew word is transliterated both ways; even the Bible scholars were baffled as to the true way to transliterate from Hebrew on this point. This point needs to be understood, to understand the set-apart name.

Phuwah or Puah?

The waw, with a dot in the center and with a vowel sign under it waw.ah, is a "strengthened consonant" (the older term of doubling). "The waw_oo u is, however, easily to be recognized, since it cannot take a vowel before or under it." Gesenius Hebrew Grammar p. 55

Genesis 46:13

Numbers 26:23







Latin Vulgate



William Tyndale



Geneva Bible



1611 King James


Pua (Phuvah)

margin KJV



New King James





















Living Bible






NAB (Cath.)



New Jerusalem



Book of Yahweh

Puw 'ah (?)

Puwwah (OK)

The Scriptures 5


The Point Made With Phuwah: Tested, Tried and True

The translation, I AM THAT I AM, has three parts; therefore, the name has three parts (or syllables) and is vowel pointed YAHUWAH

Now, to give an explanation:

The letter *waw* does not carry the "oo" sound, because the markings are beneath the letter *he*: hoo. The waw.ah is doubled, indicated by the dot in the center and vowel mark beneath (Example, see Strong's Heb. #2332). Now, this is how the "huw" and the "wah" are combined all in the same letter.

This may seem hard to comprehend, but it is absolutely proper Hebrew grammar. This same situation appears in many other names like Eliyahu. The "i" and the "y" are both indicated by a double "I" "Y" (yod):


The dot in the center of the double yod, with the vowel mark Qamets beneath it, indicates that this is a double yod. The dot beneath the lamed_dot (see arrow above) indicates that the first yod is a vowel, and the second yod is a consonant (Eliyahu).

Elihu (#453) has the same Hebrew letters as Eliyahu (#452), the only difference is a double yod. The vowel marking indicates that the yod has a vowel sound, else it would read Elyahu instead of Elihu. The same principle applies to the Tetragrammaton, as it does to Eliyahu; instead of the yod, the waw is doubled, but is written only once. The first waw is a vowel sound of (U), indicated by the hoo with three dots under it. The second waw is a consonant sound of "w".

Thus, the name is perfectly transliterated Yah?wwah, written in English as Yahuwah. Compare Strong's #6312

Proving the Set-Apart Name From

Josephus, the Jewish historian, seems to refer to the tetragrammaton as consisting of four vowels (Wars of the Jews, 5. 5. 7)

We already covered this in a previous chapter, but briefly, Josephus himself admitted to frequently altering Hebrew names, spelling them after the Greek fashion "to please [his Greek] readers." (Antiquities 1.6. 1.)

"Why Josephus speaks of 'four vowels' is uncertain. The first and third letters are probably 'by nature vowels' (= i and u), though by usage, consonants (Gesenius, Heb. Grammar, ed. Cowley, pp. 26,45). He is perhaps thinking of a Greek form (iaue)." Wars of the Jews 5. 5. 7. footnote; edition

The first letter in the set-apart name is a consonant, the "Y" in YAH, and in the word Halleluyah.

RULE #1 "hei can never be a vowel letter in the middle of a word." Gesenius Hebrew Grammar p. 56.


This means that this letter must be a consonant, and have a vowel following it, such as 'ho', 'hu' 'he', 'ha' etc.

RULE #2 Since the hei in the middle of a word is always a consonant, this means that in the set-apart name, there must be three syllables.

"The vowel letters hei,yod, waw, and Alef, as such, naturally do not close a syllable ... On the other hand, syllables are closed by the consonantal waw and yod Gesenius Hebrew Grammar p. 75

"Assimilation" usually takes place when one consonant, which closes a syllable, passes over into another, beginning the next syllable, and forms with it a strengthened letter."

"Stade, Lehrb. der hebr. Gr., Lpz 1879, pp. 44,103, rightly insists on the expression strengthened pronunciation instead of the older term doubling, since the consonant in question is only written once. The common expression arises from the fact that in transcription a strengthened consonant can only be indicated by writing it as doubled." Ibid p. 55 footnote

This means that in the set-apart name Yahuwah, the waw must be a consonant, because it closes a syllable and opens a new one; and therefore it becomes a strengthened consonant written double waw, or doubled.

"Waw with Deges (waw_oo) cannot, in our printed texts, be distinguished from waw pointed as Sureg (waw_oo); in the latter case the point should stand higher up. The waw_oo u is, however, easily to be recognized since it cannot take a vowel before or under it. Ibid p. 55 footnote

When a Hebrew word ends "waw_hei", the waw is almost always a consonant after such an arrangement. Example: Strong's Hebrew Dictionary lists no words that end with "uah" spelled in Hebrew waw_hei. The sound always ends waw_eyin, waw_eyin_hei, waw_alef_hei. However, there is an exception to the waw being a consonant after such an arrangement, that is Eloahh #433, and is spelled eloah But please notice the hei_dot is dotted in the center, meaning that it is a consonant.

"A point in the bosom of hei_dot is called Mappiyq (mappeek). It occurs only in the final vowelless letter of a few words, and we have it represented by hh" Strong's Concordance, Introduction to the Hebrew Dictionary.

RULE #3 Unless the hei is dotted with the Mappiyq, "at the end of a word, it is always a mere vowel letter." Gesenius Hebrew Grammar p. 81

Yahuwah YAHUWAH fits all the Hebrew Grammar Rules!



4) Funk & Wagnal's Encyclopedia (1934) under V

5) The Scriptures, by the Institute For Scripture Research


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