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To the philosopher a name is an artificial sign consisting in a certain combination of articulate sounds, whereby a particular class of people are wont to designate one thing and distinguish it from all others.If the name conveys an idea, it is merely because of a wholly artificial relation once arbitrarily established between the name and the thing it stands for.Similar notions prevailed with regard to all proper names. Place Names Yahweh Jehovah (q.v.), the traditional form of this name in Western languages, is based on a misunderstanding of the Massoretic vocalization.Nor were the Hebrews an exception: all Semitic peoples, and, to some extent, all primitive peoples shared the same belief. The name Yahweh, of which an abbreviated form, Yah , and a spelling, Yahw , seem to have been popular, is derived doubtlessly from the verb hayah "to be", and is best translated by "he is".
Of the names of plants, apparently less frequently used than those of animals, here are a few instances: Asena (bush), Cassia (a kind of balsam tree), Cos (thorn), Elas (oak), Elon (terebinth), Hadassa (myrtle), Oren (pine), Susan (lily), etc.Of the pure Hebrew names some are simple and others compound.Simple names appear to have been more frequent in early times, but some are in reality hypocoristic, i.e., abbreviated forms of compound names as Saul (asked), David (beloved) Nathan (he gave), etc., which were probably combined with a Divine name, Yah or 'El .This is why the study of these names is looked upon by students of history as a sort of key to the knowledge of the religious and social conditions of these peoples. 'El , which is found among all Semitic peoples (Phoen., Arab.: 'El ; Assyr.: Il, Ilu ; Aram.: 'Alah ), is in the Bible , appellative in most cases, but was certainly in the beginning a proper name (so, e.g., in Genesis ; ; 46:3 ).
Its etymology is to the present day a much mooted question: some derive the word from a root 'wl , "to be strong", others from y'l , which might connote the idea of "being the first" others finally from 'lh , by which, at an early stage of the development of the Semitic languages the idea of mere relation ( esse ad ) was conveyed.
It is from the original language of these names that their meaning should be sought (so Abram and Abraham may be explained from the Assyr.