Judah, Joseph and the Hebrew Letter Hey
My wife wanted to share what she has recently learned in a study about Joseph.
When studying the names of Jacob’s sons, I found it interesting that Joseph and Judah are the only names out of the twelve sons that have parts of the Tetragrammaton in their names. I found it even more interesting that Judah begins with the first three letters of the Tetragrammaton (yod, hey, vav), while Joseph begins with yod and vav. And I began to think that this was really significant. Judah (yod, hey, vav, dalet, hey) is obvious and means YHVH praise. Joseph (yod, vav, samek, pey) is less obvious and means Jehovah has added. It seems to me that this is another evidence of YHVH’s hand on the two houses of Israel. We know that Jacob split the first-born blessing between these two brothers. The blessing would have normally gone to Reuben, but it was taken away from him because of his disobedience. The first-born blessing was split into the double portion blessing and the kingship blessing. The descendents of Joseph received the double portion blessing and Judah received the kingship blessing. It was also really interesting for me recently when I realized that the only two men who came out of Egypt who were allowed into the Promise Land were Joshua and Caleb. Joshua was from the tribe of Ephrayim (Joseph) and Caleb was from Judah. Over and over we see these two tribes jump off the page in the Scripture, while the others seem to take a backseat.
According to hebrew4christians.com, hey represents the divine breath, revelation, and light. Could it be that with the omission of the letter hey from Joseph’s name, we get a hint of the prophecy that the light (which is the Torah) would be removed from the house of Joseph/Ephrayim? And that Yeshua (the living Torah and light of the world) would come through Judah and not Joseph.
Proverbs 6:23 “For the command is a lamp, and the Torah a light, and reproofs of discipline a way of life,” (also see Psalm 119:105)
Psalm 78:67-68 “Then He rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephrayim, But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion, which He loved.”
Hebrew4Christians also has this to say about the letter hey. I find it very interesting that the letter Hey was added to both their names when they became the “parents” of Israel.
“According to one midrash, Yod left Aleph to become part of Dalet, thus forming Hey. Since Aleph represents God and Dalet represents broken humanity, Hey is a picture of the presence of God within the human heart. This function of Hey can be seen when (Abram) אברם was renamed to (Abraham)אברהם and (Sarai)שרי was renamed to (Sarah)שרה.”
But in order to test this idea, I wanted to find instances in the Bible where Joseph’s name has the letter hey. Otherwise, it just would be a theory and not at all supported. I tried to find one. I was unsuccessful and left this study alone for several weeks.
And then this morning I read Psalm 81. Verse 5 jumped off the page.
Psalm 81:5 “He appointed it in Joseph for a witness, when He went throughout the land of Egypt; I heard a language that I did not know.”
Joseph was spelled here with the hey (yod, hey, vav, samek, pey)! Why? I went back to the Strong’s. This is indeed a fuller form of Joseph and means the same thing! At this point, I got excited because I knew the Father was leading me teach me something. Also interesting to note that Psalm 81:5 is the only instance in the Tanach where this fuller form is used. Why? I meditated on this verse, praying about it and studying it over and over. The commentaries I read did not give a reasonable (in my opinion) explanation. They say that Joseph means all of Israel here and relate the feast in verse 3 with Passover. It seems obvious to me that it is referring to Yom Teruah (Trumpets) with the blowing of the shophar.
Here’s my thought after prayer and study: Could this verse be prophetic of our time when we are Joseph scattered among the nations, speaking languages that were not known? Calling us out by giving us the sound of the shophar in our hearts? It seems to me that the hey is in Joseph’s name in this instance because it is referring to the remnant, those who will have the light of Torah and the light of Yeshua and will know the sound of the shophar when they hear it.
Psalm 89:15 “Blessed are the people who know the sounding (teruah, strong’s 8643)! They walk, O YHVH, in the light of Your face.”
Let’s examine our hearts and ready ourselves to hear the beautiful sound of our King!