I was curious why a number of names in Navi- the prophets- seem to change. Yirmiyah is also called Yirmiyahu, Yeshayah/Yeshayahu, etc. and a number of the kings have a similar variation. Is there a reason for this, or a pattern as to which names are used when?

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    Tprismic, Welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks very much for the interesting question!
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 30, 2010 at 0:03
  • i was once told the reason for the shortened forms in common usage was due to many of the prophets having bad ends, like being killed or leading horrible lives and so we try not to use their actual names in common speech or name our children after them with the full spelling
    – Aaron
    Oct 8, 2015 at 20:48

1 Answer 1


In the Navi as a rule Yirmiya is called Yirmiyahu, Yeshaya, is called Yeshayahu, etc. Common practice is to use the truncated version is speech. Although I'm not certain that there is really any difference than the way we shorten names bizman hazeh (nowadays), I think it may be due to Aramaic influence/pronunciation.

(A quick glance in the Targum gave a couple examples where the shortened version was used, although this wasn't always the case...and I only looked at a couple of places)

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    What about Eliyahu being called Eliya? Mal'achi 3:23 (mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2403.htm)
    – WAF
    May 2, 2010 at 14:53
  • Daniel 9? Jeremiah 28?
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2014 at 17:29
  • @WAF As noted by Rabbi Reuven Margolies in his book Hamikra V'Hamesorah, in the Second Temple period, people stopped using names that ended in Yah-u and only used Ya-h at the end. Thus, Eliyahu became Eliyah.
    – Harel13
    Jul 6, 2021 at 14:53
  • @Harel13 I know the Jews at Elephantine used Yahu instead of the full tetragrammaton. Any possibility religious Jews distanced themselves from the Yahu name as a response to this?
    – Aaron
    Sep 23, 2021 at 17:10
  • @Aaron anything is possible, although I find it doubtful because the Elephantine Jews aren't mentioned in any traditional Jewish sources. Personally, I thought it was a social phenomenon that reflected the lower spiritual level of that period (end of prophecy, lack of national freedom, etc).
    – Harel13
    Sep 23, 2021 at 18:02

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