Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
The verb יחד (yahad) means to be united or join. It occurs only three times in the Bible:
- In Genesis 49:6, Jacob laments the cruelty of his sons Simeon and Levi, and says, "Let not my glory be united with their assembly".
- The prophet Isaiah says of the king of Babylon, "You will not be united with [the kings of the nations] in burial" (Isaiah 14:20).
- And David entreats the Lord to unite his heart (probably expressing a desire either to be able to concentrate, or else to be dedicated — see Jeremiah 21:39).
This verb comes with the following derivatives:
- The noun יחד (yahad) meaning unitedness or union; together (Job 38:7, 1 Chronicles 12:17);
- The adverb יחדו (yahdaw), meaning together (Genesis 13:6, Psalm 34:4);
- The adjective יחיד (yahid), meaning only or only one (Genesis 22:2, Amos 8:10). The Septuagint translates this adjective on several occasions with monogenes; the word that also appears in John 3:16.
Possibly related to or derived from the verb יחד (yahad) is the noun, adjective and adverb אחד ('ehad), generally meaning one. It should be noted that the Hebrew language of the Bible doesn't make use of numerical digits, and deploys words for amounts with the same poetic lack of precision that gives any word its true charge. Our word occurs 960 times in the Old Testament and "stresses unity while recognizing diversity within that oneness," in the words of HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
Our word may simply mean one (Genesis 27:38, Joshua 23:10, Malachi 2:10) or once (2 Kings 6:10, Psalm 62:12), or a certain one (1 Samuel 1:1), or only (1 Kings 4:19), or first (Genesis 1:5). But it also expresses a oneness of obvious multiple elements: of the joined curtains of the tabernacle (Exodus 26:6), of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:24), of peoples (Genesis 34:16).
The "one" language spoken until the tower of Babel collapsed was not a common tongue (because the languages had already diverged; Genesis 10:5, 10:20, 10:31) but rather a unity of the human condition. The famous phrase "YHWH is God; YHWH is One" (Deuteronomy 6:4, also see Zechariah 14:9) may not necessarily defend the monotheistic dogma, but rather be like the phrase "God is love" (1 John 4:8) which reflects inter-human behavior (John 17:22-23, Acts 2:46, Romans 15:5, Ephesians 4:3).