Anyone know why Σιλωάμ in John 9:7 has the μ at the end. The Hebrew New Testament (Bible Society of Israel) has הַשִּׁלּוֹחַ (apparently qal passive participle) with no ending m sound from the Hebrew verb שָׁלַח (Aramaic שְׁלַח) meaning send. The Peshitta has the same, ܫܝܠܘܚܐ. The is perhaps the pool mentioned in Neh. 3:15 as הַשֶּׁ֙לַח֙.

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    Not quite sure, but notably, Josephus employs the indeclinable Σιλωὰμ and various declensions of Σιλωά. Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 5:16
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    I have noticed that the endings of proper nouns varies a little from language to language - look at the names of the seven churches and many others - all a little different at the end - should it be Pergamos or Pergamum?
    – user25930
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 6:37
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    I expect it's related to an earlier Q&A, but you were active in that one already. Have you had a look at the literature cited there? The Thackeray and B-D-F links might shed some light on your question, but it would even be worth confirming if they don't. FWIW!
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Jun 15, 2019 at 17:24
  • @PerryWebb Cf. *this* Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 21:24
  • If it helps the μ shows up even on Codex Sinaiticus.
    – Decrypted
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 4:29

2 Answers 2


I found a possible answer on http://languagehat.com/shiloh-silom/

This is the answer someone on that site gave, you have to scroll down to the bottom to find it.

Y says: February 22, 2014, at 2:00 am

I looked some more into the Shiloh/Shiloah issue. The most helpful source has been Yoel Elitzur’s magisterial book Ancient toponyms in the Land of Israel, which plows deeply in the field of place names from antiquity, through the Aramaic and the Greek, and to the present-day Arabic, although it does not discuss Shiloh and Shiloah in detail.

First, the -m suffix is not just a Septuagint oddity. -n and -m suffixes begin to appear after vowel-final names and other words in Jewish sources several centuries earlier, e.g. Megiddon for Megiddo in Zachariah 12:11, and Keisrin for Caesarea in the Mishna. The source and the phonetics of these finals are disputed. A paper by Kutscher, which I haven’t seen, suggests that the proximate source for the Greek Σιλωάμ was not the Hebrew šilˈloaħ שִׁלֹּחַ, but rather the later Aramaic šilōˈħa, presumably to explain the long ω and the final stress. The shift š>s predates the Septuagint in the local speech south of the Galilee and is regular. The ħ regularly becomes zero in Greek, so that fits too.

For Shiloh, i.e. šiˈlo שִׁלֹה (note the unusual ungeminated l), the story is similar. We start with the variant form šīlō, which appears already in Judges 21:21, which yields the Septuagint Σηλω ~ Σηλωμ as above, but now with η for the long ī.

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BADG associates the Greek and Hebrew name, but makes no comment about the difference in the name.

Σιλωάμ (שִׁלרֶחַ), ὁ indecl. (masc.: Is 8:6 τὸ ὕδωρ τοῦ Σιλωάμ; 2 Esdr 13:15 S κολυμβήθρα τοῦ Σιλωάμ; but fem.: Jos., Bell. 5, 505τὴν Σιλωάμ.—Elsewh. Jos. usu. has declinable forms: τοῦ Σιλωᾶ Bell. 2, 340; 6, 363; ἡ Σιλωά, ᾶς, ᾷ, άν 5, 140; 145 [τὴν Σιλωὰν πηγήν]; 252, 410; 6, 401.—Bl-D. §56, 4; cf. Rob. 95) Siloam, name of a system of water supply in Jerusalem, through which the water of the spring Gihon became available for the Fortress of David. ἡ κολυμβήθρα τοῦ Σ. the pool of Siloam was prob. the basin into which the water was conducted J 9:7; cf. vs. 11.—Vincent-Abel, Jérus.: (s. Ἰεροσόλυμα 1b) II chap. 34 §2; GDalman, Jerus. u. s. Gelände ’30, 386 (Sachreg.); CKopp, The Holy Places of the Gospels tr. RWalls, ’63, 314-20.—ὁ πύργος ἐν τῷ Σ. the tower near the pool of Siloam Lk 13:4. M-M.* -- Arndt, W., Gingrich, F. W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (1979). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature : a translation and adaption of the fourth revised and augmented edition of Walter Bauer’s Griechisch-deutsches Worterbuch zu den Schrift en des Neuen Testaments und der ubrigen urchristlichen Literatur (p. 750). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

SILOAM; SILOAH; SHELAH; SHILOAH <si-lo’-am>, <si-lo’-am>, <si-lo’-a>, <she’-la>, <shi-lo’-a>:

  1. [מֵי הַשִּׁלחַ, me ha-shiloach] (shiloach or shilloach is a passive form and means “sent” or “conducted”) “the waters of (the) Shiloah” (Isaiah 8:6).
  2. [בָּרֵכַת הַשֶּׁלַח, berekhath ha-shelach], “the pool of (the) Shelah” (the King James Version “Siloah”) (Nehemiah 3:15).
  3. [τὴν κολυμβήθραν του̂, ten kolumbethran tou] (or [τὸν, ton]) [Σιλωάμ, Siloam], “the pool of Siloam” (John 9:7).
  4. [ὁ πύργος ἐν τω̦̂ Σιλωάμ, ho purgos en to Siloam], “the tower in Siloam” (Luke 13:4). -- Orr, J. (Ed.). (1999). In The International standard Bible encyclopedia: 1915 edition. Albany, OR: Ages Software.
  1. The “Pool of Siloam” The water from the Siloam aqueduct, emerging at ‛Ain Silwān, flows today into a narrow shallow pool, approached by a steep flight of modern steps; from the southern extremity of this pool the water crosses under the modern road by means of an aqueduct, and after traversing a deeply cut rock channel below the scarped cliffs on the north side of el-Wâd, it crosses under the main road up the Kidron and enters a number of channels of irrigation distributed among the gardens of the people of Silwān. The water here, as at its origin, is brackish and impregnated with sewage. The modern Birket es-Silwān is but a poor survivor of the fine pool which once was here. Bliss showed by his excavations at the site that once there was a great rock-cut pool, 71 ft. N. and S., by 75 ft. E. and W., which may, in part at least, have been the work of Hezekiah (2 K 20:20), approached by a splendid flight of steps along its west side. The pool was surrounded by an arcade 12 ft. wide and 22½ ft. high, and was divided by a central arcade, to make in all probability a pool for men and another for women. These buildings were probably Herodian, if not earlier, and therefore this, we may reasonably picture, was the condition of the pool at the time of the incident in Jn 9:7, when Jesus sent the blind man to “wash in the pool of Siloam.” This pool is also probably the Pool of Shelah described in Neh 3:15 as lying between the Fountain Gate and the King’s Garden. It may also be the “king’s pool” of Neh 2:14. If we were in any doubt regarding the position of the pool of Siloam, the explicit statement of Jos (BJ, V, iv, 1) that the fountain of Siloam, which he says was a plentiful spring of sweet water, was at the mouth of the Tyropœon would make us sure. -- Masterman, E. W. G. (1915). Siloam, Siloah, Shelah, Shiloah. In J. Orr, J. L. Nuelsen, E. Y. Mullins, & M. O. Evans (Eds.), The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia (Vol. 1–5, p. 2792). Chicago: The Howard-Severance Company.

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