Is Haggai an Igbo word? By Iroabuchi onwuka

Haggai in Hebrew is pronounced Hag’ byai, most Nigerian Igbos will recognise this Hebrew word Hag’byai as Agbai. This name Agbai is richly rooted in Igbo history but lately it is subject to all sorts of interpretation. My curiousity with this name goes back to Robert Eisenman who interpreted several words in Hebrew into English in his book “James, the brother of Jesus” and the “code of the new testament” .

Agbai was supposed to be the Hebrew dialectic of the Greek word Agbarus which he easily identified as Agabus. A Jewish friend of mine however interpreted Agabus as Agabi. The relationship between Agabi an Igbo word and Agbai an Igbo assumes a horn of importance in the word Hag’byai.

In my opinion both words might refer to the same thing but must be different in some sense. Agbai is an honourable name among the Igbo, I mean Agabi also, but these names like other Igbo names such as Agaba (equivalent to Gaba in Arabic, Agaba in Hebrew, Gabriel in English) and Agada (Hagadah in Hebrew) are immediately lacking in precise meaning. These are old family names, are also names of village compounds and old villages whose meaning is nolonger known. These names exist now as mere names with meaning liberated from eras now past.

What in particular Agbai means in Igbo is unknown at least to me. The few who managed to sponsor any hope of conjecture only recite what they have heard. It is now in Hebrew, and only in Hebrew have a found that a bizzare co-incidence exist in H-aggai. Perhaps some versions of the same name exist in other languages of the world, Arabic to mention.

While this raises a lot of dust about names of old Igbo families and villages we nolonger understand, it promotes to even higher extent how names or words like Habonim in Hebrew should be Habonim when in Igbo and plain Hebrew we have Ebonim pronounced Ebonyim. It will amount to extemporation for I to insist that Haggaoh (Haggai) which is pronounced Hag’baoh is no different from the Nigerian Igbo ‘Agbai’. Let us hope in history and in time. 

The Sephardi Jews call a certain people Falasha, from Ethiopia, identifying as one of thiers. But in reality this is funny because these Sephardic Rabbis may accept Falasha but they are hardly in the position to do that. Are Falasha’s Igbo? of course they are, on the surface it might not be the case but when you find out that Falusha or Falasha mean ‘Philisopher’ or ‘Teacher’ in Jewish Ladino, you will be content with the fact that Igbos have many of these Falashas and they were not from Ethiopia.

In Igbo, there is a ceremony called Ofala (segmented as Ofor Alla) in Onisha. There is also Ofala Isha. This two ceremonies are one and the same, saving that Igbos have now added certain pagan ingredient to the occassion done every year. The occassion has witnessed over 1002 Ofala festivals, but this half the time given the four days a week recycle of Igbo society.

Fala-isha in Ethiopia after the fall of Spain is no dissimilar from Ofala-isha or Ofala-Onitsha of Anambra. Anambra is the place where Igboukwu arts were found which I have early indicated is Moorish in origin. All these words they all chime in the same click, all reffering to some degree of adoption and adumbration going back to Spain.

From the Chasis of Spain, the gap narrows on the origin and relationship between Hebrew Aggai as Igbo Agbai and we needn’t travel this far in history to engage a revival of the meaning.

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2 Responses to “Is Haggai an Igbo word? By Iroabuchi onwuka”

  1. Afam Says:

    I was just going over second Samuel and continually recognized that I can interpret meaning of some names. One particular one made me question google with ” why are some Hebrew names similar to ibo names”. The name in question is chimham( my spirit leave me alone or God let me be or may be my God glory be to your name: because in greetings,we see, ibo haa, ibo mmama) 2nd Samuel 19 vs 37. I do not know that others have questioned this. It’s deep, one may never know all these things, but i do see a catch 🙂

  2. Ifeanyichukwu Says:

    Theres a clear indication dat we ar frm d tribe of Gad. Comprising of Nri, Aguleri, Umuleri, Oraeri, Arochukwu, Arondizuogu nd so on, Gen46vs16, Numb26vs15,18. 1chron11vs43,44

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