🔼The name Abdiel: Summary
- Servant of God
- From (1) the verb עבד (abad), to work or serve, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Abdiel in the Bible
The name Abdiel occurs once in the Bible, in the genealogy of Gad, one of the twelve sons of Jacob and a tribal ancestor of Israel, who make their living in the area between Bashan to Salecah. Abdiel is the father of Ahi of Gilead (1 Chronicles 5:15).
🔼Etymology of the name Abdiel
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first part of the name Abdiel comes from the root עבד (abad), meaning servant or to serve:
The verb עבד ('abad) means to work or serve, and the noun עבד ('ebed) denotes someone who works: from a slave to a hired expert. The Greek equivalent of this noun is δουλος (doulos).
The central yod may be seen as a possessive, but that forms the curious meaning of My Servant Is El. It's probably preferred to see this yod as a remnant of the grammatical form that expresses the third person plural: They Serve El. Or else, this yod is a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH. That would result in a meaning of Servant Of Yahweh Elohim, or Servant Of The Lord God (see the name Abdi).
For a meaning of the name Abdiel, BDB Theological Dictionary, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and NOBSE Study Bible Name List all read Servant of God/ El.