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Meaning and etymology of the name Abed-nego

Abed-nego Abed-nego

Abed-nego is the name given to Azariah, one of the three friends of Daniel (Daniel 1:7). Azariah and friends - young, smart, beautiful (v4) - were abducted by the Babylonian forces of king Nebuchadnezzar and taken to his court to serve him. And that meant that they were to dine on the king's best food and to learn the writings of Babylon, which in those days were the most advanced in the world. It's like being kidnapped and taken to Harvard. But then, at Harvard you're not likely to get thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3).

Perhaps coincidentally, perhaps by means of transliteration and projection, this Babylonian name seems very Hebrew.

Abed, like the names Obed and Obadiah, comes from the Hebrew root abad (abad), work or serve. The noun abad (ebed) means slave or servant, the noun abad (abad) means work.
The second part of the name does not occur in Hebrew but looks like it could be variant of nagah (nagah), shine. Derivation nagah (nogah) means brightness.

What the name Abed-nego was supposed to mean in the language in which it was first pronounced isn't clear, but for a Hebrew audience it must have sounded like A Work Of Light, or Servant Of Brightness.

Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names initially reads Worshipper of Mercury, but then suggests a more 'natural' interpretation, namely offers Servant of Splendor, i.e. the sun. NOBS Study Bible Name List renders Servant of Nego.

Other names from this verb are Abda, Abdeel, Abdi, Abdiel, Abdon, Ebed, Ebed-melech, Obadiah, Obed and Obed-edom.



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