🔼The name Aijalon in the Bible
The name Aijalon appears to be assigned to several towns and a valley:
- When Joshua led Israel in a battle against the Amorites, he prayed to YHWH to have the sun stand still in Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12).
- When the boundaries of the tribe's territories were to be set, Aijalon came to belong to the tribe of Dan (Joshua 19:40). When the Levites were assigned their cities, the tribe of Dan gave their city Aijalon to the Levite sub-caste of Kohath (Joshua 21:24), but they still let the Amorites live in it (Judges 1:35).
- The Chronicler appears to report on the same events, but this author states that the half-tribe of Ephraim gave the Kohathites a town called Aijalon (1 Chronicles 6:69).
- Another town of this same name was situated in the territory of Zebulun. The Zebulunite judge Elon was buried there (Judges 12:12). The name Elon is closely related to the name Aijalon.
- Yet another town of this same name was situated in Benjamin and was home to Beriah and Shema (1 Chronicles 8:13). This town was among the towns that were fortified by king Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:10), but later it was invaded by the Philistines anyway (2 Chronicles 28:18).
🔼Etymology of the name Aijalon
The name Aijalon is assumed to have come from the root-verb אול II:
For a meaning of the name Aijalon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Place Of Gazelles and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names offers A Large Stag. How Jones figures this stag to be large is a mystery, although the brilliant theologian Gesenius taught that our name might be an intensive form of איל, meaning ram. And, as everybody knows, an intense ram is the same as a large stag. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests Deer-field. How exactly the field-part fits this name is not clear, and neither is why BDB prints the Deer-part in italics.