🔼The name Bethuel in the Bible
There are two Bethuels mentioned in the Bible:
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Bethuel
The meaning of this name is disputed, although everybody pretty much agrees that the final part of the name Bethuel is the word אל El meaning God:
But the origin of the first part of the name is a mystery.
Without further argumentation, BDB Theological Dictionary assumes a text error and derives the first part of Bethuel from the Hebrew word מת (mat), meaning man:
And thus, for a meaning of the name Bethuel, BDB reads Man Of God. But the name starts with bat, not with mat, so this explanation seems uncalled for. In Hebrew there are two words בת (bat); one means daughter, the other one indicates a measure of volume equal to about 22 liters.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names derives the first part of the name Bethuel from בתולה (betula) meaning virgin, from the root בתל:
Jones also sees in the second part of the name Bethuel the word אל (El), meaning God, and gives Bethuel the meaning of Virgin Of God.
Between the segments בת and אל is the Hebrew letter ו (waw) which usually indicates a constructive connection between the two; with. Perhaps the name is supposed to mean Daughter With God, which would be a rather curious name for a man. However, Bethuel was the father of Rebekah who was a key-element in bringing forth the nation of Israel.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List takes the first part of the name Bethuel from בית (bayit), meaning house:
And thus, for a meaning of the name Bethuel, NOBSE reads Abode Of God. That explanation makes no distinction between this name and Bethel.