🔼The name Harodite: Summary
- Trembler, Of Fear, Of The Reverent
- From the verb חרד (harad), to tremble with fear.
🔼The name Harodite in the Bible
There are two Harodites mentioned in the Bible, namely Elika the Harodite and Shammah the Harodite, both counted among David's mighty men (2 Samuel 23:25). In the parallel text of 1 Chronicles 11:27, however, Elika is omitted and Shammah is called Shammoth the Harorite.
It's obviously not clear why the Chronicler and the author of 2 Samuel 23 differ, but they differ quite often, and there are basically two possibilities for why that is. One possibility is that the Chronicler made enough errors to identify him (or her) as a complete amateur, who routinely confused the many somewhat similar Hebrew letters (as a neophyte user of the Latin alphabet might do with the letters O, D and Q).
This scribal-error theory was once quite popular among theorists, until some of them began to wonder how it might be possible that:
- such an uncertified blunderhead gained access to heavily guarded Scriptures,
- he (or she) still managed to produce a condensed and commentatorial version of them,
- the proper scribal community didn't rip it to thin shreds upon first sight, and
- it became as appreciated as the other Scriptures.
The other, and much more likely, possibility is that the Chronicler used existing Scriptures to compose a commentary on his (or her) own times, possibly with newly gained insights on the workings of the world. The result is not a watered down version of the previous, but a whole other work, with its own merit.
It's probably a bit like the movie Gladiator, in which a very-American man adventures in a world that is Roman by exterior, but which obviously runs on modern American ideologies and considerations (and fears). Fourteen years later, that same man embodied the very-modern American green-movement battling American heavy industry for supremacy over the earth, using some of the names and situations of, and post-biblical commentaries on, the Biblical story of Noah. That's probably the same thing the Chronicler did with the previous Scriptures.
🔼Etymology of the name Harodite
The ethnonym Harodite comes from the verb חרד (harad), meaning to tremble:
The verb חרד (harad) means to shake or tremble with fear. Adjective חרד (hared) means trembling or afraid, and noun חרדה (harada) means a trembling or fear.
Note that in Ezra 10:3 our name occurs in plural with the meaning of "those who tremble," that is "those who revere" the commandment of the Lord.
The name Harodite literally means Pertaining To Trembling, and because the one and only Harodite of the Bible is one of David's mighty-men, he probably wasn't known as a Trembler, but rather as One Who Causes To Tremble or else He Who Reveres or The Reverent.