🔼The name Hazor-hadattah in the Bible
The name Hazor-hadattah occurs only once in the Bible. It's mentioned as one of the cities near the southern border of the territory assigned to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:25).
🔼Etymology of the name Hazor-hadattah
The name Hazor-hadattah consists of two elements. The first part is the same as the noun חצר (haser), meaning village:
The origin of the second part of our name is disputed. Pretty much everybody derives it from the Aramaic adjective חדת (hadat), which means new. This adjective is used only once in the Bible, in Ezra 6:4, where it modifies the word for timber (new timber).
Here at Abarim Publications we doubt that this derivation is correct. The narrative in the Book of Joshua contains no Aramaic, and there's no reason to expect that an otherwise unmentioned hamlet in the south of Judah had an Aramaic name at the time right after the invasion of Canaan. And even if we allow for late authorship, this Aramaic adjective has a perfectly suitable cognate in Hebrew, namely the adjective חדש (hadash; see the name Hodesh).
The form חדת — and in some manuscripts חדתה, like our name — occurs one more time in the Bible, namely in Judges 14:16, where Samson's new wife complains, "You have riddled the riddle to the sons of my people and you have not explained it to me". We expect that the second part of our name comes from the verb חוד (hud), meaning to pose a riddle:
For a meaning of the name Hazor-hadattah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads New Hazor, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has New Castle, and BDB Theological Dictionary pusillanimously proposes "perhaps" New Hasor.
Our translation would be Town Of The Riddle, which either suggests the place was known for its lively entertainment, or else it was a center of learning, of which there were many in those days.