Ichabod meaning | Ichabod etymology

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Ichabod in Biblical Hebrew
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The name Ichabod in the Bible

Ichabod, whose name is unique in the Bible, is the son of Phinehas, one of the two sons of Eli who was high priest during the apprenticeship of Samuel the judge (1 Samuel 4:21, 14:3).

One day Israel meets the Philistines in battle and the Israelites think it a good idea to bring the Ark of the Covenant along as a good luck charm. Eli's sons Hophni and Phinehas accompany the Ark. But since God's blessing is not on the endeavor, the Philistines win the battle, slay Hophni and Phinehas and take the Ark.

When word of the defeat reaches Eli, he falls over backward and dies too. Phinehas' wife was about to give birth and when she hears that her husband and father in law have died, labor sets in. With her dying breath she names her child Ichabod, because "the glory has departed from Israel, for the Ark of God was taken."

Etymology of the name Ichabod

The name Ichabod consists of two elements. The first bit is the enigmatic particle אי ('i), which in the void of context of a name may mean quite a few things. There are five separate words that all look like אי, four of which are perfectly identical:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

The second part of the name Ichabod comes from the root-verb כבד (kabad), basically meaning to be heavy:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Ichabod meaning

Ichabod's mother names her son as she dies giving birth to him. She is quoted saying, "The כבוד (abundance, honor, glory) was carried away from Israel," but the author adds that she named her son Ichabod also because of her father-in-law and husband. Curiously, one of the very rare instances that the adjective כבד (kabed) is used to denote actual heaviness happens in 1 Samuel 4:18, where the author writes of Eli, Ichabod's mother's father-in-law, that he was very heavy. Ichabod is named three verses later.

The name Ichabod may mean any combination of the above words, but most commentators propose that the first part, אי ('i) is the particle of negation, and the second part כבוד (kabod) is the noun that means abundance, honor or glory.

For a meaning of the name Ichabod, NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and even BDB Theological Dictionary translate this name with Inglorious.

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