🔼The name Migdol: Summary
- From the noun מגדל (migdal), tower, from the verb גדל (gadal), to be great or strong.
🔼The name Migdol in the Bible
It's not clear how many Migdols there are in the Bible. NOBSE Study Bible Name List lists two but BDB Theological Dictionary and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names decree these two are one and the same. Migdol is an encampment in the mountains near where Israel crossed the Sea of Reeds (Exodus 14:2). Migdol is also the location of a much later Jewish colony in Egypt, which receives a sturdy warning through the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 44:1, 46:14, only in the latter verse our name is spelled מגדול).
🔼Etymology of the name Migdol
The name Migdol comes from the Hebrew root גדל (gadal), meaning to grow up, become great or important:
The verb גדל (gadel) means to become strong or great, particularly by combining many ordinary elements into a big strong strand or collection of some sort.
The noun מגדל (migdal) or מגדול (migdol) literally describes a place or agent for greatness. It's the word for tower, and a tower is not only a big strong thing consisting of many bricks, it also formed the center of a community around which all houses and all activity unfolded. From their tower people kept lookout over the community's territories, and launched offensives when the community was attacked. A tower could carry a fire and from it folks trumpeted signals. Towers drew its people from wherever they might roam. Over time they developed into central storage houses, banks and seats of government. Towers are buildings around which the greatness of a people forms and in which it becomes manifested.
Participle or adjective גדל (gadel) means a becoming great or growing up. Noun גדל (godel) means greatness or pride. Plural noun גדלים (gedilim) refers to tassels or festoons made from twisted strands. The very common adjectives גדול (gadol) and גדולה (gadola) mean great. Noun גדולה (gedulla) means greatness or great one.
For a meaning of the name Migdol, all sources agree: it means Tower.