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Obal meaning

עובל

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Obal.html

🔼The name Obal in the Bible

The one and only Biblical Obal is one of many sons of Joktan, the brother of Peleg (Genesis 10:28). Peleg becomes the ancestor of Abraham. The Joktanites are the last mentioned Shemite generation before the tower of Babel is built.

🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Obal

The etymology and original meaning of the name Obal are unclear. BDB Theological Dictionary lists an unused root that HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament skips all together, namely עבל, a verb that in Arabic means to be bulky or stout. BDB's Obal would thus mean Bulky or Stout.

Fuerst's Hebrew & Chaldee lexicon to the Old Testament gives this verb a meaning of to strip off (leaves), to make naked (trees), or to be bare (of a mountain, rock). Both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and NOBSE Study Bible Name List agree with Fuerst; NOBSE reads To Be Bare, and Jones reads Stripped, or Bare Of Leaves.

Then there is the possibility that to a Hebrew audience, the name Obal may appear a compound of עוב ('ub), meaning to becloud, and בל (bal), meaning hardly, scarcely or not:

and:

The name Obal may originally have meant To Be Bare, but for a Hebrew audience it may have sounded like No Cloud / Clear Skies.