🔼The name Oholiab: Summary
- Father's Tent
- From (1) the noun אהל ('ohel), tent, and (2) the noun אב ('ab), father.
🔼The name Oholiab in the Bible
There's only one Oholiab in the Bible, but he plays an important role in it: Oholiab was teamed up with Bezalel to build the tabernacle (Exodus 31:6).
🔼Etymology of the name Oholiab
The name Oholiab is a construct of two elements:
The first part of the name Oholiab comes from the noun אהל ('ohel), meaning tent:
The unused verb אהל ('ahal) appears to have described the formation of a deliberate and artificial societal hub for the explicit purpose of exchanging thoughts and forming language and cultural expressions.
In such hubs, minds could both be honed and made to merge into great synergic entities such as widespread standardized language. The ancients created massive hubs such as the one found at Göbekli Tepe long before the agricultural revolution took place. The obvious purpose of those centers was to create shared wisdom.
This synergetic effect is deeply essential to the way the universe works and is mimicked by processes such as the making of wine from mushed grapes or perfume from mushed flowers. It also occurs as nuclear fusion in stars, and the Bible's many similes featuring stars and minds strongly suggests that the ancients knew more about the universe than was previously surmised.
Derived noun אהל ('ohel) describes a place where minds merge. It is the common word for tent (and thus the Tabernacle; a.k.a. the Tent of Meeting) but may also refer to a general settlement or habitation. Denominative verb אהל ('ahal) means to pitch or make a tent.
The second part of the name Oholiab is the common noun אב ('ab), meaning father:
The noun אב ('ab) means father, but describes primarily a social relationship rather than a biological one. That social fatherhood was the defining quality of the community's alpha male, the one around whom all economy revolved and from whom emanated all instructions by which the 'sons' (בן, ben) operated. It's unclear where this word אב ('ab) comes from but the verb abu means to decide.
The name Oholiab means Father's Tent and is suggestive of light (or enlightenment) coming from the meeting in this tent. This is remarkable because the meaning of the name of Oholiab's colleague Bezalel is In The Shadow Of God.
For a meaning of the name Oholiab, both BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List read Father's Tent. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, curiously, does not list the name Oholiab.