🔼The name Paddan-aram in the Bible
Paddan-aram is an area in Mesopotamia where Abraham was born and where his brother Nahor lived (see Genesis 24:4, 24:10 and 25:20) and also where Isaac's wife Rebekah and Jacob's wives Leah, Rachel and Bilhah and Zilpah came from (Genesis 25:20, 28:5). The origin of Israel is therefore much rather Babylon than Palestine.
Our name is spelled with the particle of approach stuck to the paran-part, פדנה ארם (Paddanah-aram), in Genesis 28:2-7, and without, פדן ארם (Paddan-aram), everywhere else.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Paddan-aram
The name Paddan-aram obviously consists of two parts. The second part of the name is the same as the name Aram, and comes from רום (rum) meaning to be high, rise up:
The first part, פדן (paddan), is a noun that does not occur in Hebrew, but HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament reports that the Akkadian word padanu means route. However, when the prophet Hosea recounts the adventures of Jacob, he says that Jacob fled to the land, or rather 'field' (שדה) of Aram (12:12). This probably leads both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names to read Plain Of Aram for a meaning of Paddan-aram.
Another Hebrew word of interest is the verb פדה (pada), meaning to ransom, rescue. The letter nun is often added to a verb to create a noun that denotes a person or a place. To a Hebrew audience, the name Paddan-aram may have sounded like Elevated Ransom, or Place Where Height Is Rescued.