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Vedan meaning

ודן
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🔼The name Vedan in the Bible

It's not clear whether Vedan is actually a Biblical name or not. Most modern translations (NAS, JSP, Darby, Young) seem to think so, but the KJV doesn't and neither do the NIV, the Septuagint or the Vulgate. But if it is a name, it occurs in the enigmatic statement of Ezekiel 27:19 that Vedan and Javan paid for wares from Uzal (NAS) or Danites and Greeks from Uzal bought merchandise (NIV) or Dan also and Javan going to and fro occupied in fairs (KJV).

The NAS, NIV and Darby translations speak of Uzal in this verse, but the KJV, JSP, Young, the Septuagint and the Vulgate don't. The Vulgate speaks of Dan, Greece and Mosel (for מאוזל or מ + אוזל, m-uzal meaning "from Uzal") and the authors of the Septuagint appear to have abandoned the Hebrew text all together and speak of wine, markets and Asel (for Uzal).

🔼Why the confusion

The reason for all this confusion is that in his long list of locality names, Ezekiel never starts with ו, the particle of conjunction usually translated with "and" (verses 29 through 32 start with ו but not as preludes to localities). This suggests that the phrase ודן is a name: wdn or Vedan, of an otherwise unheard of place. But the fact that Vedan is otherwise unheard of makes it suspicious, as all other names that Ezekiel mentions are of very well known places (save perhaps for Helbon of verse 18 and Chilmad of verse 23).

But additionally, names that start with a ו are exceedingly rare in the Bible, which heaps an additional amount of suspicion on the validity of our name. Especially since the particle ו is a very common means to start a sentence, and the part that follows the ו is דן, which is the common name Dan, translators of the past have been tempted to go with the familiar Dan and not with the unfamiliar Vedan.

The great disadvantage of reading Dan in Ezekiel is that by the time of Ezekiel, there was no more tribe of Dan. Of course it's possible that the name Dan remained attached to the region even after the people were deported (after all, by the time of Jesus, folks still spoke of the region of Zebulun and Naphtali; Matthew 4:13), but the region of Dan was of little prominence and mentioning it along Javan (Greece) seems rather odd.

🔼More strangeness

In addition to all the previous, Javan is also mentioned in Ezekiel 27:13, which makes the reference to Javan six verses later suspect too. In fact, it's not unthinkable that the phrase ודן ויון of Ezekiel 27:19 shouldn't be translated as "something-and-Javan", but as the double name of a single location: Vedan-vejavan. Some scholars have even suggested that ודן ויון is a garbled version of וארנבן or Aranabanim (which was a region in Babylon; king Nebuchadnezzar praised it for its excellent wine), but that would require quite a bit of garbling.

The bottom line is that we don't know what Ezekiel meant to say; we have no solid proof and very little evidence what the phrase ודן ויון might mean.

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