Abarim Publications' online Biblical Hebrew Dictionary
ידד דדה דד דוד
The two forms ידד (ydd) and דוד (dwd) are obviously related. But there are two separate roots ידד (ydd) that don't seem to have a lot to do with each other:
The verb דוד (dwd) isn't used in the Bible, so we don't exactly knows what it means, or even how it was pronounced. But judging from its derivatives and equivalents in cognate languages, it possibly expressed an action that reflected affection: to gently swing, dandle, fondle, etc. This root additionally appears to have a nuance of containing something.
The derivatives of the verb דוד (dwd) are:
- The masculine noun דוד (dod), meaning beloved or loved one (Song of Solomon 1:13, Isaiah 5:1). This word also typically describes an uncle (Leviticus 10:4, Numbers 36:11). Sporadically, this word is spelled דד (dd), also pronounced as dod (Leviticus 10:4, Esther 2:15)
- The feminine version of the previous noun is דודה (doda), which means aunt (Exodus 6:20, Leviticus 18:14).
- The masculine noun דודי (duday), literally meaning a "love-bringer", and denoting a mandrake (Genesis 30:14).
- The masculine noun דוד (dud), meaning pot or jar (1 Samuel 2:14, Jeremiah 2:2). Scholars assume that this word reflects the original meaning of the root, namely that of some kind of gentle movement, reminiscent of the idea of boiling. But this word is used as often for a cook pot as for a mere receptacle or carrier. It's probably just as logical to assume that the act of loving was seen as "containing" something, or keeping something within oneself. And since general anger was equated with heat, perhaps arousal was seen kindred to that.
The masculine noun דד (dad) indicates a women's nipple or breast, predominantly while talking about love-making (Proverbs 5:19, Ezekiel 23:3). This noun also occurs in Aramaic, but its root or etymology seems to be obscure. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests that our noun is a "primitive caressing word". Here at Abarim Publications we see no reason why this word shouldn't be tied to the above discussed root דוד (dwd). Note that our noun דד (dad) is spelled the same as and pronounced slightly different from דד (dod), the rare form of דוד (dod), meaning beloved.
The verb דדה (dada) occurs only twice in the Bible. It means to move slowly or to lead slowly, as in a procession (Psalm 42:4), or as a wandering soul drifting about (Isaiah 38:15). This verb has no derivations, apart from a few names, but there seems to be an intuitive connection with the more popular verb דוד (dwd) discussed above.
A Hebrew root that seems at least visually related (no etymological relationship is mentioned by the sources used) to דוד (dwd) is ידד (ydd I). This root too isn't used in the Bible, so officially we don't know what it may have meant. But this word shows up in cognate languages where it means to love, and its derivatives come very close to those of the previous root:
- The adjective ידיד (yadid), meaning beloved (Isaiah 5:1) or lovely (Psalm 84:1).
- The feminine noun ידידות (yedidot), meaning love, as in "a song of love" (Psalm 45:1). BDB Theological Dictionary claims that this is not a separate word but rather the feminine plural of the previous one. BDB spells it ידידת (ydydt).
- The feminine noun ידידות (yedidut), meaning love in the sense of beloved one. In Jeremiah 12:7, the Lord speaks of the love of his heart, who he has surrendered into the hands of her enemies.
Then there is the verb ידד (yadad II), which is identical to the verb ידד (ydd) discussed above. This verb means to cast a lot (Nahum 3:10 and Obadiah 1:11). How the Hebrew language produced a verb that means to raffle, which is identical to a verb that most likely meant to love, is a mystery. It seems that it's related to the verb ידה (yada), which originally meant to cast but which evolved to mean to praise (see our article on the name Judah).
Note that the look-alike word יד (yad) means hand; the human body-part that is most instrumental in both the acts of casting a lot, or caressing a loved one.