🔼The name Abi-albon: Summary
- Father Of Albon
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) an unknown element.
🔼The name Abi-albon in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Abi-albon
The name Abi-albon consists of two parts. The first part is identical to the name Abi, which in the Bible occurs only as a feminine name. It comes, however, from a word that's used very frequently as element of names: 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 word אב followed by the letter yod may mean either my father, or father of.
The second part of the name Abi-albon is harder to place as there is no word in the Hebrew Bible that looks like עלב.
The waw-nun extension, however, is the common format that personified or localizes a root. The question is, what root?
Neither NOBSE Study Bible Name List nor BDB Theological Dictionary proposes a translation. The linguist J. Wellhausen suggests it was formed through permutation from the familiar name בעל (Baal), meaning Lord or master. The problem here is that the name Baal doesn't seem to need a waw-nun extension, and the word baalon does not occur in the Hebrew Bible either. But following Wellhausen's solution, the name Abi-albon would mean Father Of The Place Of Baal, or My Father Is One Who Masters.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) won't have any of that and leans towards the interpretation of ancient scholars. They viewed the second segment of the name Abi-albon to come from a root that may very well have existed in Hebrew; it simply wasn't used in the Bible. But a cognate occurs in Arabic, where it means to be strong. Since Abi-albon is also known as Abiel, and el may possibly mean strong one, Jones decrees the meaning of Abi-albon to be Father Of Strength.