🔼The name Abiathar: Summary
- Father Of A Remnant, Father Of Preeminence, Father Of Plenty, The Great One Is Father
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) the verb יתר (yatar), to be a rest.
🔼The name Abiathar in the Bible
Abiathar is a priest during the time of the first few kings of Israel. He survives Saul's massacre of Nob and joins David (1 Samuel 22:20) but supports Adonijah's illegitimate coronation (1 Kings 1:7).
🔼Etymology of the name Abiathar
The name Abiathar consists of two elements. The first part of the name Abiathar comes from the familiar word אב, 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 second part of the name Abiathar comes from the magnificent root יתר, meaning to remain or be a rest of some larger collective:
The verb יתר (yatar) means to remain or to be a rest (a remainder). It may emphasize the survival of some carnage (being the last ones left), but it may also emphasize surplus (rest money after all bills are paid). Noun יתר (yeter) means remnant; יתרה (yitra) means abundance; יותר (yoter) means superiority; יתרון (yitron) means excellence.
The nouns יתר (yeter) and מיתר (metar) describe cords to tie things together with. This indicates that a remnant is not simply that what remains, but rather that which kept the original collective together in the first place.
For a meaning of the name Abiathar, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Father Of Preeminence. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Father Of Plenty. BDB Theological Dictionary reads The Great One Is Father.