🔼The name Abidan: Summary
- My Father Is Judge, Father Of A Judge
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) the verb דין (din), to judge or govern.
🔼The name Abidan in the Bible
Abidan, son of Gideoni, is mentioned among the descendants of Benjamin during the first census of Israel, which Moses conducted while camped in the desert of Sinai (Numbers 1:11). This Abidan shows up a few times more in the book of Numbers, as leader of the Benjamin tribe and army (Numbers 2:22, 7:60 and 10:24). After that, the name Abidan no longer occurs in the Bible.
🔼Etymology of the name Abidan
The name Abidan consists of two elements. The first element is the familiar word 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 post-fixed letter yod forms a possessive: either my father, or father of.
The second element of the name Abidan derives from the verb דין (din), meaning to judge or govern:
The verb דין (din) means to judge or govern. It's an old verb that mostly describes the authority of a naturally superior (because that person is wiser, stronger, older, etcetera) in contrast to the governing done by a formal government (by politically favored and appointed officials).
The noun דין (dayyan) describes one such a leader, and noun דין (din) describes anything pertaining to primitive governing: a judgment, plea, complaint, contention. Noun מדון (madon) literally describes a "place or judging" and is synonymous with the contending that goes on in such a place. Noun מדונה (medina) described the jurisdiction of one judge, and became the word for province.
For a meaning of the name Abidan, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads The Father Is Judge. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Father Of A Judge. BDB Theological Dictionary proposes My Father Is Judge.