🔼The name Abigail: Summary
- My Father Is Joy, The Father Is Joyful, Father Of Exultation
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) the verb גיל (gil), to rejoice.
🔼The name Abigail in the Bible
The Hebrew name Abigail belongs to two women in the Bible, and both are associated with David; one is his sister (1 Chronicles 2:16), the other becomes his wife after the death of her husband Nabal (1 Samuel 25:42).
The name of sister Abigail is alternatively spelled אביגל. The name of wife Abigail is alternatively spelled אביגיל, אבוגיל and אביגל. Sister Abigail becomes the mother of Amasa, the commander of the army of Judah.
🔼Etymology of the name Abigail
The name Abigail consists of two elements. The first element is the 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 second element of the name Abigail comes from the Hebrew root גיל (gil), meaning to rejoice or be glad:
The verb גלל (galal) primarily expresses rolling, whirling or heaping and may also denote a broad sweep (of land or time). Noun גל (gal) means heap or pile; גיל (gel), a heap specifically of dung; גלל (galal), dung; גלול (gillul), idols. Noun גלה (gulla) means bowl, basin or spring; noun גלילה (gelila), circuit, boundary or territory. Noun גליל (galil) denotes a supporting cylinder or rod; adjective גליל (galil), probably describes a cylindrical hinge column, noun מגלה (megilla) means scroll. Noun גלגל (gilgal) means wheel; noun גלגל (galgal), wheel or whirlwind. Noun גלגלת (gulgoleth) means skull or head. In cognate languages verb גלל (galal) extends to also describe the nobility of someone who rules a region.
The parallel verb גיל (gil) expresses a circular motion as is mostly associated with expressions of joy and celebration (dance). Nouns גיל (gil) and גילה (gila) mean a rejoicing. Noun גיל (gil) describes a circle or time: an age.
The name Abigail means Father Of Exultation (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), The Father Is Joyful (NOBSE Study Bible Name List), or My Father Is Joy (BDB Theological Dictionary).