🔼The name Absalom: Summary
- The Father Is Peace
- From (1) the noun אב ('ab), father, and (2) the noun שלום (shalom), peace.
🔼The name Absalom in the Bible
Absalom is a son of Israel's king David with Maacah (2 Samuel 3:3). His half-brother Amnon, son of Ahinoam, rapes Absalom's full sister Tamar and Absalom has him killed (2 Samuel 13:28). He rebels against the king and manages to take Jerusalem (15:37), also because the whole city was empty (15:17), except perhaps for David's concubines (16:21). Absalom is killed by David's general Joab (2 Samuel 18:14).
🔼Etymology of the name Absalom
The name Absalom is generally spelled אבשלום, but in the second half of 2 Samuel it's mostly written as אבשלם, which is pronounced the same and means the same as well. Both versions of the name Absalom consist of the same two elements. The first part consists of 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 part of the name Absalom comes from the familiar Hebrew word שלום (shalom), meaning peace, which in turn comes from the verb שלם (shalem), meaning to be complete or sound:
The verb שלם (shalem) means to be or make whole or complete, and is also used to describe a righteous recompense or proper restitution (whether positive or not). The familiar noun שלום (shalom) means wholeness, completeness or peace.
Other derivatives are: noun שלם (shelem), peace offering; verb שלם (shalam), to be in a covenant of peace; adjective שלם (shalem), perfect, whole, complete, safe; noun שלם (shillem), recompense; nouns שלמן (shalmon), שלום (shillum), שלם (shillum) and שלמה (shilluma), reward or proper recompense.
Strictly spoken, the name Absalom means The Father Is Peace. But for a meaning of the name Absalom, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names propose The Father Of Peace. BDB Theological Dictionary reads My Father Is Peace, because they apparently assume that the name Absalom is a shortened version of the name Abishalom, which actually means My Father Is Peace. But Absalom lacks the letter י (yod) that would create either the my-part or the of-part.