🔼The name Adah: Summary
- From the verb עדה ('ada), to pass by or to ornament.
🔼The name Adah in the Bible
There are two women named Adah in the Bible:
- The wife of Lamech the First, and the mother of Jabal and Jubal (Genesis 4:19-20). Since these two sons are the patriarchs of herders and tent-dwellers (Jabal) and lyre and pipe players (Jubal), their mother Adah is the matriarch of all these traits (and note that these proverbial patriarchies were mysteriously not terminated by the flood of Noah). This Adah is the second woman named in the Bible, the first being Eve.
- The daughter of Elon the Hittite who became one of two Canaanite wives of Esau (Genesis 36:2) and subsequently the mother of Eliphaz, who in turn became the father of Amalek (36:12).
🔼Etymology of the name Adah
The Hebrew word עדה is quite common and there is no way to be sure which of the many meanings of this word this name was made from. According to various transliterations that history preserved for us, the name Adah sounds more or less like the first two of the following words that are spelled identical to our name:
Root עדד ('adad) describes a repeated passing by or over, or a repeated encountering. Noun עדה ('idda) describes any well-worn item.
Verb עדה ('ada I) means to advance or pass on. Nouns עד ('ad) and ועד (w'ad) describe the difficult concept of a future era advancing upon the now, or else the prey or booty upon which a predator advances. The conjunction עד ('ad) or עדי ('ady) means "as far as" or until.
The same verb, namely עדה ('ada II) is used to mean to adorn or ornament oneself — that is: to have items approach the canvas of one's bulk in order to testify of some social rank or perhaps the trade or order one belongs to. Noun עדי ('adi) means ornamentation: fancy or declarative things worn on one's body or clothes.
Verb יעד (ya'ad) means to meet, habitually and repeatedly rather than incidentally. Noun עדה ('eda) means congregation or some other joint collective. Nouns מועד (mo'ed), מועד (mo'ad) and מועדה (mu'ada) describe a place (or time) of meeting.
Verb עוד ('ud) means to return and repeat. Noun עוד ('od) denotes an addition, repetition or continuance. Nouns עד ('ed), עדה ('eda), עדה ('eda), עדת ('edut), עדות ('edut) and תעודה (te'uda) all mean witness or testimony in various nuances, and verb עוד ('ud) means to bear witness.
In merry unison, NOBSE Study Bible Name List, BDB Theological Dictionary and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names take the name from the second adah and read Ornament.