🔼The name Adullam: Summary
- Refuge, The Justice Of The People
- From (1) the verb עדל ('dl), either to flee or to be just, and (2) possibly the noun עם ('am), people.
🔼The name Adullam in the Bible
Adullam is a Canaanite town that was conquered by Joshua (Joshua 12:15), assigned to Judah (Joshua 15:35), and fortified by Rehoboam (2 Chronicles 11:7). That this town was around long before it was conquered is shown in Genesis 38:1, where we read how Judah went to visit an Adullamite by the name of Hirah. There Judah met and engaged a Canaanite woman, who bore him Er, Onan and Shelah at Chezib.
While David was on the run for king Saul, he hid in the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:1), where he amassed quite a following of tough guys who appear to have spent their time doing tough-guy things (2 Samuel 23:13-17). The prophet Micah mentions that the glory of Israel will enter Adullam, but judging from the context, this seems satirical (Micah 1:15).
🔼Etymology of the name Adullam
The name Adullam comes from the root group עדל ('dl):
There's no Hebrew verb עדל ('dl) preserved in the Bible but its Arabic cognate means to act equitably or be just, whereas its Assyrian cognate means to be a hero. A second Arabic verb עדל ('dl) means to turn aside or flee.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) believes that the name Adullam was formed from עדל I, meaning to be just, plus the noun עם ('am), meaning people:
The verb עמם ('mm) probably expressed to be inclusive or comprehensive. Its rare uses in the Bible relate to making secrets or making info available to an in-crowd. Preposition עם ('im) means 'with', מעם (me'im) means 'from', and עמה ('umma) means 'beside'. Noun עם ('am) means a people, ranging from all of mankind to the in-crowd of a small village. Noun עם ('am) refers to one's (paternal) kinsman.
Hence, for a meaning of the name Adullam, Alfred Jones reads The Justice Of The People. BDB Theological Dictionary, on the other hand, believes that Adullam came from עדל II and explains that this verb means to turn aside in the sense of to hide or seek refuge. Hence BDB translates the name Adullam with Retreat, Refuge. NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to agree with BDB and reads a similar Refuge