🔼The name Ahiam: Summary
- Brother Of Mother, Friend Of The Mother(-City; -Land)
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) the noun אם (am), mother.
🔼The name Ahiam in the Bible
The name Ahiam is assigned to only one person in the Bible. He is the son of Sharar the Ararite and one of king David's heroes (2 Samuel 23:33). In 1 Chronicles 11:35 this man's father is called Sacar the Hararite.
🔼Etymology of the name Ahiam
The name Ahiam consists of two elements. The first element is the Hebrew word אח ('ah), generally meaning brother:
The noun אח ('ah) means brother, or more broadly: a fellow member of a social economic node (a "house") within a broader economic whole.
This word's lavish inclusion in names strongly suggests that the deity was reckoned by this word — in modern times we mostly speak of Our Father in Heaven but in antiquity the deity appears to have also been addressed as Our Brother. The New Testament appears to entertain that dynamic in the tenet that the Word is God's Son, and all who have the Word are godly brothers. Also note the similarity with the verb חוה (hawa), to show, tell, make known.
The noun אחוה ('ahawa) means brotherhood and אחות ('ahot) means sister.
The second part of the name Ahiam is the word אם (am), meaning mother:
The unused verb אמם ('mm) probably meant to originate in a social sort of way. Noun אם ('em) means mother, but — as do the words אב ('ab), father, and בן (ben), son — primarily refers to a social function rather than a mere biological relation. Hence noun אמה ('amma) refers to a "mother" city or a "mother" land, and אמה ('umma) means tribe or people (and is obviously comparable to עם, 'am, meaning people in a socially inclusive way).
The noun אמה ('ama) describes a female servant, and female servants were of course as much "included" in the master's house as did some of the including themselves as in early Biblical times, surrogate motherhood was a common function of female servants (see our expanded article for a discussion of this). The common hypothetic particle אם ('im) means "if," and an if-statement essentially proposes inclusion.
The whole name would thus add up to Brother Of Mother, an equivalent of the word דיד (dod), meaning uncle (or lover/ beloved), from whence possibly came the name David. But the obvious objection to this interpretation is that this name is never used as a regular word. It's more probable that the original name-giver meant to say something like: Friend Of The Mother(-City; -Land).
For a meaning of the name Ahiam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes Mother's Brother. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names seems to either make a bit of an error or ties the possessive yod to the word em, and reads Brother's Mother. This interpretation is not on a par with the meanings of the rest of the Ahi-names. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name.