🔼The name Ahitub: Summary
- My Brother Is Goodness, Brother Of Goodness
- From (1) the noun אח ('ah), brother, and (2) the verb טוב (tob), to be good.
🔼The name Ahitub in the Bible
There are four different men named Ahitub in the Bible, and they're all fathers of famous people:
- The first Ahitub we meet is the son of Phinehas (and thus grandson of Eli) and the father of Ahijah, who aided Jonathan on his raid against the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:3, spelled אחטוב, or Ahtub).
- Then there is Ahitub, the father of Ahimelech, who lived at Nob and who gave David provisions and the sword of Goliath of Gath (1 Samuel 22:9-20, spelled אחטוב in 22:9 and 22:20 and אחיטוב in 22:11 and 22:12).
- Ahitub the son of Amariah and father of Zadok, the priest (2 Samuel 8:17; 1 Chronicles 6:7, spelled אחיטוב). This sequence of three names is repeated a few generations later, when Ahitub is mentioned as another son of another Amariah, who is the father of another Zadok (1 Chronicles 6:11).
🔼Etymology of the name Ahitub
The name Ahitub consists of two elements:
The first part is formed after the word אח ('ah), meaning brother or close associate. With the letter yod post-fixed to it, it means either my brother, or brother of:
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 Ahitub comes from the familiar word טוב (tob), the Bible's common but difficult word for "good":
The verb טוב (tob) means to be good or pleasant, and ultimately to be sustained or sustainable, first relative to society but ultimately to the universe at large. Adjective and noun טוב (tob) means good; noun טוב (tub), describes a good thing or goodness, and noun טובה (toba) denotes welfare.
Closely related verb יטב (yatab) means to be or do good (to do sustainable things). Noun מיטב (metab) means the best.
A proposed root טבב (tabab) may have meant something like to keep forever, to be perpetual, to be stable.
For a meaning of the name Ahitub, BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List propose My Brother Is Goodness. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) reads Brother Of Goodness.