🔼The name Almodad: Summary
- Immeasurable, God Is Beloved, How God Loves!
- From (1) the word אל ('el), which either means God or is a particle of negation, (2) possibly the particle of inquiry מה (meh), "what?", and (3) either the verb מדד (madad), to measure, or the noun דוד (dod), beloved.
🔼The name Almodad in the Bible
Almodad is the first son of Joktan and the grandson of Eber (Genesis 10:26). The Joktanites are the last mentioned Shemite generation before the tower of Babel is built (Genesis 11:1-9). Joktan's brother Peleg becomes the ancestor of Abraham (Genesis 11:10-26).
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Almodad
The name Almodad is explained in various ways:
The first part of our name is the familiar word אל ('el), usually meaning God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) believes that in the rare case, the word אל ('el) is a particle of negation, which expresses the negative either as wish or as preference. The second part of our name Jones derives from the verb מדד (madad), meaning to measure:
The verb מדד (madad) means to measure. Nouns מד (mad) and מדה (midda) mean measure or portion and may be used to refer to a (tailor-made) garment. The more specific nouns מדו (maddu) and מדוה (madweh) both mean (tailor-made) garment. Noun ממד (memad) means measurement and noun מדון (madon) means stature (how society sizes one up).
Hence, according to Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, the whole name Almodad means Immeasurable. A similar phrase (which uses a different particle of negation) occurs in Hosea 1:10; 'The number of the sons of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured ( לא־ימד) or numbered.'
The root ידד (yadad) has to do with love, and that mostly in the affectionate, physical sense. Adjective ידיד (yadid) means beloved or lovely. Noun ידידות (yedidot) means love, as in "a song of love" and noun ידידות (yedidut), meaning love in the sense of beloved one.
Curiously, an identical verb ידד (yadad II) means to cast a lot and instead of being kin to the previous, it appears to be related to the verb ידה (yada), which originally meant to cast but which evolved to mean to praise.
That our root has to do with physical fondling and love-making is demonstrated by the verb דדה (dada), which means to move slowly. Noun דד (dad) denotes a women's nipple or breast specifically as object of one's husband's interest.
Unused verb דוד (dwd) probably meant to gently swing, dandle, fondle. Noun דוד (dod) or דד (dod) means beloved or loved one, and may also describe one's uncle. The feminine version, דודה (doda), means aunt. Noun דודי (duday) literally means a "love-bringer" and describes a mandrake. Noun דוד (dud) refers to a kind of pot or jar (perhaps one that was rocked or stirred?).
It may or may not be that the noun יד (yad), meaning hand, also has something to do with this root.
Hence BDB Theological Dictionary reads God Is Loved.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List simply reads The Beloved, which is even less complete.
Perhaps the מו (mw)-part comes from the Hebrew particle of inquisition מה (me), what? Or מי (mi), who?:
The interrogative pronoun מה (ma) asks "what?" Its counterpart מי (mi) asks "who?" The latter pronoun is spelled the same as the construct-plural form of מים (mayim) and thus also means "waters of ...". Its opposite, namely dry land, signifies certainty and mental footing. A similar particle מו (mo) combines with the usual prefixes to form poetic equivalents of these particles.
This way the name also means Who Does God Love? Or better yet: How God Loves! This together with Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names' Immeasurable makes for a very elegant name.
A similar inquisitive exclamation may be found in the name Michael.