🔼The name Aridatha: Summary
- Very Free One
- Lion's Law
- From the verb ערד ('arad), to flee or be free.
- From (1) the noun ארי ('ari), lion, and (2) the noun דת (dat), decree.
🔼The name Aridatha in the Bible
The name Aridatha occurs only once in the Bible. He is one of the ten sons of Haman, who were killed by the Jews after they thwarted their father's plans to kill them (Esther 9:8). These events resulted in the continuing Jewish annual feast of Purim.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Aridatha
The name Aridatha is probably Persian and shouldn't be expected to mean anything in Hebrew. BDB Theological Dictionary proposes that our name may "perhaps" be Persian for Given By Hari — which is what Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) thought of the name of Aridatha's brother Aridai.
Jones, in turn, sees in our name a combination of the Hebrew verb ארה (areh; see below), meaning to pluck or gather, and an Arabic word meaning birth. And then Jones translates the whole name with Great Birth, "i.e. of noble birth," which seems rather far-fetched, if not plumb impossible.
BDB Theological Dictionary lists the names Aridatha and Aridai not in their alphabetical places but rather among a cluster of names that scholars find hard to interpret, and which are possibly based on an alternate version of the root ערד:
The verb ערד ('arad) doesn't exist in extant Biblical texts but in cognate languages it means to flee or be free. A derived noun, ערוד ('arod), refers to the wild ass, and does occur in the Bible.
Verb רוד (rud) means to wander or roam restlessly. Noun מרוד (marod) means restlessness or homelessness.
The תא-part of our name could be explained away by grammatical constructions or intensifications. Hence the name Aridatha could be interpreted as Very Free One. But others may see in Aridatha a combination of the noun ארי ('ari), meaning lion:
The verb ארה ('ara) means to collect, pluck or gather. Nouns ארי ('ari) and אריה ('aryeh) both mean lion, which indicates that in Biblical times lions symbolized any power (individual or national) that plundered, gathered and hoarded. And as always, lions are not intrinsically bad; it all depends on what they gather (and at what cost).
Noun אריה ('urya) means manger or crib, which is a thing around which domesticated animals gather — and that is obviously why mankind's slowly waxing collective wisdom was placed in one by "His" mother.
And the Persian loan-word דת (dat), meaning law or decree (extended with a prosthetic א, which is not uncommon, and even does justice to the original Persian word data):
The noun דת (dat) means (human) law or decree. It's a foreign loanword, which only occurs in the youngest parts of the Bible. An identical noun from other cognate language may mean well or fountain.
Hence the name Aridatha could also be given the meaning of Lion's Law.