🔼The name Ben-hadad: Summary
- Son Of Hadad, Son Of Thunder
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the name Hadad, from הדד (hdd), to thunder.
🔼The name Ben-hadad in the Bible
There are three men and one city named Ben-hadad in the Bible:
- A son of Tabrimmon, son of Hezion, and king of Aram in the time of king Baasha of Israel and king Asa of Judah. King Baasha and king Asa were at war with each other, and Asa bought the protection of Ben-hadad with the treasures stored up in the Temple (1 Kings 15:18).
- Another king of Aram, who fought king Ahab of Israel (1 Kings 20:1). The Arameans lose this war and Ben-hadad ends up pleading with Ahab for his life, during which he mentions his father who had taken cities from Ahab's father. King Asa was Ahab's great-grandfather, and it's safe to assume that this king Ben-hadad is a descendant of the first one. A little later, the prophet Elisha ministers to a king Ben-hadad of Aram, and this is probably the same person. Elisha predicts Ben-hadad's death to the king's servant Hazael, who promptly murders him and usurps the throne (2 Kings 8:15).
- The son and successor of Hazael (2 Kings 13:24). King Jehoash of Israel successfully warred against this Ben-hadad (2 Kings 13:25).
- A nickname for Damascus, at which was situated the seat of power of the Aramean kings. The prophet Jeremiah uses this nickname (Jeremiah 49:27), and so does the prophet Amos (Amos 1:4).
Some sources report that the name Ben-hadad was carried by the kings of Aram for nine generations, and it's possible that Ben-hadad isn't really a personal name but rather a royal title, not unlike Caesar or Pharaoh.
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-hadad
The name Ben-hadad obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name comes from the familiar Hebrew word בן (ben), meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
The second part of our name is the same as that of the god Hadad, which could be construed as to come from the verb הדד (hdd):
The unused verb הדד (hadad) probably meant to thunder or make a loud noise (it does so in cognate languages). Nouns הידד (hedad) and הד (hed) describe a shout or shouted cheer.
For a meaning of the name Ben-hadad, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary read Son Of Hadad. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) follows his own interpretation of the name Hadad, and reads Son Of The Most High.
To a Hebrew audience, however, the name Ben-hadad would probably have sounded like Son Of Thunder (possibly comparable with the name Boanerges).