🔼The name Ben-hail: Summary
- Son Of Strength, Son Of Might
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the noun חיל (hayil), might.
🔼The name Ben-hail in the Bible
The only person actually named Ben-hail in the Bible is a Torah-teacher of in the time of king Jehoshaphat of Judah (2 Chronicles 17:7). The term בן־חיל occurs in 1 Samuel 14:52, 18:17, 2 Samuel 17:10 and 1 Kings 1:52.
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-hail
The name Ben-hail consists of two elements: the first part is equal to the 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 the name Ben-hail comes from the root group חול (hul I & II) ,which can be interpreted in many ways:
- Verb חול (hul I) denotes a whirling in circular motions. It comes with quite a cluster of derivatives, most notably the noun חל (hol), meaning sand; the noun חל (hil), meaning pain so bad that it makes one writhe (specifically childbirth); the noun חל (hel), which denotes a (circular) rampart, and the nouns מחול (mahol) and מחולה (mehola), which describe (whirling) dances.
- Verb חול (hul II) means to be strong, and the important derived noun חיל (hayil) means might.
- A by-form of the previous: the verb חלם (halam I) means to be strong.
- Verb חלם (halam II) means to dream, and its derived noun חלום (halom) means a dream.
These curious parallels suggests that the Hebrews saw dreaming as something cyclic; see our full dictionary article on these words for a closer look at dreams in the Bible. Also note the similarities in form with the חלל (halal) cluster.
The second part of the name Ben-hail is spelled identical to the word חיל, meaning might or strength.
For a meaning of the name Ben-hail, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Son Of Strength. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names similarly reads Son Of Strength, but adds Son Of Valor. And BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Son (Man) Of Might.