🔼The name Ben-hesed: Summary
- Son Of Mercy, Son Of Fidelity
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the noun חסד (hesed), kindness or fidelity.
🔼The name Ben-hesed in the Bible
It's not wholly clear whether Ben-hesed is a personal name or whether the name is Hesed and the person we're dealing with is a son of Hesed. The King James and JSP translations think we're looking at a son of Hesed and NAS, NIV, ASV, Darby and Young think that the gentleman in question is actually called Ben-hesed.
This name occurs in 1 Kings 4:10, where Ben-hesed is mentioned as one of king Solomon's twelve officials. His job was to provide for the household of Solomon one month per year, and distract the required foods and goods from the area around Arubboth and Socoh and the whole land of Hepher.
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-hesed
The name Ben-hesed consists of two elements. The first part is the common noun 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 most likely the noun חסד (hesed), meaning kindness or fidelity:
The verb חסד (hasad) means to be good or kind. The important noun חסד (hesed) means loving-kindness or allegiance in a legally binding way. Adjective חסיד (hasid) means kind or godly.
For a meaning of the name Ben-hesed, NOBSE Study Bible Name List simply reads Mercy. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names doesn't treat the name Ben-hesed but reads Mercy for Hesed. BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Son Of Mercy.
It seems odd that all these sources cling to the word mercy while the noun hesed is much rather defined by spontaneous kindness or fidelity within a covenant. Here at Abarim Publications we translate the beautiful name Ben-hesed with Son Of Fidelity.