🔼The name Dedan: Summary
- Leading Gently
- From the verb דדה (dada), to move or lead slowly.
🔼The name Dedan in the Bible
The name Dedan is assigned to two different men and one corresponding region in the Bible:
- The first Dedan is a son of Raamah, son of Cush, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:7).
- The second Dedan is a son of Jokshan . This Dedan is the ancestor of the Asshurim, the Letushim and the Leummim (Genesis 25:3). By the time of Ezekiel, the territory they occupied was still known as Dedan (Ezekiel 25:13).
🔼Etymology of the name Dedan
The name Dedan comes possibly from the Hebrew noun דד (dd), meaning breast or nipple, or the Hebrew verb דדה (dada), meaning move or lead slowly:
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.
Our name may even have to do with דוד (dwd) the root for beloved (aunt, uncle, even the name David).
For a meaning of the name Dedan, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes with דדה (dada) and reads Leading Forward, i.e. great increase of family. The NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Low, for no discernible reason. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate but lists the name Dedan under the root דדה.