🔼The name Dodavahu: Summary
- Beloved Of Yahu
- From (1) the verb דוד (dwd), to fondle or love, and (2) יהו (yahu), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Dodavahu in the Bible
The name Dodavahu (or as some translations have it: Dodavah) occurs one time in the Bible. It belongs to Dodavahu of Mareshah, whose son Eliezer prophesied against king Jehoshaphat of Judah because of his ill-advised alliance with king Ahaziah of Israel (2 Chronicles 20:37).
For some reason, the modern translations of the Bible (NAS, NIV) incorporate the "u" upon which this name ends, while the older ones don't (and read Dodavah). It's very common for Hebrew names that end with the letter ה (he) to have this extra "u" and English transliterations rarely reflect this. Why NAS and NIV now suddenly read Dodavahu instead of the established Dodavah is not clear.
But a similar inconsistency occurs in the Greek names of the New Testament, which in English commonly lose their Greek extensions (Paulus became Paul, Petrus became Peter; Johannes became John, etc.) but some don't. The name Jesus, for instance, wasn't truncated, and neither was Titus, although perhaps the early translators didn't want to end up having to read from the Book of Tit.
🔼Etymology of the name Dodavahu
The name Dodavahu consists of two elements. The final part of our name appears to be a variant spelling of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb דוד (dwd), probably meaning to fondle or to love:
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.
For a meaning of the name Dodavahu, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Beloved Of Yahweh, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Love Of The Lord.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name, but proposes that it is indeed a variant spelling of the more proper (yet not occurring) version דודיהו (Dodayahu), which would mean Beloved Of Yah.