🔼The name Eglon: Summary
- Circular, Calf
- From the noun עגל ('egel), calf, from the verb עגל ('agal), to go in circles.
🔼The name Eglon in the Bible
There are one man and one town named Eglon in the Bible:
- The man named Eglon is the king of Moab; a very fat man (Judges 3:12-17). Right after the judge Othniel dies, Israel again goes astray, and YHWH delivers Israel into the hands of Eglon for eighteen years. But when Israel cries out to the Lord, he raises up Ehud, son of Gera (or Jediael) and Israel's second judge. Ehud goes to Gilgal (which means Rolling, or in this case perhaps Big Pile Of Turds), where fat king Eglon holds seat, on the ruse of paying tribute. When he has Eglon alone, he assassinates him by thrusting a home-made sword into his belly. Right after that Israel takes to killing Moabites and when Moab is sufficiently subdued, Israel enters into an eighty year long stretch of peace.
- The town named Eglon is among the settlements that came to be in the territory of Judah; in the lowlands, to be precise (Joshua 15:39). Before it became Judaic, Eglon was an autonomous Amorite monarchy, who's king at the time of Joshua's sacking of Ai was named Debir. That event motivated king Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem to call for an alliance with his four neighboring kings, including king Debir of Eglon (Joshua 10:3). During the battle that ensued, the sun stood still at Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Aijalon (Joshua 10:12). The five kings never saw another sunset (Joshua 10:26).
Our name is spelled עגלן only in Joshua 10:34.
🔼Etymology of the name Eglon
The name Eglon comes from the noun עגל ('egel), meaning calf:
The unused verb עגל ('agal) probably had to do with being round or going in circles. Noun עגל ('egel) describes a male calf, and noun עגלה ('egla) means girl calf, or heifer. Adjectives עגל ('agol) and עגול ('agol) mean round. Noun עגלה ('agala) refers to a cart and noun מעגל (ma'gal) denotes an entrenchment or track. Noun עגיל ('agil) describes a hoop or ring.
Our name is the noun עגל ('egel) post-fixed with the ון-extension, which personifies or localizes the noun it is attached to. Eglon literally means Calf-Guy or Calf-Place.
For a meaning of the name Eglon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Heifer-like. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names suggests A Fine Bull Calf, "i.e. large and fat". BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret this name, but does list it under the root עגל.