🔼The name Eldad: Summary
- God Has Loved, Whom God Loves
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the verb ידד (yadad), to love.
🔼The name Eldad in the Bible
There's only one person named Eldad in the Bible. When Moses complains that the government of the people is too much to handle for one man, God instructs Moses to assign seventy men to serve as his adjutants. Only sixty-eight of the seventy show up at the Tent of the Meeting, but when God pours out his Spirit, the two who stayed in the camp and didn't come to the Tabernacle, start prophesying anyway. One of these men is Eldad. The other is Medad.
🔼Etymology of the name Eldad
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The second part of the name Eldad comes from the unused root ידד (yadad), which probably means 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 Eldad, BDB Theological Dictionary and NOBSE Study Bible Name List both read God Has Loved. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Whom God Loves.