🔼The name Eliab: Summary
- (My) God Is Father
- From (1) the word אל ('el), God, and (2) the noun אב ('ab), father.
🔼The name Eliab in the Bible
Other Eliabs are:
- A son of Helon and the chief of Zebulun during the first part of the wilderness years (Numbers 7:24).
- A Reubenite, whose sons Abiram and Dathan die during the insurrection of Korah (Numbers 16:1).
- A Levite from the Kohath family (1 Chronicles 6:27); the great-grandfather of Samuel who may also be called Eliel (1 Chronicles 6:34), and Elihu (1 Samuel 1:1).
- A Gadite counted among David's mighty-men (1 Chronicles 12:9).
- A Levite musician (1 Chronicles 15:20).
🔼Etymology of the name Eliab
The name Eliab consists of two elements. The first part is the word אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
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 letter yod may serve in this name to make the word El possessive: my God
The second part is the common Hebrew word אב ('ab), basically meaning father:
The noun אב ('ab) means father, but describes primarily a social relationship rather than a biological one. That social fatherhood was the defining quality of the community's alpha male, the one around whom all economy revolved and from whom emanated all instructions by which the 'sons' (בן, ben) operated. It's unclear where this word אב ('ab) comes from but the verb abu means to decide.
For a meaning of the name Eliab, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and BDB Theological Dictionary both read God Is Father. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes My God Is Father.