🔼The name Eve: Summary
- From the verb חיה (haya), to live.
- From the verb חוה (hawa), to lay out in order to attain live collectively.
🔼The name Eve in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Eve
Most (if not all) translators and interpreters derive the name Eve from the verb חיה (haya), meaning to live or have life:
The verb חיה (haya) means to live and life is all about resonance between elements — molecules working together to make a living cell, cells working together to make a living organism and human minds working together to make a living nation.
Adjective חי (hay) means living and adjective חיה (hayeh) means lively. Noun חיה (hayya) means life or living thing, and may also be used to describe a vibrant community. Plural noun חיים (hayyim) literally means livings but describes the whole palette of activities a living being engages in: one's making-a-living.
In Genesis 3:20 it reads that Eve was named this way because she was אם כל־חי; mother of all life. The Hebrew word אם ('em), mother, comes from the same root as אמה ('amma), mother city, cubit, tribe/ people; hence the phrases Mother Babylon and Mother Jerusalem. The phrase "all life" returns six times in Scriptures and never just mankind is meant (show me). Hence the "mother of all life" is the biosphere; all living things.
And hence the NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, and even BDB Theological Dictionary report in dubious unison that the name Eve means Life. Here at Abarim Publications we disagree. The "mother of all life" is something that supports life and leads up to it. The "mother of all life" gives birth to life and hence comes before it.
Note the difference between the verb that means to live and the name Eve: חיה and חוה. The verb is spelled with a yod but the name is spelled with a waw. These two letter sometimes interchange, but this verb, and all its many derivations are always spelled with a yod. So yes, Eve is the mother of all life, but her name simply doesn't mean life. It's a leap of critical neglect to assume that when parents call their baby Bob, and say, "because that was the name of our dog," they mean to state that the name Bob means dog.
The name חוה (Eve) is identical to the Hebrew root חוה (hawa) to cluster up in order to be viable:
The verb חוה (hawa) means to lay out in order to live collectively, and describes investing one's personal sovereignty into a living collective like a symbiont. It's mostly translated as to prostrate, which is to submit oneself wholly and bodily to a collective or to the leader of that collective.
Another form of laying out is in proclaiming information that will lead to greater oneness among the hearers. The noun אחוה ('ahwah) means declaration, and is identical to the noun אחוה ('ahawa) meaning brotherhood.
Noun חוה (hawwa) describes a tent village, or the most rudimentary collective that operates as a living, symbiotic whole.
Eve does not mean 'the girl of the two,' and is also not the model for all wives bound to goof up (Keil and Delitzsch' Commentary on the Old Testament). Man and woman are both under the label Adam, and their drive to group up lodge in Eve.
The name Eve denotes the collectivity that is common to the behavior of living things. We should never forget that multicellular creatures, even humans, are in fact highly efficient colonies of single cellular creatures.
The name Eve means Symbiosis, because she was the mother of all of life.