🔼The name Gaddi / Gadi: Summary
- My Fortune, Fortunately
- From the verb גדד (gadad), to cut, invade and expose.
🔼The name Gaddi / Gadi in the Bible
There are one Gaddi and one Gadi in the English Bible, but the difference between these two names lies solely in the Masoretic punctuation, which was added to the Hebrew text during the late Middle Ages. The Septuagint, which was written a few centuries before Christ, transliterated both names as Γαδδι. The Latin Vulgate (4th century AD) appears to have been the first to differentiate between the two, for no obvious reason.
- Gaddi was a son of Susi of Manasseh, and he joined the group of spies that Moses dispatched to scout out Canaan (Numbers 13:11).
- Gadi was the father of Menahem, an utterly unpleasant individual. He began his career by killing king Shallum of Israel (during the reign of king Uzziah of Judah) and usurping the throne. A town called Tiphsah failed to submit to him, so he invaded it and butchered its pregnant women. Later he levied heavy taxes from his subject to pay off king Pul of Assyria (2 Kings 15:14-22). He reigned ten years.
🔼Etymology of the name Gaddi / Gadi
The name Gaddi or Gadi comes from the verb גדד (gadad), meaning to cut or invade:
The verb גדד (gadad) describes making an invasive cut, mostly in order to expose something valuable. Noun גדוד (gedud) may describe an invasive band of raiders, or more general: a cutting, a furrow. Noun גדודה (geduda) means a furrow or cutting. Noun גד (gad) appears to describe the exposed treasure and may be used to describe a physical fortune, plain luck or a state of felicity.
Verb גדה (gada) also means to cut. Noun גדה (gadda) refers to a river bank. Noun גדי (gedi) describes a young animal, but mostly one that was either just slaughtered or soon will be.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (fortunately; note that the ethnonym Gadite would be an adjective, spelled like our name(s) גדי), a possessive form (my fortune), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
🔼Gaddi / Gadi meaning
NOBSE Study Bible Name List solves the problem of the difference between Gaddi and Gadi by assuming that Menahem was not the son of a man named Gadi, but rather a son of the Gadites (the descendants of Gad, Jacob's seventh son). Hence NOBSE reads A Gadite for a meaning of Gadi. The name of the son of Susi, Gaddi, NOBSE takes to be a proper adjective, meaning Fortunate.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) does not differentiate between the names Gadi and Gaddi and takes the final yod to be a mark of the divine name YHWH. But curiously, Jones then makes the error of translating the remnant of YHWH with "God," and not his customary and more consistently "the Lord". Hence Jones reads Troop Of God or Fortune Of God.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not know what to do with Gadi, but has no problem with Gaddi. BDB takes the yod to make a possessive form and translates Gaddi with My Fortune.