🔼The name Hadad in the Bible
There are two or three completely different names in the Hebrew Bible, which in English are all spelled Hadad. We'll call them Hadad I (הדד and אדד) and Hadad II (חדד):
🔼The name Hadad I: Summary
- From the verb הדד (hadad), to thunder.
🔼The name Hadad I in the Bible
There are three men named Hadad (הדד) in the Bible, all Edomites:
- The fourth king of Edom, who was the son of Husham, the third king. King Hadad placed his seat of power in a city called Avith, and he is remembered for having defeated Midian in the field of Moab (Genesis 36:35). King Hadad was succeeded by Samlah of Masrekah.
- The eighth king of Edom, according to 1 Chronicles 1:50. In Genesis 36:39 this man is called הדר (Hadar). This Hadar/Hadad reigned from Pau, and his wife was called Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab.
- A descendant of one of the royal dynasties of Edom, whom YHWH raised up as an adversary to king Solomon, in reaction to the latter's forbidden marriages and worship of foreign gods (1 Kings 11:14). What Hadad did exactly isn't told, but it was evil (1 Kings 11:25), and probably well sponsored because Hadad's wife and the incumbent Pharaoh's wife Tahpenes were sisters (1 Kings 11:19). Note that this Hadad is called אדד (Adad) in 1 Kings 11:17.
Hadad, or Adad, is also the name of a prime Semitic deity, probably the same as Baal and Rimmon, whose name was often part of compound names applied to human individuals (as was customary in that time and region). It may be that the individuals mentioned above simply had the same name as this deity, or perhaps (as HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament suggests), their real names were compounds, but they went by the abbreviated version. It's also entirely plausible that Hadad isn't really a name at all, but rather a royal title, much like Pharaoh in Egypt, Caesar in Rome or Abimelech in Palestine.
🔼Etymology of the name Hadad I
This version of the name Hadad comes from the verb הדד (hadad), which probably had to do with thundering or noise making:
The unused verb הדד (hadad) probably meant to thunder or make a loud noise (it does so in cognate languages). Nouns הידד (hedad) and הד (hed) describe a shout or shouted cheer.
🔼Hadad I meaning
For a meaning of the name Hadad I, NOBSE Study Bible Name List observes no difference between the two Hadads and reads Fierceness for both of them. It's not clear whether NOBSE derives our name from חדה and gives it a rather liberal interpretive swing, or from a root in a different language. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), in a rare display of obscurity, doesn't discuss possible roots, but declares that in the Assyrian language our name signified "one". Hence Jones proposes Chief, Most Eminent, Most High for a meaning of the name Hadad.
To a Hebrew audience, however, the name Hadad would have meant Thunder or Shout, and since Hadad was the region's storm god, very few would have ventured away from that interpretation.
🔼The name Hadad II: Summary
- Sharpness, Keen
- From the verb חדד (hadad), to be sharp, swift, keen.
🔼The name Hadad II in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Hadad II
This version of the name Hadad comes from the verb חדד (hadad), meaning to be sharp, swift or keen:
The verb חדד (hadad) means to be sharp or keen or even swift. Adjective חד (had) means sharp (mostly of swords) and adjective חדוד (haddud) means sharpened or pointed.
The verb חדה (hada) is similar to the previous, but appears to lean more toward keenness, swiftness or even gladness and resonance. In some cases it plainly means to rejoice. Noun חדוה (hedwa) means joy or gladness.
The ideas of sharpness and joyfulness meet in the noun חידה (hida), which means riddle; a verbal exercise meant to sharpen the mind and give joy in the process. Posing riddles was an important element of life in societies that were wisdom-based, which explains the many Biblical scenes that revolve around riddles. The denominative verb חוד (hud) means to pose a riddle.
Note the emphasis on collectivity in these words, as well as the principle of preservation of momentum that underlies both the mechanical process of resonance and social phenomena such as humor, fashion and even language itself.
🔼Hadad II meaning
Neither BDB Theological Dictionary nor NOBSE Study Bible Name List try to interpret this name, but Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates it with Sharpness. Perhaps better would be Keen, Swift