🔼The name Hiddai: Summary
- Joyful, Joy Of Yah
- Like A Snake-Charmer
- From (1) the verb הדד (hadad), to be jolly loud, and perhaps (2) יה (yah), which is the short version of the name of the Lord.
- From the verb הדה (hada), to snake-charm.
🔼The name Hiddai in the Bible
The name Hiddai occurs only once in the Bible, namely in 2 Samuel 23:30, where Hiddai of the Channels of Gaash is listed among David's Mighty Men. In 1 Chronicles 11:32 occurs the same list, but here this man is called Hurai of the Channels of Gaash.
Apart from the way the Masoretes pointed these names, the difference between Hurai and Hiddai is due to the letters ר ("r") and ד ("d"), which look similar to the untrained eye (much alike our Latin letters Q and O and even D in certain fonts). How this and other similar mix-ups have occurred in the highly perfectionistic Jewish scribal tradition is a mystery. A lack of a calligraphic standard would have been cancelled out by the scribes who knew these texts by heart, and if not then certainly by their proofreaders and finally the audience.
If these differences are indeed errors (because they might still be willful editorial elaborations with a merit we just don't understand), these texts would have been buried by the people in charge. Perhaps someone else dug them up again and sold them for the great deal of money they were still worth to less critical readers.
🔼Etymology of the name Hiddai
There is no consensus to where the name Hiddai might come from, but here are basically two candidates. NOBSE Study Bible Name and Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) go with the verb הדד (hadad), meaning to thunder or make a loud noise:
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.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but also doesn't list our name under הדד (hadad), suggesting that's a root BDB rejects. Instead, BDB appears to lists our name alphabetically, which makes it end up under the verb הדה (hada), as the next entry is הדך (hadak).
Here at Abarim Publications we don't know either, but we can't help feeling charmed by the small list of names that all cluster together just after the verb הדה (hada), which is a very rare verb, which BDB says to mean to stretch out the hand, but which to us here at Abarim Publications rather means to snake-charm:
The verb הדה (hada) means to stretch out one's hand, or more specifically: to manually extract snakes from their burrows, or to snake-charm.
For a meaning of the name Hiddai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the adjective and reads Joyful. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names favors the remnant of Yah and proposes a rather creative Echo Of The Lord (explaining that the core verb is actually a whole other and very rare verb that means to sound again).
BDB doesn't translate our name. Here at Abarim Publications we propose My Snake Charmer, or Snake-Charmerly.