🔼The name Hillel: Summary
- Praise, He Has Praised
- From the verb הלל (halal), to shine or praise.
🔼The name Hillel in the Bible
There's only one Hillel in the Bible. He is called a Pirathonite, and we know about him because of his famous son: Abdon, the twelfth judge of Israel, who himself had forty sons and forty grandsons (Judges 12:12).
One of the greatest sages in the history of Judaism was also called Hillel (died 10 AD). Hillel himself isn't mentioned in the Bible, but his grandson, Gamaliel I is. He may even have had an important role in the very early development of Christian theology (Acts 5:34, 22:3).
🔼Etymology of the name Hillel
The name Hillel comes from the verb הלל (halal):
The verb הלל (halal) means to shine (what exited stars do) or praise and cheer (what exited souls do). It may even denote too much of a good thing: to be raving mad. From the second sense derive: noun הליל (hillul), praise or rejoicing; noun מהלל (mahalel), agent or place of praise, and noun תהלה (tehilla), song of praise. From the third sense come nouns הוללה (holela) and הוללות (holelut), both meaning madness.
For a meaning of the name Hillel, all the sources we usually consult interpret the verb הלל (halal) with praise. Hence NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads He Has Praised and BDB Theological Dictionary has the similar He Hath Praised. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names sees in our name a noun and simply reads Praise.