🔼The name Hodaviah: Summary
- Praise Yah
- From (1) the verb ידה (yada), to praise, and (2) the name of the Lord: יה (yah).
🔼The name Hodaviah in the Bible
There are several men named Hodaviah in the Bible, one of whom was rendered an impressive array of variations of this name: Hodayvahu, Hodaiah, Hodevah, Hodeiah, Hodvah, Hodiah, Hodijah and even Judah:
- The first man named Hodaviah we come across in English translations is actually called הדיוהו, which is Hodayvahu. Many names that end with יה (yah) also exist with the ending יהו (yahu), so that explains the final ו (waw). But the second difference with our name Hodaviah is the reversed letters י and ו. The Hebrews maintained considerable liberties in spelling, and often swapped letters for the sheer fun of it, so most scholars assume that this name is really the same name Hodaviah, with a little playful zest added to it. This name occurs in 1 Chronicles 3:24, where it is borne by a descendant of king Solomon. Note that the King James Version transliterates this name as Hodaiah.
- A genuine Hodaviah (הודויה) is a family head of the half-tribe of Manasseh (1 Chronicles 5:24).
- Another one is the grandfather of one of the early returnees from the Babylonian exile, namely Sallu, son of Meshullam of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 9:7).
- Among the people who returned in the second wave, headed by Zerubbabel, are the sons/descendants of another Hodaviah, a Levite (Ezra 2:40). It appears that these sons of Hodaviah formed a familial cluster with the sons of Jeshua and the sons of Kadmiel, because only their total number is listed: 74. Ezra 3:9 again speaks of the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel but also mentions a Judah and a Henadad. Judah and Hodaviah don't seem very similar in English but in Hebrew it's quite obvious that the two names are closely related. So much even that most scholars will state that Hodaviah and this Judah are the same one (The NIV even goes as far as to omit the name Judah and insert the name Hodaviah). But there's no real proof for this. This Judah could very well be a previously unmentioned fellow, just like the Henadad he's mentioned alongside of. In Nehemiah 7:43 this same man is mentioned, but here he's called הודוה (without the yod), and that results in a wide array of varying transliterations. NAS, KJV, ASV and Young call this man Hodevah. The JSP has Hodeiah. Darby has Hadvah. And the NIV simply ignores all differences and speaks of Hodaviah. And then in Nehemiah 8:7 the author speaks of one of the proto-rabbis who explained the Law alongside Ezra, called הודיה. NAS, NIV, JSP, ASV call him Hodiah, and KJV, Darby and Young speak of Hodijah. Most commentators will state that he is the same man again, but again there's no proof of this.
🔼Etymology of the name Hodaviah
The name Hodaviah, and all variations listed above, consist of the same two elements. The second element of this name is יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the verb ידה (yada), meaning to praise:
The related verbs ידה (yada), to praise, and הוד (hod), to be worthy of praise, conjugate into such similar forms that it's often not clear which verb in which tense is used. From the verb ידה (yada), to praise, come:
- The plural noun הידות (huyyedot), meaning songs of praise.
- The noun תודה (toda), meaning confession or praise.
From the verb הוד (hod), meaning to be praise-worthy, comes the noun הוד (hod), meaning splendor, majesty, vigor, glory or honor.
For a meaning of the name Hodaviah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Praise Ye Yahweh. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Praise Of The Lord. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret our name but does state that it's derived from the verb ידה (yada), meaning to praise.