🔼The name Hodiah: Summary
- Splendor Of Yah, Praise Of The Lord
- From (1) the noun הוד (hod), splendor, or the verb ידה (yada), to praise, and (2) the name of the Lord: יה (yah).
🔼The name Hodiah in the Bible
There are three people named Hodiah (in some translations Hodijah) in the Bible; two men and one we're not sure about. The male Hodiahs are a Levite among the first generation of Rabbis (Nehemiah 8:7), and one among the signers of Ezra's covenant (Nehemiah 10:18). These two men are probably not the same since in the scene of the new covenant the Levites are listed from Nehemiah 10:9-13. The second Hodiah is listed among the leaders of the people (that list starts at Nehemiah 10:14) and is therefore probably not a Levite.
The third Hodiah in the Bible is mentioned in a genealogy of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:19), but in a way that's a bit confusing. It either says "and the son(s) of his wife was Hodiah, and his sister was Naham..". or it says, "and the sons of Hodiah — his wife and the sister of Naham -were..".
In the verse prior, we learn about the wife of somebody (?), who also has a lot of sons. Some translations (Green) read here the name of this wife to be Jehudijah, while others (NAS) translate it with "his Jewish" wife. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names favors the first version and reads Hodiah the wife of Ezrah (1 Chronicles 4:17) and sister of Naham, named Jehudijah in 4:18. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Jewess in 4:18 and "a man of Judah" for the Hodiah of 4:19.
🔼Etymology of the name Hodiah
Whatever the truth about this, the name Hodiah surely consists of two parts. The final element of Hodiah is the appellative יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn is an abbreviated form of the name of the Lord יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh. The first part of the name Hodiah comes from either the noun הוד (hod), meaning splendor, or 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 Hodiah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with הוד (hod) and reads Splendor Of Yahweh. BDB Theological Dictionary does the same but, curiously, takes the yod to be a possessive and reads My Splendor Is Yah. Most curious of all is the explanation of Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, which goes with the verb ידה (yada), and reads Praise Of The Lord. This reading is probably incorrect, and in light of the more plausible alternative, most likely not as such understood by a Hebrew audience.