🔼The name Huram-abi: Summary
- His Father's Nobility
- From (1) the name Huram, and (2) the noun אב ('ab), father.
🔼The name Huram-abi in the Bible
There are three men named Huram in the Bible, although two also go by the name Hiram and one also by Hirom. In 2 Chronicles 4:16 one of them appears to be called Huram-abi.
The Hurams of the Bible are:
- One of the nine sons of Bela, the first-born son of Benjamin, the eleventh son of Jacob and the first one of Rachel (1 Chronicles 8:5).
- A king of Tyre, who supplied builders and materials for the house of David and the temple of Solomon. This king of Tyre is mostly known as חירם (Hiram), but in Chronicles he's referred to as חורם (Huram) and in 1 Kings 5 he's called חירום (Hirom).
- The famous craftsman who created all bronze artifacts and utensils for the temple of Solomon. He was from Naphtali but his father came from Tyre. That father must have passed away when this Huram was young because the Bible describes him as "a widow's son" (1 Kings 7:13-14). This Huram too is mostly known as Hiram, but in 1 Kings 7:40 he is known as חירום (Hirom) and in 2 Chronicles 4 he is called חורם (Huram). Speaking of this Huram, in 2 Chronicles 4:16 occurs the phrase חורם אבי, which some translators take to be a personal name, namely Huram-abi (NAS, NIV) or Huram Abiv (Darby). But others choose to translate the abi-part and come up with constructions like "Huram his father" (KJV, ASV, Young) or the overly elaborate "Huram his master craftsman" (JSP).
🔼Etymology of the name Huram-abi
The etymology of the name Huram is rather elaborate. Please see our article on the name Hiram for more details (Hiram and Huram are really the same name and have the same meaning).
The abi-part of Huram-abi comes from the common word אב ('ab), meaning father:
The noun אב ('ab) means father, but describes primarily a social relationship rather than a biological one. That social fatherhood was the defining quality of the community's alpha male, the one around whom all economy revolved and from whom emanated all instructions by which the 'sons' (בן, ben) operated. It's unclear where this word אב ('ab) comes from but the verb abu means to decide.
The abi-part of Huram-abi is the same as the proper name Abi. The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (father-ly), a possessive form (my father or father of), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
None of the consulted sources translates the full name Huram-abi but NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads "Highborn" for Huram and the rather obscure "Father Of" for Abi. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has "Most Noble" for Huram and "Father" for Abi. BDB Theological Dictionary reads "Father Of The Lofty" for Huram and "Yah(u) Is (My) Father" for Abi.
The ways to understand the name Huram-abi are legion. Perhaps the abi-part was never intended to be seen as part of a personal name, as the older translations of the Bible maintain. Perhaps the name Huram-abi is a transliteration of a name that came from a language other than Hebrew and simply means nothing in Hebrew. But perhaps the abi-part was an honorable or consolatory reference to the status of his mother, the widow (because besides being lonely, widows were proverbially poor). The name Huram-abi may declare that his father's untimely death was redeemed by his son's exceptional skills, and mean The Honorable One Of His Father or His Father's Nobility.
See the name Beno for a somewhat similar confusion.