🔼The name Jaddai: Summary
- ... unclear but perhaps Beloved or Praised.
- ... unclear, but perhaps from the verb דוד (dwd), to love, or ידה (yada), to praise.
🔼The name Jaddai or Jadau in the Bible
The name Jaddai is a bit mysterious, and that's because, technically, it doesn't really occur in the Bible.
In Ezra 10:43, a son of Nebo called ידו (Jadau; highly similar to the name Iddo) is mentioned among the men who married and divorced their foreign wives. But in the Kethib & Qere — which is a reading system related to the Masoretic effort to preserve proper pronunciation — this name is spelled ידי (Jaddai).
Modern translations such as the NAS, NIV, Darby and the revised King James speak of Jaddai in this verse, but older translations, such as the original King James, Green and Webster (both original and revised) speak of Jadau. The ASV translation has Iddo.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Jaddai, Jadau
For a meaning, there are several ways to go with this name.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate our name but lists it under the root דוד (dwd), the assumed root for words that have to do with love:
The root ידד (yadad) has to do with love, and that mostly in the affectionate, physical sense. Adjective ידיד (yadid) means beloved or lovely. Noun ידידות (yedidot) means love, as in "a song of love" and noun ידידות (yedidut), meaning love in the sense of beloved one.
Curiously, an identical verb ידד (yadad II) means to cast a lot and instead of being kin to the previous, it appears to be related to the verb ידה (yada), which originally meant to cast but which evolved to mean to praise.
That our root has to do with physical fondling and love-making is demonstrated by the verb דדה (dada), which means to move slowly. Noun דד (dad) denotes a women's nipple or breast specifically as object of one's husband's interest.
Unused verb דוד (dwd) probably meant to gently swing, dandle, fondle. Noun דוד (dod) or דד (dod) means beloved or loved one, and may also describe one's uncle. The feminine version, דודה (doda), means aunt. Noun דודי (duday) literally means a "love-bringer" and describes a mandrake. Noun דוד (dud) refers to a kind of pot or jar (perhaps one that was rocked or stirred?).
It may or may not be that the noun יד (yad), meaning hand, also has something to do with this root.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) concurs with BDB and reads Beloved Of The Lord.
The problem is that these roots and all their derivatives are spelled with a double letter ד (daleth), while the names Jaddai and Jadau are spelled with just one. Perhaps linguistically the two are related, but in practice, few Hebrew readers would recognize that association.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List avoids the problem of the double d, and goes with the root ידה (yada), meaning to praise or confess:
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.
Hence for a meaning of the name Jaddai, NOBSE reads Praised.