🔼The name Maadai: Summary
- Slippery, My Stumble
- Ornamental, Place of Ornaments, Meeting Place Of Yah
- From (1) the verb מעד (ma'ad), to slip or totter.
- From (1) the verb עדד ('adad), to repeatedly encounter, and possibly (2) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Maadai in the Bible
The name Maadai occurs only once in the Bible. A man named such is mentioned among the sons of Bani who had married foreign wives and would divorce them in the purge of Ezra (Ezra 10:34). It's been suggested that this Maadai is the same as the Maadiah and Moadiah whom Nehemiah mentions, but there is not enough information available to either corroborate or refute this.
🔼Etymology of the name Maadai
It's not wholly clear where the name Maadai was derived from, but there are two main candidates and, as usual, it's probable that the original composer of this name aimed to incorporate both meanings into it. The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective, a first person singular possessive form, or may be a remnant of יה (yah), which is short for יהוה, or YHWH.
The first possible source of our name is the verb מעד (ma'ad), to slip or totter:
The verb מעד (ma'ad) means to slip or totter and describes a being unstable of step or confidence.
That would give our name the meaning of Slippery if we take the final י (yod) to be an adjective-maker, or My Slipping or My Stumble in case of a first person possessive form. Perhaps Maadai was an illegitimate son, or named to commemorate some unfortunate misstep of his parent(s).
Another possible source is the following cluster of verbs. Note that from all these verbs nouns may derive that start with the letter מ (m), which usually comes down to agency: place/instrument/era/person of ... (plus the action of the verb):
Root עדד ('adad) describes a repeated passing by or over, or a repeated encountering. Noun עדה ('idda) describes any well-worn item.
Verb עדה ('ada I) means to advance or pass on. Nouns עד ('ad) and ועד (w'ad) describe the difficult concept of a future era advancing upon the now, or else the prey or booty upon which a predator advances. The conjunction עד ('ad) or עדי ('ady) means "as far as" or until.
The same verb, namely עדה ('ada II) is used to mean to adorn or ornament oneself — that is: to have items approach the canvas of one's bulk in order to testify of some social rank or perhaps the trade or order one belongs to. Noun עדי ('adi) means ornamentation: fancy or declarative things worn on one's body or clothes.
Verb יעד (ya'ad) means to meet, habitually and repeatedly rather than incidentally. Noun עדה ('eda) means congregation or some other joint collective. Nouns מועד (mo'ed), מועד (mo'ad) and מועדה (mu'ada) describe a place (or time) of meeting.
Verb עוד ('ud) means to return and repeat. Noun עוד ('od) denotes an addition, repetition or continuance. Nouns עד ('ed), עדה ('eda), עדה ('eda), עדת ('edut), עדות ('edut) and תעודה (te'uda) all mean witness or testimony in various nuances, and verb עוד ('ud) means to bear witness.
For a meaning of the name Maadai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Ornament Of Yahweh. Likewise Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Ornament Of The Lord.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer a translation of our names but lists them under the verb מעד (ma'ad), to slip or totter.