🔼The name Tidal: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps Splendor, High Praise or For Thanksgiving
- Unclear but perhaps from the verb ידה (yada), to praise, and על ('al), for.
🔼The name Tidal in the Bible
The name Tidal occurs in only once context in the Bible, namely that of the War of Four Against Five Kings (Genesis 14).
King Tidal of Goiim joined forces with king Amraphel of Shinar, king Arioch of Ellasar and Chedorlaomer of Elam in order to quell an uprising of five Canaanite vassal kings: Bera of Sodom, Birsha of Gomorrah, Shinab of Admah and Shemeber of Zeboiim. Directly after the five were beaten (and Abram rescued Lot, who had managed to have himself abducted in the process) Abram met Melchizedek and some of the core procedures of later Yahwism were established (Genesis 14:17).
It's not clear whether Goiim was actually a proper name of Tidal's kingdom, which accidentally happened to sound like a Hebrew word meaning "nations" or that Tidal was the face of some freshly established (nameless) federation of tribes which joined the three kings as one.
🔼Etymology of the name Tidal
The name Tidal appears to have very little meaning in Hebrew, or at least as can be deducted from the Hebrew of the Bible (which of course is a mere section of the Hebrew that actually existed); the root דעל (d'l) does not exists and although על ('al) means 'up' (see the names Eli and Elyon), there is no word תד (td), תדה (tdh) or even תוד (twd).
A very creative (or confused) member of a Hebrew audience might see a resemblance of our name with the reverse of the phrase על תודה, meaning For Thanksgiving as occurring in Leviticus 7:12. The word תודה (toda) comes from the verb ידה (yada), meaning to confess, praise, give thanks:
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.
The particle על ('al) comes from the verb עלה ('alah), meaning to go up:
Root עלל ('alal) describes to go up, or to make to go up.
Verb עלל ('alal I) means to repeatedly deal harshly with someone lower or weaker. Noun עוללות ('olelot) means a gleaning and the denominative verb עלל ('alal) means to glean. Nouns עלילה ('alila), עליליה ('alilya), מעלל (ma'alal) and תעלולים (ta'alulim) describe acts of wantonness or repeated self-indulgence: acts of being spoiled.
Hence noun עולל ('olel) means child and the denominative verb עלל ('alal II) means to act like a child (Isaiah 3:12). Verb עלל ('alal III) means to insert or thrust in. Noun על ('ol) means yoke, and (rather grim) noun עליל ('alil) means furnace or crucible.
Verb עול ('ul I) means to feed an infant. Noun עול ('ul) describes a suckling; a very young child. Verb עול ('ul II) means to deviate from or act unjustly (to be childish, but in an ethical sense). Nouns עול ('awel) and עולה ('awla) mean injustice, unrighteousness, and denominative verb עול ('ul) means to act wrongfully. Nouns עויל ('awil II) and עול ('awwal) mean unjust one and may simply refer to a young child.
The ubiquitous verb עלה ('ala) means to go up or ascend, and particle על ('al) denotes any kind of elevation or motion towards someone or something and is commonly translated as "on" or "upon". Noun and adjective עליון ('elyon) means high(est) or upper. Adjective עלי ('illi) means upper. Noun עליה ('aliya) refers to a roof chamber. Preposition מעל (ma'al) means upward, on top of, or above. Noun מעלה (ma'ala) refers to that what comes up, i.e. thoughts. The identical feminine noun מעלה (ma'ala) means step or stair. Noun עלה ('ola), meaning ascent or stairway and may be used to denote a whole burnt offering. Noun מעלה (ma'ala) means ascent. Noun מעל (mo'al) describes a lifting.
Noun עלה ('aleh) refers to a tree's leafage. Noun עלי ('eli) refers to a pestle or crucible. Noun תעלה (te'ala) describes a water-course and the identical noun תעלה (te'ala) means healing.
For a meaning of the name Tidal, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Splendor and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Fear, Reverence (drawn from a Samaritan root meaning just that). BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does report that the name Tudhula occurs on late Babylonian tablets, which might have given rise to our name Tidal. If our name is taken from the verb ידה (yada), it would mean High Praise.