🔼The name Tilon: Summary
- Lodging, Murmuring
- They That Made Us Wail
- From the verb לון (lun), to lodge or to murmur.
- From the verb ילל (yalal), to howl.
🔼The name Tilon in the Bible
The name Tilon occurs only once in the Bible. He is mentioned as one of four sons of Shimon of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:20), but no further details of this man's life are submitted.
The name Tilon appears to originally have been spelled as תולון (Tulon) but the Masoretes deemed this an error and substituted it with תילון (hence 'Tilon' in the derived translations).
🔼Etymology of the name Tilon
It's not clear at all where the name Tilon might come from, but there are several possibilities. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) thinks it has to do with an Aramaic verb נתל (natel) that means to give, but a Hebrew audience might have figured that the name Tilon may be somewhat like the name Jalon (ילון, which is also a Judaic name, mentioned just prior to Tilon, in 1 Chronicles 4:17) and be related to the root group לון (lun):
The verb לון (lun) or לין (lin) means to lodge or spend the night, with the added nuance that this lodging occurs in a public inn and the lodger ends up hunkered down with multiple fellows. Nouns מלון (malon) and מלונה (meluna) describe places of lodging or inns.
Perhaps a whole other yet identical verb לון (lun) speaks again of a collective depression and is commonly translated as to murmur. It usually applies to people murmuring against their leaders. Noun תלנה (telunna) means a murmuring, or a low-key public protest.
Slightly more likely, even, is that our name was thought to derive from the verb ילל (yalal), meaning to howl, and turned into a personal epithet by replacing the second identical consonant with the familiar waw-nun couple. See the word תולל (tolal) that also may derive from our verb and which bears a striking resemblance to our name:
The verb ילל (yalal) means to howl or wail and describes a collective yet chaotic expression of dismay or lament. Nouns ילל (yelel) and יללה (yelala) mean a howling or a wailing.
The meaning of noun תולל (tolal) is a bit complicated but from form and context scholars have deducted that it means something like "they that made us wail."
For a meaning of the name Tilon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List seems to draw towards the verb לון (lun II) or perhaps ילל (yalal) and reads Scorn. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Gift (after the Aramaic connection). BDB Theological Dictionary neither offers an interpretation nor points towards a particular root.