🔼The name Tob: Summary
- From the adjective טוב (tob), good.
🔼The name Tob in the Bible
According to some translators, there are two Tobs in the Bible, but others say there's only one:
- The Tob all agree on is a region somewhere (commentators say it was situated beyond the Jordan, north of Gilead, and possibly Aramaic, but the Bible neither supports nor contradicts that) to which young Jephthah fled when he was driven out of his father's house in Gilead by his half-brothers (Judges 11:3). When Ammon attacked Israel, the elders of Gilead went to Tob to persuade Jephthah to lead them into battle. Jephthah conceded and became the ninth judge of Israel.
- The second Tob (which some equate with the first one) is a place associated with the Arameans (2 Samuel 10:6). During a war with Israel, the Ammonites hired Arameans from several places, including Tob. Or such the text seems to say. The text states that the king of Maacah came to the battle with 1,000 men, and the men of Tob with 12,000 men (that's twice the same word 'ish, meaning "men"). The "men of Tob" may refer to the elders, but it's curious that a genuine king is able to muster a mere 1,000 men while a town that's king-less can bring out twelve times as many. The King James Version solves this problem by speaking of king Maacah who showed up with 1,000 men of his own and another 12,000 from a place called Ish-tob. The Young Translation speaks of the king of Maacah, but also brings in 12,000 men from Ish-tob.
🔼Etymology of the name Tob
The name Tob is identical to the verb, noun and adjective טוב (tob), meaning to be pleasing, good thing, and pleasant or good:
The verb טוב (tob) means to be good or pleasant, and ultimately to be sustained or sustainable, first relative to society but ultimately to the universe at large. Adjective and noun טוב (tob) means good; noun טוב (tub), describes a good thing or goodness, and noun טובה (toba) denotes welfare.
Closely related verb יטב (yatab) means to be or do good (to do sustainable things). Noun מיטב (metab) means the best.
A proposed root טבב (tabab) may have meant something like to keep forever, to be perpetual, to be stable.
For a meaning of the name Tob, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Good. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate this name but does confirm that it is identical to the verb, noun and adjective טוב (tob).