🔼The name Tobadonijah: Summary
- Good Is (My) Lord Yahweh
- From (1) the adjective or noun טוב (tob), good, (2) the noun אדון ('adon), lord, and (3) יה (yah), the name of the Lord.
🔼The name Tobadonijah in the Bible
The lovely name Tobadonijah occurs only once in the Bible. Tobadonijah was part of the Levite contingent that travelled with two priests and five officials of the good king Jehoshaphat through the land of Judah, to teach the Law of YHWH in all its cities (2 Chronicles 17:8).
🔼Etymology of the name Tobadonijah
The name Tobadonijah consists of three elements, the final one being יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
The first part of our name comes from the familiar Hebrew word טוב (tob), meaning 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.
The second part of the name Tobadonijah comes from the noun אדון ('adon), meaning lord:
The verb אדן ('dn) means to provide support for a piece of superstructure: to be a base for something big to stand or rotate upon. The noun אדן ('eden) refers to the foundation, base or pedestal of pillars or panels and such, and this word features lavishly in the description of the tabernacle. The tabernacle, of course, was a prototype of the temple, which in turn became embodied by God's living human congregation, and the bases and foundations of that living temple became personified by the human foundation known as אדון ('adon) or אדן ('adon), roughly translatable with lord, sir or mister.
The letter י (yod) could be the resultant of two yods, namely one that belongs to the Tetragrammaton יהוה, and one that goes with the noun אדון ('adon), yielding the meaning of "my Lord". Two consecutive yods usually assimilate into one, so there's no telling how many there were before the words were joined.
For a meaning of the name Tobadonijah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reckons there was only one yod and reads Good Is Lord Yahweh. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) who insists on translating the noun טוב (tob) with "distinguished," sees the yod as the result of two, and proposes Distinguished Of My Lord-Jehovah. BDB Theological Dictionary also goes with the double yod and reads Good Is My Lord Yahweh.