🔼The name Toi: Summary
- Error, Erroneous Cause Of Action
- From the verb תעה (ta'a), to wander or stray.
🔼The name Toi in the Bible
There's only one man named Toi in the Bible and that is the king of Hamath in the time of David. As thanks for defeating their joint enemy Hadadezer king of Zobah and his Aramean allies, king Toi sent his son Joram to king David, carrying articles of gold, silver and bronze, which David promptly dedicated to YHWH (2 Samuel 8:9-10).
The Chronicler tells the same story but calls the king of Hamath Tou (תעו) rather than Toi (תעי), and his son Hadoram (הדורם) rather than Joram (יורם) (1 Chronicles 18:9-10). It's not clear why the Chronicles would deliberately alter these details, but the story of David is the story of information technology (read our article on the name YHWH for more on this), and the Chronicler wrote later than the author of Samuel. This makes it plausible that the Chronicler provided not merely a repeat of the story but also provided some kind of commentary on it.
🔼Etymology of the name Toi
The names Toi and Tou appear to derive from the verb תעה (ta'a), to wander or err, and the difference is that the name Toi is spelled like an adjective ("erroneously"), whereas Tou is spelled like a third person masculine verbal expression ("they erred"). The form תעי occurs in Psalm 95:10 and Isaiah 29:24; the form תעו in Psalm 58:3, 107:4, Isaiah 16:8, 28:7, 47:15, Ezekiel 44:10, 48:11:
The verb תעה (ta'a) means to wander about aimlessly or drunkenly or in a state of confusion or homelessness. Noun תועה (to'a) describes an instance of this; a confusion or erroneous statement.
For a meaning of the name Toi or Tou, both Gesenius and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names have Error. Neither NOBSE Study Bible Name List nor BDB Theological Dictionary attempts an explanation of this name.