🔼The name Ulam: Summary
- Leader, Outstanding, Fool
- From the noun אולם ('elam), that which sticks out, from the verb אלל ('alal), to be egregious.
🔼The name Ulam in the Bible
The name Ulam is assigned to two men in the Bible:
🔼Etymology of the name Ulam
The name Ulam is identical to the noun אולם ('elam), meaning porch, and both come from the assumed verb אול ('wl), which probably means to lead or be first:
The root אלל ('alal) predominantly describes a protruding or sticking out. This may be positive (when one leads a collective), neutral (when one is a tree), or negative (when one fails convention). The latter sense in particular describes foolishness, or at least a failure to live up to cognitive standards or common codes of conduct.
Nouns אלון ('allon), אלה ('alla) and אלה ('elah) refer to oaks or terebinths but note the similarities with the demonstrative pronoun אלה ('elleh), "these," and אלה ('eloah) meaning god or God.
Nouns אליל ('elil) and אלול ('elul) mean worthlessness or a worthless thing (a thing that sticks out of the economy of useful things). Adjectives אויל ('ewil) and אולי ('ewili) mean foolish, and noun אולת ('iwwelet) means foolishness or folly. Noun אול ('ul) may mean belly or leading man.
Nouns אולם ('ulam) and אילם ('elam) mean porch. The former is identical to an adverb that means "however" or "but." Another adverb אולי ('ulay) means "perhaps."
Noun איל ('ayil), "protruder," refers in the Bible to a ram, a pillar, a chief and, yet again, a terebinth. Noun איל ('ayyal) means stag or deer — hence the panting deer of Psalm 42 also describes an ignoramus longing for instruction — and its feminine counterpart אילה ('ayyala) means doe.
The verb יאל (ya'al) means to be foolish, gullible or even simply compliant and pleased to go along in no particularly negative way.
For a meaning of the name Ulam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes First; Leader, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads First Of All. Jones also cleverly observes that the name Ulam exists in Latin as Primus. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name but does link it to the root אול.