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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/743

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NAMES


677


NAMES


disobedience, see Num., xii), Naboth (fruit), Ur (light), Samson (sun), etc.

Compound Names. — Compound personal names are so numerous that only a few main points concerning them can be touched on here. First comes the ques- tion of the exact meaning of these names. Although the sense of each part separately is usually clear enough, yet that of the compound is not. The diffi- culty is to decide whether these parts are in genitive relation, or in relation of subject to predicate (the verb in the latter case being understood). In certain names, no matter which view is taken, the meaning remains practically the same ; it is immaterial whether "Eliezer" be interpreted "God of help" or "God is help"; but with names like Abinadab. the difference in both constructions becomes marked, for " Father of generosity" is by no means equivalent to "my father is generous". Since no rule for all cases is available, for the sake of clearness it will be well to divide com- pound names into three ela-sses: (1) Names having as one of their component parts a term connoting either kindred (father, son, etc.) or accidental relations (e. g., servant); (2) Names (known as theophorous names) containing a Divine element; (3) Names including terms both of kindred and Divinity.

(1) There is no doubt but that only a genitive rela- tion will explain names having as their first element Ben (son), Bath (daughter), Ehed or Obed (servant). Thus Benjamin is to be interpreted "son of the right hand"; Bethsabee, "daughter of the oath"; Obed- edom, "servant of Edom". Names in which the first element is ^6 (father), Ah (brother), Amm (uncle by the father's side) are to be considered sentences, for such names are applied equally to men and women, — names such as Abigail, Abisag, etc., if they meant "father of joy", "father of error", would be most unsuitable for women. The name Achab some regard as a possible exception to this rule (it might then be interpret I'll "brntliiT of the father" — uncle); whether this excc]. I inn i> warranted remains problematical. As to the li'ttris I PI and n (1) frequently introduced after the first element of this class of names (Abi, Achi, Ammi), it seems rather a connecting vowel than a per- sonal suffix.

(2) Theophorous names were at all times widely used among Semitic peoples. To limit ourselves to names found in the Bible, although names including the Divine element Yah, or Yaho, are by far the more numerous, yet they were not in use as early as those formed with 'El. These names have for their other component element either a verb or a noun. In the former case, the Divine name is the subject of the verb (Elisama, "God heard"; Jonathan, "Yahweh gave"); in the latter the Divine name may be regarded again as the subject, and the noun as the predicate (Elisua, "God is salvation"; Josue, "Yahweh is salvation"). Not only the name of the true God, but also names of foreign deities, especially Adon, Baal, Melek, entered into the composition of names taken by Hebrews at a period when the relations of God's people with their neighbours were most intimate. Naturally such names are to be interpreted in the same manner as those including Yah or 'El. Hence Adonizedec shall be understood "Adon is justice ", etc. ; but Esbaal can hardly mean anything else than "man of Baal". In this connexion it is noticeable that at a later period abhorrence of these foreign deities prnnipted first the reading, and soon afterwards the writing of li<isheth (shame) in places where originally the text hafl Baal (Isbosi'th, for Isbaal). Moreover, it matters not, in theo])liorous names, whether the Diviner element stands in the first or in the last i)lacc (thcoplinnms names have among western Semitic ])enples only two component parts, contrary to the As.syrian aiul Baby- lonian use) : for Nat lian-Kl is equivalent to El-Nathan, Josue to Isaias, etc.

Not unfrequently two Divine names are united to


form a compound, as in Joel, Elimelech, etc. In these cases it is clear that we should see a sentence express- ing an act of faith in the divinity of the god the subject of the sentence. Accordingly Joel will be interpreted "Yahweh is God", and Elimelech "Melech is God". On the other hand, Adonias and Malachias cannot mean "Adon is Yahweh" or "Melek is Yahweh", be- cause, unlike 'El, Yah is never appellative; in these words, Adon and Melek are common nouns, and the compounds are equivalent respectively to "Yahweh is master" and "Yahweh is king".

(3) The rules laid down for interpreting the above classes of compound names are equally applicable to those made up of a word denoting relationship and a word denoting divinity. If the first part of these names be Ben, Bath, Bar (Aram., son), Ebed, Ish (man), a genitive relation may be understood to exist between it and the second part; thus Benadad or Barhadad stands for "son of Hadad"; Abdeel for "servant of God"; Esbaal for "man of Baal". On the other hand, if the first element be Ab, Ah, Amm or the like it seems that the relation to the Divine name should be regarded rather as one of predicate to sub- ject. It is clear that the interpretation indicated here is the right one, for otherwise some names would con- vey absurd meanings: surely Abia, Abiel, Abbaal, Ammiel, cannot mean "father", "uncle", "of Yah- weh", "of God", "of Baal". There might be no objection, absolutely speaking, in words like Achiel, Achia, being ini(ierst(jinl "brother of God", "of Yah- weh"; but it is hail I to believe the sense could be, as it is, different when the elements appear in the reverse order, as in Joahe.

From this rapid survey, it appears that students of the history of religions may find in Hebrew proper names ample material for deductions concerning the religious belief and the theology of God's people. Not to mention what has been hinted at concerning the influence of Chanaanite idolatry, and passing over the preference given to the Di\-ine name 'El in earUer times, a fairly comi)lete knowledge of the attributes of God may be gathered from Divine and theophorous names. Yahweh, " He whose essence is to be ", is God, that is to say, the terra of every being's aspirations CEl); He is Most High ('El'Elyon), eternal ('El '01am), perfect (Joatham), and worthy of all praise (El-uzai) and glory (Jochabed). His eyes behold everything ('El Roy); His knowledge comprehends all things (Eliada, Joiada), and all things are ever present to His memory (Zacharias). He is all-power- ful ('El Shadday), and in Him all things acknowledge their founder (Eliacim, Joiakiin, Jciakin) and their upholder (Joram) ; to Him they arc indebted for their increase (Elia.saph), their beauty (Elnaim, Joada) and their strength (l'lli])haz, EUel). His generosity (Jona- dab) proiniits Him to communicate His gifts (Joas, Jonathan, Jozabad, Johanan, John) to creatures. To men in particular He is a father (Abias, Abiel, Joab), and a brother (Achias, Achiel): He loves them (Eli- dad). Being merciful (Jerahmeel), He lends a willing ear to their prayers (Elisama); He is their master (Adonias), their king (Malachias), their defender (Jorib), their help (Eleazar, Eliezer), their saviour (Josue, Jesus, Isaias), their protector in distress (Elisaphan, Elisur, Eliaba); from Him proceeds all justice and justification (josedcc); in the end. He shall be their judge (Josaphat); from Him also shall they receive their reward (Elphaal, Eliasub, Eliho- reph).

III. Place N.\me.s. — When we speak of Hebrew names of places in Palestine, it should be borne in mind (hat many of tlie.se names, like the towns and \ill:iges tliey desigiiatcil, wiTc in rxislriice long before till' Hebrews sett led tliirc, and even liefiiie any records mentiDiiIng places in Palestine were written (Insc^r. of Thotnies III, about ItiOO h. c; El-Amarna letters, about 1450 n. c). Nevertheless we are justified in