|Nephite PN||1.||Prophet, 2nd c. BC (Mosiah 11:20; Mormon 1:19)|
The ancient name which most closely resembles ABINADI is probably the Old Akkadian PN a-ba-na-da from the time of Sargon & Ur III (Gelb, 11). If the name is divided Abi-nadi, then the name could mean, “The (my) father is cast down,” from ʾb, “father,” a common element in biblical PNs and other Semitic onomastica, and ndʾ “to cast down” in the stative. (The medial /i/ could be the 1c.s. pronominal suffix, or a hireq compaginis.) The grammar and the meaning are satisfactory. However, the second element, ndʾ, is not attested in any West Semitic onomasticon. The second element could be nʾd, “to praise,” with PN examples from Akkadian (AHw, 705a) and Amorite (CAAA, 161). In the latter, ddagan-nadi is analyzed as ddagan + naʾdi. Though the meaning of this root gives could make sense, “Praise the (my) father” or “(my) father be praised,” the form is difficult to explain for a West Semitic verb.
If the name is divided Abin-adi, it could mean “The rock is my father.” The first element could be ʾbn, “stone,” and the second element ʾd, “father” (confer Ugaritic ʾad where it appears in the PNs ʾad-rm, “The/my father is exalted” [the equivalent of Hebrew “Abram”] and ʾad-bʿl, “The/my father is Baal” (see UT, 19.71, and the discussion in PTU, 88–89) or ʿd(y), meaning unclear (see the Amorite PNs su-mu-ḫa-di-i and a-di-DINGER [CAAA 90]).
The suggestion that ABINADI could mean in Hebrew “my (divine) father is present” (JH) is made on the basis of the Akkadian nadû, “to throw,” which, according to Stamm, is used to indicate presence. Stamm cites as an example the phrase a-na-pa-ni-dsin-na-di, which he renders “it is present (deposited) before Sin.” This meaning would indeed fit the prophet’s message, which is that God himself—whom ABINADI calls “Father”—shall come down and be present among men (Mosiah 15:1–4; 17:8) (JWW). But the Akkadian element na-di, contra Stamm, more probably comes from nʾd rather than from ndʾ, which Stamm’s association suggests. The AHw, 705 lists PNs with nʾd, but the AHw lists no PNs from ndʾ,
Possible is Hebrew ʾabî-na-dî, “father of my wandering,” if the î is a pronominal suffix (JAT) or “my father was a nomad/wanderer,” if it is a gentilic (RFS). The gentilic suffix seems to be untenable, in view of the fact that a gentilic suffix is an afformative which makes a name of an adjective. Smith has given no names from which the gentilic might have developed, only verbal roots. Moreover, the vowel i is more likely to suggest a case ending than a gentilic in such a compound word, and it is the vowel one would expect if the name is a construct chain meaning “father of wandering” or similar (JAT).
Unlikely is Hebrew ʾabî-na-da-h, “my father preached, called out; was a preacher” (cf. Arabic naddada), “to make known,” nida, nadiya, “call out, shout, exclaim,” with the i possibly the gentilic suffix (RFS). A gentilic ending here does not fit. Much less likely is a name from Arabic nadd, “high hill” (Hebrew ned, “heap”) (JAT); from Arabic nadî, “moist, damp, tender, delicate” (JAT); and from biblical Hebrew nedeh (Arabic nadî),”gift,” which would give ABINADI the meaning “my (divine) father is given” (JH).
See Book of Mormon ABINADOM and biblical ABINADAB
Ann Coulis, Gaithersburg MD, 21 April 2009, wrote an email to say that there are only three Nephite names and three Jaredite names that contain b. All three Nephite names begin abi-.
See also Abinadi Variants