Israel Institute of Biblical Studies
The Hebrew Root of David
The name David is found over 1,000 times throughout the Old and New Testaments. But unlike other famous biblical names, we are never told what “David” means. In the original Hebrew, the root DVD דוד refers to affection, so David means “beloved.” We find this root elsewhere in Scripture. In the Song of Solomon, the maiden repeatedly calls her lover “my beloved” (dodi דוֹדִי). In Genesis, Rachel uses sweet-scented aphrodisiacal “mandrakes” (dudaim דּוּדָאִים) to boost her fertility.
Cherished by the Lord
Isn’t it strange that the greatest king in ancient Israel was known by the rather private romantic name beloved? Not really. The Bible tells us explicitly that David was beloved by almost everyone he met – Jonathan, Saul, and the entire people of Israel and Judah (1 Sam. 18:16). But more importantly the name “beloved” refers to God’s love for David. In fact, it is quite likely that “David” is the shortened form of the full name דוידיה Davidiah meaning “beloved (David) of the Lord (Yah).”
Find Hidden Love with Hebrew
This makes sense because David’s own son Solomon was given the second name יְדִידְיָהּ Jedidiah which means “beloved of the Lord” (2 Sam. 12:25). When you read the Bible in translation, you don’t realize that these four things – David, Solomon, the mandrakes, and the bridegroom – are related. Only in the original Hebrew, can you understand that these are connected to the idea of love. Enroll in our live, online Biblical Hebrew course and rediscover your love for the Scriptures.