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A new-born son was named 'I-chabod' by the dying mother. She said, ‘The glory has departed from Israel’ but the word also seems to infer a question, ‘Where is the glory?’ I note from a commentary that Ichabod contains the Hebrew word ‘kabod’ meaning ‘glory’ and that a similar word is ‘kabed’ meaning ‘heavy’. I’m seeking as much information as possible on the meaning of the name ‘Ichabod’, thanks.

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    Could you clarify what your question is, exactly? I do not understand the phrasing of the title, and the last sentence of the body seems very broad. If the glory has departed from Israel, isn't "where is the glory" (i.e., where has it gone to) an appropriate name?
    – user2672
    May 8 '18 at 16:08
  • Anne I edited your title as the original title was very unclear and misleading too. Feel free to edit the title and revise to your own liking.
    – Bach
    May 9 '18 at 17:37
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    The edit is fine, Bach, thanks. I simply want information on the Hebrew word I-chabod, to explore any depths of meaning it suggests. The scripture it's from is simultaneously tragic and chilling, literally and spiritually. I just want to learn everything possible about that name. I'm not out to control answers by imposing limitations. I'm open to ideas, hence a broad scope.
    – Anne
    May 10 '18 at 5:54
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The "chabod" part of the name Ichabod (אִיכָבוֹד) comes without doubt from the word כָּבוֹד, which is the word for glory in the latter portion of the verse.

The "I" (אִי) has been interpreted variously as "woe" (Greek), making the name mean "woe honor!"; "no" (Rashi), for "no honor"; or "where" (Radak), for "where is honor?"

אִי as "no" appears in the Bible (possibly) only at Job 22:30, though it is very common in later Hebrew. As "woe" it is never attested (but again is attested in later Hebrew, e.g. BT Rosh Hashana 19a). For that reason I find the translation "where is honor?" to be the most likely, despite the fact that it has a different vowel (אֵי e).

"Where is honor?" is a rhetorical question to which the obvious response was intended to be "not here" - i.e. honor is lost. The word אַיּוֹ "where is he?" is often used with this sense in Hebrew (translations modified from NRSV):

But a mortal dies, and is laid low; a human expires, and where is he? (Job 14:10)

Unspoken answer: not here; he's dead

He will perish forever like his own dung; those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ (Job 20:7)

Unspoken answer: not here; he perished

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    Someone removed my comment to you, b a, where I thanked you for a helpful answer. I repeat this comment now because a couple of people have expressed confusion at what my question really means. Your answer deals exactly with what I was asking, so I'm glad you found it clear.
    – Anne
    May 10 '18 at 5:44
  • Possible further support for this theory: /i/ and /e/ are phonologically similar and names tend to preserve older or archaic forms (אִיכָבוֹד could predate the rest of the text in terms of stage of the language) May 11 '18 at 5:19
  • Thanks, Luke - I shall add that to my notes.
    – Anne
    May 11 '18 at 8:49
  • @LukeSawczak אֵי meaning "where" actually comes from ay, not i (as in the fuller form אַיֵּה ayye), so I think it's better to explain it as a simple monophthongization in an unstressed syllable. Compare the Moabite city name (from the Mesha stele) דיבן, and since the י is consonantal the Moabite pronunciation was apparently Daybon, but in Hebrew (Numbers 21:30) it becomes Dibon דִּיבוֹן
    – b a
    May 11 '18 at 8:58
  • @b That makes sense to me - could work with another process affecting names, that of simplification... after all, unlike Daybon, the form of ei was apparently still around. May 11 '18 at 13:34

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