JewishEncyclopedia.com

The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia
- Phrase search: "names of god"
- Exclude terms: "names of god" -zerah
- Volume/Page: v9 p419
- Diacritics optional: Ḥanukkah or hanukkah
- Search by Author: altruism author:Hirsch
search tips & recommendations

ADAH.

—Biblical Data:

One of Lamech's two wives (Gen. iv. 19, 20). The name is mentioned in the poem in verses 23 and 24.

The names of Lamech's wives have been variously explained. "Ornament" and "Shadow" are the meanings most often given, but Böttcher suggests "Migrant" and "Protectress," Ewald and others "Aurora" (or "Light") and "Shade"—that is, "Day" and "Night"; whence Goldziher and Lenormant find a basis for a mythical origin (compare Dillmann, "Genesis," and Lenormant, "Origines," i. 183 et seq.). Cheyne regards the names as epithets of old chief-tainesses. In the poem from which the names are taken Lamech stands for the typical warrior, whose power to avenge himself is complete. "Adornment" and "Shade"—that is, "Protection"—could easily have been poetically conceived as his wives, and Naamah (), or "Pleasure," as the daughter of Zillah (ver. 22). The possibility of a personal origin of the names, as Cheyne conceives it, can not, however, be denied.

G. A. B.—In Rabbinical Literature:

The Midrash interprets Adah, the name of one of the wives of Lamech, as the "deposed one" (Aramaic ), and the name of the other, Zillah, as signifying that "she shaded herself" (Hebrew ) at the side of her husband. It states in explanation that the immoral generation before the Deluge was in the habit of marrying two wives; one for the perpetuation of the race, the other for indulgence in sensual pleasure. In Lamech's case the former was Adah, who was the slave tyrannized over by her husband; the latter was Zillah, the mistress who commanded him (Gen. R. xxiii. 2).

L. G.
Images of pages