Version Date: July 25, 2021
This article considers the verb אדר, the noun אדר, the adjectives אדיר and אדרת, and the noun אדרת.
אדר as a Common Noun
The Aramaic noun אדר means "threshing floor" and appears in Dan 2:35. It has this meaning also in later Aramaic, as could be seen in Mt 3:12 and Lk 3:17 in the Peshitta, as well as in various passages of the Targum. In the Peshitta, אדר corresponds to αλων. In the Targum, the word is spelled אידר or אדר and translates the Hebrew word גרן "threshing floor".
As will be shown next, the meaning of the Hebrew noun אדר must be "field". Considering אדר in Zec 11:13, the reference to Zec 11:13 in Mt 27:10 indicates that the prophecy mentions a field. The only word of Zec 11:13 that could be associated with αγρος "field" in Mt 27:10 is אדר. Since Aramaic and Hebrew are similar languages, given that the Aramaic meaning of אדר is "threshing floor", the Hebrew meaning of the word could be related or identical. Since threshing was normally done in the open air, a threshing floor denoted a plot of ground used for threshing. So the Hebrew word אדר could mean "threshing floor" as in Aramaic, or have a related meaning such as "plot of ground, field". Either of these meanings could provide an explanation for the word αγρος "field" in Mt 27:10. Considering the usage of the word אדר in Mi 2:8, the meaning "field" would fit much better than "threshing floor". When taking Mi 2:8 in the context of Mi 2:9, it can be seen that the meaning "field" fits perfectly. The Hebrew text of Mi 2:8-9 is, ואתמול עמי לאויב יקומם ממול שלמה אדר תפשטון מעברים בטח שובי מלחמה נשי עמי תגרשון מבית תענגיה מעל עלליה תקחו הדרי לעולם. Understanding מול as the infinitive construct of מול "to cut off, circumcise" and שלמה as "vengeance", the translation of Mi 2:8-9 is, "And recently my people arose as an enemy by cutting off with vengeance. Ye strip a field from those who pass by unsuspectingly, who survived the spiritual war. Ye drive out women, each from her pleasant home; ye take my majesty from above her young children forever." In this translation, ממול שלמה "from the cutting off of vengeance" was understood in the sense of "by cutting of with vengeance". Mi 2:8-9 speaks of people that were acting as enemies by persecuting those who loved the Lord. They were carrying out the vengeance of the adversary on those who resisted him. The passage speaks of women being driven out of their houses and young children being enslaved (and by this, being deprived from receiving the knowledge of the Lord from their parents, the majesty of the Lord being taken from above them). In this context, the confiscation of the field owned by a family fits much better the text than the confiscation of a small plot of ground or of a threshing floor. So Mi 2:8-9 confirms the association of the word אדר with αγρος "field" in Mt 27:10. The alternative common interpretation of Mi 2:8 has been to translate אדר as if written אדרת "robe"; however, since this is not a literal interpretation, it cannot be used here.
The word אדר can refer to fields of any size, including a small plot of ground. To see that it can refer to a relatively small plot of ground, Zec 11:3 and Mt 27:10 could be considered, which mention that the field of the potter was purchased for 30 pieces of silver. While the text does not mention what kind of coins were used, the shekel (a unit of weight) is normally assumed in Hebrew passages that do not specify the type of coin. Now 30 shekels of silver could not buy a very large plot of ground. For example, Abraham paid 400 shekels of silver for the plot of ground where Sarah was buried (Ge 23:15) and David bought a threshing floor and its oxen for 50 shekels of silver (2Sa 24:24). As mentioned in Mt 27:7, the 30 pieces of silver were used to buy a field as a burial place for "foreigners", that is, for those who like Judas (Mt 27:5) got into areas of the temple where they were not supposed to be; such persons were executed. Since there were probably not many who would commit such temple sacrileges, the burial place did not have to be large.
Considering Eze 32:18, the phrase בנות גוים אדרם has been commonly interpreted "daughters of powerful nations". This interpretation is obtained by assuming that אדרם is contracted from אדירים. However, the meaning "field" of אדר fits if taken as denoting the land under the authority of Egypt. Using this meaning, the translation would be "daughters of the nations, of their land", that is, "foreigners in their land" or "foreigners in Egypt". Here, אדרם modifies בנות, not גוים, since גוים is not in the construct state. Thus, the phrase speaks about foreigners in Egypt that were from various nations. The antecedent of the masculine plural suffix of אדרם corresponds to the men denoted by the word המון "multitude". A reference to these men is also found in Eze 32:20, in which יפלו "shall fall" requires a masculine plural subject. Now the words of Eze 32:18 have also other related suffixes: the word המון "multitude" is the antecedent of the masculine singular suffix of הורדהו, while מצרים "Egypt" is the antecedent of the feminine singular suffix of אותה, since nations are normally taken with the feminine gender. The interpretation "daughters of the nations, of their land" indicates the persons that are meant, namely, foreigners in the territory controlled by Egypt. However, the alternative interpretation "daughters of powerful nations" seems less adequate because it assumes that the verse is not very explicit; it assumes that the verse speaks about some powerful nations without identifying them.
Considering the form אדרים of Zec 11:2, it is commonly interpreted "majestic trees" as if contracted from אדירים. However, the meaning "fields" does not assume a contraction and fits very well. So using the meaning "fields" of אדרים, the phrase אשר אדרים שדדו is translated, "because the fields have been devastated".
אדר as a Common Noun--Verse List
אדר as a Verb
The verb אדר is used in the niphal stem with the meaning "to be majestic, glorious" and in the hiphil stem with the meaning "to make glorious". It is related in meaning with the adjective אדיר. It appears in the following three verses.
אדיר and אדרת
The adjective אדיר means "majestic, mighty". The feminine form of the adjective has been assumed to be אדרת (Eze 17:8, Zec 11:3). The form אדריהם of Jer 14:3 must be a contraction of אדיריהם "their mighty ones", as implied by the verb שלח "to send" in ואדריהם שלחו. The list of verses using אדיר and אדרת follows.
אדרת with the Meaning "Cloak"
Note that אדרת in Eze 17:8 and Zec 11:3 has been interpreted as the feminine form of the adjective אדיר "majestic, mighty"; see the section on אדיר. Now אדרת is a substantive adjective in Zec 11:3, so its meaning there is "majesty, glory". Distinguishing between the substantive use of the adjective אדרת "majestic" and the noun אדרת "cloak" is straightforward when taking in account the context. Something made of hair (Ge 25:25, Zec 13:4), or that a man can take as plunder (Jos 7:21, 24), or that one can cover his face with (1Ki 19:13), or that can be taken in the hands (1Ki 19:19, 2Ki 2:8, 13-14) is clearly described by the "robe" meaning. Somewhat less obvious is the usage of the word in ויעבר אדרתו מעליו ויכס שק (Jon 3:6). In Jon 3:6, since the king could not set aside much of his majesty (for the kingdom itself was part of his majesty), the meaning "robe" must be meant.
אדר as the Month Adar