2

"וַיֹּאמֶר אַבְרָם ה"א מַה תִּתֶּן לִי וְאָנֹכִי הוֹלֵךְ עֲרִירִי וּבֶן מֶשֶׁק בֵּיתִי הוּא דַּמֶּשֶׂק אֱלִיעֶזֶר." (Gen 15,2)

"וְשֵׁם הָאֶחָד אֱלִיעֶזֶר כִּי אֱלֹהקי אָבִי בְּעֶזְרִי וַיַּצִּלֵנִי מֵחֶרֶב פַּרְעֹה." (Ex 18,4)

The Torah says nothing about why Avraham's slave was called Eliezer, but rather ascribes the explanation to Moses' son. (I titled it "after" not really "in respect to" but chronologically after).

Some questions arise:

  • Why the slave was called (all of sudden) Eliezer?

  • Moses should have known about Avraham's slave, did he call his son after him?

  • Those are the only two Eliezers in the Torah (there are some more in the Nakh) - what's the connection? Like Baal Haturim likes to draw parallels.

  • marginally related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/88995/16354 – רבות מחשבות Feb 14 at 20:08
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    In your title toy suppose he did call his son after the slave. Your second bullet point poses that as a question. – user6591 Feb 14 at 21:12
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    Abraham’s brother and grandfather were both Nachor. Noach’s grandfather and Kayin’s killer were both Lamech. Rivkah’s nursemaid and one of the prophetesses were both Devorah. There’s lots of names duplicated in Tanach; why does this one in particular surprise you? – DonielF Feb 15 at 1:13
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    @JoelK when providing hints please elaborate what point does it prove. THe Midrash says the Gematria of Eliezer is 318, so what? – Al Berko Feb 16 at 16:28
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    @JoelK A good point, how do we continue from here? – Al Berko Feb 16 at 19:17
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Radak writes in his commentary to Genesis 15:2 that Abraham gave his servant the name Eliezer:

או אפשר שהיה שמו דמשק כשבא אל אברם והוא קרא אותו אליעזר כי אליעזר לשון עברי הוא

Why he specifically chose the name Eliezer may be based on the Midrash in Bereishit Rabbah Parshah 44:

הוא דמשק אליעזר שבשבילו רדפתי מלכים עד דמשק ועזרני האל

Here it seems that the name Eliezer is a contraction of the Hebrew words "God" and "helped me". This is the very reason given in Exodus 18:4 for why Moses named his son Eliezer.

So to answer your questions, we can say that both Abraham and Moses named someone Eliezer because they both wanted to commemorate the fact that they were helped by God. This may in fact have been entirely a coincidence, as I don't see any reason to assume that Moses was even aware that Abraham had a servant named Eliezer. Abraham's Eliezer is not exactly a major character – he is only named once in the Torah – and the Torah hadn't been given yet when Moses named his son.

  • thank you, I asked a similar question about יהודית, that clearly had no relations with Judaism. But your answer seems very plausible. Regarding EliEzer - there are many Gizrot that a name can be derived, so it didn't have to be the very same name. The fact it IS probably means something. – Al Berko Nov 10 at 19:18

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