[b-hebrew] biblical names

Isaac Fried if at math.bu.edu
Thu Jul 3 19:12:58 EDT 2008


If a Hebrew mother calls her daughter today Hedi or Orli or Neri or  
Liat we know that she mean what she says, namely, 'you are my echo',   
'you are my light', 'you are my candle', 'you are mine'. The very old  
biblical names from the very first formative years of the nation of  
Israel are a deep mystery to us. More so, because they where possibly  
slightly yet deftly distorted [LEBI -> LEVI?] by later pious editors  
to hide their suspected heathenish origin.
It appears to me that the old names were high compounds of curt  
positive terms or short sacred names given to a child as token of  
good omen, for instance, AX-AB, AM-RAM, LEVI = EL-AB-HI), or L-HA- 
BDIL, BA(AL= BEL = AB-EL, A$TORET = E$-AT-)OR-AT, CUR = E$-)UR. These  
compounds happen to incidentally produce "words" of apparent meaning,  
for instance, XAMOR = XAM-)OR = AX-EM-)OR or KALEB [not KELEB] = K-EL- 
AB, or (AKBOR [not (AKBAR] = AX-AB-)OR.
Otherwise a name needs not have only one meaning, for instance, DEBOR- 
AH, that may mean 'the eloquent', not 'a bee', or GMALI that may be  
related to GMUL, rather than to GAMAL, 'camel'.
As to SUSI, I don't know. If his mother decided to call his so, then  
she had her reason.

Isaac Fried, Boston University

On Jul 3, 2008, at 11:09 AM, Yaakov Stein wrote:

> 1. $AMU(A BEN ZAKUR.  A good listener and good at remembering what he
> hears.
> 2. $APAT BEN XORI. Of good judgement and a noble father.
> 3. CALEB BEN YEPUNEH. CALEB  = C-EL-AB has nothing to do with dog.
> Turns, like his father, to YA. Methinks that CALEB is a variant of  
> = EL-AB-HI). I also hold it possible that the L in LABAN, LE)AH and
> RAXEL are also of such an indication.
> 4. YIG)AL BEN YOSEP. Good at extricating and deliverance.
> 5. HO$E(A BIN NUN. Trusts God for help.
> 6. PALTI BEN RAPU(. Good at sneaking and evasion.
> 7. GADIEL BEN SODI. Attached, )AGUD, to God and good at covert  
> missions.
> 8. GADI BEN SUSI. Good with horses.
> 9. (AMIEL BEN GMALI. Good with camels.
> 10. STUR BEN MIKAEL. Good at concealing.
> 11. NAXBI BEN WAPSI. Good at hiding, namely NA-XBI).
> 12. G(UEL BEN MAKI. Trusts in God's might, GE)UT, but otherwise  
> modest,
> or not too tall, like his father.
> Isaac
> Thanks for the interesting interpretation of the names.
> I wouldn't rule out CALEB being "dog". We have a horse and a camel in
> the same list.
> The name ZEEV also appears as a king's name,
> and the prefix ARI appears in names as well.  In later Hebrew the name
> DOV is common.
> As a woman's name we have RXL (yes, I saw your interpretation) and  
> So the "strong" animals are OK as names - and we even have a king's
> father named (KBOR !
> Yaakov (J) Stein
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