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Arbathite meaning

ערבתי
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🔼The name Arbathite in the Bible

There is only one Arbathite mentioned in the Bible, but he comes with two names. In 2 Samuel 23:31 we meet Abi-albon the Arbathite in the list of mighty-men of king David. The Chronicler submits (nearly) the same list of names, but no Abi-albon occurs, and we find only Abiel the Arbathite (1 Chronicles 11:32). It's uncertain but likely that Abi-albon and Abiel are the same man, and it's equally uncertain but likely that he came from either the Arabah at large, or else Beth-arabah specifically.

🔼Etymology of the name Arbathite

The ethnonym Arbathite is really a feminine variant of the Hebrew word for Arab (ערבי). That is to say, Arbathite does not denote a female Arab, but a man who comes from a place known by the feminine variant of the Hebrew word for Arabia: either the general region known as the Arabah, or else the town on its border known as Beth-arabah. All these names come from the cluster of roots of the form ערב ('rb):

🔼Arbathite meaning

Since it is not wholly certain that the name Arabah corresponded to a specific geographic region, but may very well have been the word for an area in which people would have to move around to survive, the ethnonym Arbathite may either mean Someone From The Arabah, or else simply Wanderer.

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