🔼The name Ben-geber in the Bible
The name Ben-geber occurs only once in the Bible. He is mentioned as one of the twelve deputies of king Solomon, who was stationed in Ramoth-gilead. His area included the towns of Jair, in Gilead (1 Kings 4:13). Also in Gilead (or is it a different Gilead?) was stationed a man named Geber (1 Kings 4:19), and it's not clear whether Ben-geber is an actual personal name, or whether Geber is the name and Ben-geber denotes the son of Geber. Modern English translations of the Bible (NAS, NIV, ASV, Darby, Young) tend to regard Ben-geber as a personal name, but the older King James, as well as German and Dutch translations, speak of "the son of Geber".
Obvious objections against reading "son of Geber" are:
- One would expect Geber to be introduced first and then the son of Geber.
- Ben-geber is not the only ben-name that is mentioned in this cycle. There are also: Ben-hur (4:8), Ben-deker (4:9), Ben-hesed (4:10) and Ben-abinadab (4:11).
- Perhaps Ben-geber was indeed a son of Geber, but then his epithet Ben-geber should still be regarded as his personal name; probably on a par with names such as Johnson (= son of John) or MacDonald (son of Donald).
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-geber
The name Ben-geber obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name is the familiar word בן (ben), meaning son:
The second part of our name is identical to the name Geber, as well as to the noun גבר (geber), meaning man:
The name Ben-geber literally means Son Of Man, but should not be confused with the familiar phrase "son of man" from the books of Job, Isaiah and most of all Ezekiel, which speak of בן אדם (ben adam; see our article on the name Adam for the difference between Adam and Geber).
For a meaning of the name Ben-geber, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Son Of Geber. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names doesn't regard Ben-geber as a separate name and counts 1 Kings 4:13 and 19 as the two occurrences of the name Geber. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Son Of A Man or Son Of Geber.