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Meaning and etymology of the Hebrew name Bilhah

Bilhah Bilhah

Bilhah is one of four arch-mothers of Israel (Genesis 29:29). She is Rachel's maiden and mother of Dan and Naphtali. Reuben, son of Jacob and Leah, copulates with her, and forfeits his status of first-born (Genesis 35:22; 49:3-4). Bilhah is also the name of a town of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:29), which is perhaps the same as the town named Baal in Joshua 15:29, and Balah in Joshua 19:3.

The name Bilhah is identical to the Hebrew word Bilha (ballaha) meaning terror, destruction (Isaiah 17:14, Psalm 73:19). The root balah (balla) means trouble and occurs only once, in Ezra 4:4.

A highly similar word is the Hebrew verb balah (bala), meaning become old, worn out. The meaning and extend of this verb shows in the derivatives, some of which are: baleh (baleh), meaning worn out; tablit (baleh), meaning destruction; bal (bal), a not so often used particle of negation, not; beliya'al (beliya'el), meaning worthlessness, and also the word used to describe the worthless sons of Eli ("sons of Belial" - 2 Samuel 12) and satan (Belial - 2 Corinthians 6:15).

Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Timidity. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Foolish. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate.



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