🔼The name Carmi: Summary
- Vinedresser, My Vineyard
- From the noun כרם (kerem), vineyard.
🔼The name Carmi in the Bible
There are three men named Carmi in the Bible:
- A son of Reuben, the first born son of Jacob and Leah (Genesis 46:9). This Carmi became the head of the sub-clan of the כרמי: the Carmites (Exodus 6:6, Numbers 26:6. Note that this ethnonym is spelled exactly the same as the original name Carmi).
- The father of Achan, the proverbial "troubler" of Israel who purloined certain banned items and seriously jeopardized Joshua's army during the battle of Ai (Joshua 7:1).
- A son of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:1). This Carmi is mentioned nowhere else, and some scholars believe that this concerns a text error.
🔼Etymology of the name Carmi
The name Carmi comes from the noun כרם (kerem), meaning vineyard:
The noun כרם (kerem) means vineyard. It occurs in many Semitic languages but its ultimate origin is unclear. Vineyards are mentioned over ninety times in the Old Testament, and in poetical and metaphorical passages the vineyard is a dominant symbol that commonly denotes the whole of mankind's culture. The derived noun כרמל (karmel) means plantation. An obviously related word is יין (yayan), meaning wine.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (vineyard-like or belonging to a vineyard), a possessive form (my vineyard), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
For a meaning of the name Carmi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Vinedresser. Alfred Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names can't decide whether the final י (yod) is a possessive or an adjective-maker and reads Vine-dresser or My Vineyard. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name.