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Meaning and etymology of the Hebrew name Ebal




Ebal Ebal


There are three Ebals in the Bible: The first Ebal is a son of Joktan (Genesis 10:28, spelled Ebal), and Joktan was a brother of Peleg, who became the ancestor of Abraham (Genesis 11:10-26).
The second Ebal is a son of Shobal a son of Seir (Genesis 36:23). And then there is a hill named Ebal in Canaan (Deuteronomy 11:29, Jos 8:30). At some point in one of his sermons, Moses predicts that when Israel moves into Canaan, Mount Gerizim will be blessed but Mount Ebal will be cursed (Deuteronomy 11:29). Moses doesn't explain why that would be. Many years later, Joshua sacks Ai and to commemorate that, he builds an altar to YHWH in Mount Ebal (Joshua 8:30). The Israelites present themselves, and half of them stand in front of Mount Gerizim and the other half in front of Mount Ebal (v33).

The name Ebal may be related to the unused root ebl ('bl) of which the meaning is lost. The Arabic equivalent, however, means bulky or stout, says BDB Theological Dictionary.

Jones sees a construct of the words 'i ('y), meaning ruin or heap of ruins, and bala (bala), meaning become old, worn out, and reads Stone, Stony, Heap of Barrenness. BDB Theological Dictionary invites a comparison with Bel, Bel, the name of a Babylonian god (Jeremiah 51:44) but gives no interpretation of Ebal (which would be something like Bel Is Ruin). NOBS Study Bible Name List reads To Be Bare, Stony.






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