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Meaning and etymology of the Hebrew name Eber

Eber Eber

There are three Ebers mentioned in the Bible. The most famous Eber is the father of Peleg and the son of Shelah, son of Arpachshad, third son of Shem, son of Noah (Genesis 10:24).
Other Ebers are a Gadite chief (1 Chronicles 5:13), and a Benjaminite chief (1 Chronicles 8:22). In the Lukan genealogy of Christ he is called Heber in Greek (3:35), which has nothing to do with the name Heber in Hebrew.

Eber marks an important point in the Biblical genealogies, as of Shem it was said that he was the father of 'all the children of Eber'. And in the days of Peleg, the son of Eber, 'the earth was divided' (Genesis 10:25). The sons of Joktan, Peleg's brother, are the last mentioned Shemite generation before the tower of Babel is built. Peleg becomes the ancestor of Abraham, the first to be called Hebrew, a word that is highly similar to the name Eber.

The name Eber comes from the verb abar abar (1556) meaning to pass over, through, take away. The first application of this word is in the name Eber. The second application is in the first occurrence of the word ibri, Hebrew in Genesis 14:13, where Abram is called Hebrew. The first case of narrative use of this verb is in the enigmatic cadaver vision of Genesis 15:17, "...there appeared a smoking furnace and a flaming torch that passed between these parts."

Some other derivations of the Hebrew verb abar:

• The noun abar (eber) is a very common word that means beyond or across, and is used for all kinds of directions and locations usually in contrast to some other location (1 Samuel 26:13, Nehemia 2:1);
• The verb ebra (ebra) uses the root figuratively and means an overflowing of temper: wrath and rage. Sometimes this ebra stems in man (Amos 1:11 - he maintained his fury forever) and sometimes in God (Ps 78:49 - He sent on them the heat of his anger, fury and indignation and trouble);
• The verb abar (abar) means to be arrogant or infuriate oneself (Proverbs 14:16, 20:2).
• The noun abur (abur) means produce. It is used in Joshua 5:11-12 where the Israelites abandon their diet of manna and begin to eat the yield of Canaan.
• Identical to the previous word is the preposition abur (abur), meaning because of, for. This word is always preceded by the particle be (be), meaning in or by. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament explains the relationship with the root as a movement 'from purpose (or cause) to accomplishment (or result).'
•  The noun maabar (ma'abar), meaning passage, such as the passage through the river Jabbok (Genesis 32:23) or the passing of a striking staff (Isaiah 30:32). Similar is the feminine mabara (ma'bara), meaning passage, wady.

For a meaning of this magnificent name, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads The Region Beyond; BDB Theological Dictionary renders One From Beyond, From The Other Side; and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads He Who Passed Over.

Another name from this same root is Abarim, from which this publication derives its name. The first novel to be produced by Abarim Publications is called Cross On Me.



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