🔼The name Girgashite in the Bible
The Girgashites are descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:16). During the great cadaver vision God promises the land of the Girgashites to Abram. A few centuries later God gives this land to Israel under Joshua (Joshua 24:11).
🔼Etymology of the name Girgashite
The name Girgashite is hard to explain. Alfred Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names is the only source that actually tries something. Jones proposes that the name Girgash has to do with a Chaldean word meaning clay or clod, or else with an Arabic word meaning black mud.
A Hebrew audience might have had associations with the verb גרר (garar), meaning to drag out or away:
The added shin draws attention to the verb גשש (gashash), which occurs once, in Isaiah 59:10, where it means stroke, feel with the hand.
What the name of the Girgashites was supposed to mean (and in what language) is hard to establish, but to a Hebrew audience this name may have sounded like Take And Stroke. What that has to do with anything is even harder to establish, but perhaps it made people think of a thief who fondles his loot or an abductor who cherishes his abductee.
Alfred Jones translates this name with Dwellers In A Clayey Soil.