Gomorrah meaning | Gomorrah etymology

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Gomorrah in Biblical Hebrew
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The name Gomorrah in the Bible

Gomorrah is a city that went down with Sodom, Admah, and Zeboiim (Genesis 19; Deuteronomy 29:23).

We hear first of Gomorrah in the War of Four Against Five Kings, when king Amraphel of Shinar and three of his royal friends waged war against king Birsha of Gomorrah and four of his associates (Genesis 14:2).

In the New Testament, the city of Gomorrah (Γομορρα) is frequently mentioned in reference to its demise due to the evil that went on in there (Matthew 10:15, Romans 9:29, Jude 1:7).

Etymology of the name Gomorrah

The name Gomorrah is clearly similar to the root group עמר ('amar I, II & III):

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Alfred Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, however, says that the name Gomorrah consists of two elements, the first one being עם ('am), meaning people, from the assumed root עמם:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

The second element of the name Gomorrah, according to Alfred Jones, comes from the verb ירה (yarah; used only once in Isaiah 44:8) meaning to be fearful.

Gomorrah meaning

For a meaning of the name Gomorrah, Alfred Jones reads People Of Fear. For reasons beyond the scope of this body, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Submersion.

BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer a translation but lists the name Gomorrah under עמר II, meaning to deal tyrannical with. A proper (feminine) noun derived from this verb would mean something like Tyrannical Dealings. But to a Hebrew audience the name Gomorrah may very well have sounded like Sheave as well.

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