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Helam meaning

חילם
חלאם
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🔼The name Helam in the Bible

The name Helam occurs twice in the Bible, in consecutive verses, but the strange thing is that in these two verses the spelling of this name varies considerably. The author of the Book of Samuel tells us how David's well-meant envoy of consolatory ambassadors is mistreated by king Hanun of the Ammonites, whose father had passed away. A war erupts and Israel's army defeats the Ammonites and their Aramean associates. 2 Samuel 10:16 tells us how the Aramean king Hadadezer musters his army and gathers at a place called Helam (חילם). Upon hearing about this (according to 1 Samuel 10:17) David gathers his troops, crosses the Jordan river and arrives at Helam (חלאם). Then the Arameans form their ranks, engage Israel and are thoroughly defeated.

Traditionally, exegetes have understood that both armies gathered at the same place, which was called Helam in two different ways, but it's also possible that the Arameans gathered at one place, called חילם ("Hilm"), while Israel gathered at another, adjacent place called חלאם ("Hlam"), and that the Arameans marched from Hilm to Hlam to charge Israel.

🔼Etymology of the name Helam

Both names Helam may come from the noun חיל (hayil), meaning might, derived from the verb חול II (hul II), meaning to be firm or to endure. Or it's made from the similar noun חיל (hel), meaning rampart or fortress, derived from the verb חול I (hul I), meaning to whirl or writhe:

🔼Helam meaning

For a meaning of the name Helam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List obviously takes it from root חול I and reads Fortress. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) derives our name from חול II and translates it with An Army. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but lists it under חול I, which would support the interpretation of NOBSE.

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