Hivite meaning | Hivite etymology

Discover the meanings of thousands of Biblical names in Abarim Publications' Biblical Name Vault

Hivite in Biblical Hebrew
A people mentioned in the Bible
Browse Biblical names alphabetically

Search this site

This project depends on the support of readers like you.
Please help...

The name Hivite in the Bible

The Hivites were a nation that descended from Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:17). The first time they play an active role in the Bible is when Shechem the Hivite raped Dinah, the daughter of Jacob and Leah, and full blood sister of Simeon and Levi (Genesis 34). The brother's bloody revenge cost them their second and third-born status, and their descendants were condemned to be dispersed in Israel without any land of their own (Genesis 49:5-7). And while Jacob and his family were trying to deal with the Hivite problem, Jacob's brother Esau acquired Oholibamah the Hivite as a wife for himself (for a discussion on whether Oholibamah the Hivite was the same as Oholibamah the Horite, see our article on the name Horite).

When the Israelites escaped Egypt and made it to Canaan, the Hivites were firmly established as one of the seven Canaanite nations (Deuteronomy 1:7), whose complete destruction YHWH promised (by hornets: Exodus 23:23-28; by an angel: Exodus 33:2; by the Israelites themselves: Deuteronomy 20:17, by the power of the Ark of the Covenant: Joshua 3:10-11).

When Joshua and the Israeli army attacked, the nations of Canaan united into a coalition. But the men of the Hivite city Gibeon tricked Israel into saving them and having them serve as slaves (Joshua 9:7, 9:26-27). The coalition (still containing the remaining Hivites) counter struck with a huge army (Joshua 11:4), but eventually (almost) all were slain and (almost) all their cities were taken (Joshua 11:19).

By the time of the judges, the Hivites still lived on and near Mounts Lebanon and Baal-hermon (Judges 3:3), and so did the other Canaanite nations. The Israelites began to intermarry with them and threatened to dissolve, and the Lord sent a long string of enemy kings to oppress them, and corresponding judges to liberate them.

By the time David ordered his ill-fated census, the Hivites were still around in the north of Israel (2 Samuel 24:7). And when Solomon began his great building project, of which the Temple of YHWH was the apex, the Hivites were still going strong enough for Solomon to levy forced laborers of (1 Kings 9:20-21).

Etymology of the name Hivite

Post-Biblical Jewish commentators declared that the name Hivite came from the Chaldean word חויא, meaning Serpent, but that etymology might have been slightly biased. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and BDB Theological Dictionary suggest relations with the noun חוה (hawa) meaning tent-village:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Hivite meaning

The name Hivite possibly means Villagers (BDB Theological Dictionary and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names). NOBSE Study Bible Name List does not translate this name.

עABARIMPublicationsFor the Love of the Word