🔼The name Jeroboam in the Bible
There are two Jeroboams in the Bible:
- The first and best known Jeroboam is the son of Nebat and Zeruah, and king of Israel (1 Kings 11:26). King Solomon had appointed this Jeroboam as head over the forced labor of the territory of Joseph (11:28), and one day, as he goes out from Jerusalem, he's met by the prophet Ahijah. He tells Jeroboam that the Lord will give him the ten tribes of Israel. Jeroboam flees to Egypt but returns after Solomon dies and his son Rehoboam is reigning. The northern tribes revolt, Jeroboam fortifies Shechem and Penuel, erects golden calves at Bethel and Dan, and continues to earn his epitaph "the king who made Israel sin" (2 Kings 13:6)
- The second Jeroboam is the son and successor of king Joash of Israel (2 Kings 13:13), and apparently good friend of the prophet Elisha (v14).
🔼Etymology of the name Jeroboam
The name Jeroboam consists of two elements. The final part is the word עם ('am), which can be either of the following:
There's some debate about the etymology of the first part of the name Jeroboam, but most commentators take it from the following word group:
For a meaning of the name Jeroboam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads May The People Increase and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names offers Whose People Are Countless. BDB Theological Dictionary concedes that the name Jeroboam "probably" means The People Increaseth, but also refers to the verb ריב (rib), meaning to strive or contend:
Hence BDB offers the secondary possibilities of The People Contendeth and (The God) Amm Contendeth.