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Kir-heres meaning

קיר־חרש
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🔼The name Kir-heres in the Bible

The names Kir-heres (קיר־חרש) and Kir-hareseth (קיר חרשת and קיר־חרשת) are applied to the same Moabite town, which also may be known simply as Kir. Through the prophet Jeremiah, YHWH exclaims: "For all Moab I shall cry out; I will moan for the men of Kir-heres" (Jeremiah 48:31) and "My heart wails for Moab like flutes; My heart also wails like flutes for the men of Kir-heres" (Jeremiah 48:36).

The prophet Isaiah reports a similar message from the Lord, again with a musical motif: "My heart intones like a harp for Moab; and my inward feelings for Kir-heres" (Isaiah 16:11). A few verses prior to that, the Lord foretells that "everyone of Moab shall wail, and "you" shall moan for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth" (Isaiah 16:7). It's generally agreed that Kir-hareseth and Kir-heres are the same place, but the significance of the raisin cakes is obscure (perhaps a kind of ritualistic offering, see Hosea 3:1).

The only reference to Kir-hareseth in the historical narrative occurs in 2 Kings 3:25. King Mesha of Moab rebelled against king Jehoram king of Israel, and reneged on the tax he agreed on with Jehoram's father Ahab (2 Kings 3:5). Jehoram entered into an alliance with king Jehoshaphat of Judah and, after an interlude relating to the prophet Elisha and a minstrel, bore down on the Moabite army. The Moabites were defeated and the Israelites destroyed the land of Moab by dumping stones in its wells. Only Kir-hareseth was spared by the stone dumpers, but it was visited by a contingent of "slingers," which was probably also not good. King Mesha realized that both the battle and his country was lost and sacrificed his crown prince as a burnt offering (probably) to his deity. This resulted in fierce indignation of the remaining Moabites, who proceeded to drive the Israelites back to their own country (2 Kings 3:27).

🔼Etymology of the name Kir-heres

The name Kir-heres obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name is the same as the name Kir and Kir is identical to the noun קיר (qir), meaning wall:

The second part could come from any of the roots חרש but is probably the same as the noun חרשׂ (heres), meaning earthenware, or (in the case of Kir-hareseth) an alternate version of the plural noun חרסות or חרסית (harsit), meaning potsherds:

🔼Kir-heres meaning

The name Kir-heres literally means Wall Of (Broken) Earthenware.

However, both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and BDB Theological Dictionary believe that the first part of our name derives from the noun קריה (qiryah), meaning city. Jones indeed derives the second part from the noun חרשׂ (heres), meaning earthenware but reads a rather imprecise City Of Brick or City Of Dried Earth.

BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer an interpretation of the second part of the name Kir-heres. BDB prints our name under the root חרשׂ (haras) but seems to deliberately omit the symbol that indicates derivation. NOBSE Study Bible Name List omits the name Kir-heres all together.

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