🔼The name Kiriathaim in the Bible
There are two towns named Kiriathaim in the Bible:
- One of the cities that were built by the tribe of Reuben in the lands east of the Jordan (Numbers 32:37). It was situated on or close to a hill, perhaps Pisgah (Joshua 13:19), but that area became dominated by Moab soon after the conquest. By the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, Kiriathaim of Reuben was Moabite and would be overrun by the rapidly expanding empire of Babylon (Jeremiah 48:1, 48:23, Ezekiel 25:9, only in Ezekiel spelled קריתם).
- A city in the area given to the tribe of Naphtali, which was later surrendered to the Levite sub-clan of the Gershomites (1 Chronicles 6:76). In Joshua 21:32 this town is called Kartan, and the Gershomites are called Gershonites.
In Genesis 14:5 occurs the name Shaveh-kiriathaim, which Luther interpreted as "the field of Kiriathaim". Later translations print Shaveh-kiriathaim.
🔼Etymology of the name Kiriathaim
The name Kiriathaim is a dual or plural version of the name Kiriath, which in turn is an older variant of the Biblical noun קריה (qiryah), meaning city. It derives of the verb קרה (qara), meaning to meet or get together:
For a meaning of the name Kiriathaim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads the elegant Twin Cities. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names opts for Double City, and BDB Theological Dictionary carefully agrees with a "perhaps" Double City.