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Meaning and etymology of the name Kohath

Kohath Kohath

Kohath is a son of Levi and brother of Gershon, Merari and Jochebed (Genesis 46:11, Numbers 26:59). He is the father of Amram, who marries his aunt Jochebed (Exodus 6:20). Their children, Moses, Aaron and Miriam are thus grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Levi. The descendants of Kohath are the Kohathites. Their special charge is care for the holy items and furnishings when the tabernacle is dismantled and Israel is underway (Numbers 4:15).

Some commentators (NOBS Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) relate this name to a root that is unused in the Bible but which occurs in cognate language, namely qht (qahath), meaning to collect or assemble.

Others rumor about another unused root that means allegiance, or relations with the verb qaha (qaha), be blunt or dull, as used in Jeremiah 31:29 or Ecclesiastes 10:10.

Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names points towards the Shiloh prophesy of Genesis 49:10, one of two places in the Bible where the word Kohath occurs not in the meaning of the name Kohath (the other being Proverbs 30:17). Jones generously translates this word here with gathering (and to him shall the gathering of the people be), but others are not so sure. The meaning of this word is somewhat disputed, reveals HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Most popular translations derive it from the noun yqh (yiqha, 902a) from the assumed root yqh (yqh), obedience. The Septuagint, however, and with it some modern translations, connect this word to qawa (qawa), to wait for, hope, expect, and translate this word with expectation. The contexts of both occurrences seem to favor the meaning of obedience, which would also makes the most sense as meaning of the name of this famous Levite.

For a meaning of the name Kohath, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Assembly and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Congregation.



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