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Meaning and etymology of the name Lebanon

Lebanon Lebanon

Lebanon is basically a district and the Lebanon is a mountain or mountain range in north Canaan. The sources are a bit in conflict about what Lebanon actually denotes. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names keeps it simple and states that Lebanon is a mountain consisting of two ridges on the border of Syria and Palestine. But, says Jones, really only the permanently glaciated eastern ridge is called Lebanon; the southern ridge is called Hermon (Joshua 11:17).

The Oxford Companion to the Bible, however, reports that Lebanon denotes a range of coastal mountains, stretching from Sidon to Syria.

In the Bible (the) Lebanon is known as the source of building materials; wood for Solomon's temple (1 Kings 5:6), stones for Solomon's temple (1 Kings 5:14-18), and wood for Ezra's temple (Ezra 3:7). Lebanon is also known for its blossoms (Nahum 1:4) and wine (Hosea 14:7).

When Moses pleads with God for his life, he mentions Lebanon as a desirable place (Deuteronomy 3:25, also see Isaiah 35:2), but Joshua is the one who conquers it (Joshua 11:17).

The name Lebanon comes from the root Laban (lbn), which yields a range of words that have to do with white or whiteness (see the related name Laban for more details). The name Lebanon is the name Laban extended with the waw-nun combination, which localizes or personifies the root. Hence, as Laban means White, Lebanon means White One. We may assume that this is because of its perpetual snow.

For a meaning of the name Lebanon, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Very White, or Mountain Of Snow. NOBS Study Bible Name List does not translate.



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