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Meaning and etymology of the name Meribah

Meribah Meribah

There are two places called Meribah in the Bible. The first one is the Meribah near Rephidim, where where Moses brings forth water from a rock. This place is also known as Massah (Exodus 17:7). The second Meribah is located near Kadesh, where Miriam dies (Numbers 20:1 - 13). The first time God tells Moses to strike the rock (Exodus 17:6). The second time, He tells him to speak to it but Moses strikes it like he did before (Numbers 20:8). For this little stunt God prevents Moses from entering the promised land (Numbers 20:12), but allows him look at it from mount Abarim (Deuteronomy 32:49).

The name Meribah comes from the verb rib (rib), meaning to strive or content. Since a lot of that goes on in the Bible, this verb occurs all over. It may describe combat between two men (Exodus 21:18) or groups (Deuteronomy 33:7). It may denote mere friction or bickering (Genesis 31:36), legal combat (Proverbs 25:8) or laying in ambush (1 Samuel 15:5). The derived noun rib (rib) means strife or controversy. The noun yarib (yarib) denotes an opponent or adversary. The letter mem pre-fixed to the root creates a concept, or a location; a place of. The noun Meribah (meriba), which is identical to our name, means strife or contention. This noun occurs in the narrative in Genesis 13:8 and Numbers 27:14.

It should be noted that the name Meribah also holds some similarity to the word mara (mara) meaning rebellious, disobedient. Derivation meri (meri) means rebellion. (See Mary).

For a meaning of the name Meribah, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Quarrel. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Chiding. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests Place Of Strife.

Other names derived from the verb rib are Jareb, Jarib, Jeribai, Jerubbaal, Merib-baal and Ribai, and possibly Jeroboam.

Also see the name Merab.



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