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Nebaioth meaning

נביות
נבית
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🔼The name Nebaioth in the Bible

Nebaioth is the first-born son of Ishmael (Genesis 25:13). Isaiah mentions him, together with his brother Kedar, among the tribes that will be gathered up for the Kingdom (Isaiah 60:7).

The story of the sons of Ishmael doubtlessly functions to convey the political situation of and between the Arabic tribes, directly to Israel's east. The Ituraeans (who in Roman times gave their name to Ituraea) were personified in Jetur, and Jetur's brother Nebaioth most likely personified the Nabataeans (see our article on the name Aretas).

Our name is mostly spelled נביות, but in Genesis 25:13 it occurs as נבית.

🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Nebaioth

It's not clear what the name Nebaioth might mean, or even where it comes from. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names insists that it is the plural of a noun derived from an unused root נבה (nabah), meaning to be high or prominent:

Hence Jones reads High Places as meaning of the name Nebaioth.

BDB Theological Dictionary seems to suggests that our name is really an ethnonym and not a personal name, that it was originally spelled with a teth instead of a taw: נבטו, and that it has to do with נבט (nabat), look, regard:

Perhaps the unused root that means to be high and the verb that means to look have something to do with each other and Nebaioth means Visions or rather Scopes.

Another verb of interest is נבא (naba), meaning prophesy (our name's secondary form occurs in Jeremiah 26:9, meaning "have prophesied"):

Neither BDB Theological Dictionary nor NOBSE Study Bible Name List translates the name Nebaioth.

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