The name Nebo in the Bible
Nebo, or Nabu, was the Babylonian deity of wisdom and writing. His function and appearance seems to suggest some similarities to the later Roman god Mercury. Although this Nebo became an important figure in Babylon, it probably originated in the Semitic language area. There are several entities named Nebo in the Bible: The god Nebo is twice mentioned in the Bible: in Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 48:1. Other Biblical Nebo's are:
- A town in Judah (Ezra 2:29)
- Which is possibly the same as the Nebo mentioned in Ezra 10:43, although that Nebo may very well be a man with a lot of sons.
- A town near Jericho (Numbers 32:2), which was near:
- The eponymous Mount Nebo in the Abarim mountain range, probably also known as Pisgah (see Numbers 27:12-14 and Deuteronomy 34:1). Just before Moses died, God showed him the promised land from that mountain.
Etymology of the name Nebo
The name Nebo possibly comes from a Semitic root which in Hebrew survives as the verb נבט (naba), meaning to prophesy.
For a meaning of the name Nebo, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Mercury, Interpreter, Foreteller. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Height, for no discernible reason, but possibly because Nebo was the name of a mountain.