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Meaning and etymology of the name Nebo or Nabu

Nebo or Nabu Nebo

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.

Nebo is twice mentioned in the Bible: Isaiah 46:1 and Jeremiah 48:1. Other Biblical Nebo's are a town in Judah (Ezra 2:29), a town (Numb 32:2) and a mountain peak near Jericho in the Abarim mountain range, probably also known as Pisgah (see Numb 27:12-14 and Deuteronomy 34:1). Just before Moses died, God showed him the promised land from that mountain.

The name Nebo possibly comes from a Semitic root which in Hebrew survives as the verb naba (naba), meaning to prophesy. Various experts lists all sorts of possible origins of the concept of prophesying, but the basic idea seems to be a vicarious pronunciation of some kind of message. The noun nabi (nabi) means prophet, spokesman.

For a meaning of the name Nebo, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Mercury, Interpreter, Foreteller. NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Height, for no discernible reason.

Related names are Barnabas, Nebaioth and Nebuchadnessar.



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