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Meaning and etymology of the name Noah

Noah Noah / Noah

The name Noah appears twice in the English Bible, but in Hebrew these two names are totally different, and their meanings are exact opposites. The Noah first mentioned in Numbers 26:33 (pronounced No'ah) is one of the five daughters of Zelophehad (see below for a translation). Her sisters are named Mahlah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah.

The Noah mentioned in Genesis (pronounced Noach, with a ch like Bach) is the main character of the great flood cycle, and father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.

The meaning of the flood of Noah is much contended and belief in a global flood has waned along with that in the young earth hypothesis. Here at Abarim Publications we don't believe in either, but that's not in subjection to the scientific record (which we nevertheless hold very dear, also for Theological reasons - Rom 1:20) but rather because we think that our Chaotic Set Theory follows the Biblical accounts much closer than any other exegetical theory offered. It seems to us that the great flood cycle serves in the Biblical story not as a report of a meteorological or judicial anomaly, but as point of symmetry breach between the animal and human mental realm.

Jesus predicts that His second coming will be like the great flood event (Mathew 24:37), and then too we will see a breach. Before the second coming all humans are pretty much alike (this is called a symmetry), but after the second coming there will be an undeniable difference between two kinds of humans (called a breach in symmetry). It seems to us that the 144,000 (Rev 7:4 & 14:1), who are able to learn a song that no one else can learn (14:3), and who separate from the great multitude which no one can count (Rev 7:9) strongly suggests that something like this has happened in the Noah cycle as well. What this symmetry breach entails becomes clear when Christ states that before the flood, people 'knew not' (Mat 24:39).

What also needs to be noted is that although the ancestral lineage of Noah is celebrated as the lineage of salvation, nobody knows what stock the wives of Noah and his sons came from. They could have been Cainites, for all we know. We don't, really, but it could offer a reasonable theory on how on earth the musical and husbandry patriarchies of Jabal and Jubal survived the flood, and became major attributes in the culture surrounding the tabernacle and temple.

For more musings on the flood of Noah, click here.

The masculine name Noah (Noah) comes from the verb nuah (nuah) meaning rest, settle down. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament reports that this root 'signifies not only absence of movement but being settled in a particular place [...] with overtones of finality, or [...] victory, salvation etc.'
Derivatives of this root are: nahat (nahat), rest, quietness; Noah (noah), the name Noah; nihoah (nihoah), quieting, soothing; hanaha (hanaha), a giving of rest; manoah (manoah), resting place; menuha (menuha), resting place, rest.

Another verb of interest is naha (naha), lead, guide, 'the conducting of one along the right path' (HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament ).

The masculine name Noah (Noah) means Rest. Significantly, the competing lineage of Cain, ends up in the land of Nod (Restless Wandering).

The feminine name Noah (Noah), according to BDB Theological Dictionary, comes from the verb nua (nua'), shake, rattle, stagger, wander. This verb refers to a repetitive moving to and fro, whether on a small scale (shake, sway) or large scale (stagger, wander). Probably the most endearing usage of this verb is in the description of the movement of Hannah's lips when she prayed (1 Samuel 1:13). Rather grim is its role in Cain's curse: You shall be a vagabond (nah) and a fugitive (Genesis 4:12). God exiles Cain to the land of Nod. The name Nod is derived from a verb that is often used as a parallel to the verb nua'.

The feminine name Noah (Noah) means Shaky Girl or Lady Wanderer.



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