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Meaning and etymology of the name Rebekah (Rebecca)

Rebekah (Rebecca) Rebekah (Rebecca)

Rebekah (in English sometimes spelled as Rebecca) is the wife of Isaac, the son of Abraham (Genesis 22:23). She's the sister of Laban and daughter of Bethuel, the son of Nahor, the brother of Abraham.

The name Rebekah comes from the unused verb rbq (rbq), meaning to tie firmly. This verb s not used in the Bible, but cognate languages have it, so scholars assume it once existed; it just managed to escape the compass of the Biblical narrative. Another sure clue that this verb once existed is the existence of a noun that can't have come from anything else than this allusive verb. This noun is marbeq (marbeq), meaning stall, and it's used a few times in the Bible, for instance in Amos 6:4 and Maliachi 3:20.

BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate Rebekah. Both Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names and the NOBS Study Bible Name List render the name: A Rope With A Noose. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names quotes Gesenius who suggests that this name denotes a woman who ensnares a man with her beauty. But although the Biblical occurrence of this name has to do with a lot, not with the snaring of a man by beauty. The name denotes merely a tying up of cattle, both for their own protection, the establishment of their home and to keep them from wandering off. Within this name lies the notion that individuals are placed together by something higher or smarter than they.

The name Rebekah literally means Tied Up but more specific (and more friendly) is Secured.



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