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Saph meaning

סף

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Saph.html

🔼The name Saph in the Bible

The name Saph occurs only once in the Bible. He was one of the descendants of "the giant" (or Raphah in Hebrew, which was presumably the same as Goliath of Gath) who was killed by Sibbecai the Hushathite at the battle of Gob (2 Samuel 21:18). The Chronicler tells the same story, but places the battle at Gezer and calls our giant Sippai (1 Chronicles 20:4).

🔼Etymology of the name Saph

The name Saph is the same as the noun סף (sap), which means threshold or outer border, and was also the word for a kind of fire beacon on this outer border:

🔼Saph meaning

For a meaning of the name Saph, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Basin. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) derives our name from the same noun but feels the need to forcibly imply a giant's characteristic upon it, and arrives via the Ethiopian cognate, meaning to spread out, at Tall. This is really quite dubious and rather artificial. None of the other giants have names that confirm their gigantism. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name.

Despite Jones' enthusiasm, it's not easy to guess why this giant was called Threshold or Outer Rim, but since the Chronicler calls him Sippai (meaning "of the outer rim"), it seems plausible that this person (or even order or elite collectively grouped under one name) had something to do with the defence of a city, a temple or the Philistines' general culture. Here at Abarim Publications we guess that Saph means Gate[keeper].