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Meaning and etymology of the name Seth

Seth Seth

Seth (should be pronounced as Sheth) is the third son of Adam and Eve, the younger brother of Cain and Abel. After the death of Abel and the expulsion of Cain, Seth remains to become the ancestor of Noah. However, it's by no means certain that all the other families were destroyed in the flood. Noah had a wife and so did his sons. Nowhere in the Bible it is mentioned where they came from, and they might have been Cainites for all we know. The patriarchies of Jabal and Jubal mysteriously managed to survive the flood, and it may very well have been through the wives of Noah and sons.

The name Seth is spelled the same as shet (shet), foundation, as used in Isaiah 19:10 and, very appropriately, Psalm 11:3. It comes from the verb shit (shit), to put, set, which Eve uses when she names Seth: "God has appointed me another offspring..." (Genesis 4:25).

But the name is also identical to shet (shet 2478a), buttocks; seat of the body, which comes from the unused root shata (shth), which in turn is identical to shata (shata), meaning to drink. Perhaps these words have nothing to do with each other, but on the other hand, food and drink are on the top of the Maslow pyramid. And because one can endure longer without food than drink, drink is indeed the foundation of physical continuation.

Finally we note a phrase in Numbers 24:17: Sons of Din, 'sons of sheth', where the word shet is assumed to come from the word shet (she't), ruin or devastation, which comes from the verb shaa (sha'a), make a din or crash. BDB Theological Dictionary and HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament point at a text in Jeremiah 48:45 where Numbers 24:17 seems to be cited, and where Jeremiah reads 'sons of shaon (sha'on).' NAS nevertheless reads 'sons of Sheth' for Numbers 24:17, with 'tumult' in a footnote.

NOBS Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names agree: The name Seth means Appointed. But it has a strong connotation of Foundation (Butt) and Tumult.



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