🔼The name Shebat: Summary
- Beating, Rod
- From the verb שבט (sabat), to beat or smite.
🔼The name Shebat in the Bible
The name Shebat belongs to the eleventh month of the Jewish calendar, corresponding to the second half of January and the first half of February. The name Shebat occurs only once in the Bible, namely in Zechariah 1:7, where the Word of YHWH comes to the prophet and speaks of the restoration of Jerusalem and the Temple.
🔼Etymology of the name Shebat
The verb שבט (shabat) means to smite or beat. The common noun שבט (shebet) describes the staff; a weapon for travelers, a tool for shepherds and the implement with which farmers beat their grains. Later this item became a mark of authority: a scepter, also known as שרביט (sharbit).
Note that our name is different from and not related to the similar sounding word Sabbath (שׁבת).
The name Shebat is obviously similar to the noun שבט (shebet), which describes either a beating or else a thing to beat with. Most commentators appear to assume that the month of Shebat derives its name from heavy rain storms, but perhaps it also reflects a period of processing and storing. It may even reflect a period of relative quietness in the agricultural world, which may have stimulated periods of academic pursuits and training of children in the arts and literature.