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Discover the meanings of thousands of Biblical names in Abarim Publications' Biblical Name Vault: Zeboim

Zeboim meaning

צבעים

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

🔼The name Zeboim: Summary

Meaning
Speckled, Multi-Colored, Fingers
Etymology
From the verb צבע (saba'), to paint or dab.

🔼The name Zeboim in the Bible

The name Zeboim is connected to a valley in Benjamin (1 Samuel 13:18 — not to be confused with Zeboiim as mentioned in Genesis 10:19).

🔼Etymology of the name Zeboim

As with Zeboiim, the name Zeboim probably originates in a root meaning hyena, which appears to have existed in Hivite. This root did either not survive or never existed in Hebrew, and to a Hebrew audience, it must have meant something else.

In Hebrew, Zeboim, contrary to Zeboiim, is spelled as a clean plural; the plural of either assumed roots צבע (sb'):

Excerpted from: Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary
צבע

The unused verb צבע (saba') probably meant to paint or dab or something to that extent. Noun צבע (seba') denotes dyed stuffs. Adjective צבוע (sabua') probably meant colored or variegated.

Noun אצבע ('esba') is the word for finger, which is of course the instrument with which our ancestors applied paint until someone invented the brush.

Apparently, a noun צבע (seba') came to denote the hyena, whose pelt indeed looks like it was dabbed with paint. In the Bible, though, hyenas are known by another word.

🔼Zeboim meaning

To a Hebrew audience, especially those who didn't speak Hivite, the name Zeboim probably meant either Speckled, Multifariously Colored, or Fingers.