🔼The name Zebulun in the Bible
Zebulun is Jacob's son number ten, and Leah's sixth, and even though his descendants (the זבולני, Zebulunites; Numbers 26:27, Judges 12:11) formed one of the twelve tribes of Israel, his role in the Bible is surprisingly compact. In fact, apart from the scene in which he was born (Genesis 30:20), Zebulun is personally mentioned only five times, and always in genealogies or lists.
The tribe of Zebulun was assigned a modest territory in the north of Israel, at about the latitude of the Sea of Galilee, and in between Issachar to the south and Naphtali to the north (Joshua 19:10-16). At the dissolution of the united kingdom, Zebulun became part of the northern kingdom of Israel. This kingdom was sacked by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser V, and his successor Sargon II deported the people of Israel, including the Zebulunites.
The name Zebulun, however, remained applied to the region, though fused with that of neighbor Naphtali. Jesus settled in Capernaum, which was located by the sea "in the region of Zebulun (Ζαβουλων, Zaboulon) and Naphtali" (Matthew 4:13). Zebulun is mentioned in the New Testament once more in John the Revelator's vision of the 144,000 sealed Israelites (Revelation 7:8).
🔼Etymology of the name Zebulun
The name Zebulun is related to the verb זבל (zabal), meaning to exalt or honor:
The waw-nun ending of the name Zebulun is a common grammatical device to personify or localize the meaning of the root.
The name Zebulun was probably around long before the Hebrew verb 'to dwell gloriously' was invented. HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament makes mention of Speiser's link to the Akkadian zubullu, which denotes a bridegroom's gift. Curiously enough, in Hebrew the word for gift of endowment is זבד (zebed), from the similar verb זבד (zabad), meaning to endow with or bestow upon.
The name Zebulun means Glorious Dwelling Place.
For a meaning of the name Zebulun, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather reserved Dwelling. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Wished-For Habitation.