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Meaning and etymology of the name Zemarite

Zemarite Zemarite

The Zemarites are descendants of Canaan, son of Ham, son of Noah (Genesis 10:18).

It's unclear where the name Zemarite comes from. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names devotes no space to the name Zemarite but refers to the name Zemaraim (Joshua 18:22), and hunting for a meaning declares the existence of an unused root smr that exists in Arabic as a verb meaning to cut off. Hence, says Jones, Zemaraim means Two Cuttings Off.

To a Hebrew audience, however, the name Zemarite looks very much like it was derived from (perhaps the same) unused and assumed root smr (smr), which yields the noun smr (semer), meaning wool. Another derivation of this same root is sammeret (sammeret), meaning treetop; BDB Theological Dictionary suggests that this connection possibly stems from this particular kind of tree's wooly, feathery appearance.

The Zemarites are Wooly Boys.



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