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Zimmah meaning

זמה

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

🔼The name Zimmah in the Bible

There are a surprising three different men endowed with the curious name Zimmah mentioned in the Bible, and they are all Levites of the Gershom/Gershon branch:

  • A son of Gershom, son of Levi, son of Jacob with Leah (1 Chronicles 6:20).
  • A son of Shimei, son of Jahath, son of Gershom (1 Chronicles 6:42).
  • The father of Joah, who was among the Gershonites who helped clean up the temple as part of the reforms of king Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:12).

🔼Etymology of the name Zimmah

The name Zimmah is identical to the noun זמה (zimma), meaning plan, device or evil scheme:

🔼Zimmah meaning

For a meaning of the name Zimmah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather mild Counsel. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes a more accurate Wicked Device. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation of the name Zimmah but does confirm that it is identical to the noun זמה (zimma).

Naming people worked different in Hebrew than it does today in our world. By naming your child Evil Scheme, you didn't necessarily glorify scheming evilly, but could very well aim to commemorate someone's evil scheme that had had an impact on you or your family. Contrary to our modern sense of naming, in Biblical times quite often people carried names that commemorated events that had little to do with the people that bore them.

In fact, these Gershomites may very well have been named after Simeon and Levi's wretched revenge of the rape of Dinah by Shechem (Genesis 34:25). It was this act that prompted Jacob to curse Simeon and Levi and forbid them to own land in Israel (Genesis 49:7). This condemned them to a life of sojourning, or being exiles or strangers in their own country, which is of course the meaning of the name Gershom/Gershon.