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Meaning and etymology of the name Zimri

Zimri Zimri

The name Zimri is assigned five times in the Bible, firstly and most ominously as the Simeonite son of Salu, who brings his Midianite play mate Cozbi into the camp during the Peor incident (Numbers 25:14). Both he and Cozbi are executed by Phinehas. Other Zimri's are; a grandson of Judah through Zerah (1 Chronicles 2:6), a Benjaminite (1 Chronicles 8:36), a murderous and suicidal king of Israel for seven days, before Omri (1 Kings 16:8-20), and a kingdom in Ethiopia according to BDB Theological Dictionary (Jeremiah 25:25).

The name Zimri is closely related to the name Zimran and comes from same the fertile word-group zamar (zamar I, II & III):

The verb zamar (zamar I) means to sing, praise, or make music (Psalm 146:2). This verb yields the following derivatives: zimra (zimra), meaning a song or music; zamir (zamir), meaning a song; mizmor (mizmor), which is the Hebrew word for psalm as used in many psalm-titles (Psalm 65).
The verb zamar (zamar (II) means to trim or prune (Isaiah 5:6). One of this root's derivatives is the word zamir (zamir), meaning trimming or pruning.
The unused and untranslatable root zamar (zmr III - judging from the cognates, probably having to do with a protective attitude towards valuable or beautiful things) yields zimra (zimra) a word which probably means 'choice products,' and is used only in Genesis 43:11. Another derivation is the evenly indeterminate noun zamar (zemer), meaning mountain sheep (says BDB Theological Dictionary) or antelope (says NOBS Study Bible Name List) of Deuteronomy 14:5.

The name Zimri is the word zamar post-fixed with the possessive yod. It may mean My Musician, My Gardener, My Mountain Sheep.

For a meaning of the name Zimri, NOBS Study Bible Name List goes with the undetermined creature and reads Pertaining To An Antelope. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names leans towards the verb that means to sing or make music, and reads Song Of The Lord, taking the yod to be not a possessive but a remnant of yah, the abbreviated form of the Name of the Lord: YHWH (YHWH)



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