🔼The name Zuph in the Bible
There appear to be two different men and one region named Zuph in the Bible, although it seems likely that the latter two were named after the first. The exact who and what about Zuph is a bit shady, however. The Zuphs mentioned in the Bible are:
- The great-great-great-grandfather of Samuel, who is mentioned in 1 Samuel 1:1 but not in 1 Chronicles 6:16-30, which deals with the lineage of Samuel from Levi down.
- A son of Elkanah, who was the great-great-grandfather of Elkanah, the father of Samuel according to 1 Chronicles 6:35. In 1 Chronicles 6:26 this man is called Zophai. The Masoretes believed that this man's name should have been spelled ציף (Ziph), which indicates that the Masoretes believed that these name-lists are about something more than just genealogies (here at Abarim Publications we share this belief, but we specifically suspect that these name-lists also serve to commemorate the evolution of Yahwistic thought, but that's beside the point right now).
- A region in Ephraim, where young Saul ended up looking for his father's donkeys and finding Samuel (1 Samuel 9:5). Since this place was associated with Samuel, it's also linked to Ramah (1 Samuel 8:4) and Ramathaim-zophim (1 Samuel 1:1).
🔼Etymology of the name Zuph
The name Zuph is identical to the noun צוף (sup), meaning honeycomb, from the verb צוף (sup):
For a meaning of the name Zuph, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Honeycomb and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Sweet, Honey. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does confirm that it is identical to the noun צוף (sup), meaning honeycomb.