🔼The name Adami-nekeb: Summary
- Ruddy Hollow, Corrugated Soil
- From (1) root אדם ('dm), to produce or be red, and (2) verb נקב (naqab), to pierce or perforate.
🔼The name Adami-nekeb in the Bible
It's not clear whether Adami-nekeb (or rather: Adami-hanekeb) is one name or two, namely Adami and Nekeb. It (or they) occurs only once, in Joshua 19:33, where it (or they) is mentioned among the cities in the territory allotted to the tribe of Naphtali.
The authors of most modern translations appear to think we're dealing with one town, alternatively called Adami-nekeb (NAS, JSP and Darby) or Adami Nekeb (NIV) or Adaminekeb (ASV). But older translations follow the Septuagint and Vulgate, and read "Zaanannim, and Adami, Nekeb, and Jabneel, unto Lakum" (KJV and Young).
The reason for all this confusion is that if Adami and Nekeb had been two separate towns, it would have said אדמי ונקב; Adami and Nekeb. But instead it reads אדמי הנקב, which means Adami the Nekeb, so it seems that it's one town.
🔼Etymology of the name Adami-nekeb
The name Adami-nekeb obviously consists of two elements. The first part comes from the familiar root אדם ('dm):
The root דמם (ddm) is all about beginnings — or rather the simplicity from whence complexity arises — from being still before the noise starts to being monochromatic before color vision starts. Verb דמם (damam) means to be still, noun דממה (demama) denotes calmness and דמה (dumma) denotes a silenced person. Noun דומה (duma) describes the silence of death, noun דומיה or דמיה (dumiya) the silence of waiting and noun דומם (dumam) the silence of inertia or inactivity.
Verb דמה (dama I) describes making a (still) image. Nouns דמות (demut) and דמין (dimyon) mean likeness. Verb דמה (dama II) means to stop, halt or arrest. Noun דמי (domi) means a halting. Whatever the unused verb דמן (dmn) might have meant, noun דמן (domen) denotes refuse and מדמנה (madmena) a manure pit.
Unused verb אדם ('dm) may have meant to produce or begin to produce. Noun אדם (adam) is one of a few words for man but means literally probably "product" or likeness-made-from-soil; man as corporeal unit of humanity. This word is never used in plural, and its feminine equivalent, namely אדמה (adama), denotes arable soil or clay-red earth.
Red is the first color a baby learns to see and red or ruddy is indeed the color of rudiment: verb אדם (adom or adem) means to be red, adjective אדם ('adom) means red, noun אדם ('odem) denotes a ruddy gem, possibly quartz, noun אדם ('edom) denotes a kind of red stew, adjective אדמדם ('adamiddam) means reddish, and adjective אדמוני (admoni) means red or ruddy.
The ubiquitous noun דם (dam) means blood; the seat of life.
The letter י (yod) upon which this segment ends can either be viewed as a possessive form: my adam or adam of, or it creates an adjective: adamly
The second part of our name appears to be drawn from the verb נקב I (naqab I), meaning to pierce or perforate (or to curse):
The root קבב (qabab) tells of being hollow. Noun קבה (qeba) means stomach or womb. Noun יקב (yeqeb) means wine-vat. Noun קב (qab) is a unit of (dry) volume. Noun קבה (qubba) denotes a large vaulted tent.
Strikingly, both verbs קבב (qabab) and נקב (naqab II) mean to curse. Verb נקב (naqab I) means to pierce or bore. Noun נקב (neqeb) denotes the hollow perch of a gem. Noun נקבה (neqeba) means female. Noun מקבת (maqqebet) means hammer or excavation (literally: thing to make holes with, or place for making holes).
The whole name Adami-nekeb would thus mean Ruddy Hollow. Or (Adami-hanekeb) Earth Is The Hole.
For a meaning of the name Adami-nekeb, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Earthy, which can only be accomplished by completely ignoring the second part of this name.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) appears to be working off the older translation and reads Human for Adami and Cavern for Nekeb.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but lists it under the root אדמ I, which would indicate some congruence with Jones, and again under the verb נקב I. BDB further makes the observation that a similar phrase occurs in Arabic, where it means "road between mountains," and concludes that Adami-nekeb "apparently" denote a pass.