🔼The name Aznoth-tabor: Summary
- Balance Of Purification
- From (1) the verb אזן (azen), to balance or listen to, and (2) perhaps the verb ברר (barar), to purify.
🔼The name Aznoth-tabor in the Bible
The name Aznoth-tabor occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of a town that marked the western border of the territory of Naphtali (Joshua 19:34).
🔼Etymology of the name Aznoth-tabor
The name Aznoth-tabor consists of two parts. The first part comes from the root group אזן:
The verb אזן ('azan) means to balance or equalize. Noun מאזן (m'zn) describes a merchant's scale or balance and noun אזן ('ozen) means ear. The denominative verb אזן ('azan) means to harken or hear and obviously describes the turning of one's face to where sound comes from.
Aznoth could be regarded as a plural of the feminine noun אזן ('ozen), meaning ear.
The second part of our name is the same as the name Tabor, which is the name of a mountain (and three towns). What that name means is not certain, but perhaps it has to do with the verb ברר (barar), meaning to purify:
The verb ברר (barar) essentially means to clean, purify or clarify. Usually, whatever needs to be purified is first pulverized and then sorted: the useful elements are gathered and stored, and the fluff, chaff, dust and other garbage is either blown away by wind, washed away by water, burned with fire or simply scooped up and physically dumped somewhere. In the case of metal ore, the material is heated so that the good stuff flows out and separates by its nature from the bad stuff and its nature.
Derived adjective בר (bar) means pure or clean and identical noun בר (bar) denotes a kernel of grain or corn. Noun בר (bor) denotes a kind of material that was used in the metal purification process, and identical masculine noun בר (bor) means cleanness or pureness. Feminine noun ברית (borit) denotes a kind of soap (and is spelled identical to the word meaning covenant; see below). Noun בר (bar) describes a field (perhaps a freshly plowed, cleaned and ready-to-sow one?), and the masculine plural noun ברברים (barburim) denotes a kind of bird known literally and for unknown reasons as "cleany-cleanies".
Verb באר (ba'ar) describes writing on tablets of stone. Nouns באר (be'er), באר (bo'r) and בור (bor) mean well or pit, and obviously not merely refer to physical cisterns but rather to centers of learning and information technology (because yes, writing is information technology and then as hip as blockchain is now).
Verb ברא (bara' I) denotes the creative activity of God, which (as we know from modern cosmology) predominantly has to do with giving elements the freedom to sort themselves into constructions that are deemed stable by the laws that govern creation (and which ultimately describe freedom). Noun בריאה (beri'a) denotes a creation, "an entirely new thing".
Verb ברא (bara' II) means to be fat, and since fat is essentially an organic storage of energy, this verb is in modern terms neatly explained by relativity theory. Since anything unstable falls apart when exposed to energy, only stable compounds can gain mass. Likewise, a fat guy is clearly at peace and well provisioned (and not on the run or forced to labor half starving). Adjective בריא (bari') means fat and consequently healthy and prosperous. Verb ברה (bara) means to eat. Nouns בריה (birya) and ברות (barut) mean food.
Noun ברית (berit) means covenant and occurs all over the Bible. Although it's not wholly clear how it technically relates to the above, the gist of it is clear. A covenant clears up a working relation between parties and leads to peace, prosperity and ultimately more clarity and cleanness between said parties. Note that it is spelled the same as the word for soap (see above, and see our article on Soap in the Old World).
For a meaning of the name Aznoth-tabor, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Ears Of Tabor, and explains that to mean Summits Of The Tabor. NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes the similar Peaks Of Tabor.
Perhaps the name Tabor sounded like Purifying to a Hebrew audience, and the whole name Aznoth-tabor may have sounded like The Balance Of Purification, or ears that hear the word of the Lord and are instrumental in the purification of the person whose head they are attached to.