🔼The name Baharumite: Summary
- One From Bahurim, One Of The Preferred Ones
- From the verb בחר (bahar), to select by preference.
🔼The name Baharumite in the Bible
There's only one Baharumite mentioned in the Bible. This name is applied to Azmaveth, one of king David's mighty-men (1 Chronicles 11:33). The same Azmaveth is mentioned in 2 Samuel 23:31 but there he is called a ברחמי; Barhumite, the letters ח and ר being transposed. How this discrepancy could have arisen, no one knows, and most scholars assume that the two are the same and mean the same thing. But the ethnonym Barhumite is not just Baharumite bungled; it's also a genuine word with its own meaning. It may very well be that Barhumite is a genuine nickname playfully derived from Baharumite.
The way the ethnonym Baharumite is written seems to imply that a Baharumite is someone from Bahurim (בחורים), but the Masoretes, who tried to preserve the pronunciation of the Hebrew text of the Bible, seem to suggest that a Baharumite was really from another town with the similar name Baharum.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) rejects this notion and declares a Baharumite to be someone from Bahurim. NOBSE Study Bible Name List favors the notion and states that a Baharumite is someone from Baharum. BDB Theological Dictionary, cautious as always, suggests that a Baharumite is "probably" the same as a Barhumite.
🔼Etymology of the name Baharumite
The ethnonym Baharumite comes from the verb בחר (bahar), meaning to choose in the sense of to prefer:
The verb בחר (bahar) means to choose in the sense of to select by preference. That means that any "chosen" people are not the patsies of a sadistic deity but simply the best performing players in the public court of the open market. Obviously, such a high score in a truly open and free market requires great practical wisdom and recognizable virtue.
Nouns בחור (bahur) and בחיר (bahir) mean choice young man or chosen one (because of supreme qualities). Plural noun בחורים (behurim) means youth (choice-hood; one's best years). Nouns מבחר (mibhar) and מבחר (mibhor) mean best or choicest.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names does not separately translate our name but reads Village Of Young Men for Bahurim. NOBSE Study Bible Name List also does not translate our name but reads Young Men for Bahurim. BDB Theological Dictionary translates neither.