🔼The name Beerah: Summary
- A Well
- By Means Of Gathering
- From the noun באר (be'er), a well.
- From (1) the prefix ב (be), in, and (2) the verb ארה ('ara), to pluck or gather.
🔼The name Beerah in the Bible
The name Beerah occurs once in the Bible. He is mentioned as a son of Baal in a genealogy of Reuben, the first-born son of Jacob (1 Chronicles 5:6). The only thing we know about this man is that he was a leader of the Reubenites when the Assyrians under king Tiglath-pileser invaded Israel and took the people to Assyria.
🔼Etymology of the name Beerah
The name Beerah is commonly understood to come from the noun באר (be'er), meaning a well:
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).
The post-fixed letter ה (he) usually serves to make a noun feminine, but the noun באר (be'er) is already feminine. Our name could possibly come from the masculine version, which is spelled the same but pronounced as bo'r, but that seems a bit redundant (we already had a feminine word that means the same, namely be'er). In fact, our name may very well be a compilation of the particle ב (be), meaning in or by means of:
Prefix ב (be) means in, within or by means of.
and the verb ארה ('ara), meaning to pluck or gather:
The verb ארה ('ara) means to collect, pluck or gather. Nouns ארי ('ari) and אריה ('aryeh) both mean lion, which indicates that in Biblical times lions symbolized any power (individual or national) that plundered, gathered and hoarded. And as always, lions are not intrinsically bad; it all depends on what they gather (and at what cost).
Noun אריה ('urya) means manger or crib, which is a thing around which domesticated animals gather — and that is obviously why mankind's slowly waxing collective wisdom was placed in one by "His" mother.
That way, our name could mean By Means Of Gathering, and may even be reminiscent of Samson's riddle, that revolved around honey in the lion.
For a meaning of the name Beerah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names both read A Well. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name.