🔼The name Beeroth: Summary
- From the noun באר (be'er), well.
🔼The name Beeroth in the Bible
There is one place called Beeroth in the Bible, and one Beeroth Bene-jaakan (= Beeroth of the Sons Of Jaakan). The latter is mentioned in Deuteronomy 10:6, as a station of Israel during the wandering years. The place called just Beeroth was one of a few Gibeonite cities, which capitulated to Joshua right after the defeat of Ai (Joshua 9:17).
When Canaan was divided, Beeroth came to be part of the territory of Benjamin (Joshua 18:25). The place still existed in the time of king Saul (2 Samuel 4:2; here spelled בארות and everywhere else בארת) and even at the time of the exile (Ezra 2:25, Nehemiah 7:29).
The two men who murdered Ish-bosheth, Saul's son, and were subsequently executed by David, were called sons of Rimmon the בארתי (Beerothite; 2 Samuel 4:2). And one of David's mighty-men, Naharai, was a Beerothite as well (2 Samuel 23:37, spelled ברתי in 1 Chronicles 11:39).
🔼Etymology of the name Beeroth
The name Beeroth is the plural form of the feminine noun באר (be'er), meaning 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).
For a meaning of the name Beeroth, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Wells. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name but does list it under באר (ba'ar).