🔼The name Ben-geber: Summary
- Son Of A Guy
- From (1) the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the noun גבר (geber), man or guy.
🔼The name Ben-geber in the Bible
The name Ben-geber occurs only once in the Bible. He is mentioned as one of the twelve deputies of king Solomon, who was stationed in Ramoth-gilead. His area included the towns of Jair, in Gilead (1 Kings 4:13). Also in Gilead (or is it a different Gilead?) was stationed a man named Geber (1 Kings 4:19), and it's not clear whether Ben-geber is an actual personal name, or whether Geber is the name and Ben-geber denotes the son of Geber. Modern English translations of the Bible (NAS, NIV, ASV, Darby, Young) tend to regard Ben-geber as a personal name, but the older King James, as well as German and Dutch translations, speak of "the son of Geber".
Obvious objections against reading "son of Geber" are:
- One would expect Geber to be introduced first and then the son of Geber.
- Ben-geber is not the only ben-name that is mentioned in this cycle. There are also: Ben-hur (4:8), Ben-deker (4:9), Ben-hesed (4:10) and Ben-abinadab (4:11).
- Perhaps Ben-geber was indeed a son of Geber, but then his epithet Ben-geber should still be regarded as his personal name; probably on a par with names such as Johnson (= son of John) or MacDonald (son of Donald).
🔼Etymology of the name Ben-geber
The name Ben-geber obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name is the familiar word בן (ben), meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
The second part of our name is identical to the name Geber, as well as to the noun גבר (geber), meaning man, guy:
The verb גבר (gabar) means to be strong or mighty or to prevail. Noun גבר (geber) is one of a few words for man, perhaps comparable to our words "guy" or "dude". Adjective or noun גבור (gibbor) means mighty or strong or valiant man. Noun גבורה (gebura) means strength or might. Noun גביר (gebir) refers to an alpha male: a lord or master, and the feminine equivalents are גבירה (gebira) and גברת (geberet), mistress or queen.
The name Ben-geber literally means Son Of Man, but should not be confused with the familiar phrase "son of man" from the books of Job, Isaiah and most of all Ezekiel, which speak of בן אדם (ben adam; see our article on the name Adam for the difference between Adam and Geber).
For a meaning of the name Ben-geber, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Son Of Geber. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names doesn't regard Ben-geber as a separate name and counts 1 Kings 4:13 and 4:19 as the two occurrences of the name Geber. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Son Of A Man or Son Of Geber.