🔼The name Beth-diblathaim: Summary
- House Of Fig Cakes
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the noun דבלה (debela), fig cake.
🔼The name Beth-diblathaim in the Bible
The name Beth-diblathaim occurs only once in the Bible. The prophet Jeremiah mentions it in his sermon of the fate of Moab, as the judgment of YHWH was to befall Beth-diblathaim and several other cities of the plain of Moab (which was bordered by the Abarim mountain range, east of the Salt Sea — Jeremiah 48:22). Beth-diblathaim may be the same as Almon-diblathaim(ah), which was one of the stations close to Mount Nebo at which Israel camped during the wandering years (Numbers 33:46).
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-diblathaim
The name Beth-diblathaim consists of two elements. The first part is identical to the common Hebrew word בית (bayit) meaning house:
The noun בית (bayit) means house. It sometimes merely denotes a domestic building, but mostly it denotes the realm of authority of the house-father, or אב (ab). This ab is commonly the living alpha male of a household, but may very well be a founding ancestor (as in the familiar term the "house of Israel"). The אב (ab) may also be a deity, in which case the בית (bayit) is that which we know as a temple.
In the larger economy, a house interacts with other houses. These interactions are governed by the אב (ab), or "father" and executed by the בנים (benim), or "sons": those people living in the house, irrespective of any biological relation with the אב (ab). The "sons" combined add up to אם ('em), which means both "mother" and "tribe".
The second part of our name appears to be a dual or plural form of an older variant of the noun דבלה (debela), which means fig cake. It derives from the unused verb דבל, which denotes compacting figs into lumps or cakes:
The noun דבלה (debela) refers to a lump or cake of pressed figs and probably stems from an unused verb דבל (dabal) that meant to collect or stump together.
For a meaning of the name Beth-diblathaim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of Fig Cakes, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes House Of Two Cakes Of Figs.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate the name Beth-diblathaim but says of the diblathaim-part: "possibly from the root דבל in the sense of collect, assemble".