🔼The name Beth-emek: Summary
- House Of The Valley
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the verb עמק ('amoq), to be deep.
🔼The name Beth-emek in the Bible
The name Beth-emek occurs only once in the Bible. It was a city that marked the northern border of the territory of Asher (Joshua 19:27). Since Asher's lands were the most northern of all the tribes, Beth-emek must have been one of the most northern towns of Israel.
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-emek
The name Beth-emek is actually Beth-ha'emek because of the letter ה in front of the emek-part. This letter either serves as the definite article, or else is a particle that signifies motion towards.
Apart from the letter ה, the name Beth-emek 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 is the same as the noun עמק ('emeq), meaning valley, from the verb עמק ('amoq), meaning to be deep or hidden:
The verb עמק ('amoq) means to be deep or hidden. Noun עמק ('emeq) means valley and noun עמק ('omeq) means depth. Adjectives עמק ('ameq) and עמק ('amoq) mean deep, hidden or unintelligible. Plural noun מעמקים (ma'amaqqim) refers to scary depths.
For a meaning of the name Beth-emek, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of The Valley. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes House or Place Of The Valley. BDB Theological Dictionary suggests Valley House.
With the letter ה, this name could also mean: House Toward The Valley.