🔼The name Beth-gamul: Summary
- House Of [Return Upon] Investment
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the verb גמל (gamal), to invest.
🔼The name Beth-gamul in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-gamul
The name Beth-gamul 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 comes from the verb גמל (gamal), which appears to be an economical term having to do with investing:
The verb גמל (gamal) means to invest, or more precise, to willfully nurture any sort of fledgling toward productive maturity by means of continued input or infusion. And just like an infusion of money has the intended result of returning more money, an infusion of vice will return more vice, and an infusion of virtue will return more virtue.
Noun גמול (gemul) describes a single act of such an investment: a deed that is designed to give a return. Noun גמולה (gemula) means investment. In Jeremiah 51:56 occurs the title El-gemulot, literally: God Of Investments. Noun תגמול (tagmul) also means investment.
Noun גמל (gamal) is the source of our word camel, and a camel was for the ancients primarily a proverbial unit of international trade, comparable to our modern barrel of oil or a tanker — just like the horse was a unit of warfare (our Jeep) and the donkey a unit of civilian transportation (our Volkswagen). That means that when camels feature in an ancient story, that story is probably about international trade rather than about some animal.
For a meaning of the name Beth-gamul, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of Recompense, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has House Of The Recompensed and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Place Of Recompense.