🔼The name Beth-haccerem: Summary
- House Of The Vineyard
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the noun כרם (kerem), vineyard.
🔼The name Beth-haccerem in the Bible
The name Beth-haccerem occurs twice in the Bible. It's the name of a village, presumably in the territory of Benjamin, as the prophet Jeremiah admonishes the sons of Benjamin to flee from Jerusalem (which was situated in Judah), blow a trumpet in Tekoa (which is a mountain in Judah), and raise a signal over Beth-haccerem (Jeremiah 6:1). Since Jerusalem and Tekoa are both Judaic locations, the link with Benjamin lies probably in Beth-haccerem.
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-haccerem
The name Beth-haccerem 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 noun כרם (kerem), meaning vineyard:
The noun כרם (kerem) means vineyard. It occurs in many Semitic languages but its ultimate origin is unclear. Vineyards are mentioned over ninety times in the Old Testament, and in poetical and metaphorical passages the vineyard is a dominant symbol that commonly denotes the whole of mankind's culture. The derived noun כרמל (karmel) means plantation. An obviously related word is יין (yayan), meaning wine.
The ha with which the second part of our name begins is the letter ה (he), which is either the definite article ("the"), or else a particle of direction ("towards the") or ascription ("of the").
For a meaning of the name Beth-haccerem, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read House Of The Vineyard. BDB Theological Dictionary offers a meager Vineyard Place.