🔼The name Beth-marcaboth: Summary
- House Of The Chariots
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the noun מרכבה (markaba), chariot.
🔼The name Beth-marcaboth in the Bible
The name Beth-marcaboth belongs to a city which was occupied by the tribe of Simeon (Joshua 19:5, 1 Chronicles 4:31). The cities of Simeon were located in Judah, and most Simeonite cities are also mentioned as part of the inheritance of Judah (Joshua 15) but Beth-marcaboth is an exception to this.
Note that in Joshua 19:5 this name is spelled with a maqqep and the particle of designation in front of the marcaboth-part: בית־המרכבות. In Chronicles this name is spelled בית מרכבות.
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-marcaboth
The name Beth-marcaboth 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 plural form of the noun מרכבה (markaba), meaning chariot:
The verb רכב (rakab) essentially means to utterly control or take utter control over, and is used to describe the riding of animals such as horses and camels, but mostly riding and controlling chariots. The derived noun רכב (rekeb) literally denotes something driven or controlled, such as the heavy millstone of an industrial grinder, but is mostly used to describe chariots.
Other derivations are: the noun רבכה (rikba), a driving; the noun רכב (rakkab), driver; the noun רכוב (rekub), (God's) chariot; the noun מרכב (merkab), literally "place/agent of driving". This word is used to describe anything from a seat or saddle to the whole of an army's chariotry. The noun מרכבה (markaba) denotes a single chariot.
For a meaning of the name Beth-marcaboth, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of The Chariots, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has House Of Chariots and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Place Of Chariots.
Note that our name בית מרכבות (Beth-marcaboth) bears a striking resemblance to בית־רכב (Beth-rechab), meaning the House Of Rechab, which was typically not a town because the "sons of Rechab" vowed to never live in one (Jeremiah 35:7).