🔼The name Beth-millo: Summary
- House Of Fullness, House Of The Monolith
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the verb מלא (male'), to be full.
🔼The name Beth-millo in the Bible
There's only one Beth-millo in the Bible. It's a city close to Shechem, which is mentioned three times but only in one context, namely in the gruesome story of Abimelech the son of Gideon, also known as Jerubbaal (Judges 9:6, 9:20).
In 2 Kings 12:20 we read how the servants of Joah struck their monarch don at בית מלא. The NIV and JSP translate this with Beth-millo but the NAS, KJV, ASV, Darby and Young translations read "the house of Millo".
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-millo
The name Beth-millo 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 מלא (male') meaning to be full or fulfilled:
The root מלל (malal) relates to the cycle of harvest, storage and redistribution. Various derivative forms emphasize the various stages: the severing of something from its natural origin, or its subsequent storage in dedicated facilities, or the redistribution or overflowing from those facilities.
Verb מלל (malal) may be used to mean to utter or say (and the speaking of the mouth equals the overflowing of the heart). Noun מלה (milla') describes an uttering. Noun מלילה (melila) describes an ear of wheat.
This verb may also emphasize the languishing and withering of whatever was cut off, in which case it has a more common by-form, namely אמל ('amal). Adjectives אמלל ('amelal) and אמלל ('umlal) both mean feeble.
This verb may also be used to mean to circumcise, in which case it has a more common by-form, namely מול (mul). This latter verb comes with a second by-form, namely מהל (mahal), which actually mostly means to weaken.
The verb מלא (male') means to be full, speaking mostly of a storage facility that's been filled with whatever was extracted from the land that produced it. It may also describe a river that's overflowing, or a person who acts from the contents of his heart. Nouns מלא (male') and מלאה (mele'a) mean fullness.
Nouns מלאה (millu'a) and מלאת (mille't) denote the filling of gold with jewels and nouns מלא (millu') and מלוא (millu') describe a setting or installing of monumental stones or the ordination of priests.
The verb מלא (male') is also used in the sense of installing things or people (it also yields the noun מלא or מלוא (millu'), meaning a setting or installing of stones). In Joshua 24:26, Joshua renewed the covenant with the people of Israel and commemorated that with a set-up stone near Shechem. Later, the men of Shechem appear to have honored this covenant with a shrine they called Beth-baal-berith, so it seems likely that Beth-millo was named after that. As such it means House (Temple) Of The Monolith.
For some reason, none of the sources we commonly consult translate the name Beth-millo (or refer to Joshua 24:26), and only discuss the name Millo (a village near or quarter of Jerusalem).
For a meaning of the name Millo, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Terrace, Elevation. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Rampart or "a mound filled with stones and earth". BDB Theological Dictionary lists the names Millo and Beth-millo under the root מלא (male') and submits the opinion of Gesenius, who believed it meant Fill "of earth, or earthwork".