🔼The name Beth-nimrah: Summary
- House Of The Leopard
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the noun נמר (namer), leopard.
🔼The name Beth-nimrah in the Bible
The name Beth-nimrah occurs twice in the Bible. It's the name of a city which originally belonged to king Sihon of the Amorites but which was annexed to the territory of the tribe of Gad and subsequently fortified (Numbers 32:36, Joshua 13:27). Since Gad occupied an area on the east side of the river Jordan, Beth-nimrah is often equated with the Moabite cities Nimrah and Nimrim.
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-nimrah
The name Beth-nimrah 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 appears to be a feminine noun derived from the root נמר (nmr):
Noun נמר (namer) means leopard, the proverbially fast-running predator with the spotted pelt. It's unclear where this noun comes from but perhaps from a verb that means to glitter or that describes the purity of water.
For a meaning of the name Beth-nimrah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of The Leopard and BDB Theological Dictionary has Place Of Leopard. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes House Of Pure Water.