🔼The name Beth-zur: Summary
- House Of Rock
- From (1) the noun בית (beth), house, and (2) the noun צור (sur), rock.
🔼The name Beth-zur in the Bible
There are one town and what appears to be one man named Beth-zur in the Bible:
- Beth-zur the man is a son of Maon of Judah, although it's not unlikely that this Beth-zur is actually a town and Maon its founder or mayor (1 Chronicles 2:45). In the verses that follow we also come across the "fathers" of such well-known towns as Kiriath-jearim (2:50) and Bethlehem (2:51).
- Beth-zur the town is mentioned first as the post-invasion inheritance of the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:58). It still existed in the time of the kings, when king Rehoboam of Judah fortified it along with some other Judaic settlements (2 Chronicles 11:7). It grew to an influential town, even so much that by the time of the return from the Babylonian exile, one of the restoration workers was the son of Azbuk, who was the official over half the district of Beth-zur, suggesting that the whole district was too large for one man to handle (Nehemiah 3:16).
🔼Etymology of the name Beth-zur
The name Beth-zur 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 the common noun צור (sur), meaning rock, but can in fact be any of the below:
- Verb צור (sur I) probably means to lean or incline. Noun צואר (sawwa'r) means neck and צורון (sawwaron) means necklace.
- Verb צור (sur II) means to confine, secure or besiege. Noun מצור (masor) means siege and מצורה (mesura) means stronghold. This verb relates to verb צרר (sarar I).
- Verb צור (sur III) means to be an adversary. It relates to צרר (sarar II).
- Verb צור (sur IV) means to form or fashion. Noun צורה (sura) means form and noun ציר (sir) means image. This verb relates to יצר (yasar).
- Verb צור (sur V) probably relates to verb צרר (sarar III) and probably means to be sharp. The important noun צור (sur) means rock, and is equivalent to the Greek noun πετρα (petra), from which comes the name Peter.
- Verb צרר (sarar I) means to bind and relates to צור (sur II). Adjective צר (sar) means narrow. Nouns צר (sar) and צרה (sara) mean distress and yield denominative verb צרה (sara), meaning to suffer distress. Noun צרור (seror) means bundle or parcel. Noun מצר (mesar) means distress.
- Verb צרר (sarar II) means to show hostility and relates to verb צור (sur III). Noun צר (sar) means adversary. Noun צרה (sara) means vexer or rival-wife. Denominative verb צרר (sarar) means to create a rival wife.
- Verb צרר (sarar III) probably means to be sharp and relates to צור (sur V). Nouns צר (sar), צר (sor) and צרור (seror) mean flint or pebble.
Verb יצר (yasar) means to fashion or form and relates to צור (sur IV). Noun יצר (yeser) denotes that what is formed, and noun יצרים (yesurim) means forms or members.
Verb צרה (srh) probably describes the bleeding of an odoriferous tree. Noun צרי (sari) denotes a kind of costly balsam.
For a meaning of the name Beth-zur, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads House Of A Rock. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has House Of The Rock. And BDB Theological Dictionary proposes House Of Rock.