🔼The name Bileam: Summary
- Destruction Of The People
- From (1) the verb בלע (bala'), to swallow, and (2) the noun עם ('am), people or kinsman.
🔼The name Bileam in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Bileam
The name Bileam is the same as Balaam, and the etymology of this name isn't certain, although most probably it consists of two parts. The first part seems to have been derived from the verb בלע (bala'), meaning to swallow:
The verb בלע (bala') means to swallow with the implication of destruction of what was swallowed. Noun בלע (bela) means either a swallowing and by implication: a destruction, or a thing swallowed or destroyed.
The second part of the name Bileam probably comes from the noun עם ('im), people:
The verb עמם ('mm) probably expressed to be inclusive or comprehensive. Its rare uses in the Bible relate to making secrets or making info available to an in-crowd. Preposition עם ('im) means 'with', מעם (me'im) means 'from', and עמה ('umma) means 'beside'. Noun עם ('am) means a people, ranging from all of mankind to the in-crowd of a small village. Noun עם ('am) refers to one's (paternal) kinsman.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names refers without further ado to the name Balaam, which he translates with Destruction Of The People. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate Bileam. NOBSE Study Bible Name List seems to go with the Hebrew verb בלע (bala'), swallow up, and reads a very liberal Greed.