🔼The name Bilhah: Summary
- Trouble, Calamity
- From the noun בלהה (ballaha), terror or calamity, from the verb בלה (balah), to trouble.
🔼The name Bilhah in the Bible
Bilhah is one of four arch-mothers of Israel (Genesis 29:29). She is Rachel's maiden and mother of Dan and Naphtali. Reuben, son of Jacob and Leah, copulates with her, and forfeits his status of first-born (Genesis 35:22, 49:3-4).
Bilhah is also the name of a town of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:29), which is perhaps the same as the town named בעלה (Baalah) in Joshua 15:29, בלה (Balah) in Joshua 19:3 and בעלי יהודה (Baale-judah) in 2 Samuel 6:2
🔼Etymology of the name Bilhah
The name Bilhah is spelled identical to (albeit pronounced slightly different as) the feminine noun בלהה (ballaha), meaning terror or calamity, from the verb בלה (balah II), meaning to trouble:
Verb בלה (bala) means to wear out, annul or use until worthlessness. Adjective בלה (baleh) means worn out. Noun בלוא (belo) describes worn out things or rags. Noun תבלית (tablit) means annihilation or destruction.
Adverb of negation בל (bal) means not. Noun בלי (beli) describes a wearing out, a destruction or a worthlessness. Noun בלימה (belima) meaning nothingness. Noun בליעל (beliya'al) means worthlessness.
Noun בלהה (ballaha) means terror or calamity, but some scholars insists that this noun stems from a second, yet identical verb בלה (bala II), to trouble. If this verb is not a whole other one, it evidently describes trouble of a courage draining and strength depleting nature.
BDB Theological Dictionary pronounces the etymology of our name dubious and does not offer a possible meaning. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Timidity. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Foolish.