🔼The name Bimhal: Summary
- Son Of Circumcision, In Weakening
- From (1) either ב (be), in, or בן (ben), son, and (2) the verb מלל (malal), to sever.
🔼The name Bimhal in the Bible
The name Bimhal occurs only once in the Bible, and that in a genealogy of Asher without further details. Bimhal was a son of Japhlet, who was a son of Heber, who was a son of Beriah, who was a son of Asher, the eighth son of Jacob and second of Zilpah. The tribe of Asher occupied the northern most area of the territory of Israel.
🔼Etymology of the name Bimhal
The structure of the name Bimhal is generally agreed upon, but the meaning of the actual name elements isn't. The letter B with which our name begins may either be the common prefix ב (beth), which means "in" or "through which":
Prefix ב (be) means in, within or by means of.
Or it is a contracted form of the familiar noun בן (ben), meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
The second element of our name probably derives from the verb מהל (mahal), which may be a by-form of the verb מול (mul II), meaning to circumcise, but it may also be drawn from an even more fundamental meaning of severance or weakening:
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.
For a meaning of the name Bimhal, NOBSE Study Bible Name List sees in the B the prefix, and interprets our mystery verb with a rather ridiculous "to prune". Hence NOBSE renders Bimhal as With Pruning, which, after allowing for maximum creativity, is ultimately incorrect.
Both Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) and BDB Theological Dictionary see the B as a contracted ben. Jones translates our name with a rather imprecise Son Of Mixture, and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes a rather too precise Son Of Circumcision.
Also see our article on the verb περιτεμνω (peritemno), to circumcise.