🔼The name Chelubai: Summary
- Of The Basket, Of The Bird Cage
- From the noun כלוב (kelub), basket with fruit or cage with birds.
🔼The name Chelubai in the Bible
The name Chelubai occurs only once in the Bible. In 1 Chronicles 2:9 he is mentioned as a son of Hezron of Judah. This Hezron is also the father of a man named Caleb, and Caleb isn't mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:9, so scholars assume that the name Caleb (כלב) is a shortened version of the name Chelubai (כלובי).
🔼Etymology of the name Chelubai
The name Chelubai is the word כלוב (kelub), meaning cage or basket, extended with the letter י (yod):
The noun כלב (keleb) means dog, but it's not clear what verb it comes from, and thus, essentially, how a dog was seen. But perhaps this verb spoke of the rise of domesticated dogs: when the most willing among wolves became feral dogs, and the most willing among those entered into human captivity. Another word that may derive from this same mystery verb is the noun כלוב (kelub), which describes a basket with fruit or a cage with birds.
And since the pedigree of these words is missing, one may be forgiven to note a resemblance with the particle כ (ke), meaning 'like' or 'as if,' and the noun לב (leb), meaning heart, understanding or courage (the noun לבי, lebi literally means "heart-having" and described the lion). That way the word כלב (keleb = dog) could, somewhat creatively, be understood to mean 'as if it has a heart' or 'as if it understands.'
Across the ancient world, feral canines were regarded with great disdain. In the eyes of humans, canines' obvious cunning served mostly to sneak into camp in the night and purloin provisions and take off either laughing or loudly complaining. Domesticated dogs were appreciated for their willingness to serve, but their lowly origins and were never forgotten and their obvious lack of refinery served many a metaphor for low functioning humans.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either turn the noun into a possessive form: my basket; or it turns the noun into an adjective: basket-like or even ethnonym: of-the-basket; or it is a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.
For a meaning of the name Chelubai, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names interprets the source of the word כלוב (kelub) to be a verb that means to interweave or bind, and the final י as a remnant of YHWH, and reads Binding Together Of The Lord.
Neither NOBSE Study Bible Name List nor BDB Theological Dictionary interprets this name.