🔼The name Chimham: Summary
- From the verb כמה (kama), to thirst.
🔼The name Chimham in the Bible
There only one man named Chimham in the Bible, and he is mentioned only in 2 Samuel 19:37-40, in a scene that played in the aftermath of Absalom's rebellion.
King David was being restored by his allies and enemies alike, and as he passed at the Jordan to review the state of affairs, Barzillai the Gileadite came down from Rogelim to meet the king. The king invited him to join him in crossing the river and stay with him in Jerusalem, but Barzillai preferred his own estate and politely declined.
But in order to provide David with an opportunity to reward the house of Barzillai for all its help, and probably also to have an ambassadorial presence at David's court, Barzillai gave David his servant Chimham. What further became of Chimham or Barzillai isn't told, but the "sons of Barzillai" remained welcome at the court until the reign of Solomon (1 Kings 2:7). The prophet Jeremiah makes mention of a town named either simply Chimham or else a more elaborate Geruth Chimham (Jeremiah 41:17), which was located near Bethlehem, the city of David, which suggests a connection with Chimham the man.
For undisclosed reasons, our name is spelled כמהם (Chimham) in 2 Samuel 19:37 and 19:38, but כמהן (Chimhan) in 19:40. Also note the striking use of feet in this scene, from the feet of the lame Mephibosheth to the town where Barzillai came from: Rogelim, meaning feet.
🔼Etymology of the name Chimham
The name Chimham comes from the verb כמה (kama), to thirst:
The verb כמה (kama) means to thirst but specifically expresses a desire for liquidity in the exchange of knowledge and wisdom (rather than the light of wisdom itself, or the eventual productivity that results from having wisdom). This verb also resembles the particle of comparison כמו (kemo), "as if" or "like".
For a meaning of the name Chimham, NOBSE Study Bible Name List has Pining and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Great Desire. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation for this name.