🔼The name Debir: Summary
- Place Of The Word
- From the verb דבר (dabar), to pronounce or formalize.
🔼The name Debir in the Bible
There's only one person named Debir (דביר) in the Bible, namely a king of Eglon whose allegiance Adoni-zedek, the Jebusite king of Jerusalem, seeks after Joshua has sacked Jericho and Ai (Joshua 10:3).
There are also a few towns named Debir:
- One in Judah (דבר, Joshua 10:38, 11:21, 12:13, 15:15, 15:49, 21:15), also known as Kiriath-sepher (Joshua 15:15 and Judges 1:11, spelled דביר) and Kiriath-sannah (Joshua 15:49). Caleb offers his daughter Achsah as a wife to whoever will conquer this town, and Othniel the son of Kenaz captures it and gets the girl (Joshua 17). This town also becomes one of the cities of refuge assigned to the Levitical priests (Joshua 21:15).
- Another town or region named Debir lies east of the Jordan which may actually also be spelled לדבר (Lidbir; Joshua 13:26).
- And then there is (probably) another town in Judah named Debir (Joshua 15:7).
🔼Etymology of the name Debir
The word דביר is identical to a nickname of the Holy of Holies in Solomon's temple, and is derived of the magnificent root דבר (dabar), generally meaning word:
The verb דבר (dabar) means to formalize: to deliberately establish and pronounce something's name or definition. This causes the thing to become "real" in the mind of whoever understands this word, name or definition, and this in turn explains why all of creation was spoken into being, and Man in turn "named" all the animals by their name and finally his Wife by hers (Genesis 2:19-23). This principle sits at the base of nominal reasoning and thus human awareness and ultimately Information Technology.
Noun דבר (dabar) means word. It also means "thing" since the naming of a thing causes the experienced reality of the thing. All thus created "things" together form the whole of experienceable reality, which in turn is called the Word of God.
Noun דבר (deber) describes any deadly pestilence, which is a "word" that breaks unstable compounds apart. In nature this occurs via the Weak Nuclear Force. The ability of unstable compounds to break apart sits at the heart of all progress and thus all reality.
The rare noun דבר (dober), refers to a pasture; probably a well defined fenced-in field upon which sheep graze. Figuratively this word obviously refers to some specific Holy Book from which a community feeds (the books of the Bible originated as separate works, with their separate adherers). Noun דברה (dibra) means matter or issue, and the similar noun דבורה (deborah) describes the bee (this probably because bees make honey, and "milk and honey" denote essential sustenance). The noun דביר (debir) was a nickname for the Holy of Holies and means "place of the word".
The noun מדבר (midbar) literally means "place of wording" and is used once to mean mouth and 270 times to mean wilderness, and because a wilderness is a place without cultivation, any cultivation needs to spring up in a wilderness. And anybody serious about the quest for true insight needs to leave the culture (or religion) of his heritage behind and spend a stint in the uncharted wild. All major players in the Bible did so.
One of the towns called Debir was also known as Kiriath-sepher (Judges 1:11). Kiriath means town, and sepher (ספר), means book. Some translators render this name 'oracle' and perhaps for the king's name this may be. But the town whose name was first Town Of The Book, and whose new name is identical to the name of the Holy of Holies may certainly have become known as Place Of The Word.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names both read Oracle.