🔼The name Dimnah: Summary
- Dung Heap
- From the verb דמן (dmn), to produce waste.
🔼The name Dimnah in the Bible
The name Dimnah occurs only once in the Bible. It's listed as one of four cities that the tribe of Zebulun gave to the Merarite Levites (Joshua 21:35). The Chronicler submits that Zebulun and Reuben together gave twelve cities to the Merarites, but doesn't list them by name (1 Chronicles 6:63). But the Chronicler also reports that Zebulun gave cities to the other Levites, namely Rimmono (רמונו) and Tabor (6:77).
Rimmono is arguably the same as Rimmon (רמון), mentioned as a town in Zebulun (Joshua 19:13), and since the letters ד (daleth) and ר (rosh) look somewhat alike, and the Chronicler made it an obvious sport to garble names — some scholars speak of text errors but that is positively nonsense; there are too many of them, and the Chronicler can only have been a professional scribe and most probably a whole school of them, who didn't do anything without a deliberate intention — our town Dimnah may be the same as Rimmon.
🔼Etymology of the name Dimnah
The name Dimnah appears to come from the rather unflattering root דמן (dmn), having to do with producing waste or manure:
The root דמם (ddm) is all about beginnings — or rather the simplicity from whence complexity arises — from being still before the noise starts to being monochromatic before color vision starts. Verb דמם (damam) means to be still, noun דממה (demama) denotes calmness and דמה (dumma) denotes a silenced person. Noun דומה (duma) describes the silence of death, noun דומיה or דמיה (dumiya) the silence of waiting and noun דומם (dumam) the silence of inertia or inactivity.
Verb דמה (dama I) describes making a (still) image. Nouns דמות (demut) and דמין (dimyon) mean likeness. Verb דמה (dama II) means to stop, halt or arrest. Noun דמי (domi) means a halting. Whatever the unused verb דמן (dmn) might have meant, noun דמן (domen) denotes refuse and מדמנה (madmena) a manure pit.
Unused verb אדם ('dm) may have meant to produce or begin to produce. Noun אדם (adam) is one of a few words for man but means literally probably "product" or likeness-made-from-soil; man as corporeal unit of humanity. This word is never used in plural, and its feminine equivalent, namely אדמה (adama), denotes arable soil or clay-red earth.
Red is the first color a baby learns to see and red or ruddy is indeed the color of rudiment: verb אדם ('adom or 'adem) means to be red, adjective אדם ('adom) means red, noun אדם ('odem) denotes a ruddy gem, possibly quartz, noun אדם ('edom) denotes a kind of red stew, adjective אדמדם ('adamiddam) means reddish, and adjective אדמוני (admoni) means red or ruddy.
The ubiquitous noun דם (dam) means blood; the seat of life.
For a meaning of the name Dimnah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Dung Heap and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Dunghill. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the root דמן (dmn).