🔼The name Epher: Summary
- Dust, Ore, Malleable, Young [Deer]
- From the verb עפר ('aphar), to be malleable or dust-like.
🔼The name Epher in the Bible
There are three Ephers mentioned in the Bible:
🔼Etymology of the name Epher
The name Epher looks like it comes from the verb עפר ('aphar):
The unused verb עפר ('apar) probably described the condition between a consistent solid and either dust or a liquid, when the material is not exactly a formless liquid but can still be easily manipulated or scooped up. Note that in the Biblical symbolic jargon, fact-based knowledge equals dry land, and the unknown equals liquid. Our verb also describes the situation that occurs when facts are being learned from unclearness, or when an adored theory turns to dust by the sledge-hammer of an inexplicable event.
The ubiquitous noun עפר ('apar) is used to describe dust, loose earth, debris or ruins, mortar or metal ore. Noun עפר ('oper) refers to a young stag or a young male deer (in other languages this word may describe the young of any animal, for obvious reasons).
Noun עפרת ('operet) denotes some kind of metal, probably lead. Lead, of course, is highly malleable at room temperatures and can be easily melted in a domestic fire or hearth (metals like copper and iron require highly efficient ovens).
The name Epher may come from the noun עפר ('apar), meaning dust, and that's not unprecedented as the name Adam means Made From Earth. In that sense, Epher means Dustling, perhaps with the connotation of Any Wind Can Blow Him.
All the consulted sources, however, go with the meaning of stag: For a meaning of the name Epher, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Young Deer. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names renders A Young Hart.