🔼The name Garmite: Summary
- Bony, Bone Breaker
- From the noun גרם (gerem), bone.
🔼The name Garmite in the Bible
The "name" Garmite occurs only once in the Bible. It's the cognomen of Keilah of Judah, the cousin (?) of Eshtemoa "the Maacathite" (1 Chronicles 4:19). How these two cousins fit into the Judean family tree is unclear, but see our article on the name Hodiah for a discussion of this conundrum.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Garmite
The name Garmite comes from the verb גרם (garam), but probably more specific from the noun גרם (gerem), meaning bone, or the denominative verb גרם (garam), meaning to break bones:
The verb גרם (garam) means to leave over, to save for later. Derived noun גרם (gerem) means bone and denominative verb גרם (garam) means to break bones.
Our name is an adjective, probably formed from the noun גרם (gerem), meaning bone. In Hebrew, adjectives also serve as ethnonyms; those words that describe where folks are from. For instance, the noun ישראל means Israel and the adjective ישראלי literally means Israelitish; the Hebrew word for Israelite. In other words, the name Garmite may very well denote someone from a place called Garam, and even though this place is not mentioned in the Bible, it may very well have existed.
But Garmite may also be a regular adjective, a nickname. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) translates our name with Bony and explains this with "so called from the great strength of his bones". Here at Abarim Publications we are not so sure about that. Keilah the Garmite is mentioned in tandem with Eshtemoa the Maacathite, and Maacathite comes from a verb that means to press, squeeze or oppress. It seems that these two cousins are mentioned on account of their notoriety for being pernicious: Keilah the Bone Breaker and Eshtemoa the Ball Buster.