🔼The name Gath: Summary
- From the noun גת (gat), winepress.
🔼The name Gath in the Bible
Gath is a Philistine city, and a person from Gath is called a Gittite. Gath was one of the Famous Five listed in Joshua 13:3 as part of the area that still remained to be conquered at the end of Joshua's life: Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, Ekron and Avva (which are actually six names, so we may assume that two of them belong together somehow).
In a war against Israel, during the judgeship of Eli, the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant and stored it briefly in Gath (1 Samuel 5:8). But the Ark caused plagues of sickness and rodents and the Philistines sent it back, along with five golden tumors and five golden mice; one for each of the Famous Five. It stays first in the house of Abinadab, but then goes to stay with Obed-edom of Gath (2 Samuel 6:10).
But the city of Gath is remembered mostly for being the birthplace of the giant Goliath of Gath, who was famously slain by young David of Judah (1 Samuel 17:4). Goliath was not the only giant from Gath, since he had at least one huge brother and four huge sons: Ishbi-benob, who was killed by Abishai, Saph, who was killed by Sibbecai, Goliath the Second, who was killed by Elhanan, who also killed Lahmi the brother of Goliath the First (1 Chronicles 20:5), and an unnamed giant who was killed by David's nephew Jonathan (2 Samuel 21:15-22).
In fact, Gath was a regular hot-spot for giants. The last of the Anakim also took refuge there, as well as in Gaza and Ashdod (Joshua 11:22). And when David had to run from king Saul, he fled to Gath twice (1 Samuel 21:10 and 27:3). Much later, king David actually conquered Gath in a war against the Philistines (1 Chronicles 18:1), and king Rehoboam fortified it (2 Chronicles 11:8). But Israel lost Gath again to king Hazael of Aram (2 Kings 12:17). Later still, king Uzziah of Judah warred against the Philistines, who then apparently had Gath back, and destroyed its wall (2 Chronicles 26:6).
Note that by the time of David, the Gittites had joined Israel's military (2 Samuel 15:18).
🔼Etymology of the name Gath
The name Gath comes from an assumed root יגן and is identical to the noun גת (gat), meaning winepress:
The verb יגן (yagan) probably meant to beat or press, since the derived noun גת (gat) describes a wine-press.
For a meaning of the name Gath, all consulted sources read Winepress.