🔼The name Gemalli: Summary
- Pertaining To The Camel, Pertaining To Investing
- From the verb גמל (gamal), to invest.
🔼The name Gemalli in the Bible
The name Gemalli occurs only once in the Bible. He was the father of Ammiel of the tribe of Dan, who joined the contingent of twelve spies that Moses sent to check out Canaan (Numbers 13:12), along with Hoshea-slash-Joshua, the son of Nun (Numbers 13:8).
🔼Etymology of the name Gemalli
The name Gemalli comes from the complicated verb גמל (gamal), meaning to invest:
The verb גמל (gamal) means to invest, or more precise, to willfully nurture any sort of fledgling toward productive maturity by means of continued input or infusion. And just like an infusion of money has the intended result of returning more money, an infusion of vice will return more vice, and an infusion of virtue will return more virtue.
Noun גמול (gemul) describes a single act of such an investment: a deed that is designed to give a return. Noun גמולה (gemula) means investment. In Jeremiah 51:56 occurs the title El-gemulot, literally: God Of Investments. Noun תגמול (tagmul) also means investment.
Noun גמל (gamal) is the source of our word camel, and a camel was for the ancients primarily a proverbial unit of international trade, comparable to our modern barrel of oil or a tanker — just like the horse was a unit of warfare (our Jeep) and the donkey a unit of civilian transportation (our Volkswagen). That means that when camels feature in an ancient story, that story is probably about international trade rather than about some animal.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (camel-like), a possessive form (my investment), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
Scholars appear to deem the final yod of our name to be the mark of an adjective, which would render Gemalli the meaning of Pertaining To Camels, and to make sense of that, NOBSE Study Bible Name List translates our name with Camel Driver and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads it as Camel Possessor. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the root גמל (gamal).