🔼The name Gibbethon: Summary
- Mound, Lofty Place
- From the root גבב (gabab), to be convex, concave, hollow or high.
🔼The name Gibbethon in the Bible
Somehow the Philistines took control over Gibbethon, and when Nadab, son of Jeroboam, had been king of Israel for about a year, he decided to fight the Philistines over it. At the battle of Gibbethon, Baasha son of Ahijah killed Nadab and continued to also kill all other members of Jeroboam's family and made himself king (1 Kings 15:27).
🔼Etymology of the name Gibbethon
There are several ways to go about the etymology of the name Gibbethon, but it's clear it comes from the following root cluster:
The verb גבב (gabab) doesn't occur in the Bible but it appears to have meant to be concave or convex; to be bulbous or hollow. Noun גב (gab) denotes anything that is bulbous (hills, buttocks).
The verb גוב (gub) means to dig. Noun גב (geb) means pit or ditch. This verb appears to be associated with the verb יגב (yagab), meaning to till (what a farmer does). Noun יגב (yaqeb) probably refers to the field where the farmer tills.
Noun גבא (gebe') appears to describe a hollow in which water collects and is commonly translated with cistern, pool or marsh.
Verb גבה (gaba) means to collect. Nouns גב (geb), גוב (gob), גבי (gobay) and גובי (gobay) refer to locusts. Possibly a whole other verb גבה (gabah) means to be high, exalted or lofty, although this verb could actually describe a person who collected a heap, or who plunders a society like a swarm of locusts. In the Talmud the word for tax collector was derived from this verb. Adjective גבה (gaboah) means high or haughty. Noun גבה (gobah) means height or haughtiness. And noun גבהות (gabhut) means haughtiness.
Verb גבע (gabay) appears to mean the same as גבב (gabab), to be concave or convex. The very common noun גבעה (gib'a) means hill.
The unused verb גבן (gaban) probably meant to be curved, contracted or coagulated. Adjective גבן (giben) means humpbacked. Noun גבינה (gebina) means curd or cheese. Noun גבנן (gabnon) means peak or rounded summit.
A certain grammatical construction that creates a sort of continuous tense of the verb גבב (gabab) is formed from prefixing a נ (nun) and making the double ב (beth) a single one. The result, a verb נגב (nagab) would mean to undulate, to wave, to have shifting dunes. That verb doesn't exist, but a mysterious noun נגב (negeb) does. This noun would thus denote a region with rolling hills, and came to be synonymous with "south".
The familiar waw-nun combination upon which our name ends localizes or personifies the root: place of גבב.
For a meaning of the name Gibbethon, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Mound. BDB Theological Dictionary lists Gibbethon under the root גבב and translates it with Mound, Height.
Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) takes Gibbethon from גבה and translates it as A Lofty Place.