🔼The name Gibeath-haaraloth: Summary
- Hill Of The Foreskins
- From (1) the noun גבעה (gib'a), hill, (2) ה (ha), "the" or "unto", and (3) the noun ערלה ('orla), foreskin.
🔼The name Gibeath-haaraloth in the Bible
It's not clear whether Gibeath-haaraloth was supposed to be considered a proper name by the author of the account. It's the name of the place where Joshua circumcised Israel a second time, after they had crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land (Exodus 5:2-3).
Gibeath-haaraloth isn't mentioned again in the Bible, and since it translates as Hill of Foreskins, it seems to some commentators that it isn't a proper name. Hence the King James reads "the hill of the foreskins," as does the American Standard Version. The Young Translation reads the similar "height of the foreskins". The Darby Translation has the rather inconsistent "hill of Araloth".
🔼Etymology of the name Gibeath-haaraloth
The "name" Gibeath-haaraloth consists of three elements. The first part comes from the noun גבעה (gib'a), meaning hill, from the root גבע (gb'):
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 second part of our name starts with the letter ה (he), which serves here as either the definite article ("the"), or else as particle of direction ("towards the") or ascription ("of the").
The third element of our name is the regular plural form of the feminine noun ערלה ('orla), meaning foreskin:
The unused verb The root ערל ('aral) is of unclear pedigree and meaning, which is a shame because it yields the important noun ערלה ('orla), meaning foreskin. This noun occurs exclusively in discussions on circumcision, which appears to have been a ritual aimed to teach people that their hearts and ears and even lips were to be sensitive to the Words of Yah. The associated verb מול (mul) means to circumcise.
The name Gibeath-haaraloth literally means Hill Of The Foreskins but it implies a transition from being like all the others to becoming special (specially sensitive) to YHWH. In that sense our name also means Elevated From Insensitivity.