🔼The name Gittite: Summary
- From Gath, From The Winepress
- From the noun גת (gat), winepress.
🔼The name Gittite in the Bible
Gittite (גתית) is not really a name but a feminine ethnonym. It denotes a female inhabitant of the Philistine city of Gath (גת). A male person from Gath would be a גתי (gitty; Gathite, although most translations read Gittite anyway), and that is an adjective.
Famous (male) Gathites are Goliath and Obed-edom, but there are no (female) Gittites mentioned in the Bible. Still, while the Philistine culture ended and their people were deported to Babylon, the Gittites survived at David's court (2 Samuel 15:18).
Our "name" only occurs in three Psalm titles — namely those of Psalm 8, 81 and 84 — in the phrase על־הגתית, meaning "upon the Gittite". What "the Gittite" exactly denotes isn't formally known but here at Abarim Publications we surmise it has to do with vowel notation. See our article on the name Philistines for the details.
🔼Etymology of the name Gittite
The name Gittite, as does the name Gath, comes from the root יגן, and is derived from 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.
The name Gittite literally means Winepressish or From The Winepress. NOBSE Study Bible Name List explains this name as Belonging To Gath, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names explains it as being a musical instrument. BDB Theological Dictionary reports that the Targum teaches the Gittite to be a lyre, but also submits the other explanations listed above.