🔼The name Hammuel: Summary
- Anger Of God, Heat Of God
- From (1) the verb חמם (hamam), to be hot, and (2) the word אל ('el), God.
🔼The name Hammuel in the Bible
The name Hammuel occurs only once in the Bible, and that merely in a genealogy. Hammuel is a son of Mishma and Mishma is a son of Simeon, the second son of Jacob and Leah, and the patriarch of one of the twelve tribes of Israel (1 Chronicles 4:26).
🔼Etymology of the name Hammuel
The name Hammuel consists of two (or rather three) elements, the final one being אל (El), either the prominent Canaanite deity whose name became applied to the God of Israel, or the common abbreviation of Elohim, the genus God:
In names אל ('el) usually refers to אלהים ('elohim), that is Elohim, or God, also known as אלה ('eloah). In English, the words 'God' and 'god' exclusively refer to the deity but in Hebrew the words אל ('l) and אלה ('lh) are far more common and may express approach and negation, acts of wailing and pointing, and may even mean oak or terebinth.
The first element of our name is probably the word חם (ham or hom), meaning hot or heat, from the verb חמם (hamam), meaning to be hot:
The verb חמם (hamam) means to be hot and is sometimes used to describe mental agitation. Nouns חם (hom) and חמה (hamma) mean heat. Adjective חם (ham) means hot. The noun חמן (hamman) denotes a kind of mysterious small pillar (perhaps a device?).
The verb יחם (yaham) also means to be hot, but mostly in a mental sense: to be exited or angered. The noun חמה (hema) mostly refers to a severe mental "burning": anger or rage.
The verb חמה (hmh) is not used in the Bible, but in cognate languages it means to surround, guard or protect. Perhaps this verb has nothing to do with the previous and only accidentally looks similar, but perhaps it ties into the fact that natural open fires aren't very warm and smelting metals require sophisticated ovens. Noun חם (ham) means father-in-law and its feminine equivalent, חמות (hamot), means mother-in-law — and note that the Trojan theme of the "girl" kept in the city of her forceful lover is very common in classical literature. Noun חומה (homa) describes a protective wall.
The noun חום (hum) describes a color or pattern of coloration of sheep and goats. It's not clear whether this pattern resembled sparks, fire or enclosures, or perhaps that this word in not related to the previous.
Noun חמת (hemet) means waterskin and may derive from a wholly different verb. Still, the verb נהר (nahar) means both to flow (of water) and to shine (of light) and a waterskin filled with water is not unlike a kiln containing a very warm fire.
The letter ו (waw) in the middle is a bit of a mystery. BDB Theological Dictionary seems to suggest that our name exists in Sabean also, but in the form חמאל (Hamel), which could translate as Heat/Anger Of God. Normally a waw serves as particle of conjunction, which can usually be translated with "and," but it may also be used to mean "so" or "therefore".
The name Hammuel seems to express a complex idea; an idea in which the deity is juxtaposed with man's most primal emotions. Perhaps Hammuel means [Man has] Passions And Thus [Needs] God, or (if we take our name from the verb חמה) A Protection in God slash God Protects.
For a meaning of the name Hammuel, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Anger Of God. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has the slightly more daring Heat Of God. BDB Theological Dictionary declares the meaning of our name an unsolved mystery, but does list it under the verb חמם (hamam), meaning to be hot.