🔼The name Hamran: Summary
- Red, Beginner
- From the verb חמר (hamar), to begin to flow slowly.
🔼The name Hamran in the Bible
The name Hamran is one of quite a few names that are spelled with the letter ר (resh) in Chronicles, but with a ד (daleth) in other books of the Bible.
It's clear that the Hebrew letters ר and ד show some similarity but it's highly unlikely that these differences emerged because professional Hebrew scribes (who knew their Scriptures by heart) mistook one for the other. Much more likely is their origin in a literary ploy with which the author of Chronicles preserved information but which is unfamiliar to us.
🔼Etymology of the name Hamran
The name Hamran appears to derive from the root group חמר (hmr), with a final nun perhaps as an intensifier:
The verb חמר (hamar) means to begin to slowly flow. It expresses a slow progression or a tranquil flowing forth, emphasizes the beginning of such a process and is hence associated with the color red (the color of sun-rise, metal that starts to melt, grapes that start to ripen, and so on).
Noun חמר (hemar) describes bitumen or naturally seeping tar and חמר (homer) refers to reddish clay or natural cement. The denominative verb חמר (hamar) means to smear with mud or asphalt.
Noun חמר (homer) describes heaps of a near-liquid mass (particularly dead frogs or grains), and was also used as the largest standard unit of volume (equivalent to about one or two modern barrels). Noun חמר (hamor) too means heap or pile.
Noun יחמור (yahmur) describes a roebuck or a somewhat reddish deer. Noun חמור (hamor) is one of a few words for donkey. Scholars have long surmised that this word was chosen to describe the animal because the latter was red, until they realized that donkeys in the Levant are grey. Instead, donkeys had become a symbol for the beginning of human civilization, trade and civilian transport, and for that reason were called red (which is also how the Red Sea got its name).
For a meaning of the name Hamran, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Intensely Red.