🔼The name Hapharaim: Summary
- Two Digs, Two Shames
- From the verb חפר (hapar), to dig, or חפר (haper), to be ashamed.
🔼The name Hapharaim in the Bible
The name Hapharaim occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of a town or location that was contained within the territory assigned to the tribe of Issachar (Joshua 19:19), and Issachar's land was located east of the Sea of Galilee, just south of Zebulun's and north of Manasseh's land.
🔼Etymology of the name Hapharaim
The name Hapharaim appears to be a plural (or dual) form of a noun that's not otherwise used in the Bible, but it clearly comes from either of the verbs חפר (hapar/haper):
The verb חפר (hapar) means to dig, both in order to unearth something and to burry something. Hence this verb may be used both to describe (1) a quest for something wanted, and (2) a quest to obscure something unwanted.
The latter usage appears to have evolved into its own verb, namely חפר (haper), to be ashamed, again both because (1) something secret was exposed or (2) something embarrassing is sought to be covered.
The noun חפרפרה (haparpara) describes a kind of animal, probably a mole.
For a meaning of the name Hapharaim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Double Pit and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Two Wells. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate the name Hapharaim but does list it under the verb חפר (hapar), meaning to dig.
Note that the Hebrew language has frequently-used words for pit and well which have nothing to do with either of the verbs חפר. If our name comes from חפר (hapar), it would mean Two Digs, but it may just as well come from חפר (haper) and mean Two Shames.