🔼The name Harosheth-hagoyim: Summary
- Carving Of The Nations, Silence Of The Gentiles
- From the root חרש (harash), to carve data, and (2) the noun גוי (goy), people or nation.
🔼The name Harosheth-hagoyim in the Bible
Harosheth-hagoyim was the home of general Sisera, who was killed by Jael during the war of Naphtali and Zebulun against Jabin, king of Hazor in Canaan (Judges 4:2). The lead players of this war on the side of Israel were the general Barak and the judge Deborah.
The name Harosheth-hagoyim occurs three times in the fourth chapter of Judges (Judges 4:2, 4:13 and 4:16) but it is not wholly sure whether Harosheth-hagoyim is actually a name in its entirety. The final part means "of the nations" or "of the gentiles" and contains the word-or-name Goiim, which means "nations" (see below).
Neither the Septuagint nor the Vulgate considered -hagoyim as part of the name Harosheth and translated it with words derived from εθνος (ethnos) and gens. The King James followed this custom and spoke of Harosheth of the Gentiles. Younger versions of the English Bible tend to speak of Harosheth-hagoyim or variations thereof.
For a possible link between Harosheth-hagoyim, the Nuragic civilization of Sardinia and Mary the Magdalene, see our article on the name Magdalene, and particularly the paragraph "The People of the Tower."
🔼Etymology of the name Harosheth-hagoyim
The name Harosheth-hagoyim obviously consists of two parts. The first part of our name is identical to the feminine noun חרשׁת (haroshet), meaning a carving, from the root group חרש (hrs):
Verb חרש (harash I) means to engrave or cut into something, often with the objective of storing information. Noun חרשׁ (harash) means engraver or cutter (of a wide range of materials). Noun חרשׁת (haroshet) means a carving. Noun חרישׁ (harish) means a plowing or plowing time, and nouns מחרשׁה (maharesha) and מחרשׁת (mahareshet) mean ploughshare (and remember the strong Biblical connection between spreading seeds and spreading words).
Perhaps a whole other verb (and perhaps the same one) is חרש (harash II), to be silent or to be deaf. How these two verbs relate isn't clear but perhaps information technology was reckoned as "speech yet silent" and "hearing yet deaf", or else the intersection might lay on the esoteric nature of information technology. Then as today, people who are highly skilled in it may seem like magicians to the rest of us. Adjective חרשׁ (heresh) means deaf and adverb חרשׁ (heresh) means silently or secretly.
Noun חרש (horesh) appears to refer to wooded heights. How that word fits in isn't clear (most scholars assume a 3rd verb: harash III) but it may connect to the rest via the noun חרש (heresh), magic. This rare noun is proposed to come from yet another identical verb, harash IV, but here at Abarim Publications we find this noun to match the previous stock neatly. Particularly when a craft is new and it's not clear what a new technology is supposed to do, scammers of all sorts arise.
Verb חרש (haras) was originally spelled identical to the previous (the difference between שׂ and שׁ originated in the Middle Ages). It means to scratch or lacerate, but instead of storing good information this root emphasizes deletion of bad information (a similar duality exists in the verb זרע, zara', to scatter to sow, and זרה, zara, to scatter to winnow).
Noun חרשׂ (heres) means earthenware or rather a fragment of earthenware. Noun חרס (heres) denotes an eruptive disease characterized by itchy skin irritation (note the alternation between the letters שׂ, sin, and ס, samekh). The feminine plural noun חרסות (harsit) or חרסית (harsit) mean potsherds.
Noun חרס (heres) is an unusual word for the sun and although scholars see no connection with the previous, here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the ancients saw a connection between baked clay and a tanned skin, both protective and both provoked by exposure to a source of heat.
The second part of our name is the plural form of the noun גוי (goy), meaning people or nation, from the root גוה (gwh):
It's unclear what the unused verb גוה (gwh) may have meant but it obviously had to do with corporeity. Noun גו (gaw) means middle or back; that part of the body around which the whole of it is formed. Noun גויה (gewiya) denotes the whole body of an individual, and the important noun גוי (goy) denotes the body of a social being: a people, tribe or nation.
The ha-part of the word hagoyim may be the definite article ה (meaning "the") but is more likely the identical particle of direction or relation: "of the" or rather "towards the", which is very common in names for locations.
The meaning of the name Harosheth-hagoyim can be found as any combination of the above. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Carving Of The Nations, but equally valid would be Silence Of The Gentiles. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Manufactory for Harosheth and "Of The Gentiles" for Hagoyim.
Since the Bible is not at all interested in political goings on and solely in the evolution of wisdom (that is science and technology of all sorts), this place called Harosheth-hagoyim obviously embodied the strength and validity of systems of learning that were not part of Israel.