🔼The name Haruphite: Summary
- Of Harvest, Autumnal
- From the verb חרף (harap), either to harvest or reproach.
🔼The name Haruphite in the Bible
The ethnonym Haruphite occurs only once in the Bible. It's assigned to Shephatiah the Haruphite, who was among the mighty-men who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chronicles 12:5). The traditional text of this verse spells this ethnonym as חרופי but the learned Masoretes, who worked in the second half of the first millennium AD, considered this spelling erroneous and suggested that it really should have been written as חריפי, which is how it became spelled as such in the standard Hebrew Bibles of today.
If the Masoretes were right then the ethnonym Haruphite may have been derived from the name Hariph, and recent scholars have proposed that this Hariph might be the same as the one mentioned by Nehemiah as one of the patriarchs whose offspring made it back from Babylon (Nehemiah 7:24).
This is of course possible but entirely conjectural. A Haruphite may come from any patriarch called Hariph or Hareph, or from a town named such. Haruphite may not even be proper ethnonym but a common adjective used as a nickname.
🔼Etymology of the name Haruphite
The name Haruphite comes from either of the verbs חרף (harap). The final י (yod) upon which our name ends is the mark of the adjective (which is the common format of an ethnonym):
The verb חרף (harap) means to pluck or gather and an identical verb means to taunt, which suggests that there might be just one verb that demonstrates that taunting someone with sharp remarks is rather the same thing as harvesting an orchard with sharp tools.
Noun חרף (horep) means a (fruit-)gathering or harvest. It's often used to indicate the harvest season as time of the year, corresponding to our early autumn. The denominative verb חרף (harap) means to spend the harvest time (much alike our verb "to winter").
Noun חרפה (herpa) means taunt or reproach, and the similarity with the previous is either an inconsequential coincidence or else suggests that whoever is doing the taunting is harvesting the person taunted.
For a meaning of the name Haruphite, NOBSE Study Bible Name List resolutely refers to the Hariph mentioned in Nehemiah 7:24 (and NOBSE translates that name rather liberally as Autumn Rain; see our article on that name for a discussion of that).
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names points towards Hareph and translates Haruphite identically, as Mature, which considers the "maturity" of a ripe harvest, which is also rather liberal.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the verb the verb חרף (harap), meaning to pluck or gather.