🔼The name Horam: Summary
- Mountaineer, Mountainous
- From the noun הר (har), mountain.
🔼The name Horam in the Bible
The name Horam occurs once in the Bible. Horam is the king of Gezer at the time of Israel's conquest of Canaan (Joshua 10:33). After the famous battle of Gibeon, Joshua marches Israel onto Makkedah and Libnah. When these settlements are razed to the ground and relieved of their people, Israel continues to Lachish to do the same there. King Horam of Gezer decides to muster his army and come to the aid of Lachish, but Israel destroys Lachish and massacres king Horam's army to the last man.
🔼Etymology of the name Horam
The name Horam appears to be grounded in the noun הר (har), meaning mountain:
The noun הר (har) is the Bible's common word for mountain or hill. Intuition dictates that the root of the word for mountain probably has to do with being elevated, but that's not correct. In Hebrew thought, a mountain is not something that's high but rather a lot of something gathered. And so, a mountain became synonymous for a large but centralized group of people (Jeremiah 51:25), or even gods (Isaiah 14:13).
The obviously related verb הרה (hera) means to be or become pregnant. An association with the previous noun is obvious, although not because the stomach of a pregnant woman resembles a mountain. The Bible depicts nations as individual women even more than as mountains; the words אמה ('umma), meaning people and אם ('em), meaning mother are closely related. A pregnant woman is to her husband what a conceiving nation is to its deity.
The final מ (mem) of our name may be due to an archaic plural form, or, as Alfred Jones (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) proposes, to an intensitive form of הר.
For a meaning of the name Horam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Elevated and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has a rather far-fetched High Spirited. Both err in the assumption that our modern association between mountains and heights should be projected upon the ancients. To the latter, a mountain signified an accumulation of any sort much rather than a height of any sort.
BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this particular name, and lists it under the verb הרה (hera), meaning to be or become pregnant. It's not clear why BDB does that, although BDB usually lists names under the verbs it's supposed to be derived from. But it should be noted that BDB also lists the name הרן (Haran) under הרה (hera), and translates that name with Mountaineer.