🔼The name Jaare-oregim: Summary
- City Of Weavers
- Forest Of Weavers
- From (1) the noun עיר ('ir), city, and (2) the verb ארג ('arag), to weave.
- From (1) the noun יער (ya'ar), forest, and (2) the verb ארג ('arag), to weave.
🔼The name Jaare-oregim in the Bible
The name Jaare-oregim occurs only once in the Bible. Jaare-oregim of Bethlehem is the father of Elhanan, who killed the giant Goliath the Gittite at Gob. This Goliath was one of four sons of the famous Goliath (2 Samuel 21:19).
In the parallel text of 1 Chronicles 20:5, the father of Elhanan is called Jair (which is like Jaare-oregim without the "oregim" part), and the giant he kills is called Lahmi, the brother of the famous Goliath.
🔼Etymology of the name Jaare-oregim
The name Jaare-oregim consists of two parts and the first part (יערי) is closely related to the name Jair (יעיר). So closely even that BDB assumes that Jaare is a scribal error for the name Jair, and relates both to the noun עור ('ir), meaning terror, from the verb עור ('ur), meaning to awake or rouse oneself. Note that this noun is identical to the nouns meaning city or wild ass:
The root ערר ('arar) describes an accumulation in one place that results in an emptiness or barrenness everywhere else — both cities and clouds form from this principle, and indeed any sort of commercial or intellectual fortune. Adjectives ערירי ('ariri) and ערער ('ar'ar) mean stripped, childless or destitute. Noun מערה (me'ara) literally means "place of being stripped" and is the Bible's common word for cave. Noun ערוער ('aro'er) denotes some kind of tree or bush (probably one without leaves).
Noun עיר ('ir) is the Bible's common word for city, which constitutes an accumulation of people and goods, usually in the middle of a wide area without remaining trees. Noun עיר ('ayir) came to specifically denote the wild ass, but apparently stems from the more common behavior of standing around in clusters in the middle of a field that's been grazed clean (in other languages this word also denotes gazelles and such).
Verb עור ('awar) means to be or make blind, and blindness occurs most commonly due to a cataract (which looks like a skin forming over the eye, and is due to a cloudy accumulation of protein in the ocular lens). Adjective עור ('iwwer) means blind. Nouns עורון ('iwwaron) and עורת ('awweret) mean blindness.
Verb עור ('ur I) means to rouse oneself — literally to collect and bundle one's feelings. Noun עיר ('ir) means excitement.
Identical verb עור ('ur II) means to be exposed or laid bare. Noun מעור (ma'or) means nakedness and noun מערם (ma'arom) means naked one. Adjectives עירם ('erom), ערם ('erom), ערום ('arom) and ערם ('arom) mean naked. Noun עור ('or) means skin or hide.
Verb ערה ('ara) also means to be naked or bare. Nouns ערה ('ara), מערה (ma'ara) and מער (ma'ar) refer to bare or exposed places. Nouns ערוה ('erwa) and עריה ('erya) mean nakedness or exposure. Noun תער (ta'ar) denotes a thing that makes bare: a razor or sheath of a sword.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names disagree with BDB and go with the root group יער (y'r):
The verb יער (ya'ar) isn't used in the Bible and it's a complete mystery what it might have meant. Noun יער (ya'ar) is the common word for forest or thicket, and the identical noun יער (ya'ar) means honeycomb. It is, of course, perfectly possibly that these two nouns are not two but one, describing something general like a thing that consists of many elements, which contain energetic nutrients (either fruits or honey), and which are patrolled by ferocious animals. The latter noun also occurs as the variant יערה (ya'ra), honeycomb.
The second part of the name Jaare-oregim comes from the verb ארג ('arag), meaning to weave:
The verb ארג ('arag) means to weave, and, as in English, substantives of this verb may denote both the weaver and the thing woven. Noun ארג ('ereg) describes the loom.
The "oregim" part of our name is the plural form of this verb used as a substantive.
For a meaning of the name Jaare-oregim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Forest Of Weavers. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) employs a rather free poetic interpretation and offers Tapestry Of The Weavers, assuming that the word for forest has to do with multifariousness. But this is probably incorrect.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer a translation but following its suggestions would probably arrive at something like Terror Of The Weavers. But since the word for terror is identical to the word for city, this name also means City Of Weavers, which makes the most sense of all the options. It may very well be that Jaare-oregim is not a personal name but a town under control of Bethlehem.