🔼The name Jarmuth: Summary
- Height, Heights
- From the verb רום (rum), to be high.
🔼The name Jarmuth in the Bible
There are two towns named Jarmuth in the Bible, one of which may also be known as Remeth and Ramoth:
- A town in the lowland of the territory allotted to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:35). At the time of the conquest, this town was ruled by the Amorite king Piram, who joined Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem and three colleague kings in their futile attempt to stop Israel's invasion of Canaan after they had sacked Ai (Joshua 10:3). Jarmuth still existed at the time of the return from the Babylonian exile, and Nehemiah reports that some of the returning Jews settled there (Nehemiah 11:29).
- A town situated in the territory of Issachar, but which was handed over to the Gershonite Levites (Joshua 21:29). Issachar gave four cities to the Gershonites, two of which (Kishion and En-gannim) are mentioned in Joshua 19:17-23, which deals with the boundaries of the territory of Issachar. They also gave Daberath, which was actually a town of Zebulun, but, we may assume, was situated on the border between Issachar and Zebulun and somehow became Issachar's to give (Joshua 21:28, 19:12). Jarmuth (ירמות), therefore, is quite likely the same as Remeth (רמת), mentioned in Joshua 19:21 (the name Remeth occurs only once in the Bible, although it's spelled the same as Ramoth). The same change-of-hands of the four cities is reported of in 1 Chronicles 6:72-73. The four names are slightly different (probably due to oral transmission), but the Chronicler mentions a town called Ramoth (ראמות), which probably is again the same town.
🔼Etymology of the name Jarmuth
The name Jarmuth comes from the verb רום (rum), meaning to be high:
The verb רום (rum) means to be high or high up in either a physical, social or even attitudinal sense, and may also refer to the apex in a natural process: the being ripe and ready-for-harvest of fruits. Subsequently, our verb may imply a state beyond ripe (higher than ripe, overripe), which thus refers to rotting and being maggot riddled. This means that to the ancients, higher did not simply mean better, and an arrogant political status that was higher than it should be equaled rot and worms (Acts 12:23).
Derived nouns, such as רום (rum) and related forms such as רמה (rama), describe height or pride. Noun רמות (ramut) describes some high thing. The noun ארמון ('armon) refers to a society's apex: a citadel or palace. The noun ראם (re'em) describes the wild ox, which was named possibly for the same reason why we moderns call a rising market a "bull" market. The similar verb ראם (ra'am) means to rise.
The important noun רמון (rimmon) means pomegranate and the pomegranate became the symbol for harvest-ready fruit (see our full dictionary article for more on this). Overripe items might suffer the noun רמה (rimma), worm or maggot, or the verb רמם (ramam), to be wormy.
For a meaning of the name Jarmuth, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Height, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has High. BDB Theological Dictionary lists Jarmuth under Ramoth (and both names under רום, rum) and translates them with Heights.