🔼The name Jubal: Summary
- Enthuser, Flow Maker
- From the verb יבל (yabal), to carry or bring along.
🔼The name Jubal in the Bible
There's only one man named Jabal in the Bible and he was one of three sons of Lamech the First (Genesis 4:21). His only full brother was called Jabal and their mother was Adah. With his other wife, Zillah, Lamech had a third son named Tubal-cain, and a daughter called Naamah.
Together these four constitute the final generation of the lineage of Cain, which was reportedly wiped out by the flood of Noah. Still, the patriarchies of Jabal (the "father" of all who live in tents and who have livestock) and Jubal (the "father" of all those who play the lyre and pipe) obviously survived the flood, and even became central aspects in the religious structure of theocratic Israel. This patriarchal survival of the final Cainites poses a formidable challenge to Scripture theorists. It's obvious that a patriarch can only be someone whose lineage has not been interrupted. To give an example: there were righteous people before Abraham, but Abraham and not Noah is considered the "father" of all believers (Romans 4:11, Galatians 3:7;). Jesus even went so far as to demand that Abraham never died but still lives, in whatever form (Matthew 22:32).
The patriarchies of Jabal and Jubal don't just declare these two as the "first" farmers, tent-dwellers and musicians, but appear to suggest that the flood of Noah not simply destroyed humanity but rather cleansed it from unwanted elements, while keeping the wanted elements. It's truly amazing that the author of this story ascribed the initial acquisition of these advanced human skills to Cain. The family of Noah took these skills along on their journey in much the same way as the Israelites took Egypt's wealth with them on their Exodus (Exodus 12:35-36). Again something similar occurred when the Judahites crafted their sacred texts in Babylon and took them along at their return to Palestine.
🔼Etymology of the name Jubal
The name Jubal — like the names of his brothers Jabal and Tubal-cain — comes from the fertile verb יבל (yabal), meaning to carry or bring along:
The verb בלל (balal) means to mix something with oil, usually flour products, usually as ritualistic food preparation. The emphasis of this verb lies on saturation and overflowing: to fill something with oil until it can absorb no more and begins to reject an excess of oil. Noun בליל (belil) describes a very rich mix for animals to eat. Noun שבלול (shabbelul) describes a snail, or an animal that looks saturated with oil. Nouns תבל (tebel) describes sexually incompatible partners, and noun תבלל (teballul) tells of insoluble material that obstructs a person's eye.
The verb יבל (yabal) speaks mostly of a flowing along some course, which of course requires the bottom of the course to be saturated and reject any further absorption. Noun יבל (yabal) means water course or conduit, noun יובל (yubal) means stream and noun אובל ('ubal) means stream or river. Adjective יבל (yabbal) means suppurating (discharging pus from a wound). Noun יבול (yebul) denotes produce from the soil and noun בול (bul) means produce or outgrowth. Noun יובל (yobel) or יבל (yobel) describes "a carrier" or "a producer" or "something that drives a flow" (e.g. a trumpet, or the principle of Jubilee). Noun תבל (tebel) refers to the whole world-economy.
Verb אבל ('abel) is like the previous ones in that it describes a drive of liquid or semi-liquid elements along some collective course. It's often used to describe a collective mourning, which either happened in a procession or else contagious enough to drag others along. Nouns אבל ('ebel) and אבל ('abel) both mean mourning, but the latter is also the word for actual water stream or brook. In cognate languages this verb is used to describe the driving of camels. There is even a sporadically used adverb אבל ('abal), which in older texts expresses solemn affirmation (verily, truly, yes indeed I'm totally going along with you there) but later texts appear to put somewhat of a breaking force on the momentum ("yes!... but").
The name Jubal is closely similar to the noun יובל (yubal) meaning stream, or the noun יובל (yobel) meaning trumpet. The name Jubal is also identical to the word Jubilee, the designation of the 50th year (Leviticus 25:13, Numbers 36:4).
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Leading, Flowing and River for Jabal, Joyful Sound, Music and Jubilee for Jubal, and Flowing Forth Of Cain for Tubal-cain.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Moving for Jabal and Playing for Jubal, which is more an interpretation than a translation. NOBSE does not translate Tubal.