🔼The name Kareah: Summary
- From the verb קרח (qarah), to be bald.
🔼The name Kareah in the Bible
There's only one Kareah in the Bible, but we only know about him because of his famous son Johanan, who is a military leader of the people in the time of Gedaliah, vassal king of Judah (2 Kings 25:23). The story of Johanan, son of Kareah appears in 2 Kings 25, but a longer version is told by the prophet Jeremiah, who was staying with Gedaliah as it happened (Jeremiah 40-43):
When Babylon instates Gedaliah, the leaders arise and come to their fresh monarch to see what the deal is. Gedaliah insists that Babylonian rule really means good times, and most people believe him. But Baalis, king of Ammon, has sent Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, to assassinate Gedaliah, and Johanan, son of Kareah, warns the king for that. The king, however, doesn't trust Johanan and dismisses the affair as a ruse. Not long after this, Ishmael seizes the opportunity, kills Gedaliah and a large number of people with him, and abducts many more. When Johanan hears about all the evil that Ishmael is doing, he and his men give chase. They deliver the captives but Ishmael escapes and finds safety with the Ammonites
Johanan is understandably afraid that the king of Babylon will retaliate, and Jeremiah tries to persuade them that they are safe. But Johanan takes the people, and abducts Jeremiah and Baruch, and flees to Egypt.
For some reason, the King James Version reads Careah in 2 Kings and Kareah in Jeremiah.
🔼Etymology of the name Kareah
The name Kareah comes from the verb קרח (qarah), meaning to be bald:
The verb קרח (qarah) means to be, become or make bald. Adjective קרח (qereah) means bald. Nouns קרחה (qorha) and קרחת (qarahat) mean baldness.
Noun קרח (qerah) means frost or ice. This noun either stems from a whole other verb, or being bald and being frozen over were considered comparable situations. Since hair related to intense experience and the memory thereof, and thus to knowledge and thus to light and thus to heat, the absence of all these were considered related as well.
For a meaning of the name Kareah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Made Bold, but that must be a typo, and should read Made Bald. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names simply reads Bald and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Bald One.