🔼The name Kartah: Summary
- City, Urban Node
- From the noun קריה (qiryah), city, from the root קרר (qarar), to compact.
🔼The name Kartah in the Bible
The name Kartah occurs only once in the Bible. It's the name of one of four cities that the tribe of Zebulun gave to the Merarites (Joshua 21:34). Only two of these four are also mentioned in Joshua 19:10-16, which deals with the boundaries and contents of the territory allotted to Zebulun, but perhaps Kartah is the same as Kattah mentioned in Joshua 19:15.
🔼Etymology of the name Kartah
The name Kartah comes from the noun קריה (qiryah), meaning city, which itself derives from the verb קרה (qara), meaning to meet or get together:
Root קרר (qarar) means to cool off in a thermodynamic sense: to go from hot gas to cool liquid to a cold solid. Socially this would describe warring tribes "cooling off" into culturally compatible peoples and liquid trading networks and ultimately the formation of cities and solid nations. Intellectually, diverse viewpoints might congeal into local conventions and ultimately a global standard.
Adjective קר (qar) means cool. Nouns קר (qor) and קרה (qara) mean cold. Noun מקרה (meqera), meaning coolness.
Noun קיר (qir) is one of a few words for wall. It might relate to the root because bricks are congealed mud, and a wall is bricks pieced together (non-standard bricks take some puzzling and pounding). The noun קרקע (qarqa') means floor; earth trampled into a compact state. The verb קרקר (qarqar) means to forcibly compact, to pound down.
Verb קרה (qara), and its by-form קרא (qara'), mean to near, to meet or to happen upon. Noun קורה (qora) describes a rafter or beam; the things that come together to form a roof, and which obviously relate to bricks pieced into a wall. Verb קרה (qara) means to piece beams together and noun מקרה (meqareh) means literally place of beams; beam-work.
Nouns קרה (qareh) and מקרה (miqreh) mean chance or accident, fortune or fate. Noun קרי (qeri) means opposition, contrariness. At a social level, chance meetings and opposition are the very rafters that carry society's roof.
For this same reason, the nouns קריה (qiryah) and קרת (qeret) are the words for city and federation of cities.
Verb קרא (qara'), which is identical to the by-form of the previous, means to call or call near. Adjective קריא (qari') means called or summoned. Noun קריאה (qeri'a) means proclamation. And noun מקרא (miqra') means convocation or called assembly. The noun קרא (qore') describes a partridge; literally "a caller."
The name Kartah is formed by the absorption of the letter י (yod), and the exchange of the letter ה (he) for the ת (taw). Actually, it's probably the other way around. It's more probably that the yod was inserted into the noun, and in the time that the Bible was written, the letter ה had taken the place of the ת. It seems that the name Kartah is the original word meaning city, and the more modern (Biblical) noun was derived thereof.
For a meaning of the name Kartah, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read City. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret the name Kartah but does list it under the verb קרה (qara), meaning to meet.