🔼The name Kerioth: Summary
- From the noun קריה (qiryah), city, from the root קרר (qarar), to compact.
🔼The name Kerioth in the Bible
There are two towns named Kerioth in the Bible, although one may actually be called Kerioth-hezron:
- A city on the southern extremity of the territory of Judah (Joshua 15:25). It's not clear whether this place is called just Kerioth or Kerioth-hezron (NAS, NIV, ASV and Darby say Kerioth-hezron, and KJV, JSP and Young say just Kerioth, and deem Hezron the name of another city). This Kerioth is possibly the home town of Judas Iscariot.
- A town in Moab which was big enough to contain citadels (Jeremiah 48:24, 48:41, Amos 2:2).
🔼Etymology of the name Kerioth
The name Kerioth is probably a plural form of the noun קריה (qiryah), meaning city, which comes 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."
For a meaning of the name Kerioth, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Cities. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate the name Kerioth but does list it under the verb קרה (qara), meaning to meet or get together.