🔼The name Mezahab: Summary
- Waters Of Gold
- From (1) he noun מי (may), "waters of ...", and (2) the noun זהב (zahab), gold.
🔼The name Mezahab in the Bible
It's not clear whether the name Mezahab belongs to a man or a woman in the Bible. It occurs only in one context, namely in the detail that king Hadad's (or Hadar's) wife was Mehetabel, daughter of Matred, daughter of Mezahab (Genesis 36:39, 1 Chronicles 1:50).
Since the other two names of this micro-genealogy are feminine, some scholars assume that Mezahab was a woman too. Traditionally, however, genealogies tend to end up in a male ancestor, preferably an important ancestor.
🔼Etymology of the name Mezahab
The name Mezahab, or rather Me-zahab, consists of two elements. The first element is the noun מים (mayim), meaning water(s), used in its construct form:
The noun מים (mayim) means water, or rather: waters. It's a plural word for which there is no singular form. But if there were it would be מי (mi), which is identical to the common particle of inquisition, מי (mi), meaning "who?". In constructions (waters of such and such), the final ם (m) drops off, and what remains is identical to our particle of inquisition.
Water represents the great unknown from which the dry land (ארץ, 'eres) of the known emerges. The ancients knew that vapor rises from the seas and becomes rain and compared this cycle to that of cognition (Isaiah 55:10-1). The words for rain and teacher are the same: מורה (moreh), which are closely related to the familiar word Torah.
The second part of our name is the noun זהב (zahab), meaning gold:
What the unused verb זהב (zahab) may have meant is utterly unknown. But the noun זהב (zahab) is the regular word for gold. Since stability and unchangeability are qualities of the divine and the eternal laws of nature, gold has been long considered holy. In recent times it has become quite clear that gold is not unchangeable, and is rather as profane as the rest of all creatures.
For a meaning of the name Mezahab, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Waters Of Gold. But NOBSE deems Mezahab a feminine name, whereas Jones thinks it's a masculine name.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate Mezahab but does list it under the noun מים (mayim), meaning water(s).
Note that this name occurs in the narrative of Exodus 32:24 as the phrase למי זהב, meaning "whoever has gold".