🔼The name Mibsam: Summary
- From A Sweet Smell, Perfumery
- From (1) the preposition מן (min), "from" and (2) the verb בשם (basam), to smell sweet, be precious or pure.
🔼The name Mibsam in the Bible
There are two men named Mibsam in the Bible:
🔼Etymology of the name Mibsam
The name Mibsam comes from the root בשם (basam), which probably meant to smell sweet;
The meaning of the unused verb בשם (basam) is unknown but it possibly meant to smell pleasant. Its sole extant derivative is the noun בשם (basam), which describes spice or balsam, or their signature sweet smell. These commodities in turn served as tokens or even units of wealth. And since they were produced via painstaking purification, they also denoted purity and cleanness.
The letter מ (mem) with which our name starts may indicate agency or place of. In that case our name could describe a perfumer or perfumery. The mem may also be the shorter version of the preposition מן (min), which denotes separation, usually translated with from:
The interrogative pronoun מן (man) means "what?" but the preposition מן (min) means "out of" or "from". The latter is often deployed as prefix, in which only the מ (m) is written. Nouns formed from "מ plus root" commonly describe an "agent" or "place-of" whatever the action of the root describes.
Noun מן (men) describes a harp string and is an Aramaic loan word.
Verb מנה (mana) means to count or assign. Nouns מנה (mana) and מנת (menat) mean portion or part. Noun מנה (maneh) is a unit of weight; the mina. And noun מנה (moneh) means time (not clock time but as in ten "times").
If the מ of our name is indeed the particle, our name would mean something like From A Sweet Smell. But scholars generally appear to ignore the מ.
For a meaning of the name Mibsam, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Sweet Odor, and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Sweet Smell or Delight. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate our name but does list it under the root בשם.