🔼The name Moresheth-gath: Summary
- Possession Of A Winepress, Inheritance Of Gath
- From (1) the verb ירש (yarash), to take possession of, and (2) the name Gath or the noun גת (gat), winepress.
🔼The name Moresheth-gath in the Bible
The name Moresheth-gath occurs only once in the Bible; the prophet Micah mentions it in his sermon on the guilt and future deportation of Judah (Micah 1:14). It's generally assumed that Moresheth-gath is the name of a city somewhere in Judah or environs, but no one else mentions it, and Micah's sermon is spangled with names that seem to not so much refer to existing places but rather to concepts and personifications.
But on the other hand: the prophet Micah refers to himself as Micah the Moreshethite (המורשתי; Micah 1:1), and none other than the great prophet Jeremiah also refers to Micah as the Moreshethite (Jeremiah 26:18). It's possible that Micah's epithet describes his hometown (possibly even Moresheth-gath), but it could also describe a quality by which he was known, namely that of Possessor (of land).
🔼Etymology of the name Moresheth-gath
The name Moresheth-gath obviously consists of two elements. The first part of our name comes from the verb ירש (yarash), meaning to take possession of:
The shape-shifting verb רוש (rush), ריש (rish), ראש (re'sh) or simply רש (rash) means to be disenfranchised; to have lost liberty and civil rights, usually due to poverty or conquest. Nouns ריש (rish) and ראש (ri'sh) reflect the state of being disenfranchised.
The verb ירש (yarash) means to enfranchise, to take possession of (at the implied cost of disenfranchisement of others, obviously). Nouns ירשה (yerasha), ירשה (yerushsha), מורש (morash) and מורשה (morasha) all mean possession. Noun רשת (reshet) denotes a net or a similar device to catch game with.
Noun ראש (ro'sh) expresses primality: chief, head, top, etcetera. It may also refer to the beginning of a period: adjective ראשון (ri'shon) literally means chiefly but is mostly used in the sense of previous or former. Noun ראשה (ri'sha) means pinnacle but may also refer to some past golden age or bygone glory days.
The second part of our name is the same as that of the city Gath (the famous Philistine city where the giant Goliath was from), but it's not at all a certainty that Moresheth-gath had anything to do with Gath. The gath-part of our name is the same as the noun גת (gat), meaning winepress:
The verb יגן (yagan) probably meant to beat or press, since the derived noun גת (gat) describes a wine-press.
The complete name Moresheth-gath translates to something like Possession Of A Winepress or Winepress Owner.
For a meaning of the name Moresheth-gath, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Possession of Gath. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate Moresheth-gath but does list it under the verb ירש (yarash), meaning to take possession of.