🔼The name Moserah: Summary
- Bond, Bonds
- From the verb אסר ('asar), to bind.
🔼The names Moserah and Moseroth in the Bible
The names Moserah (מוסרה) and Moseroth (מסרות) are closely related; Moserah is single and Moseroth is plural, and both occur in only one event in the Bible. Scholars generally assume that these two names denote the same place, but it may not be that straight forward.
The name Moseroth occurs in Numbers 33:30-31 as belonging to the twenty-seventh station of Israel in the wilderness, between Hashmonah and Bene-jaakan. The name Moserah occurs in Deuteronomy 10:6, where it reads that the Israelites traveled from Beeroth Bene-jaakan to Moserah and then to Gudgodah and Jotbathah, and that in Moserah Aaron died and was buried. That same event is more elaborately described in Numbers 20:22-29, where it is situated on mount Hor, which was reached after departure from Kadesh (Numbers 20:22). That same departure from Kadesh and the subsequent death of Aaron on mount Hor is told also in Numbers 33:37-39, six stations after Moseroth.
Stories were told by means of different literary devices in antiquity than they are today, and the confusing use of names may result in frustration in modern readers. What exactly these name-shifts entail is not wholly clear, but they are most probably not due to inaccuracies of any sort.
Scholars have known for some time now that the literary reality of the Exodus does not describe the physical trek of more than a million people through the Levant. Here at Abarim Publications we guess that it describes instead the evolution of the wisdom tradition in the Levant, which ultimately resulted in Jesus Christ. That means that name-lists such as given in Numbers 33 tell us something about the advance of wisdom (in the most practical sense: how to grow crops, how to deal with other nations, technological inventions; see the name Hochma).
🔼Etymology of the names Moserah and Moseroth
The name Moseroth is the regular plural of the singular form Moserah, which is turn is a feminized version of the masculine noun מוסר (moser), meaning band or bond, from the verb אסר ('asar), meaning to bind:
The verb אסר ('asar) means to bind or tie up. Nouns אסור ('esur), אסר ('issar), מסרת (masoret) and מוסר (moser) all mean bond or band. Noun אסיר ('asir) describes a prisoner (a bound one) and the similar noun אסיר ('assir) refers to a group of prisoners or their joined bond.
Verb מסר (masar) means to bind in the sense of to incriminate or to attach a charge, mission or misdeed to a person. As such it may be used to mean to deliver up or offer.
🔼Moserah and Moseroth meaning
For a meaning of the names Moserah and Moseroth, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Bond or Bonds. BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate these names but does list them under the verb אסר ('asar).