🔼The name Nahor: Summary
- Snort, Scorched, Freeman
- From the verb נחר (nhr), to snort vigorously, which appears to relate to the root חרר (harar), to be a central hub of heat.
🔼The name Nahor in the Bible
There are two Nahors mentioned in the Bible:
- The father of Terah and the paternal grandfather of Abraham (Genesis 11:22). This Nahor is an ancestor of Christ and is mentioned in the Lucan genealogy (spelled Ναχωρ, Nachor; Luke 3:34)
- The brother of Abraham and Haran, and half-brother of Sarah (Genesis 20:12). Brother Nahor marries Milcah, the daughter of Haran, who bears him eight sons, and a concubine named Reumah, who bears him another four (Genesis 22:20-24).
🔼Etymology of the name Nahor
The name Nahor may have to do with the verb נחר (nhr); BDB Theological Dictionary neither confirms nor disputes this but states that 'the connection with the root is obscure.' Here at Abarim Publications, we have our own ideas about the "root" נחר (nahar):
The root חרר (harar) describes a society's central and enclosed source of heat. It thus may express a geographical depression, but more so a being hot and ultimately a being a ruler (whether by might, political clout or wisdom).
Verb חרר (harar I) means to be hot, burned or charred. Noun חרר (harer) denotes a parched place and noun חרחר (harhur) describes a violent heat or fever. The unused verb חרר (harar II) means to be free in cognate languages, which is the opposite of being a slave. Noun חר (hor) means noble or nobleman. The unused verb חרר (harar III) appears to refer to the enclosure of kilns and ovens, as the first ones were most likely built in natural hollows. The nouns חר (hor) and חור (hor) mean hole or cavern, but obviously relate to the previous word in that freemen surround themselves with walls and armies.
Verb חרה (hara) means to burn or ignite (in the Bible solely in an emotional way: to get angry). Noun חרון (haron) describes the burning of anger. Noun חרי (hori) refers to a general burning.
Verb חור (hawar) means to be or grow white (like ash or baked bricks). Nouns חור (hur) and חורי (huray) refer to any white stuff, including garments and linen, and noun חרי (hori) describes white bread or cake.
Verb נחר (nahar) looks very much like a passive or reflexive version of חרר (harar) or its participle. This verb isn't used in the Bible but nouns נחר (nahar) and נחרה (naharah) describe the vigorous snorting of a horse, and noun נחיר (nahir) means nostril (which in turn reminds of a cavern).
Whatever the true etymology and original meaning, to any Hebrew audience the name Nahor would mean both A Snort or A Snorting, and Charred or Scorched, or even Noble or Freeman.
For a meaning of the name Nahor, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Snorting. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Snorting and Breathing Hard.