🔼The name Piram: Summary
- Like A Wild Donkey
- From the verb פרה (para), to be fruitful.
🔼The name Piram in the Bible
The name Piram occurs only once in the Bible. He is mentioned as one of the Amorite kings who entered into an alliance with Adoni-zedek, king of Jerusalem at the time of Israel's invasion of Canaan (Joshua 10:3).
After the Israelites had sacked Jericho and Ai and were tricked into a pact with the Gibeonites, Adoni-zedek of Jerusalem became nervous and sent word to kings Hoham of Hebron, Piram of Jarmuth, Japhia of Lachish and Debir of Eglon in order to march on Gibeon and win it back. The Gibeonites warned Joshua, and what followed became known as the First Battle of Beth-horon, during which YHWH himself pelted the enemy with stones from heaven (Joshua 10:11) and the sun stood still at Gibeon and the moon in the valley of Aijalon (10:12-13).
While their armies were getting slaughtered, the five kings made a run for it and hid in the cave of Makkedah (10:16), from where they were subsequently retrieved after the battle. The five kings were publicly humiliated, executed and hanged on trees, after which Israel went after the king and people of Makkedah and killed them too (10:28).
The Second Battle of Beth-horon was fought in 66 AD, between Jewish rebels and the Romans, as the first major battle of the Great Jewish Revolt. This revolt ultimately resulted in general Titus' destruction of the temple of YHWH in 70 AD, and the dispersal of the Jews. The fall of Jerusalem and the loss of the temple became central themes in the greater Jewish discussion on God's covenant, which in turn resulted in the colossal spread of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
🔼Etymology of the name Piram
The name Piram probably derives from the noun פרא (para'), denoting the wild donkey:
The verb פרר (parar) means to split, divide and usually make more, expand or multiply. This root belongs to an extended family that also contains פרץ (paras), to break (through), פרש (paras and parash), to spread out or declare, פרס (paras), to break in two or divide, and פאר (pa'ar) means to branch out or to glorify.
The Bible is not concerned with political goings on and only with the evolution of the wisdom tradition, and thus with the rise of information technology (from cave paintings to blockchain). That said: our word "science" comes from the Greek verb σξιζω (schizo), which means to split, divide and make more.
Verb פרה (para) means to bear fruit or be fruitful. Noun פרי (peri) means fruit in its broadest sense. Noun פר (par) means young bull and פרה (para) means young heifer. Note that the first letter א (aleph) is believed to denote an ox-head, while its name derives from the verb אלף (alpeh), to learn or to produce thousands. The second letter, ב (beth) is also the word for house (or temple or stable). The familiar word "alphabet," therefore literally means "stable of bulls" or "house of divisions" or "temple of fruitful learning".
Noun פרא (para') is a word for wild donkey. The young bovines were probably known as fruits-of-the-herd, but donkeys in the Bible mostly symbolize lone wanderings and humility.
Noun פור (pur) means lot (hence the feast called Purim). Noun פורה (pura) denotes a winepress and פרור (parur) a cooking pot.
For a meaning of the name Piram, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather generous Indomitable (= can't be domesticated) and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Like A Wild Ass. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of this name.