🔼The name Ramath-lehi: Summary
- The High Place Of The Jawbone
- From the verb רום (rum), to be high, and (2) the noun לחי (lehi), jawbone.
🔼The name Ramath-lehi in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Ramath-lehi
The name Ramath-lehi consists of two elements. The first part comes from the word רום (rum) meaning to be high or lofty:
The verb רום (rum) means to be high or high up in either a physical, social or even attitudinal sense, and may also refer to the apex in a natural process: the being ripe and ready-for-harvest of fruits. Subsequently, our verb may imply a state beyond ripe (higher than ripe, overripe), which thus refers to rotting and being maggot riddled. This means that to the ancients, higher did not simply mean better, and an arrogant political status that was higher than it should be equaled rot and worms (Acts 12:23).
Derived nouns, such as רום (rum) and related forms such as רמה (rama), describe height or pride. Noun רמות (ramut) describes some high thing. The noun ארמון ('armon) refers to a society's apex: a citadel or palace. The noun ראם (re'em) describes the wild ox, which was named possibly for the same reason why we moderns call a rising market a "bull" market. The similar verb ראם (ra'am) means to rise.
The important noun רמון (rimmon) means pomegranate and the pomegranate became the symbol for harvest-ready fruit (see our full dictionary article for more on this). Overripe items might suffer the noun רמה (rimma), worm or maggot, or the verb רמם (ramam), to be wormy.
The second part is the same as the name Lehi and both are the same as the noun לחי (lehi) meaning jawbone:
The noun לחי (lehi) means jawbone or cheek. It's not clear where this noun comes from, and creative observers might be forgiven to see a resemblance with the particle ל (le), meaning for, and the noun חי (hay) meaning life. The jaw allows food to be chewed, and it's essential in speaking. And when one dominates the jaw of an animal (or human, for that matter), one dominates the whole animal.
For a meaning of the name Ramath-lehi, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads The High Place Of The Jawbone. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes a curious The Casting Away Of The Jawbone. BDB Theological Dictionary has Height Of Lehi.