🔼The name Reba: Summary
- Fourth, Promiscuous
- From the cardinal רבע (raba'), four, or the verb רבע (raba'), to lie down.
🔼The name Reba in the Bible
Apparently, these five Midianite kings were in alliance with Sihon, king of the Amorites who reigned in Heshbon, because they were also called the princes of Sihon (Joshua 13:21). The lands and cities of Sihon and his five princes were annexed to the area allotted to the tribe of Reuben.
🔼Etymology of the name Reba
The name Reba derives from the root רבע, which has to do with the number four. Our name is identical to the word for "fourth":
The word רבע (raba') means four, which is where the typically human complex number sense begins. Verb רבע (raba') means to square. Nouns רבע (reba') and רבע (roba') mean a fourth part. Adjectives רביעי (rebi'i) and רביעית (rebi'it) mean fourth, and adjective רבע (ribbea') means "pertaining to the fourth."
The identical verb רבע (raba') is a variant of the verb רבץ (rabas; see next). It means to stretch out or lie down (mostly in a sexual sense).
Verb רבץ (rabas) means to stretch out or lie down (mostly not in a sexual sense). Nouns רבץ (rebes) and מרבץ (marbes) mean resting place.
For a meaning of the name Reba, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Fourth Part. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Fourth and adds: "i.e. fourth son". Jones also submits that in antiquity it may have been quite common to name children after their order of birth. From the Romans we have names such as Secundus, Terius, Quartus, Quintus, Sextus, Septius, and so on, and unless the Romans were completely unique in this, the name Reba may stem from that same custom.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't offer an interpretation of the name Reba but does confirm that it is identical to the word meaning fourth. BDB, however, lists our name under the verb רבע II (raba' II), meaning to lie down or stretched out. That would give this name a distinct sexual charge, and not a very positive one. Following the classification of BDB, the name Reba would probably also translate to something like Pervert or Promiscuous.