🔼The name Sabtah: Summary
- Breaking Through
- From an otherwise unused verb סבת (sabat), to beat or break.
- From the verb סבב (sabab), to turn or go around, encircle.
🔼The name Sabtah in the Bible
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Sabtah
The etymology of the name Sabtah and that of his brother Sabteca is unclear. Both names start out with סבת, which does not occur in Hebrew. Neither BDB Theological Dictionary nor NOBSE Study Bible Name List attempt to interpret these names but Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes relations with an Arabic verb, which transliterated into Hebrew would form סבת and which means to beat or to break. Jones proceeds by making a giant leap of reasoning and states that this name means Breaking Through, and adds: i.e. a terror to foes.
But perhaps a Hebrew audience that wasn't aware of Arabic roots, would have associated our name Sabtah with the Hebrew root סבב (sabab), meaning to turn or go around, encircle:
The verb סבב (sabab) describes a going in a circular motion: to turn, turn about, turn into or to encircle. Nouns סבה (sibba) and נסבה (nesibba) denote a turn of affairs. Adverb סביב (sabib) means surrounding, circuit or round about. Nouns מסב (mesab) and מוסב (musab) describe that which surrounds (i.e. a wall).
The name's final תה (taw-he) may be the result of grammatical doings; a plural in turn made feminine, without changing the verbal charge of the word.
The truth is that the name Sabtah doesn't mean anything in Hebrew. But anyone creative enough might recognize a meaning of Encirclement.