🔼The name Salem: Summary
- Peace, Perfect
- From the verb שלם (shalem), to be or make whole or complete.
🔼The name Salem in the Bible
Salem is the place where Melchizedek housed (Genesis 14:18). After the war of Four against Five Kings, Abraham's nephew Lot is abducted and Abraham sets out with a small army to rescue him. When they do, they loot the abductors while they're at it, and bring back the spoils. This evokes gratitude among the locals, among whom king Melchizedek of Salem.
Melchizedek achieves legendary status in the Bible, also because the town called Salem is renamed at some point, and becomes known as Jerusalem. According to Psalm 76:2 God's tabernacle is in Salem.
🔼Etymology of the name Salem
Originally the name Salem probably had to do with a Ugaritic god, but transliterated this name neatly concurs with the Hebrew verb שלם (shalem) meaning to be complete, sound, and the familiar noun שלום (shalom), meaning peace:
The verb שלם (shalem) means to be or make whole or complete, and is also used to describe a righteous recompense or proper restitution (whether positive or not). The familiar noun שלום (shalom) means wholeness, completeness or peace.
Other derivatives are: noun שלם (shelem), peace offering; verb שלם (shalam), to be in a covenant of peace; adjective שלם (shalem), perfect, whole, complete, safe; noun שלם (shillem), recompense; nouns שלמן (shalmon), שלום (shillum), שלם (shillum) and שלמה (shilluma), reward or proper recompense.
Most translators interpret the name Salem with Peace or At Peace (NOBSE Study Bible Name List, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) but more accurate is Perfect or Complete.