🔼The name Sephar: Summary
- Census, Counting
- From the noun ספר (seper), a record.
🔼The name Sephar in the Bible
Sephar is a town or location which is mentioned in reference to the boundary of the sons of Joktan (Genesis 10:30). The Joktanites are the last mentioned Shemite generation before the tower of Babel is built. Joktan's brother Peleg becomes the ancestor of Abraham.
🔼Etymology of the name Sephar
The name Sephar comes from the word group that formed around the noun ספר (seper), meaning record or book:
The root ספר (spr) has to do with information technology: the efficient storage, retrieval and sharing of data. Long before fiction and recreational reading was a thing, record keeping was mostly a mathematical and economical enterprise, mostly conducted by specialized priests. The invention of the alphabet made writing easy and elevated every common man to the priestly level, and allowed everybody to study whatever they wanted. This allowed a deluge of original thought to enter collective consciousness, which in turn raised the level of human diversity, and thus complexity and thus cultural bliss.
Noun ספר (seper) denotes any kind of record, historical records, legal documents, prophetic messages, and so on. Noun ספרה (sipra) means book or a bundled collection of records. Denominative verb ספר (sapar) means to write or produce a ספר (seper): to carefully observe, to recount, to record. Noun ספר (sopor) or ספור (sopor) means scribe; someone who produces a ספר (seper). Noun ספר (separ) means census. Noun ספרה (sepora) means number, sum or amount. And noun מספר (mispar) means number.
The derivative ספר (separ), meaning census, is identical to the name Sephar and occurs only in 2 Chronicles 2:17. There Solomon numbers the foreigners who help built the Temple, following the census satan had made David take (1 Chronicles 21:1). After this census, and after the penalty, the location of the Temple was designated and foreigners were set to hew out the stones for the Temple (1 Chronicles 22:2).
The name Sephar means Counting or Calculating. NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names both read Numbering.