🔼The name Seth: Summary
- Set, Appointed, Foundation
- From the verb שית (shyt), to set or place firm.
🔼The name Seth in the Bible
After the death of Abel and the expulsion of Cain, Seth remains to become the ancestor of Noah. However, it's by no means certain that all the other families were destroyed in the flood. Noah had a wife and so did his sons. Nowhere in the Bible is mentioned where they came from, and they might have been Cainites for all we know. The patriarchies of Jabal and Jubal mysteriously managed to survive the flood, and it may very well have been through the wives of Noah and sons.
🔼Etymology of the name Seth
The meaning or even purpose of the name Seth is a bit of a mystery. One thing is sure: it comes from this extensive verbal cluster:
The verb שית (shyt) means to give, set or place firm. Noun שית (shyt) refers to occupational garb, the dress upon which the profession stands. Noun שת (shat) describes a national foundation; whatever a nation is set on. Noun שית (shayit) collectively describes a kind of plant (perhaps a bottle tree?).
Noun שת (shet) probably also derives from this verb, and appears to refer to human buttocks. It's not often emphasized but our buttocks truly signify our species (apart from our brain). No other animal has buttocks like man, and this handsome feature allows humans to trot literally for days. Given time, humans can outrun pretty much any other animal (including horses and antelope.)
The noun שי (shay) may or may not be related to the previous verb. It denotes a devotional offering made to the Temple by foreigners.
The verb שאה (sha'a) means to roar loudly, and that with destruction in mind. Noun שאון (sha'on) describes the roaring sound of wild waters or armies converging. Noun שאוה (sha'awa) denotes a devastating storm. Nouns שאיה (she'iya) and שאת (she't) mean ruin.
The unused verb שוא (shw') clearly must have meant something similar to the previous. Noun שוא (shaw') means emptiness or nullification. Nouns שוא (shw'), שואה (sho'a), שאה (sho'a), משואה (mesho'a) and משאה (mesho'a) mean ravage, ruin and desolation. Noun תשאה (teshu'a) denotes a sound, probably loud and accompanying destruction.
Verb שוה (shawa) means to be smooth and hence to agree with or to be like. Noun שוה (shaweh) describes a level plain.
Either this same verb or an identical other one means to set or place, and is clearly similar to שית (shyt).
Noun שה (seh) denotes a sheep or goat. This word appears to be like our word "head" as it describes a unit of whatever flock or herd. This noun is sometimes spelled alternatively as שי (shay).
Verb שתה (shata) means to drink. Nouns שתי (sheti) and שתיה (shetiya) mean a drinking. Noun משתה (mishteh) describes a place of or occasion of dinking: a banquet feast.
When Eve names Seth she says, "God has appointed (שית) me another offspring..". (Genesis 4:25), and traditionally readers have understood that therefore the name Seth must come from שית. But this is by no means certain. It may be that the name Seth is really the word שת (shat), meaning national foundation, but the Masoretic punctuation made the name Seth identical to the word for buttocks, and even the assumed contraction of שאון, meaning tumult.
NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names agree: The name Seth means Appointed. But it has a strong connotation of Foundation (Buttocks) and Tumult.