🔼The name Shikkeron: Summary
- From the noun שכרון (shikkaron), drunkenness.
🔼The name Shikkeron in the Bible
The name Shikkeron occurs only once in the Bible. It's listed as one of the cities that marked the northern border of the territory allotted to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:11).
🔼Etymology of the name Shikkeron
The name Shikkeron is as good as the same as the noun שכרון (shikkaron), meaning drunkenness:
The difference between the letters שׁ (shin) and שׂ (sin) didn't exist until scholars began to differentiate between them in the Middle Ages. Dictionaries will list the verbs שׂכר (sakar) and שׁכר (sakar) as two wholly different verbs, but to the people who wrote the Bible and those who read it for many centuries after, there was only one verb שכר (skr):
The verb שכר (sakar) means to hire, but note that in societies where money wasn't prevalent or quite literally a luxury item, workers would commonly be paid food, drink and protection. Nouns שכר (seker) and שכר (sakar) mean wage and noun משכרת (maskoret) means wages. Adjective שכיר (sakir) means hired and may be used substantially to denote employed men or deployed items.
The verb שכר (shakar) means to be or become drunk, which is what happens when workers get paid in beer, as was customary for instance in Egypt. In fact, in early cities, water was often undrinkable and beer the only beverage.
Noun שכר (shekar) denotes a drink that makes drunk. Adjective שכר or שכור (shikkor) means drunken or drunken one. And noun שכרון (shikkaron) means drunkenness.
For a meaning of the name Shikkeron, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Drunkenness. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name but does list it under the verb שכר (shakar), meaning to be or become drunk.
It may be tempted to think of Shikkeron as a place with an excellent night-life, but it denoted more probably a kind of center of worship that interpreted drunkenness as a state of heightened spirituality. Something similar was supposed in Greek Bacchanals. The Hebrew definition of wisdom was not as speculative or experiential as the Greek, but instead wholly focused on practical skill and understanding. To the Hebrews, being drunk had nothing to do with spiritual elevation but rather the opposite (Hosea 4:11).