🔼The name Shimron-meron: Summary
- The Place Of Watching And Getting Fat, Vigilance And Prosperity
- From (1) the verb שמר (shamar), to keep or guard, and (2) the verb מרא (mara'), to be fat or well-fed.
🔼The name Shimron-meron in the Bible
The name Shimron-meron occurs only once in the Bible. It's mentioned in the list of kings that were defeated during Israel's invasion of Canaan (Joshua 12:20). Since this Shimron-meron is mentioned right after Hazor, and the king of Hazor enlisted the military services of the king of Shimron right after Joshua's defeat of the Amorites at the battle of Gibeon, scholars generally assume that Shimron-meron mentioned in Joshua 12:20 is the same as this Shimron.
🔼Etymology of the name Shimron-meron
The name Shimron-meron obviously consists of two elements. The first part is the same as the name Shimron, and comes from the verb שמר (shamar), meaning to keep, guard, observe or give heed:
The verb שמר (shamar) means to guard or to exercise great care over. Noun שמרה (shomra) means guard. Noun שמר (shimmur) means night watch. Noun אשמורה ('ashmura) or אשמרת ('ashmoret) refers to the night watch as unit of time. Noun משמר (mishmar) describes the "place or agent" of guarding, which may come down to either a prison or a guard, but it may also describe the keeping on some religious observances or something like that. Noun משמרת (mishmeret), literally meaning "with the function of watching," used in the sense of a charge or obligation; an official function of guarding. Noun שמרה (shemura) describes an eyelid.
Noun שמר (shemer) describes the dregs or residue that collects at the bottom of a bottle of wine. This word may stem from a whole other root, or it reflects the similarity between patiently standing through a night watch and a bottle ageing in a rack. This word may also describe a stagnant heart, either as a heart in which dregs settle out or a heart that's carefully guarded.
Noun שמיר (shamir) describes some kind of wild, thorny vegetation that covers large areas. Again, this noun may stem from a whole other verb, but a hedge of thorns is not unlike a perimeter peopled by armed guards, or even a tender heart that's guarded by sarcasm and a proneness to insult.
The noun שמור (shamor), fennel, equals the Greek noun μαραθον (marathon), and Greece's victory at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) made the whole world Greek.
The second part of our name is harder to place. It could be a play on words with the name of the battlefield of Merom (מרום), where the Canaanite alliance met Israel, but the association with the verb מרא seems stronger:
The verb מרא (mara') means to be fat or well-fed (and thus of a high social rank). Noun מריא (meri') denotes a fatling or fattened animal. The noun מראה (mur'a) denotes a part of a bird, obviously a fatty part.
Both elements of our name are formed by adding the ון (waw-nun) couple to the root, and this couple usually quantifies the meaning of the root ("place of.."., or "man of..".). None of the sources we usually consult have a go at the meaning of the second part of our name, but to a Hebrew audience it would have referred to wealth and prosperity. The name Shimron-meron means The Place Of Watching And Prospering, or Vigilance And Prosperity.