🔼The name Smyrna: Summary
- From the noun מור (mor), myrrh, from the verb מרר (marar), to be bitter or strong.
🔼The name Smyrna in the Bible
Smyrna is the name of a city in Asia Minor, in present day Turkey. It's now named Izmir and is situated on Turkey's western shore, a little farther north than Athens in Greece, across the Aegean Sea.
In the Bible the name Smyrna occurs only in the Book of Revelation. It's one of the seven churches to which this Book is addressed (Revelation 1:11). In Revelation 2:8 occurs the adjective Σμυρναιος (Smurnaios), meaning of Smyrna.
🔼Etymology of the name Smyrna
It's not uncontested where the name Smyrna might come from. It appears to be an adaptation from an ancient word, but it's not known which word and what it might have meant. But the adaptation upon which finally was settled is identical to the noun σμυρνα (smurna), which comes from the Hebrew and Aramaic word מר or מור (mor), meaning myrrh:
The verb מרר (marar) means to be strong or bitter and can be used to describe tastes and smells, and hard or difficult situations.
Adjectives מר (mar) and מרירי (meriri) mean bitter. Nouns מרור (maror) and מרורה (merora) refer to any bitter thing, the former specifically to a certain bitter herb, and the latter to gall or poison.
Noun מררה (merera) also means gal. Nouns מרה (morra), מרה (mora), מרירות (merirut), ממר (memer), ממרור (mamror) and תמרור (tamrur) mean bitterness. The latter noun is spelled identical to the noun תמרור (tamrur), meaning marker or sign post, from the root תמר (tamar), meaning to be stiff or erect.
And speaking of such, the nouns מר (mor) and מור (mor) mean myrrh, a bitter and fragrant spice that was originally used to mark the tabernacle, but which came to be used to proclaim, olfactorily, the consummation of marriage. Hence, despite its links to words that mostly describe hardship, myrrh oil was known as the "oil of joy."
Verb מרה (mara) means to be contentious or rebellious, particularly against God. Noun מרי (meri) means rebellion.
The verb מור (mor) means to change. Perhaps the connection between the previous is coincidental but perhaps these words are indeed linked, as change is often reaction to bitterness or opposition. The noun תמורה (temura) means exchange.