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Discover the meanings of thousands of Biblical names in Abarim Publications' Biblical Name Vault: Tabor

Tabor meaning

תבור

Source: https://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Tabor.html

🔼The name Tabor: Summary

Meaning
Purifying, Clarifying
Etymology
Probably from the verb ברר (barar), to purify or clarify.

🔼The name Tabor in the Bible

The name Tabor is ascribed to one mountain and three towns in the Bible. Tabor the mountain is situated on the border of Zebulun and Issachar, south-west of the Sea of Galilee (Joshua 19:22). Towns named Tabor are:

  • A town of unknown location (Judges 8:18).
  • A Levitical town in Zebulun (1 Chronicles 6:77).
  • A place near Bethel, known for a famous oak (1 Samuel 10:3).

🔼Etymology of the name Tabor

It's not clear where the name Tabor comes from or what it means. There's no word in Hebrew that comes close to this name. The letter taw with which the name begins may be a remnant of a grammatical form, namely the imperfect of a verb. The question is: which verb?

Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names takes the name Tabor from the verb ברר (barar), meaning to purge, purify or clean:

Excerpted from: Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary
ברר

The verb ברר (barar) essentially means to clean, purify or clarify. Usually, whatever needs to be purified is first pulverized and then sorted: the useful elements are gathered and stored, and the fluff, chaff, dust and other garbage is either blown away by wind, washed away by water, burned with fire or simply scooped up and physically dumped somewhere. In the case of metal ore, the material is heated so that the good stuff flows out and separates by its nature from the bad stuff and its nature.

Obviously, in the Bible these principles are lavishly applied to the cognitive and social economies. Also note the striking similarity with the Aramaic noun בר (bar), meaning son.

Derived adjective בר (bar) means pure or clean and identical noun בר (bar) denotes a kernel of grain or corn. Noun בר (bor) denotes a kind of material that was used in the metal purification process, and identical masculine noun בר (bor) means cleanness or pureness. Feminine noun ברית (borit) denotes a kind of soap (and is spelled identical to the word meaning covenant; see below). Noun בר (bar) describes a field (perhaps a freshly plowed, cleaned and ready-to-sow one?), and the masculine plural noun ברברים (barburim) denotes a kind of bird known literally and for unknown reasons as "cleany-cleanies."

Verb באר (ba'ar) describes writing on tablets of stone. Nouns באר (be'er), באר (bo'r) and בור (bor) mean well or pit, and obviously not merely refer to physical cisterns but rather to centers of learning and information technology (because yes, writing is information technology and then as hip as blockchain is now).

Verb ברא (bara' I) denotes the creative activity of God, which (as we know from modern cosmology) predominantly has to do with giving elements the freedom to sort themselves into constructions that are deemed stable by the laws that govern creation (and which ultimately describe freedom). Noun בריאה (beri'a) denotes a creation, "an entirely new thing".

Verb ברא (bara' II) means to be fat, and since fat is essentially an organic storage of energy, this verb is in modern terms neatly explained by relativity theory. Since anything unstable falls apart when exposed to energy, only stable compounds can gain mass. Likewise, a fat guy is clearly at peace and well provisioned (and not on the run or forced to labor half starving). Adjective בריא (bari') means fat and consequently healthy and prosperous. Verb ברה (bara) means to eat. Nouns בריה (birya) and ברות (barut) mean food.

Noun ברית (berit) means covenant and occurs all over the Bible. Although it's not wholly clear how it technically relates to the above, the gist of it is clear. A covenant clears up a working relation between parties and leads to peace, prosperity and ultimately more clarity and cleanness between said parties. Note that it is spelled the same as the word for soap (see above, and see our article on Soap in the Old World).

Then Jones translates the verb ברר (barar) rather liberally with to sever, and the name Tabor with Stone-Quarry. Perhaps Jones is aware of a otherwise unknown verb, or the verb exists in other languages and neither Jones nor BDB Theological Dictionary nor any of the other sources used mention it, but in the Bible and to a Hebrew audience, the name Tabor probably wouldn't bring to mind a stone quarry.

🔼Tabor meaning

The name Tabor may mean Stone Quarry in the language in which it was conceived, but to a Hebrew audience it probably sounded like Purifying, Clarifying or Explaining.