🔼The name Telaim: Summary
- Little Lambs, Spotted Ones
- From the verb טלל (talal), to be small.
🔼The name Telaim in the Bible
The name Telaim occurs only once in the Bible, namely in 1 Samuel 15:4, where Saul musters Israel's army in order to punish Amalek for its attitude towards Israel at the time of the Exodus, a few centuries prior. The Amalekites are defeated and king Agag is captured. Saul's decision to let Agag live causes YHWH to regret having made Saul king (15:11).
Some scholars propose that this Telaim is the same as the Telem mentioned in Joshua 15:24, but note that Telaim is a Hebrew word while Telem is an Aramaic word, and although the two may have sounded somewhat similar (which actually may account for the double name), they are not similar in meaning.
🔼Etymology of the name Telaim
The name Telaim is identical to the plural word טלאים (tal'im) meaning lambs or "spotted ones":
The root טלל (talal) has to do with being small, thin or widely dispersed or spread. Noun טל (tal), means dew. Verb טלל (talal) means to overcast (with a roof or with mist or dew). Derived verb טול (tul), means to extend or disperse widely, and its noun טלטלה (taltela) denotes a spreading out. Noun טלה (taleh) describes the young of sheep, goats or deer: lambs and fawns, and the verb טלא (tala') describes the patterns of spots spread out on a fawn. The plural noun טלאים (tal'im) collectively describes young ones or spotted ones.
For a meaning of the name Telaim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Little Lambs and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Young Lambs.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't translate this name and lists it under the verb טלא (tala'), meaning to be spotted, which would give our name the meaning of Spotted Ones.