🔼The name Temah: Summary
- Wipe Clean, Strike
- From the verb מחה (maha), to wipe or strike.
🔼The name Temah in the Bible
There's only one man named Temah (or Thamah as some translations have) in the Bible; both Ezra and Nehemiah mention him among the patriarchs of families of Nethinim who returned from the Babylonian exile (Ezra 2:53, Nehemiah 7:55).
🔼Etymology of the name Temah
Commentators appear generally reluctant to point out the similarity between this name and the word תמח, meaning to blot out, as used in Nehemiah 13:14 — the variant תמחה occurs in Deuteronomy 25:19 and Nehemiah 4:5 — which derives from the verb מחה (maha), meaning to wipe or blot out:
The verb מחה (maha) means to wipe — of a mouth, a face, or decidedly more forceful: of a city like a dish. This verb perhaps even more forceful, or else a whole other yet identical verb, means to strike. Noun מחי (mehi) means stroke. Perhaps a third verb, or else still the same one yet spelled slightly different: the verb מחא (maha') means to clap, albeit as an expression of joy rather than anger, destruction or the desire to wipe things.
Verb מחח (mhh) is surely a whole other verb, and although it doesn't occur in the Bible, in cognate languages it means to be fat or contain marrow. Derived nouns that do occur in the Bible are noun מח (meah), meaning fatling, noun מח (moah), meaning marrow, and the denominative verb מחה (maha), meaning to be marrow-filled or marrowy. This verb is identical to the verb(s) מחה (maha) meaning to wipe and strike.
For a meaning of the name Temah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes for a rather paraphrased Combat.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names translates our name with a ridiculous "Laughing," taking it from a hitherto unknown root, as he appears unable to imagine parents calling their child Blot Out. What escapes this otherwise fine scholar is that old-world Hebrew parents would frequently name their kids in commemoration of events, proceedings or theological theory subsets, and not in any hope that these things would ever apply to their children personally.
BDB Theological Dictionary neither translates this name nor lists it under a particular root.