🔼The name Teman: Summary
- The South
- From the root ימן (ymn), which has to do with the right hand side and the southern direction.
🔼The name Teman in the Bible
The name Teman is assigned to one man and one town or region in the Bible:
- Chief Teman of Edom, who was a son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau and Adah the Hittite (Genesis 36:11, 36:15). This chief Teman is probably the same as the one mentioned in Genesis 36:42, and probably also gave his name to the next Teman:
- A town, region or sub-tribe in Edom, of which YHWH wonders whether it contains any wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7). If Teman was a city, it must have been one of considerable prominence. In Jeremiah 49:20 Teman seems to be equated with Edom at large. Teman is mentioned another four times by the prophets, mostly in contexts of punishment and disaster (Ezekiel 25:13, Amos 1:12, Obadiah 1:9, Habakkuk 3:3).
The Temanites (תימני) mentioned in the Bible are:
🔼Etymology of the name Teman
The name Teman is the same as the noun תימן (teman), meaning south, from the root ימן:
The root ימן (ymn) is of unclear pedigree and meaning but it has to do with both the right hand side and the southern direction, which are both decidedly positive (whereas left and north have negative connotations). This also indicates that one normally faces east, which corresponds to the past.
Noun ימין (yamin) means right, i.e. right hand, side or the right of other parts of the body. Adjective ימיני (yemini) meaning on the right. Verb ימן (yaman) means to go or choose the right or use the right hand. Adjective ימני (yemani) meaning right hand or right. Noun תימן (teman) meaning south.
For a meaning of the name Teman, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads The South. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Southern Quarter. BDB Theological Dictionary does not interpret this name but does confirm that it is equal to the noun תימן (teman), meaning south.