🔼The name Tubal: Summary
- World Economy
- From the noun תבל (tebel), the whole world-economy, from the verb יבל (yabal), to flow or carry along.
🔼The name Tubal in the Bible
In the Bible there's one person named Tubal (תבל) and one more named Tubal-cain (תובל־קין). Tubal-cain and his brothers Jabal and Jubal and sister Naamah are the last in line from Cain, the cursed son of Adam and Eve (Genesis 4:22). Just Tubal descends from Cain's youngest brother Seth, and is a son of Japheth, who is a son of Noah (Genesis 10:2).
🔼Etymology of the name Tubal
The name Tubal closely resembles the noun תבל (tebel), the whole world-economy, which comes from the verb יבל (yabal) generally meaning to bring, carry, lead, conduct:
The verb בלל (balal) means to mix something with oil, usually flour products, usually as ritualistic food preparation. The emphasis of this verb lies on saturation and overflowing: to fill something with oil until it can absorb no more and begins to reject an excess of oil. Noun בליל (belil) describes a very rich mix for animals to eat. Noun שבלול (shabbelul) describes a snail, or an animal that looks saturated with oil. Nouns תבל (tebel) describes sexually incompatible partners, and noun תבלל (teballul) tells of insoluble material that obstructs a person's eye.
The verb יבל (yabal) speaks mostly of a flowing along some course, which of course requires the bottom of the course to be saturated and reject any further absorption. Noun יבל (yabal) means water course or conduit, noun יובל (yubal) means stream and noun אובל ('ubal) means stream or river. Adjective יבל (yabbal) means suppurating (discharging pus from a wound). Noun יבול (yebul) denotes produce from the soil and noun בול (bul) means produce or outgrowth. Noun יובל (yobel) or יבל (yobel) describes "a carrier" or "a producer" or "something that drives a flow" (e.g. a trumpet, or the principle of Jubilee). Noun תבל (tebel) refers to the whole world-economy.
Verb אבל ('abel) is like the previous ones in that it describes a drive of liquid or semi-liquid elements along some collective course. It's often used to describe a collective mourning, which either happened in a procession or else contagious enough to drag others along. Nouns אבל ('ebel) and אבל ('abel) both mean mourning, but the latter is also the word for actual water stream or brook. In cognate languages this verb is used to describe the driving of camels. There is even a sporadically used adverb אבל ('abal), which in older texts expresses solemn affirmation (verily, truly, yes indeed I'm totally going along with you there) but later texts appear to put somewhat of a breaking force on the momentum ("yes!... but").
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names settles for the general meaning of the verb and reads Flowing Forth for the meaning of the name Tubal. However, identical to the name Tubal is our root's derivative תבל (tebel), meaning world. Hence the name Tubal means World, but the whole flow and currencies of the world-economy in its broadest sense.
Neither BDB Theological Dictionary nor NOBSE Study Bible Name List translates this name.