🔼The name Zalaph: Summary
- Unclear but perhaps Caper-Plant
- Or perhaps Fracture
- From a post-Biblical noun meaning caper-plant.
- From the verb צלף (salap), to rupture.
🔼The name Zalaph in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Zalaph
It's not wholly clear where the name Zalaph comes from or what it was supposed to mean, and it may even be a truncated form of the name Zelophehad (צלפחד), which would relate our name to an Aramaic verb צלף (salap), meaning to break or rupture. This verb is not otherwise used in the Bible.
Another possibility is that it derives from the identical Hebrew word צלף (salap), which denotes the caper-plant. There is evidence that this word existed in post-Biblical times but none that it was in use during. In fact, in Ecclesiastes 12:5 the word אביונה abiyona occurs, which some translations (NAS, JSP, Darby) translate with caperberry.
For a meaning of the name Zalaph, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the post-Biblical word and reads Caper-Plant. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) sticks with the Aramaic and proposes Fracture. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer a perspective on this name.