🔼The name Zemaraim: Summary
- Two Woolen Things
- From the noun צמר (semer), wool.
🔼The name Zemaraim in the Bible
The name Zemaraim belongs to one town and one mountain in the Bible:
- The town called Zemaraim was situated in the territory allotted to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:22).
- The mountain named Zemaraim was located in the hill country of Ephraim (2 Chronicles 13:4). From that mountain, king Abijah of Judah proclaimed his peace-speech aimed at king Jeroboam of Israel and his army. But the latter wouldn't hear of peace, attacked, and were thoroughly destroyed.
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Zemaraim
The name Zemaraim is a plural form (or rather: a dual form) of a word צמר which origin is debated. Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) believes that our name's core noun צמר (smr) is really זמר (zmr), meaning to trim of cut off (see the name Zimran), and translates Zemaraim with Two Cuttings Off.
Why Jones feels the need to change our name's first letter isn't clear. The Hebrew of the Bible contains a verb צמר, which would serve neatly as our name's core:
It's not clear what the unused verb צמר (samar) might have meant but noun צמר (semer) means wool and noun צמרת (sammeret) describes the top of a particularly wooly tree (or so it's assumed).
The name Zemaraim literally means Two Woolen Things. NOBSE Study Bible Name List appears to also derive the meaning of our name from this verb and reads Double Mount Forest. BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name, but notes that the town Zemaraim might presently be known as Es-samra, which is a village north of Jericho.