🔼The name Zer: Summary
- Rock, Flint
- From any of the nouns צר (sur, sar, sor), rock, pebble or flint.
🔼The name Zer in the Bible
It's probably not without significance that in Hebrew the name Zer is identical to one of two variants of the name of the Phoenician city Tyre (צר and צור). The Naphtalian town of Zer must have been located very close to Tyre and it's obvious that the two societies intermingled. Hiram the temple builder hailed from Tyre, and his mother was from Naphtali (1 Kings 7:13-14).
🔼Etymology of the name Zer
The name Zer obviously comes from the rich root-group צרר (srr):
- Verb צור (sur I) probably means to lean or incline. Noun צואר (sawwa'r) means neck and צורון (sawwaron) means necklace.
- Verb צור (sur II) means to confine, secure or besiege. Noun מצור (masor) means siege and מצורה (mesura) means stronghold. This verb relates to verb צרר (sarar I).
- Verb צור (sur III) means to be an adversary. It relates to צרר (sarar II).
- Verb צור (sur IV) means to form or fashion. Noun צורה (sura) means form and noun ציר (sir) means image. This verb relates to יצר (yasar).
- Verb צור (sur V) probably relates to verb צרר (sarar III) and probably means to be sharp. The important noun צור (sur) means rock, and is equivalent to the Greek noun πετρα (petra), from which comes the name Peter.
- Verb צרר (sarar I) means to bind and relates to צור (sur II). Adjective צר (sar) means narrow. Nouns צר (sar) and צרה (sara) mean distress and yield denominative verb צרה (sara), meaning to suffer distress. Noun צרור (seror) means bundle or parcel. Noun מצר (mesar) means distress.
- Verb צרר (sarar II) means to show hostility and relates to verb צור (sur III). Noun צר (sar) means adversary. Noun צרה (sara) means vexer or rival-wife. Denominative verb צרר (sarar) means to create a rival wife.
- Verb צרר (sarar III) probably means to be sharp and relates to צור (sur V). Nouns צר (sar), צר (sor) and צרור (seror) mean flint or pebble.
Verb יצר (yasar) means to fashion or form and relates to צור (sur IV). Noun יצר (yeser) denotes that what is formed, and noun יצרים (yesurim) means forms or members.
Verb צרה (srh) probably describes the bleeding of an odoriferous tree. Noun צרי (sari) denotes a kind of costly balsam.
It's not clear which of the few words spelled צר (sr) could be expected to reflect in this name, but it could be any (and all) of them. For a meaning of the name Zer, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with Rock, and similarly, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Flint. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of our name and lists it alphabetically (and not under any of the verbs צרר, srr).