🔼The name Zeredah: Summary
- From the verb צרד (sarad), to cool.
🔼The name Zeredah in the Bible
The name Zeredah occurs really only once in the Bible, and although many translations read of a Zeredah in 2 Chronicles 4:17, the Hebrew reads צרדתה (Zaredathah). These two names are clearly related but it's not clear whether we're dealing with two separate towns or one. The author of Kings reports that Zeredah was the birth place or home town of the Ephraimite Nebat, who was a servant of king Solomon and the father of Jeroboam, who would instigate the insurrection that would ultimately result in the breach of the united kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 11:26). It's not unthinkable that an Ephraimite would live in a town that wasn't situated in Ephraim, but a little to the east, in the part of the Jordan valley that belonged to Manasseh. Otherwise, a second town named Zaredathah existed there and provided the site at which Huram-abi manufactured the bronze utensils for Solomon's temple of YHWH (2 Chronicles 4:17).
Note that although folklore has Huram-abi lonely in a shaggy cabin filing piously at a chunk of bronze, archeologists have unearthed the remnants of an enormous industrial operation, featuring high-volume kilns to process ore and produce vast amounts of bronze and slag. Since Jeroboam initially was Solomon's minister of labor of the tribe of Joseph (which would be Ephraim and Manasseh combined; 1 Kings 11:28), it's quite reasonable to assume that they lived close to the industrial complex in nearby Zeredah/Zaredathah.
Why the authors of Kings and Chronicles differ isn't obvious, but it is possible that the Chronicler (who wrote much later than the author of Kings) engaged in word play, or perhaps even reflected a tradition that had arisen from the events surrounding Jeroboam's revolt. Read our article on the name Millo for more thoughts on this revolt.
🔼Etymology of the name Zeredah
There's nothing in the Hebrew language of the Bible that looks like the name Zeredah, but it may be drawn from an Arabic verb צרד (srd), meaning to cool:
There's no trace of a root צרד (sarad) in the Bible (safe for the name Zeredah) but in other languages it appears with the meaning of to cool.
For a meaning of the name Zeredah, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Cooling. As we noted in our article on Zarethan, NOBSE appears to accidentally have swapped the meanings of Zarethan and Zeredah, reads The Fortress for Zeredah and Cooling for Zarethan. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an interpretation of either name and lists them alphabetically under (or below) the last of the roots צרר.