🔼The name Zibia: Summary
- Gazelle, Beauty
- From the verb צבא (saba'), to be a collective.
🔼The name Zibia in the Bible
The name Zibia occurs only once in the Bible, although it's probably a variant spelling of the name צביה Zibiah (1 Chronicles 8:9).
Zibia is a son of Shaharaim of Benjamin and Hushim (1 Chronicles 8:9). Although this name appears to be (derived of) a feminine word, Zibia is not Shaharaim's daughter (as Alfred Jones states in his Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names). It's not uncommon at all in the Bible for men to have names that are feminine nouns and vice versa. If Zibia had been a woman, it would have been separately mentioned, and all that is mentioned is that Zibia and brothers were heads of their father's household (1 Chronicles 8:10). Had Zibia been a female clan leader, it would have been made obvious.
🔼Etymology of the name Zibia
The name Zibia comes from the following root cluster:
The verb צבא (saba') means to ally; to combine and integrate. It describes the formation of a distinct group, its inner economy and its interactions with neighboring groups. It's often used for military encounters but certainly not restricted to that use. Noun צבא (saba') describes a group that functions internally and externally as a distinct unit: a team, a league, a sodality, a collective, an army division.
Verb צבה (saba) means to swell up, but tends to describe the growing, getting better organized and more thoroughly engaging of the troop described by noun צבא (saba'). Noun צבה (sabeh) mostly describes a physical swelling. Noun צבי (sebi) mostly describes a swelling in the social sense: a becoming more honored or increasing in perceived beauty. In later parts of the Bible the verb צבה (saba) may be used to mean to wish. Noun צבו (sebu) means "desired thing."
Noun צבי (sebi) describes a gazelle, and is identical to the one meaning beauty but may also reflect the gazelle's herd behavior. Noun צביה (sebiya) also means gazelle.
Noun צב (sab) probably stems from an otherwise unused root צבב (sabab) and means cart. It's unclear how it fits in but perhaps as a thing upon which to pile things? Identical noun צב (sab) is thought to describe a kind of lizard (listed as unclean), possibly also because this animal tended to congregate.
For a meaning of the name Zibia, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Gazelle and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has Female Gazelle. BDB Theological Dictionary reads Gazelle for the name Zibiah but leaves Zibia without interpretation.