🔼The name Zimmah: Summary
- Scheme, Plot
- From the verb זמם (zamam), to scheme.
🔼The name Zimmah in the Bible
🔼Etymology of the name Zimmah
The name Zimmah is identical to the noun זמה (zimma), meaning plan, device or evil scheme:
The verb זמם (zamam) means to scheme or devise and that usually in a bad way, i.e. planning or concocting to destroy or pervert something. Nouns זמם (zamam) and זמה (zimma) mean plan or scheme to destroy or pervert. Noun מזמה (mezimma) denotes a place or agent of זמה (zimma), i.e. a collection of evil plans or a malicious campaign.
For a meaning of the name Zimmah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads a rather mild Counsel. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes a more accurate Wicked Device. BDB Theological Dictionary does not offer an explanation of the name Zimmah but does confirm that it is identical to the noun זמה (zimma).
Naming people worked different in Hebrew than it does today in our world. By naming your child Evil Scheme, you didn't necessarily glorify scheming evilly, but could very well aim to commemorate someone's evil scheme that had had an impact on you or your family. Contrary to our modern sense of naming, in Biblical times quite often people carried names that commemorated events that had little to do with the people that bore them.
In fact, these Gershomites may very well have been named after Simeon and Levi's wretched revenge of the rape of Dinah by Shechem (Genesis 34:25). It was this act that prompted Jacob to curse Simeon and Levi and forbid them to own land in Israel (Genesis 49:7). This condemned them to a life of sojourning, or being exiles or strangers in their own country, which is of course the meaning of the name Gershom/Gershon.