🔼The name Zimri: Summary
- My Musician, My Gardener, Song Of Yah
- From (1) the verb זמר (zamar), to prune or praise, and possibly (2) יה (yah), the shortened name of the Lord.
🔼The name Zimri in the Bible
The name Zimri is assigned five times in the Bible, firstly and most ominously as the Simeonite son of Salu, who brings his Midianite play mate Cozbi into the camp during the Peor incident (Numbers 25:14). Both he and Cozbi are executed by Phinehas.
Other men named Zimri are:
🔼Etymology of the name Zimri
The name Zimri comes from the fertile word-group זמר (zamar):
Verb זמר (zamar) basically means to cultivate and is used in two main ways: (a) to prune trees in an orchard or vineyard, and (b) to hone a crowd into a choir.
The first instance of our verb זמר (zamar) is commonly translated with to trim or prune. Noun זמיר (zamir) means a trimming or pruning. Noun זמורה (zemora) means branch or shoot. Noun מזמרה (mazmera) denotes a pruning knife.
The second instance of the verb זמר (zamar) is commonly translated with to sing or praise or play musical instruments. Nouns זמרה (zimra) and זמיר (zamir) mean song (the latter is identical to the noun meaning a trimming or pruning). Noun מזמור (mizmor) refers to an "agent of zamar", which would plausibly refer to a song that invited the audience to partake: a sing-along song. This noun is commonly translated with the word psalm.
There is also a sort of animal named זמר (zemer). This animal was probably a sheep or antelope, but it's unclear why this animal would be dubbed either a pruner or a praiser. Perhaps it stood on its hind legs and ate from high up branches, or perhaps it had horns from which folks made trumpets or it resembled a harp. We don't know.
The name Zimri is the word זמר post-fixed with the possessive yod. It may mean My Musician, My Gardener, My Mountain Sheep.
For a meaning of the name Zimri, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the undetermined creature and reads Pertaining To An Antelope. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names leans towards the verb that means to sing or make music, and reads Song Of The Lord, taking the yod to be not a possessive but a remnant of יה, the abbreviated form of the Name of the Lord: יהוה (YHWH).