🔼The name Ziv: Summary
- Blooming, Eager To Be Fruitful
- From the verb זהה (zaha), or זתת (zatat), to bloom, to be ready to reproduce.
🔼The name Ziv in the Bible
The name Ziv belongs to the second month of the agricultural year (corresponding to our modern late April and early May). It's one of four Canaanite month-names that occur in the Bible. During the exile the Jews adopted the Babylonian names for the months and Ziv became Iyar (which is a name that doesn't occur in the Bible). For a lengthy discussion, check out our riveting article on the Mysterious Hebrew Calendar.
The name Ziv occurs only twice in the Bible, and in the same single context. In 1 Kings 6:1 we learn that 480 years after the Exodus, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, the king began building the temple of YHWH in Jerusalem in the month Ziv, that is the second month of the agricultural year. In 1 Kings 6:37 this is confirmed and in 6:38 we read that in the eleventh year of Solomon's reign, but in the month Bul, that is the eighth month, the building was completed. See our article on the Hebrew calendar for a look at the amazing significance of this six-month shift.
🔼Etymology of the name Ziv
The name Ziv is a bit odd and it's not wholly clear where it came from or how it was formed. But unofficially it's pretty clear that our name has to do with the verb זהה (zahah), which in turn describes the emerging and opening of flowers. Flowers, of course, are a plant's way of advertizing its readiness to reproduce, and reproduction is the whole idea behind both the agricultural year and mankind's wisdom tradition (hence the many seed and sower metaphors in the Bible).
It's not clear whether the verb זהה (zaha) or זתת (zatat) ever existed but if it did it probably meant to emerge fresh or bloom (it does so in cognate languages). Note that a flower contains a plant's reproductive organs and by displaying its flowers a plant indicates its willingness and readiness to reproduce. In our modern times flowers have managed to attain a kind of romantic innocence but their native function and original symbolism is that of sexual union (which is why dudes bring flowers), or rather more general: the willingness and ability of being fruitful.
Besides some names, its sole surviving derivative is the noun זית (zayit), olive or olive tree. The blossoming of the olive tree was a sign that the winter was over and spring (ziv) had arrived. The oil from the olive was used in lamps and in medical procedures and became known as a light bringer and a healer. Kings, prophets and priests were anointed into their offices with olive oil, and in proper societies these offices are not political but based on demonstrable levels of practical, fruit bearing wisdom.
The name Ziv means Sprouting and belongs to the Blossom Month, which is the month in which nature becomes Eager To Be Fruitful. The building of the temple obviously reflected the Sabbath cycle of seven years, as well as the agricultural year spanning the month of the blossoms (Ziv) to the month of the harvest (Bul).