🔼The name Zuzim: Summary
- Seasonal Migrants
- From the verb זוז (zwz), to move cyclic like a tide.
🔼The name Zuzim in the Bible
The name Zuzim occurs only once in the Bible. It denotes a people who lived in a place called Ham, and who were defeated by kings Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer and Tidal, just prior to the War of Four Against Five Kings (Genesis 14:5). Because the tetrad alliance also defeated the Rephaim and the Emim, both races of giants, it's often supposed that the Zuzim were giants too. And in that case the Zuzim could be the same as the Zamzummim, who were giants indeed and even the same as the Rephaim (Deuteronomy 2:20).
However, the list of peoples defeated by Chedorlaomer goes on to include the Horites, the Amalekites and the Amorites, who surely weren't giants or else we would have heard about it. And just because both the names Zuzim and Zamzummim have two z's in them, doesn't make them the same. In fact, they are quite unlike.
Ergo: the Zuzim may have been giants but we have no reason to assume that they were.
🔼Etymology of the name Zuzim
The name Zuzim is an off-the-shelf plural form derived of the verb זוז:
Judging from its extant derivatives, unused verb זוז (zwz) appears to have described a cyclic or tidal "ebb and flow" motion. Noun זיז (ziz) denotes roving things such as certain animals, which obviously move about their territory in circles, depending on the season. Noun מזוזה (mezuza) denotes a "place or agent" of the parental verb's cyclic motion, and refers to a door- or gate-post (and of course humans' frequent return to some fundamental truth).
For a meaning of the name Zuzim, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Prominent, Giant, which can not possibly be tied into the verb זוז. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names interprets our name with the rather liberal Commotions, "i.e. terrors". BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret our name but lists it under the root זוז.
Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that the Zuzim simply were Seasonal Migrants, probably independent nomads. And since the Bible is not at all interested in political goings on and only about the evolution of the global wisdom tradition, we furthermore surmise that the aforementioned tetrad alliance ultimately defeated the last of the hunter-gatherers.
The story of Four Against Five kings is not about nations and armies and political leanings, but rather about the many ways in which human societies have lived and tried to survive. Hunter-gather societies were highly successful for a very long time and developed hugely complex social dynamics — the famed ruins at Göbekli Tepe are from the last days of that magnificent culture — and the agriculture and metallurgy that would transplant it was obviously invented by it. Domesticated chickens, pigs, sheep, cows, tomatoes, corn and grain are all products of the brilliant sophistication of pre-agricultural wizards, and had to be in existence before the agricultural revolution could even start.
Making bronze requires a hugely complicated industrial process with fires hotter than what would normally occur in nature — so who was the first guy to build a stove like that? How come he knew that would be good for anything? Bronze making was already very well understood before the Bronze Age could commence. And what about script? Long before the Word became flesh and dwelled among us, the Word was ink on paper, written down by folks who had ignited the greatest revolution of all: that of information technology. The people who set the revolution in motion which in our own day and age is finally liberating humanity were Stone Age wizards. Go figure.