Origin of the name MIRIAM.
Etymology of the
Meaning of the baby name MIRIAM.
MIRIAM.Biblical. English. [Heb. Miryam =
"their obstinacy," "their rebellion" (Gesenius)].
Yonge renders it "bitter." See excerpts below. Usage: America,
England, Israel (מִרְיָם).
The sister of Aaron and of Moses (Numb. xxvi. 59; 1 Chron. vi. 3).
She seems to have been only a young girl when she watched over the ark
which contained the infant Moses (Exod. ii. 4-8). After the
passage of the Red Sea, she took a timbrel and led the Israelite women
"with timbrels and with dances," saying "Sing ye to the
Lord, for He hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He
thrown into the sea" (xv. 20, 21). She joined with Aaron in
murmuring against Moses for having married a Cushite woman. For
this she was made a leper white as snow, but owing to the intercession
of Moses was speedily healed (Numb. xii. 1-16; Deut. xxiv. 9). She
died, and was buried in Kadesh (Numb. xx. 1). The prophet Micah
makes her a leader with Moses and Aaron of the Jewish people (Micah vi.
(2) A woman (?) or a man (?) of Judah belonging
to the race of Caleb (1 Chron. iv. 17).
¶ It is from the Hebrew word Miriam
that the New Testament name Mary
was formed. (The Sunday School Teacher's Bible Manual, Hunter,
of Moses and Aaron, who led the songs of the Israelites when they saw
their enemies dead upon the sea-shore, was the first owner of that name
which was to be the most highly honored among those of women.
Yet it is a name respecting which there is great
contention. Gesenius derives it from Merî (stubbornness),
with the addition of the third person plural, so as to make it mean
their rebellion. Other commentators refer it to the word Marah
(bitterness), and thence the bitter gum, myrrh, the same term that was
applied to the brackish springs in the desert, and to which the desolate
widow of Bethlehem declared her right, when she cried, "Call me not
Naomi (pleasant), call me Marah (bitter)." This is on the
whole the most satisfactory derivation, but in the middle ages it was
explained as Myrrh of the Sea, Lady of the Sea, or Star of the Sea, the
likeness to the Latin, Keltic, and Teutonic mar being probably
the guide. Star of the Sea is the favourite explanation among
Roman Catholics, as the loftiest and most poetical, and it is referred
to in many of their hymns and other devotional compositions.
Miriam does not seem to have been repeated until
after the captivity, when it took the Greek forms of Mariam
and Mariamne, and became
very frequent among Jewish women, probably in the expectation of the new
deliverance from the bondage that galled them like that of Egypt of
old... (History of Christian Names, Yonge, 1884)