Teman, Teyman


The word means south or southland or southern quarter.

Genesis 36:11 and 34 state that Esav had a grandson of that name, his father being Eli-Phaz. A "chief of Teman" is twice mentioned in a passage that also names Chusham (
חושם) of the southland as a king of Edom

Eli-Phaz the Temani was also one of Iyov's (Job's) comforters (Job 4:1 ff) - odd coincidence that he has both parts of the same name. 

Teymeni (תֵּימְנִי) in 1 Chronicles 4:6 is almost certainly a variant of the same name.

A town and a country both bear the name, and are referred to in Jeremiah 49:7; Ezekiel 25:13, et al. The country is probably what we now think of as the Yemen.

The town of Timnah (תִמְנָה) was one of the most ancient in Kena'an, given to Yehudah at first (Joshua 15:10 and 57) but later transferred - somewhat surprisingly, given its location(s), to Dan (Joshua 19:43). Judges 14:1 (in which Shimshon/Samson sees a woman at Timnah who he wants for a wife) and 2 Chronicles 28:18 (which describes the area in which King David slew Gol-Yat-Goliath) both make it clear that it was in the territory, or at least the aspirational territory, of the Pelishtim, and we know that Pelishtim may be the same thing as Dan, and therefore makes the transfer from Yehudah to Dan, provided it means Dan before it moved to La'ish, more plausible. Gesenius states that it lay to the east of Edom, which was way beyond the reach of the Pelishtim or the Beney Dan, so we can assume that he is speaking of the country.

This Timnah should not be confused with Timna (
תמנע), the aboriginal gorge near Eilat on the Red Sea. That Timna is spelled with a final Ayin/ע, where the Dan/Yehudah/Peleshet town has a Hey/ה). There is also a Timna in the Yemen, the capital of the Qataban kingdom, which may be the source of the name. 

The word may also be a variant form of Yamin (ימין) which means "right" in the directional sense; east is generally right on a compass in the northern hemisphere; interestingly, the region we know as Teman coincides precisely with the modern Yemen, being the southernmost quarter of Arabia, and from Yemen to Yamin is no great distance (linguistically).

Psalm 78:26 uses Teymanah to mean "the southern wind", and Exodus 26:18 and 27:9 as an alternative to Negbah (נגבה) for the direction "south". Isaiah 43:6 and 
Job 9:9 likewise use it simply to mean "south".

Copyright © 2015 David Prashker
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The Argaman Press

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