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What does Ziba mean in Hebrew?

The name Ziba is of Hebrew origin and has a few different meanings depending on the context. In this article, we will explore the origins and meanings behind the name Ziba and how it is used in Hebrew texts and tradition.

The Meaning and Origins of the Name Ziba

The name Ziba first appears in the Hebrew Bible in 2 Samuel 9. Here, Ziba is described as a servant of Saul who later pledged his allegiance to David. The name Ziba itself comes from the Hebrew word “zibah” (זִיבָה) which means “sacrifice” or “slaughter.”

So in this context, the name Ziba literally translates to “sacrifice” or “slaughtered one.” This meaning stems from Ziba’s loyalty to Saul and his household, even after Saul’s death. Ziba maintained his dedication or was “sacrificed” to Saul’s family.

The name appears again in 2 Samuel 16, which describes Ziba bringing provisions to King David when David was fleeing from his son Absalom. Here, the name Ziba evokes a sense of loyalty and servitude.

So while the name can literally mean “sacrifice,” it also contains connotations of subservience, loyalty and dedication when considered in context.

Other Meanings of Ziba in Hebrew Texts

While the name Ziba in the Bible represents loyalty and servitude, the Hebrew root “ZiB” has some other meanings in ancient texts:

  • Excellence – In some texts, ZiB refers to excellence or being distinguished. The name may mean “excellent one.”
  • Gazelle – Since gazelles are graceful animals, ZiB may also mean “graceful one.”
  • Color – The term ZiB is also thought to relate to color, like a golden or brilliant hue.

So while the Biblical Ziba denotes sacrifice and loyalty, the name can also signify positive qualities like excellence and gracefulness in the Hebrew tradition.

The Name Ziba in Contemporary Hebrew

In modern Hebrew, the name Ziba is not widely used for boys or girls. However, it does still maintain some of the ancient connotations of its root “ZiB.”

For instance, the adjective “zibi” in Hebrew today means “exceptional” or “wonderful.” So the name continues to be associated with positive qualities like excellence.

The name may also relate to the Hebrew word “ziv,” meaning “radiance” or “brilliance.” So Ziba can be interpreted as “radiant one” in modern contexts.

While not a popular name today, Ziba is also reminiscent of the Biblical servant’s sense of loyalty and sacrifice when used in Jewish families.

Ziba in the Bible

Let’s take a deeper look at the Biblical appearances of the name Ziba and what we can learn about its meaning from scriptural context:

2 Samuel 9

This chapter introduces Ziba as a former servant of King Saul. After Saul’s death, David wants to show kindness to Saul’s remaining household. Ziba helps David by bringing Saul’s grandson Mephibosheth before the king.

Here, Ziba acts loyally to both Saul’s family and David, facilitating the meeting between Mephibosheth and David. The name suits his role as a bridge between the two households.

2 Samuel 16

Later, when David is forced out of Jerusalem by his son Absalom, Ziba brings food and provisions to David and his men in their time of need. This again demonstrates Ziba’s lasting loyalty to Saul’s dynasty and King David.

Ziba goes above and beyond to look after David, staying true to his master through difficult circumstances. The name Ziba reflects these actions.

2 Samuel 19

After Absalom’s defeat, David returns to Jerusalem. He encounters Ziba again, who claims that he provided for David while Mephibosheth did not. This may show Ziba’s guile, flattering David for his own gain.

Some see this as a stain on Ziba’s loyalty. However, the name Ziba overall still represents his lasting service to David.

Popularity and Variations of the Name Ziba

While Ziba is an uncommon name today, it does have some variations in other cultures and languages:

  • Arabic – Zubayr, Zubeir
  • African – Zuberi, Zuber
  • Indian – Jibraeel
  • Alternative spellings – Ziva, Zivah, Zivya, Zivvah

So while Ziba itself is quite rare, its sounds and meanings can be found across different languages and cultures worldwide.

Famous People Named Ziba

Though an obscure Biblical name, there are a few modern public figures named Ziba:

  • Ziba Moshaver – Iranian-American author and activist
  • Ziba Shirazi – Award winning Iranian-American fashion designer
  • Ziba Camejo – Venezuelan actress and model

So while uncommon, the name does have contemporary bearers continuing its tradition and meanings.


In summary, the Hebrew name Ziba has its origins in the Biblical servant stories of King David. It literally means “sacrifice” but contains symbolism of loyalty and dedication as well.

In Hebrew texts, the name also relates to excellence, brilliance and grace. While obscure today, Ziba maintains its ancient evocations of service and radiance. Some variant forms preserve its melodic sounds in other languages.

Overall, the name Ziba represents sacrifice but also nobility of spirit. Its rarity adds mystique, evoking vivid ancient tales of loyalty to kings and masters. For those seeking a unique Biblical name, Ziba contains richness and depth. Its melodic tone also gives it a pleasant sense of fluency and linguistic flair.