What does the name Pinchas mean? Is it Hebrew, is it Egyptian, is it a Nubian name? In the Hebrew how does it translate to Brass/Copper Mouth when the last letter in the name is a samech and not a shin? Please and thank you.


1 Answer 1


In Rav Aryeh Kaplan's Purple Tanakh, the etymology of the name is an Egyptian one (as common among Levi'im), from the words Pi-Neches..

Pinchas. Or Phinehas. The name Pinchas may be from the Egyptian Pi-neches, meaning “the dark one,” “the one who aroused himself,” “the incantator,” or “the covered one.” (Others derive it from a Semitic root; cf. Sekhel Tov). See Ezra 7:5, 8:2, 1 Chronicles 5:30, 6:35. Pinchas stood up to stop assimilation in Moav (Numbers 25:7), and was given eternal priesthood (Numbers 25:11). He was the priest of war (Numbers 31:6, Joshua 22:13), and later an important leader (Joshua 22:30-32, Judges 20:28, 1 Chronicles 9:20).

  • 1
    Are you referring to his The Living Torah?
    – robev
    Jul 5, 2020 at 23:34
  • Doesn't Pi mean house in Egyptian?
    – Harel13
    Jul 6, 2020 at 5:18
  • @Adam Thank you for sharing that. I kept coming across that his name meant "The Dark One, The Negro, The Nubian, etc". However, I could not find where people got their sources from per se (did they read the Medu Neter, what methods/tools did they use to make that conclusion, how exactly did they make that connection?) Also outside of Moshe and Aaron what other Levites have names that are Egyptian in origin that it was considered common?
    – יהודה
    Jul 6, 2020 at 11:08

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