🔼The name Amasa in the Bible
The name Amasa is applied twice in the Bible:
- Most famous is Amasa the son of Abigail, one of two sisters of king David (1 Chronicles 2:17). This Amasa becomes an army leader, first of Absalom (2 Samuel 17:25), later of king David (19:13), supplanting his cousin Joab. For this and other reasons Joab kills him (20:10).
- The other Amasa is a leader of Ephraim (2 Chronicles 28:12).
🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Amasa
It's not immediately clear where the name Amasa comes from, but there are a few possibilities. The name Amasa may come from the Hebrew verb עמש (amas), which may also be spelled with a sin in stead of a samekh. Either form of the verb amas means to load or carry a load:
Following this line of reasoning, the name Amasa means Burden (Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names), or Burden Bearer (NOBSE Study Bible Name List).
BDB Theological Dictionary lists another possibility, namely ישיעם; a combination of the Hebrew name ישי (Jesse) and the Hebrew word עם ('am), kinsman (on the father's side):
Following this line of thought, the name Amasa would mean Kin To Jesse, or Jesse's People.
Something similar may happen with the name Abishai.