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Barsabbas meaning

Βαρσαβας
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🔼The name Barsabbas in the Bible

There are two men named Barsabbas in the New Testament: Joseph Barsabbas, also known as Justus, who rivaled Matthias as a candidate to replace Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:23). The other Barsabbas is Judas Barsabbas, who, together with Silas, joined Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey from Jerusalem to Antioch (Acts 15:22).

🔼Etymology and meaning of the name Barsabbas

The name Barsabbas consists of two elements, the first one being the Aramaic word בר (bar), meaning son:

Hence the name Barsabbas means Son Of Sabbas, but where the sabbas-part comes from is not clear at all, apart from that it is most probably Semitic.

If the Greek sabbas is a transliteration of something Aramaic or Hebrew, it may be the name Saba. Although the name Saba doesn't occur in the Old Testament, Spiros Zodhiates (The Complete Wordstudy Dictionary) says it existed, and came from the verb צבא (saba'), meaning to fight:

Zodhiates' proposal is perfectly plausible, since Old Testamentary names that start with the Hebrew letter tsadhe (such as Zibiah, Ziha or Zur) are transliterated in the Septuagint with the Greek letter sigma.

And that (assuming that the verb saba means to fight in this regard) would render the name Barsabbas the meaning of Man Of War (which would put him in pretty good company because also "YHWH is a man of war"; Exodus 15:3).

Other scholars have suggested relations with words such as סבא (seba), meaning to imbibe or as a noun, drunkard (see the name Seba). That would give the name Barsabbas the meaning of Son Of A Drunk.

Another possibility is that Barsabbas comes from the word שבע (sheba'), meaning seven, or the similar שבע (shaba'), meaning to swear or promise solemnly (see the names Elizabeth and Elisheba). That would let Barsabbas translate to Son Of An Oath, and would marvelously compliment the feminine name Bathsheba, meaning Daughter Of An Oath.

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