🔼The name Birsha: Summary
- Son Of Wickedness, With Wickedness
- From (1) either the prefix ב (be), in, or the noun בן (ben), son, and (2) the verb רשע (rasha), to be wicked.
🔼The name Birsha in the Bible
There's only one Birsha in the Bible. Birsha is the king of Gomorrah during the War of Four against Five Kings (Genesis 14). King Birsha and his four comrades rise up against kings Amraphel, Arioch, Chedorlaomer and Tidal, get whooped, and run for the hills. Birsha and his buddy Bera, the king of Sodom, fall in tar pits, which were evidently ubiquitous in the valley of Siddim, where the fight took place.
🔼Etymology of the name Birsha
The name Birsha probably consists of two elements, the first one being the common Hebrew particle ב (be), meaning in, at or by:
Prefix ב (be) means in, within or by means of.
The second element of our name would then come from the Hebrew verb רשע (rasha), meaning to be wicked:
The root רשע (rsh') has to do with wickedness and is the opposite of צדק (sadeq), righteousness.
Adjective רשע (resha') means wrong, wicked, guilty. Noun רשע (rasha') means wickedness, and the denominative verb רשע (rasha') means either to be wicked or to condemn as guilty. Its feminine equivalent, רשעה (risha'), means wickedness. Noun מרשעת (mirsha'at) describes an agent or place of wickedness.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names goes a step further, sticks to the verb רשע (rasha) but derives the b-part of the name Birsha from the common Hebrew word בן (ben), roughly meaning son:
The noun בן (ben) means son, or more general: a member of one particular social or economic node — called a "house", which is built upon the instructions of one אב ('ab), or "father" — within in a larger economy (hence: the "sons of the prophet" are the members of the prophet-class; the prophets). This noun obviously resembles the verb בנה (bana), to build, and the noun אבן ('eben), stone.
Our noun's feminine version, namely בת (bat), means daughter, which resembles the noun בית (bayit), meaning house. Sometimes our noun is contracted into a single letter ב, whose name beth comes from בית (bayit) and means "house" as well. As a prefix, the letter ב (be) means "in." The word for mother, אם ('em), is highly similar to that of tribe or people, אמה ('umma).
Hence, for a meaning of the name Birsha, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Son Of Wickedness. NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads With Wickedness. BDB Theological Dictionary declares root and meaning unknown.