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Meaning and etymology of the name Jehu

Jehu Jehu

There are five men named Jehu in the Bible, two of whom are quite famous. The relatively unknown Jehu's are a son of Obed of Judah and father of Azariah (1 Chronicles 2:38), a son of Joshibiah of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:35), and a descendant of Anatoth of Benjamin (1 Chronicles 12:).

Better known is the prophet Jehu, son of Hanani, who admonishes king Jehoshaphat of Judah for his allegiance to king Ahab of Israel (2 Chronicles 19:2), but still authors his story as recorded in the Book of Kings (2 Chronicles 20:34). Jehu also predicts the doom of king Baasha of Israel and son of Ahijah (1 Kings 16:1). When Baasha's son Elah becomes king, servant Zimri murders him, becomes king himself and proceeds to exterminate the entire house of Baasha (1 Kings 16:12).

Apparently, Zimri's appalling deeds garnered him proverbial notoriety, and in a striking play of broken symmetry, queen mother Jezebel addresses the other famous Jehu derogatorily as Zimri. This Jehu is a son of Jehoshapat, son of Nimshi, who God told Elijah to anoint as king over Israel and avenger, in the same breath with which He pronounced Elisha to be the successor of Elijah (1 Kings 19:16).

Once anointed (by a protégé of Elisha, not by Elijah - 2 Kings 9), Jehu goes on his foretold rampage, kills king Jehoram of Israel, and dumps his corpse on the field of the previously murdered Naboth of Jezreel (9:24-25). Then Jehu give chase to the incumbent king Ahaziah of Judah and has him killed too (9:27), proceeds to Jerzeel and, after she calls him Zimri, executes Jezebel by having her thrown out of a window (2 Kings 9:27, 33). Then he kills the seventy sons of Ahab (10:7), the forty-two sons of Ahaziah (10:14) and all priests of Baal found in Israel (10:21-28).

According to BDB Theological Dictionary, the name Jehu is a contracted form of the name Jehuhu (Jehuhu). This latter version doesn't occur in Scriptures, but something similar happens with the name Joshua (Joshua), which was contracted into Jeshua (Jeshua).

Hence, the name Jehu consists of two elements:

1) Jah, Jah, which in turn is an abbreviated form of the Tetragrammaton; the name of the Lord: YHWH.

2) The third person singular, independent nominative pronoun hu (hu'), meaning he, she or it.

For a meaning of the name Jehu, NOBS Study Bible Name List reads Yahweh Is He. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names has The Lord Is He, and BDB Theological Dictionary proposes Yah Is He.

Another name that incorporates the pronoun hu is Abihu.



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