Mesha meaning | Mesha etymology

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מישא
מישע
Mesha in Biblical Hebrew
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The name Mesha

There are two different names in the Hebrew Bible that transliterated into English both turn out as Mesha. But in Hebrew these names are spelled different and pronounced different, and they mean different things as well. We'll call them Mesha I (מישא) and Mesha II (מישע).

The name Mesha I in the Bible

This version of the name Mesha is ascribed twice in the Bible:

  • Mesha is the name of a port city on the Red Sea, and mentioned first as a border of the territory of the sons of Joktan (Genesis 10:30).
  • Mesha is also the name of a Benjaminite, a son of Shaharaim and Hodesh (1 Chronicles 8:9).

Etymology of the name Mesha I

This version of the name Mesha comes from the verb מיש (mysh) meaning to depart or remove:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

Mesha I meaning

For a meaning of this name Mesha, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names both read Retreat.


The name Mesha II in the Bible

The other version of the name Mesha, מישע, is ascribed to two men in the Bible:

  • The first born son of Caleb (1 Chronicles 2:42) who was also the father of Ziph.
  • A king of Moab, who was buddies with the notorious king Ahab of Israel but not with Ahab's son Jehoram (2 Kings 3:4-5). This king Mesha lost a battle against an alliance between kings Jehoram of Israel and Jehoshaphat of Judah, and sacrificed his son and would-be successor as a burnt offering to either his deity or the Israelites (2 Kings 3:27).

Etymology of the name Mesha II

The name Mesha written with the ayin looks like it has to do with the verb ישע (yasha), meaning to be saved or delivered:

Abarim Publications Theological Dictionary

The letter mem, with which our name starts, may come from the participle form, which is used to indicate that the action of the verb is ongoing: Saving, Delivering.

Mesha II meaning

For a meaning of this version of the name Mesha, Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Salvation. NOBSE Study Bible Name List makes no distinction between the two versions.

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