The name Nahash in the Bible
The name Nahash occurs in the Bible twice (or three times) as a personal name, and one time as the name of a city:
- The full name of the city is Ir-nahash (1 Chronicles 4:12).
- The king of Ammon during the early years of Saul is called Nahash (1 Samuel 11:1). The Biblical record pictures him as not a very nice guy, but years later David seems to keep him in high regard (2 Samuel 10:2).
- Curiously enough, around the same time there is Nahash the father of Zeruiah and Abigail (2 Samuel 17:25), who elsewhere are reckoned daughters of Jesse and sisters of David (1 Chronicles 2:16). See the article on Jesse for a discussion of this conundrum.
- Lastly there is Nahash the father of Shobi, who appears to be a leader in Rabbah at the time of David (2 Samuel 17:27). But the Ammonite city of Rabbah had been conquered just years prior, and its citizens murdered in the most horrendous ways (2 Samuel 12:31). It seems odd to assume that a son of the deposed king would still rule it, and this Nahash is either someone else, or Shobi was a princely member of an Ammonite resistance movement that's otherwise not recognized.
Etymology of the name Nahash
The name Nahash comes from the root group נחש (nhsh I, II, III and perhaps IV):
For a meaning of the name Nahash, both NOBSE Study Bible Name List and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names read Serpent.