🔼The name Reu: Summary
- Friend, Associate
- From the noun רע (rea'), friend or associate.
🔼The name Reu in the Bible
Reu is a son of Peleg the brother of Joktan; the two arch-fathers of the Shemite divide (Genesis 11:18). Reu's son is Serug, and his grandson is Nahor, the grandfather of Abraham. Reu is therefore also an ancestor of David and ultimately of Jesus Christ (Luke 3:35, curiously spelled Ραγαυ, Ragau), but also see the name Reuel, which in the Greek Septuagint appears as Ραγουηλ, Raguel.
🔼Etymology of the name Reu
BDB Theological Dictionary reports that Reu is the name of an ancient god, so maybe Peleg named his son after him. Be that as it may, the way Reu is spelled leads to suspect relations with the root group רעה (ra'a):
Most broadly, the root רעע (ra'a') describes compartmentalization: to break some continuum apart into separated elements. Human minds are designed to be nodes of a much greater network of exchange, and must continuously interact to maintain a liquidity of wisdom — hence the noun רע (rea'), meaning friend or companion (and hence too the story of the Tower of Babel).
All wealth requires liquidity and that requires units of economy to go around. This explains why "evil" — רע, ra', evil — is not the opposite of "good" but instrumental to it: hence the perfect Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil in the heart of perfect Paradise. Despite popular misconceptions, in the Bible, all רע (rea') comes from God (Isaiah 45:7) and has a specific and wonderful function in any naturally evolving system.
Verb רעה (ra'a I) means to pasture or feed and the participle רעה (ra'a) means shepherd. Nouns רעי (re'i) and מרעה (mir'eh) mean pasture. Noun מרעית (mar'it) means pasturage.
Verb רעה (ra'a II) means to associate with. Nouns רע (rea'), רעה (re'eh) and מרע (merea') mean friend, associate or "neighbor". Nouns רעיה (ra'ya), רעה (re'a) and רעות (re'ut) describe a female attendant, mate or friend.
There may or not be an unused verb רעה (ra'a III) or else the following belong to the previous: noun רע (rea'), aim or purpose; nouns רעות (re'ut) and רעיון (ra'yon), longing or striving.
Verb רוע (rua') means to produce a sudden burst of sound. Nouns רע (rea') and תרועה (teru'a) describe a collective rallying cry, a war cry.
For a meaning of the name Reu, NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Friend and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names proposes Associate.