🔼The name Salu/ Sallu/ Sallai in the Bible
These four names: סלוא (Salu), סלוא or סלא or סלו (Sallu) and סלי (Sallai) are obviously variations of a theme and are spelled and pronounced very similar:
- Salu (סלוא) is the Simeonite father of Zimri, who played a distinct role in the Peor incident, together with his Midianite woman Cozbi (Numbers 25:14).
- Sallu (סלו) is a priest who came up with Zerubbabel (Nehemiah 12:7).
- Sallai (סלי; Nehemiah 12:20) may be the Sallu of Nehemiah 12:7 (as BDB Theological Dictionary suggests) or may be not.
- Sallu (סלוא) is a Benjaminite (1 Chronicles 9:7). In Nehemiah 11:7 he is called סלא (Sallu).
🔼Etymology of the name Salu/ Sallu/ Sallai
These names seem to have to do with any of the following Hebrew verbs:
The letter י (yod) upon which the name Sallai ends, may either create an adjective (lightly), a possessive form (my frivolity), or may be a remnant of יה (Yah) = יהו (Yahu) = יו (Yu), which in turn are abbreviated forms of the Tetragrammaton יהוה, YHWH, or Yahweh.
🔼Salu/ Sallu/ Sallai meaning
Any of these names may mean any of the above. For undisclosed and untraceable reasons NOBSE Study Bible Name List reads Restored for Salu. For Sallu and Sallai, NOBSE appears to go with the verb סלה I (sala I), meaning to make light of or toss aside, and reads Contempt for Sallu and Rejecter for Sallai.
Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names won't have any to do with the above, and proposes that the names Salu and the two versions of Sallu are both adaptations of the name Shallai. And the name Shallai, according to Jones, comes from the verb סלל (salal), meaning to cast up or lift up, exalt. The final yod of Sallai, Jones deems the mark of the Divine, and hence Jones translates the names Salu, Sallu and Shallai with Lifted Up Of The Lord.
BDB Theological Dictionary doesn't interpret any of our names and lists them all under the verb סלה II (sala II). This may, however, simply be because BDB lists them in alphabetical order.