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Shammai meaning

שמי

Source: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shammai.html

🔼The name Shammai in the Bible

There are three men named Shammai in the Bible:

  • A son of Onam, the son of Jerahmeel of Judah and his wife Atarah (1 Chronicles 2:28).
  • A son of Rekem, son of Hebron, also of Judah (1 Chronicles 2:44).
  • A son of Ezrah, also of Judah (1 Chronicles 4:17).

🔼Etymology of the name Shammai

The name Shammai possibly derives from the verb שמם (shamem), meaning to be desolate or appalled:

But on the other hand, it might also come from the word שם (shem), meaning name or fame:

The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (waste-like, or belonging to fame, i.e. celebrated), a possessive form (my waste/name), 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.

Note that our name שמי is spelled identically to (yet pronounced differently as) the theoretical word שמי, which would be the singular source-word of the plural שמים (shemayim), meaning heaven(s).

🔼Shammai meaning

For a meaning of the name Shammai, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with שם (shem), meaning name, and takes the final י to be an adjective-maker. Hence NOBSE reads Celebrated.

Alfred Jones (Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names) derives our name from the root שמם and takes the final י (yod) to be a remnant of יהוה. Hence Jones reads Astonishment Of The Lord.