🔼The name Shimri: Summary
- From the verb שמר (shamar), to keep or guard.
🔼The name Shimri in the Bible
There are four men named Shimri in the Bible:
- A son of Shemaiah of Simeon (1 Chronicles 4:37).
- The father of Jediael, who is listed among the mighty-men of David together with his brother Joha the Tizite (1 Chronicles 11:45).
- A son of Hosah of Merari (1 Chronicles 26:10). This Shimri was not Hosah's first-born but for some reason Hosah gave him the first-born rights and status. Apparently this position was transferable in those days; it also happened between Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:31, 27:33) and between Judah and his older brothers Reuben, Levi and Simeon (Genesis 49:2-9).
- One of the sons of Elizaphan who was among the Levites who partook in the cleaning of the temple during the reforms of king Hezekiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 29:13).
🔼Etymology of the name Shimri
The name Shimri comes from the verb שמר (shamar), meaning to keep, guard, observe or give heed:
The verb שמר (shamar) means to guard or to exercise great care over. Noun שמרה (shomra) means guard. Noun שמר (shimmur) means night watch. Noun אשמורה ('ashmura) or אשמרת ('ashmoret) refers to the night watch as unit of time. Noun משמר (mishmar) describes the "place or agent" of guarding, which may come down to either a prison or a guard, but it may also describe the keeping on some religious observances or something like that. Noun משמרת (mishmeret), literally meaning "with the function of watching," used in the sense of a charge or obligation; an official function of guarding. Noun שמרה (shemura) describes an eyelid.
Noun שמר (shemer) describes the dregs or residue that collects at the bottom of a bottle of wine. This word may stem from a whole other root, or it reflects the similarity between patiently standing through a night watch and a bottle ageing in a rack. This word may also describe a stagnant heart, either as a heart in which dregs settle out or a heart that's carefully guarded.
Noun שמיר (shamir) describes some kind of wild, thorny vegetation that covers large areas. Again, this noun may stem from a whole other verb, but a hedge of thorns is not unlike a perimeter peopled by armed guards, or even a tender heart that's guarded by sarcasm and a proneness to insult.
The noun שמור (shamor), fennel, equals the Greek noun μαραθον (marathon), and Greece's victory at the Battle of Marathon (490 BC) made the whole world Greek.
The letter י (yod) upon which our name ends, may either create an adjective (vigilant), a possessive form (my guarding), 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.
For a meaning of the name Shimri, NOBSE Study Bible Name List goes with the adjective and reads Vigilant. Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names deems the final yod to be a "sign of the Divine name". Hence Jones reads Ward, and adds "of the Lord". BDB Theological Dictionary does not translate Shimri but does list it under the verb שמר (shamar).